Old Covenant abolished by New Covenant? Part II – Does the Book of Hebrews prove that the Old Covenant is no more

In the 1st Part of this study, we studied all the Covenants mentioned in the Bible and checked what is commonly known as the “Old Covenant” & “New Covenant” as well. We saw that their was evidence in the Scriptures to say that these Covenants were Everlasting. (If you have not read the 1st Part of this study, please start there for a better understanding of this complex subject we are trying to address).

This post is dedicated to studying the book of Hebrews. Specifically, the claim that some make, saying that the book of Hebrews is clear proof that the “Old Covenant” is done away with and that it is decaying and vanishing away, as seen in Heb 8:13.

Before we proceed any further, I would like to ask you to keep an open mind. Do not approach this article thinking “here’s another person trying to get us to follow traditions and Laws”. You are more than welcome to disagree with me. But I humbly ask you, not to disagree with Scripture. Test everything written in this article. See whether everything falls into place. Remember that there can be no disagreements between the Biblical Authors. There can be no conflict between two verses in the Bible, when taken in CONTEXT.

All of the pieces in the puzzle needs to fit perfectly. We cannot force pieces of the puzzle to fit where we want it to. It needs to be in perfect harmony to all the pieces around it, giving us a complete picture. We have all been taught by someone or the other where these pieces of the puzzle fit. Personally, for a long time, I did not question the placement. I knew some of the pieces and their placements did not make sense. But I thought, others knew best. I thought who am I to question the placement which has been this way for centuries, approved and taught by great men and women of God. But some of the time, you can come across verses that go against your beliefs and doctrines. Now, some people, like I was before, have the ability to just read over these lines and not even notice them. I was like Paul (but not even 1% as knowledgeable as he was), on my way to Damascus, with my understanding and belief of the Word. All of us need Yeshua to open our eyes. All of us need the guidance of God’s Spirit. No one person, including me, has the whole puzzle figured out. All of us are learning. If you have and open mind to look at the puzzle again, let us proceed.

The Book of Hebrews has caused a lot of misunderstandings and confusion in Christianity.(Actually, it is not the fault of the Book or the Author of Hebrews. It is our fault for not reading it carefully, in complete synchrony with all of the other Scriptures and not giving heed to Peter’s warning in 2Peter 3:16 about taking Scripture out of context). As I was studying this complex Subject myself, I came across an Article, that is clearly in alignment with God’s Word. I believe that I could not do a better job of my own regarding the Book of Hebrews, without losing out on key points mentioned in this article. Given below, is this Article written by Jon Sherman from 119 Ministries.

Hebrews 7:12-18; 8:6-13 – Does the Better Covenant Equal a New High Priesthood or God Abolishing His Law?
by Jon Sherman
Hb 7:12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

Hb 7:18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.

Hb 8:6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

Hb 8:13 In that he saith, A new [covenant], he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

So what do these verses mean? Can we take four verses out of this letter and build a solid doctrine? Does this mean that God did away with His own law that scripture stated to be perfect, good, and just (Psalm 19:7, James 1:25, Proverbs 4:2, Romans 7:12, Romans 7:16, 1 Timothy 1:8)? Are we to abolish the Law of God in our faith (Romans 3:31)? Did God somehow make an already perfect law according to His own standards even better by changing the commandments, or as some say, by abolishing them?

Or perhaps did He improve the covenant by simply removing the imperfect human element from the priestly system and inserted Yeshua (Jesus) as the new perfect High Priest thus leaving all of God’s perfect law completely intact? Those are our only two choices. Both positions can not co-exist without conflict. We must test all of this to Scripture, to determine if Hebrews teaches that God took His perfect law and made perfect better, or if God simply replaced an imperfect High Priesthood with a perfect High Priesthood to improve the covenant.

Hebrews is a letter, and as with any letter, it serves a specific point and purpose by answering a specific issue to the intended audience. To properly answer the questions outlined above it seems to make sense to start at the beginning of the letter (instead of the middle) to build context as we arrive to the verses of contention.

Every letter ever written in the history of man was written to be read from beginning to the end. No letter in the history of man was ever written with the assumption that someone will read the letter a couple of translations and hundreds of years later and then decide to pull a few sentences out of it to build a theological doctrine. Obviously that would be quite absurd. Yet is that not what we do? The following will extract the main points out of each chapter to begin forming the foundation and context of the letter. Please consider reading the whole chapters and ensure that you agree to the summary points being made below.

Chapter Main Points

Chapter 1
1) We learn that Yeshua (Jesus) is now better than the angels. Thus the context already seems to be built around our Lord and Savior.

Chapter 2
1) Yeshua (Jesus), was initially made lower than the angels and He then prevailed over sin and death.

Chapter 3
1) Yeshua (Jesus) is now our High Priest. He was worthy, whereas the previous human priestly administration (Levitical Priesthood) was disobedient and imperfect. The context is forming quickly and is becoming clearer.

Chapter 4
1) The author of Hebrews begins to cite examples of how men were imperfect in the Levitical priesthood and then details the resulting consequences. Like those coming out of Egypt (3:11), disobedience could forfeit our still pending rest in Him(4:6, 11). Some confuse chapter 4 and conclude that we are already in God’s rest. If all of chapter 3 and 4 are read it is quickly understood that we enter God’s rest at the end of the race and we should strive to enter it in obedience and faithfulness. Thus the case is built for a perfect High Priesthood that will lead us in the straight and narrow and not fall into the problems that plagued the priesthoods of the past.

2) Yeshua (Jesus), our new High Priest, can sympathize with our weakness.

