(A word study from the Book of Hebrews)
Part 2 of a three-part series.
- Better covenant
- Better promises
1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such a high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;
Christ is seated at the right hand of God.[Colossians 3:1]
2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
3 For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: why it is of necessity that this man has somewhat also to offer.
Jesus offered himself as the ultimate sacrifice.
4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:
5 Who serve to the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, said he, that you make all things according to the pattern showed to you in the mount.
6 But now has he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.
Christ is the mediator of a better covenant because its foundation offers better promises. In the Old Testament God’s covenant agreement was with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob exclusively for the Israelites. What are the better promises that make this a better covenant? Here are a few from Ephesians 1.
- Blessed with All spiritual blessings
- Holy and without blame before him[God]
- Redemption through Jesus’ blood
- Forgiveness of sins
- Sonship – Son’s of God
- Sealed with the Holy Spirit
- Exceeding greatness of his power to us that believe
- New physical bodies with supernatural abilities
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
8 For finding fault with them, he said, Behold, the days come, said the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, said the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, said the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
13 In that he said, A new covenant, he has made the first old. Now that which decays and waxes old is ready to vanish away.
The old covenant lacked what the new covenant provides. In the new covenant, all believers have holy spirit. Man is complete for the first time since Adam’s fall.
- Better Sacrifices
1 Then truly the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.
2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the sanctuary.
3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;
4 Which had the golden censer, and the Ark of the Covenant overlaid roundabout with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;
5 And over it the cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy-seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.
6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.
7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:
8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:
There was limited access to God until Jesus shed his blood which was the reason the high priest needed to offer blood one day a year.
9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
The priest was not made clean by the sacrifices. This was a constant reminder that a substitute would be needed for the final sacrifice.
10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
It took the death of a sinless man, Jesus Christ, to provide eternal redemption for us. The priest offering was annual and not eternal.
13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh:
14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Christ sacrifice purges our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Dead works are religious services.
Christ sacrifice was one time, eternal results, and purges our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise, it is of no strength at all while the testator lives.
18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.
19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,
20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God has enjoined to you.
21 Moreover, he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry.
22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood, and without shedding of blood is no remission.
23 It was, therefore, necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest enters into the holy place every year with blood of others;
26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world has he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27 And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment:
28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many, and to them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin to salvation.
- Better and enduring substance
26 For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins,
Sinning willfully is pride manifested as stubbornness or rebellion.
27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose you, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden underfoot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant, with which he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite to the Spirit of grace?
30 For we know him that has said, Vengeance belongs to me, I will recompense, said the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great fight of afflictions;
33 Partly, whilst you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and afflictions, and partly, whilst you became companions of them that were so used.
34 For you had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that you have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.
They knew that their treasures were stored in heaven and not on earth. These rewards include:
- Eternal life
- Crowns (five are available)
35 Cast not away, therefore, your confidence, which has great recompense of reward.
36 For you have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise.
37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draws back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
39 But we are not of them who draw back to perdition, but of them, that believe to the saving of the soul.