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  • Nov 10 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Again, the Better Covenant (Hebrews 8:1-13; Jeremiah 31:31-34)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Again, the Better Covenant (Hebrews 8:1-13; Jeremiah 31:31-34)

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Again, a Better Covenant

Hebrews 8:1-13, Jeremiah 31:31-34

The High Priest of a New Covenant

1 The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.

3 Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. 4 If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. 5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” 6 But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises.

7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. 8 But God found fault with the people and said:

“The time is coming, declares the Lord,

when I will make a new covenant

with the house of Israel

and with the house of Judah.

9 It will not be like the covenant

I made with their forefathers

when I took them by the hand

to lead them out of Egypt,

because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,

and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.

10 This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel

after that time, declares the Lord.

I will put my laws in their minds

and write them on their hearts.

I will be their God,

and they will be my people.

11 No longer will a man teach his neighbor,

or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’

because they will all know me,

from the least of them to the greatest.

12 For I will forgive their wickedness

and will remember their sins no more.”

13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.


Jeremiah 31:31-34

31 “The time is coming,” declares the LORD ,

“when I will make a new covenant

with the house of Israel

and with the house of Judah.

32 It will not be like the covenant

I made with their forefathers

when I took them by the hand

to lead them out of Egypt,

because they broke my covenant,

though I was a husband to them, “

declares the LORD .

33 “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel

after that time,” declares the LORD .

“I will put my law in their minds

and write it on their hearts.

I will be their God,

and they will be my people.

34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor,

or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD ,’

because they will all know me,

from the least of them to the greatest,”

declares the LORD .

“For I will forgive their wickedness

and will remember their sins no more.”


“For I will forgive their wickedness

and will remember their sins no more.”

Amen – this is God’s promise given to us.

We do have such a High Priest – what kind?

v. 1-2

“1 The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.”

The point is: we do have such a high priest. The summary of the message is: Our Lord, High Priest, is superior to everything in the OT priesthood.

Last week = he is holy, blameless, sinless, stainless, 100% pure. Then, he never needs to offer sacrifice day after day, year after year for his own sins – and then for the sins of others. But Jesus sacrificed directly for our sins once for all with his own blood on the cross.

  • That’s why he’s the last and lasting High Priest;
  • the last and lasting sacrifice for our sins.

Question: He is sitting down at the right hand of God – then what is he doing there in heaven? 4 things.

1. He is being with us

(working with us, sharing what we are doing). He is happy, ready, available all the time to share in our sufferings, difficulties, hardships in this world. He is READY.

“Surely, I am with you always to the very end of the age.” He promised this. “I’m in you, with you, beside you.”

Because he’s in heaven it is possible.

2. He is interceding (praying) for us

Romans 8:34 “Christ Jesus, who died, more than that who was raised again from the dead sits at the right hand of God and is interceding for us.”

Hebrews 7:25 “Therefore, Jesus is able to save completely those who come to God through him because he always lives to intercede for you.”

3. He is an architect

He was once a carpenter, and son of a carpenter. In heaven, he is building our beautiful mansions for us in heaven.

John 14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father’s house, there are many rooms. I go there to prepare a place for you. When I finish, I will return to take you with me to be where I am.”

He’s still “under construction” – and when he finishes, he will come back and take us with him.

His sitting in heaven is a guarantee of us also sitting together with him in heaven with the Father

Where is your body now? On earth? But your reality is that you are already in heaven with him.

Eph 2:6 “God raised you with Jesus Christ and seated you with Jesus in the heavenly kingdom.”

Verb tense: not future, but past – it is DONE – our spiritual reality is already in heaven with Jesus Christ.

v. 3-5

“3 Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. 4 If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. 5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.””

During his 33 years of life on earth, Jesus was never called a “priest.” He never did the function of a priest in an earthly tabernacle or synagogue – because there were already priests. And, he was not a Levite, but from the tribe of Judah. Also, the earthly temple is only a copy and shadow of the real one – in heaven. A priest needs a sanctuary in which he ministers – but Jesus’ sanctuary is in heaven.

Moses in the OT, made a sanctuary according to the commands of God. (v. 5 ‘Moses was warned to make everything according to the pattern shown on the mountain.’)

Did you see the OT tabernacle? Inside, there were no chairs – what does this mean? It means, the work of the priest was never finished, complete, perfect.

Yet, all the time it says, “Jesus sat down.” This is spiritually symbolic – it means that his ministry on earth is finished. He shouted “It is finished!” His work on earth as a public ministry is totally complete – sufficient, more than enough.

But in the OT covenant and tabernacle, there were no chairs, so the work of the human priests was never complete. Each completed sacrifice was only a reminder that animal sacrifice never completely washed away and cleansed human sins. This act had to be repeated day-by-day, year-by-year, until Jesus died on the cross THAT DAY.

J the Baptist declared, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!’

v. 6-7

“6 But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises.

7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.”

This book Hebrews is a book of “Better”

  • Better Hope
  • Better Covenant
  • Better High Priest
  • Better Sacrifice
  • Better Promises
  • Better Possessions
  • Better Country
  • Better Resurrection

We read 13 verses and the word “covenant” appears 7 times. “Better covenant” = “new covenant.”

