Perfect God, the perfect revelation of what He required, the perfect system of worship, all Israel had to do was do what they promised! “All that the LORD has spoken, WE will do.” That very perfection on God’s part of the covenant revealed the imperfection, the inability of man to “do his part”. We find in Israel’s history the evident testimony to Paul’s words in Romans 3:10-12 which he applies to all mankind, both Jew and Gentile. “As it is written (Psalm 14 & 53), there is none righteous, no, not one: thee is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable: THERE IS NONE THAT DOETH GOOD, NO, NOT ONE.” And that was written hundreds of years after Sinai! God writes His indictment against the nation and their perversion of worship that should have led them to the faith of their father Abraham, In Isaiah, especially chapter one. In Isaiah 1:10, God calls them Sodom and Gomorrah, a horrible comparison, and in vs 11 we read, “to what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto Me? Saith the LORD: I am full of (had my fill of) the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs or of goats.” But I thought God required them to bring those sacrifices? In amongst the charges Isaiah brings against Israel, in amongst the calls to repentence, we find that their problem isn’t that they didn’t do stuff, but the their heart in the doing voided the very act before God!! They provoked the Holy One of Israel in that “the whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint”. (Isa. 1:5) (I believe we see the same message from our Lord Jesus in the sermon on the mount in the “but I say unto you” in Matthew 5, and the “take heed” of chapter 6. He destroy’s a “good deed’s” religion unless those deeds, those prayers, that charity, flow from our worship of the most high God.)
To what purpose then, was this system of worship, ordained by God, but defiled continually by the inability of the human side of the contract? For the physical seed of Abraham, it was the means of repentance before God, ever reminding them that their righteousness was a filthy rags, and of their need of constant cleansing. It was only this repentant HEART that kept the channels of directon and earthly blessing open between them and their God. “But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sin every year. For IT IS NOT POSSIBLE that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sin.” (Hebrews 10:3-4) God never intended for Israel to believe that these repeated sacrifices could cleanse them of their sins. No, no, the sacrifices and the entire levitical system was to remind them of their sin, that they were sinners in need of constant cleansing! But in their hearts, they turned this system into a system of do’s & dont’s that made God “happy with them” or at least kept Him “off their backs” and gave them a national pride among the nations. “Israel, yeah, they’re the people that circumcise their boys, have that fancy portable church and kill lots of animals every year.” The nations no longer thought of “Israel’s” God, and His protection and blessing. Israel’s God became no different that Baal or Ashteroth in the eyes of the nations! They viewed Israel by this collection of external “worship”. And that is the condemnation of Ezekiel 36:16-21. But in that condemnation, God gives us the reason for His New Covenant: “For My Holy Name’s sake!!”
And that brings us to the real purpose, God's Eternal Purpose, of the history of Israel and the Law and the entire Old testament. Remember those words, “for My Holy Name’s sake!! In the ego mania of the fall, even we “christians” view everything from a “ME” context, even God and His “plan of salvation”. In so doing, we often miss His Holy Name’s sake in all that He Does!!! We overlook that crucial verse in Hebrews 10, the first verse! “For the law, HAVING A SHADOW OF THE GOOD THINGS TO COME, AND NOT THE VERY IMAGE OF THE THINGS.” That phrase should be our starting point for any consideration of everything in the OT, especially the system of worship in it!
And what is it that casts this “shadow” over the old covenant? I believe it is the Eternal Will & Purpose of the Heavenly Father to reveal the Glory of His Grace and Mercy to men and angels, unto the fullness of Praise as we see in John’s vision of the “throne room” of God in Revelation 4. And that Will & Purpose is Embodied in His Beloved Son, the God come in our flesh, the Scroll Opener of Revelation 5. The scroll of history is given from the Father’s Right Hand to the Lamb, significant because of Psalm 110:1. What the vision reveals, through chapter 19, is the outworking of the Bloody Lamb’s “Once Done Victory” through His death and resurrection, the Father's power worked toward us who believe.(Ephesians 1:19-20) We will see the outworking and promised hope of that victory as we proceed into Hebrews 10. For you see, all of God’s Will & Purpose is manifested in and through the real Subject of the entire book of Hebrews, our Melchizedek! The Son of God made flesh, the Priest after the order of Melchizedek, He is the Shadow cast upon the whole of old testament. He is the “Good Things to come” of 10:1. The chapter will lead us from the utter futility of animal sacrifices to the sufficiency and satisfaction of our Melchizedek, even unto the command to “enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and Living Way, which He consecrated for us (paid the entree fee!!), through the veil, that is His flesh (human flesh, the body of Vs 5), and HAVING A HIGH PRIEST OVER THE HOUSE OF GOD (the house of Hebrews 3:1-6), let us DRAW NEAR with a true heart IN FULL ASSURANCE OF FAITH, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (10:19-22) And that is our entrance, not in a vision as in Revelation 4, but in the reality of faith right now! As our faith increasingly comprehends and apprehends our Great High Priest, we will see that our liberty, our freedom of the consciousness of sin is found in our being “gathered together in Him”. (Ephesians 1:10) “for in Him Dwells all the FULLNESS OF THE GODHEAD BODILY; an you are COMPLETE IN HIM, who is the head of all principalities and powers.” (Colossians 2:9-10)