SYNOPSIS: According to Hebrews, Jesus inaugurated the promised New Covenant that replaces the former and, now, obsolete one – Hebrews 8:13.
According to the book of Hebrews, the word that God spoke in His Son surpasses all the partial “words” that preceded it. Jesus went beyond his predecessors, having “achieved the purification of sins.” Therefore, he has been exalted to “sit down” at the right hand of God and appointed the “heir of all things.” Now, he reigns sovereign over the Cosmos and intercedes for his people as their everlasting high priest. His victory over sin means he inaugurated the promised “new covenant” (Psalm 110:1-4, Jeremiah 31:31-34, Hebrews 1:1-4).
God did speak to the “fathers” through the “prophets,” but that word was partial – “in many parts and many ways.” The Law or Torah was given to Moses by angels, mighty and glorious beings, to be sure, but nevertheless, creatures inferior to the Son. If disobedience to the words of angels came with dire consequences, how much more so will disobedience to the word of the Son result in catastrophe? (Hebrews 2:1-4).
In Chapters 7-10 of Hebrews, the Author demonstrates the superior revelation that is available in Jesus by contrasting the everlasting priesthood, the new covenant, and the once-for-all sacrifice of the Son with the multiple priests, obsolete covenant, and the repeated animal sacrifices of the Levitical priesthood.
The fact that God promised a future priesthood, “after the order of Melchizedek,” proved the Levitical priesthood could not achieve the purification of sins humanity so desperately needed. Under the previous system, the people received the law, but a change in the priesthood also means “a change of law” (Hebrews 7:11-14).
The Levitical priesthood was dependent on lineal descent and multiple generations of priests, due to human mortality, whereas, the priesthood “after the order of Melchizedek” is perpetual; it is based on an endless resurrected life (Hebrews 7:15-22).
Unlike the Levitical priests, the one priest after the “order of Melchizedek” was installed by God’s declared word and oath (“The Lord swore and will not regret, You are a priest everlastingly”). Therefore, Jesus holds the priesthood “un-transmissible.” Moreover, he became “guarantor of a better covenant” and is able therefore to save to the uttermost everyone who approaches God through him, because he “lives evermore to intercede for them” (Psalm 110:4, Hebrews 7:19-25).
Unlike his predecessors, Jesus “sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” and became the minister of “the Real Tabernacle,” not a temporary tent constructed and pitched by man. The Levitical priesthood with its animal sacrifices constituted “glimpses and shadows of the heavenly realities,” just as Moses was told to make the earthly Tabernacle “according to the pattern he had seen in the mount” (Hebrews 8:1-5).
(Hebrews 8:6-13) – “But, now, hath he attained unto a more distinguished public ministry,—by as much as of a better covenant also he is mediator, which indeed, upon better promises hath been legislated. For if that first had been faultless, not, in that case, for a second had there been sought a place. For, finding fault with them, he saith—Lo! days are coming, saith the Lord, when I will conclude for the house of Israel and the house of Judah, a covenant of a new sort: Not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, in the day when I took them by their hand to lead them forth out of the land of Egypt,—because they abode not in my covenant, and I disregarded them, saith the Lord. Because this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord:—giving my laws into their understanding, upon their hearts, also, will I inscribe them: and I will become their God, and they shall become my people; And in nowise shall they teach—every one his fellow-citizen, and every one his brother, saying,—Get to know the Lord! Because all shall know me, from the least unto the greatest of them; Because propitious will I be as to their unrighteousnesses, and of their sins, in nowise will I be mindful any more. In saying, Of a new sort, he hath made obsolete the first; but the thing that is becoming obsolete and aged is near disappearing!” – (The Emphasized Bible).
Jesus, the Son, “attained to a more distinguished ministry, he also is the mediator of a better covenant legislated upon better promises.” If the “first covenant” had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second one. However, having found fault with it, the Lord announced the coming days when “I will conclude a new covenant.”
The promised “new covenant” is expressly stated NOT to be “according to the covenant” made at Mount Sinai. It is not a “renewed” or a modified covenant but, instead, an entirely new one and well able to achieve the “purification of sins.” The “new covenant” instituted by the Son enables all citizens of the kingdom to know God, and it establishes them all as His people, with His righteous requirements having been written on their hearts.
By establishing the promised “new covenant,” the Son “has made the first obsolete” and, already, it is in the process of disappearing. This means the covenant established at Sinai ceased to be in effect because of the superior act and priestly office of the Son, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 8:13).
Anyone who wishes to place himself under the old legislation chooses that already is obsolete, having demonstrated its inability to achieve the “purification of sins.” To return under its jurisdiction is regression, not progress. Anyone who places himself under the Levitical system removes himself from the jurisdiction of the ministry of the Son, the “priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”