Hebrews 8 – What is Aging and Obsolete?

“For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said,

“The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.  It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers 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.”

This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel  after that time, declares the Lord.  I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.  I will be their God, and they will be my people.  No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

“By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear” (Hebrews 8:7-13).

These are some of the most difficult verses in the new testament to understand.  They are often interpreted to mean there was an ‘old covenant of law’ that was replaced by a ‘new covenant of grace.’  However, these verses in Hebrews don’t mention ‘law’ or ‘grace,’ only ‘covenant.’

There were many covenants given by Elohim in the Scriptures.  There is the covenant with Noah to never destroy the earth by water; the covenant with Abraham to have many descendants and a land inheritance; the covenant with Aaron and the priesthood; the covenant with King David to have an eternal heir on his throne; the covenant with Isra’el which outlined Elohim’s instructions for living as His kingdom people; the covenant of salt; the covenant of peace; the covenant of mercy.  Which of these covenants could be considered ‘old and obsolete?’  Would the ‘new’ covenant replace Noah’s or David’s or Abraham’s or even Isra’el’? 

The Covenant of ‘Law’

If the covenant of law given to Isra’el needed to be replaced as has been suggested in reference to a new covenant of grace, how was it replaced?  The answer is found in Hebrews 8:7-8:

“For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.  But God found fault with the people….”

God found fault with the people.  He didn’t find fault with His laws or Torah.  They were the essence of how He desired His people to live in this world.  They were the rules by which those who joined the commonwealth were to live.  In fact, they are the instructions by which everyone who calls on the name of Yeshua are to live.

The problem was the people.    

In Exodus, Elohim writes out His commandments or instructions known as Torah.  Moshe presents the book of the Covenant, Elohim’s Torah, to the people.  This Covenant was a relationship covenant between two parties: Elohim and the people.  It was not one-sided and needed a response from the people of Isra’el.

“Then he (Moses) took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people.  They responded, “We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey” (Exodus 24:7).

They responded that they would do everything Elohim commanded.  They would obey.  They accepted the relationship covenant.  Yet, only weeks later, these same people are being unfaithful and breaking the covenant relationship.   Because of their unfaithfulness, Elohim turned away from them.  He didn’t turn away from His Torah; He turned away from His people for being faithless to His teachings and instructions (Hebrews 8:9).

Elohim could not change His Torah for, according to Yeshua, it will exist until there is a new heavens and new (Matthew 5:17-19).   He could not change His holy, pure and righteous standard that defined sin (Romans 7:12).   He could, however,  change humanity because He is the potter and we are the clay.  Whatever change He made, it would have to enable those who loved Him to return to Him in faithfulness and obedience.  Whatever change He made would need to ‘renew’ the covenant relationship that had been broken.

The prophet Ezekiel describes what Elohim was going to do.  Instead of changing His Torah, He changed the people by giving them new hearts and a new spirit that would move them to keep His commands. 

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;  I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

He would also make a new covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah.  In Hebrew, the word for ‘new’ is chodesh and literally means ‘renew.’  This covenant would not be like the one He made with the mixed-multitude that came out of Egypt.  It would be a covenant that could be kept faithfully.  By changing the hearts of the people, He could write His Torah on their hearts with His Spirit (Jeremiah 31:31).

Heart Condition of Humanity

Sha’ul (Paul) describes these two different heart conditions in Romans 7.  He explains that Torah is spiritual, but sinful men are unspiritual and hard hearted.   There will always be a battle between the carnal man and the spiritual Torah.  Carnal sinful people will never accept the ways of Elohim because they are spiritually understood (Romans 8:7-8).  There was never any way for the carnal Israelites to keep their promise of obedience.  Even Moshe told them to ‘circumcise their hearts’ – an impossible task for any human being.  Only through rebirth, becoming a new creation with a heart circumcised by Elohim could they ever have His instructions in their hearts.  A spiritual rebirth would change them from a carnal people into a spiritual people.  When this happened, the conflict between the spiritual Torah would no longer exist.  Faithfulness and obedience would be integrated into their new inner man.

Yeshua instituted the ‘renewed’ covenant with the people of Judah and Israel at Passover (Luke 22:20).  At Shavuot seven weeks later, Elohim poured out His Spirit to begin the process of the renewed covenant and the complete salvation of Isra’el.  However, the process is still ongoing.  All Isra’el is not saved, not all Jews are born again with new circumcised hearts.  Every man does not know Elohim from the least to the greatest and there are still those saying ‘know God.’  To say this ‘old has become obsolete’ isn’t true regarding the ‘new covenant’ and Isra’el and won’t be true until the ‘renewed’ covenant is fully realized as described by Jeremiah.

The Tabernacle and Priesthood

Some interpret the verses in Hebrews as meaning Aaronic priesthood is ‘old and obsolete’ and  was replaced with the ‘new’ royalpriesthood with Yeshua as High Priest.  

They (the Levitical priesthood) serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven.  This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: ‘See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain” (Hebrews 8:4-6).

The Tabernacle in the wilderness was created as a shadow of the heavenly one.   This means the Tabernacle on earth and the heavenly Tabernacle exist together at the same time.  The sanctuary activities are simultaneous with the heavenly one casting its shadow on earth.  They are not linear; one happened, ended and the other began. 

