In the previous article we have shown from Hebrews 8:6-13 that the old and new covenants are not two separate and different covenants. At all essentials points they are the same.
The differences between them are only in administrative details. It is only in respect to these details that one is "old" and the other "new" and that the old perishes and passes away.
How, then, are they different? According to Hebrews 8, in three ways:
(1) There is a change of mediator (vs. 6). Christ replaces Moses. This is not an essential difference, however, because Moses was a type of Christ. In chapter 3:5 he is even called "a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after." Also in Deuteronomy 18:15 he himself speaks of Christ as one "like unto me."
This difference, therefore, is only administrative. A new prime minister is a change of administration, and a new government in that sense, but not in the sense of a change in the type of government or of the constitution.
(2) There is also a change in the way the law is written (vs. 10). As we pointed out in the last article, the law itself is not taken away, only rewritten on fleshly tables of the heart instead of tables of stone.
But this, too, is only an administrative change, though it has great significance for the NT believer. Something rewritten is not something different and separate from what went before.
This second point is especially important because the giving of the law is called the "giving" of the covenant both in Deuteronomy 4:13 and in Hebrews 8:10. One cannot, then, argue that though the law was the same the covenants are different. They are identified in Deuteronomy and in Hebrews.
(3) Finally, the new covenant also brings a fuller and more complete revelation. This is what verse 11 is talking about. That fuller revelation is of such a kind that all God's people know Him directly, and not any longer through the intervention of earthly mediators. There is not under the new covenant the need of teachers like the priests and Levites of the Old Testament (cf. Mal. 2:6, 7 for proof that they especially were the teachers of the OT).
This is also an administrative change. The new covenant does not bring a new (different and separate) revelation of God, but a better revelation (Heb. 8:6), that is, one that is completed and which reveals the realities which were only prophesied under the old covenant.
There is only one, everlasting, covenant of God.
- Volume: 9
- Issue: 2
Rev. Ronald Hanko (Wife: Nancy)
Ordained: November 1979
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1979; Trinity, Houston, TX - 1986; Missionary to N.Ireland - 1993; Lynden, WA - 2002Website: www.lyndenprc.org/sermons/
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