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                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"

                    Our Glorious High Priest (8:1-6)

INTRODUCTION

1. With the beginning of chapter eight, we come to the close of the 
  first major section of "The Epistle To The Hebrews"...
   a. In which the key thought is "The Superiority of Christ"
   b. In which Jesus is shown to be superior to:
      1) To the prophets - He 1:1-3
      2) To angels - He 1:4-2:18
      3) To Moses - He 3:1-5
      4) To Aaron and his Levitical priesthood - He 5:1-10; 7:1-28

2. The next major section really begins in earnest with verse 7...
   a. In which the key thought will be "The Superiority of the New 
      Covenant"
   b. In which this covenant is shown to be based upon:
      1) Better promises - He 8:7-13
      2) A better sanctuary - He 9:1-28
      3) A better sacrifice - He 10:1-18

3. In He 8:1-6, we find a transition...
   a. In which the main point of the first section is summarized
   b. In which the main points of the next section are introduced
   -- Indeed, these six verses truly summarize what the author seeks to
      establish in the first ten chapters of this epistle!

4. It can all be summarized in these words:  "We have such a High 
   Priest..."
   a. In Jesus, we have a High Priest
   b. Not just any High Priest, but "such" a High Priest; i.e., a 
      glorious High Priest!

[In what ways is Jesus "Our Glorious High Priest"?  First, He is...]

I. SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD (1)

   A. THE PHRASE "THE MAJESTY IN THE HEAVENS"...
      1. A Jewish circumlocution meaning "God" (Believers' Study Bible)
      2. I.e., a roundabout way of referring to God - cf. He 1:3

   B. MANY PASSAGES REFER TO JESUS AT GOD'S RIGHT HAND...
      1. David prophesied that the Messiah would sit at God's right 
         hand - Psa 110:1
      2. Jesus said that He would sit at the right hand of God - Mk 14:
         60-62
      3. When He ascended to heaven, He then sat down at God's right 
         hand - Mk 16:19; He 12:2
      4. At God's right hand, He poured forth the Holy Spirit - Ac 2:33
      5. Peter preached Jesus as being exalted to be at God's right 
         hand as our Prince and Savior - Ac 5:30-31
      6. Paul taught that Jesus is at God's right hand, interceding for
         us - Ro 8:34
      7. He is at God's right hand, "waiting till His enemies are made
         His footstool" - He 10:12-13
      8. Yet while He sits and waits, He rules! - Psa 110:1-2,5; cf.
         1 Co 15:24-26
      9. For at God's right hand, He is above all other authority 
         - Ep 1:20-22; 1 Pe 3:22
      -- In one place, we read of Jesus "standing at the right hand of
         God" (Ac 7:55-56); was Jesus showing His respect for Stephen,
         the first Christian martyr?
          
[Exalted to such a place of honor and authority, we truly have a 
"glorious" High Priest, one who is "the ruler over the kings of the 
earth" (Re 1:5)! As we look at the next verse in our text, we see
that He is also...]

II. A MINISTER OF THE TRUE TABERNACLE (2-5)

   A. ERECTED BY GOD, NOT MAN...
      1. We are now introduced to a contrast between two "tabernacles"
         a. There had been the earthly sanctuary or tabernacle
            1) As ordained under the first covenant (i.e., the Law) 
               - cf. He 9:1ff
            2) It was built by man
         b. But now we read of one "which the Lord erected"; i.e., a
            heavenly tabernacle
      2. The heavenly tabernacle is none other than heaven itself! 
         - cf. He 9:11-12; 23-24

   B. IN WHICH HE OFFERS "SERVICE"...
      1. As a High Priest, it is necessary for Him to have something to
         offer - He 8:3
         a. Every high priest is appointed for this purpose - He 5:1
         b. What Jesus has to offer is not mention here, but will be
            later - cf. He 9:12
      2. This service He renders in heaven, not on the earth - He 8:4
         a. If He were on earth, He couldn't be a priest!
         b. For the Law required priests from the tribe of Levi, and 
            Jesus was from Judah
      3. As for priests on the earth...
         a. They serve only the copy and shadow of the heavenly things 
            - He 8:5
         b. For Moses had been told by God to build the earthly 
            tabernacle according to pattern shown to him on the 
            mountain - cf. Exo 25:40

[As "Our Glorious High Priest", then, Jesus renders service in the 
true tabernacle, which is heaven itself.  This thought will be expanded
upon in chapters nine and ten.  But consider also how He is...]

III. THE MEDIATOR OF A BETTER COVENANT (6)

   A. HE HAS OBTAINED A MORE EXCELLENT MINISTRY...
      1. In contrast with the ministry of the Levitical priests
      2. Their ministry was simply a shadow and copy of His ministry 
         - cf. Co 2:16-17

   B. AS MEDIATOR OF A BETTER COVENANT...
      1. The word "mediator"...
         a. The Greek is "mesites" {mes-ee'-tace}
         b. It means "one who intervenes between two, either in order
            to make or restore peace and friendship, or form a compact,
            or for ratifying a covenant"
      2. By His death on the cross, Jesus has become the Mediator of 
         the new covenant  - cf. He 9:15; 12:24
      3. This new covenant is here referred to as "a better covenant"
         a. Better than what?  Better than the "first covenant" - cf. 
            He 8:7
         b. I.e., what had been established through Moses

   C. ESTABLISHED ON BETTER PROMISES...
      1. What makes the new covenant better than the old are its 
         promises
      2. Some of those promises are explained later - cf. He 8:10-12
      3. But Peter describes the promises we receive as "exceedingly
         great and precious promises" - cf. 2 Pe 1:3-4

CONCLUSION

1. With this transition passage, then, we are introduced to things that
   will be expounded upon as we proceed through the epistle...
   a. The better covenant we have in Christ, based upon its better 
      promises
   b. The better ministry Christ renders as our High Priest in heaven,
      seated at God's right hand

2. When such things are properly understood, we can see how Jesus is 
   truly "Our Glorious High Priest"!
   a. One who stands ready to minister in our behalf
   b. He is "able to save to the uttermost those who come to God 
      through Him" - He 7:25
   c. He is "able to aid those who are tempted" - He 2:18

Have you accepted Jesus as your High Priest by obeying His gospel?  He
is truly...

   "...the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him." (He 5:9)

For those who have not obeyed His gospel, we find this awesome warning:

   "...and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord
   Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming
   fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those
   WHO DO NOT OBEY THE GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.  These shall
   be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the
   Lord and from the glory of His power..." (2 Th 1:7-9)

Please render obedience to the gospel today if you have not yet done 
so! - cf. Ac 2:36-39
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