This post was sourced from Facebook and was published on January 12, 2014 at 11:31am
A question was posed:
What can you say about these verses?
Heb 8:6 However, Jesus has now obtained a more superior ministry, since the covenant he mediates is founded on better promises.
Heb 8:7 If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need to look for a second one,
Heb 8:13 In speaking of a “new” covenant, he has made the first one obsolete, and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.
A comment was made:
It seems contradictory. He made faulty covenants? How can we trust the “new” and “better” one not to have faults, too? I wish we knew who the writer of Hebrews was.
An answer was given:
The writer of Hebrews (who, through the writing style and accounting Paul’s knowledge of the Law, of Grace and his stated passion that Israel be “saved”, I believe to be Paul) is not inferring that there was something wrong with the First Covenant “foundationally” (which was God through His Law), though, when taken out of context of other scriptures, it might appear that way.
–Psa 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul:
–Rom 7:12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
–Neh 9:13 You came down also upon mount Sinai, and spoke with them from heaven, and gave them right ordinances, and true laws, good statutes and commandments:
So what did the writer mean by, “If the first covenant had been faultless…”?
The writer said “covenant”, not “Law”. The “covenant” had two parts – One part was God through His Law. The other part was man. God upheld His promises upon which the Law was based, of the which here are a few of those promises:
— Psa 19:7-11 The law of the LORD … converts the soul … is sure [trustworthy] … makes wise the simple … are right [correct and just] … rejoices the heart … is pure [no deceit within itself] … enlightens the eyes … is clean [no concern need be harbored concerning its good intentions] … endures forever [will never expire] … righteous altogether … by them is your servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. This is just to name but a few of the many things that the covenant promised them.
So if the contention is that God’s portion of the covenant, which also was the foundation upon which the covenant was built, was “pure, holy, just and good”, where is the fault in the “covenant”? The “fault” is in the other part of the covenant – man.
—Jer 31:32 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; my covenant ***which they broke***, ((although I was a husband unto them)), says the LORD:
—Nehemiah 9:16-1 But they and our fathers acted presumptuously, and hardened their necks, and **hearkened not to your commandments, And refused to obey**, neither were mindful of your wonders that you did among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a leader to return to their bondage: but you are a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, ((and forsook them not)).
God upheld His portion of the covenant. The people broke it therefore it was “not faultless” on the part of man who refused to uphold it through their “fault[ering]”.
So God made a second and New covenant based on the same Law though He broadened – magnified – the Law under this covenant. The Law has not been replaced. It has been made stronger – both by broadening it and giving to man the ability – the God given desire and ability [Holy Spirit/Grace] – to keep it:
The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honorable. [give to men the desire and ability to keep (“honor”) His Law] (Isaiah 42:21)
He prophesied that God would enlarge the Law – broaden the Law – and that He would “make it honorable” i.e. give to men the ability to keep – i.e. “honor” – His Law.
In the Book of Exodus at Mount Sinai, God came down in the sight of people – though He Himself was hidden and obscured by smoke, fire, and thunder – and He called Moses up to the top of the mountain and we see this:
And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the lower part of the mount. And mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke of it ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by a voice. And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up. And God spoke all these words, saying … (Exodus 19:17-20; 20:1)
A short while later in the same book, we see this exchange between God and Moses:
And he [Moses] said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. And he [God] said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. And he [God] said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. (Exodus 33:18-20)
The Apostle Paul said this:
And **without controversy** great is the mystery of godliness: **God was manifest in the flesh**, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (1 Timothy 3:16)
Now to the Book of Matthew: In Matthew we see this:
And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan. And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying … (Matthew 4:25; 5:1-2)
In the above passage from Matthew, we see God, manifest in the flesh, again standing on a mountain and “saying …” – and this time everyone saw what Moses had asked to see and which was denied him so that he would not die upon seeing it: to see His Glory – His Face – and this time, whoever beholds Him will live.
It is my Father’s will that whoever sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and that I should raise that person up on the last day. (John 6:40)
Now Messiah is standing on the Mountain and as He is speaking to the people, He is seen and heard “magnifying the Law” i.e. making it broader, or, if you will, “enlarging” the Law. We see Him saying, pertaining to the Law, things like, “You heard it said … Now I tell you …” and making the Law broader – just like Isaiah said that He – God – would do.
Now that we have seen this much and that the Law was indeed magnified and “broadened – here is how God is equipping man to “honor” i.e. “keep” this “magnified and broadened” Law:
Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them. (Ezekiel 36:25-27)
And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep my ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. But as for them whose heart walks after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads, says the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 11:19-21)
That is the Holy Spirit / Grace. The God-given desire and God-given ability to do God’s revealed will for all of mankind.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
Those two passages pasted above from Ezekiel, and the promises within them, were to the Jew first – but having rejected the mediator of that covenant and thereby the covenant itself – those promises now went to the Gentile until such a time as “they are provoked to jealousy” by the Gentile – which will not happen until Messiah appears again with all of His saints – these resurrected Gentiles who accompany Messiah. They will then look upon the one whom they pierced and they will recognize Him and weep and they will be Jealous. Jealous of the Gentiles who are accompanying their Messiah – who are beside their Messiah – because they will know that all of this was done for THEM and that those Gentiles are standing where THEY [the Jew] were – ARE – supposed to be standing. With THEIR God. It is through this that they [the Jew] accept Messiah. This is the “jealousy” that Paul spoke of would be coming to them through the Gentile – and then the two will become One.
There is a river [Messiah], the streams [Converted Jew and Gentile] of which shall make glad the city of God [Rev 21:2], the holy place of the tabernacle of the most High . (Psalms 46:4)
And wherever the double river shall go [Converted Jew and Gentile], every living creature which swarms shall live. And there shall be a very great number of fish, because these waters go there that [the waters of the sea] may be healed and made fresh; and everything shall live wherever the river goes (Ezekiel 47:9)
This “jealousy” will bring God’s salvation to this “stiff-necked and rebellious” peoples. Jealousy will do what what nothing else was able to do in their instance, because of them, not because of any other reason but themselves.
How very great, indeed, is “the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in [Y’shua haMoshiach our Adonai] Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:10[b]-11)