3) Hebrews 4:9 declares that there is still a “Sabbath keeping” for the people of God (sabbatismos = Literally means “Sabbath keeping” in the Greek; Derivative from G4521, sabbaton, or Sabbath)

Note: The context so far is completely about Yeshua (Jesus) and His worthiness to be our High Priest and the established need to change out the current imperfect priesthood administration to a perfect administration. Note that the author of Hebrews has not yet offered anything negative about the Law of God. As the problem statement or issue is more clearly defined, we should expect that the solution should be directly related to the problem statement. We need to continuously ask if the problem is with the Law of God, and thus needed to be changed, as that is the point of contention and answer we seek.

Chapter 5
1) Yeshua (Jesus), our new High Priest, unlike men as High Priests, will not have compassion with those who are ignorant or deviating from His ways. Imperfect men in the priesthood allowed God’s people to deviate from God’s ways. This is a problem. In chapter 4, the author already stated that Yeshua (Jesus) as our High Priest would not sympathize with our weakness (we are accountable) but He still affords us grace (forgiven). Again, the solution is being foreshadowed as the problem statement is solidified.

2) The author of Hebrews establishes that Jesus is scripturally and rightfully called to be the High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. The context is set. The author has defined the problem (imperfect priesthood) and is strongly hinting at the solution.

3) After establishing that the change in the High Priesthood has been prophetically foretold in the Law and Prophets, the author expresses concern that his audience needs to invest more focus in the oracles of God (God’s law in other scriptural references). The author of Hebrews declares God’s law as the milk that is necessary to discern both good and evil. We need to move past milk (understand God’s law) before we can eat meat (deeper teachings of God’s Word). The author now takes a break and actually rebukes his audience for not being able to figure this out in their study as it is all written in God’s Word.

Question: Why is it important for the author of Hebrews to reference scriptural support in his suggestion that (Yeshua) Jesus is now our High Priest, meaning a change in the law and covenant has occurred?

Answer: Amos 3:7 Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.

The author of Hebrews knows full well that nothing in the law can change or will ever change unless God told us before hand that it was going to change and exactly how it was to change. That is an important scriptural truth to understand in the context of many teachings that suggest that many of God’s laws have been abolished. God never told us beforehand that He would ever abolish His law in any capacity. In fact, the opposite is true in which the Law of God is stated to be perpetual, continual, and forever.

Chapter 6
1) The author of Hebrews appeals to his audience to move beyond the elementary and simple matters of Christ and the gospel and begin understanding the more complicated matters.

2) Yeshua (Jesus) has entered into the Heavenly sanctuary and is making constant intercessions on our behalf as our High Priest.

Note: A High Priest necessitates a priestly system. That is simply how it works and how it is established in the Law of God. If we state that the priestly system has been discarded or abolished, then by default, as an unfortunate yet profound consequence, we have then also discarded (Yeshua) Jesus as our High Priest. We cannot have one without the other. What this simply means is that if anyone teaches that the sacrificial system is abolished, then they are in essence firing their High Priest in their own theological doctrine. Which of course would mean that we would not have a High Priest making continuous intercession for us on our behalf and are all still under curse of the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2).

It is not that the sacrificial system has been abolished, it just now operates perfectly in the Heavens instead of imperfectly on Earth.

Therefore, by now, we are starting to understand that the priestly system has not been abolished, just transferred to a new administration, as prophecy foretold in the order of Melchizedek. The author of Hebrews will now begin discussing the detail behind such change, as apparently the author of Hebrews is highly disappointed in their initial inability to grasp this concept without his help.

Chapter 7
1) Melchizedek is a priestly order that is forever, and even Abraham gave tithes to him (therefore the point is established that he is greater than Abraham)

2) The Levitical priesthood system was not perfect. That in of itself was a serious problem, and now the problem at hand has been well established.

3) The former was set aside, as the law could not make us perfect/righteous. Because of this, imperfect beings were in administration of the High Priest duties and another solution was obviously necessary. The problem at hand has been clarified more.

4) The author of Hebrews establishes that the Lord does not change His mind, and Yeshua (Jesus), being worthy, as established earlier, can be the perfect SOLUTION to the “imperfect man” priesthood PROBLEM. This in fact means that there is not a problem with the law, as some imply, but the problem is directly related to the “who” is in administration as the High Priest, which was imperfect man. The context is sealed in cement here.

5) This is a permanent solution, as He continuously makes intercession for us in the eternal priestly system. From this point on, we will always have a perfect priestly administration system and will never revert back to a priestly system operated by imperfect man.

6) This was always the plan, and it is established again that Yeshua (Jesus) is perfect, and man was not, thus the logic behind the change that has been foretold at least since the law was written.

Some commentary is warranted regarding verse 12
Hb 7:12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

Some also confuse this verse and mistakenly offer it as clear evidence that the law has been abolished, simply because Jesus Christ is now our High Priest. This confusion is hard to understand, because it specifically states that the law is changed, not abolished. In fact, this same author uses this same Greek word, G3346 – metatithemi, in chapter 11 verse 5:

Hb 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated (metatithemi) that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated (metatithemi) him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

Here, the translators translate the same word as “translated.” Obviously Enoch was not abolished or deleted. He was simply transferred or translated into the Heavenly realms without seeing death.

Strong’s defines the word to literally mean to translate or carry over something. As one incorporates this into the overall teaching that the letter to the Hebrews is offering us, it is quickly apparent that all verse 12 is stating is that the priestly laws that were once laws for the Levitical (imperfect) priesthood, are now transferred in responsibility to our perfect High Priest Jesus Christ (Yeshua), thereby removed from the Levitical priesthood and established with Jesus Christ (Yeshua) as our new High Priest.

