Hebrews Chapters 8-10 focuses on the work of Jesus as Mediator of a new covenant. The issue with the old covenant was simply that it was only a foreshadowing of the good things that would come. Its institutions were designed to prefigure, to illustrate, the work that Jesus would do in the future. Thus, the priests prefigured Jesus, but they were mortal and sinners. They could not provide the perfection that Jesus did. And they ministered in a sanctuary that was a “copy and shadow” (Hebrews 8:5, NKJV) of the heavenly sanctuary.
Jesus ministers in the true sanctuary and provides us access to God. The sacrifices of animals prefigured the death of Jesus as a sacrifice in our behalf, but their blood could not cleanse the conscience. Jesus’ blood, however, purifies our conscience, and through Him, having faith in Him and accepting His mediatory work in our behalf, we can approach God with boldness (Hebrews 10:19-22).
Read Hebrews 8:8-12. What did God promise to us in the new covenant?
By appointing Jesus as our High Priest, the Father inaugurated a new covenant that will accomplish what the old covenant could only anticipate. The new covenant delivers what only a perfect, eternal, human-divine priest can. This High Priest not only explains the law of God but implants the law in our hearts. This Priest offers a sacrifice that brings forgiveness. This Priest cleanses and transforms us. He transforms our hearts from stone to flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). He really creates us anew (2 Corinthians 5:17). This Priest blesses us in the most incredible way, by providing us access into the very presence of the Father Himself.
God designed the old covenant in order to point toward the future, to the work of Jesus. It was beautiful in its design and purpose. Yet, some misunderstood its purpose. Unwilling to leave the symbols, the shadows, and embrace the truths that the symbols were pointing to, they missed the wonderful benefits that Jesus’ ministry offered them.
“Christ was the foundation and life of the temple. Its services were typical of the sacrifice of the Son of God. The priesthood was established to represent the mediatorial character and work of Christ. The entire plan of sacrificial worship was a foreshadowing of the Saviour’s death to redeem the world. There would be no efficacy in these offerings when the great event toward which they had pointed for ages was consummated.” — Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 165.