Bible Commentaries
Hebrews 8

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1

1) "Now, this is the sum," (kepalaion) "Now (here is) a summary," this is the essence, a review, or an abstract of what has been presented in Hebrews 1:1 to Hebrews 7:28.

2) "Of the things which we have spoken," (opi tois legomenois) "Of or over the things (that I have said) being spoken;" This begins an extended summary of matters the writer has already discussed at length, concerning the superiority of Christ as Priest, High Priest, and King over that of the Levitical Law and Melchisedec, and of the church, as superior over the house or program of worship and service that Moses built.

3) "We have such an high priest," (poiouton echomen archierea) "We have, hold, or possess (as our very own) such an high priest," such an high priest as afore described, as holy, harmless, undefiled, in a separate class of nature and conduct from sinners, and from the priests of the Levitical Law order. What is more, our high priest is eternal, has no weakness, will never become weak, sick, die, or cease to make intercession on our behalf - - Hallelujah! What an advocate! Psalms 110:1; Daniel 7:13; Acts 7:55-56. To receive departing souls and intercede for saints on earth Jesus is described as standing or seated in heaven at the right hand of the Father.

4) "Who is set on the right hand," (hos ekathisen en deksia) "Who sat (and is seated) at the right hand," not “on," as when the astute little boy in Sunday School asked, "Teacher, why is Jesus sitting on God’s right hand?" Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Mark 16:19.

5) "Of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens," (tou thronou tes megalosunes en tois ouranois) "Of the throne of greatness (Majesty) in the heavens," Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22. There angels, authorities, and powers are subject to him.

Verse 2

1) "A minister of the sanctuary," (ton hagion leitourgos) "A service-minister of the holy things," that pertain to the church, called from among the Gentiles as a worship and service people for his name sake, John 3:35; Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 1:20-23; Ephesians 3:21; Hebrews 9:8; Hebrews 9:11-12; Hebrews 9:24.

2) "And of the true tabernacle," (kai tes skenes tes alethines) "Even of the true tabernacle," the one of which the tabernacle in the wilderness was only a temporary type. Moses pitched the wilderness tabernacle and old testament covenant, an order of religious services, but Jesus pitched the true tabernacle (house of God, the church), Hebrews 3:1-6; Hebrews 9:11; The house Jesus built and left on earth is the church, the true temporary earthly center of worship and service today, Mark 13:34-37; 1 Timothy 3:15; Ephesians 2:19-22; Ephesians 3:9-10; Ephesians 3:21.

3) "Which the Lord pitched, and not man," (hen epeksen ho kurios ouk anthropos) "Which (true tabernacle) the Lord erected - not man;” The term “pitched" was used with regards to a temporary dwelling or abiding place. Moses pitched the "tent-tabernacle" in the wilderness, in and about which the Mosaic, Levitical program of worship was Divinely established, pointing to man’s need of a Saviour and how to receive him. It was temporary in the sense that it was to last, till Jesus came, then cease its program of worship and service, Galatians 3:19-24.

Our Lord pitched his "true tabernacle," the church, on the shores of Galilee - North of Jerusalem and Judea, Matthew 4:17-19; Matthew 16:18; John 3:28-29; John 20:21; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:25. One day he is to return for his church that he now indwells, for which he intercedes, 2 Corinthians 11:1-2; Revelation 19:5-9.


Sometimes there were more kings than one at Sparta, who governed by joint authority. A king was occasionally sent to some neighboring state in character of a Spartan ambassador. Did he, when so sent, cease to be a king of Sparta, because he was also an ambassador? No, he did not divest himself of his regal dignity, but only added to it that of public deputation. So Christ, in becoming man, did not cease to be God; but though He ever was, and still continued to be, king of the whole creation, acted as the voluntary Servant and Messenger of the Father.

-III. of Truth

Verse 3

1) "For every high priest," (pas gar archiereus) "Because every high priest," or all high priests on earth, among men, even each, without exception, Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 5:1-2.

2) "Is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices," (eis to prospherein dora te kai thusias kathistatai) "is appointed to (for the purpose) offer both gifts and sacrifices," on behalf of the people, sacrifices plus free will offerings, Hebrews 5:11; Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 10:11; Hebrews 11:4. These offerings were inanimate (gifts), animate (animal sacrifices).

3) "Wherefore it is of necessity," (othen ansgkaion) "In the light of this, (type) it is necessary," a matter of obligated need for Jesus Christ to have something to offer as a gift or sacrifice in death and when he entered into heaven itself to make intercession, Hebrews 7:25-27.

