The first covenant had regulations for worship in an earthly sanctuary, involving animal sacrifice. Such sacrifices cannot perfect the conscience of the worshipper. However, Jesus came as high priest and sacrificed himself in the sanctuary–the heavenly sanctuary, not the inferior one on earth–to redeem the sins of believers. This sacrifice only needs to be done once; on Christ’s second coming will be salvation. Let us approach each other with true and faithful hearts, with as much confidence as you showed during your persecution in those earlier days. Have faith and you will be saved. Faith is the the belief in things hoped for but not seen. By faith Abel offered to God a better gift than Cain’s, Noah built an ark for a future catastrophe, Abraham set out for Canaan, Abraham had children despite his wife being barren, and Moses led the people out of Egypt. Yet these people were not made perfect, which can only happen through Jesus Christ.
Let us persevere. Your current persecution is only God’s discipline for us, his beloved children. You have not come to Mount Sinai (symbolizing the law); you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. Let us give thanks; let us love each other; let us show hospitality to strangers and sympathy to the imprisoned; let us wait for the second coming. Remember and obey your leaders.
- The author believes that Jesus has superseded the old covenant. Hence, neither sacrifices or observance of food laws (13:9) is necessary.
- The author often adopts Platonic language, where things on earth are seen as a mere shadow of their idealized copy in heaven. Hence, “the law has only a shadow of the good things to come” (10:1) and the earthly sanctuary is “a mere copy of the true one” (9:24).