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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Hebrews 8

 

 

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Verse 1-2

A Summary Statement of the Superior Priesthood of Jesus Christ - Hebrews 8:1-2 serves as a summary of the previous passages explaining the superior priesthood of Jesus Christ. The main point, or summary, of the Hebrews 7:1-28 is given here. This is what the author has said about Jesus' office as Great High Priest up to this point. Jesus now serves as a high priest of a heavenly Tabernacle of which Moses testified ( Hebrews 8:5), in a superior place, and not an inferior, earthly Tabernacle as did the Levites.

Hebrews 8:1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;

Hebrews 8:1 — "Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum" - Word Study on "sum" - Strong says the Greek word "sum" ( κεφά λαιον) (G 2774) means, "a principle thing, main point."

Comments - The author now provides us a summary statement of his previous discussion.

Hebrews 8:1 — "We have such an high priest" - Word Study on "such" - Strong says the Greek word τοιοῦτος (G 5108) means, "of this sort."

Hebrews 8:1"who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens" - Scripture References- Note similar verses:

Psalm 110:1, "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool."

Matthew 16:19, "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Matthew 22:44, "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?"

Acts 2:34, "For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,"

Ephesians 1:20, "Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,"

Colossians 3:1, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God."

Hebrews 3:1, "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;"

Hebrews 10:12, "But this Prayer of Manasseh , after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;"

Hebrews 12:2, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Revelation 3:21, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne."

Hebrews 8:1Comments - Hebrews 8:1 reflects back on the introduction to this epistle, which says, "when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high."

Hebrews 8:2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

Hebrews 8:2"A minister of the sanctuary" - Word Study on "sanctuary" - Strong says the Greek word ( ἅγιος) (G 40) means, "sacred."

Comments- There was a priest and there were ministers to assist the priest in the Levitical system ( Numbers 16:8-10; Numbers 18:1-2). Jesus fulfills both roles. In the Old Testament, Aaron and his sons were the priests, and the Levites were the ministers. Only the priests offer incense ( Numbers 16:40). Only the priests could touch the vessels of the sanctuary ( Numbers 18:3)

Numbers 16:8-10, "And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi: Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them? And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also?"

Numbers 16:40, "To be a memorial unto the children of Israel, that no stranger, which is not of the seed of Aaron, come near to offer incense before the LORD that he be not as Korah, and as his company: as the LORD said to him by the hand of Moses."

Numbers 18:1-2, "And the LORD said unto Aaron, Thou and thy sons and thy father"s house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary: and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood. And thy brethren also of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of thy father, bring thou with thee, that they may be joined unto thee, and minister unto thee: but thou and thy sons with thee shall minister before the tabernacle of witness."

Numbers 18:3, "And they shall keep thy charge, and the charge of all the tabernacle: only they shall not come nigh the vessels of the sanctuary and the altar, that neither they, nor ye also, die."

Hebrews 8:2"and of the true tabernacle" - Scripture Reference- Note:

Hebrews 9:11, "But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;"

Hebrews 8:2Comments - No Levitical priest could truly enter the presence of God, as does Jesus our Great High Priest.


Verses 1-18

Jesus Christ Offers a New and Better Covenant Through a Superior Sacrifice - Having proven that Jesus Christ is the mediator of a better and more superior office of priesthood in Hebrews 7:1-28 under the order of Melchizedek, the author then proceeds to explain how this new covenant necessitated a better sacrifice as well by referring to Jeremiah 31:31-34 in Hebrews 8:8-12. Therefore, Hebrews 8:1 to Hebrews 10:18 focuses upon the establishment of a new covenant through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ and a doing away of the old covenant, and it, and its serves largely as an exegesis of Jeremiah 31:31-34.

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. A Summary Statement — Hebrews 8:1-2

2. The Promise of a New Covenant — Hebrews 8:3-13

3. Sacrifices Under the Old Covenant — Hebrews 9:1-10

4. Sacrifice Under New Covenant — Hebrews 9:11 to Hebrews 10:18

Scripture References:

Hebrews 8:7, "For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second."