This understanding leads into verses 18:
Hb 7:18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.

Note that it states that there is a disannulling of a commandment, not commandments. If it was the whole law of Moses being cancelled then we would be dealing with more than one commandment. We know that the law is not weak and unprofitable, however the author does not clarify yet at this point what is weak and unprofitable. Later we discover it is the “sinful man administration of the priesthood” that is causing the weakness, which is the root cause of the problem at hand.

We do not want to ignore what we learned in verse 12 when reading verse 18. We know that the commandment was not erased, but translated, or transferred from the Levitical Priesthood to Yeshua (Jesus) in the order of Melchizedek.

The Greek word for disannulling (G115 – athetesis) helps clarify exactly what is occurring here. Athetesis means “to set aside something, to refuse to recognize its validity, or the complete removal of something“

To the Levitical Priesthood, the commandment that placed them in charge of the High Priesthood, it was “set aside”, and “removed,” and “they were no longer recognized” as the administers of the Priesthood, but in fact, as verse 12 already clearly stated, the law was not thrown out the window, but handed off, or transferred, to the perfect administrator, Yeshua (Jesus). He, unlike the Levites, was without sin.

Hebrews is simply a teaching on the well orchestrated solution to a well articulated problem. What often sadly occurs at this point is many teachers mistakenly claim that the law was the problem and therefore the law was abolished. So far, we can see in using context and the words used, that interpretation is failing. In chapter 8, the root problem is even more clearly established, warranting the “transfer of High Priesthood” solution that God implemented.

Isn’t it quite simple when we take the verses before a verse to discover meaning, instead of bringing our own bias into the text?

Now that verses 12 and 18 have been beaten into the ground, let’s examine the more complicated matters.

Note: The context so far is completely about Yeshua (Jesus) and His worthiness to be our High Priest, the reason for it, and the scriptural method on how it was accomplished. Note the context is still not about the abolishing of the Law of God.

Chapter 8
1) Verse 2, specifically states that even the tabernacle in which Yeshua (Jesus) is now High Priest is the eternal, heavenly tabernacle, not made by corrupted and polluted man.

2) The Earthly tabernacle was built as a foreshadowing of the Heavenly tabernacle with Yeshua (Jesus) as the High Priest.

3) Verse 6, specifically states that Yeshua (Jesus) as a mediator of this covenant is superior (because Yeshua (Jesus) is a perfect High Priest).

Hb 8:6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

The focus of verse 6 is the “ministry” that Yeshua has obtained. The Greek word being used here is “G3009 – leitourgia” which means a “public function such as a priest” according to Strongs Greek Concordance. This should not be a surprise to us, as that has been the whole point of Hebrews so far. Yeshua was given a new office as our new High Priest. It is BECAUSE Yeshua (Jesus) is the new High Priest (“by how much also he…”) that the covenant was made better. Some propose the covenant was made better because God abolished some of His commandments. That teaching is found nowhere in the letter to the Hebrews. The covenant was made better because of the new office/ministry/priesthood of Yeshua (Jesus) our Messiah.

To prove it, all we need to do is simply read the following two verses. The author of Hebrews explains this to us! Watch.

4) Verse 7, specifically states that something was WRONG with the covenant, again establishing the need for Yeshua (Jesus) as the High Priest for this improvement in the covenant. This again begs the question, what was so wrong with the covenant, God’s commandments or God’s people?

Hb 8:7 For if that first [covenant] had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

Verse 7 says that the first had been faultless. Notice how “covenant” is in brackets. It is in brackets because it is not in the original Greek. This is a literary tool called an “ellipsis” which we will cover in more detail shortly. The point is this, the translators placed “covenant” after “first” to hopefully offer more clarity for the reader. Unfortunately, as we already read in verse 6, the subject is the new “leitourgia” (public office as High Priest) of Yeshua (Jesus), thus the translators have shown their own bias. It was not the first covenant at fault, but the first priesthood of Israel that was at fault.

Can we prove this? Yes!
Once again all we have to do is read the next verse to discover who or what was at fault.

5) Verse 8, specifically states that God found fault with the PEOPLE, which is the root cause of what was wrong with the covenant.

Hb 8:8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

The covenant built on God’s law, as established earlier, is just, holy, perfect, and good.

Question: If we adopt the dominant teaching on Hebrews that states that God’s law was replaced by a better law, then how can we answer the following question considering the totality of scripture? If God’s covenant and law was already perfect, how did God make it better? Can you make perfect even more perfect? Of course not, that is absurd. There is another answer.

Answer: The author of Hebrews has simply stated this: Yeshua (Jesus) is perfect and man is not. It is not good for an imperfect man to be the administrator of a perfect law and covenant system specific to the component of the priestly system. Yeshua (Jesus) was the perfect solution and is now our perfect High Priest, thus solving the problem. This is not a problem with God’s law or covenant. The administration of the High Priesthood, as a component of God’s law and covenant is what was made better, by transferring from an imperfect administration, to a now perfect administration. This is all amazing yet profoundly simple.

The most important thing to consider is that God fixes what was broken. Does this not make sense? Would we expect God to “fix” what was not broken?

God found “fault with them,” not His own law. Thus God fixed the priestly system (them) and made it perfect (through Yeshua), just like His already perfect law.

