Hebrews Eight

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Hebrews 8:1 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;

the sum. The “sum” means the “most important.”

set. The priests of the Aaronic priesthood did not sit down when they entered the holy place (note Hebrews 10:11: “And every priest standeth daily ... ”). The sacrifices had to be offered every day by the ancient priests, but Christ offered one sacrifice for all sins forever, and thenceforth was seated at the right hand of the Father.

Hebrews 8:2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

true tabernacle. The only true tabernacle is in heaven (Revelation 21:3, 10-11), but God's glory had filled its earthly model (Exodus 40:34) when its construction was carried out according to the pattern given by God to Moses (Hebrews 8:5). Later that same glory “tabernacled” for a time on earth when Christ was born as a man (note John 1:14).

Hebrews 8:3 For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.

somewhat also to offer. He did indeed have somewhat to offer! He offered His own shed blood in the holy place in the heavenly tabernacle, once for all (Hebrews 10:12-14).

Hebrews 8:4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:

Hebrews 8:5 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 showed to thee in the mount.

example. The “example” is an actual set of plans, as it were, and Moses was instructed concerning all its details. The earthly tabernacle seems to have been an actual model of the heavenly tabernacle, with both serving as types of the spiritual tabernacle, the Lord Jesus Christ. The heavenly tabernacle is a real physical structure in the real place called Heaven (note John 14:2, 3).

saith he. This commandment is quoted from Exodus 25:40.

Hebrews 8:6 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.

mediator. With reference to Christ's function as “mediator” of the new covenant, see also Hebrews 9:15; 12:24. As mediator between men and God, He has revealed and implemented the new covenant.

Hebrews 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

Hebrews 8:8 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:

new covenant. Hebrews 8:8-12 constitute a quotation from Jeremiah 31:31-34. Note that this “new covenant” is specifically affirmed, both by Jeremiah and here in the book of Hebrews, to be with Israel and Judah, not with the Christian church. However, since the covenant includes the promise of eternal forgiveness (Hebrews 8:12), it is evident that it applies only to those in Israel and Judah who have been redeemed through faith in Christ, not only as their Messiah but also as their Savior. See notes on Jeremiah 31:31-37, notes on Romans 11:25-26, and notes on Ezekiel 36:24-28. The promise must be fulfilled in the coming millennium, after “the time of Jacob's trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7-9) during the “great tribulation” (Matthew 24:21). At the climax of that terrible time, the people of Israel still living will all believe on Him “whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him” (Zechariah 12:10). “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness” (Zechariah 13:1). At the same time, since believers from both Israel and the Gentiles have been made one in Christ (Ephesians 2:11-18), the “new covenant,” or “new testament,” becomes applicable also to Gentile believers (note Matthew 26:28; 1 Corinthians 11:25; Hebrews 9:15; 12:24).

Hebrews 8:9 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.

Hebrews 8:10 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:

Hebrews 8:11 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.

Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

Hebrews 8:13 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.

vanish away. In effect the old covenant with Israel, a conditional covenant made at the time of Moses and the Ten Commandments (Exodus 19:5-8), began to decay when Israel rejected Christ (Luke 19:37-44) and finally vanished away completely with the destruction of the temple in a.d. 70.