4) "That this man have somewhat also to offer," (echein ti kai touton ho prosenegke) "That this (priest) Jesus Christ - also have something which he may offer," to discharge or perform the duties of a priest, Hebrews 10:5-7; Hebrews 10:11-12; Ephesians 5:2. When Jesus offered himself as a sacrifice to God it was pleasing to the Father as a sweet smelling, fragrant odor, Leviticus 1:9; Isaiah 53:11-12; 2 Corinthians 2:15.

Verse 4

1) "For if he were on earth," (ei men oun hen epiges) "If therefore he were on earth," at this time, after the law and worship program of it have been taken out of the way, Matthew 5:17-18; Galatians 3:19; Galatians 3:23-25.

2) "He should not be a priest," (oud’ an hen heireus) "He would not be a priest," a priest of the Mosaic order, because he was of the tribe of Judah, not Levi, and the Law of Moses has by Him now been abolished, Numbers 3:10; Numbers 16:40; Hebrews 7:14. One can not exist as an officer of an office that has been abolished. And the office was abolished when the Law of Moses was set aside, abolished or taken out of the way, See? Colossians 2:14-17; 2 Corinthians 3:13.

3) "Seeing that there are priests that offer gifts," (onton ton prospheronton ta dora) "There being (existing) on earth those priests offering the gifts," whose duties none but the duty constituted or legally ordained could undertake except at the risk of death, Numbers 3:10.

4) "According to the law," (kata nomon) "According to the order of Divine appointment of the Law," imperfect men, imperfect priests, of the tribe of Levi, of the family of Aaron - - Such qualifications were too low, too base for Jesus while on earth, and they would still be, if he were on earth today. For he was born of the tribe of Judah (not Levi) and of the family lineage of David, (not Aaron) and he was without sin, not a sinner, as were all priests of the Aaronic and Levitical and Melchisedec order, see? Matthew 1:3; Luke 3:33; Romans 1:3; Revelation 5:5.

Verse 5

1) "Who serve unto the example and shadows," (oitines hupodeigmati kai skai latreuosin) "Who serve (or did priestly ministry service) as a continuing example and shadow," asa sketch, delineation, or faint outline, projection, Hebrews 9:23. The law was a shadow only.

2) "Of heavenly things," (ton epouranion) "Of the heavenly things," Colossians 2:17; Hebrews 10:1. When the book of Hebrews was written it appears that in about A.D. 64, before Jerusalem was destroyed, the law service of sacrifices were still being made by some.

3) "As Moses was admonished of God," (kathos kechrematistai mouses) "Just as Moses was (has been) warned, Commanded with caution, Exodus 26:30.

4) "When he was about to make the tabernacle," (mellon epitelein ten skenen) "When he was about to begin and to complete the tabernacle," Exodus 27:8-9.

5) "For, See, saith he, that thou make all things," (hora gar phesin poieseis panta) "For he says (continually to Moses) thou shalt make all things," Exodus 25:9; Acts 7:44.

6) "According to the pattern," (kata ton tupon) "According to the type, (specifications);" The sufferings signified in the sacrifices administered by law-priests, typified, how Jesus should suffer for men on earth and minister for them as High Priest in heaven, Hebrews 7:24-25.

7) "Shewed to thee in the mount," (ton deichthenta soi en to horei) "That was shown to thee in the mount," or you were caused to see in Mount Sinai, which was in the wilderness, Exodus 25:9; Exodus 25:40.

Verse 6

1) "But now hath he obtained," (nun de tetuchen) "But now (in continuity) he has obtained," for us in his sacrificial death, resurrection, and mediatorial work, something better - much more glorious, 2 Corinthians 3:6-11.

2) "A more excellent ministry," (diaphoroteras leitourgias) "A more excellent ministry," than that of earthly priests, Hebrews 10:8-9.

3) "By how much also," (hoso kai) "By so much," so much more of an excelling ministry, than that of the Levitical priesthood, Hebrews 7:22.

4) "He is the mediator of a better covenant," (kreittonon estin diathekes mesites) "He is (exists as) mediator of a better covenant," Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 12:24. Jesus is that go-between of sinful man and the Holy God, who by his blood brings the penitent sinner in holy harmony with God, 1 Timothy 2:5-6.

5) "Which was established upon better promises," (hetis epi kreittosin epangelliais nenomothetetai) "Which has been enacted on better promises;” to keep all who come to him for salvation, saved thereafter in time and eternity, John 6:37; John 3:16; John 3:18; John 5:24; John 10:27-29; Never to leave or forsake any, but to save to the uttermost those who come to God by him, Hebrews 7:25; 2 Timothy 1:12.

Verse 7

1) "For if that first covenant had been faultless," (ei gar he prote ekein en amenptos) "For if that first (covenant) was (had been, existed) faultless," and it did not, Romans 8:3; Hebrews 7:11. There was weakness and unprofitableness in it, for it could not remit sins, Hebrews 7:18; Galatians 4:9, speaks of the law-covenant as having "weak and beggarly elements."

