Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Hebrews: The Superiority Of Christ To Errant Religions
Part V: The Superiority Of Christ's Priesthood To Other Priesthoods, Hebrews 5:1-10:39
G. The Superiority Of Christ's Service, Hebrews 8:1-10:18
1. Christ's Superior Heavenly Sanctuary
(Hebrews 8:1-6)
  1. Introduction
    1. People can join a religious group and adopt its beliefs by being attracted by something as simple as the group's worship facilities. Even believers in Christ can be swayed to attend a particular Church due to its sanctuary, and some evangelicals have entered Orthodox Christianity because of their grand cathedrals.
    2. Regardless of a believer's current church building or lack thereof, he should not be thus distracted on earth by a religious building, for Christ ministers in his behalf in the best sanctuary of all (as follows):
  2. Christ's Superior Heavenly Sanctuary, Hebrews 8:1-6.
    1. The author of Hebrews summarized his discussion thus far on Christ's high priesthood, noting that Jesus is set down on the right hand of the throne of God in the heavens, Hebrews 8:1.
    2. In heaven, Jesus serves as our High Priest, the word "minister" (KJV) or "serves" (NIV) being the Greek term, leitourgos that refers to priestly service in particular, Bible Know. Com., N. T., p. 800; Heb. 8:2a.
    3. This priestly service is conducted thus in the realm of the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man as was the Old Testament tabernacle instituted under Moses' leadership in the wilderness, Hebrews 8:2b.
    4. Just as the Old Testament Aaronic priests were ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices, it was necessary that Christ also have something to offer as our heavenly High Priest, Hebrews 8:3.
    5. Now, were Christ ministering on the earth, He would not be a priest, for the Aaronic line of priests already exists on earth to offer gifts according to the Mosaic Law, Hebrews 8:4.
    6. However, Christ serves in heaven, and thus in a heavenly priesthood of which the earthly priesthood's dwelling, the tabernacle, was but a copy of Christ's heavenly sanctuary, Hebrews 8:5a. [This revelation is likely important for the readers of the epistle as they were possibly being lured to leave Christianity for a desert Judaistic cult that idealized Israel's wilderness wanderings, Ibid., p. 781. The author's assertion that the Old Testament tabernacle was but an imitation of the tabernacle Jesus uses in heaven implies one would exchange a greater faith to enter a lesser one in leaving Christianity for the desert Judaistic cult.]
    7. Proof of the superiority of Christ's heavenly sanctuary rises from the Old Testament itself, checking the reader from leaving Christianity for the desert cult that idealized the tabernacle of Moses' day, Heb. 8:5b:
      1. In Exodus 25:40 NIV, God told Moses, "See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain," a verse cited from the Septuagint's Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible in Hebrews 8:5b. ( U. B. S. Greek New Testament, 1966, p. 761)
      2. Accordingly, Moses patterned the earthly tabernacle after the heavenly one shown him on Mount Sinai!
    8. Christ's heavenly priesthood is also then superior to that of the Aaronic priests because the covenant of which He is Mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises, Hebrews 5:6.
    9. This superior heavenly sanctuary with its superior covenant and better promises applies not only to show the superiority of Christ's priesthood over the Aaronic priesthood, but the superiority of Christ's priesthood over any other faith's priesthood: the heavenly sanctuary with Christ's ministry upheld by God's superior covenant and better promises, something no human sanctuary or priesthood has, causes Christ's ministry in the heavenly sanctuary to exceed all other faiths' earthly priesthoods and sanctuaries by way of its superior acceptability to God.
Lesson: There is no need for the believer to feel intimidated by the material superiority of some other faith's worship sanctuary, or by some other Christian group's worship center: the heavenly sanctuary where JESUS ministers in OUR BEHALF is the ULTIMATE structure, the HEAVENLY one FULLY ACCEPTED by GOD, and in it Jesus meets all of our needs regarding our sins and weaknesses.

Application: May we not be swayed by the appeal of earthly sanctuaries, but trust in Christ's ministry for us in the greatest, divinely preferred priestly sanctuary, Christ's heavenly priestly sanctuary itself!