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Our Better Covenant

Now this is the crowning point of what we are saying: We have a magnificent King-Priest who ministers for us at the right hand of God. He is enthroned with honor next to the throne of the Majesty on high. He serves in the holy sanctuary in the true heavenly tabernacle[a] set up by God, and not by men. Since every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, so the Messiah also had to bring some sacrifice. But since he didn’t qualify to be an earthly priest, and there are already priests who offer sacrifices[b] prescribed by the law, he offered in heaven a perfect sacrifice.

The priests on earth serve in a temple that is but a copy modeled after the heavenly sanctuary; a shadow of the reality. For when Moses began to construct the tabernacle God warned him and said,

“You must precisely follow the pattern I revealed to you on Mount Sinai.”[c]

But now Jesus the Messiah[d] has accepted a priestly ministry which far surpasses theirs, since he is the catalyst[e] of a better covenant which contains far more wonderful promises! For if that first covenant had been faultless no one would have needed a second one to replace it. But God revealed the defect and limitation of the first when he said to his people,[f]

“Look! The day will come, declares the Lord,
    when I will satisfy the people of Israel and Judah
    by giving them a new covenant.[g]
It will be an entirely different covenant
    than the one I made with their fathers
    when I led them by my hand out of Egypt.
    For they did not remain faithful to my covenant,
    so I rejected them, says the Lord God.
10 For here is the covenant I will one day establish with the people of Israel:
    I will embed my laws within their thoughts
    and fasten them onto their hearts.
    I will be their loyal God and they will be my loyal people.
11 And the result of this will be
    that everyone will know me as Lord!
    There will be no need at all to teach their fellow-citizens or brothers by saying,
    ‘You should know Yahweh,’
    since everyone will know me inwardly,
    from the most unlikely to the most distinguished.[h]
12 For I will demonstrate my mercy to them
    and will forgive[i] their evil deeds,
    and never remember again their sins.”

13 This proves that by establishing this new covenant the first is now obsolete, ready to expire, and about to disappear.[j]


  1. 8:2 Or “tent.”
  2. 8:4 Or “gifts.” The present tense of the verb used here shows that there was still a temple with sacrifices being offered at the time of the writing of Hebrews. This sets the date as before 70 AD when the temple was destroyed by the Roman war.
  3. 8:5 See Ex. 25:40.
  4. 8:6 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is simply “he.”
  5. 8:6 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “the covenant that he mediates (as intermediary and guarantor).”
  6. 8:8 Some Greek manuscripts have “because he found fault with them” (Israelites).
  7. 8:8 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “I will complete a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.”
  8. 8:11 The Aramaic can be translated “from the youngest to the oldest.”
  9. 8:12 The Aramaic can be translated “I will make atonement for their evil.”
  10. 8:13 Or “is near obliteration.” The old which is “about to disappear,” can also refer to our old life and its old ways of pleasing flesh, the sinful disposition of our hearts. The Aramaic verb for “disappear” can also mean “to give birth.”

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