Hebrews 8:1-7 … Drawing lines in the Sand… part 1

Paul is getting ready to use some very exacting terms in this next portion of his letter to his brethren abroad. As nouns, the difference between ‘Priest’ and ‘Rabbi’ is this: A Priest is a religious clergyman who is trained to perform services or sacrifices at a church or temple, while a Rabbi is a Hebrew trained spiritual teacher. This is why the Apostles called Yeshua their Rabbi. He was their mentor and teacher and was not of the lineage of Aaron. This is very very important to the terminology Paul is going to use.

The first century Hebrew reading these documents, better yet, to the first century Hebrew listening to Paul preach these words…. will not easily accept these terms. Moses was the mediator of the covenant and Arron the High Priest. The people had lived with system for more than 1500 years, albeit fighting this same system, in an attempt to identify with YHVH.

Paul to this point has systematically upended their entire way of life thus far in this dissertation. His claim that Yeshua IS YHVH in the flesh was taken initially as blasphemy. IF anyone in the crowd lingered, they will hear Paul next state the validity of Yeshua’s place as the Great High Priest, the Propitiate Lamb and the Perfect Rabbi of the Set Apart people.

8:1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum (here is the main point/conclusion of what is said): We have such an high priest (one making the sacrifice), who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; (deals directly with YHWH)

A minister (public servant) of the sanctuary (Holy of Holies), and of the true tabernacle (abode/tent of YHWH), which the Lord pitched (set up), and not man.

For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. (it was required to have a perfect/sinless blood sacrifice to satisfy redemption and Yeshua was the fulfillment of the that requirement)

  • John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

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: (if Yeshua was born to fulfill the role of earthly priest it would stand in opposition to the established order of the priesthood)

5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things (they walked out an example of things to come), as Moses was admonished of God (divinely instructed by YHWH) when he was about to make the tabernacle (tent of meeting): for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

This was all about following commands. The same is true of everything Moses was entrusted to do as leader of the people… ie. the Torah.  The writer of Psalm 119:160 says “Thy (implying YHVH) word [1] is true from the beginning [2]: and every one of thy righteous judgments [3] endureth forever. [4]”

H1697 דָּבָר dabar (daw-ɓaw’) n-m.  (royally) a sovereign or royal edict, a matter or a word spoken by a king which carries the innate force of a royal command. [Torah]

H7218 רֹאשׁ ro’sh (roshe) n-m. the head (as most easily shaken), whether literal or figurative.

Combination of 2 words H6664 צֶדֶק tsedeq (tseh’-dek) n-m.  the right (natural, moral or legal). & H4941 מִשׁפָּט mishpat (mish-pawt’) n-m. (properly) a verdict, decree, law, instruction.

H5769 עוֹלָם `owlam (o-lawm’) n-m. (properly) the vanishing point. (practically) eternity.

Using the Biblical Hebrew terms the sentence would read….

“YHVH’s sovereign or royal edict, is truth for the head; and every one of YHVH’s righteous decrees, or instructions will stand for eternity.”

Bible says there must be 2 or more witnesses to validate a matter.

 In this same Psalm, in verse 44, he writes “So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.” and verse 89 “Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.”. The Psalmist knew that the words, or instructions of YHVH would be eternal.

But what about other writers? Did they hold the same view?

Witness 1. John’s Revelation

John writes in Revelation 12:17 “And the dragon was wroth (exasperated) with the woman (church), and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” And again in chapter fourteen verse twelve, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” 

Keeping the commands of God are a forever command according to John as he affirms this both in his gospel account and his epistles.

Witness 2. Yeshua/ Jesus Christ

Matthew 5:17 “Think not that I am come to destroy (loosen or set aside) the law (Torah), or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” (fully execute)

It’s the daily actions in which Yeshua {Jesus} is setting the proper example for us to follow, he is the living example, as he followed all the dietary laws, scheduled feasts and the Sabbath. Jesus goes on to tell the people in chapter 23 of Matthew’s gospel: “Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works:(daily life) for they say, and do not.” Matthew 23:1-3 (KJV)

The consequence for breaking the law of God is death. Outright blasphemy and rebellion caused immediate death. This is why they tied a rope around the ankle of the priests when they went into the Holy of Holies. If he was not righteous he would fall dead in the presence of God. The same is true of you and I.

