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“He taketh away the first that he may establish the second.”
Our blessed Redeemer took away the old ceremonies, sacrifices, priesthood, and ordinances of carnal worship when he came to do the will of God. During the age of legal, ceremonial worship, those things were both useful and good, portraying and pointing sinners to Christ.
Unneeded and Forbidden
When Christ came, he took them away. He took them away because they are no longer needed. The types served their purpose; but now Christ has come. Who needs a picture? The God-man himself is here! The Savior is present with us.
Since Christ took those things away the observance of them is now forbidden (Colossians 2:8-23). God destroyed the temple and every particle of the law and the carnal worship of that age to keep us from returning to legality, and to keep us from ritualism and idolatry. The destruction of the Old Testament legal system is a declaration that redemption’s work is done. Christ has finished the work. If we still had those carnal implements of worship, they would only take our minds off of our Lord Jesus Christ. — But that is not all.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, by his obedience unto death, has fulfilled the law for us. — “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth” (Romans 10:4). To all who trust him Christ is the end of the law’s curse, condemnation, covenant, and constraint.
When our Savior took away the types, he brought in something far better. He brought in real, perfect, complete, everlasting atonement. He took away the old legal, Mosaic covenant of works and brought in the new, everlasting covenant of grace (vv. 10-22; Galatians 4:21-5:4; Daniel 9:24).
He took away the first that he might establish the second; and this is far, far better. Once we have seen Christ, we do not miss Aaron. Once we have seen the simplicity of the gospel, we never pine for the complexity and bondage of the law. If ever a sinner enters into the holy place, he will not wish to rehang the veil. No one who has experienced the liberty and freedom of grace will ever return to the bondage and terror of the law (Galatians 5:1-4).
Assurance and Warning
Here the Holy Ghost gives us both a word of assurance and a word of warning. — “He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.” The assurance is this. — Justice is satisfied! — Redemption is accomplished! — Sin is pardoned!
But, be sure you hear the warning. We dare not seek to reestablish any ordinance of the law, lest we build again that which God has cast down. We dare not seek to establish any ordinance of worship which God has not established in his Word, lest we be guilty of idolatry. We dare not tolerate any notion that the second can fail. — “He shall not fail!” — His blood shall not fail to atone. His righteousness shall not fail to satisfy. His intercession shall not fail to prevail. His grace shall not fail to save.