Hebrews
Instructor's Notes

CHAPTER EIGHT


OVERVIEW:

Commentary on Hebrews, by John Gill

apostle observing that the priesthood of Christ is the sum of what he had treated of in the preceding chapter, proceeds to shew the superior excellency of it in other instances, particularly in the place where Christ now officiates, which is in heaven; he being set down at the right hand of God there, and so was a minister of the sanctuary, and true tabernacle pitched by God, and not man; whereas the priests of Aaron’s line only ministered on earth, and in the typical sanctuary and tabernacle (vv. 1, 2). And after he had observed that Christ must have something to offer, meaning his body, to answer to the gifts and sacrifices priests were ordained to offer (v. 3). He proves the necessity of his ministering in heaven, because if he was on earth he would not be a priest, a complete one, and would have been useless and needless (v. 4). And besides, it was proper that he should go up to heaven, and minister there, as the antitype of the priests, who, to the example and shadow of heavenly things, served in the tabernacle which was made by Moses, by the order of God, and according to the pattern shewed him in the Mount (v. 5). And that the ministry of Christ in the true sanctuary is much more excellent than the ministry of the priests in the shadowy one, is evident from his being the Mediator of a better covenant (v. 6). And that the covenant he is the Mediator of is the better covenant, appears from the better promises of which consists, and from the faultiness of the former covenant (vv. 6, 7). And that that was faulty, and succeeded by another, he proves from a passage in Jeremiah 31:31-34, in which mention is made of a new covenant, and as distinct from that made with the Jewish fathers, and violated by them; and several of the promises of this new and second covenant are rehearsed, and which manifestly appear to be better than what were in the former (vv. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12). From all which the apostle concludes, that a new covenant being made, the old one must be antiquated; and that whereas it was decaying and waxing old, it was just ready to vanish away (v. 13).

Hebrews 8:1-13

Since Christ has ascended to the right hand of God, and now sits there as a Priest upon His throne, proof has been given that He is not a minister of the earthy and Jewish sanctuary, but of the antitypical and heavenly one. A. W. P.

II. The Superiority of Christ’s Covenant 8:1-13
     A. A Better Covenant 8:1-6
     B. A New Covenant 8:7-13

INTRODUCTION: Hebrews 8:1-6

With the beginning of chapter eight, we come to the close of the first major section of the Epistle to the Hebrews. The key thought in this section is “the Superiority of Christ” where Jesus is shown to be superior to the prophets (Heb. 1:1-3); to angels (Heb. 1:4-2:18); to Moses (Heb. 3:1-5); and, to Aaron and his Levitical priesthood (Heb. 5:1-10; 7:1-20).

The next major section really begins in earnest with verse 7 in which the key thought will be the “Superiority of the New Covenant.” The New Covenant is based on better promises (Heb. 8:7-13); a better sanctuary (Heb. 9:1-28); and, a better sacrifice (Heb. 10:1-18).

In Hebrews 8:1-6 there is a transition in which the main point of the first section is summarized and the main points in the next section are introduced. Indeed, these six verses truly summarize what the “writer” seeks to establish in the first ten chapters of the epistle. It can be summarized in these words: “We have such a High Priest.” A glorious High Priest by the name of Jesus!

1 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;

·        “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum:” - The general reference being to the entire contents of the epistle...the specific to what is found in 4:14 to 10:18 and supports Psalm 110:4. It is here that all the previous teaching of the epistle culminates for the priesthood of Christ is its distinguishing theme.

·        “We have such an high priest,” - this defines the relation of Christ to God’s elect: fallen angels and reprobate sinners have no High Priest...this is reason why their punishment shall be eternal. As the saints of God, we are not without an High Priest who has been exalted in dignity far above those carnal priests of the law.

·        “Who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;” - Notice that our High Priest is “set” whereas the Levitical priests stood in the presence of God...this shows that Christ’s work is complete and has been accepted by God the Father. This position is one of honor, glory, majesty, and authority. Therefore, Christ, presently is in a durable and abiding state wherein He continues to discharge His priestly office. He is incomparably exalted (“in the heavens”) above Aaron and his successors.

The phrase “the Majesty in the heavens” is a Jewish circumlocution (a roundabout saying) meaning “God”…or a roundabout way of referring to God. Many passages refer to Jesus at the Right Hand of God.

