The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming – not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.
Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest [Jesus] had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Hebrews 10:1, 11-12 (NIV)
Many people are put off reading Hebrews, as they find it heavy going. My recommendation is to persist in reading the book as it is full of rich imagery.
In Hebrews chapters 7 – 10, Jesus is referred to as a priest. Priests came from the tribe of Levi (Levites) and were born into the priesthood. No one could be a priest unless they were born into the right tribe. Yet Jesus came from the tribe of Judah (7:14). In Hebrews it is said that Jesus was a priest in the order of Melchizedek (also not from a Levitical family).
Some of the lessons to be learned from Hebrews are that:
- the Levites offered sacrifices for the sins of the nation
- Jesus is the sacrifice for sin
- the Levitical sacrifice needed to be offered over and over again
- Jesus’ sacrifice is once for all (7:27)
- Levitical priests were many and their priesthood ended at death
- Jesus is a our priest and his priesthood is forever (7:23-24).
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