09/13/M – The Real and the Shadow

Ezekiel 16:42-63; Hebrews 8:1-6; Psalms 106:3-5; Proverbs 23:9-11

NT: “Now the main point of what is being said is this: We have this kind of high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister of the sanctuary and the true tabernacle that was set up by the Lord and not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; therefore, it was necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. Now if he were on earth, he wouldn’t be a priest, since there are those offering the gifts prescribed by the law. These serve as a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was warned when he was about to complete the tabernacle. For God said, Be careful that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown to you on the mountain. But Jesus has now obtained a superior ministry, and to that degree he is the mediator of a better covenant, which has been established on better promises.” (‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭8:1-6‬ ‭CSB)

The writer of Hebrews spent the last chapter talking about Melchizedek and the priesthood of Christ – but for what reason. He stated His reason here: to prove that the priesthood of Christ is better than the Levitical priesthood, as He is the forever minister of the real and true tabernacle of God, not a temporary minister of an earthly copy that is merely a shadow of the real thing. The tabernacle that God instructed Moses to build, and later the temple that David charged Solomon to build, were not the real and true dwelling place of the Lord God. They were copies and shadows, giving those on earth an idea and foreshadowing of what was to come. The Levitical priesthood was just a shadow of the priesthood to come in order to help people understand what Christ’s ministry would be. Christ, through His sacrificial death, resurrection and ascension, became the fullness of what the priesthood was intended to be. He serves in the true tabernacle at the right hand of God the Father. He intercedes for us, not before a mercy seat, but to God the Father Himself. And He is the mediator of a better covenant which is established on better promises. Through faith in Christ, we reap the benefits of His superior priesthood, better covenant and better promises.

Psalms: “How happy are those who uphold justice, who practice righteousness at all times. Remember me, Lord, when you show favor to your people. Come to me with your salvation so that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones, rejoice in the joy of your nation, and boast about your heritage.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭106:3-5‬ ‭CSB)

The writer of Psalm 106 knew that God had promised to show favor to His people and bring them salvation. He knew that God had promised to bless those whom He had chosen with prosperity. So when it came time for God’s promises to be fulfilled, The psalmist wanted God to remember him as one who practiced righteousness and not as one who was unfaithful. Abraham was chosen by God because of his faith. Isaac was chosen by God because he was the son of faith and promise. God then chose Jacob (later named Israel) over Esau and chose the descendants of Israel to be His chosen people. The nation of Israel was chosen by God to live according to His word, will and ways, proclaim His praises, and make the name of God famous throughout the earth. His intent was that they were to serve as a kingdom of priests bringing the rest of the world to the knowledge and worship of God.

One could make a case that, in a way, God’s choosing of Israel was a foreshadow of the chosen generation of royal priests that would come out of every nation, tribe and tongue in Christ Jesus. To those in Christ, the Apostle Peter wrote this: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10)” How do we become one of God’s chosen? Well, the details and beliefs around that question have been debated for centuries. The great Charles H Spurgeon, known as the “Prince of Preachers,” once said this:

“Do not imagine for an instant that I pretend to be able thoroughly to elucidate the great mysteries of predestination. There are some men who claim to know all about the matter. They twist it round their fingers as easily as if it were an everyday thing; but depend upon it, he who thinks he knows all about this mystery, knows but very little. It is but the shallowness of his mind that permits him to see the bottom of his knowledge; he who dived deep, finds that there is in the lowest depth to which he can attain a deeper depth still. The fact is, that the great questions about man’s responsibility, free-will, and predestination, have been fought over, and over, and over again, and have been answered in ten thousand different ways; and the result has been, that we know just as much about the matter as when we first began. The combatants have thrown dust into each other’s eyes, and have hindered each other from seeing; and then they have concluded, that because they put other people’s eyes out, they could therefore see.”

Charles H. Spurgeon, Sermon #239, Delivered Jan 16th, 1859

I, like Spurgeon, do not pretend to know or understand everything about God’s election, nor do I find it worthwhile to debate the various sides. I do have my individual beliefs, which are informed through my study of the scripture, my 40+ years of walking with the Lord, and the teachings of proven people that I respect – and those beliefs come out in the things that I write – but I am sure there is much that I don’t understand and won’t fully understand. However, this I do know: Those who are in Christ are chosen… and they are grafted into God’s chosen people through faith in Christ. So as much as it depends on me, I will endeavor to walk with Christ and abide in Christ by faith… and steadfastly hope with assurance, that at the end of days, I will be among the chosen.

Prayer: Lord, I thank You that through You I am no longer limited to approaching a shadow of Your dwelling place, but can now abide in You through faith and can boldly approach the true throne of grace through You. I also thank You, that through faith in You, I am now part of the holy nation of royal priests that You always intended. Keep me in You as I endeavor to walk with You, proclaim Your praises, and abide in You through faith. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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