The author reminds us about something that he wrote in an earlier chapter. It is the priestís duty to offer gifts and sacrifices to God (Hebrews 5:1). So Ďthisí chief priest, that is, Jesus, must also offer something to God.
Jesus does not offer the same gifts that Israelís priests offered (Hebrews 8:4). The author will explain what Jesus offered in Hebrews 9:11-12. He offered his own blood, after he died on the cross. But first, the author explains how Israelís priests served God.
We should try to understand how Israelís priests served God. Then we shall understand better how Jesus serves as our chief priest.
God established a relationship with Israelís people and he made promises to them. Because of this relationship, they gave sacrifices to God (Leviticus chapters 1 to 7). The sacrifices were animals and birds that the people brought to the temple (Godís house) in Jerusalem. But the people could not offer their own gifts to God. They handed the gifts over to the priests, who offered them to God on behalf of the people.
Sacrifices were necessary because of sin (Hebrews 5:1; Hebrews 7:27). ĎSiní means the bad and wrong things that people do against God. Although Israelís people were guilty of sin, the sacrifices made it possible for them to give honour to God. But those sacrifices could not free people from their sins (Hebrews 10:4). In fact, they reminded people about their sin (Hebrews 10:3).
What people needed was a new and better relationship with God. God had already promised that he would give people that relationship (Hebrews 8:8-12). And God did it, by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:19-22).
Next part: Our priest in heaven: Jesus (Hebrews 8:4)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.