Hebrews 8:13, "In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away."

Hebrews 9:15, "And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance."

Hebrews 10:9, "Then said Hebrews , Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second."


Verses 3-13

The Promise of a New Covenant - In Hebrews 8:3-13 the author refers back to Jeremiah 31:31-34 to prove that the Levitical priesthood of the old covenant failed, and man was in need of a new and better covenant for the people of God, a new covenant promised in the prophecy of Jeremiah.

The Shadow of the Tabernacle- If Jesus Christ does not fit the role of the high priest, then we cannot come to God, because the tabernacle is a "shadow" of how man is to come to God.

Hebrews 8:3 For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.

Hebrews 8:3"it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer" - Word Study on "this man" - The Greek word οὗτος (G 3778) means, "this (one)," that Isaiah , Jesus Christ.

Comments- If it was necessary for Jesus Christ to bring a sacrifice, and He offered Himself ( Ephesians 5:2). We, too, are to offer ourselves ( Romans 12:1).

Ephesians 5:2, "And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour."

Romans 12:1, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."

Hebrews 8:4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:

Hebrews 8:4Comments- According to the Law, only the priests could offer sacrifices.

Numbers 16:40, "To be a memorial unto the children of Israel, that no stranger, which is not of the seed of Aaron, come near to offer incense before the LORD that he be not as Korah, and as his company: as the LORD said to him by the hand of Moses."

Numbers 17:12-13, "And the children of Israel spake unto Moses, saying, Behold, we die, we perish, we all perish. Whosoever cometh any thing near unto the tabernacle of the LORD shall die: shall we be consumed with dying?"

Numbers 18:5, "And ye shall keep the charge of the sanctuary, and the charge of the altar: that there be no wrath any more upon the children of Israel."

2 Chronicles 26:18-19, "And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the LORD, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thine honour from the LORD God. Then Uzziah was wroth, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense: and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the LORD, from beside the incense altar."

Hebrews 8:5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith Hebrews , that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

Hebrews 8:5"Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle" - The Old Testament is written as our example of spiritual truths in the New Testament ( Romans 15:4, 1 Corinthians 10:11). The details of the Tabernacle contains spiritual truths as well, to which the author of Hebrews alludes ( Hebrews 9:5).

Romans 15:4, "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope."

1 Corinthians 10:11, "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."

Hebrews 9:5, "And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly."

Scripture References- Note similar verses:

Hebrews 10:1, "For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect."

Colossians 2:16-17, "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ."

Hebrews 8:5"for, See, saith Hebrews , that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount" - Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - This is a quote from Exodus 25:40.

Exodus 25:40, "And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount."

Scripture References- Note also:

Numbers 8:4, "And this work of the candlestick was of beaten gold, unto the shaft thereof, unto the flowers thereof, was beaten work: according unto the pattern which the LORD had shewed Moses, so he made the candlestick."

1 Chronicles 28:11, "Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat,"

1 Chronicles 28:19, "All this, said David, the LORD made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern."

Acts 7:44, "Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen."

Hebrews 8:5Comments - Moses knew that the Tabernacle was an image of heavenly truths, and that the Levitical functions of Tabernacles only pointed us to something greater.

Hebrews 8:6 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 8:6Word Study on "established" - Strong says the Greek word ( νομοθετέω) (G 3549) means, "to legislate," and passively, "to have (Mosaic enactments) enjoined," be sanctioned (by them)." This word refers to a legal enactment.

Hebrews 8:6Comments- Three "betters" are mentioned in Hebrews 8:6 : (1) a better ministry, (2) a better covenant, and (3) better promises. The ministry, covenant, and promises given through Jesus Christ are better and far superior than the Law, than that given by Moses.

