Monday, August 19, 2013

How the tabernacle points to the actor of salvation: Jesus Christ

Hebrews 10:1 For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.

When the writer of Hebrews speaks about the law being but a "shadow of good things to come", the question to ask is: "what then is the light casting the shadow?" This brings us to the final post in our series on the tabernacle picturing Jesus Christ our salvation.  We have explored in Hebrews 8-9 how Jesus Christ's act and accomplishment was pictured by the tabernacle.  The writer of Hebrews has went to great lengths to argue and unfold by divine inspiration these tremendous truths.  As we come into Hebrews 10:1-25, we discover that the act and accomplishment of salvation cannot be severed from the Actor.  Just as the tabernacle could not be severed from the One who revealed it to Moses, the cross cannot be severed from the Savior.  In today's post we aim to see how the writer of Hebrews unfolds the Actor of salvation as being pointed to by the tabernacle.

1. The tabernacle pointed to the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 10:1-10
The sacrifices of bulls and goats pointed the way to the need for one ultimate sacrifice.  Evidently the Son was in eternity and was awaiting the fullness of time wherein He would enter into history to take on human flesh (i.e incarnation).  By being a sharer in full Deity with the Father and Spirit, the Son could truly say He was the source of salvation, since as Jonah 2:9-10 reminds us, salvation is of the Lord.  However in order for salvation to be paid for, the shedding of blood had to occur.  Furthermore, since a man, Adam, had sinned against God, God's Holy character demanded justice to be poured out on man.  A New Adam was needed who was sinless. (Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:20-22,45) 

Hence Jesus Christ, being fully Divine, assumed a human nature and became also fully man.  Just as the tabernacle in an illustrative way had the Father dwell among the people He came to redeem in a tabernacle of wood and metal, the Son in a real way came to dwell among men in a tabernacle of human flesh. 

2. The tabernacle points the way to Jesus Christ's humiliation & exaltation. Hebrews 10:11-18
When Jesus the Son incarnated Himself as a man, the humiliation ran from the cradle to the cross.  The ultimate low point of Jesus' mission, crucifixion, also became the beginning of the journey to exaltation following His resurrection from the dead.  The cross proceeded the crown. In His humanity He died for our sins and in His physical resurrection He demonstrated Himself to be God in human flesh.

3. The tabernacle is used to point to Jesus Christ's session in Heaven. Hebrews 10:19-25
Once again the tabernacle fades into the background and the exalted Jesus is in the foreground.  The imagery of the High Priest is used to point us to Jesus Christ, our exalted High Priest who sits in "session" over His church as her King, Prophet and High Priest.  He represents us, just as the lesser priesthood of Aaron did so for Israel in the days of the tabernacle.  The writer of Hebrews makes his point clear and firm: Jesus Christ alone is Superior and second to none in the realm of being the Actor of salvation, the Act of our salvation and the Achiever of our salvation.  

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