Bible Baptist Church

" Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." ...... John 3:3


A New and Better Covenant


Hebrews 8


Introduction:

·         This is the main point of his argument that Christ’s ministry as priest is superior

·         V.1- There are many scriptures which tell us that Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father. The only exception is in Acts 7 when Christ said to be standing. I think He was welcoming a faithful servant home!

·          Notice Paul emphasizes what “We have”- This is an answer to the Jews who taunted these Hebrew Christians with the words, “We have the Temple, the priesthood, the offerings and ceremonies, we have the beautiful priestly garments.” The believer could confidently reply, “Yes, you have the shadows, but we have the fulfilment! You have the ceremonies, but we have Christ! You have the picture, we have the Person!”

 

I.                    CHRIST IS THE MINISTER OF THE TRUE TABERNACLE

a.      V. 2- Jesus serves in the Tabernacle/sanctuary of Heaven. This the true tabernacle of which the earthly one was a copy or representation.

b.      The true tabernacle was erected by our Lord, and not man

c.       The tabernacle of Moses was a copy of this original, and it was made by man (Ex. 25:8-9)

d.      (Hbr 8:3) Jesus’ priesthood also had a sacrifice –  a better sacrifice- Himself!

e.      On earth Christ was not eligible to offer gifts and sacrifices since He was not from the right tribe. He could not perform the tasks of a Levitical Priest. But, he serves as a Priest of the Order of Melchizedek.

f.        Jesus has a better temple! V. 5- the Tabernacle on earth was a replica. The writer emphasizes this forcefully so that the none would be tempted to go back to Judaism

g.      The reminder that OT institutions were types/pictures of heavenly realities.

h.      We will study more about the comparisons between the earthly and Heavenly Temple next week, Lord willing.

II.                  CHRIST IS THE MEDIATOR OF THE BETTER COVENANT (8:6).

a.      Christ officiates in a better tabernacle because it is connected with a better covenant

b.      Moses was the mediator of the Old Covenant, but Christ is the mediator of this New Covenant

c.       Jesus has mediated a better covenant, and guaranteed it as a cosigner (Hebrews 7:22)

d.      There are several covenants in the Bible. The main ones are:

                                                              i.      The Abrahamic covenant (unconditional)

                                                            ii.      Mosaic Covenant (conditional, temporary)

                                                          iii.      Davidic Covenant (amplifies Abrahamic Covenant, unconditional)

                                                           iv.      New Covenant (unconditional, final fulfilment of God’s plan)

e.      The old covenant in view here is clearly the Mosaic covenant (reference to Egypt, etc.)

f.        V. 6- Christ is the mediator of a better covenant

                                                              i.      It is better because it is absolute and unconditional- unlike the Old Covenant

                                                            ii.      Spiritual, not carnal

                                                          iii.      Internal not external

g.      The Old Covenant promised blessing for obedience, but threatened death for disobedience. It required righteousness but did not give the ability to produce it

h.      The New Covenant is an unconditional covenant. It imputes righteousness where there was none!

i.        V. 7-8- The first covenant was inadequate, so a new one was always anticipated

j.        V. 9-10 The New Covenant is made between God and the nation of Israel. It will be fulfilled when Christ returns. In the meantime, some of the blessings are enjoyed by all believers

k.       Henderson, “And so we distinguish between the primary interpretation to Israel, and the secondary spiritual application to the Church today. We now enjoy in the power of the Holy Spirit the blessings of the new covenant, and yet there will be still further and future manifestations for Israel according to God’s promise.”

l.        V. 8-9- How will it be new/different? It will be different because God avoids any possibility of failure since fulfillment depends on Himself alone and He cannot fail.

m.    Dynamics of the New Covenant

                                                              i.      Major Views:

1.      The Church Replaces National Israel and Fulfills the New Covenant in the Present (Covenant Theology- most deny a literal kingdom as well)

2.      There Are Two New Covenants: One for Israel and One for the Church

3.      The Church Presently Participates in the New Covenant; Israel Fulfills the New Covenant in the Future

                                                            ii.      The difficulties stem from examining what the OT prophecies of the New Covenant describe compared to what the NT says happens when we get saved. This has led to blurring the lines between Israel and the Church

                                                          iii.      The big issue is what is our hermeneutic- or method of Bible interpretation (Literal or allegorical)

                                                           iv.      Whatever benefits the church presently enjoys that are associated with the new covenant stem not from a direct relationship to the new covenant, but indirectly through the church’s relationship to the mediator of the new covenant- Jesus Christ.

                                                            v.      There is only one new covenant. It will be fulfilled in the future with Israel; the church is presently participating in its salvation benefits

                                                           vi.      The distinction between Israel and the Church is a biblical one (Romans 11:1-2, 25-27)

                                                         vii.      The new covenant is associated with the nation’s restoration to its promised land. This is not promised to Gentile believers. (32:38-41)

                                                       viii.      The NC was ratified at Christ’s death and will be fulfilled when He returns

                                                           ix.      How can it be said the church can participate it is not yet fulfilled? Using the Abrahamic Covenant as an example, the fulfillment of covenant promises is not the same thing as the ratification. In the Abrahamic covenant Abraham was promised that he and his descendants would possess the land of Palestine as an eternal inheritance Hebrews refers to this promise, saying that Abraham came and dwelled in the land that he was to receive as an inheritance, yet residing in the land of promise as an alien, not as an owner (11:8–9). In other words, Paul depicts Abraham as dwelling in the land and therefore as participating in the benefits of the promise, without describing the promise as being fulfilled. This is made clear when Paul states in 11:13 that Abraham died in faith, “without receiving the promises.” Or in other words without seeing them fulfilled.

III.                The Benefits of the New Covenant

a.      Notice “I will.” The Old Covenant tells what man must do (“If you”), the New Covenant tells what God will do (“I will”).

b.      This includes regeneration, an eternal relationship with God, full and final forgiveness of sin

c.       This is how believers today can therefore enjoy the benefits of Christ’s high priestly ministry

d.      V. 10- They will want to obey, not out of fear of punishment, but through love for God. This is a God-caused righteousness!

e.      The New Covenant features transformation from within, not regulation through external law. Not behavior modification, but life transformation!

f.        Written on their hearts/minds- The highest literature of Christianity

                                                              i.      Most legible- everyone can read your life

                                                            ii.      It is the most convincing- life change

                                                          iii.      TRUTH THUS WRITTEN IS MOST LASTING. Paper, marble, and brass will decay, but not souls.

g.      V. 10- I will be their God- this speaks of nearness and fellowship. Draw nigh unto God, and He will draw nigh unto you! There is a greater intimacy with God!

h.      V. 11- This covenant also includes a universal knowledge of God- Remember Hosea’s declaration, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge!”

i.        V. 12- Best of all the New Covenant promises mercy and forgiveness! God forgives and forgets! That’s hard for us to do, but His grace can allow us to do the same!

Conclusion:

 

·         V. 13- The fact that God introduces a NC means that the first is obsolete.

·         The message is clear to these discouraged Jewish Christians, who thought of going back. They simply can’t go back to an inferior covenant, which was ready to completely vanish away.

·         God would ultimately confirm this vanishing away when the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.

·         Thank God we are able to enjoy the salvation benefits of this new and better covenant!

·         Consider this, if OT Jews were to be faithful and obedient under a lesser covenant- how much more should we under grace and participating in the New Covenant?

·         We have “better promises.” So, let’s live up to a better, and higher standard of faith!