CHAPTER EIGHT OF HEBREWS
The book of Hebrews (author unknown) was written to Jewish believers to encourage them to be secure in their newfound faith. They were being challenged and attacked by non-believing Jews who would not tolerate them. The application of Hebrews for today, is to address the Christian who wants to act like a Jew by voluntarily placing himself under the Law of Moses. Not only does he insist on being under the Law, which is the Old Covenant, but he also wants to intermingle it with the newly established New Covenant, and somehow make the two work together....not realizing to do that....ruins both. You can't put new wine into old wineskins without ruining both (Matt. 9:17).
Verses 1-3: In dealing with the sins of the people Jesus acted similar as a high priest under the Law. However, the function that he performed was of much greater significance because it was one act that dealt with the sins of all peoples for all time. Thus, he was granted to sit at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, which is the true tabernacle. Sitting is an indication that his work is finished, unlike the high priest who could not sit because his work was never finished. Right before Jesus' very last statement on the cross: "into Your hands I commit My spirit," he said with a loud voice: "It is finished." (John 19:30). And also unlike the high priest, who offered the blood of bulls and goats, Jesus offered his own blood. He was the offering.
Verses 4-6: Jesus our high priest is in heaven. This makes his ministry superior to the earthly priests who serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. The New Covenant of which Jesus is the mediator is also superior to the Old Covenant because it is founded on better promises. Better promises that are based not on performing, but based on exercising faith.
Verses 7-12: There was nothing wrong with the Old Covenant within itself (Rom. 7:7). It certainly revealed the righteousness and the holiness of God. The problem is that we the people, are not righteous and holy. Therefore God is going to bring in a New Covenant as he prophesied way back in the book of Jereimiah. Here we have in Hebrews a direct quote from Jerimiah 31:31-34. Folks, here we have the New Covenant specifically defined for us. Get your Bibles and read it. If you here something different from the pulpit....decide who you are going to believe. Particularly pat attention to the very last verse of this quote: "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." Today, and more importantly in the future, how many of your sins does God remember? The answer is none. Do you really believe that?
I want you to note something very interesting taking place here in the prophesy itself and then when it is quoted in Hebrews. Jereimiah 31:33 says: "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts." However, when the author of Hebrews quotes the same verse in Hebrews 8:10; instead of the word 'law' being singular, he writes it plural...'laws.' This is because at the time Hebrews was written, at that point we are under the New Covenant. Under the Old Covenant the law is always in reference to the Law of Moses. Under the New Covenant we are under the law of Christ. And the law of Christ is the law of love. Or you could say the two 'laws' of love. Remember what Jesus stated in Matt. 22:37-40: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." At this point Jesus is proclaiming what is coming in the very very near future....the New Covenant.
The New Covenant went into effect at the death of Jesus (Heb. 9:16-17). All this talk of love, why? Because this is what the New Covenant is all about. Remember when the Apostle Paul says that all that counts now is faith expressing itself through love. Whether one keeps or does not keep the law is irrelevant (Gal. 5:6). If we (the branches) are putting faith in and trusting Christ (the vine) as we should, then what comes from that is us simply bearing the fruit of love. There is no law against love, so technically we are not under any kind of law whatsoever (Gal. 5:23). 'It was for freedom that Christ set us free.' (Gal. 5:1). Love is the fulfillment of the law (Rom. 13:10). When we produce the fruit of love, by abiding in Christ, we are fulfilling the law without even keeping it.
The Apostle John in his epistles reiterates and corroborates what Jesus said in Matthew. Like Jesus stating in Matthew that which would be coming....John states....now that it has arrived....what Jesus stated. 1 John 3:23 says: "And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us." John further states in 1 John 5:3: "This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome"....hint, hint....alluding to that which is burdensome....the Law of Moses. John says in 2 John 1:6: "And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love."
Verse 13: Now that we are under the New Covenant, the old is to become obsolete. Pretty simple! Why haven't we been taught this overtly in our churches? Because the book of Hebrews messes up everybody's theology that they have been taught. A typewriter is no longer used today because now we use keyboards. It has become obsolete. I haven't seen one for quite awhile because they are disappearing.
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