Spiritual vegetarians be warned! We are entering the meat department of God’s word! After introducing how Jesus is high priest after the order of Melchizedek, we continue unpacking the glory of Christ as seen in the shadow of the Old Testament, which is fading away.
Better priest, better ministry, better covenant, better promises, better sanctuary, better offering, better hope, greater than angels, greater than Moses, greater than Abraham… Who is this all about? Jesus! Better, better, better, greater, greater, greater, than who?
Anyone! Jesus is the best! He is our great high priest today.
We have come here today in the name that is above all names. We meet in his name, pray in his name, sing songs about his name, commune in memory of his life, death, body and blood, burial and resurrection. We live in hope of his return. One might look at this faith we hold and say that we are out of this world. I would say, not yet! But on the way!
As we continue feasting on the meat of the matter in Hebrews, we are served another portion that is for mature audiences. Babies will probably not find this section very easy to digest. So we are called at this time to partake of a richly nourishing selection of spiritual food fit for priests of the Most High God. Are you ready?
Hebrews 8:1 Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,
2 a minister in the sanctuary, and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.
3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; hence it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer.
4 Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law;
5 who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, "SEE," He says, "THAT YOU MAKE all things ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN WHICH WAS SHOWN YOU ON THE MOUNTAIN."
6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.
What’s the main point again? We have such a high priest! Where is this high priest of ours? Sitting enthroned with God. Ministering in the real sanctuary. The one God built, of which the earthly one was only a model. Earthly priests bring offerings to God, Jesus did as well, and his was better.
Often when people speak of loved ones who die they say the words, “They are in a better place.” We say those words in faith and hope that they are true. The stronger our faith and hope in Christ the more we can say with God’s word, “For me to live is Christ, to die is…. Gain!” Paul wrote, 2 Tim. 4: 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;
8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
How can anyone say such things and really mean them? Because we have a high priest who has offered a perfect sacrifice for us and who lives forever, interceding for us at the right hand of the Father. Then he says: He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.
More excellent ministry, by a better covenant, on better promises. What do you know about the more excellent ministry, better covenant and better promises through Jesus Christ?
Hebrews teaches us. But we have to take them one bite at a time. The first item we come to is the better covenant. And yet we soon learn that these are all tied together.
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second.
8 For finding fault with them, He says, "BEHOLD, DAYS ARE COMING, SAYS THE LORD, WHEN I WILL EFFECT A NEW COVENANT WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH;
9 NOT LIKE THE COVENANT WHICH I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS ON THE DAY WHEN I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND TO LEAD THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT; FOR THEY DID NOT CONTINUE IN MY COVENANT, AND I DID NOT CARE FOR THEM, SAYS THE LORD.
10 "FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS, AND I WILL WRITE THEM UPON THEIR HEARTS. AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
11 "AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERYONE HIS FELLOW CITIZEN, AND EVERYONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, ’KNOW THE LORD,’ FOR ALL SHALL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST OF THEM.
12 "FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR INIQUITIES, AND I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE."
13 When He said, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.
This is a quote from Jeremiah 31:31-34.
What do we discover about this new covenant that is better than the old one?
There was a flaw in the old covenant in that God’s people did not keep it and so God did not “care for” them. NKJV says, “disregarded” them. NIV says, “I turned away from” them. But he says, under the new covenant there are these better promises: I WILL… PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS, AND I WILL… WRITE THEM UPON THEIR HEARTS. AND I WILL… BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL… BE MY PEOPLE. 11 "AND THEY SHALL… NOT TEACH EVERYONE HIS FELLOW CITIZEN, AND EVERYONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, ’KNOW THE LORD,’ FOR ALL SHALL… KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST OF THEM.
12 "FOR I WILL… BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR INIQUITIES, AND I WILL… REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE."
Notice all the “I Will’s” and “they shall’s.” Just think about what God is saying here! Under this new covenant, where are the laws written? On the minds and hearts of God’s people. And who does the writing? God does. This will result in a relationship that means those in this new covenant have a security with God that is different from the old covenant. How so? Listent to another passage in the same context of Jeremiah 32: 37‘Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in My anger, in My fury, and in great wrath; I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. 38‘They shall be My people, and I will be their God; 39‘then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. 40‘And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. 41‘Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul.’
42“For thus says the LORD: ‘Just as I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will bring on them all the good that I have promised them.
What is the difference in this new covenant relationship? They will know the Lord and not depart from him and he will not depart from them! That almost sounds like eternal security doesn’t it. How can God do this? He will be merciful to their iniquities and will remember their sins no more! Wow. I didn’t say that, God did.
What about the old covenant with God’s people: Look at verse 9 again: NOT LIKE THE COVENANT WHICH I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS ON THE DAY WHEN I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND TO LEAD THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT; FOR THEY DID NOT CONTINUE IN MY COVENANT, AND I DID NOT CARE FOR THEM, SAYS THE LORD.
In that covenant the people left God and he rejected them.
What happened to that covenant?
It became obsolete and is passing away.
Can you see why this is called meat? What do you think about such a covenant of grace? Jesus is the means by which God will make these better things come upon his people. But if you don’t have Jesus, you don’t have the better ministry, the better covenant, the better promises. Conversely, if Jesus is in you and you are in him and he is your high priest, God’s great and precious promises are to you! 2 Peter 1: 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
Is there anyone here today who needs to enter into this covenant with God through the more excellent ministry of Jesus Christ?