Yeshua: His Better Covenant ~ Part 1

Messianic Jews 8:1-7
Letter to the Messianic Jews

In my last post, we completed our mini-series on Yeshua’s Malki-Tzedek Cohenhood Surpasses the Levitical by examining Messianic Jews 7:20-28 on The Superior Efficacy of Yeshua’s Cohenhood. We now start a new mini-series on Yeshua: His Better Covenant which will cover Messianic Jews 8:1 – 10:18. In this post, we examine Messianic Jews 8:1-5 the New Covenant Better than the Old.

New Covenant Better than the Old

1 Here is the whole point of what we have been saying: we do have just such a cohen gadol as has been described. And He does sit at the right hand of HaG’dulah [“the Greatness,” a euphemism for God] in heaven. 2 There He serves in the Holy Place, that is, in the true Tent of Meeting, the one erected not by human beings but by Adonai. 3 For every cohen gadol is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; so this cohen gadol too has to have something He can offer. 4 Now if He were on earth, He wouldn’t be a cohen at all, since there already are cohanim offering the gifts required by the Torah. 5 But what they are serving is only a copy and shadow of the heavenly original; for when Moshe was about to erect the Tent, God warned him, “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern you were shown on the mountain. ~ Messianic Jews 8:1-5 (CJB)

The author turns from Yeshua’s credentials, character and status as cohen gadol (Chapter 7) to the nature of His work in the heavenly Holy Place as He sits at the right hand of God. We saw this declared earlier in Messianic Jews 1:3, 13.  The author of the Messianic Jews has finished describing the cohenhood after the order of Malki-Tzedek in all its glory. He has described it as the cohenhood which is forever, without beginning or end; the cohenhood that God confirmed with an oath; the cohenhood that is founded on personal greatness and not on any legal appointment or racial qualification; the cohenhood which death cannot touch; the cohenhood which is able to offer a sacrifice that never needs to be repeated; the cohenhood which is so pure that it has no necessity to offer sacrifice for any sins of its own. Now he makes and underlines his great claim: Yeshua is our Cohen HaGadol ~ our Great High Priest.

That there is the true Tent of Meeting or Tabernacle in heaven is proved by the passage cited in verse 5. The Tent constructed in the Wilderness (Exodus 25-31, 35-39), long before there was any thought of a Temple, demonstrated that God dwells with His people; indeed, one of the Hebrew words the Tanakh uses for “tent” is “mishkan,” which is related to both “shakhen” (“neighbor”) and “Shkhinah (“God’s immanent presence” ). [1]

Not only is Yeshua better than the Levitical cohanim, as shown in Chapter 7, but the work Yeshua has been given to do is far superior to theirs since the place where they serve is only a copy and shadow of the heavenly original. The term, Tent of Meeting, speaks of God’s communicating with His people.

There is no conflict between the Levitical cohenhood established by the Torah of Moshe and that of Yeshua as predicted by Psalm 110; it is not necessary to think of Yeshua’s cohenhood as superseding the Levitical one. The Torah says that earthly cohanim must be descendants of Lvi, and Numbers 25:12 speaks of God’s “covenant of an everlasting cohenhood with Pinchas, the son of Aharon. But since Yeshua serves in heaven, He can be from the tribe of Yhudah (Messianic Jews 7:13-14) and can also have an eternal ministry (Messianic Jews 7:23-25).

My scribbled notes in my RSV say of this passage: “Jesus serves as the high priest in the heavenly sanctuary, while the Jewish priests had to settle for an earthly copy.  Jesus is the true mediator between God and man.”

In my next post, we’ll continue our new mini-series on Yeshua: His Better Covenant which will cover Messianic Jews 8:6-13 ~ The New Covenant Based on Superior Promises.

Click here for PDF version.

[1] Jewish New Testament Commentary by David Stern.

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