Hebrews 8:1-6

Sunday, March 26th, 2017

A SUMMARY OF Hebrews 1-7

INTRODUCTION:

 

So far in our study of Hebrews, we have seen that Christ is superior to angels (1:4 - 2:18).

 

We have also seen that Christ is superior to Moses or worthy of more glory than Moses (3:1 - 4:13).

 

Finally, we have seen that Christ has a more excellent ministry than the Levitical priests (4:14 - 7:28).

 

In this message we move into the section found in Hebrews 8:1-10:18 where we see that Christ is the mediator of a better covenant than the old covenant was. The old covenant was the law.

 

All of these things are intended to warn those Jews who had professed faith in Christ but who were contemplating abandoning Christ and Christianity and returning to Judaism against doing this. They should instead persevere in their trials and continue to trust Christ as their Savior.

 

A summary of what the writer has said thus far is found in 8:1-6, and a new covenant is promised in 8:7-9.

 

This new covenant is described in 8:10-12, and this new covenant has also made the old covenant obsolete (v. 13).

 

In 9:1-10 it will be seen that the ordinances of divine service of the first covenant were types.

 

In 9:11-28 it will be seen that the types of the first covenant were fulfilled by the offering of Christ’s blood in the heavenly sanctuary, and in 10:1-18 it will be seen that the one sacrifice of Christ is all that is necessary.

 

In 8:1-6 a summary of what has been written in the first seven chapters of Hebrews is given.

We see that –

    I.     BELIEVERS HAVE A HIGH PRIEST SITTING ON THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD THE FATHER IN HEAVEN – 8:1

 

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.

 

Now indicates a continuation of the thought.

 

Of the things which we have spoken refers to the first seven chapters of the Book of Hebrews.

 

It is literally to (or in) the things being spoken, to (or in) the things being said or to (or in) the things being declared and implies in this epistle.

 

This is the sum indicates that the author is going to summarize what he has stated thus far.

 

The sum is the main point, the main thing, a summary, or a synopsis.

 

Lest the reader be lost in the writer’s logic in chapters 1-7, the writer is telling the reader where he ought to be in his thinking at this point.

 

The summary or main point is: we have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

 

It thus includes the rest of verse 1 and all of verse 2, and its reference is to Jesus.

 

He is the believers’ high priest.

 

We refers not only to the writer but also to the readers and includes all saved people.

 

It is Jesus Who is fitting for believers as a high priest in that He is holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.

 

It is Jesus Who is a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek rather than after the order of the Levitical priests.

 

Such an high priest is a high priest such as this or a high priest of such a kind.

 

He did not have to offer often for sins; He offered Himself once; and He never had to offer for His own sins because He never sinned.

 

This is the kind of high priest believers have.

 

Jesus, the believers’ great high priest, is described by the phrase, Who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.

 

Who refers to Jesus.

 

Is set is sat or sat down. It is the same word translated sat down in Hebrews 1:3 .

 

Do you remember your English teachers trying to teach you the difference between sit and set? What they teach today was not correct when the King James Bible was translated. Is set means sat down in this passage rather than is placed.

 

The fact that He sat down implies that His work of offering on behalf of sins was finished.

 

Consequently, He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by Him (Hebrews 7:25 ).

 

The place where He sat down is indicated by on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.

 

This means that Christ is co-reigning with the Majesty in the heavens.

 

To be seated on the right hand of a ruler indicates that one co-rules or shares that rule with the ruler.

 

The Majesty is a reference to God the Father, and Jesus is seated in heaven at God the Father’s right hand.

 

The heavens refers to heaven itself which was often used as a plural in Hebrew thinking.

We also see that –

  II.     THE BELIEVERS’ HIGH PRIEST IS A MINISTER OF THE HEAVENLY SANCTUARY – 8:2

 

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

 

Verse 2 continues the description of Jesus begun in verse 1.

 

Christ is a minister of the sanctuary.

 

A minister is a servant, particularly a servant with a religious connotation. Jesus was serving or ministering in the heavenly tabernacle.

 

The sanctuary refers to the holy place.

 

And is likely emphatic and understood in the sense of indeed, in fact, certainly, verily, or yea.

 

The true tabernacle refers to the sanctuary where Jesus is a minister.

 

The tabernacle is the tent or the lodging, and it reminds the reader of the tabernacle of the Old Testament which was patterned after it.

 

It is literally the tabernacle, that is the true one. True means real or genuine.