Jesus was telling the people specifically, ‘listen to the instructions, the same instructions given to Moses, which are read in the synagogue, because they cannot make up lies there or they will die. These instructions are the way to living a righteous life, not the extra mandates they tell you to do when they go out into the real world, which, they are trying to dominate.

  • Mark 7:8 “For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. “

To which, Paul echoes this in Colossians 2:8 “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

But wait! what about the “NEW” covenant…

You have to ask yourself these questions.

  • How “new” can it be?
  • Is the covenant the same as the Torah, or is the Torah a part of the covenant?
  • What is different from “that” group of people and “this” group of people.

These are answered by our third witness ..(in this example as there are many more to include Peter, James, Timothy [a Greek] to name a few.).. Paul.

3. Sha’ul of Tarsus / Paul the Apostle.

After Paul’s personal melt down in Romans Chapter 7….

Paul explains why he has had so much torment with his prior life as a Pharisee and the encounter on the road to Damascus, the result being manifest after the three years spent on the same Mount Sinai that Moses frequented. (Acts/Galatians)

Paul states specifically in Galatians 1:14 “being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.” This is why God needed to encounter him on the road. Paul admits in the verses to follow it was so, “reveal his Son IN me” vs. 16.

A. How new can it be? …”It” being the covenant.

The upcoming “But now” looks to be a transition of thought. Only because we (Greco-Roman educated) do not fully grasp the Hebrew language, and, many people have forgotten how to diagram a sentence/paragraph. So we are going to break this down.

6 But now (at this time) hath he [the Jesus Christ as established in Hebrews 1] obtained [secured] a more excellent (surpassing) ministry (public function as the High Priest), by how much also he is the mediator (go-between) of a better covenant (marriage), which was established (enacted) upon better promises.(oaths, these are the oaths of the people, an individual choice to follow YHVH and not the traditions of man-made religion.)

Jesus Christ, not only through his sinless life, but there too as the fleshly visage of YHVH, was able to secure the position as High Priest in the Heavenly realm, surpassing the earthly priesthood. As God, and in accordance to the Torah, through death and resurrection as the husband, He ended the first marriage covenant in death, and establish a NEW (marriage) COVENANT with the human race.

The words “based on better oaths” gives evidence to the ‘personal relationship’ the Christian church speaks about. Here is my thought on this…. remember convocations in school. They bring in a speaker for the parks department or fire department. The speaker would ask the crowd questions to get them involved. Usually every kid in the place would be screaming by about the third question..” YEEEEEESSSSSS”

This is how I see the nation of Israel at Mt. Saini. Some earnest followers that get involved, but the majority are just yelling because they aren’t in class ‘getting schooled.’ Immediately I think of Hosea 4:6.

God even warns them (The Sinai covenant makers) the minute they get into the Promised Land through the prophet Jeremiah. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Jeremiah 31:31-33 KJV

So back to Paul and Hebrews 8 picking up at verse 7….

7 For if that first covenant (marriage) had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. (Marriage) 

Had the covenant makers (the people) stayed true to their word, then there would have been no need to send Yeshua/Jesus. Here is another aspect of this as well; there would have been no need for sacrifices either.

If humanity was capable of living in perfect harmony to the law (instructions) of God, then there would be no need for sacrifice, or atonement. Genesis 3 tells of the imperfection we inherited from the first Adam. But, Genesis 1 shows us that same first Adam, was for a while, capable of doing just that, living Torah.

As we saw in Jeremiah’s prophecy, God already knew the capacity of mankind, and he made a way (prophesied for us by YHVH himself in Genesis 3) for us in Yeshua! Hallelujah! [cheering and shouting is appropriate here!]

  • Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
  • Romans 3:25 “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God”
  • Isaiah 1:11 “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.”

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