Lecture 9 Exposition of Hebrews 8.1-9.28

  1. Christ’s Ministry exceeds the Levitical Ministry since He Mediates a Better Covenant (8:1-9:28)
    1. Summary point: Jesus’ heavenly ministry of the better covenant exceeds the OC and its ministry (8:1-6)
      1. Because Jesus’ ministry is in the true tabernacle (8:1-2).
        • His main point: A description of Jesus Christ as a superior high priest in a superior tabernacle.
        • He is both priest and king. He is a high priest and he has a seat at the right hand of the throne.
        • Location: in the heavens. This is unlike the old covenant priest.
        • Christ accomplishes his ministry in the “true tabernacle” this is also in the sanctuary. This is not that which man has set up, on earth. This is that which the Lord has pitched. This is the true tabernacle in that it is not made with hands and it is not on earth, but heaven.
      2. Proof for the existence of the true tabernacle (8:3-5).
        • First, the preacher argues that Jesus had to have something to offer as a high priest (8:3).
          1. Every high priest offers something.
          2. Jesus is a high priest.
          3. Therefore, Jesus also must offer something.
        • Second, the preacher argues that Jesus had to minister that offering in heaven (8:4-5) [presumes: every high priest must offer his offering somewhere]
          1. Earth is insufficient for Jesus (8:4)
            • A priest must offer his gifts somewhere.
            • Earth is where the Levitical priests offer
            • Jesus is not a Levitical priest.
            • Therefore, if Jesus were on earth, he would not be a priest.
          2. The heavenly sanctuary exists (8:5).
            • The Levitical priests serve in a copy of the heavenly sanctuary.
            • This is proven when God warned Moses about the tabernacle in Exodus 25:40. Moses was to make everything according to the pattern that he saw on the mountain. The prototype is in heaven. Moses was commanded to copy it.
      3. Therefore, Jesus has a superior ministry in the heavenly sanctuary because he mediates a better covenant with better promises (8:6).
        1. The preacher clearly established that the earth is an insufficient place for Jesus to minister and that the heavenly sanctuary exists (8:4-5).
          • He has already established that Jesus ministers in the true tabernacle (7:1-8:1).
        2. He now concludes what we’ve been lead to affirm thus far, which is that Jesus’ ministry is superior and that that superiority is based on the fact that he mediates a superior covenant.
        3. It is legal. This superior covenant was enacted, that is, it “has been given as law” accompanied by superior promises.

Concept of the Covenant (diaqh,kh)

1) Does NOT mean an agreement between equals.

2) The word refers to a sovereign covenant, when one party with full power determines all the terms of the “arrangement,” which the other party may accept or reject, but cannot alter.

3) We have fellowship with God on His terms.

4) A “will” is an example of a covenant. The beneficiaries of a will may not alter its contents and it is NOT an agreement between 2 parties. If you want to benefit from a will, you must agree to its terms.

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  1. The faulty first covenant is obsolete (Heb. 8:7-13).
    1. 8:7: If the first covenant was sufficient, there would be no need for a second covenant.
    2. As we saw earlier, the design of the first covenant was such that it point to something greater.
    3. Therefore, “fault” was by divine default (choice)!
    4. It was not designed to “perfect” us, therein lies a fault.
    5. 8:8: as he introduces the long quotation from Jeremiah in 8:8-12, you can see that the preacher is focusing on the first covenant and its “fault.”
    6. “With them”: a textual variant may indicate that it should read this way “But showing its fault, God says to them” because God is not finding fault with the people. If this were the case, it would seem to contradict verse seven which indicates that the first covenant was the one at fault. [see NET bible note on this verse, also Metzger]
    7. The preachers main argument with quoting Jeremiah is this: the way the old covenant worked was when Israel decided not to “continue in my covenant” (8:9) that the Lord “disregards them” meaning, he does not bless them and must punish them for their sin.
    8. But the new covenant will be different, as outlined in verses 10-12. Clearly, the new covenant is superior to the old covenant in the sense that there is protection from disobedience and a closeness to God. He can be merciful, therefore, to our iniquities.
    9. Therefore, the major point, is that when he says it’s a “new” covenant, the first one therefore is obsolete and about ready to pass off the scene. In just a few short years from when this message was delivered, the Jewish Temple would be destroyed in A.D. 70.
    10. This is a new covenant in sense of quality, not time.
      • You can buy a new, used car (from 1969), replacing your “old” car (from 1997) if your 1969 car is a Ferrari with 2,500 miles on it and your 1997 car is an old Chevy Lumina van with 250000 miles on it. Quality is the focus.
  2. OC regulations were insufficient and prove the coming of the NC (9:1-10)
    1. Introductory statement (9:1)
      • Introduces his 2 topics “regulations of divine worship” (9:6-7) and regulations of “the earthly sanctuary” (9:2-5).
    2. OC earthly sanctuary regulations (9:2-5)
      • Outer tabernacle (9:2)
      • Inner tabernacle (9:3-5)
    3. OC worship regulations (9:6-7)
    4. Point: Since even the priests had limited access to God, the Holy Spirit is symbolizing that no one had access to God’s presence all the time while the tabernacle was still standing and the Mosaic rituals were symbols of what has now been fulfilled (9:8-9a).
    5. Point: Also, has argued before, sacrifices were not able to make the worshiper blameless in his conscience.
      • “perfect in conscience.” This is the same word used previously to describe the installation of a priest. However here, when its object is different, we should interpret it as we normally would as “to make blameless” or “complete.”
      • 9:9, these sacrifices only dealt with the exterior of man, not his conscience.
      • This included food and drink, etc.
      • And these regulations were only imposed for a limited time. Until a time of “reformation” which was when Jesus inaugurated his own priesthood. Therefore, those regulations were no longer in force when Christ ascended to the Father.

