Bible Commentaries

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Hebrews 8


Questions For Hebrews Chapter Eight

1.What does Paul now do as to the things spoken?

2.State what he says we have.

3.Where is he set?

4.In what place did priests of Aaron serve?

5.Of what is Christ the minister?

6.How was it the Lord pitched and not man?

7.What is this tabernacle?

8.For what is every high priest ordained?

9.Who is "this man" in verse three?

10.Why should he not serve as priest on earth?

11.Under what law did Christ live?

12.Compare this thought with Matthew 8:4.

13.When did Christ become priest?

14.By what offering did he become such?

15.Of what was the old priesthood a shadow?

16.State the source of the pattern or substance.

17.State the injunction God gave Moses?

18.Who is meant by "he" verse6?

19.For whom is the mediator?

20.What are the better promises referred to here?

21.How was the first covenant found to be?

22.What fault was found with it?

23.State what he promised to make.

24.Why with houses of Israel and Judah?

25.Was it to be like the first one?

26.In what day did he make the first one?

27.Who are meant by the fathers?

28.How had they treated God"s covenant?

29.In turn how had he regarded them?

30.What is the house of Israel here meant?

31.In what place will the law be put?

32.Contrast this with placing of Mosaic law.

33.Where will the new law be written?

34.What part of man is this?

35.At what age could first brotherhood be entered?

36.Does above teaching exclude paper from use?

37.Can the heart of an infant receive law?

38.Must all this house of Israel receive the law?

39. Will this permit infants as members?

40.They will not teach what?

41.Whom shall they not teach this?

42.All who shall know the Lord?

43.What must one know to become a brother now?

44.Was this true of the brotherhood of circumcision?

45.How can there be least and greatest in the Church?

46.In what manner will unrighteousness be treated?

47.Does he promise not to remember against them?

48.What does "new covenant" imply?

49. Were both in force at the same time?

50. State the fate of that which is decayed with age.

Verse 1

Sum is from KEPHALAION which Thayer defines. "The chief or main point, the principal thing." It refers to what Paul said in the, preceding chapter, together with what follows in the present one, concerning the priesthood of Christ. Such an high priest has virtually the same significance as sum. The Levitical priests served in Jerusalem while Christ is at the right hand of his Father. Majesty pertains to the greatness of the throne of God. In the heavens has the same significance as "higher than the heavens" in Hebrews 7:26.

Verse 2

The building used in the Mosaic system was regarded as a sanctuary (holy place) and a tabernacle as truly as is the one in the service under Christ. The difference is in the description given in the rest of this verse. True tabernacle means that of which the first one was a type. Pitched is defined by Thayer as follows: "To make fast, to fix; to fasten together, to build by fastening together." The Lord directed the building of the Old Testament tabernacle, but it was made of literal material and the work was actually done by human hands (See Exodus 36:1-38; Exodus 37:1-29; Exodus 38:1-31; Exodus 39:1-43; Exodus 40:1-38.) The last tabernacle employed the services of man also, but the materials were not literal and the formation of the system was the handiwork of God.

Verse 3

Every high priest refers to those under the Old Testament line. Thayer defines ordained, "To appoint one to administer an office." Gifts and sacrifices were in the same general class, but the first refers especially to articles that were not intended to be used as victims on the altar. This man means Christ who was called upon to make a somewhat offering. That Isaiah, Christ offered many contributions to the New Testament service, and then made the "supreme sacrifice" of himself on the cross just before ascending from earth to his Father in Heaven.

Verse 4

If he were on earth. This means as long as Christ was on earth he could not act as a priest. That is because the law was in force all the time He was on earth, and it already had its priests to offer according to that law.

Verse 5

The institutions of the Mosaic system were earamples and shadows (patterns or types) of the heavenly things (the institutions under Christ). Who means the priests mentioned in the preceding verse. In Exodus 25:40 is the instruction that God gave Moses to make all things according to the "pattern" shown to him in the mount. The idea is that when God mentioned this pattern for the tabernacle service, He had in mind that it was to be a type or pattern of the greater things to come, as well as to serve the purpose of that first dispensation.

