Ezekiel 16:43-17:24; Hebrews 8:1-13; Psalm 106:13-31; Proverbs 27:7-9
A Sketch and A Shadow
It is difficult for contemporary Americans to grasp the place of the Temple in the life of Israel. The Temple at Jerusalem was not just a stunning building, overwhelming in its beauty and appointments, and the pride of Israel in architecture and craftsmanship. It was not just a place of worship that held an emotional place in the lives of people. Nor did it simply represent the presence of God in the midst of the people.
For the people of Israel, the Temple was the literal dwelling place of God on earth. It did not just represent the presence of God. The Temple WAS the very presence of God in the midst of the nation.
No doubt, people understood that the Temple sacrifices were not perfectly offered. But to imply that the Temple, and the worship offered there was just “a sketch and shadow” (Heb. 8:5) would be shocking.
In the person of Jesus, God brings to us a new covenant, and we need to be shocked out of our notions that anything we do is good enough if we are to grasp this new covenant. The new covenant does not dependent on human efforts or cleverness. The covenant wrought in Jesus surpasses all because it is God present with us—not as He used to be, in a building, but in each one of us, in our minds and hearts. This is a perfect covenant, not because we are perfect, but because Jesus is perfect within us!
The Rev. Eric Turner