I did some work with the book of Hebrews yesterday. I don’t think I’d read that carefully in a very long time, or perhaps ever!
Here are some thoughts I gained from it:
- What Aaron was called to do, and what no man can take upon himself, is to offer a sin offering that was valid for others and for himself. It reminds me of Alma baptizing himself by going under the water with the first person he baptizes.
- What high priests do is offer sacrifice for themselves and for others. And that allows them to enter the Holy of Holies.
- That’s what a priest does, at least as it’s presented here.
- They offer blood to do this. And that blood must be from a perfect animal.
- Christ is like a high priest, in that his sacrifice is for himself and for others and allows him to pass through a veil. However, because his sacrifice is actually literally himself, he not only passes through to the Holy of Holies but goes another level further straight to heaven.
- The “Oath” made to Christ said he was a high priest forever. That signifies that Christ didn’t just go to the Holy of Holies but to God himself. That when he dies, he was still a priest who could go beyond where other people could go. And since his priesthood allowed him to go to Heaven, and not just to the Holy of Holies, that means his sacrifice can bring us passed the Holy of Holies and into Heaven.
- There was a covenant to Israel, but God made a new covenant with Israel when Christ came. And when he died the “will and testament” came into effect.
- What was that covenant? I’m a bit foggy on what the difference is between the promises of the old covenant and the new covenant, but I think it’s found here “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” (Hebrews 9:15)
- I think the oath is that high priests (or at least, Christ) are forever priests even after death, and therefore perform service in heaven and not just tabernacles/temples; and I think the covenant is that this change allows all those who are called to receive eternal inheritance, and not just earthly inheritances
- Are “they which are called” the high priests? I think so. Or called as God’s people? Covenant Israel?
- I want to say that the logic here implies that because Christ can enter heaven we all can to. But the high priests under the Law of Moses offered sacrifices so that they and they only could enter into the Holy of Holies, or even the Holy Place. But, as I’m thinking about this, why then did the whole congregation need to be cleansed? Why did everyone else need to be holy before the priest could see God? Is there a comparison between that and Christ returning to the Father after sacrificing for all of us?
- But my question is: if the priests never took other people into the Holy of Holies, then what is the comparison here mean for the general population of the world? If everyone could be a priest, then this could work I think. But is that what the book of Hebrews is thinking? (Our temple might be a place to think this! But is the book of Hebrews saying this?)