1.      David prophesied that the Messiah would sit at God’s right hand:

Ž      Psalm 110:1— “1 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”

2.      Jesus said that He would sit at the right hand of God.

Ž      Mark 14:60-62— “60 And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? 61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? 62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”

3.      When Christ ascended to heaven, He then sat down at God’s right hand.

Ž      Mark 16:19— “19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.”

Ž      Hebrews 12:2— “2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

4.      At God’s right hand, Christ poured forth the Holy Spirit.

Ž      Acts 2:33— “33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.”

5.      Peter preached Jesus as being exalted to be at God’s right hand as our Prince and Savior.

Ž      Acts 5:30-31— “30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. 31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”

6.      Paul taught that Jesus is at God’s right hand, interceding for us.

Ž      Romans 8:34— “34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”

7.      Christ is at God’s right hand waiting the destruction of His enemies.

Ž      Hebrews 10:12-13— “12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.”

8.      While Christ waits, He rules!

Ž      Psalms 110: 1-2,5: — “1 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. 2 The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. 5 The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.”

Ž      1 Corinthians 15:24-26— “24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”

9.      For at God’s right hand, Christ is above all other authority.

Ž      Ephesians 1:20-22— “20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,”

Ž      1 Peter 3:22— “22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”

Exalted to such a place of honor and authority, we truly have a “glorious” High Priest, one who is “the ruler over the kings of the earth” (Rev. 1:5)!

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

·        “A minister of the sanctuary,” - that is, the heavenly sanctuary which is an allusion to the holy of holies, the type of it. Christ, in His exalted glory, still condescends (doing something beneath one’s rank) to exercise the office of a public minister in the behalf of His church. Heaven is here called “the sanctuary” because it is really there that dwells and actually abides all that was typically prefigured in the holy places of Israel’s tabernacle.

·        “And of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” - The “true tabernacle” is here contrasted with the tabernacle of Israel, which was typical, shadowy, and temporary...Israel’s tabernacle was but an effigy (a crude representation) of the antitypical one (which is the humanity of Christ, in which He ministers before God on High). The “new” or “true” tabernacle is erected by God and is in fact a heavenly tabernacle.

REVIEW:

John 1 :14 says; “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.” The word “dwelt” may better be translated “tabernacled.” The tabernacle had a typical significance...it foreshadowed God the Son incarnate. Almost everything about the tabernacle foreshadowed vaguely the Word made flesh. Here are but a few examples:

1.   The “tabernacle” was a temporary appointment which foreshadowed Christ’s temporary earthy ministry where He was constantly on the move.

2.   The “tabernacle” was for use in the wilderness...the wilderness strikingly foreshadowed the conditions amid which the eternal Word tabernacled among men at His first advent.

3.   Outwardly, the “tabernacle” was mean, humble, and unattractive in appearance. Nothing “eye-catching” when compared to Solomon’s temple. So it was at the Incarnation...the Divine majesty of our Lord was hidden beneath a veil of flesh.

4.   The “tabernacle” was God’s dwelling place. In the midst of Israel’s camp, God took up His abode. Likewise, in the thirty-three years that the Word tabernacled among men, God has His dwelling place in Palestine. The holy of holies received its antitypical fulfillment in the Person of the Holy One of God.

5.   The “tabernacle” was therefore, the place where God met with men. It was termed “the tent of meeting.” The place where the Israelite could draw near to God. How perfect is this type...Christ is the meeting-place between God and man.

Ž       John 14:16— “16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;”

6.   The “tabernacle” was the center of Israel’s camp...it was the great gathering center. As such, it was a beautiful foreshadowing of the Lord Jesus. He is our great gathering center.

Ž       Matthew 18:20— “20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

7.   The “tabernacle” was the place where the law was preserved.

Ž      Deuteronomy 10:2-5— “2 And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark. 3 And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand. 4 And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the LORD spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the LORD gave them unto me. 5 And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the LORD commanded me.”

Christ, throughout His perfect life preserved in thought, word, and deed, the Divine Decalogue, honoring and magnifying God’s law.      