2) "Then should no place have been sought for the second;” (ouk an deuteras ezeteito) "Then a second place (for a covenant) would not have been sought." There would not have been a need for a new covenant, Hebrews 9:13; Hebrews 10:9, asserts that "he taketh away the first, that he may establish the second."

The message of his redemptive covenant has been specifically and restrictedly committed to the custodial and administrative charge or care of his church, which he has purchased with his blood, which he indwells with his Holy Spirit, and promises to be with always, Matthew 28:18-20; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 1:20-23; Ephesians 3:21; Ephesians 5:15; John 14:16-17.

Verse 8

1) "For finding fault with them, he saith," (memphomenos gar autous legei) "For finding fault with them, he says," he speaks, has somewhat to say because of the faults and weaknesses, infirmities, etc. of the priests, sacrifices, ordinances, etc. and their insufficiencies and inadequacies, Jeremiah 31:32-34.

2) "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord," (idou hemerai erchontai legei kurios) "Behold, days are coming, (approaching) says (the) Lord," the day of God’s new or restored covenant to natural Israel when they shall be graffed into God’s purpose again, Romans 11:23-25.

3) "When I shall make a new covenant," (kai sunteleso diatheken kainen) "And I will effect a new covenant," complete, bring to fruition, or to fullness, a new covenant, Jeremiah 33:12-17.

4) "With the house of Israel," (epi ton oikon Israel) "Upon or over the house hold of Israel," to restore National and natural Israel to her land in peace, Jeremiah 32:40.

5) "And with the house of Judah," (kai epi ton oikon iouda) "And upon or over the household of Judah," Jeremiah 31:31; Over it our Lord is to reign in regal royalty forever, Luke 1:32-33.

This future reign of Christ is a new covenant to Israel and Judah only in the sense that he reinstitutes or restores blessings promised in his first covenant to them, blessings delayed because of their sins, Romans 11:20-22.

Verse 9

1) "Not according to the covenant," (ou kata ten diatheken) "Not according to the covenant," of the Law, Deuteronomy 27:9-10; Deuteronomy 29:1; Deuteronomy 29:9.

2) "That I made with their fathers," (hen epoiesa tois patrasin auton) "Which I made with their fathers," Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, then with all Israel, as recounted in blessings and curses, Deuteronomy 27:1 to Deuteronomy 29:29.

3) "In the day when I took them by the hand," (en hemera epilabomenou mou tes cheiros auton) "In the day when I took their hand (in mine), as he led them affectionately out of the land of bondage and oppression, as described, Exodus 12:1 to Exodus 14:31.

4) "To lead them out of the land of Egypt," (eksagagein autos ek ges aiguptou) "To lead them forth progressively out of or from the land of Egypt," and he did, demonstrating his care for them, formerly pledged in Abraham, Genesis 12:1-3; 1 Corinthians 10:1-6.

5) "Because they continued not in my covenant," (hoti autoi ouk enemeinan en te diatheke mou) "Because they continued (or remained) not in my covenant," rebelled against the Law covenant, bringing this Divine indictment, Judges 2:20-21; 2 Kings 17:15-18; Jeremiah 15:1-3.

6) "And I regarded them not, saith the Lord," (kago emelesa auton legei koerios) "And I disregarded them, says the Lord," this is a statement of God’s abandoning Israel from her covenant, land-grant inheritance, setting her aside because of her chosen rebellion, Romans 11:25; Matthew 23:37-39.

Verse 10

1) "Because this is the covenant that I will make," (hoti aute he diatheke hen diathesomai) "Because this is (exists as) the covenant which I will covenant, make or establish of my own will or accord," Hebrews 10:16-17; Jeremiah 31:31-32.

2) "With the house of Israel after those days," (to oiko Israel meta tas hemeras ekeinas) "To, toward, or with the household of Israel after those days," Jeremiah 31:1; Jeremiah 31:33-34.

3) "Saith the Lord," (legei kurios) "Says or certifies the Lord," as follows: Hosea 2:23.

4) "I will put my laws into their mind," (didores nomous mou eis ten dianoian auton) "I will give or dole my laws into their minds," into their inward parts, comprehension, Jeremiah 4:2; Psalms 37:30-31; Ezekiel 36:26-29.

5) "And write them in their hearts," (kai epi kardias auton epigrapso autous) "And I will inscribe them (my laws) upon their hearts(seat of affections or emotions)," 2 Corinthians 3:3; Psalms 40:8.

6) "And I will be to them a God," (kai esomai autois eis theon) "And I will be or exist of my own will or accord (a) true God unto them, instead of many gods, Zechariah 8:8.

