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A Better Ministry

Now the main point of what we have to say is this: we have such a High Priest, [the Christ] who is seated [in the place of honor] at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty (God) in heaven,(A) a Minister (Officiating Priest) in the holy places and in the true tabernacle, which is erected not by man, but by the Lord. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; so it is essential for this One also to have something to offer. Now if He were [still living] on earth, He would not be a priest at all, for there are priests who offer the gifts [to God] in accordance with the Law. They serve as a pattern and foreshadowing of [what has its true existence and reality in] the heavenly things (sanctuary). For when Moses was about to erect the tabernacle, he was warned by God, saying, “See that you make it all [exactly] according to the pattern which was shown to you on the mountain.”(B) But as it is, Christ has acquired a [priestly] ministry which is more excellent [than the old Levitical priestly ministry], for He is the Mediator (Arbiter) of a better covenant [uniting God and man], which has been enacted and rests on better promises.

A New Covenant

For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion for a second one or an attempt to institute another one [the new covenant]. However, God finds fault with them [showing its inadequacy] when He says,

Behold, the days will come, says the Lord,
When I will make and ratify a new covenant
With the house of Israel and with the house of Judah;

Not like the covenant that I made with their fathers
On the day when I took them by the hand
To lead them out of the land of Egypt;
For they did not abide in My covenant,
And so I withdrew My favor and disregarded them, says the Lord.
10 
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
After those days, says the Lord:
I will imprint My laws upon their minds [even upon their innermost thoughts and understanding],
And engrave them upon their hearts [effecting their regeneration].
And I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.
11 
And it will not be [necessary] for each one to teach his fellow citizen,
Or each one his brother, saying, ‘Know [by experience, have knowledge of] the Lord,’
For all will know [Me by experience and have knowledge of] Me,
From the least to the greatest of them.
12 
For I will be merciful and gracious toward their wickedness,
And I will remember their sins no more.”(C)

13 When God speaks of “A new covenant,” He makes the first one obsolete. And whatever is becoming obsolete (out of use, annulled) and growing old is ready to disappear.

The High Priest of a New Covenant

Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest,(A) who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven,(B) and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle(C) set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.

Every high priest(D) is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices,(E) and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer.(F) If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law.(G) They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy(H) and shadow(I) of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned(J) when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”[a](K) But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant(L) of which he is mediator(M) 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.(N) But God found fault with the people and said[b]:

“The days are coming, declares the Lord,
    when I will make a new covenant(O)
with the people of Israel
    and with the people of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant
    I made with their ancestors(P)
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(Q) 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.(R)
I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.(S)
11 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
    or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,(T)
    from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will forgive their wickedness
    and will remember their sins no more.(U)[c](V)

13 By calling this covenant “new,”(W) he has made the first one obsolete;(X) and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.

Footnotes

  1. Hebrews 8:5 Exodus 25:40
  2. Hebrews 8:8 Some manuscripts may be translated fault and said to the people.
  3. Hebrews 8:12 Jer. 31:31-34

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