Looking at the act of interceding, the priests of the old covenant were required by law to burn sin offerings as a temporary cover for sins. ‘The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean” (Hebrews 9:13). The imperfect priest would use this blood from animals to cleanse himself and the people for forgiveness; to sanctify them for the Lord temporarily. This was the old covenant, that the blood from imperfect and earthly things could only make a person clean externally and could not remove sin.
Traditionally, there were priests and then a selected high priest in the Earthly tabernacle. The separate duties between the High priest and the other priests were related to the setup of the tabernacle. The first room was the Holy Place, where the priests could set out the consecrated bread and do their ministry. Behind a curtain was the Most Holy Place, where the Ark of the Covenant (symbolic of Christ) sat. Only the high priest of the time was able to enter behind the curtain. This was where the sacrifice was made for temporary coverings.
The old covenant’s earthly tabernacle was only a shadow of the real thing, greatly dimmed of brilliance and maintaining a distance from my Lord. It was a man-made structure that was built around the plans Moses had received. The true Holy place was not sculpted of mortal hands or carrying imperfections of earth; it was a perfect Heaven, God’s throne. One can’t enter a more holy place than the presence of God.
Before Sweet Christ came to take up our case with mercy, we were like the priests who could only come into the holy place (the earthly tabernacle/ Earth), but had no business entering behind the curtain (Heaven).
When Christ came He brought a new covenant and ‘By calling His covenant new, He made the first one obsolete’ (Hebrew 8:13). This is like a wedding vow where once one dies, the wedding covenant is no longer binding in that unity.
The Spotless Lamb offered Himself on the cross and was the only perfect offering. Unlike the former covenant, Jesus didn’t have to continually die or suffer over and over again, because He was perfect.
After Christ had reached His hour and was sent out of the world, He was the high priest entering the most holy Place, which is Heaven. To symbolize the end of the separation, Matthew records one event that took place as the Lord hung on the cross. “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Matthew 27:51). It was removed so that we could all enter God’s presence. Jesus became the High Priest that would enter behind the ‘curtain’ to intercede before God on our behalf. Now, because The Lord lives forever, we are forever spoken for. Since there is no longer a change of priests, we are not forgotten because the one who has interceded for us knows us intimately; He stays the same before, now, and forever. He does not change. He became a priest forever, sitting at the right hand and we are always spoken for. To the high priests of the old covenant, death could eventually end their ministry and ability to intercede. Incomparably, the new covenant’s introduction of Christ’s role has brought one whose ministry will never be cut off by death.
“You are worthy to take the scroll
And to open its seals,
Because you were slain,
And with your blood you purchased men for God
From every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God. And they will reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10).
IN a garden, if there are burdensome weeds showing themselves around, eliminating them requires that the roots and all be pulled up. If only the part of the weed that shows on the surface of the ground is cut off, the roots will simply continue to grow until it punches above surface again.
It is the same concept with external vs. internal cleansing. Whoever will welcome him through the door of their heart when he knocks, Christ comes in and works to clean from the inside out. This is being so much greater than the first which only offered outward cleanliness. Jesus taught (as recorded in the gospels) that it’s ‘what comes out of a man that makes him unclean’ (Mark 7:15) and ‘For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly” (Mark 7:21). This is why the old covenant sacrifices were only for a ‘temporary’ cover for sin; it only made the outside clean. It is the inside that aches for redecorating. Jesus mentions to the Pharisees that the inside of the cup needs washed out first , for inside is where the echoes of the desires of the flesh call from (reference in Matthew 23:25-26).
How can this be fixed? Only by Christ, my love, with the new covenant where, by grace, we have a chance at salvation. The Spirit is given, building a temple dwelling inside and working from the inside, outward. Jesus has sprinkled our hearts. He has sprayed the root of the problem. Thank you forever, Love!