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  1. At His coming, Christ became the mediator of that NC (9:11-28)
    1. This NC: Christ entered the heavenly most holy place by his own blood, securing eternal redemption and purification of conscience (9:11-14)
      • What Christ Mediates (9:11)
        1. “High priest of good things to come” He is the mediator of the new covenant, which is the good things to come. We have excellent things in store for us!
      • How Christ entered God’s Presence: Through the Heavenly Sanctuary
        1. this sanctuary is greater and more perfect
        2. it is not made with hands
        3. it is not of this creation
      • How Christ entered God’s Presence: Through His own Blood (9:12)
        1. In contrast to the Old Testament priests, Christ did not enter into the earthly sanctuary by the blood of goats and calves. Christ entered the heavenly sanctuary through his own blood.
        2. Christ entered the holy place “once for all.”[1] Christ entered the holy place one time and the “for all” refers to for all of time. He only needed to enter one time for all eternity.
      • What Christ Secured: Eternal Redemption (9:12b)
        1. He secured a purchasing back of us from sin to be in right relation to God. It is eternal. Right relationship with God in the Old Testament required continual sacrifices.

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He secured eternal redemption, really? Yes…he offered himself through the eternal Spirit (9:14).

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  • What Christ’s blood cleanses: Your conscience (9:13-14)
    1. The OT sacrifices sanctified for the cleansing of the body. Numbers 19:9. If the worshiper obeys the requirements, the priest could pronounce him clean and able to worship.
    2. Stated: If animals blood cleansed the exterior, how much more will the Christ’s blood cleanse the interior?
    3. Proved: Christ offered himself without blemish to God through the eternal Spirit.
      • The Old Testament sacrifices were required to be without blemish on the exterior while Christ was without blemish on the interior. Therefore, Christ can cleanse the interior.
      • Christ offered himself through the eternal Spirit. It is the fact that Christ’s offering was through the eternal Spirit that provides eternal redemption.
        1. Everything that Christ did in the Gospels was clearly done in the power of the Spirit. The Scriptures clearly state that He was born by the Holy Spirit, he worked miracles in the power of the Spirit, and He was led into temptation by the Holy Spirit. And here clearly we have Christ and He died by the Spirit.
    4. Therefore, your conscience is cleansed from dead works to serve the living God, v.14.
      • Contrast between “dead works” and “the living God.”
      • Christ’s sacrifice cleanses us from a conscience that requires us to perform dead works for salvation. This is the way the Jews were to whom the preacher may have been preaching.
      • Whereas in the Old Testament sacrificial system they thought they were serving the living God (trying to earn favour), they were not. Now, they are able to serve the living God having trusted in Christ.
  1. This NC: It is a superior covenant in keeping with the OC necessity of death and blood (9:15-28).
    • Purpose of the covenant: The called receive eternal inheritance through his death that frees us from our violations of God’s requirements (9:15)
      1. Since Christ entered the heavenly most holy place by his own blood, securing eternal redemption and purification of conscience … Now, “for this reason” v. 15, because of that, He is the mediator of the new covenant. Who else could mediate it?
      2. The purpose for this mediation is so that the called (those divinely and effectively saved) may receive the eternal inheritance (all of what God has for us).
      3. This eternal inheritance is available to the called because there has been a “death taken place for the redemption of the transgressions committed under the first covenant.”
        • the old covenant made no eternal provision for the sins committed. We can experience deliverance from the guilt which the law pronounces upon all who break its law. The old covenant (Mosaic) gave no deliverance; the new covenant does.
    • Reason for His death: Inauguration of the Covenant (9:16-18).
      1. Recall that one type of covenant is a “will.” That’s the idea with “covenant” here.
      2. If you are the beneficiary of a will there must of necessity be the death of the one who established the will.