6) Verses 9-12 specifically references the Old Testament prophecy indicating that this change has all been foretold. Notice that the prophecy speaks of the High Priesthood, not the whole Law of God as written by Moses. Notice that the New Covenant is made with the House of Israel (northern Kingdom) and the House of Judah (southern kingdom), which is collectively Israel as a whole. This is why Romans 11 and Ephesians 2 declares all believers in Yeshua (Jesus) as Israel, which should bring a new perspective to the commands in the Bible that were given to Israel and stated to be perpetual, lasting, and forever. These are the same commands that are stated to be supposedly abolished as a result of a serious misunderstanding of the letter to the Hebrews. Also note that the law is written on our heart, which means that we want to obey out of love. If the law has been abolished as some teach, then what law is being written on our heart? Do a search on commandments and love in scripture, and relationship to love and the commandments will be very clear.

In verses 8-12 (which is quoting Jeremiah 31:31-33) we learn that the whole point of the New Covenant is for us to actually walk in God’s law. Remember, the problem outlined before is that the priests consistently failed in teaching God’s law to the people. We now have a perfect High Priest who taught and walked God’s law perfectly. He demonstrated to us perfect obedience which is the same image we are to conform to. Where we fail in applying the perfect law we are covered by His grace. His grace is His manifestation of His love for us. Because of His love for us we are to love Him back (1 John 4:19). Loving God is defined as keeping His commandments (1 John 5:3).

The irony is that mainstream doctrine tries to teach us that the new covenant solution was to abolish God’s law or commandments in God’s law. They fail to recognize that Yeshua (Jesus) was to be our example in how to practice and observe God’s law and that He is now established as our High Priest, not replacing God’s law, but replacing the imperfect priestly administration.

And now we should be well equipped to understand this verse:

Hb 8:13 In that he saith, A new [covenant], he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

Note: In the actual manuscripts, “covenant” does not actually exist, but is inserted by translators to attempt to clarify, and the same applies to verse 7 as already briefly mentioned. This is why many translations either put “covenant” in brackets or italics to let the reader know that it is not really God’s Word, but man’s commentary inserted into God’s Word. This is an honest attempt that translators used to help. However, in this case, it only confuses and leads others in the wrong direction as we will see.

Question: What has the whole context of Hebrews been about? What went away? Was it God’s law and covenant, or the simply the imperfect Levitical priestly administration to be replaced by Yeshua (Jesus) as our new High Priest in the order of Melchizedek? If you have read the letter to the Hebrews up to this point, and did not just start reading in chapter 8, then answering this question is quite simple and not complicated at all.

Let’s just review the next few verses to let the context to continue to speak for itself:

Hb 9:1 Then verily the first had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. (What is the subject? The answer is the priestly system and the Tabernacle, thus the “first” is defined for us)

Hb 9:2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.

Hb 9:3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;

Hb 9:4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;

Hb 9:5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.

Hb 9:6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service [of God].

Hb 9:7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:

Isn’t it simply evident that the focus at hand is the priestly system, the problem it had, and the solution that was provided? That is the “first” (ellipsis) that is in context. The “first” is not the covenant as presumed in the ellipsis. The letter to the Hebrews never leaves that subject alone for one second. Embarrassingly, the scripture supporting the abolishing of the Sabbath or God’s Holy Feast days is completely lacking.

Hb 8:13 In that he saith, A new (PERFECT HIGH PRIEST ADMINISTRATION THROUGH YESHUA) he hath made the first (HIGH PRIEST ADMINISTRATION THROUGH LEVITICAL PRIESTS) old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old (LEVITICAL PRIESTLY SYSTEM) is ready to vanish away. (And it did by 70 A.D. with the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem)

Goodbye human administration priesthood and enter in the Yeshua (Jesus) High Priesthood in the order of Melchizedek.

This is a clear example of the type of confusion that can happen if we start in the middle of a letter, or enter into scripture with a preconceived idea of what we believe it is going to reveal to us by relying on doctrines to teach us instead of God’s Word. These same methodological mistakes, which Peter even warns us about (2 Peter 3:15-17), are also evident in Paul’s letters, and are often even more doctrinally embarrassing than in this demonstration. Yet they all can be simply addressed just as the letter to the Hebrews.

There are still some more chapters to cover in Hebrews, so let’s continue. The context, of course, continues as expected.

Chapter 9
The author of Hebrews begins diving into the detail of the problems with the Earthly tabernacle and associated priestly processes. These laws associated with the priestly system have not been abolished, but transferred to our new and perfect High Priest operating in a perfect tabernacle, making continuous intercession for us.

Chapter 10
Consistent with all of the other problems with an Earthly priestly system, even the sacrifices were imperfect. This should be of no surprise to anyone that understands the gospel. Yeshua (Jesus) died for our sins as the perfect Passover Lamb, and death can now pass over us. His sacrifice is eternally sufficient and given to us by grace from the Father as we accept it in faith and trust in Him.

Chapter 11
The author of Hebrews then begins to lay a historical foundation that our faith is our hope and it is evidenced visibly by our actions and works.

Chapter 12
Therefore, we need to remove any sin that ensnares us, look to Christ as our example and establisher of our faith, and also recognize that the Father will chasten us and correct us, making us better, producing even better fruit. Pursue holiness (being set apart) and straight paths for our feet (His ways).

Chapter 13
Continue to love others (which is defined in scripture as keeping God’s commandments), do not be carried away with strange doctrines, and live honorably.

Note: It should be fairly evident, that unwarranted claims that the letter of Hebrews offers scriptural support that God’s law or parts of God’s law has been abolished are just simply unsubstantiated. There is certainly more that can be said on the letter to the Hebrews, but this should certainly be sufficient in addressing the confusion that is often unaddressed or ignored.

