According To The Pattern

Photo by Huper by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Please turn with me to Hebrews Chapter 8. I want to read the first paragraph of this wonderful text, and then focus on a sentence. Let’s start.

Hebrews 8:1-6 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; 2 a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. 3 For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. 4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: 5 who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. 6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

In this wonderful text, God is showing us the difference between the OLD Covenant and the NEW Covenant. When God gave the OLD Covenant to Israel at Mount Sinai, God told Moses – and this is the text I want to focus on:

Hebrews 8:5 See, saith {God}, that thou {O Moses} make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount

When God established the Old Covenant of the Law to Israel, He gave Moses and His people a pattern to follow. God said to Moses:

Poieō pas kata typos”

or “Design everything I show you EXACTLY as I show you”. God had a purpose in giving the Law to Moses and Israel. The Law was a shadow of good things that would one day come in Jesus Christ. The Law was a:

Hebrews 8:5 example and shadow of heavenly things

The shadows of the Law pointed to a reality of what Jesus Christ would one day bring. The shadows were not just a figment of the imagination. The shadows gave us a pattern.

The Shadows Could Not Save Anyone

Illustrate I often find great sermon illustrations in the news. For instance, the news magazine The Week (June 11, 2021) notes that “an unknown buyer paid $18,350 for (can you believe it) “Io Sono [I Am]”, an ‘invisible sculpture’ by Italian artist Salvatore Garau.” Yes, you heard that right. Someone paid over 18K for the figment of an artist’s imagination. He even had the audacity to call the non existent sculpture “I Am”, a title God gave to Himself.

God is no figment of the imagination. God is real. But God is immense, and hard for our mortal minds to comprehend. So God, in His infinite love, gave an example of the Heavenly in the Old Covenant Law. The purpose of the Law was to teach us that God is real, and that God has a standard, a standard that we fall short of. But God wanted to show Israel – and us – that He loves us so very much, and that God wants to have a living, daily, moment by moment relationship with Him.

A shadow cannot save anyone, and the Mosaic Law was a shadow. The Bible says:

Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin

Our God has a standard. The Law gave KNOWLEDGE of sin. No flesh has ever been justified by the Law, nor was that the intent of the Law. The Law was given to make us aware that we are sinners, to give us the knowledge of sin – but not to save. The Law was designed by God to:

  • Draw man to Christ by making him aware of his sinful state, and then
  • To teach man about the coming Messiah through the symbolic rituals and religious paraphernalia contained in the Law.

The Law had a High Priest after the line of Aaron, and that priest represented the Israelite before God. We were told:

Hebrews 8:3 For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices …

The High Priest of Israel carried gifts and sacrifices to God. Every Israelite family brought an animal, a lamb without spot or blemish to be sacrificed on the altar. These sacrifices were not done just once, but repeatedly, year after year. The Scripture says that the reason this was done is because:

Hebrews 10:3 … in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.

The sacrifices and gifts brought to the altar were brutally slain, their blood shed, and the blood was sprinkled on the people. The point of this was to show all people that sin is nothing to be winked at. The Bible says:

Romans 6:23 … the wages of sin is death

Sin drives a wedge between the God Who is Life, and us, and that wedge is DEATH. DEATH is not something to be proud of. God told Adam in the Garden of Eden:

Genesis 2:16-17 … Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

God has a standard, and God’s standard is unchanging. Sin brings death. The Law emphasized this by allowing the Israelite to put THE WAGES OF SIN ON THE SACRIFICED ANIMAL. But this was but a shadow, for, year after year, the Israelite had to sacrifice again, and again, and again. In fact,

The High Priest of the First Covenant had to, as Hebrews 7:27 tells us, offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s. The wages of sin is death. In God is life, but as sinners we cannot meet His expectations. The Priests “{offered} blood … for himself, and for the errors of the people” (Hebrews 9:7). The intent of the Law was to open the eyes of us all, to make us realize that we can’t just be better on our own, and thus satisfy God’s standard.

But the human heart is wicked. That Law, which God gave to man to teach us of our need of salvation, was used by humans in a sinful way.

The Scribes and Pharisees used the Law like Adam and Eve used a fig tree. Rather than seek out a relationship by faith in God, they took the Law and twisted it, believing they could secure their own salvation. Wrong!

