For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.Hebrews 10:1(NASB)
Jesus is our heavenly High Priest and at least a quarter of the book of Hebrews is devoted to this glorious topic. The requirements and service of the temporary Levitical priesthood and the role of Israel's high priest stands in stark contrast with Christ's infinitely superior qualifications as God's anointed High Priest, and His eternal priesthood which superseded every aspect of its earthly counterpart.
The old system given to Israel was simply a type of the new and better priesthood that was to come. The former things were a dim shadow of the vastly superior priestly office and greater ministry of God's new and permanent priesthood... and Christ Jesus is the superior heavenly High Priest.
In this verse, we read that the Law was only a shadow of the good things to come. The Levitical priesthood was simply an inferior reflection of much better things that God has prepared for those that love Him. The Aaronic priesthood was nothing more than a foreshadowing of the enormous blessings that were to follow, through Christ.
The Law, with all its priestly qualifications, requirements, rites, and rituals, was not the substance or the reality of all that it typified. The Law and all that it implied, pointed to Christ. The sanctuary, sacrifices, feasts, festivals, and all the priestly activities connected with the Old Covenant, were a dim and distant shadow of all that it represented - for all things which are written about Christ in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms, point to JESUS and His unique sacrifice on the Cross. They point to His superior ministry as God's heavenly High Priest.
Christ's eternal priesthood after the order of Melchizedek and everything connected with the old law, was simply an inferior representation of all that was to come, "For since the Law only gives us a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things.. it can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near."
Israel's succession of high priests and the thousands of sacrificial animals that were offered year after year do not make us perfect before God. Although the Law identified sin, the animal sacrifices that were offered year after year cannot wash away sin. They cannot fully atone for the sin of the people.
The sacrificial offerings were nothing more than a covering-over of sin until the true Sacrifice for sin was sent. Only the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who became a Man and paid the ultimate price for the sin of the world through His sacrificial death, was sufficient to pay the price of sin. His death was not simply a covering of sin but a total washing-away of sin forever - by faith in Him.
The enormity of this simple but profound verse and the truth it underpins must never be minimised. The Law anticipated what only Christ could accomplish. The Law could not forgive sinners. The Law could only identify sin. It was never intended to forgive sin. The continuous sacrifices of the temporary sacrificial system after the order of Aaron was an interim one. It was limited and a shadow of Christ's permanent and eternal High Priestly office. Through His finished sacrificial work on the Cross, He became both the sin offering for the forgiveness of sin as well as the heavenly High Priest Who made the atoning offering to God.
The inadequacy of the Old Covenant with its repeated sacrifices offers a stark contrast with the adequacy of the New, where... by God's grace, Christ's single offering of Himself is sufficient payment for your sin and for mine.
Heavenly Father, thank You that the Law, which was given to Israel, was a shadow of better things to come through Christ, Who is not only our heavenly High Priest but the sacrificial offering that You accepted as the full and final payment for my sin and the sin of the whole world. Thank You that there is nothing more that I need to do other than believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour Who paid the full price for sin and broke its power in my life forever. May I never become complacent about the enormous sacrifice that the Lord Jesus paid on my account when He went to the Cross for my sake. Thank You that today He is my heavenly High Priest Who is seated on the right hand of the Majesty on high and Who continues to make intercession for me in heavenly places. Thank You that He is coming back one day to set up His eternal kingdom on earth. Praise Your holy name, AMEN.