7) "And they shall be to me a people," (kai autoi esontai moi eis laon) "And they shall be, of their own will or accord, a people unto me," Zechariah 13:9, a believing and obedient people, 1 Peter 2:9-10; 2 Corinthians 6:16-18.

Verse 11

1) "And they shall not teach," (kai ou me didaksosin) "And by no means may they teach," have to teach. This describes the future state of restored and believing natural Israel, at the return of the Lord, Isaiah 54:1-13.

2) "Every man his neighbor," (kekastos ton politen autou) "Each man his citizen- neighbor," the one residing near him, his fellow-citizen, John 6:45.

3) "And every man his brother," (kai hekastos ton adelphon autou) "And (by no means may they teach) each man his brother," for "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord," Isaiah 11:9.

4) "Saying, Know the Lord," (legon gnothi ton kurion) "Saying know the Lord," or "recognize thou the Lord," the Master, John 17:3. For by his mercy they will know Him.

5) "For all shall know me," (hoti pantes eidesousin me) "Because all (of Israel) will perceive, know, or recognize me," 1 John 2:27, because of the anointing and witnessing of the Holy Spirit, 1 John 4:13; Romans 8:14-16.

6) "From the least to the greatest," (apo mikrpu heos megalou auton) "From (the) little to (the) great of them," from the least to the greatest, or from the minimum to the maximum of them in comprehension, 1 John 2:20; Isaiah 11:9-10.


Weak Christians have infirmities, but infirmity supposes life; and we must not despise them - - not in heart, word, or carriage. We must rather deny ourselves than offend them. We must support them - - bear them as pillars bear the house; as the shoulders a burden; as the wall the vine; as parents their children; as the oak the ivy, and this because they are brethren. Are they not of the same body? Shall the hand cut off the little finger because it is not as large as the thumb? Do men throw away their corn because it comes into their barns with chaff? They are weak. Bear with them out of pity. In a family, if one of the little ones is sick, all the larger children are ready to attend it, which they need not do if it were well. It should be done, likewise, because Jesus Christ does so. "Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" -the law of His command, and the law of His example. He takes special care of His lambs, will not quench the smoking flax, and is touched with the feeling of our infirmities.

P. Henry

Verse 12

1) "For I will be merciful," (hoti hilios esomai) "Because I will be merciful," of my own will, accord, or choice. Even now "it is because of his mercies we are not consumed," every day, La 3:22, 23; Malachi 3:6; Micah 6:8.

2) "To their unrighteousness," (tais adikiais auton) "To or toward their unrighteousness;" In mercy God covenants to deal with Israel’s unrighteousness at the Lord’s return to the earth, Hebrews 4:16. In their sins and unrighteousness man needs mercy, not justice, 1 Peter 1:3.

3) "And their sins and their iniquities," (kai ton hamartion auton) "And their sins of moral and ethical misconduct," as forbidden under the law, the old covenant, and as atoned for by annual appointment, Exodus 20:1-17; Exodus 30:10; 2 Samuel 7:9; 2 Samuel 7:12; 2 Samuel 7:15.

4) "Will I remember no more," (ou me mnestho eti) "By no means may I remember, not (any) more," or call to mind against them any more; Hebrews 10:17; Isaiah 44:21-22; Romans 11:24-31; Romans 11:33. They will not have their former sins called to their minds as they did under the old covenant of annual atonement of recall and acknowledgment of sins, Isaiah 43:25.

Verse 13

1) "In that he saith," (en to legein) "When he says," repeatedly until today. For his word is true, trustworthy, from the beginning, Psalms 119:160.

2) "A new covenant, he hath made the first old," (kainen pepalaioken ten proton) "New" (this indicates) "That he has made the first (to be) old;” The new covenant of redemption pledge makes (assures) that the one coming to Christ by repentance and faith shall be born again, or become anew creature in Christ, John 6:37; 2 Corinthians 5:17.

3) "Now that which decayeth and waxeth old," (to de palaioumenon kai geraskon) "And the thing growing old and being made old," existing in an old and growing old state or condition of being - the Mosaic law covenant, the old covenant of Hebrew worship and Divine service was properly decaying and passing in the A.D. 60’s as this book was written, being supplanted by the new covenant fellowship of worship and service, called the church, Matthew 16:18; Matthew 28:18-20; John 20:21; 1 Timothy 3:15; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 3:21.

4) "Is ready to vanish away," (engus aphanismou) "Is near vanishing," having passed completely away already - When Paul was writing this epistle. It was soon thereafter in A.D. 70 that Titus of Thespasia overran Jerusalem, sacked the city, destroyed all the temple area and drove out the Jews from which they were driven among all nations without a temple, place of sacrifice, homeland, or center of worship, until their rapidly returning, regathering, and reorganizing nation exists again, since 1948; Matthew 24:3; Luke 21:20-24.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Hebrews 8". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. 1985.