AS WE HAVE SEEN IN THE TIME SPENT IN THE RECENT WEEKS OF INTRODUCTION, THE MAIN MESSAGE CONTINUES TO BE IN JESUS, THE PERFECT HEAVENLY HIGH PRIEST, THERE IS A BETTER COVENANT…
NAS Hebrews 8:1-6 Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2 a minister in the sanctuary, and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; hence it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer. 4 Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law; 5 who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, “See,” He says, “that you make all things according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.” 6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.
“IN VERSE 2 the pastor draws a conclusion from the Son’s high-priestly session that is important for his immediate argument as well as for the further development of his thought. SINCE THE SON HAS SAT DOWN AS HIGH PRIEST AT GOD’S RIGHT HAND, HE CAN BE CALLED ‘MINISTER OF THE SANCTUARY AND THE TRUE TENT THAT THE LORD, AND NOT ANY HUMAN BEING, HAS PITCHED.’
“THE TERM ‘MINISTER’ ENHANCES THE DIGNITY AND AUTHORITY OF THE HIGH PRIEST. Both the LXX (Septuagint – TAR) and other Jewish literature contemporaneous with Hebrews use this term and its cognates for priests or priestly service. In the Hellenistic world ‘ministers’ were ‘public servants’ or benefactors who contributed to the community’s well-being. The priestly service of this ‘minister’ provides untold benefit for the people of God by, as the following chapters will reveal, bringing them into the very sanctuary in which He serves. As minister of the heavenly ‘Sanctuary’ He is far above God’s angelic ‘ministers’ sent to do God’s bidding.” – Cockerill
NAS Hebrews 1:7 And of the angels He says, “Who makes His angels winds, And His ministers a flame of fire.”
NAS Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?
“MINISTER” COMES FROM THE GREEK WORD λειτουργός (lei-tour-gahs), defined by Bauer, Arndt, Danker, and Gingrich as one engaged in administrative or cultic (religious – TAR) service, servant, minister, the formal sense.
“SANCTUARY” IS THE GREEK WORD ἅγιος (hag-i-os), holy, holy place. THUS, JESUS SERVES AS THE MINISTER IN THE HEAVENLY HOLY PLACE, GOD’S SANCTUARY.
“GOD’S SANCTUARY WHERE JESUS SERVES IS ALSO DESCRIBED AS ‘THE TRUE TABERNACLE.’ Jesus sits at the right hand of the one who rules in the heavens (v. 1), and the true tabernacle is not earthly but heavenly. Here we see an example of the writer’s special and eschatological theology. On the one hand the earthly is not ultimate: it points up spatially to what is heavenly. At the same time there is an eschatological dimension to the writer’s thought, for the tabernacle erected in Israel pointed forward to the tabernacle Jesus would enter upon His death and resurrection. HENCE THE EARTHLY TENT IS NOT ‘FALSE’ BUT RATHER TEMPORARY AND POINTS TO SOMETHING GREATER. When the writer says the Lord ‘pitched’ the tabernacle, He is scarcely suggesting there is a literal tabernacle in the heavens. The language is analogical instead of univocal (admitting of no doubt or misunderstanding; having only one meaning or interpretation and leading to only one conclusion – TAR).
“THE TRUE SANCTUARY, THEN, DESIGNATES THE PRESENCE OF GOD, THE PLACE WHERE GOD REIGNS AND RULES.
“JESUS IS THE GREATEST PRIEST SINCE HE DWELLS IN GOD’S PRESENCE AND MINISTERS IN THE HEAVENLY REALM WHERE GOD DWELLS.” – Schreiner
SCHREINER HAS AN EXCELLENT FOOTNOTE IN HIS COMMENTARY THAT POSITS THE POSITION THAT “SANCTUARY” AND “TRUE TABERNACLE” REFER TO THE SAME ENTITY. I AGREE. “This understanding of ‘Sanctuary’ and ‘Tent’ both confirms and is confirmed by our structural analysis of this ‘symphony’ (8:1 – 10:18). The use of ‘Tent’ in 8:2 anticipates the frequent use of this word to describe the inadequacy of the old ‘Tent’ in the Sanctuary section of the second movement (9:1-10). On the other hand, the Sanctuary section of the third movement, 9:23-24, defines the ‘Sanctuary’ as ‘heaven itself.’ This identification is anticipated by the way in which the Greek text of Heb 8:1 ends with ‘in the heavens’ and 8:2 begins with ‘of the Sanctuary.’”
SHORT BUT HIGHLY EDUCATIONAL TO THE OVERALL UNDERSTANDING TO THIS KEY SECTION OF CHAPTER 8, DON’T YOU AGREE?
– Professor Thomas A. Rohm