The Levitical priesthood ministered in the shadow of the true heavenly Tabernacle.  The earthly Tabernacle was perfect for this present world and through Torah ordinances brought the worshipper closer to Elohim through gifts, offerings and sacrifices (Hebrews 10:1).

Yeshua’s sanctuary is not in this present world and never was.  His sanctuary is in the world to come and is the substance behind the shadow on earth.  As Yeshua walked in this present world, he prophesied about his coming Kingdom and how its shadow was represented by believers who followed him in this present age living out Kingdom principles.    

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his glorious light” (1 Peter 2:9).

These followers are a unique priesthood who have the renewed covenant heart through faith in King Messiah.  After their stoney, rebellious carnal heart was transformed into an obedient, loving spiritual heart of flesh, regardless of physical lineage, these men and women became part of a royal priesthood.   This royal priesthood will serve the High Priest in the Millennial Kingdom.

“We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man” (Hebrews 8:1).  

Yeshua could never have been a High Priest in the Tabernacle or Temple in Jerusalem because he was from the tribe of Judah and not from Levi (Hebrews 8:5).  Descendants of Judah never served in the Tabernacle; they were the lineage of kings.   Yeshua’s service as High Priest was not according the covenant made with Aaron and his descendants.  Yeshua’s calling as High Priest was by Elohim, in the order of Melchizedek who had ‘no beginning nor end.’  Thus, the High Priesthood of Yeshua could not be something ‘new’ replacing something ‘old’ for it has existed for all time.

“No one takes this honor upon himself he must be called by God, just as Aaron was.  So Messiah also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest.  But God said to him, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father.  And he says in another place, ‘You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek’ (Hebrews 5:4-6).

The prophetic nature of the Millennial Kingdom refutes the idea of an ‘old priesthood’ being replaced by a ‘new’ one.    According to the prophet Ezekiel, during the Millennial Kingdom there will be another Temple in Jerusalem. As required by Torah the Levites will once again serve and minister in this Temple as the priesthood.  As the eternal promised covenant to Aaron, one of his descendants will be the high priest doing the Temple services.

However, something extraordinary will be occurring in the Millennial Kingdom.   Yeshua, as the High Priest in the order of Melchizedek, will return to earth.  He will rule and reign as High Priest and King with an iron scepter.   His resurrected and glorified followers, his royal priesthood, will rule and reign with him with iron rods (Psalm 2:9, Revelation 2:27, 19:15).

For one thousand years, the mortal Aaronic priesthood and the immortal royal priesthood will serve together in the Millennial Kingdom.   The two realms of mortal and immortality will converge on earth at the same time in Jerusalem.  There is no linear ‘old’ and ‘new’ for the coming Kingdom will be on this same ‘old’ earth.

What is ‘Aging and Obsolete’?

“For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time” (Romans 8:20-22).

Sha’ul explains exactly what is aging and becoming obsolete: this present world, the fallen creation, the aging earth.   Since the fall of man in the Garden, the creation has been in bondage to death also waiting for its redemption.   Everything in this present world is aging and becoming obsolete.  Along with mankind who groans for complete salvation, the creation moans and cries out for deliverance.

Noah experienced a change in the heavens and the earth through the flood, but he didn’t receive a new heaven and earth.  Even though there were many physical differences and new regulations were given by Elohim,  it was still the same heavens and earth.  Noah was also given an eternal covenant promise in the rainbow that Elohim would never again judge the earth by water. The earth that Noah and his family repopulated continued to see death and decay which continues until this very day with the life span of humans dropping from 1000 years to 80. 

“Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth.  The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind” (Isaiah 65:17).

According to the prophet Isaiah and the apostles Peter and John,  the old heaven and earth will disappear and there will be a new heaven and new earth.  The covenant that Elohim made with the earth regarding seedtime and harvest, summer and winter, will cease.  At some point in the future, this present heaven and earth will become old and obsolete and a new heaven and earth will replace it.

“But in keeping with his promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth…” (2 Peter 3:13).

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away” (Revelation 21:1).

While we live on this earth in this present age, there is an ‘old’ order of things that still exist.  The Levitical priesthood, the Temple in Jerusalem and its sanctuary services and the Torah are aging and becoming obsolete, but will continue until the new heavens and earth. As long as this present heaven and earth exists,  the law of sin and death will be in effect.  As long as the law of sin and death is in effect, mankind will cry out for salvation of their physical bodies.    When redemption for heaven, earth and mankind is complete, then and only then will “the old order of things have passed away” and there will be a new reality (Revelation 21:4).

“I did not see a temple in the city [New Jerusalem], because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple….  Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life….  The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.  They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads…. And they will reign for ever and ever…”(Revelation 21: 22-27,  22:4-5).

Yahweh’s Kingdom will be in the new heavens and new earth.  His holy city, the New Jerusalem, will descend from the heaven and He will make His dwelling with mankind.  There will be no need for a Temple or priesthood for drawing near to Elohim.  The Torah will become obsolete because everyone will know Yahweh from the least to the greatest.  Wickedness and sin will have been completely removed from the kingdom.   Sin and death will be swallowed up in victory (1 Corinthians 15:54).  A completely new heaven and earth will be established inhabited with glorified people, a restoration of the Garden of Eden.

©2011 Tentstake Ministries

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