Bible Commentaries
Hebrews 8

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary

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Verses 1-6

Hebrews 8:1 to Hebrews 10:18 . The greatness of the High Priest has now been sufficiently proved, and the writer proceeds to demonstrate the greatness of His ministry. This section constitutes the heart of the epistle, as we are expressly told in the opening verse. The point to which the whole discourse has been leading up ( Hebrews 8:1) is this, that Jesus, having taken His place at God’ s right hand, exercises His ministry in the heavenly sanctuary. He acts as High Priest in that eternal tabernacle of which the earthly one was only the shadow and symbol ( Hebrews 8:2).

Hebrews 8:3-6 . That Jesus fulfils His ministry in the heavenly sanctuary is a necessary inference from the fact of His priesthood. The one task of a High Priest is to offer sacrifice in a sanctuary, and Jesus, in virtue of His priesthood, was called to that office. What His sacrifice was will be considered later, but meanwhile it is enough to note that the presentation of an offering was His appointed work ( Hebrews 8:3). The scene of His ministry, however, cannot be anywhere in this lower world. Since He was not of Levitical descent He was debarred from offering any gift in the earthly sanctuary, which is described, in the very passage of Scripture ( Exodus 25:40) that commands the building of it, as only a copy, modelled on the reality which exists in heaven. It follows that His exclusion from an earthly ministry was no token of inferiority. We must infer, rather, that He was called to a priesthood far excelling that of the Levitical priests, just as the covenant for which it stands is far higher than the old covenant, and carries with it far nobler promises ( Hebrews 8:4 ff.).

Hebrews 8:6 . enacted upon: i.e. these promises formed the basis of the covenant, and determined its character.

Verses 7-13

Hebrews 8:7-13 . The promises associated with the old covenant are described in the classical passage of Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 31:31-34), which is now quoted at length. But attention is first called to the fact that another covenant was found to be necessary. “ A place was sought for it”— i.e. God so modified His design as to bring it in— because the original covenant had proved defective. In three points, as the quotation from Jer. shows, the new covenant was grander and more satisfying than that which it displaced. ( a) It ensured that man’ s obedience to God should be a matter of inward choice, not merely of a law imposed from without. By their spontaneous obedience to God, men were to be recognised as indeed His children. ( b) Their knowledge of God was to be immediate and personal, no longer dependent on what they had learned from others. ( c) They were to receive the assurance that all their sins were forgiven. The covenant that carries with it these great promises is described in the prophetic passage as a new one ( Hebrews 8:13). This implies that even in Jeremiah’ s day the first covenant could be regarded as old. It may be assumed, therefore, that in the interval which had elapsed since then it had faded altogether into a thing of the past.

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Hebrews 8". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.