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Saturday, December 9th, 2023
the First Week of Advent
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Bible Commentaries
Hebrews 8

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

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Verses 1-13

Chapter 8

Now of the things which we have spoken this is the essence: We have such a high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heavens; he is a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer [that is the ministry of the priest to offer the gifts and the sacrifices]. For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer the gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example and the shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: See, said the Lord, that you make all things according to the pattern that was shown you on the mount ( Hebrews 8:1-5 ).

The reason why there had to be such complete carefulness in the making of the tabernacle, that he makes it exactly according to the plan that God gave to Moses on the mount, is that the tabernacle is a model of heaven. You want to know what heaven is like? Do you want to know what it looks like and all? then study the tabernacle. The Holy of Holies is a model of the throne of God in heaven. The cherubim there in the tabernacle overshadowing the mercy seat. And so it is a model of the heaven.

Jesus didn't enter into the earthly temple that had been built by Herod the Great. He didn't enter into the Holy of Holies of the earthly temple, but He entered into the heaven, of which the earthly temple was a model. The earthly temple is not the real McCoy. It is just a model of what is real. So Jesus didn't enter into the model, He entered into the real thing. The earthly temple is only a shadow or a model of that which is in heaven. Our great High Priest entered directly into the heavens, of which the earthly tabernacle was only a model, and there He is representing me before God in heaven, not before a model of that whole thing in the Holy of Holies in the temple here on the earth. These things were to serve as an example and a shadow of the heavenly things.

That is why, though oftentimes we get bogged down in Leviticus, if we understand as we are reading in Exodus and Leviticus, we are reading about the temple and the dimensions and the things that were in it. And you go into Leviticus and read about the offerings, then you'll understand more about heaven and the heavenly things. And just to read it as a part of an old dead system that can destroy you. It's like Latin language. In my Latin book in high school someone had written, "Latin is a language dead, as dead as dead can be. First it killed the Romans and now it is killing me." The earthly system was now being abrogated, passing away, because the real has come. The earthly was only pointing forward to when the real should come. Once the real had arrived, no longer necessary for the model, that can be set aside. Now the reality is here.

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 ( Hebrews 8:6 ).

Now as you go back in Exodus chapter 19, and you read the covenant that God made with the nation of Israel, in the giving of the law, the establishing of the priesthood. This covenant that God made with Israel was predicated upon the people's faithfulness and the people's obedience. Verse Hebrews 8:5 of chapter 19, "Now therefore," God said, "if you will obey my voice indeed..." "If," conditional, the covenant just isn't a straight out, flat covenant, unilateral. It is a conditional covenant. "If you will obey my voice indeed and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all the people. For all the earth is mine, and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak," God said to Moses, "to the children of Israel." "And so Moses came down and called for the elders and all and told them of the people, and the people said, 'All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.' And so Moses returned the words of the people of the Lord" ( Exodus 19:5-8 ). Moses went back to the Lord and said, "Hey, they said they will do everything You say." They said that, but they didn't. But you see, the covenant was "if" you will obey my commands, "if," but they did not. And therefore, the first covenant was broken, not by God but by man, because it was predicated upon man's obedience, man's faithfulness. But man was not obedient or faithful.

Now Christ has been the mediator of a new covenant, which is a better covenant, because it is established on better promises. Why? Because the new covenant is not predicated upon my faithfulness. The new covenant is predicated upon God's faithfulness. The new covenant is not predicated upon my work. The new covenant is predicated upon God's work. And because the new covenant is predicated upon the faithfulness and the work of God, it shall stand. It's good. I can enjoy it and be blessed by it, because it isn't conditioned upon me. It is conditioned upon God and His faithfulness. So, the new covenant is a better covenant. The New Testament superior to the Old Testament, or the new covenant superior to the Old Testament, because it is based upon better promises of the work that God has wrought through Jesus Christ, that finished work. Once and for all, offering the sacrifice, and now my just believing in Him. And that is the condition, my believing in Him.

As I believe in Him, He then takes over and begins to work in my life, conforming me into His image. It is not a license to just go out and live a careless, reckless life, just sinning whenever I feel like it. In this new covenant, God begins a work in me. And continues that work in me, of conforming me into that image of Jesus Christ, and actually helping me to be what I could never be by the law. To live a better life that I could ever live, because now I'm living the life of the Spirit, and it is the Spirit of life in Christ conforming me into the image of Christ. You see, laws are only for the lawless. If you live by the right principles, if you're living like Jesus, you don't need laws. You don't need someone telling you what you should or shouldn't do. You do it, because it's now written in my heart and it's something that comes from my heart. It's not an outward yoke that is put upon me, but this new covenant that God has established, not in the tables of stone, but in the fleshly tablets of my heart. So we'll get to that in a minute. We're jumping ahead.

If the first covenant had been faultless [had it been perfect], then there would be no reason sought to have a second covenant ( Hebrews 8:7 ).

If the first covenant could bring man into a righteous state before God, then you wouldn't need another covenant. But it could not, and that's why you needed a New Testament.

For finding fault with them, he said, 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: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not [if you keep my commandments] in my covenant ( Hebrews 8:8-9 ),

It's not going to be like that one predicated upon my obedience.

and I regarded them not, saith the Lord ( Hebrews 8:9 ).

They broke the covenant, so I did not keep the covenant, because they broke it.