 

This is in contrast to the earthly tabernacle which was constructed in the days of Moses.

 

Which the Lord pitched is which the Lord set up or which the Lord put together. It describes this true tabernacle.

 

And not man suggests and not a human being and means that a man did not build this tabernacle in which the Lord Jesus Christ serves.

 

Man is the generic term for human being rather than the term for an adult male. Man did not build this tabernacle that is found in the heavens where Jesus is a minister.

Next, we see that –

 III.     IT WAS NECESSARY FOR THE BELIEVERS’ HIGH PRIEST TO HAVE SOMETHING TO OFFER – 8:3

 

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.

 

Verse 3 is given as a general reminder of the normal function of a high priest and compares this normal function with the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

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

 

For is used in the sense of now.

 

Every high priest refers to all high priests in general and to each one generically.

 

Is ordained means is appointed.

 

The purpose for which every priest is ordained or appointed is to offer gifts and sacrifices.

 

To offer is a term used in connection with the sacrificial system meaning to bring or to present.

 

Gifts and sacrifices are two terms which indicate what every high priest offered and mean basically the same thing. They are used together for emphasis.

 

Wherefore is for this reason, therefore, or hence; and it implies because every high priest is ordained in order that he offer gifts and sacrifices.

 

It is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer because He is a high priest and because every high priest is ordained or appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices.

 

It is of necessity is simply (it is) necessary.

 

It is has been placed in italics in order to indicate that it has been supplied by the translators to aid the understanding of the English reader.

 

That this man have also somewhat to offer functions as the subject of is. It means that this man (referring to Jesus) also (i.e. like the Levitical high priests) have something to offer is necessary.

 

This man is simply this One and refers to Christ.

 

Have . . . somewhat to offer is have something which He might offer, have something which He might bring, or have something which He might present and is used of offering, bringing, or presenting sacrificial gifts.

 

Also joins the need for Christ’s having something to offer with the need for the high priests having something to offer. They needed something to offer, and so does He.

In addition, we see that –

 IV.     THE BELIEVERS’ HIGH PRIEST IS NOT QUALIFIED TO BE A PRIEST ON EARTH UNDER THE LAW – 8:4.

 

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.

 

For if he were on earth is a contrary-to-fact condition which means that, for the sake of discussion, the condition if He were on earth is assumed to be false.

 

Inasmuch as the condition is assumed to be false, the conclusion is also assumed to be false.

 

If He were on earth is not factual. He is not on earth.

 

He should not be a priest is something that would be true if He were on earth. However, He is not on earth; but He is a priest.

 

A word is found in the Greek text between if and he which was not translated into English. This word is frequently left untranslated. Had it been translated, it would have been translated in the sense of on the one hand.

 

On earth suggests the realm of the normal high priest who is a human being living on the earth.

 

But Jesus is not the normal high priest; and although He became a man, He is also God the Son and is presently in heaven at the right hand of God the Father.

 

He should not be a priest is He would not be a priest.

 

The reason He would not be a priest if He were on earth is seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law.

 

Seeing that there are is understood in the sense of because there are, since there are, or inasmuch as there are.

 

What there are is priests that offer gifts according to the law. The law had established a priesthood, and these priests offered sacrifices. Jesus was not part of this group of priests functioning according to the law.

 

The law is the Mosaic law.

 

This verse as well as others in Hebrews suggests that the temple in Jerusalem had not yet been destroyed when Hebrews was written and that offerings were still being made at the temple. This means that Hebrews had to be written before A.D. 70, the year when the temple was destroyed.

We furthermore see that –

   V.     THE EARTHLY HIGH PRIESTS SERVE A COPY AND PATTERN OF THE HEAVENLY THINGS – 8:5

 

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 he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

 

Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things refers to the priests that offer gifts according to the law.

 

Who is such ones who or all those who.

 

Serve is are serving and is used of religious service only.

 

It suggests that sacrifices were still being offered when Hebrews was written which means that Hebrews had to be written prior to the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70.

 

Unto the example and shadow of heavenly things is in the example and shadow of heavenly things and indicates the sphere of their religious service.

 

Example is copy or imitation. It is not the real thing.

 

Shadow is a foreshadowing in contrast to reality. It is also not the real thing. A body casts a shadow, but the shadow is not the real body. However, the shadow indicates that there must be a real body.

 

In this case the shadow preceded the reality; for this reason, it is a foreshadowing.

