The Book of Hebrews #29 chapter 8:1-13 pt. 3
The Book of Hebrews
The New Covenant, Part 3
Hebrews 8:1-13
Tonight we come to the third part of Hebrews 8:1-13 where the author is dealing with the superiority of Christ as High Priest.  First, he has pointed to the fact that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God in the place of authority and exaltation and forgiveness and He is superior to any Old Covenant priest because of that.  They never sat down.  In fact, there wasn’t any place in the temple or tabernacle to sit, other than the Mercy Seat, and they would have never considered that.  But that’s exactly where Jesus sat down.
Then we looked at the superiority of His sanctuary.  Their work was shadows and copies and was performed in an earthly building patterned after the eternal one in heaven.  Jesus does His work of offering gifts and sacrifices in the “true tabernacle”.
All of that is found in the first five verses of chapter 8.  Tonight we come to verse 6 where we find the final thing.
Verse 6
What's He saying?
Let's start at the first.  "But now he has obtained a more excellent ministry." Here he comes to the climax of the discussion, and it’s really unfair to take it apart and separate it like we’ve had to do.
The argument he has been making is building to this point.
Jesus is a better priest all the way down the line. He is seated. He serves in the true tabernacle and because of that, He has obtained a more excellent ministry.
This is saying to the Jew, "Why would you fool around in the shadows when you can come to the reality? Why do you want to keep messing around with the copies when you can be personally involved with the truth in Jesus Christ?  That means you can have a priest who is in the Holy of Holies in heaven, not just in the shadow down here?"
Then notice how he continues in verse 6.
"He is the mediator of a better covenant, which is established on better promises."
If He is superior, if His sanctuary is superior, then His covenant is superior, and that's the third point. He is superior because of His seat, His sanctuary and
3. His Superior Covenant
And that is what he covers in verses 6-13.  Notice in verse 6 we find the word mediator.  According to the Apostle Paul, only One person qualifies for that position.  He told Timothy that we have one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. Now a mediator comes from root words which mean “in the middle”. The mediator is the one who stands in the middle between two and brings them together.
Scripturally speaking, Moses is described as a mediator.  He's the one who brought God and man together under the old economy.
Here, the writer says, "Jesus is the Mediator (capital M) of a better covenant.”
All Moses couldn't do because of human weakness, Jesus does.  He brings God and men together perfectly, providing access, where the old system couldn't. The covenant is better, because He is better.
And it is also better, look at the end of verse 6, because it's established on better promises.
Now, all covenants were made on the basis of promises. God would promise to do something. That's what a covenant is.
Now the promises of the better covenant are covered in verses 8 to 12 of this chapter and they are a direct quote from Jeremiah 31:31 and following.
Let’s look quickly at verse 7, then we'll get to the better promises in verse 8.
Verse 7
And that’s exactly right.  If I was an unbelieving Jew, I think I would say, "That's exactly right. So why are you giving us all this baloney about a second one? Why are you doing this? Are you saying the first one has got faults and problems? What gives you the right to say that? What gives you the right to tell me that there needs to be another covenant? What gives you the right to say that the first one had a lot of faults and there's another one coming along? Who says so?"
And so the writer says, "God, through Jeremiah, your own prophet." Zap.
verse 8
Notice “He” is captilized.  Who’s speaking?  W#ho said there were problems?  “God said, through Jeremiah, a new covenant is coming.”
Oh, that's in Jeremiah? That's not new. They should have known it said that.  Their own Scripture, the Old Testament, declared that the old covenant has problems and God's going to have to get another one.
The first covenant was not faultless. It functioned for what it was meant to do, point men to Christ, but it couldn't bring men to God. It was the sign. It wasn't the train that got them there. There had to be a better way. There needed to be a better covenant.  And that wasn’t just some man’s idea.  God said it, recorded it by Jeremiah. "I will make a new covenant."
Then, after declaring He is going to make a new covenant, God continues to use Jeremiah to tell us about the features of the new covenant.
For instance,
- God is the author
God said, "I'll make a new covenant." God is the author of it.
Now the words the Greeks used for covenant are interesting to study.
The normal Greek word was used to describe an arrangement with someone on an equal basis. It was the word for a marriage covenant. It was the word for all ordinary contracts between two people on an equal level.
