Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hebrews 8 and a look back...

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

For those that are joining us late, I'm participating in an online study of the book of Hebrews, which is being blogged by my former Bible Study Fellowship teaching leader, Suzanne Matthews.

I'm trying hard to catch up to Suzanne's posts; as of this moment I'm two weeks behind. ;-).

After the first chapter's study, when I read her commentary before really thoroughly considering the chapter myself, I decided I needed to follow the BSF practice of not reading outside material until after  1) answering the study questions and 2) discussing the questions in small groups and 3) listening to the teaching leader present an expository lecture on the passage and 4) reading the official BSF notes.  That way, we would not be falling back on what 'the pastor' or 'this author' had to say about the passage until after we had read and studied it out for ourselves, getting our own revelation rather than just pondering someone else's.

It's a pretty good way to do a disciplined study like that.

So, I started skimming Suzanne's posts quickly to see if there were questions I needed to answer or consider as I looked at the assignment, but I didn't read her comments in depth until after I'd written up my own thoughts because I wanted to dig into it myself first.  Sorta like doing the questions before hearing the lecture.

For her chapter 8 post, though, there are questions.  So instead of going into details on chapter 8, which is basically a continuation of the argument presented in chapter 7 about the superiority of Christ's priesthood, quoting a passage from Jeremiah 31 as support, I'm going to do my best to answer Suzanne's questions:

1) Hebrews 8 begins with, the point of what we are saying is this  
     By  now we should know the point of Hebrews. What would you say it is?

Jesus is the Priest, continually ministering on our behalf,of the New Covenant, which is superior in all ways to the previous covenant.

2) Why is Jesus our perfect High Priest?

He suffered as  a human, but remained sinless; therefore, He did not have to offer sacrifices on His own behalf; furthermore, he did not offer animal sacrifices but instead offered up himself; the perfect priest offering the perfect sacrifice.

3) Who made the New Covenant?
The Lord Himself, as stated in the passage quoted from Jeremiah in 8:8 - 12

4) What are the differences between the old Mosaic Covenant and the New Covenant?

Lots, but I'll name a few:
Mosaic Covenant atoned for sin but did not wash it away; the New Covenant has the power to cleanse us from the sin stain itself;
Mosaic Covenant was administered by priests who were selected according to man's application of the Law; the New covenant is administered by a priest who was selected by God and declared a priest by God's own sworn oath
Mosaic Covenant was a shadow, a picture of that which is to come; the New Covenant is the thing itself
Mosaic Covenant was comprised of laws written on stone tablets; the New Covenant is written by the Spirit on the very hearts of those who receive it.
The Old Covenant was men reaching for God through obedience; the New Covenant is about God reaching for Men and Men responding with faith.

And, looking ahead to Chapter 9:

5) Where were the priests' sacrifices made?
The priests made their sacrifices in the earthly tabernacle, which had been built according to the pattern shown to Moses on the Mountain of God

6) Where were Jesus' sacrifices made?
Jesus brought His sacrifice to the heavenly tabernacle, the one that was the  model for the copy made on earth, the one that was set up by the Lord and not men (8:2)

At least, that's how I read the questions...this is always risky, because I may find I misread something and put a wrong answer out for all the world to see...

I'll try to do chapter 9 tomorrow...

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