Hebrews 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

Hebrews 8:8-12Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - Hebrews 8:8-12 gives us an Old Testament quote from Jeremiah 31:31-34 as a prophecy of a new and better covenant that God will institute for His people.

Jeremiah 31:31-34, "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that 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 bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

Within the context of the epistle of Hebrews we see the office and ministry of the Levitical priesthood reflected under the old covenant within this prophecy out of Jeremiah 31:31-34 when it says, "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD"; for the Levites were called to teach the people of Israel about the knowledge of God. However, under the new covenant in Jesus Christ as our Great High Priest, every person can enter within the veil into the presence of God, and everyone can come to know Him through His Word and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 8:8 For finding fault with them, he saith, 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:

Hebrews 8:8Comments- The fault with the first covenant under the Mosaic Law was its inability to bring man into a right standing before God.

Galatians 3:21, "Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law."

Hebrews 7:11, "If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?"

Hebrews 7:18, "For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof."

Hebrews 8:9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

Hebrews 8:9 — "and I regarded them not" - Comments- That Isaiah , the Lord did not neglect them. God"s plan was to always be with them.

Deuteronomy 31:6, "Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail — thee, nor forsake thee."

He rejected them in their rebellion.

Deuteronomy 31:16-18, "And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them. Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us? And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods."

Hebrews 8:10 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 — "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord" - Comments- Note:

Romans 9:6-8, "Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That Isaiah , They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed."

Galatians 6:16, "And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God."

Hebrews 8:10"and write them in their hearts" - Comments- This verse is similar to Romans 2:14.

Romans 2:14, "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)"

Hebrews 8:10Comments- We are now the temple and God dwells in us ( 2 Corinthians 6:16). The Holy Spirit indwells us and will give us revelation of His Word so that our minds can understand it, and He will give us the desire to obey it because we are new creatures in Christ Jesus. Note:

2 Corinthians 6:16, "And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."

Also:

Colossians 1:27, "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:"

Hebrews 8:10Scripture References- Note similar verses:

Ezekiel 11:19, "And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:"

Ezekiel 36:26, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh."

Hebrews 8:11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

Hebrews 8:11 — "for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest" - Comments- God's children are taught by God. This is a quote from Isaiah 54:13.

Isaiah 54:13, "And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD and great shall be the peace of thy children."

Note this quote in John 6:44-45 :

John 6:44-45, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me."

Hebrews 8:11Comments - The quotation in Hebrews 8:11 refers to the work of the Holy Spirit within our hearts ( John 14:29; John 16:13-16, 1 John 2:20; 1 John 2:27). God originally visited Adam in the garden and had fellowship with him in the cool of the day. During this communion, Adam came to know God. However, this communion was broken because of sin. God is now restoring this personal fellowship with mankind in the new covenant by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer. Therefore, every believer will know God in a personal way, by divine Revelation , rather than intellectually, as was the condition under the Law.

John 14:26, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."

John 16:13-16, "Howbeit when Hebrews , the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father."

1 John 2:20, "But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things."

1 John 2:27, "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."

Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

Hebrews 8:12 — "and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more" - Comments- If God will no longer remember our sins, neither should we; for to remember our past failures is a burden too heavy to carry. We are most edified when we remember the good things that God has done, and the good things that we have done for God. We are created in the image of God and we are to be imitators of Him ( Ephesians 5:1). If He will not carry the remembrance of our sins, neither should we carry that burden.

Ephesians 5:1, "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;"

Note:

Hebrews 10:17, "And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."

Hebrews 8:12Comments - The emphasis of Hebrews 8:1 to Hebrews 10:18 is the offering of Jesus Christ as a new and better covenant through a superior sacrifice. In this passage of Scripture, the author offers an exegesis of Jeremiah 31:31-34. He will close this section of the epistle with a citation from this Old Testament passage by saying, "And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these Isaiah , there is no more offering for sin." ( Hebrews 10:17-18)

Hebrews 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Hebrews 8:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/hebrews-8.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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