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 8:10 ):

You see, it's God's work now. He's going to put His law in my mind and He's going to write it in my heart. What does that mean? It means that God is going to express His will in my life, as I seek Him and as I submit my life to Him, God expresses His will for my life by putting the desire in my heart to do that which He wants done. He puts it into my mind to do something.

I was driving north to Ventura, driving up the freeway through Hollywood. Came to Sunset Boulevard, and I thought, "Beautiful day. I don't have to be in Santa Barbara at any particular time. Why not go the Pacific Coast Highway, slower, but much more beautiful. Just flip the top down and I'll cruise up through Malibu around Point Magu."

So I wound all the way down Sunset Boulevard to Pacific Coast Highway. And as I turned on Pacific Coast Highway there was a young couple there hitchhiking, so I picked them up because I was by myself. I had a chance to witness to them all the way to Ventura, where we pulled off the road and they accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

I went on to Santa Barbara. When I got to Santa Barbara I got a phone call, "Chuck, you've got to come to Santa Ana right away." So I jumped in my car and came right back to Santa Ana. But who put it in my mind, "Why not go by the beach?" Now that would be a natural thing for me to think, because I love the beach. But God said, "I will write my law in their mind." It was just a flash in my mind, why not go the coast route? Enjoy a beautiful day, take a leisure drive. Who put that in my mind? The Lord wrote His law in my mind, because He knew a young couple from Montana were desperate and needed God. I'll write my law in their hearts.

You see, I thought, "I love the beach and I love driving up by Malibu, and I love that whole drive up by Zuma Beach and the whole thing. Why not?" God put it in my heart. I thought, "Wow, this is..." and I love to so that I did it, because that's what I wanted and love to do. I wasn't thinking, "Oh, I've got to go by Malibu and Zuma..ugh." No! It was the desire of my heart. That's where God wrote His law. And as I turned and wound down Sunset Boulevard, God was saying, "Good boy!" Oh, He has made it so easy writing His law right on the fleshly tablets, right in our minds. Not on a table of stone, saying, "Thou shalt...thou shalt not." Now it is, "Oh boy, I'd like to do that. Hey, that would be great." And then all of a sudden I discover that is exactly what He wanted, that is what He had in mind. I'm following the plan of God. Oh, but it's so much fun. Surely if it's God's plan it has to be miserable. I have to be struggling under this heavy cross and just trying my best to rise up under the agony and pain. No way! Jesus said, "My yoke is easy my burden is light. You will find rest for your soul. I'll write my law in your mind and on the fleshly tablets of your heart." That puts it in my reach.

And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more ( Hebrews 8:11-12 ).

Now see, this is God, this isn't me. It's not on my faithfulness now. It's on God's work in my heart, God's work in my mind, God's work in my life. I will know Him. He will reveal Himself. He will be merciful to my failures and He will not remember my iniquities anymore.

In that he saith, A new covenant, he made the first old. Now that which decays and waxes old is ready to vanish away ( Hebrews 8:13 ).

And the old covenant soon vanished. Right after this, the priesthood was over, 70 A.D., the end of the old covenant. And even those Jews today who are orthodox, or claim to be orthodox, are not obedient to the old covenant, because there is no priest. There is no high priest. There is no offering for their sins. They are not keeping covenant with God, no matter how religiously they may watch their diets or keep the Sabbath or offer their prayers at the Western Wall or at the tomb of David or at the tomb of Rachel or at the tomb of Abraham. The old decayed, passed away with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. This was written just six years before the destruction of Jerusalem. So his declaration, "Now that which decays and waxes old is ready to vanish away," was fulfilled within six years. It vanished away.

But ours is an everlasting covenant, this new covenant that God has. A covenant established upon better promises, upon a high priest who does not die, does not change, who does not have to offer sacrifices for His own sins before He offers for me. But once and for all offered the sacrifice before God, by which I am saved to the uttermost as I come to God by Him.

Shall we pray.

Father, we thank you for our great High Priest, Jesus Christ. Who has passed into heaven for us, not into the earthly tabernacle, but, Lord, right there before Your throne, right there on your right hand. And how grateful we are, Father, that You have given to us such a great High Priest who loves us and who has washed us and cleansed us from our unrighteousness and who has changed our hearts and who has changed our minds and who has changed our nature. Through whom we have been born again by the Spirit of God into a spiritual life. Thank You, Father, for the walk and the life in the Spirit that we experience through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Jesus said, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden. Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me." The purpose of these Sunday evening studies is to fulfill the third part of that command of Jesus to learn of Him. The reason why He said, "Learn of Me," is that He knows that the more you know Him, the more you will love Him. Because the more you will realize how much He loves you and all that He has done for you. So we encourage you to continue your reading faithfully. Next week the ninth and the tenth chapters as we continue through the Bible learning about Jesus Christ. For He declared Himself that the volume of the book was written about Him. "Lo, I have come as it is written of Me in the volume of the book to do Thy will, O Lord." And so coming and learning of Him we grow in grace and in knowledge of our Lord and Savior.

And so may the Lord be with you and may the Lord bless you and keep His hand upon your life and watch over you and strengthen you and guide you this week. As He lays upon your heart His desires and His plans, as He plants in your mind His will and His purpose. And may you just have a beautiful week walking in the Lord, obedient unto Him, doing His will. In Jesus' name. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Hebrews 8". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/hebrews-8.html. 2014.
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