In an article Ren Broekhuizen wrote for Focus On The Family, he illustrated sin as GARBAGE. He wrote:

“… everybody’s garbage smells the same.

The garbage of the “beautiful people” posing on the red carpets for the Oscars smells the same as the garbage of the fans across the country at a Yankee game.

The garbage of the “important people” in our nation’s capital smells the same as the dented garbage cans along the sidewalk in East St. Louis.

The garbage of women in glamorous gowns and the garbage of handsome men in tuxedos smells the same as the garbage of men behind bars in orange jumpsuits or the men in pressed business suits.

The garbage of helpful women in waitress’s aprons smells the same as the garbage of pretty young school teachers in high heels. … We all have litter, refuse, junk, rubbish, garbage—whatever scale we use to minimize the disobedience in our lives.”

Our sin stinks equally to God – this is why we all desperately need Jesus. Jesus told the self righteous Pharisees and Scribes:

Matthew 23:27-28 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. {28} Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

The Promised Messiah came to save us from the Law and from our sins, to teach us that God wants a living relationship with us. Jesus Christ came to this earth, calling whosoever will to His side. Jesus Christ wants to be your High Priest, representing you to God. He calls you to follow Him.

Jesus Christ Is Not A Shadow

The High Priest of Israel stood inside a Tabernacle or a Temple, and there made offering for his sins and the sins of the people. But Jesus does not stand in the Tabernacle or the Temple. Jesus sits on the right hand of God.

Hebrews 8:1-2 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; {2} A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

We HAVE such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens. The shadow priesthood of Israel stood representing the Messiah Who would one day come. This Messiah, Jesus Christ, is:

Hebrews 12:2 … the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The High Priest of Israel carried an animal sacrifice into the Temple, an animal given to him by the people. Jesus Christ Himself carried no animal to the altar. Jesus laid His life down, a perfect life, a sinless life, and took upon Himself our sins. Jesus Christ, eternal God made flesh, gave His life for us. He became the “Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29, 26). Jesus told those who would listen to Him:

John 10:15, 17 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

The Father loves Jesus, but He loves us so much that He gave His Only Begotten Son for us. Jesus went to not an altar in the Temple, but a Cross on a hill called Calvary. On that Cross Jesus suffered as no man has ever suffered again. He not only experienced the horrible pain of crucifixion:

Psalm 22:14-15 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.

But as our sins were poured out on Jesus, the Father turned His back on the Son. The Bible says:

Matthew 27:46 about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Like the old song said,

Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified, freely forever
One day He’s coming
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day

Jesus Christ perfectly matched God’s standard. The writer of Hebrews tells us:

Hebrews 8:4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law…

If our High Priest, Jesus Christ, was ministering on the earth, then he should not be a priest. Jesus Christ could not have been made a High Priest under the Old Covenant. Why, you might ask. Because Jesus was born into this earth of the Tribe of Judah, of the line of David. Under the Mosaic Law Jesus was qualified to be King of Israel, but He could not be made priest or High Priest. But Jesus Christ, ascending to the right hand of God the Father – a preeminent place – is a High Priest

Hebrews 5:6 “… for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”

Who was Melchizedek? We see this strange person first mentioned in the Bible when Father Abraham returned from rescuing Lot from Chedorlaomer we read:

Genesis 14:18-20 … Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19 And he blessed {Abram}, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: 20 and blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And {Abram} gave {Melchizedek} tithes of all.

Long before God gave Moses the Law and the High Priesthood of the Old Covenant, Abram met Melchizedek, the king of Salem or the “King of Peace”. Melchizedek blessed Abram, and encouraged him so much that Abram gave tithes of his income to Melchizedek. Jesus speaks of this foreshadowing when He tells the Pharisees and Scribes:

John 8:56-58 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

Hundreds of years before there was an Old Covenant Law, Abraham met and gave his life to Jesus. As our Lord said, Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Salvation has always been by faith in Christ. It only comes by believing on Him, by coming to Him for a daily, minute by minute walk with Him. The Pharisees could not understand that. Jesus told them – and now I say unto you His Words:

John 8:42 If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.

