“Lift up your eyes to the hills – yes I have chosen to reveal Myself in the past on the mountain-top – because the culture of the people was to look to god’s on the mountain-tops, because that was nearer heaven and therefore they believed made them more important and effective. I met with Moses on the Mountain-top and Jesus revealed His divinity on the mountain-top to Peter, James and John – look to Me the real God of the mountain-top. There are myriads of gods out there – gods manufactured and imagined by people who seek to make gods in their own image to their design and desire – twisting the reality so there is a semblance of truth but it is just superficial. Me, the real God – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jakob, the God of Jesus is fixed I don’t change and My love is permanent and it enfolds you in such a way that nothing can separate you from it, but on one condition – that you are IN JESUS because My love rests on Him and through Him on you as He has taken you in to Himself, through His grace. Yes I look at a world that is broken and I weep. My whole motive, driven by My love is to SAVE but many, maybe most, want it on their own terms. Go and continue to shine My light wherever you are.
So back now to Hebrews, as it unfolds in ch 9. Having looked at God’s aim at bringing ‘perfection’ or ‘completeness’ or ‘salvation’ 7:11,19,25. Which acts as an introduction to the concept of a “New Covenant”, because there was no possibility of those things under the Old Covenant, the writer now returns to the role of the “High Priest” and the whole lay-out of the temple (tabernacle) with all its furnishings and rituals an he makes a surprising statement to make his point.
“This is an illustration for the present time”. Heb 9:9 The Greek word translated “illustration” is ‘parabole’. Recognize it? Jesus used this term several times to explain His teachings. What was the point of the ‘parable’ of the High Priest”? Well the passage goes on and explains it: “indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. They are only …..external regulations applying until the time of the new order”
Imagine a family is going to emigrate. They have bought a lovely house, with a big garden in a community of like-minded people in another country. They have a photo, in black and white, of the house enlarged an mounted on the wall. Every evening the parents show the kids the photo and tell them about the prospect of their new life. Can you think how different the reality will be when the family arrives in this new community and the kids can experience in full colour, three D, with stereoscopic sound, what the reality is. Will they long for the picture, rather? Well in a small way, this was what God was doing with His people in the OT. He was showing them a future reality in pictures which could never really reveal the splendour and power of the real thing, Jesus and His role in introducing the New Covenant, with all its benefits.
Now how sad! The readers of this letter were turning their back on this glorious reality and wanting to go back to the powerless pictures of the tabernacle and the high priest, as if they were the reality, because they were familiar with them and they made them feel ‘at home’.
Is there a danger in this warning for us, after all we don’t have a Jewish past? For sure! If in any way a ritual or a habit becomes more important than the real thing we are falling into the same trap. My golf mate, who I have been witnessing to, has been horrified at his grand-children wanting to get married in a house, not a church. “Yes”‘ he says, “they do go to church – occasionally.” That is not the issue for him. When I explained that it is a heart matter, and whether they know the Lord, that was swept aside for the horror of a church wedding held in a house.
There are a lot of examples like this so Jesus keeps warning us that the real point is Himself and our relationship with Him, which can be expressed in many and various ways. I keep my eyes on Him and pray that you will all do that too.