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Read Hebrews 8

Now the main 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, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.

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. If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. 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.” But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.

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

“The days are coming, declares the Lord,
    when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
    and with the people of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant
    I made with their ancestors
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 establish with the people 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 they teach their neighbor,
    or say to one another, ‘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13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.

Go Deeper

When we read this chapter, it’s really important that we place ourselves in the shoes of the original audience and read it through their lens. Remember, this is a primarily Jewish audience who had grown accustomed to the Old Covenant. Think about what they were used to. Look back at books like Leviticus or Numbers or Deuteronomy. They had been operating under a very strict set of rules and laws. They were used to tabernacles, sacrifices, and humanly priests. That was comfortable. That was familiar. It’s what they knew. A little over halfway through the book of Hebrews when we get our first reference to the New Covenant, we could assume that there’s some hesitancy and reluctance to go along with this massive paradigm shift. 

One thing we can take away from reading this passage is the reminder that God had a plan all along. The author of Hebrews tells us that there was something wrong with the Old Covenant. God, multiple times throughout the Old Testament, promised that something better was coming. We read passages like Genesis 14 or Psalm 110 and we can see hints that God has a plan that’s far greater than the Old Testament law. At the end of this chapter, the author of Hebrews quotes from Jeremiah 31. These verses were written around 600 years ago – before Jesus came! This was a long process. Once the New Covenant finally arrived, the Israelites just needed help believing that it was better.

When we read this, it’s easy for us to think, “Of course this was better! How did they not realize that? Why would they not want a relationship with Jesus instead of a system full of laws and rituals?” But think about it–we do this too. We often trick ourselves into thinking that our faith is just a matter of what we do or don’t do and not a relationship with Jesus. But the author of Hebrews, quoting the book of Jeremiah, tells us that God will put these laws in our minds and write them on our hearts. How do we do that? By familiarizing ourself with scripture and meditating on the Word of God. The more we do that, the more we will begin to live out the Word of God. 

Because of the Holy Spirit, we have access to God at all times and that should change everything about how we live. The Spirit of God is changing our hearts–we just need to be people who live by the Spirit. 


  1. What details do you remember about the covenants in the Old Testament? Why was it difficult for the audience in Hebrews to fully jump on board with the New Covenant?
  2. What does it mean for God’s laws to be in our minds and written on our hearts?
  3. How can you live by the Spirit today? 

By the Way

Hebrews 8:9 references the difference between this New Covenant and the one God made with the Israelites after He led them out of Egypt. God foretold Israel of the consequences of wandering from his instructions in Deuteronomy 30:15-19 and, as we now know, they didn’t listen.

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4 thoughts on “Hebrews 8”

  1. I can understand how the people resisted the new covenant. After all, they had invested much in keeping the Mosaic law and found the new covenant of grace unbelievable. The law demanded works and animal sacrifice, the new way offered the forgiveness of sins and being made right with God through Christ’s ultimate sacrifice on the cross. This new way required faith, something they found astonishing. It must have been hard to wrap their head around that Christ perfectly fulfilled the law. One noteworthy difference between the old and new way existed. The old covenant was an external set of rules and principles, but the new covenant was internal where God would place his laws in our minds and write them on our hearts. We tend to resist change, especially when our ideology is challenged, but what joy and fulfillment await those who step into the ultimate freedom in Christ. Christianity is the only religion where God reaches down to man, not where man must reach up and grasp him by his own efforts. It’s all about GRACE—God’s riches at Christ’s expense.

  2. John 14 to reference v10-11
    15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”

  3. God recalls what we have done BUT GOD does not hold it against us, because He deals with us on the basis of grace and mercy. This is the new covenant with Jesus Christ, the Author of eternal salvation, partakers of the new nature and the amazing life that only Christ can give us. Hebrews 5:9 9 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him. Colossians 3:10-11 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
    All of this does not give us a license to sin. It is God’s way to have a relationship with us. He made us for this purpose, for Himself, for us to praise, worship, adore, love, work and do His will.
    God thank You for helping me to remember that I am here for You and You alone. All that I have and am should be to glorify , honor, and adore You. Show me how to do that better. I desire to abide in You. I desire to know You better and to do Your will. Thank You for guidance, direction and application of how to do this well. I praise You !!!! in Jesus name amen

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