Verse 6

Several words of comparison in the second degree are used in this verse which should not be misapplied. God never made any mistakes and all that He ever did was good from the standpoint of being righteous. But the purposes to be accomplished by His plans were not always considered as final. He had a terminal to be reached in the preparation of mankind for" the Hereafter, and until the final plan had been reached (that which was "perfect" 1 Corinthians 13:10), each step in the unfolding of the divine plan may be considered as looking forward to something more excellent and better.

Verse 7

A part of the fault of which the Lord complained was concerning the shortcomings of the people. They did not do even as well as they could with the system which God had given them. However, God has always been inclined to give His creatures every opportunity for developing a desirable character. In view of this, He regarded the old law as not the best that could be accomplished in the future, and in that sense He would not consider the old covenant to be faultless.

Verse 8

Finding Fault is explained at the preceding verse. It should be constantly borne in mind that most of this book. as well as many parts of the New Testament, was called for by the disturbances from Judaizers (Hebrews trying to bind the Jewish law on Christians). Had all people understood and been satisfied with the New Testament as the fulfillment of the law and the prophets, these books would not have been needed. But they maintained that the Mosaic system was intended by the Lord to be permanent. That made it necessary for the apostles to cite many places in the Old Testament (being disregarded by the Judaizers) that clearly predicted a change in the whole religious system. The days come has reference to the days of the New Testament. Saith the Lord is citing Jeremiah 31:31-34 where the prophet plainly declares that He was going to make a new covenant. Israel and Judah are mentioned because at the time of Jeremiah the nation was divided, the ten tribes being called Israel and the two tribes called Judah (recorded in 1 Kings 12:1-33). The tribes were destined to be reunited after the captivity, but the two parts are named to show that every Jew (as well as the Gentiles) was to be included in the new covenant.

Verse 9

The day refers to the period in general when Sinai was the principal place of interest. (See Jeremiah 34:13-14.) The shortcomings of the Israelites was the reason on the human side for a change. (See verse7.)

Verse 10

This verse states one of the main differences between the old and the new covenant. When a male child was eight days old he was circumcized. and that made him a full member of the covenant. notwithstanding he had no mind to receive anything; the law was put in the flesh instead of the mind, The new covenant laws were to be put in the mind (or heart) instead of the flesh.

Verse 11

Samuel was a full "brother" to Eli although he "did not yet know the Lord" ( 1 Samuel 3:7) his circumcision introduced him into the brotherhood ( Genesis 17:9-14). That is why it was necessary for Eli to make his brother Samuel acquainted with the Lord. It was done in verse9 of the same chapter where he told Samuel to say, "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth," which is the same as know the Lord in our present verse. Such an introduction in the brotherhood under Christ will not be necessary because all shall know me from the least to the greatest. That is because under the New Testament system a person cannot become a member until he is old enough and has mind enough to receive the law of Christ intelligently. This would completely rule out all such conditions as "cradle rolls" or infant church membership in the New Testament church. All must have mind enough to "know the Lord" through the law of the Gospel before they can come into the church.

Verse 12

This verse contains a likeness and a contrast between the two covenants. God showed mercy under the old, and the passages that show it are too numerous to mention. (It should be stated what was overlooked at verse10, that another likeness between them is that in each case the relation of God and people holds good.) The contrast in this verse is that the sins would be remembered no more. The word "against" is often quoting this subject which is incorrect, for God never did remember a sin against a man after he had been forgiven. This point will be dealt with in detail by the comments on Hebrews 10:3.

Verse 13

The main point in this verse is a conclusion based on the term new covenant: it proves that the other one was considered old. Since old things are expected to disappear, the conclusion is that the old covenant was to be replaced by the NewTestament.

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Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Hebrews 8". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. 1952.