"Shadows and Reality"
What’s the difference between the Old Testament and New? Why did we need a new one? Was the old one bad or had it failed in some way?
Shadows and Reality
A. If you have ever flown a long distance flight, you realize there are at least two classes or seating arrangements on the airplane. The main cabin is where most of us would be seated. We’re excited about the trip. We even have some decent amenities like the tiny 12 in monitor to watch movies and the food and beverages that are served to us while we’re trying to sleep. But up near the front is a curtain, to go behind curtain you have to have a special “first class” ticket.
B. If you ever have seen first class seating on long haul flights, you realize right away that the seats are a little nicer, the leg room is a lot nicer, and from what I hear the food is a lot better. Where I sit is only a shadow of the first class. Similar amenities, but it’s far from being the same thing.
I. Copy and Shadow
A. The Hebrew writer takes the next several chapters to help us see how what the Jews experienced here is a little bit of what heaven is like. He does so with imagery taken from the priesthood and the Tabernacle.
B. Read Heb. 8:1-2. There is a phrase here that made me see Jesus in a very different light. Jesus left this earth and is seated as a minister in the holy or sacred places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not the shadow that Moses set up. The very fact that he is seated is a statement of his greatness. Find me any place for the High Priest of the line of Aaron to sit in the tabernacle? The only seat was in the holy of holies and that was God’s Mercy Seat. Jesus is seated with God ministering for us.
C. Listen to Heb. 8:5. One might think that since the Temple was greater in its physical beauty that he should have used it, but the basis for the temple was the tabernacle. The tabernacle and, later, the temple, were but a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. What we have here cannot really compare with the reality of worship in heaven.
D. What the Hebrews had in both the tabernacle and their worship, was but a shadow. It is not at there is a tent in heaven in which has curtains that allow certain access to God. This physical world cannot experience all that God is and the worship that draws us to Him, so the tabernacle was but a shadow of the reality of God’s holiness and worship.
E. The absolute best that the priest of Levi could offer was a copy or shadow of the reality of worship to God. Understand that when a shadow or copy exists it is evidence of a reality that created that shadow.
F. A copy and shadow lack the ability to do what the reality can do. This brings me to the second point. Jesus mediates as high priest of a new covenant. This new covenant can do what the old covenant could not do. (Heb. 8:6-7)
II. The Power of the New Testament
A. When people look at the Bible and see the words “old” testament and “new” testament, they often come to a conclusion that something must have happened in order to have two testaments. Verse 7 says, “For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.”
B. What is being offered through Jesus is more than copy and shadow; he offers us a new covenant. What we call the Old Testament is a conditional covenant that God.
C. Warren Weirsbe said, “The blessings of that old covenant were conditional upon their keeping that covenant. Any plan for the betterment of human society that ignores the sin problem is destined to failure. It isn’t enough to change the environment, for the heart of every problem is the problem of the heart.”
D. READ Heb. 8:8-12 Jewish history has a number of “covenant renewals” that brought temporary blessing but didn’t change the hearts of the people. The fact that the blessings didn’t last is no argument against times of revival. When somebody told Billy Sunday that revivals weren’t necessary because they didn’t last, the evangelist replied, “A bath doesn’t last, but it’s good to have one occasionally.”
E. Read Heb. 8:13. But the New Covenant isn’t just another renewal of the Old Covenant that God gave at Sinai; it’s a covenant that’s new in every way. The New Covenant is inward so that God’s Law is written on the heart and not on stone tablets. The emphasis is personal rather than national, with each person putting faith in the Lord and receiving a “new heart” and with it a new disposition toward godliness. The Old Covenant tried to control conduct, but the New Covenant changes character so that people can love the Lord and one another and want to obey God’s will.” (From The Bible Exposition Commentary: Old Testament by Warren Wiersbe)
A. You see, the problem with the old covenant, is that the priesthood had to do continual sacrifices. The cross of Christ made just one sacrifice for all time; the perfect sacrifice. And has both high priest and sacrifice Jesus offers a new covenant that offers the eternal forward washing away of sin. (Reread verse 12)
B. The struggle many have is the idea of a clean slate, of our sins being remembered no more seems impossible. We remember them.
C. The new covenant, ministered by and mediated through Jesus, is so much better than the old covenant. For what is offered is the removal of all sins. I am a new creation!
Because of Jesus,
Jeffrey Dillinger, minister