In the preceding chapter, the author expounded on the priesthood of Christ in the order of Melchizedek. He demonstrated how Christ is their superior and perfect High Priest. In this chapter, we will study how Jesus’ ministry is superior to that of the earthly priests and how He is also Mediator of a better covenant.
Did You Know...?
1. Tabernacle (8:2): “The Israelite tent sanctuary frequently referred to in the Hebrew Bible. It is also known as the tent of meeting (Heb ’ohel mô‘ed) and, occasionally, as the Tabernacle (or tent) of testimony (miskan ha‘edût). It is the central place of worship, the shrine that houses the ark of the covenant, and frequently it is the location of revelation. It is presented in biblical narrative as the visible sign of Yahweh’s presence among the people of Israel. More verses of the Pentateuch are devoted to it than to any other object. It contains the ark, an incense altar, a table, a seven-light candelabra, an eternal light, Aaron’s staff that miraculously blossomed (Num 17:23–26), the vessels that are used by the priests, possibly a container of manna (Exod 16: 33–34), and a scroll written by Moses (seper hattôrâ).”
2. Mediator (8:6) “is a legal term for one who arbitrates between two parties.” [ref]
3. Covenant (8:6) denotes an agreement, which usually includes terms and conditions. This word sometimes also carries the meaning of a will or a testament (cf. 9:16), in which the testator initiates the agreement and lays down the terms.
- We Have Such A High Priest (8:1-2)
- His Superior Ministry (8:3-6)
- The Old Covenant (8:7-9)
- The New Covenant (8:10-13)
How does the first paragraph (1-2) serve as a summary and a transition? (To answer this question, you need to look at the larger context.)Hide Answer
Up to this point we have studied the greatness of the High Priest Himself. This is summed up in verse 1. Verse 2 speaks of the greatness of the High Priest’s ministry. This will be the theme that chapters 8 to 10 will develop.
Where is our High Priest seated? What significance does this have?Hide Answer
He is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens (1). He is in the place of highest honor (Php 2:9-11) and has received all authority in heaven and on earth (Mt 28:18). He is in the heavens, not on earth. This signifies His perfection, exaltation, and permanent priesthood, all of which make Him superior to the earthly priests.
What is different about the tabernacle of which our High Priest is a Minister?Hide Answer
It is the true tabernacle, not a copy of it. It is erected by the Lord, not by man (2). This means that God Himself performs all the things necessary for man to come to God. No human mediator or agent is involved.
What distinguishes Jesus from the earthly high priests in terms of what they offer (cf. 7:27; 9:14; 10:10)?Hide Answer
Whereas the earthly priests offered gifts and sacrifices, Christ offered His body. Whereas the earthly priests had to offer many gifts and sacrifices, Christ offered Himself once for all.
What contrast is made in verses 4 and 5 between Jesus’ ministry and the ministry of the earthly priests?Hide Answer
The earthly priests ministered on earth in a tabernacle that is only a prefiguration, but Christ ministers in heaven in the true tabernacle.
What does verse 5 imply about the duration of the earthly tabernacle?Hide Answer
Since the old tabernacle was a prefiguration, it is replaced when the High Priest of the heavenly tabernacle comes.
What was the better covenant based on (6)? Explain what this means.Hide Answer
Better promises. God’s new covenant with His people offers much more than what the old covenant could accomplish. These better promises are made possible by Christ the Mediator.
How is Christ the Mediator of the better covenant?Hide Answer
It is through His personal sacrifice that God’s promises in the new covenant are fulfilled (9:13-15).
What was lacking in the old covenant?Hide Answer
In the old covenant, God took the Israelites by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. But despite God’s deliverance and guidance, the Israelites failed to continue in the law of God. Consequently, God forsook them. What was lacking in the old covenant was that the people’s relationship with the Lord was passive and temporary. They followed the external regulations without a sincere desire to honor God. They were only led by the hand and did not actively follow God.
What promises did God make in the new covenant?Hide Answer
1. God will put His laws in their mind and write them on their hearts. God’s people will have a change of heart (cf. Ezek 36:26 27). They will worship God in spirit and truth.
2. God will be their God and they will be His people. God will not reject His people again but will be ever closer to them. He will dwell among them and shepherd them (Rev 21:3-4).
3. They will not need to be taught to know the Lord, but each will know God, from the least of them to the greatest of them. Each will build a personal relationship with God.
4. God will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and lawless deeds God will remember no more.
How are these promises fulfilled in Christ?Hide Answer
Because of Christ’s atoning death, God forgives us of all our sins. He does not remember our sins but shows us mercy. Through faith and baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, our sins are washed away (Acts 2:38; 22:16).
Having believed and been baptized into the Lord Jesus, we are children of God (Gal 3:26-29), and the Holy Spirit is a testimony of this (Rom 8:18).
Through the indwelling and renewal of the promised Holy Spirit, God’s word is written on our hearts, setting us free from mere outward observance and transforming us into the Lord’s likeness (2Cor 3:3-18).
In Jesus Christ, we can have an intimate, personal knowledge of God. Because God has manifested Himself through Jesus Christ (Jn 1:18; Col 1:19), we who have believed in Jesus Christ can draw near to God (Jn 14:6). With Christ’s word and Spirit in us, we can personally know and experience God (Eph 1:17; cf. 1Jn 2:27).
Does your relationship with God still reflect some of the characteristics of the old covenant?
How can you participate in the better covenant?Hide Answer
In order to participate in the new covenant, we must put our faith in Jesus Christ, the Mediator and High Priest of the new covenant. We need to enter into a relationship with Christ through the sacraments He instituted, namely baptism (Gal 3:27; Col 2:11-12; Rom 6:3-4), footwashing (Jn 13:8), and Holy Communion (Mt:26:26-28; 1Cor 10:16-17). We must hold fast to our faith in Him (Heb 3:14) and abide in Him by obeying His commands (1Jn 2:6).