Hebrews Chapter 8
Hebrews 8:1 MKJV Now the sum of the things which we have spoken is this: We have such a High Priest, who has sat down on the right of the throne of the Majesty in Heaven,
Hebrews 8:2 MKJV a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
A summary of points previously made regarding Jesus as our High Priest.
a. This is the main point of the things we are saying: We have a High Priest - Jesus Christ - who ministers for us from a position of all authority in heaven (seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty).
b. Who is seated at the right hand of the throne: Additionally, Jesus is seated in heaven, in contrast to the continual service of the priesthood under the Law of Moses.
i. The tabernacle and the temple of the Old Covenant had beautiful furnishings, but no place for the priests to sit down, because their work was never finished. The work of Jesus is finished - He is seated in heaven!
c. Jesus serves in the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, the original made by God, of which the earthly tabernacle was a copy, made by man (Exo_25:8-9).
i. Some have supposed the true tabernacle to be the Church, or Jesus’ earthly body. But it is best to understand it as the heavenly reality that the earthly tabernacle imitated.
Hebrews 8:3 MKJV For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One have something to offer also.
Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices: Sacrifice for sin is essential to the concept of priesthood. Jesus, representing a superior priesthood, offered a superior sacrifice. He laid down His own life to atone for sin. Thus typifying Jesus who offered himself as an acceptable sacrifice for sin--that he might be the Deliverer of men from the curse of sin and death.
b. It is necessary that this One also have something to offer: Though Jesus never offered a sacrifice according to the Law of Moses, He offered a better sacrifice instead – Himself --a sacrifice well pleasing to the Father. The sacrificial work was a necessity before Christ could enter the still higher work of blessing.
It is expected of all the members of the Body that they shall be joint-sharers in the sufferings and sacrifices of this present time. The thing which each is to sacrifice is himself, his will, his life, his all. "I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies living sacrifices." (Rom. 12:1)
Have you offered yourself on the altar to God?
Hebrews 8:4 MKJV For if indeed He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the Law,
If He were on earth, He would not be a priest: Jesus is not qualified to serve in the inferior earthly priesthood. There are priests - plenty of them - who were qualified to serve in the priesthood according to the Law of Moses.
Paul is contrasting the typical priesthood of the tribe of Levi, and the antitypical priesthood of our Lord, who sprang out of Judah. Jesus, being of the tribe of Judah, and not Levi, could not have served as a priest under the Mosaic Law, which gave this office to Aaron and his sons forever.
He should not be -- Melchizedek was only one Priest, and therefore represented all our Lord's members. His antitypical work is in the future and is why Aaron is not so particularly referred to in the type of the Great Priest.
Hebrews 8:5 MKJV who serve the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was warned of God when he was about to make the tabernacle. For, He says "See that you make all things according to the pattern shown to you in the mountain."
Who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things: There were plenty of priests who could serve in the copy and shadow on earth. But Jesus is the only One qualified to serve in the superior heavenly priesthood. The earthly service, though it was glorious in the eyes of man, was really only a copy and shadow of the superior heavenly service.
Copy and shadow of the heavenly things: Exo_25:40 makes it clear that what was built on the earth (Moses’ tabernacle) was made according to a pattern which existed in heaven - the pattern which was shown to you [Moses] on the mountain. Therefore, there is a heavenly temple that served as a pattern for the earthly tabernacle and temple. Jesus’ ministry as our High Priest takes place in this heavenly temple, not in the copy and shadow.
i. First century Jews took tremendous pride in the temple, and for good reason: it was a spectacular architectural achievement. However glorious the Jerusalem temple was, it was of man (and mostly built by a corrupt, ungodly man, Herod the Great), and it was nothing compared to the glory of the heavenly temple that Jesus served in.
Many of the things done for fleshly Israel were shadows of better things for spiritual Israel--but only to those who discern them.
Of heavenly things -- Higher things. "The Law having a shadow of good things to come." (Heb. 10:1)
To the pattern -- All the minutiae of the service: every jot and tittle had to be exactly performed in the type, because it illustrated something greater and more important to come afterward.
Hebrews 8:6 MKJV But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by so much He is also the Mediator of a better covenant, which was built upon better promises.
Jesus has obtained a more excellent ministry: No earthly priest could take away sin the way Jesus did, so Jesus’ ministry is far better than the ministry of the priesthood under the Law of Moses.
The mediator -- The word Mediator is carefully and exclusively used in the Bible only in connection with a Covenant. Moses, the Mediator of the Law Covenant, was a type of Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant.
God's dealing with the world will be through the Mediator, the Priest.
A better covenant -- A better testament than the Law Covenant. The New Covenant. The blessing will begin with Israel; but every member of the human race will have an opportunity of coming to perfection.
Not better than the Grace or Sarah Covenant, but better than the Law Covenant because of its better Mediator, the Messiah.
Moses was the mediator of the Old Covenant, because he “brought the two parties together.” Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant, a better covenant, bringing the World of Mankind to God the Father in the Kingdom.
Excellent ministry -- More exalted service than the earthly priests.
Our Lord's sacrificial work needs not to be continued throughout eternity; but he has been exalted to the heavenly plane, and has another work to accomplish. Our Lord had already begun the work necessary to his fulfilling this office of Mediator of the New Covenant, but he had not yet accepted to himself all the members.