8.      The “tabernacle” was the place where the sacrifice was made...it was there that blood was shed and atonement was made for sin. So it was with the Lord Jesus. He fulfilled in His own Person the typical significance of the brazen altar, as well as every piece of the tabernacle furniture.

9.   The “tabernacle” was the place where the priestly family was fed.

Ž      Leviticus 6:16, 26— “16 And the remainder thereof shall Aaron and his sons eat: with unleavened bread shall it be eaten in the holy place; in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation they shall eat it… 26 The priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it: in the holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation.”

These Scriptures speak to us of Christ as the “Food” of God’s priestly family.

Ž      1 Peter 2:5— “5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”

...He is the Bread of Life...He is the One upon whom our souls delight to feed.

10. The “tabernacle” was the place of worship...it was the place where the pious Israelite brought his offerings. It is in Christ, and by Him, alone, that we can worship the Father. It is through Him that we have access to the throne of grace.

Thus we see fully and how perfectly the tabernacle of old foreshadowed the Person of our blessed Lord.

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

·        “For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices:” - that was the specific purpose a priest was called by God to office; therefore, Christ, the “great High-Priest,” must have been ordained for that end.

·        “Wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.” - The law appointed priests to offer sacrifices to God; it hence appears that the priesthood is an empty name without a sacrifice. However, Christ, as God, had nothing to offer, or that was capable of being offered with respect to the law. Yet, an offer of sacrifice was necessary to Him as a Priest [Levitical sacrifices would not suffice]; a Levitical sacrifice could not take away sin nor was Christ of the tribe of Levi...it was necessary, that the antitype correspond to the type, therefore, our illustrious Priest should have something to offer, for the purpose of opening His way into the “true” sanctuary. Christ offered up His human nature; and Him now being in the “heavenly” sanctuary, is proof that an expiatory sacrifice has been offered, and the sacrifice has been effectual.

4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:

·        “For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest,” - (this in no way proves that Christ was not a Priest while on earth {Socinians}). The earthly system, Judaism, had its own priests who offered gifts “according to the law.” This mere earthly, typical, inferior priesthood has already been provided for through the administration of the Levitical priesthood who fulfilled its functions ...according to these rules, Christ, therefore, could not be one of them being of a different tribe. Although the Levitical priesthood was in effect while Christ was on earth, it was put aside when Christ was seated in the heavenly places. Christ’s priesthood was perfected.

·        “Seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:” - this states the reason why Christ would not been a perfect priest if He had not gone to heaven: there were already priests, of another tribe of which Christ was not of, that offered gifts on earth....but these priests only served as a shadow (v.5). Nothing but a real priesthood in heaven could supersede and abolish theirs.

5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, 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.

·        “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things,” - Things respecting the Person, office, and grace of Christ...the priests themselves were types of Christ; the places they ministered in were an exemplar (model; pattern) of the heavenly places. The things they ministered by were shadows of the good things which are by Christ...the shadows were mere representations, dark, obscure, and were fleeting and transitory (temporary; fleeting).

·        “As Moses was admonished of God” - Though Moses was educated in all the wisdom of Egypt, that was of no value or avail when it came to spiritual acts. What Moses delivered to the people was from God and was to be received as proceeding from God, thus, “Moses was admonished of God.”

·        “When he was about to make the tabernacle:” - Moses must do as Jehovah had admonished...in connection with worship...it was by Moses’ direction, and under his care and oversight.

·        “For, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.” - While Moses was on Mount Sinai, he was given the pattern for the tabernacle and all its furnishings...it was not a device of Moses, but of God and was so designed in every particular thing with great care and circumspection being taken to the most minute thing.

Ž      Exodus 25:40— “40 And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.”

The practical application to the teaching of verse 5 is: Christians ought to exercise the utmost care and diligence to ascertain the revealed mind of God in what He requires from us in our worship of Him. There was a pattern of worship established as part of the old covenant and we must assume that there is a pattern for the new covenant.

6 But 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.

·        “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry,” - this verse is a transition from one subject to another, namely, from the excellency of the priesthood of Christ above that of the law, to the excellency of the new covenant above the old...Christ’s priesthood and ministry is above that of the law. Christ had “a more excellent ministry” because He is designated “a Minister of the sanctuary.” The service to which Christ has been called is of a higher order and more excellent nature than any which Aaron ever discharged. The ministry of the Levitical priests was but a mere shadow of the ministry of Christ.

