Hebrews chapter 7 dealt primarily with Jesus’ priesthood and its superiority to the Levitical priesthood. Jesus’ Melchizedekian priesthood was superior for many reasons. It was permanent not temporary. It involved a perfect sacrifice that was offered once and for all instead of the sacrifices of the old covenant being required over and over again. The high priest under the Levitical system had to offer sacrifices for his own sin. Jesus had no sin that required a sacrifice. Jesus has entered into the very presence of God Himself on our behalf and has remained there; whereas the Levitical priests had to enter again and again, year after year. Chapter 8 continues the theme of Jesus’ superiority by pointing out that Jesus priestly duties take place not on earth but in heaven. This is how the author of Hebrews begins chapter 8. Hebrews 8:1-2 says, “Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man.”  Guzik observes, “The tabernacle and the temple of the Old Covenant had beautiful furnishings, but no place for the priests to sit down because their work was never finished. The work of Jesus is finished—He is seated in heaven.”[1]

God has established a heavenly dwelling place for His Son and believers. Our author refers to it as the “heavenly tabernacle.” That’s the place where God dwells. God gave Moses the blueprints from which to build the earthly tabernacle to serve as a picture of the heavenly one. There are two realms with which we have to deal; the earthly one and the heavenly one. Moses, his covenant of law, and the Levitical priests serve in the earthly tabernacle. Jesus serves in the true presence of God in heaven. We deal with the Law covenant in this life. We reap what we sow. We get what we deserve! We make our beds and have to sleep in them. We make atonement for our sins in this life in prison, on the gallows, or in just plain consequences of daily life. But there’s a new realm that relates to each of us in a different way through our faith in Jesus.

Ray Brown explains the situation for us emphasizing the truth in a way that helps us through our daily struggles today. He writes, “We may feel crushed, dejected, bewildered or broken, but our eternal salvation has never depended on our vacillating moods or our changing circumstances. Christ has entered the heavenly sanctuary; ‘once and for all’ he offered his blood for us. There he has appeared for us and now he is praying for us. We are ever remembered at that throne and our names are enrolled in heaven. This is our confidence. Our faith is grounded not in what we are or what we have done, but ever and always in what he is, God’s perfect Son, and what he has done through his perfect, eternal sacrifice.”[2]

[1] David Guzik, Hebrews, David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible (Santa Barbara, CA: David Guzik, 2013), Heb 8:1–2.

[2] Raymond Brown, The Message of Hebrews: Christ above All, The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 146.