But the word that is used here to describe the new covenant is the word they exclusively used to describe making a will.
Why did the Spirit choose that word when it says, 'The Lord will make a new covenant?'" The reason is obvious.  God does not consider Himself an equal with men. God does not make equal covenants with men.
Therefore, God and man never enter agreements on equal terms. God doesn't come to us and say, "Look, here are my terms," and we say, "Here are my terms," and we all give a little and we get together.
You can never, under any circumstances, bargain with God. It is not possible. You can never argue the terms of God's covenant. You can never say, "Well, look, God, listen, if you'll give a little bit on this thing, I'll adjust a little." You can't do that. God makes the covenant. You either accept it or you reject it. You don't change it.
And the best illustration of that is a will and that's why this word was reserved for a will. A will is not made on equal terms. It is made by one person, and the other person either accepts it or rejects it. You don't have anything to say about it. You can't bargain with a will.
Our relationship to God is based solely on God's terms, never on our terms, but on God's. He is the author. You will either come to God on His terms or you don’t come.  It’s just that simple.  And that's why I say it is important to note that God is the author of the new covenant.
Second thing about the new covenant that distinguishes it from the first is
- It Replaces the Old
Notice the word “new”.  It's not just an attachment to the old covenant or a modern continuation.  IT is new.  And again, there are several words in the Greek language for new. Something can be described as new in the sense of production or it might be new in the sense of quality.
The difference would be between a new car and a new invention. You can buy a new car, but cars aren’t really new.  They’ve been around a long time.  Most all of them have the same basic design and function.
But if a guy came along and said, "I just invented the hispinglotten, then you'd have to say, "Oh, that is new."
That’s our word.  It means something that does not exist prior that has now come into existence. The new covenant is a whole new thing
In fact, notice verse 13.
The old covenant disappears.  The word means to obliterate or completely wipe out. Think about the importance of that message to the readers of Hebrews because they're hanging on to the old covenant.
So God is the author of the New covenant, it’s brand new and here’s the third thing.
- It is made with the Jews
It is made with the same people the old covenant was made with. It was made with Israel.  The covenant is with “the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
Both kingdoms are included. You may have thought the northern tribes got lost. They may have gotten lost, but God didn’t lose them.  He knows where they are. God has made His covenant with His people and one of these days the fulfillment of that covenant will come.
Now it is important to note, as far as I can tell, God has never made a covenant with Gentiles, and I don’t suppose He ever will. Now, no doubt, we are beneficiaries of the New Covenant just like Gentiles were beneficiaries of the Old Covenant, but the new covenant is not made with the church.
In Romans, chapter 9, Paul says the covenant are between God and His people.
Does that mean that we're not blessed?  Obviously not.
In Genesis 12, when God established Israel, He made an unconditional covenant with Abraham to bless his seed and to bless the world through his seed. God said, "I'll not only bless you, Abraham. I'll bless the whole world through your seed." And that was an unconditional promise. God didn't say, "Abraham, if you will promise me to do this four times a day and run over there and do that and do this, then I'll do it." He just said, "I'll do it."
And then God said, "In order for them to receive this blessing, they'll have to follow my standards." So God set up a Mosaic covenant to go with the Abrahamic covenant, and the Mosaic covenant gave them the morality to go along with God's desire that they might experience the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant. The Abrahamic covenant said, "I'm going to bless you." The Mosaic covenant said, "If you obey my laws, then you'll get the benefits of the Abrahamic covenant."
But what happened? Israel kept breaking the Mosaic covenant, and they kept forfeiting God's blessing, and they're still forfeiting it today by breaking the Mosaic covenant, and by rejecting the fulfillment of the Mosaic covenant, Jesus Christ.
So did God cancel the Abrahamic covenant? Did God just say, 'That's it, no more blessing for Israel?'" He can't do that. If God could cancel one of His promises, He can cancel any one of them, which puts us on pretty precarious ground.
So God says, "I know what I'll do. I'll just get a new one. I'll get a new covenant that'll be able to do what the old one couldn't do."
And when you come into the new covenant as a beneficiary, even if you're not a Jew, you can experience all that's in the new covenant as a beneficiary of it, even though it's made with Israel.
Listen to Galatians 3:7. "Know ye therefore that they who are of faith, the same are the sons of Abraham."