Why did translators find it necessary to insert “covenant” in the first place? Why did it make sense to insert anything into the text?

Answer: Ellipsis

Hebrews 8 – What is an “ellipsis?”

A literary device known as an ellipsis is apparent in Hebrews 8, which means that “covenant” is indeed not in the Original Manuscripts. This ellipsis forces the reader to fill in the context following the word “first.” Ellipses occur in verses 8:7; 8:13; 9:1; & 9:18. Most translations have filled in the gap left by the ellipses for us by incorrectly inserting “covenant” instead of “High Priest administration.”

If one examines the context, inserting “covenant” to fill the hole created by the ellipses instead of “High Priest administration” is an error as it conflicts with the overall theme of Hebrews and immediate surrounding text.

Definition of an ellipsis:
ellipsis or ellipse, the omission from a sentence of a word or words that would be required for complete clarity but which can usually be understood from the context. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellipsis)

The critical question is what is the context? If the author of Hebrews felt comfortable using ellipses in these verses (8:7;8:13;9:1;9:18), you would think he would have set the context so clearly that we would not even be capable of misinterpreting him. Is the context of Hebrews abolishing or annulling the whole covenant as supposed, or just the Levitical High Priesthood? How about even the surrounding text? Believe it or not, the author of Hebrews clearly tells us just only a few verses earlier his main point of his whole letter:

Hb 8:28 For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.

Hb 8:1 Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2 a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.

Scripture defines the main point or context of Hebrews to be a new High Priest administration. It is clear that it states that the men are weak and that they are the problem, which needed replacing, not the law. We clearly have the context for the ellipsis.

Everything prior to this “main point” statement sets up the foundation, problem statement, and solution for the main point, and everything following offers additional support of that “main point” and then leads into specifics about Tabernacle conversion resulting from our new High Priest that happens to be residing in Heaven. The Tabernacle conversion, by intended consequence, also satisfied another problem, which was a tabernacle built by imperfect man, which could not house a perfect administration or mediator (Yeshua/Jesus).

Because it supports the law abolishing paradigm, many maintain that the quote from Jer. 31 establishes brand new context, when in reality, the author citing Jer. 31 is just supporting the continuation of what the author already clearly established as the root cause problem. Thus the Jer. 31 quote is just supporting the overall solution as the context and main point. Not only does the context continue through chapter 8, but chapter 9 begins to discuss in detail the priestly system, not the nature of the whole covenant that is supposedly being made obsolete instead of just the Levitical Priesthood administration.

It is quite clear that Priesthood remains the “main point” throughout the Book of Hebrews and does not temporarily leave the overall teaching just to focus on quickly deleting a covenant just to immediately leave that subject and begin talking about the priesthood again.

The root problem was men as high priests instead of Yeshua (Jesus), therefore the solution is Yeshua (Jesus) as the High Priest. Another related problem is that men built the tabernacle instead of a Heavenly tabernacle. The law that assigns a high priest is not even deleted or abolished. It has just changed assignment to Yeshua through the order of Melchizedek (7:21)(5:6)(5:10), as was foretold.

Another problem was man’s disobedience and we refused to want to obey. All of these problems and solutions have nothing to do with deleting a covenant or God’s law. Yet we want to state that the entire covenant was deleted and replaced, as being made obsolete and fading away. Men’s flesh might want that to be true, but those after the Spirit want God’s law. We will cover more of that later.

Because we were not supposed to conclude that we were to delete the Law of God, no one can clearly figure out exactly which commandments we are supposed to be obedient to anymore. This is always the debate and the source of so much confusion.

Are we only supposed to obey the commands Yeshua (Jesus) specifically stated? Well, He told us to obey the whole Law of Moses when it is read from the Seat of Moses (Matthew 23:1-3).

Are we only supposed to obey the commandments in the New Testament as if commandments in the Old Testament are not part of the Bible? Where is the third commandment in the NT, can we now take the Lord’s name in vain? Can we now marry our brother and sister? Something does not seem right.

The only thing the whole letter of Hebrews mentions as being made obsolete is the Levitical priesthood, which is not a law, but “who” is administering the priestly laws.

Is the main point the removal of God’s law or laws by removing the whole Mosaic covenant? No. Then how can we make it such? More importantly, why do we want to?

By mistakenly inserting “covenant” after “first” in verses 8:7;8:13 & 9:1 one changes the main point of Hebrews to be about the covenant instead of what the author of Hebrews clearly stated as the subject as defined in 8:1 and evidenced throughout the whole letter. This would even be against the whole “main point” that the author is trying to teach in Hebrews. Perhaps we should again remind ourselves that the author of Hebrews even specifically told us the whole main point of the letter in Hebrews 8:1 which is ironically right in the middle of all of the verses that are commonly confused!

The brief mention of the word covenant is simply just citing Jer. 31. It is necessary for the author of Hebrews to cite this verse to establish scriptural support for the change or transfer that the author of Hebrews is trying to prove (3:1). He is proving to his audience that the problem was with THEM (8:7) (not the law) and the fact that they did not remain faithful to the covenant (8:9)(Jer. 31) was indeed the problem. This means that they broke the covenant. They broke the law. They were sinners. Every man is a sinner. Therefore the solution can not be men, or even making a covenant obsolete. Consider this, how could making a covenant obsolete solve a problem with the imperfect nature of man and the High Priesthood? What could we even be logically proposing the relationship would be between the clearly stated problem (them) and the abolishing of a covenant? It simply would not make any sense.

