Continuity and Discontinuity Fulfillment

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. – Hebrews 13:7-10

Why does the author of Hebrews, right in the middle of this thought drop in the unchangeableness of Jesus? Before and after it he is speaking of the church leaders “who spoke to you the word of God” and so the church is not to ” be led away by diverse and strange teachings”. I think the obvious answer is that what these guys are teaching doesn’t get changed or overruled by some new guys showing up with new teaching since Jesus didn’t change. He is our unchanging standard in teaching. If something new comes along we need to test it to see if it presents a changed or changing Jesus.

So now notice how he ends the section, he talks about those who serve at the tabernacle (the tent used before Solomon built the temple; it is significant) who do not have a portion in this new altar. In the Old Covenant the priest shared in a portion of the sacrifice, it is how they fed themselves and their families. But now something is new, there is a new altar in which those guys don’t have part of. So did something change? What about that bit just before it where Jesus doesn’t change? Something significantly changed. Remember earlier I mentioned that Moses was a servant in the house Jesus built. The tabernacle was built under Moses’ direction. Moses gave the law concerning the priests. Didn’t something just change if those guys now can’t get food that way?

Obviously Jesus didn’t “change” things here. What was pictured in the tabernacle was fulfilled in Jesus. You can’t keep doing the picture when the reality comes. Imagine if you were going to take your family to Disneyland. You talked about it and showed brochures from it. Your family planned out what rides each would ride and in what order. Imagine if you even went so far as to build a model of Disneyland in your backyard! (Disney would sue) Now the day arrives and you’re ready to go. Your eight-year old decides to stay in the backyard and watch the miniature Matterhorn. He refuses to take his ticket to Disneyland and clings to the paper mache mountain. He has no part in the family trip but is clinging to image. Did the Matterhorn change? Now, it has “come” and has been rejected. Even though junior is still holding on to the image, you are going to tear that mess down when you get back from Anaheim. It isn’t a change it is a fulfillment.

That is what is going on in Hebrews. Jesus didn’t change, what was pictured in Old Testament Judaism was the same thing that that came in Jesus’ death and resurrection. So now if someone comes along and says something that doesn’t follow Jesus’ incarnation they are not to be followed. Jesus didn’t change and suddenly move us back to Old Covenant worship.

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