Hebrews 8:8–12 is a quotation from Jer 31:31–34. Read Jer 30–31. This prophetic oracle was originally addressed to God’s people who had been taken into slavery in Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BC. The land and possessions of God’s people were seized, and their king was dethroned. The people then endured the pain of marching across the ancient Near East as slaves. In the midst of this seemingly hopeless situation, Jeremiah offered the prophecy in Jer 30–31. The prophecy promised God’s people redemption, and God personally declared that He will do what He originally asked of them in Deut 6:4–6. God will be the primary actor in this “new covenant.” He is the issuer and signer of this new contract.

What is the difference between the “new covenant” and the “old covenant”? (Compare Jer 31:31–34 with Deut 6:4–6, looking for specific examples. Think of these examples in terms of Jesus.) How does God begin His “new covenant,” according to the author of Hebrews?

How is the old covenant “obsolete” (Heb 8:13)? If the old covenant is “obsolete,” should we still read the old covenant laws in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy? Has the old covenant been completely set aside, or has the arrival of Jesus just seriously reworked it?

What does our contract (covenant) with God now look like?

Continue to reflect and pray through these questions throughout your week.

WEEK 8: Once and for All

Pray that God would show you the reason for Jesus’ sacrifice.

Read Hebrews 7–9.

Hebrews 7–8 serves as a backdrop to the ideas in Hebrews 9. Why does the author go into such a detailed description of God’s earthly dwelling?

What is the difference between the earthly priesthood and way of worship (9:1–10), and the way that Jesus establishes (9:11–28)?

What did Jesus do “once and for all” (9:26)? Why was the Son of God offered to God the Father as a sacrifice (9:27–28)?

What is the significance of Jesus being both the priest and the sacrifice? How does Jesus’ role as priest and sacrifice in God’s miraculous story of redemption change our position with God?

Continue to reflect and pray through these questions throughout your week.

With an ordinary priest, our sins would be forgiven, but the change would only be temporal, since we would inevitably sin again. With the Son of God as our priest and sacrifice, we are eternally forgiven. With Jesus, we can reach the heavens and as members of His new covenant bring a little heaven to earth. May you see Jesus transform your life and the lives of those around you.  May you take hope in the fact that your situation, as dire as it may be, is only temporal. Life in Jesus is eternal.

Want more out of your study of the book of Hebrews? Find the resources you need at Logos.com/Hebrews.

Article courtesy of Bible Study Magazine published by Logos Bible Software. Each issue of Bible Study Magazine provides tools and methods for Bible study as well as insights from people like John Piper, Beth Moore, Mark Driscoll, Kay Arthur, Randy Alcorn, John MacArthur, Barry Black, and more. More information is available at http://www.biblestudymagazine.com. Originally published in print: Copyright Bible Study Magazine (July–Aug 2009): pgs. 28–31.

Publication date: May 12, 2011