Jesus Christ is the One sent from the Father to save our souls. The Pharisees and Scribes followed not Jesus, but the rituals of the Old Covenant. The person who follows mere ritualism apart from a real relationship with Christ can only live their lives based on shadow. The person who takes lightly a living, growing faith in Christ is living very dangerously. At the least he or she can find themselves in trial or tribulation separated from the strengthening power that a relationship with God offers. At the most such a person can find themselves condemned to eternal hellfire if they leave this life in such an unbelieving state. God calls whosoever will to Jesus, to surrender to Him, to live in Him.

Hebrews 8:6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also {Jesus} is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. 8 For finding fault with THEM

Notice carefully the wording of this text. First, God is calling whosoever will to Jesus. The Old Covenant was not flawed – it was a perfect Law, a perfect Schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. But God found fault with THEM. Not with the Law, but with the followers of the Law. The THEM. That’s you and I, folks.

We are broken. The Law taught us we are broken. But the Law could not fix the brokenness. Only Jesus can!

The Old Covenant High Priest was a fallen person, a sinner like us, who represented man to God. But Jesus – oh how much better He is! Jesus is not only perfect and sinless High Priest:

Hebrews 4:15 … we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Jesus is the sinless Mediator, a much better Mediator than the High Priest of the Old Covenant was. Furthermore, Jesus was …

1 Peter 1:19 … a LAMB without blemish and without spot …

So that He could take my failures before God – and yours too – upon Himself. He died in our place, and rising from the grave, ascended to Heaven to represent us before God the Father FOREVER.

Hebrews 8:6 {Jesus Christ} is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

What Are The Better Promises Of This New Covenant?

What are the better promises God has made us under Jesus? Under the New Covenant when you believe on Jesus, God the Holy Spirit comes to you and writes His Law – His Standard – on our hearts. We read:

Hebrews 8:10-11 I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: 11 and they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

When Jesus, at the Lord’s Supper, gave His disciples the Cup He told them:

Matthew 26:28 for this is my blood of the new {covenant}, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Jesus did not just say “My Blood is shed for ISRAEL ALONE”. No, He said, “this is my Blood of the New Covenant, which is “shed for many. When you call upon the name of Jesus, then Jesus will save you. He said of Himself,

Matthew 9:6 “… the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins … .”

That word power is the Greek exousia {pronounced ex-oo-see’-ah}, power of authority and of right, bestowed power such as king might bestow. Jesus declared:

Matthew 28:18 … All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

When Joseph in Genesis 41 was given all authority over Egypt by Pharaoh, the Bible says “Pharaoh took the ring off of his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand” (Genesis 41:42). If God the Father had such a ring, He would have given it to Jesus. Jesus Christ has ALL power, ALL authority, and the ONLY ability to forgive sin. Jesus Christ is on the right hand of God the Father. When you believe on Him, and call out to Him, Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to you, to indwell you. The Bible says of the Christian:

1 Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

If you believe on Jesus, you receive:

A Better Sacrifice
A Better High Priest
A Better Destination
A Better And Eternal Life

The New Covenant causes a change in the recipient’s heart. Moses prophesied of this New Covenant when he said:

Deuteronomy 30:6 … the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

Have You Received Jesus Christ As Lord And Savior?

There is only one true tabernacle and one true High Priest, and these are in Heaven. If you want to be forgiven so you can one day gain entrance into this place called Heaven, you must come to Jesus this very day. When you receive Jesus as He is, then to you …

John 1:12 … gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

The power of God will come upon you. The Holy Spirit will change you. Trust in and receive Jesus this very day. What will the Judge say about you when you see Him in Heaven? Will He say that He knows you, that you’ve been a friend to Him, that you’ve obediently laid down your life for Him as He has laid down His life for you? Or will the Righteous Judge, our High Priest Who sits on the Right Hand of God the Father say “depart from Me, I never knew you”?

Before Billy Graham left this earth, he said:

Heaven is real because Jesus is real — He is the way, the truth, and the life — and Heaven is where Jesus is — and I am going to Him soon.”

You have a choice. Obey Him and grow in Him, or reject Him and suffer the consequences of that rejection. May God touch your hearts with this message and by His Spirit. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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