In other words, when you believe in Jesus Christ, you become a spiritual son of Abraham. And the Abrahamic covenant is fulfilled in you and in me when we accept the principles of the new covenant. "And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, 'In thee shall all nations be blessed.'" Listen. "So then they who are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham."
The Abrahamic covenant is fulfilled in my life. And that just means God promises to bless. And it's fulfilled when we accept the new covenant, and we become spiritual children of Abraham.
But the covenant was made with Israel.  So when do they get in on this? Ironically, it seems like we’re benefitting from their covenant a whole lot more than they are.  But one of these days, it will be all about them.  The Bible teaches us that one day the church is leaving this world, tribulation will break out and the Jews will be attacked and during that period of time is when Israel will come to accept the terms of the covenant. Their day is coming.
So, God is the author of the new covenant. It is different. It is made with the Jews.
- It Will Not Be Legalism
verse 9
That's pretty strong stuff. God led them out of Egypt, put them in their land, and they blew all of His standards, and He said, "I regarded them not." ‘
But God says, "I'm going to make a new covenant, and it's not going to be like that." The covenant of law at Sinai was conditional. You obeyed, you were blessed. You didn't obey, you blew it. And it just kept going back and forth all the time. There was no security, no clear conscience, no freedom from guilt.
But God says, "It's not going to be that way any longer. I'm going to have a covenant different than that.  This covenant will not only forgive them but it will keep them."
This one is not based on legalism, but on faith in Christ. And with this one, He says to us that He is permanently in our hearts, that we're secure in Him. He does not leave us nor forsake us.
That leads to the next thing that makes the New Covenant better.
- It Is Internal.
Verse 10
With the old, everything was external. The law was written on stone. But with the new, the law is written in our hearts.
We have a resident teacher and guide in the Holy Spirit.
Do you know why the Old Testament people of God obeyed?  They were afraid not to.  They had a fear of punishment.
Do you know what motivates us to obey as New Testament believers?  According to Romans 13:8-10, we have love, and that fulfills the whole law.
Under the old covenant, God's laws were upon the lips of the people and written in stone. In the new covenant, they're in their minds and written in their hearts. What a difference. In the new covenant, worship is internal, not external. It's real, not ritual. Israel had memorized God's Word. Israel had pledged obedience. But they never had the internal power to live up to their pledge.
God promised them in Ezekiel, chapter 11, that He'd take away a heart of stone and He'd replace it with a heart of flesh, and He'd put His Spirit within them. Later in the book, He repeats that again.
"I'll take away your stony heart and give you a heart of flesh, and I'll give you my Spirit." God said, "I'm going to have to change you on the inside." That was all promises of the new covenant. In the old covenant, they were told to obey, but they didn't have the power. In the new covenant, we have the power to obey, the Holy Spirit, and the new nature. What a wonderful promise.
And then not only is this internal, but
- It Is Personal
verse 11
In Israel, in those days, it was only the higher ups that knew the Word. It was only the upper class that had access to the real truths of God. The poor people, the low class, really were victimized. They were not taught faithfully, and they did not know the things that could've changed their lives.
But the promise of the new covenant is everyone can know the truth. It's not going to be only for the elite, only for the educated. Every believer is going to have a resident truth teacher who will lead them into all truth and bring all things to their remembrance, even the Holy Spirit.
And no longer will they have to teach each other and say, "Know the Lord," "for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest." What a wonderful thing it is in the new covenant to have that personal knowledge of Jesus Christ, who lives within us.
Then the Holy Spirit hits the capstone of the new covenant.
Verse 12
That is the promise of the Old Testament finally fulfilled. The greatest feature of the new covenant is total forgiveness of sins. What a glorious covenant it is. Everything the old couldn't do, it does.
Then we have the closing statement
Verse 13
By the very fact that God said there's coming a new covenant, He therefore renders the first one old. In fact, just the prophecy that there's coming a new one means the old one is old. And only a few years after this was written, Titus hit Jerusalem and wiped out Judaism. It was ready to vanish away.
So what do we learn about the superiority of Jesus as High Priest?  Everything about Jesus Christ is real, is divine, is superior to everything else. The age of the law and the priests is over. The age of the Son is here forever. Don't cling to the old covenant, or anything else, for that matter. Jesus Christ is the perfect and only high priest.
Let’s pray.


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