Discarding the copies

I’ve toyed with this idea in inchoate form for some while now.  Hebrews 9:23 says

23 It was then necessary, that the [z]similitudes of heavenly things should be purified with such things: but the heavenly things themselves are purified with better sacrifices than are these.  24 [aa]For Christ is not entered into the holy places that are made with hands, which are similitudes of the true Sanctuary: but is entered into very heaven, to appear now in the sight of God for us, 25 [ab]Not that he should offer himself often, as the high Priest entered into the Holy place every year with others’ blood, 26 [ac](For then must he have often suffered since the foundation of the world) but now in the [ad]end of the world hath he been made manifest, once to put away [ae]sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Geneva Bible 1599)

The background is Christ’s atoning death, and leaving aside the scope of the atonement for the moment, hopefully we can all agree that the atonement accomplished something.  Normally, we say that Christ’s death accomplished the reality of my salvation, and that’s true.  And those who deny that have a fundamentally flawed understanding of the Bible.   But let’s take it a step further.

The beauty, the “smells and bells” of the Temple were tied directly to the Old Covenant sacrificial system which pointed to Christ.  Christ’s death does away with that sacrificial order.     Most Christians intuitively know that.  I think the language of Hebrews 9 is much stronger, though.  If the old order with its external trappings are merely copies of the redemption, why would we want to hang onto them when the substance of redemption has come?

I don’t think this can stand alone as a proof for the RPW.  What it does do, though, is show as faulty any kind of inference to the Old Order to justify sensual worship experiences.


7 comments on “Discarding the copies

  1. Benjamin P. Glaser says:

    Girardeau makes a similar point in his book on instrumental worship concerning Hebrews 9.

  2. Canadian says:

    Funny that all of the external trappings you presumably wish to discard are all part of the Revelation of the reality, the heavenly worship itself. Prostrating, repeated prayers, censers, incense, vestments, altar, offering of the saints prayers to God by angels, candlesticks, concern of martyrs in heaven for ongoing persecution on earth and their intercession to God about it, etc.
    Hebrews 13 says the NT church has an altar they eat from.
    What Hebrews 9 is talking about specifically is the passing of the first covenant with it’s ordinances, service and earthly sanctuary. We are not in the first covenant with it’s ordinances, service, and temple.

    What is really surprising here Jacob, is that you arbitrarily draw an imaginary line for yourself and say that “sensual worship experiences” and “beauty, smells and bells” are directly tied to that first covenant! Let’s just take one….beauty. Beauty. Beauty!
    You determine for yourself the level and content of beauty permitted in worship? Beauty is part of the inferior covenant but not the better covenant!?!?
    That stained glass, wainscotting, carpet…..better not be beautiful. Why are those huge beams and vaulted ceiling wasting all that sensible space? There better not be any jewelry exceeding $____, or any pastor with an expensive suit, let alone an Armani! How much was that tie, sir? Pretty flashy. Is that an alligator bag, maam?
    And you certainly can’t have any images of crosses or banners around.

    Or how about, say….pews? I don’t know, they seem to be by nature to minimize the sensual strain on the legs? Easy sensual experience? You would think the TR’s would have been in an uproar at the introduction of a house full of pews at the Reformation. Right, I forgot the pastor’s interpretation of the scriptures is central for you. Ok, free pass, easy on the legs. And what if those pews are actually beautifully made with carved ends and richly stained and finished?

    One last thing. Speaking of having things from the old system, the Reformed gutting of the OT Sabbath and changing it to Sunday, making it a principle rather than holding to a command to be obeyed as given, is a brazen example. So much for Sola Scriptura and the RPW.

    • I can always guess the content and rhetoric of your comments before you even comment. You never disappoint. I really don’t think you are even interested in dialogue. Your comments are always condescending and you seem like you just want a springboard for your opinons.

      • Canadian says:

        I think you are right. I need to stop popping in over here, I don’t handle myself properly here anymore.
        I am sorry (no sarcasm, genuine) for the tone of my comment. It’s just that you have so often made comments elsewhere and then come over here with pot shots at the absurdity of those stupid anchorites.
        Hidden behind my dumb and selfish tone above are points that I think are worth thinking about but my delivery destroyed the content. You may delete my comments if you want, it may be better for readers.
        I gotta pray more.
        Sincerely wishing you peace, Jacob.

    • If you ask a specific question relevant to the topic at hand, and not carpet-bomb the area with a bunch of comments that you had already wanted to say, I might answer your questions.

    • While I agree with much of what you say here, it wasn’t the Reformers who changed the sabbath to Sunday. Actually no one did. The Sabbath is still Saturday. Once Constantine legalized Christianity he also declared that Sunday be set aside for worship. It is somewhat unfortunate because it became confused with a Christian Sabbath. Sunday is the Lord’s Day. The day after the sabbath and the end of all things. But also the first day of the week and the beginning of all things. It is a day outside of time. Christ rested in the tomb on the sabbath and rose on the eighth (look back in the OT and start seeing the references to 8) to finish His creation.

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