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31 July 2019

The New Covenant Replaces the Old

According to the book of Hebrews, the word spoken by God in His Son is complete and it surpasses all the incomplete “words” that preceded it in the Hebrew prophets (Hebrews 1:1-2).
      The Son went beyond all his predecessors and succeeded where they failed by “having achieved purification of sins.” He, therefore, has been elevated to “sit down” at God’s right hand where he was appointed “heir of all things” and now conducts his messianic reign and intercedes for his people (Psalm 110:1).

      God did speak to the “fathers” through the prophets, but that word was partial; incomplete, “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 comes with dire consequences, how much more disobedience to the word of the Son (Hebrews 2:1-4)?
      In chapters 7-10 of Hebrews, the author demonstrates the superior revelation now available in Jesus by contrasting the priesthood, covenant, and sacrifice of the Son with that of the Levitical priesthood under the Mosaic legislation.
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 needed (7:11). Under the previous priesthood, the people received the law, but a change in the priesthood means “a change of law” (7:12).
      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 (7:15-17). 
Unlike the Levitical priesthood, the 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” (7:19-25).
      Unlike the Levitical priests, 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 pitched by man. The Levitical priesthood and its sacrifices constitute “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” (8:1-5).
      Jesus “attained to a more distinguished ministry, he also is the mediator of a better covenant legislated upon better promises" (8:6). 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.”
       This promised new covenant is expressly stated NOT to be “according to the covenant” made at Sinai; it is not a “renewed” or a modified covenant but an entirely new one. This was necessary because the old legislation instituted at Sinai was unable to achieve the purification of sins.
       The new covenant instituted by the Son enables all citizens of the kingdom to know God and establishes them as His people, His righteous requirements having been written on their hearts. Moreover, unlike the covenant at Sinai, the new one does achieve purification of sins (“I will become merciful to their unrighteousness and their sins will I remember no more”); it succeeds where the previous one fell short.
       By establishing the promised new covenant the Son “has made the first obsolete” and is even in the process of disappearing (8:13). This means the covenant established under Moses at Sinai ceased to be in effect as a result of the superior act and priestly office of the Son, Jesus Christ.
       Anyone who wishes to place himself under the old legislation chooses that which has already been made obsolete, having demonstrated its inability to achieve purification of sins. It is regression not revelation, and certainly not spiritual advancement. This also suggests anyone who places himself under the incomplete Levitical system removes himself from the jurisdiction of Christ’s priestly ministry.

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