Thursday after the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Hebrews 9:16-28 (NKJV)
9:16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. 19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.” 21 Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. 22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.
23 Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another—26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
Those “copies and shadows” of heavenly things by which the Old Testament Church was taught were of lesser standing than the heavenly reality. The Old Testament tabernacle and laws of worship taught many things about the Christ and about salvation through pictures and similes. It was also significant that the tabernacle was a weak copy, so that the people would not mistake the earthly tabernacle for the true, heavenly one. In this way, the believers of the Old Testament would learn about the Christ from the lesser “copies,” but would also more eagerly expect the real thing.
Jesus Christ is, at last, the real thing. He is the Sacrifice that was offered once for all and in Him our atonement is finished. He is the High Priest who entered once into the Most Holy Place of heaven, and has opened it up for us. His is the blood that truly forgives sins, forever. The tabernacle, the priesthood, and the sacrifices were “copies and shadows” of the Christ, so that we would recognize Him when He came, and not be content with the mere “copies.”
We have been born into the time of the New Testament. The heavenly realities which the Jews awaited have been revealed to us in the coming of the Christ. Christianity is not a matter of unfulfilled signs and practices; it is a matter of faith in the Christ who fulfilled all things for our salvation.
We pray: Lord, we pray Thee that Thy grace may always go before and follow after us and make us continually to be given to all good works; through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.