Summary: Today, we will discover that the New Covenant established by Jesus Christ is “better” than the Old Covenant.
THE NEW COVENANT
The key word in Hebrews is the word “better.” Jesus is better than the prophets, the angels, Moses, Joshua, Aaron, etc. We have that Jesus is a superior High Priesthood to the Old Testament priests. Today, we will discover that the New Covenant established by Jesus Christ is “better” than the Old Covenant. Our Bible is divided into two parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament. The word “testament” is the same word as “covenant.”
Verse 6 is the key verse to this chapter. It not only declares the theme of this chapter, it also sets forth the outline. This chapter seems to be built upon the truths found in this verse. Observe in the first place that:
I. JESUS CHRIST HAS A MORE EXCELLENT MINISTRY (8:1-5)
In Chapter 7 we talked about the superior priesthood of Jesus. “Jesus is a high priest after the order of Melchizedek rather than the order of Aaron. The words, “more excellent” in 8:6, refer to a different kind of ministry, a ministry that far surpasses the old. His priesthood is superior to the OT priesthood.
A. Note that Jesus’ ministry is a completed ministry (8:1). When Jesus entered heaven He, “sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven..” The OT high priest never sat because his work was never finished.
B. Note that Jesus ministers from a greater place. (8:1-2) The OT high priest ministered in an earthly tabernacle. Jesus ministers from heaven itself, from the true tabernacle that was set up by the Lord, not by man. (see also 8:5)
C. Note in the third place Jesus presented a better offering. (8:4) The Levitical priests offered the blood of bulls and goats, etc. Jesus offered himself (See 7:27) once for all. The blood of Jesus is the sign of the new covenant (see Heb 9:11-15). .Christ’s ministry is infinitely better. He offered Himself, not an animal. He presented the value of His own blood, not the blood of bulls and goats. He put away sins, not merely covered them. He gave believers a perfect conscience, not an annual reminder of sins. He opened the way for us to enter into the presence of God, not to stand outside at a distance.
II. JESUS CHRIST IS THE MEDIATOR OF A BETTER COVENANT:
In 7:22, the writer says, “Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. The New Covenant is superior to the Old Covenant. Jesus is the mediator of a superior covenant.
“Mediator” refers to one who mediates or intervenes between two, either to make or restore peace or friendship. A mediator is a medium of communication, an arbitrator-one who acts as a guarantee. Christ is the surety or guarantee of a better covenant.
The word “better” means “very far better, more excellent, more effective. The word “Covenant” is an agreement signifying “to cut or divide.” It refers to the sacrificial system in covenant making. God established a covenant with Abraham. The sign was the rite of circumcision. God promised to make of Abraham a great nation. Both the Old and New Covenants were based upon the sacrificial system. Under the Old Covenant, the sacrifices had to be constantly repeated.
The basis of the new covenant is the blood of Jesus Christ which secures for us our salvation. The sign is the “Lord’s Supper.” When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper He said, “This is the blood of the New Covenant…”
The Old Covenant was but a “copy” or a “shadow” of the New Covenant. A shadow is not the reality.
Finally, observe that“
III. THE NEW COVENANT IN JESUS CHRIST IS ESTABLISHED ON BETTER PROMISES.
The Old Covenant could never do what needed to be done in sinful man. The fault was not so much in the Old Covenant as in the people’s refusal to live by the covenant. The Old Covenant has been surpassed by the New Covenant.
The writer of Hebrews quotes the prophesy of Jeremiah 31:31-34 concerning the new and different covenant. As we examine these verses we note the tremendous promises that render the new covenant superior to the Old.
A. God’s laws will become an inward reality in the New Covenant (8:10). The Law is no longer on tablets of stone, but are written in our hearts and mind.
B. God and His people will have intimate fellowship under the New Covenant (10b). Under the Old Covenant, only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies into the presence of God. His presence was cut off from the rest of the people.
When Jesus died on the cross, at the very moment of His death, the veil of the temple that separated the Holy place from the Holy of holies was ripped in two from top to bottom signifying that the way into the presence of God is now open to all who come to Him through Jesus Christ.