Hebrews 8:7 MKJV For if that first covenant had been without fault, then no place would have been sought for the second.
It’s in the nature of man to come up with things that are “new” but not needed. God isn’t like that. If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been not need for a second covenant. If God established a New Covenant, it means that there is something lacking in the Old Covenant.
That first covenant -- The Sinaitic or Law Covenant of which the Ten Commandments were a part.
Had been faultless -- The fault was a lack of any mediatorial provision to offset the weakness and inability of the people to keep it. Moses could offer only imperfect sacrifices.
The second -- That New or Better Covenant will accomplish restitution, and nothing of a spiritual nature at all.
Hebrews 8:8 MKJV For finding fault with them, He said to them, "Behold, days are coming, says the Lord, and I will make an end on the house of Israel and on the house of Judah; a new covenant shall be,
Finding fault -- If God was not finding fault with the old Covenant, why make a new one? The unsatisfactory feature of the covenant was that it could not give life to Israel. The Apostle is endeavoring to prove to the Jews that they could gain nothing under the Law Covenant.
Jeremiah 31:31-34 KJV Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
The days come -- The days will come after the days of this Gospel age. The time when the price which our Lord laid down at Calvary will be made applicable to the world.
A new covenant -- To be between God, and Israel and the world. Made with natural Israel first. As a measure for carrying out the blessings purposed in the Abrahamic Covenant. The New Law Covenant cannot be introduced, sealed, made operative, until the Abrahamic Covenant shall have brought forth the seed of Abraham. The selection of the members of the Mediator of Israel's New Covenant is now in progress.
The house of Israel -- The whole twelve tribes. Clearly this does not refer to spiritual Israel.
The house of Judah -- Which is mentioned by name, so that the prophecy might not be understood to refer to the ten tribes only. The New Covenant belongs to Israel alone, including the two nations into which they divided at the death of Solomon.
Do you understand the difference between a mediator and an advocate?
Is Jesus our Advocate or Mediator? (1 John 2:1)
Hebrews 8:9 MKJV not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day I took hold of their hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt," because they did not continue in My covenant, and I did not regard them, says the Lord.
Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers: This covenant is not like the covenant God made with their fathers. Again, this emphasizes that there is something substantially different about the New Covenant.
Because they did not continue in My covenant: The weakness of the Old Covenant was not in the Covenant itself. It was in the weakness and inability of man. The reason the Old Covenant didn’t “work” was because they did not continue in My covenant.
The Law dispensation began with Israel the night they left Egypt. The Passover was the first feature of the Law.
Again, we see this New Law Covenant is made with Natural Israel in the Future.
Hebrews 8:10 MKJV "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My Laws into their mind and write them in their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
After those days -- Of this Gospel Age. After the Gospel age has intervened, between Israel's casting off and their being received again. The blindness that has been on Israel during the selection of spiritual Israel will surely pass away.
I will put my laws -- Gradually retrace and rewrite the divine Law. This re-writing in the characters of men is simply another method of telling us of the "restitution of all things." (Act_3:21) This is a description of what will take place during the Millennium, and not a description of what we see about us today.
Into their mind -- They will have Messiah's assistance in regaining the perfection of mind and body and a "new heart," which will enable them to obey in every particular the divine Law.
In their hearts -- When the Law has been written upon the hearts of all antitypical Israelites, there will no longer be any teaching, for none will be ignorant of the Lord. The New Covenant features transformation from within, not regulation through external law.
Hebrews 8:11 MKJV And they shall not each man teach his neighbor, and each man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest.
And they -- Primarily the Jews, later the world of mankind.
All shall know me -- First to Israel, under Messiah's Kingdom; the blessing will be extended to every nation, kindred and tongue. They will have the assistance of Christ and of the glorified Church, the Royal Priesthood.
"The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord." (Isa. 11:9) The way will be so plain "that the wayfaring man though a fool need not err therein." (Isa. 5:8)
This statement is not true now, and cannot be true until the Lord's Kingdom is established.
Hebrews 8:12 MKJV For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more."
Their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more: The New Covenant offers a true, complete cleansing from sin, different and better than the mere “covering over” of sin in the Old Covenant. The Deliverer will do no more than merely regather them; he will take away their sins. (Psa. 85:1-13) The whole world's sins and iniquities will be blotted out as far as God is concerned and the whole world will be turned over to Jesus.
Hebrews 8:13 MKJV In that He says, A new covenant, He has made the first one old. Now that which decays and becomes old is ready to vanish away.
What is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away: The message to these discouraged Jewish Christians, who thought of going back to a more Jewish faith, is clear. They simply can’t go back to an inferior covenant, which is ready to completely vanish away.
i. The system of sacrifice under the Law of Moses soon did vanish away with the coming destruction of the Temple and the Roman destruction of Jerusalem.
A new covenant -- Restoring that nation to the place of honor as the favored nation--through whom the blessings of redemption will extend to all nations. The Law Covenant was a foreshadow of the New Law Covenant
The Apostle is not saying that the New Covenant is for the Church.
It will become operative as soon as the Church has been glorified.
But Paul did not say that it had passed away. The old Law Covenant would perish, and God would in due time provide a New Covenant to take its place with Israel.
The Apostle is contrasting the New Covenant with the Law Covenant, which did vanish away.
Quotes from David Guzik, Charles Russell, Albert Barnes, Adam Clarke, John Gill and more