THIS LETTER to Hebrew believers demonstrates that Jesus Christ is God’s final and perfect representative, better and greater than all who preceded him. He is greater than …

  • the angels—1:4–14
  • Abraham—7:4
  • Moses—3:3–6
  • Aaron (High Priest)—4:14, 15; 8:1–4
  • Joshua—4:8
  • all the prophets—1:1–2.

The writer shows that Christ is of a higher order than the Jewish priests, who were descended from Aaron of the tribe of Levi. Jesus was of the royal tribe of Judah, ‘and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests’ (7:14). But Jesus’ priesthood was greater than that of Aaron (5:6; 6:20; 7:1–21): chapters 5–7 show how Christ is ‘a priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedek’, who was the king-priest of Salem (later Jerusalem, Genesis 14:18–20).

The letter shows how the Law of Moses pointed forward to Christ. Chapter 9 tells how he was prefigured in the tabernacle and its contents (Exodus 25–27), and in the calendar of feasts and sacrifices which Israel had to follow. And what was true for the tabernacle, the temporary shrine in the wilderness, was also true for the temple  in Jerusalem and its rituals—which was still in existence at the time of writing and which the Hebrews were reluctant to turn away from. Animal sacrifices (chapters 9 & 10) pointed forward to a better sacrifice: Christ’s sacrifice did away with the need for those sacrifices, and did away also with the need for the temple and the priesthood.

The Way of Faith

Chapter 11 shows that salvation is by faith in God’s promises, centred in Jesus Christ. Jesus, though he was God’s Son, ‘in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin’ (4:15, see 2:17–18). He is a mediator (8:6; 9:15; 12:24) for those who come in faith to ask God’s forgiveness. In Jesus there is ‘a new and living way’ (10:20); through him we may ‘draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith’ (10:22).

Norman Owen

By kind permission of ‘The Christadelphian’

Some interesting links with other parts of the Bible:

  • Hebrews 2:14—see Romans 5:21; 6:23.
  • Hebrews 9:22—see Leviticus 17:11; Matthew 26:28.
  • Hebrews 13:13—see Exodus 29:14; 33:7; Numbers 19:2–3.
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