Ž      Colossians 2:16-17— “16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”

·        “By how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant,” - that is, the covenant of grace as administered under the Gospel dispensation...which is not only better than the covenant of works, that being conditional, this absolute. “He is the Mediator of a better covenant” because He was made High-Priest by Divine oath, which the Levites were not, which fitted Him to be the Surety of a better economy. As “Surety” Christ pledged ( in eternity past) to see that the terms of the covenant were faithfully carried out. The “new” or “better covenant” is that order of things which has been introduced by Jesus Christ, namely the Christian economy.

“Mediator” - is a middle person between two parties entering into a covenant... this “mediator” was to reconcile the differences separating the two parties. This involved a voluntarily undertaking to serve as Mediator; as such, two things were required of Christ:

1.   Christ should remove whatever kept the covenantor at a distance, taking away the cause of enmity between them;

2.   Christ should purchase and procure, in a way suited to the glory of God, the actual communication of all the good things prepared and proposed in this covenant unto those on whose behalf He acts as Surety.

3.      By His death on the cross, Christ has become the Mediator of the “new” or “better” covenant.

Ž      Hebrews 9:15— “15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”

Ž      Hebrews 12:24— “24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things that that of Abel.”

·        “Which was established upon better promises.” - Every covenant is established on promises...the word “established” means legally established by the law. The “covenant” to which the priesthood of Christ refers has also been established by the law...by Divine authority. However, in the new covenant the promise of spiritual blessings become the principal thing. The “better promises are described in v. 10-13: they are summed up in justification and sanctification and redemption.

CONCLUSION: Hebrews 8:1-6

With this transition passage, then, we are introduced to things that will be expounded upon as we proceed through the epistle. We shall see that there is a better covenant in Christ, based upon its better promises. The better ministry that Christ renders as High Priest, in heaven, is based on His position of being seated at the right hand of God. When such things are properly understood, we can see how Jesus is truly “Our Glorious High Priest.” Christ stands ready and able to minister on our behalf and to aid us in times of temptation.

INTRODUCTION: Hebrews 8:7-13

Up to this point, the focus of the Epistle to the Hebrews has been on Christ’s superiority to the prophets, angels, Moses, and the Levitical priesthood. With the transition of Hebrews 8:1-6, the focus has shifted to the New Covenant. Under this New Covenant we shall see Jesus as our “surety” or “guarantor” (Heb. 7:22) and that of “Mediator” [One who intervenes] (Heb. 8:6). The question now arises, “better than what?”, or “better in what way?” This answer us obvious! The New Covenant is better because of the “promises” contained in it.

7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

·        “For if that first covenant had been faultless,” - The covenant here referred to is that which Jehovah entered with Israel at Sinai.

Ž      Exodus 19:5— “5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:”

Ž      Exodus 34:27, 28— “27 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. 28 And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.”

Ž      Deuteronomy 4:13— “13 And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.”

Israel’s response is recorded in

Ž      Exodus 19:8— “8 And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.”

Ž      Exodus 24:3— “3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.”

Where was the “faultiness?” It was wholly external, accompanied by no internal efficacy (that which produces the desired effect). It was set before Israel an objective standard but supplied no “power” to measure up to it. It was unable to secure actual redemption. It could not expiate moral guilt; it could not wash away moral pollution; it could not justify, it could not sanctify, it could not save.

1.      The faultiness was in the priesthood.

Ž      Hebrews 7:11— “11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need [was there] that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?”

2.      The law made nothing perfect, and therefore annulled due to its weakness and unprofitableness.

Ž      Hebrews 7:18-19— “18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. 19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope [did]; by the which we draw nigh unto God.”

3.      This inadequacy has special reference to the sacrifices of the first covenant.

a)      They could not make those that approached perfect.

Ž      Hebrews 10:1-3— “1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.”

b)      The blood of animals offered by the priests could not take away sin.

Ž      Hebrews 10:4, 11— “4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins…11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:”

·        “Then should no place have been sought for the second.” - that is, the covenant of grace unveiled in the Gospel economy...the better covenant and the new covenant...the first was removed because there was no perfection by the Levitical priesthood...there was need for a better Priest of another order.

