Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. NKJV
Our passage speaks of the superiority of Jesus’ high priesthood over that of the Old Testament high priests. As the believer’s High Priest, Jesus ministers in Heaven as opposed to ministering in an earthly tabernacle (vs. 1-2). The Old Testament high priests who ministered on behalf of the people entered into an earthly tabernacle made of animal skins (v.4). In contrast, Jesus has entered into Heaven itself; into the presence of God the Father (v.1, Heb. 4:14). The earthly tabernacle was but an imperfect copy of Heaven and all it contains (v.5). The Old Testament high priest was but an imperfect copy of Christ; the tabernacle furniture was but a picture of the person and work of Jesus; the veil was a representation of the cherubim that surround the throne of God; the mercy seat was but a copy of God’s throne; and the blood of the Old Testament sacrifices were but a foreshadowing of Christ’s blood.
As the believer’s High Priest, Jesus offers both gifts and sacrifices (v.3). The Old Testament high priests offered gifts of grain offerings for thanksgiving and dedication to God. Likewise, Jesus offered His prayers and His life in thanksgiving and dedication to His heavenly Father (Jn. 17:1,4; Phil. 2:8). The Old Testament high priests also offered sacrifices for sin unto God. Likewise, Christ offered Himself up once as a sacrifice for sins forever (Heb. 10:12).
As the believer’s High Priest, Jesus is the mediator (go-between) of a better covenant that the Old Covenant (v.6). There are three reasons why the New Covenant is better than the Old Covenant.
First, the New Covenant is a covenant of grace (undeserved favor) rather than a covenant of law. Mankind is unable to keep the laws of God which were under the Old Covenant (Rom. 3:23), so Jesus has kept them for us under the New Covenant (Heb. 4:15).
Second, the New Covenant has an eternal high priest. The Old Testament high priests kept dying off and had to continually be replaced, but since Jesus lives forever, He is able to offer eternal intercession for the believer (Heb. 7:22-25).
Third, the sin offering of the New Covenant is acceptable unto God. The Old Testament high priests could not offer themselves up for the sins of the people because they too were sinners (Heb. 7:27). Neither were the animals they offered up a suitable sacrifice for the sins of human beings (Heb. 10:4). But Jesus, who became a perfect, sinless human being was able to go to the cross and offer Himself up as a perfect, acceptable sacrifice for our sins (Heb. 10:5-14).
Jesus Christ is the perfect, sinless Lamb of God (Jn. 1:29). Have you repented of your sins and trusted Him as your personal Savior and High Priest?