Bible Commentaries
Hebrews 8

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Verse 1


Here is the whole point. “This is the climax!” We have such a high priest. “The High Priest we have been describing, who is without fault, sinless, set apart, and raised above the heavens; this is our High Priest – Jesus Christ!” Who sits at the right. His greatness is shown by the fact that he sits at the right side of God in heaven. Compare Ephesians 1:20-21; Hebrews 10:12.

Verse 2


He serves. Compare Hebrews 1:13 and note. The fact that Christ sits at the right side of the throne shows that he has become the one who serves as high priest of heaven. In the real tent. [Tabernacle is an old word which means tent.] The man-made tent is described in Hebrews 9:2-3. The Most Holy Place [sanctuary] in the real tent is heaven itself (Hebrews 9:11).

Verse 3


Is appointed. “Our Lord sitting down at the right side of God in the real tent is proof that he offered an acceptable sacrifice for sin. The very purpose for which a high priest is appointed shows this. As our High Priest, Christ must have something to offer in heaven, which is the only place where he could serve.”

Verse 4


If he were on earth. Jesus could not possibly offer sacrifices in the earthly temple at Jerusalem [which was standing at the time this was written]. He came from the wrong tribe (Hebrews 7:13-14), and there were already priests who were serving in the earthly temple.

Verse 5


Only a copy and a shadow. “Still further proof is that the work which the priests of the Jewish Law do, imitates the true service in heaven. That is, it makes us know there is true service in heaven, even though the things that priests of the Law do are not that true service.” Like the pattern. God’s strict instruction to Moses is used here as proof that the priests served in the earthly tent in imitation of the heavenly things. MacKnight thinks that God explained to Moses that exactness was necessary in constructing the earthly tent for worship and the things that were to be done there, because they were to be a copy and shadow of the true tent and true service in heaven.

Verse 6


Jesus has been given. The Jews thought the earthly service of their priests was perfect. But Christ has been given work which is much greater than theirs!!! Just as. The Jews were proud of the covenant between themselves and God. But the covenant which Jesus arranged between God and men is much better, with much better promises. Compare 1 Corinthians 2:7-10; Romans 8:1-4 and notes.

Verse 7


If there had been. “If the first covenant given on Sinai had been faultless, and sinners could have been put right with God and forgiven by it, a second covenant would never have been introduced!” See Hebrews 7:18-19.

Verse 8


But God finds fault with his people. “This is proved by the prophet Jeremiah, through whom God spoke about a new covenant.” Jeremiah 31:31-34. The Law ritually purified people, but did not purify their conscience (see Hebrews 10:2). A new covenant had to come, because: (1) the first covenant was weak and useless (Hebrews 7:18-19); (2) Jeremiah had predicted a new covenant; (3) when Jeremiah spoke about a new covenant, this made the old covenant obsolete. When I will draw up. It was God who acted in Christ! With 20/20 hindsight, we see God’s promise of the New Covenant in the words of Genesis 3:15. Israel = God’s spiritual Israel among the Gentiles = every Gentile Christian. Judah = God’s people among the Jews = every Jewish Christian.

Verse 9


It will not be like. The first covenant dealt with symbols and externals. The new covenant deals with realities and motivations. They were not faithful. When the Jews were not faithful to their end of the bargain, God turned his back on them and allowed them to be taken over by foreign powers. The new covenant is a more permanent thing, since it is based upon God’s act in Christ!

Verse 10


This is the covenant. This New Covenant: (1) is inward or spiritual; (2) is individual, and therefore universal; (3) is kind and allows forgiveness. The Law is a curse (James 2:10; Galatians 3:10). Whatever forgiveness those who lived under the Law received, came because of God’s act in Christ (see Hebrews 9:15). Minds . . . hearts. This is in contrast to writing them on stone tablets. Their God . . . my people. Compare Revelation 21:3 and note.

Verse 11


Will have to teach. By the old covenant, every Jewish baby was born into the covenant relationship and had to be instructed in his heritage. If they were not taught, they did not know God at all. But no one can be part of the new covenant without first knowing both the Father and the Son. The Book of Acts shows that all become part of this new covenant by faith in Christ, turning from sin, and being buried with Christ in the liquid grave. Because they will all know me. MacKnight sees in this the prediction of Isaiah 11:9. “Because the earth will be as full of awareness of the Eternal, as the water fills up the sea” (Zamenhof).

Verse 12


I will have mercy. When they become part of this New Covenant, all their sins will be canceled! Under the old covenant, the people remembered their sins (Hebrews 10:3) and were never free of them. Christians continue to have their sins canceled, on the basis of 1 John 1:5-10.,

Verse 13


God has made the first one old. “By promising a new covenant, God made the first covenant obsolete and showed that the whole Age of Moses would be terminated and superseded. In actual fact, the Age of Moses terminated at the Cross (see Colossians 2:14 and note). But the Jewish priests continued their service in the temple until Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. See notes on Matthew 24:29-31.

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Hebrews 8". "The Bible Study New Testament". College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.