Summary: Jesus Christ is the mediator of a much better covenant which is established on better promises!

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Hebrews 8:1-13

November 25, 2012

This chapter can be broken into two parts: verses 1-5 show us that Christ is the true High Priest, and verses 6-13 show us how His ministry is a true ministry. These two facts nullify the priests and their ministry since we now have something far better.

Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;

He is appointed (by oath) to the highest place of honor and authority with the Father. Contrast that to the high priests here on earth.

2A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

Look at Leviticus 16:2-22 and Exodus 15:17 to see that the sanctuary and tabernacle are images of forgiveness and safety in the presence of God. This is fulfilled in Christ (Jn. 1:14).

3For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.

If He “ministers” then that means He offers up sacrifice (just as the priests are required to do).

4For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: 5Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things,

There’s no need for another earthly shadow since that’s already taken care of through the Levites. But without Him there is still a need for the heavenly things (or the pattern) to be shown:

as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

It was always intended to be only a representation of the better things. The pattern preexisted the shadow!

And so here we begin the second part of the chapter:

6But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

It’s a more excellent ministry, a better covenant, and better promises.

His ministry is His duties as the High Priest.

A mediator is “one who intervenes between two, either in order to make or restore peace and friendship, or form a compact, or for ratifying a covenant; a medium of communication, arbitrator.”

The covenant is the one between the Father and the Son regarding His people, the church. The priests and Moses mediated the old promise of “do or die,” but Christ mediates a much better covenant.

The promises are the things outlined in the last few verses and the promise of eternal rest.

7For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. 8For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

This is a quote from Jeremiah 31:33. It’s no longer “if you obey you’ll be my treasure” but now it’s “I will do all the work and not remember your disobedience!”

It can’t be stressed enough that the first covenant was only a type and is fulfilled in Christ.

9Not 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, saith the Lord.

Go back and read that covenant (Ex. 19:5). Note “if you obey” and contrast that with the next verses:

10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith 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: 11And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. 12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

Read all of Isaiah 54!

13In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

We’re no longer under the law!


1. We can rest easy in Christ regarding the blessings and curses of the Old Testament (II Cor. 1:18-22).

2. Verses 10-11 are proof that salvation, sanctification, preservation, and everything are by grace through faith (not through a priest, self-effort, or disciplines).

3. There is no back and forth or up and down with God. He is pleased with us!

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