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.
3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. 4 For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; 5 who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” 6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 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 did not continue in My covenant, and I 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 put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
We live in a New Covenant. To understand the Bible and relate to God effectively, realizing that He is a God of covenant is important. The Bible is a book about covenants and is divided into two main categories – the Old Testament and New Testament, which can also be translated as The Old Covenant and The New Covenant. It makes sense, therefore, to take the time to understand this truth so that we can more fully understand the heart and nature of our Father.
We can learn from this chapter that the Old Covenant was modeled as a copy of heavenly things. Verse five makes it clear that Moses was given a pattern to follow in building the tabernacle and establishing the law. Everything that he did was an attempt to copy that pattern. There is a real tabernacle and a real priesthood. But the earthly tabernacle and priesthood were mere copies of the true. Likewise, the promises that came with the Old Covenant are lesser than those of the New.
Jesus, in His role as High Priest, mediates a better covenant that is established on better promises. Amazingly, we find ways to insist on laboring under a law mindset, trying to perform for God and wearing guilt and shame when we fail, when we see clearly that we have a better covenant and better promises! The New Covenant is better! Don’t settle for less!
God Himself found fault with the Old Covenant. It’s okay if we agree with Him rather than insisting that we need to stick with something that He gladly replaced. Under the Old Covenant, man was told what not to do – “Thou shall not . . .” The penalty for failure was death. We were also told what to do, with very demanding and exacting specifications about how to work and what sacrifice must look like to cover sin.
But in the New Covenant, the burden is not on us. God takes it upon Himself. He doesn’t write His laws on stone and send them through the hands of a separate mediator. He writes them on our hearts and minds in a personal act of connection. And He takes that responsibility upon Himself – it isn’t handed to us. “I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts.” What about when we mess up? What do we do? Again, in the New Covenant, God takes that onto Himself. “I will be merciful to the unrighteousness and their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more.” When we strive to get it right and then strive to make up for failures, we are doing work that God said He will do.
When we attempt to relate to God under Old Covenant terms, we find ourselves frustrated and confused. It is so important to make the shift into New Covenant thinking. Understanding this framework removes confusion and brings clarity to our relationship to the Father. The Old Covenant is obsolete by God’s choice and design. Jesus fulfilled it, completed the demands, paid the debts, and proclaimed, “It is finished!” The New Covenant is better – enjoy it!