The real solution was for Yeshua (Jesus) to replace THEM the PEOPLE (8:7,8:9) not replace the covenant. Therefore, the only thing that can be old and fading away is the commandment (singular)(7:18) that previously assigned THEM (8:7), the PEOPLE to the High Priest system, and instead the commandment changed/transferred (7:18) to Yeshua (Jesus) as our current perfect High Priest (6:20)(7:28). Yeshua (Jesus) was worthy and man was not (7:26-27).

Why in the world are we suggesting that He abolished a previous covenant, when scripture declares that he refreshes it or makes it new in freshness (G2537 – kainos)? He refreshed the covenant by taking men out of the High Priest system and replacing it with himself. This is one central reason the covenant was made better, because of a perfect High Priest. The other reason it was made better is because God’s law (which was not abolished) was written on the hearts of Israel (us).

If we are stating that the whole covenant is abolished and obsolete (instead of the human High Priest administration), then we have numerous problems that are impossible to reconcile.

For example:
1) Hebrews 7:12 makes it clear that it was a transferring/change of the priesthood that occurred, not a deleting of a supposed obsolete covenant. There happens to be a difference between a covenant with God and the performance of a priesthood.

2) Hebrews 7:18 makes it clear that it was a commandment that changed, not commandments. If the Sabbath and Feast days were removed as part of the changes that Hebrews is teaching, which is what many want to do, the focus would be on commandments, not a commandment (singular). The author would have also specifically mentioned those changes, which he did not. He mentioned countless times how the High Priesthood changed, yet mentioned no other specific change as it relates to the covenant. Was he leaving the Hebrews in the dark? Hebrews even tells us which commandment was transferred. The commandment that was transferred was the one that assigned the High Priesthood from the imperfect man (Levites) to Yeshua (Jesus). (Ex. 29:44; Ex. 30:30; Ex. 31:30; Ex; 38:31 etc.)

3) Hebrews 8:7 makes it clear that the problem that existed was the people, not the covenant. The covenant was made better because man was no longer the High Priest, but Yeshua (Jesus) is now the perfect high priest. The covenant was not made better because it was made obsolete. At no point in all of scripture is it ever mentioned that God’s Feast days or Sabbaths were ever a problem and needed to be deleted or changed in any capacity. Men who do not like God’s law decided those commandments were a problem, so they were deleted through doctrine’s of men, not by divine decree. God simply never does anything without telling us through His prophets first. In addition, if He was going delete His most special holy days He would have at least told us why. We are often told that the reason why is because God’s law was not perfect, but we know that God’s law was perfect. We are also often told that the reason why is because God’s law was bondage, but God’s Word says His law is easy and freedom.

4) The author of Hebrews’ focus is on the Levitical High Priesthood being abolished and obsolete for man and reassigned to Jesus Christ in the order of Melchizedek. There is no such context established with the whole covenant. There is no prophecy that stated that the Mosaic covenant would be made obsolete and replaced, just made new or refreshed, improved, or made better.

5) The MAIN POINT as stated in 7:28-8:1 is about the change in the High Priesthood and thus establishes the context required by the ellipsis. This main point does not mention a covenant made obsolete.

6) The author’s point of citing Jer. 31, is to show that the problem with man was already prophesied in advance and the solution was to be part of the refreshing of the covenant. This is keeping in context of what he is already discussing. The author wants to prove what he just said in 8:7-8 by testing it to scripture (Jer. 31)

How do we address the above if we were to make the covenant obsolete?

What does it state in verse 9 when the author of Hebrews cites Jer. 31?

Hb 8:9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

….hence a problem with THEM, the PEOPLE, the administration of the covenant, which is not the covenant itself.

So now the author has shown in scripture that the problem was foretold and the solution as Yeshua (Jesus) in the order of Melchizedek was also foretold.

Notice what was not foretold was the making of covenant obsolete. As something as important as deleting a covenant from God, you would expect it to be mentioned by God somewhere instead of saying it was going to be there forever.

7) 9:14-15 clearly states that the Christ’s sacrifice of himself enabled Him to the mediator (intercessor) of the covenant, it does not state that Christ’s sacrifice enabled the annulling of the covenant and that had anything to do with helping anything.

8) 7:22-8:1 makes it clear that the covenant was made better by Yeshua (Jesus) replacing imperfect man High Priesthood administration with His perfect High priesthood administration.

9) The last ellipsis, the same as all of the others (first…) also clearly demonstrates that the subject is the High Priest administration as the context describes the covenant blood that is spilled and dedicated to the priestly administration, tabernacle, and vessels. It was through Christ’s blood that the perfect High Priest administration was dedicated (9:19-26)

10) How can we erase the very covenant that supports the High Priesthood?

11) How can we erase laws that are part of the covenant when this contradicts the statements of Jesus in Matthew 5:17-19?

The bottom line is this. The context of the ellipsis is either the covenant or a human high priest administration. It is really simple.

Let’s explore the usage of the ellipsis literary tool in detail and once again apply the surrounding context to properly utilize the ellipsis.

Here is verse 7, the first ellipsis.

Hb 8:7 For if that first (ellipsis) had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

Whatever is not faultless is the subject and context of what is defined as the “first”. What exactly had fault might I ask? I really need to know, so that I can then know the precise context of the ellipses. Is the context the covenant or is it the human high priest administration? Whatever the answer is, that is what the “first” is in 8:7.

Watch. What is not faultless?
Hb 8:8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

What was at fault, and therefore is the context of the ellipses was THEM and therefore verse 8:7 (as defined by verse 8:8) is understood as:

Hb 8:7 For if that first [high priesthood administration] had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

It was the high priesthood administration that was NOT faultless (thus we needed a second), which is exactly what 8:7 describes as “first.”