In the old covenant, God forgave sins when people brought animals to the priests. The agreement between God and man was sealed with the blood of the animals, but the sins could only be forgiven by God. This is why they were repeated day-by-day, year-by-year. But Jesus established a new covenant – and under this new covenant, he should die in the place of sinners.

One day, while they were eating, Jesus established this covenant with his disciples:

He took the bread, thanked God, gave it to them and said, “Eat this is my body.” He took the cup and said, “Drink from it, this is my blood, poured out on the cross for many for the forgiveness of sins. This is a new covenant.” He established a new covenant (better covenant).

We read Jeremiah 31 – and we can see that the prophets of the OT looked forward to this new covenant that would fulfill the OT covenant. And J the Baptist said, “This is the Lamb of God…” So we never need to struggle with the guilt of past sins because we have complete forgiveness in Christ.

God’s presence is much more real to us – the emotional quality of our lives is better, and the mission from God for our lives is much better (greater) than before. Whatever you job is, if you are IN Christ, your job is a calling from God – that God uses to advance his work in this world. Everything shows the need for redemption and salvation. Everywhere, God displays the possibility. We are a part of this great movement of the new covenant.

v. 8-12 are a quotation from Jeremiah 31:31-34 – this is the longest quotation of the OT in the NT. It contains the prophetic announcement and definition of the new covenant which was to be totally different from the Mosaic covenant.

v. 8-12

“8 But God found fault with the people and said:

“The time is coming, declares the Lord,

when I will make a new covenant

with the house of Israel

and with the house of Judah.

9 It will not be like the covenant

I made with their forefathers

when I took them by the hand

to lead them out of Egypt,

because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,

and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.

10 This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel

after that time, declares the Lord.

I will put my laws in their minds

and write them on their hearts.

I will be their God,

and they will be my people.

11 No longer will a man teach his neighbor,

or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’

because they will all know me,

from the least of them to the greatest.

12 For I will forgive their wickedness

and will remember their sins no more.””

Last verse: v. 13

“13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.”

v. 8-12 = quotation from Jeremiah 31:31-34 – the longest in the whole Bible.

We know what a covenant is like. For example, old covenant and new covenant. Also between human beings there are covenants: marriage for example. The basic idea = agreement – dependence on conditions upon which they mutually agree.

David’s covenant with Jonathan for example.

If either party breaks the covenant, that covenant becomes null and void. But this new covenant is totally different. In the new covenant, the basic idea is not an agreement between God and man, but God’s absolute will motivated by his love for the forgiveness of sins and redemption of human beings.

The whole approach in this new covenant comes from God – man and God cannot meet on equal terms. Man cannot bargain, cannot compromise, cannot argue about this covenant with God – because it is absolute providence / offering from God. So, all we can do is just to receive or reject it. These are are two options:

  1. Receive
  2. Reject
  • If you receive, you receive forgiveness, redemption, eternal life, salvation.
  • If you reject it you reject forgiveness, salvation, eternal life.

From v. 8-12, there are 5 characteristics of this new covenant. Let’s see them briefly.

1. It is not revolutionary – it was set in Jeremiah.

It is TRUE that God planned a new covenant BEFORE the old covenant. In God’s plan, this new covenant is OLDER than the old covenant – this is a mystery. In God’s heart / mind, this new covenant is OLDER than the old covenant. God planned to send his one and only son to the cross from the Beginning – even from the foundation of the world.

Eph 1:7 “God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In his love, God predestined us to be adopted as his sons and daughters in Jesus Christ.”

2. The New Covenant is OLDER than the Old Covenant.

In Greek: “new” = two words: neos (“new” in the point of time (order)), kainos (“new” in time AND quality – and totally different) – it looks the same, but totally different.

This “new” is kainos, not neos.

When we are in this new covenant, we are TOTALLY different people – yes, you look the same, who were once an unbeliever – but you are totally NEW – new nature, new status.

1 Cor 5:17? “If you are in Christ, you are a new Creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

In Christ, you are not a changed person, you are a DIFFERENT person. That’s why it’s called “born again.”

3. New in scope and universality

v. 8 “”The time is coming, declares the Lord,

when I will make a new covenant

with the house of Israel

and with the house of Judah.”

“11No longer will a man teach his neighbor,

or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’

because they will all know me,

from the least of them to the greatest.”

4. This new covenant involves ALL people in this world – not only Israel.

We know, in history, Israel was split into two kingdoms – 10 in the north (Israel), 2 in the south (Judah). Before this, the tribes had never come together, but with the new covenant, the two would be reunited.

Eph 2:14 “Jesus is peace of all human beings and has made the two one, and has destroyed all barriers between men.”

Symbolically, when Jesus was crucified, the curtain separating the holy place from the most holy place was torn in two and the two rooms became one room.

In the new covenant, we can be reconciled with anyone. Two enemies can be one.

Let’s continue next time.

Let’s pray.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Listen