 

Of heavenly things is of the heavenly things and refers to the real objects of which the things pertaining to the earthly tabernacle are merely the shadows.

 

The priests were doing things which were never intended to remove sins.

 

Their ministry was just temporary so that the people would eventually understand what God was doing.

 

As Moses was admonished of God is just as Moses was admonished of God and indicates that the way in which the priests were serving in the tabernacle was in accordance with the instructions which God had given to Moses.

 

The tense of was admonished indicates that something happened in the past and that its result continued on. It is a word which means to give or impart a revelation, a warning, or an injunction.

 

Its voice is passive; so that of God means by God.

 

Furthermore, the warning took place prior to the ministry of the Levitical priests.

 

Hence, it means that God had warned Moses, that God had enjoined Moses, or that God had instructed Moses through revelation.

 

When he (i.e. Moses) was about to make the tabernacle indicates the time when God admonished Moses.

 

Was about to make is was about to complete, was about to bring about, or was about to erect.

 

The tabernacle refers to the tent which was moved from place to place, which contained the holy of holies, and which was the place where sacrifices were made.

 

Instructions regarding the ministry of the tabernacle were given in Exodus 25-40 .

 

For introduces the reason the priests serve in the example and shadow of heavenly things rather than in the real things.

 

Saith he refers to God.

 

What God said to Moses was, See . . . that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

 

Thou is you and refers to Moses.

 

Make may also be understood as do.

 

All things is used in reference to the establishment of the ministry of the tabernacle.

 

The tabernacle was to be made or built according to this pattern, and the service performed there was to be done in accordance with or after the fashion of what he saw on the mount.

 

Pattern showed is model shown, model pointed out, or model made known.

 

To thee is to you (singular) and refers to Moses, and in the mount means on the mountain and refers to Mt. Sinai.

 

God revealed these things to Moses as He gave him the law on Mt. Sinai.

Moreover, we see that –

 VI.     THE BELIEVERS’ HIGH PRIEST HAS A MINISTRY THAT IS MORE EXCELLENT THAN THE MINISTRY OF THE EARTHLY PRIESTS – 8:6A

 

Hebrews 8:6 a – But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry. . . .

 

Verse 6 is given in contrast to verses 3-5, as is indicated by but.

 

He is Jesus.

 

Now is in contrast to what has happened historically.

 

The priests under the Levitical system had been offering gifts and sacrifices according to the law as a shadow or pattern of the real things.

 

But Jesus has come and done the real thing.

 

Now is thus contrasted with the time when the priests were making their sacrifices under the law in the Old Testament.

 

Hath (Jesus) obtained is (Jesus) has met, (Jesus) has attained, (Jesus) has gained, (Jesus) has found, or (Jesus) has experienced.

 

Its tense indicates something that has occurred in the past with its result continuing on.

 

What He has obtained is a more excellent ministry and implies a more excellent (or more outstanding) ministry than the ministry which the Levitical priests enjoyed.

 

Ministry is a noun form of the word serve used in verse 5 and is used in the sense of service. This word always connotes religious service.

We also see that –

VII.     THE BELIEVERS’ HIGH PRIEST IS THE MEDIATOR OF A BETTER COVENANT THAN WHAT THE EARTHLY PRIESTS HAD – 8:6B

 

Hebrews 8:6 b – By how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant. . . .

 

By how much also is to the degree that.

 

He is Jesus.

 

What Jesus is is the mediator of a better covenant which suggests the mediator of a better covenant than the covenant under which the Levitical priests served.

 

A mediator is an arbitrator.

 

Covenant is the term translated testament.

Finally, we see that –

VIII.   THE COVENANT SERVED BY THE HEAVENLY HIGH PRIEST HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED ON BETTER PROMISES THAN THE LAW – 8:6C

 

Hebrews 8:6 c – . . . Which was established upon better promises.

 

Which was established upon better promises refers to the covenant which has Jesus as its mediator.

 

Which is such a one, of such a sort, or which to be sure.

 

Was established is was ordained, was legally enacted, or was founded; and its tense indicates action which has been completed in past time with its result continuing on.

 

In other words, this better covenant has been established upon better promises, and it remains established upon better promises.

 

Upon better promises indicates the base upon which this better covenant has been established. These better promises are indicated by verses 10-12.

CONCLUSION:

 

So, if any of you Jews who have professed faith in Christ are contemplating abandoning Christ and Christianity and returning to Judaism, don’t do it. Instead, persevere in your trials and continue to trust Christ as your Savior.