Hebrews 8:1-5

1 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,

2 a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.

3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer.

4 For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law;

5 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.”

Verses 1-2 present the chief point of the book.

things we are saying (v.1) — should be “the things to be considered”

such a High Priest (v.1) — refers back to 7:26-27

is seated (v.1) — His offering was finished

minister (v.2) — one who serves in an official capacity

It is called “the true tabernacle,” not as in contrast to a false one, but as that which is abiding and real in its spiritual significance in contrast to the temporary and figurative tabernacle in the wilderness. Further, the heavenly tabernacle is the tree one as being that which was originally designed in the eternal counsels of God, and is thus contrasted with that which was the work of human hands. — Hebrews, by W.E. Vine, page 288.

offer (v.3 — first use) = continue offering

offer (v.3 — second use) = offer once

something to offer (v.3) — Himself (7:27; 9:12-14) — A priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices. Therefore, to be a priest, he must have gifts and sacrifices to offer, and a sanctuary in which to offer them.

Christ could not be a priest on earth because the Mosaic law established the Levitical priesthood on earth and Christ could not be a Levitical priest. So, He must be a High Priest in heaven.

copy (v.5) = outline, suggestion

shadow (v.5) — an (imperfect) portrayal of a reality. It has not substance but is proof that there is a reality behind it.

Verse 5 sets forth three words that demonstrate the relation between the earthly and heavenly tabernacles. First, the earthly is called an example (Gr. hypodeigma), implying that it is a copy of model of the heavenly. This word is used again to express the relationship of the tabernacle furniture to the heavenly elements (9:23). It is an imitation of the heavenly. Second, the earthly is a shadow (Gr skia). This word suggests several further facts. A shadow requires the existence of the real thing from the beginning. The heavenly tabernacle has existed at least as long as its shadow — the earthly. A shadow also adds depth and perspective to the real. The Levitical priesthood with its Mosaic ritual is a shadow, but the reality is Christ (cf. Colossians 2:16-17). The third word, pattern (Gr typos), speaks to the opposite relationship — that of the heavenly to the earthly. The heavenly provided the stamp or imprint from which the earthly came. The pattern, or archetype, which Moses was to follow when building his tabernacle was that of the true tabernacle, spoken of in verse 2. Due to their presentation in the Old Testament, biblical types, such as the Mosaic tabernacle, are revealed before their antitype, which is found in the New. Their existence, however, is preceded by the antitype, as here with the heavenly tabernacle. — King James Bible Commentary, pages 1691-1692.

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