Hebrews 7-10 The second covenant

From Hebrews 7-10

58 Leviticus sacrificeToday we read some encouraging words for believers. The author continues comparing the superiority of Christ over Moses and he recalls a promise of God delivered through Jeremiah.

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

8 Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. 4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” 6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. (Heb 8.1-7)

The author commends Jesus as the faithful high priest. All priests perform a mediating role between God and the people. Here the author describes the office of the levitical priesthood replaced with Jesus, who now ascended on high ministers in heaven, in the holy places.

The author then introduces the new covenant and its better promises, suggesting there were problems with the old covenant.

8 For he finds fault with them when he says:

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.

10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord:

I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.

12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”

13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away (Heb 8.8-13)

The first line is interesting. The author reiterates the point that the old covenant had problems. Paul said a similar thing;

2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you 2 free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,3 he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Rom 8.2-4)

What Paul and the author of Hebrews suggest is; people thought the law could free them from sin. It was recognised people were sinful, but by coming under the Mosaic covenant these people would be freed from the power of sin. Paul and the author of Hebrews have stated otherwise. The old covenant and law was at fault. People needed a better covenant, a better saviour.

The promise itself indicated that the Old Covenant would pass away and better things would come. These promises have come true in Christ.

The promise in quoted from Jeremiah itself states all God’s people would know the Lord and God’s law would be written on their hearts. This is true. All God’s people know the Lord, have been reconciled and are now in relationship with him. Those who believe in Jesus no longer need the law. Rather the true intent of the law has been written on their hearts by the work of the Spirit.

For Believers

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Click to enlarge

These are encouraging words for believers. Each believer knows who the Lord is. Our hearts now have God’s law written on them. This doesn’t eliminate the need for us to learn to discern good from evil or continue reading the scriptures. It highlights that God has begun and will complete a work in us when we will know his moral will entirely.

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