8 For 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:

·        “For finding fault with them,” - that is, both with the covenant, which contained faults, and with the people who continued not in it, and were therefore disregarded by the Lord. It was against the people that God complained for their having broken His covenant.

1.      God found fault because the people did not continue in His covenant.

Ž      Jeremiah 11:7-10— “7 For I earnestly protested unto your fathers in the day that I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, even unto this day, rising early and protesting, saying, Obey my voice. 8 Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart: therefore I will bring upon them all the words of them to do: but they did them not. 9 And the LORD said unto me, A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 10 They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words; and they went after other gods to serve them: the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their fathers.”

2.      For this reason did God disregard them, allowing them to be taken away by their enemies.

Ž      Jeremiah 11:11-14— “11 Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them. 12 Then shall the cities of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem go, and cry unto the gods unto whom they offer incense: but they shall not save them at all in the time of their trouble. 13 For according to the number of thy cities were thy gods, O Judah; and according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem have ye set up altars to that shameful thing, even altars to burn incense unto Baal. 14 Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble.”

·        “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:” - The “Behold” announces the importance of what is to follow, and calls diligent attention to the same. Jeremiah 31:31, 32 is the promise of a new covenant by God, made in eternity, concerning the promises of and the grace contained therein; mediated by Christ with the promises put into His hands.

Ž      Jeremiah 31:31-34— “31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

1.      “With the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah;” - denotes the fleshly descendants called “the children of Israel’” that is the Jewish nation and is applied spiritually to the whole of God’s people;

Ž      Galatians 6:16: “16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.”

2.      “I will make,” - signifies, I will consummate, or finish, or end, or fulfill it, which shows the perfection of this covenant (being finished), and the imperfection of the former covenant (temporary). What was typified in the first is fulfilled in the new covenant. The new covenant is now established and ratified by Christ; as such... “it is finished.”...as to the manifestation and administration of it, there shall be no alteration made in it, nor any addition to it.

3.      “The days to come,” - are the last days or the days of the Messiah.

9 Not 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.

 “Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers” - that is, the ancestors of the Jews at Mount Sinai.

·        “In the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt;” - the old covenant is spoken of as dating from the day when the Lord took Israel, “by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. “This language emphasizes the woeful and helpless condition that Israel was then in: unable to deliver themselves out of their bondage, like children incapable of walking unless supported and led. There was a weakness and inability to deliver themselves [much the same as the sinner in his fallen state]

·        “Because they continued not in my covenant,” - they soon forgot God’s works:

            1.      They waited not for His counsel

Ž       Psalm 106:13— “13 They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel:”

2.      The principal reference is to Israel’s conduct at Sinai, when during the absence of Moses in the mount, they “ thrust Him from them (Acts 7:39), and made and worshipped the golden calf.

Ž      Acts 7:39— “39 To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt,”

3.      They promised to keep the covenant:

Ž      Exodus 19:8— “8 And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.”

Ž      Exodus 24:3— “3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.”

4.      But their hearts were not right with God, and they were not steadfast in His covenant, and therefore their carcasses fell in the wilderness.

Ž      Hebrews 3:17— “17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? [was it] not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?”

·        “And I regarded them not, saith the Lord.” - (See Jer. 31:32) this refers to God’s governmental dealings with Israel: the severity he exercised, consuming them in the wilderness. God was aggravated by the continual sin...they treated Him with contempt and were justly rewarded.

Ž      Jeremiah 31:32— “32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:”

10 For 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:

·        “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel” - that is , this is the sum and substance of the covenant, which God promised to make with, or to make manifest and known to His chosen people.

The design of the apostle is to prove that the Lord Christ is the Mediator and Surety of a better covenant, than that wherein the service of God was managed by the high priests according to the law; for it did not effectually maintain peace and mutual love between God and the people; but being broken by them, they were thereon rejected of God.

·        “After those days, saith the Lord;” - this is the antithesis from “in the day” of verse 9. “After those days” means, following the O. T. era. This time is know as “the time of reformation”; this is the time when the Messiah shall come and the Gospel shall be ushered in.

Ž      Hebrews 9:10— “10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.”