So then, what is the “first” and old?
Answer: The human imperfect High Priesthood administration.

What is the “second” and new?
Answer: The perfect High Priesthood (Yeshua/Jesus) administration.

So every time going forward the author of Hebrews uses the “first” and the “second” we KNOW that he is talking about what was replaced, because the first (High Priesthood administration) of Israel was indeed NOT faultless (they had fault).

Then the author continues with citing Jer. 31 to prove from scripture that they were indeed at fault:

Hb 8:9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

So the solution is exactly what the author of Hebrews proposed as the main point and WHOLE THEME of Hebrews, which is Jesus as a High Priest, not the abolishing and making obsolete of a whole covenant.

The author uses the same exact linguistic structure of the ellipses from 8:7 in 8:13, continuing the same context and then supporting his point that the fault was with man (not the covenant) and the solution Yeshua (Jesus) as the new High Priest administration:

Hb 8:13 In that he saith, A new [high priesthood administration], he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

One last point
If 8:13 is speaking of God’s covenant and law, then why does 13 state that it is now ready to vanish away and that it is in the process of decaying? How does a covenant gradually decay and fade away after it has already been made obsolete? Why is it still ready to vanish away instead of having already vanished away? Isn’t this a difficult question to answer? If the covenant is made obsolete, is it made ready to vanish and decay away, or is it in fact already gone? How do we answer this? Why is 8:13 in present tense and still progressing?

Well, when we realize that 8:13 is NOT about God’s covenant but the Levitical High Priesthood then it makes complete sense. When Yeshua (Jesus) became the High Priest there were still those of the Levitical priesthood that were playing out their roles. Is this what Hebrews specifically states?

Let’s go back to verse 8:4 and it will make what seems complex very simple.

Hb 8:4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:

Nowhere does the author of Hebrews suggest that the priests offering these sacrifices (long after Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and the Feast of Pentecost when God’s Spirit was given to the Church in Acts 2), were doing so illegitimately. On the contrary Hebrews asserts that Jesus Christ Himself can’t offer sacrifices even if He was on Earth while the Levitical priesthood exists!

This is because the Levitical Priesthood, though obsolete, was still fading and decaying away!

The Heavenly High Priest administration (Yeshua/Jesus) was perfect and operational, yet the Earthly Levitical based administration, though obsolete, was still functioning and playing out their role until it faded away when the temple was destroyed in 70 AD.

This verse comes at the conclusion of two whole chapters devoted to showing the superiority of Jesus’ “Melchizedek’ priesthood to that of our earthly Levitical priesthood. So what is ‘ready to vanish’ must be taken in the context of what has just been discussed. It is the earthly temple and the earthly priesthood ready to vanish, to be rendered eventually inoperable (as did occur a few years later in 70 CE).

We have a choice to make. Either the Word of God is indeed eternal, or it can in fact slowly vanish away.

Either God contradicts Himself in the Bible or the problem is with MAN’S UNDERSTANDING of what he reads.

I would like to submit that the problem is with MAN’S UNDERSTANDING of what he reads.

Does any of the new covenant prophecies mention abolishing God’s law? No. In fact, it states the exact opposite. The whole point of the new covenant is that it is written on our heart and we want to do His law. We are given a new heart, and our old heart is taken away.

Ezekiel 36:26 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 an heart of flesh.

Jeremiah 31:33 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.

NEW = NEW HEART that WANTS to follow God’s law
God says that He gave the Holy Spirit to give us the desire to KEEP His law.

Ezekiel 36:27 And I will put MY SPIRIT WITHIN YOU, and cause you
to WALK in my STATUTES, and ye shall KEEP my JUDGMENTS, and DO THEM.

Zechariah 7:11 But they REFUSED to HEARKEN, and PULLED AWAY the SHOULDER, and STOPPED their EARS, that they should NOT HEAR.

Zechariah 7:12 Yea, they made their HEARTS as an adamant STONE …

OLD = STONY HEART that will NOT follow God’s law

When we read all of Hebrews, or even just simply focus on the main point clearly established by the author, we find not one mention, of the covenant being made obsolete.

The only way we can build such a doctrine is to ignore the blatant context given and misuse the ellipse in Hebrews by trying to slide in “covenant” in 8:13 and then ignore the contradictions that result.

It makes no sense to force the covenant to be the root problem statement and the solution to be the making of the covenant obsolete. Clearly the letter to the Hebrews as a whole and in the immediate surrounding text establishes that the problem statement was imperfect man as the High Priest administration and mediator, and the solution was reassigning Yeshua (Jesus) as the perfect High Priest to a perfect Heavenly tabernacle by the means of the eternal order of Melchizedek in the transferring of one commandment.

We do not want to confuse why Jer. 31 was cited by the author in the first place, and thus pull out the incorrect context for the ellipses evident in 8:13 that would destroy the overall theme of Hebrews, and even violates the exact same ellipses in 8:7. It simply makes no sense, unless one has an interest in preserving a paradigm that is dependent upon forcing the discarding of the Law of God as written by Moses.

If anyone teaches that Hebrews states something beyond a simple foretold transferring of the priestly system to Yeshua (Jesus), Yeshua (Jesus) being the perfect sacrifice, and a transferring of the man made tabernacle to the Heavenly tabernacle, then their conclusions are already highly suspect, as Hebrews does not deviate from such in the slightest capacity. The problem stated simply is that imperfect man is operating in an imperfect tabernacle, the offering of imperfect sacrifices was corrected by Jesus Christ (Yeshua) as a perfect High Priest, as a perfect sacrifice, now in the perfect Heavenly tabernacle.