      3. This will is only valid and the beneficiaries can only benefit when men are dead. If the “willer” (testator) is alive, it is not enforced.
      4. The first covenant was treated as a “will” in the sense that it required death. In this case, the death of animals.
    • Reason for sacrifices (1st Covenant): Cleansing of things in the earthly sanctuary (9:18-22)
      1. Book and people sprinkled with blood (9:19-20)
      2. Tabernacle and all the ministry vessels are sprinkled with blood (9:21)
      3. In fact, almost all things are sprinkled with blood for forgiveness (9:22)
        • Forgiveness: E.g., Lev. 4:20
      4. This section (9:18-22): Inauguration of this first covenant required blood. No forgiveness without blood. This is the first covenant.
    • Reason for Christ’s sacrifice: Heavenly things require sufficient sacrifices (9:23-28).
      1. He just proved that “the copies,” that is “the earthly sanctuary, “ a copy of the heavenly sanctuary” must be cleansed with “these,” that is the sacrifices mentioned in 9:19.
      2. But the true tabernacle, the heavenly things require better sacrifices than these sacrifices mentioned in 9:19.
      3. It was sufficient for copies to be sanctified by earthly animals. But the heavenly required something better.
      4. The preacher now transitions from a discussion of the earthly things that were cleansed to a discussion of Christ ministry in the heavenly tabernacle. Can Christ really enter heaven and cleanse the heavenly things? Yes, because Christ did not enter a holy place made with hand, the copy, but he entered into heaven itself. And he’s there to appear in the presence of God for us. So yes he can enter heaven and cleanse the heavenly things. (9:24).
      5. 9:25-28 tell us why Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient to cleanse the heavenly things. It is sufficient because he only had to offer himself once and not often.
        • The high priest entered the holy place every year with something else’s blood. He would have to offer it often, every year. Christ did not offer himself often like the high priest did.
        • If Christ indeed had to suffer often he would have had to suffer since the foundation of the world.
          1. This is probably because of the origin of sin. If multiple sacrifices are required to put away multiple sins, then it is assumed that those multiple sacrifices occur in conjunction with those multiple sins.
          2. But that is not the case. He suffered once at the consummation of the ages, meaning, at the “fullness of time.” At that time, he was “manifested,” he appeared in order to put away sin through the sacrifice of himself.
          3. He “put away” sin. This word is a legal term, having the idea, “to refuse to recognize the validity of something – ‘to reject, to regard as invalid, annulment.” It is the same word used in Hebrews 7:18 to refer to “setting aside” of the first covenant. Just like the first covenant is disregarded and God no longer governs his people concerning the OC, so also God no longer governs his people according to their sin who have trusted in Christ. Their eternal standing with him is no longer with reference to their sin.

“Once for all”

  1. 9:27-28 is a comparison with how many times man dies (once) to how often Christ had to be sacrificed (once).
    1. Just like it’s appointed to man to die one time and then after this comes judgment…
    2. so also Christ was offered one time to bear the sins of many.
    3. The time of this judgment of man comes at the end of days. This recalls to mind for the preacher that Christ will also appear a second time at the end of days.
    4. However, this time, Christ will come for salvation without reference to sin. Whereas his first appearing was with reference to sin, 9:26, this second appearing will not be for that purpose it it will be for salvation for those who eagerly await him.

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  1. Christ’s New Covenant Sacrifice exceeds the Old Covenant Sacrifices (10:1-18)

Note statements on the Law (10:1,7,8). Remember, there is a close eye between the Law and sacrifices. The priesthood of a law offers sacrifices for those who have violated that law.

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Note also how the author transitions from discussions about the old covenant sacrifices and the new covenant sacrifice.

1-4: OC sacrifices.

5-10: NC sacrifice.

11: OC

12-18: NC

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  1. It translates one Greek word. Its usage in other passages indicates that the idea has referenced time.

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