·        “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts:” - these words have reference to the effectual operations of the Spirit in His supernatural and saving illumination of our understandings, whereby we are made habitually conformable unto the whole law of God, which is our rule of obedience in the new covenant... the renewal of the Spirit works in us a submission to the authority and revealed will of God...so in the miracle of the new birth, the Christian is given an ear to heed and a mind to perceive the holiness, justice, and goodness of God’s law.

The “heart” as distinguished from the “mind” comprises the affections of the will. First, the understanding is informed, and then the heart is reformed...and active principle of obedience is imparted which is the love for God Himself. At Sinai God wrote His commandments upon stones to represent the hardness of the hearts of the people...but at regeneration God takes away the heart of stone, and gives a heart of flesh. It is not enough to own a Bible…we must plant God’s Word in our hearts for only then can we truly be born again by the incorruptible seed, the Word of God. Compare the following verses.

Ž      Ezekiel 36:26— “26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”

Ž      James 1:21— “21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”

Ž      1 Peter 1:22-23— “22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”

·        “And I will be to them a God,” - that is, as He is the God in Christ, and of all the elect in Him...God will act towards His people according to all that is implied in the name of God. He will supply all our needs, deliver from all dangers, and bring us into everlasting eternity.

·        “And they shall be to me a people:” - these are a distinct (with duties and dignity) and peculiar people, a people near unto the Lord, and who are all righteous in Christ (dignity and who are made willing in the day of redemption through His power.

11 And 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.

·        “And they shall not teach every man his neighbour,” - The words in verse 11 intimate that under the New Covenant there shall be a striking contrast to the ignorance which characterized the great body of those who were under the Old Covenant; that the revelation of the Divine will shall be far more extensive and clear under the new than under the old economy. They probably also are intended to suggest the idea, that that kind of knowledge which is the peculiar glory of the New Covenant is a kind of knowledge which cannot be communicated by brother teaching brother, but it comes directly from the great Teacher. The New Covenant is not entered as a result of birth; entrance into the New Covenant is a result of coming to know the Lord as a result of power of the Gospel and the working of the Holy Spirit upon the body, soul, and spirit.

Ž      Acts 8:36-38— “36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.”

·        “And every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord:” - the sense is, that men should not only teach, but the Spirit of God should teach with them, and by them; and it stands opposed to particular and pretended revelations. This denotes the abundance of knowledge that should be in the gospel times, which should not be restrained to particular persons (such as the priest).

·        “For all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.” - This “knowledge” of God cannot be imparted by any external teaching alone, but is the result of the Spirit’s operations.

12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

·        “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness,” - this is the great foundational promise and grace of the new covenant. This “mercy” is directed toward sin, for all unrighteousness is sin, being contrary to the justice of God, and His righteous law...this phrase is expressive of God’s forgiveness of it...”mercy” is the spring and the origin of pardon. The way and means by which God pardons, is the propitiatory sacrifice of His Son... “mercy” denotes propitiousness...God pardons none but those to whom He is pacified, or rendered propitious by Christ.

·        “And their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” - “Iniquity” has the force of lawlessness, a setting up of one’s will against God’s, a living to please self rather than for His glory.

“Sins” the missing of a mark will be “remembered no more” by God...that is all kind of sin, original and actual...sins before conversion and afterward.

Ž      1 John 1:9— “9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

These sins God remembers no more; He casts them behind His back, and into the depths of the sea so that when they are sought for they cannot be found...those sins will not be brought to our charge.

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

·        “In that he saith, A new covenant, He hath made the first old.” - If the second covenant is new it reasons that the first is old. The first has become old because of its faultiness and deficiency, its weakness, and unprofitableness, and especially its being antiquated, and made to give way to another.

·        “Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” - the dissolution or disappearance of the old covenant was gradual...it was abolished at the time of Christ’s death; upon His ascension the Spirit was given, and the Gospel published among all nations.

CONCLUSION: Hebrews 8:7-13

The promises of God’s New Covenant were foretold by the prophet Jeremiah and are now fulfilled through the coming of Jesus and with His death on the cross. By such, the New Covenant is blessed with “better promises.” The New Covenant is “better” because of the better sanctuary and the better sacrifice.