Anyone stating anything more than that, has a bias to attempt to prove.

As fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, I urge you to take all of the above seriously, since these things are relating to our awesome God YHWH, who deserves every bit of our attention and our sincere desire to understand His Word and His ways.

Test everything I have said to scripture. Never take a man’s word for Truth, but test it to the only established Truth we have, God’s Word. This is what we are accountable to at the end of the race. Show yourself approved, and study the scriptures. Contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. Seek out His ways and His path. Test your heart and ensure that it desires God’s ways and not the ways of the world, doctrines of men, or traditions of our fathers. As Jesus (Yeshua) stated, we can do many things in God’s name, but if we were not doing it out of pure love and obedience to Him, then it matters not. In fact, our heart can still be so far from Him, that He could state, “Depart from me. I never knew you, you who works lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:21)

It is our faith in Jesus (Yeshua) that matters, but if there is no evidence of faith in your life that is demonstrated by a sincere interest in the keeping of God’s commandments, then begin asking yourself why you do not trust God’s ways, but instead rely on man’s ways and your ways. We need to humble ourselves and see Truth in the place where Truth is written. We cannot pretend to invent Truth, but only have it delivered to us through His established Word.

I pray that this study has blessed you. I also pray that as you test the above to scripture, that you bring to my attention any part that might be in error as defined by scripture. Do not allow me to reside in any understanding that could be false, but reach out to me in love and discuss God’s Holy Word with me, and I will make every attempt to do the same with you. In the end, only the Truth matters. In the end, only Truth can end the division in His body and restore unity.

How does scripture describe God’s law?
1. The Law blesses (obey) and curses (disobey). (Deut 11:26-27)(Ps 112:1)(Ps 119:1-2)(Ps 128:1)(Prov 8:32)(Is 56:2)(Mat 5:6)(Mat 5:10)(Luke 11:28)(Jam 1:25)(1 Pe 3:14)(Rev 22:14)

2. The Law defines sin. (Jer 44:23)(Ez 18:21)(Dan 9:11)(Ro 3:20)(Ro 7:7)(1 Jo 3:4)

3. The Law is perfect. (Ps 19:7)(Jam 1:25)

4. The Law is liberty. (Ps 119:45)(Jam 1:25, 2:12)

5. The Law is the way. (Ex 18:20)(Deut 10:12)(Josh 22:5)(1 King 2:3)(Ps 119:1)(Prov 6:23)(Is 2:3)(Mal 2:8)(Mark 12:14)(Ac 24:14)

6. The Law is the truth. (Ps 119:142)(Mal 2:6)(Ro 2:20)(Gal 5:7)(Ps 43:2-4)(Jo 8:31-32)

7. The Law is life. (Job 33:30)(Ps 36:9)(Prov 6:23)(Rev 22:14)

8. The Law is light. (Job 24:13)(Job 29:3)(Ps 36:9)(Ps 43:2-4)(Ps 119:105)(Prov 6:23)(Is 2:5) (Is 8:20)(Is 51:4)(2 Cor 6:14)(1 John 1:7)

9. The Law is Jesus, the Word made flesh. (PERFECT-LIBERTY-WAY-TRUTH-LIFE-LIGHT). (Ps 27:1)(Jo 1:1-14)(Jo 14:5-11)(1 Jo 1:7)

10. The Law is also for the Gentiles (foreigner/alien) who are grafted in. (Ex 12:19) (Ex 12:38) (Ex 12:49) (Lev 19:34) (Lev 24:22) (Num 9:14) (Num 15:15-16) (Num 15:29) (ie: Ruth) (Is 42:6) (Is 60:3) (Mat 5:14) (Eph 2:10-13) (Ac 13:47) (Ro 11:16-27) (Jer31:31-34) (Ez 37) (1 Jo 2:10) (1 Jo 1:7)

11. The Law is God’s instructions on how to love God, how to love others, and how to not love yourself. (Ex 20:6)(Deut 5:10)(Deut 7:10)(Deut 11:13)(Deut 11:22)(Deut 30:16)(Deut 6:5)(Lev 19:18)(Neh 1:5)(Dan 9:4)(Mat 22:35-37)(Matthew 10:39)(Mat 16:25)(Jo 14:15)(Jo 14:21)(Ro 13:9)(1 Jo 5:2-3)(2 Jo 1:6)

Proverbs 28:9 “He who turns away his ear from hearing the Law, Even his prayer is an abomination.”

We are to seek unity in the seeking of Truth (Ephesians 4) and desire to see the 33,000 denominations in 258 countries contend for the faith that was once delivered to all of the saints…(Jude 1:20)

Only when God’s people start doing Bible things in Bible ways, believing and doing all things according to His Word will we finally see unity in the Body.

119 Ministries

www.TestEverything.net

I’m back! I hope the above study done by 119 Ministries, has opened your eyes to see the Book of Hebrews in new light. The true and perfect light which is Yeshua. May your eyes be like Paul’s, as he could see perfectly while on his way to Damascus, but was blind to the truth. His eyes actually opened only when he got blinded to the light of Yeshua and came out a new man. May our new perfect High Priest in heaven be praised for all that He has done for us!

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7 thoughts on “Old Covenant abolished by New Covenant? Part II – Does the Book of Hebrews prove that the Old Covenant is no more

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  4. Pingback: Can God, His Word or His Covenants change? | Bible things in Bible ways

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  6. Pingback: Was the Law changed? Misunderstandings regarding Hebrews 7:12 | Bible things in Bible ways

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