Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 8

A better covenant

Hebrews 8:6

The ‘covenant’ was an ancient kind of peace agreement. It showed that enemies had become friends. Or, it showed that a war, or a serious argument, had ended. When the two sides had made a covenant, there would be peace. There are many examples of covenants in the Bible. For example, Jacob made a covenant with Laban in Genesis 31:44-53. The inhabitants of Gibeon made a covenant with Israel in Joshua chapter 9. But the most important covenants in the Bible are between God and his people (see, for example, Joshua 24:22-27 and 2 Kings 23:1-3).

Promises were an essential part of every covenant. We can see that in the above examples. But here, there is something unusual about the covenant between God and his people. When nations made covenants, the weaker nation made greater promises. For example, in 2 Kings 3:4, the king of Moab had to pay a very expensive tax to the king of Israel. It was the price of peace.

However, when God makes a covenant, he makes the greater promises. His people promise to love him and to obey him. But God promises to change their lives completely. He forgives their evil deeds. He makes them free. He even adopts them as his sons and daughters! (See Galatians 4:4-7 and 1 Peter 2:4-10).

The mediator is the person who arranges the covenant. And Jesus is the mediator of the covenant between God and his people. When he lived on earth, he spoke to us on behalf of God the Father (John 12:49-50). And now, in heaven, he speaks to God the Father on our behalf (Hebrews 7:25).

So Jesus is the chief priest of the new covenant between God and his people.

Next part: Why was the new covenant necessary? (Hebrews 8:7)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.