A Systematic Expository Study on the book of Hebrews
STUDY 20: THE NEW COVENANT
One thing is clear as we study the Epistle to the Hebrews the absolute sufficiency and superiority of Jesus Christ. This is the summary or “the sum” of what we have been learning. To fail to see this is to have learnt nothing in the Epistle. All our confidence and hope must be in Christ; He is superior to all the others and He is sufficient for all our spiritual, earthly and eternal needs. All we need is in Jesus.
We do not need a combination of animal sacrifices and Christ’s sacrifice; of Aaron and Christ, of the old Covenant and the New Covenant. He is all we need. Christ the mediator of the New Covenant leads us beyond the earthly tabernacle right through to the presence of God to sit on the throne with Him.
SEATED ON THE RIGHT HAND OF MAJESTY
Hebrews 8:1-4; 1-3; 10-12; Mark 16:19; Acts 2: 33; Revelation 3:21; Hebrews 9:24; 5:1; 7:24-27.
Every detail in the Epistle shows the contrast between the Levitical priesthood and Christ’s priesthood; between the Old and New Covenants. This chapter opens by reminding us that Christ, our High Priest “is set (seated) on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty of the Heavens”. The Old Covenant priests and high priests never sat down in the sanctuary. There was no provision to sit because their work was never finished. On the cross, Christ said, “It is finished” and now he can sit down. He accomplished in one glorious act what all the priests of the Old Covenant could not accomplish for thousands of years. Having offered the final sacrifice, the exalted High Priest sat down.
The Lord was received up into Heaven, and sat on the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19). The right hand of a king symbolised honour, exaltation and power. To stand at his right hand was honour but to sit there was supreme honour. As our great High Priest, He now sits in the place of Honour and power, making intercession for His own.
“A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man” (Hebrews 8:2). The sanctuary, in which Jesus is a minister, is infinitely superior to the one in which the Jewish priests ministered. The superior priest ministers in a superior sanctuary.
SUPERIORITY OF THE NEW COVENANT
Hebrews 8:5-7; 9:23,24; Colossians 2:16,17; Exodus 25:40; Matthew 28:18-20; Hebrews 9:15.
As substance is greater than shadow, so the New Covenant is greater than the Old covenant. There should be no confusion between the shadow and the substance: the temporary and the permanent; or between the reflection and reality. A shadow has no substance in itself, no independent existence or meaning apart from what it is a shadow of. It exists only as evidence of the real thing. The gifts and sacrifices of the Old Covenant serve as a shadow of what was to come. We have the reality in the New Covenant.
Christ’s superior seat and His superior sanctuary are evidences of His superior ministry. His superior ministry is evidence of the superior covenant, which he mediates and which has superior and better promises. The New Covenant has a better Mediator as well as better promises.
SUFFICIENCY OF THE NEW COVENANT
Hebrews 8:8-13; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:25-27; Romans 11:27; Matthew 26:28; 1:21; Luke 1:72-75; 1 Thessalonians 5:23,24; Hebrews 10:14-17.
All our needs, physical and spiritual needs are provided for in the New Covenant. The Old Covenant was limited but those limits have been taken away from the New Covenant. God Himself is the author of the New Covenant and he himself called it a “new covenant” thereby making the first old (Hebrews 8:8,13).
The benefits in the New Covenant are clearly presented: total forgiveness of all sins; past sins never to be remembered by God; uninterrupted fellowship with God; God’s law written in our hearts and minds; gracious obedience to the Lord. The New Covenant even promises every believer a resident Teacher of truth who will bring all things to our remembrance and lead us into all truth. What a covenant! What a privilege is ours!
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