Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 72 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Hebrews 8 today and our focus is on whether or not the Old Testament Law is obsolete and what Heaven is like + what Jesus is doing there. Lots of topics!  We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in South Australia, Parts unknown, China, Odisha, India, Delhi, India, Manitoba, Canada, Tampa, Florida, Houston, Texas and Fort Wayne, Indiana. Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more – Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan

Hebrews 8 is a fascinating Bible passage, though short and a bit difficult to understand. Some of the things we see in this short chapter:

  •   vs 5 tells a little bit about what Heaven is like:  “These serve as a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was warned when he was about to complete the tabernacle. For God said, Be careful that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown to you on the mountain.” In other words, God gave Moses very specific plans to build a tabernacle on the earth, and that old tabernacle was like a black and white picture of the beach, compared to the Heavenly reality, which is like being at the beach. In other words, we can see some real clues as to what Heaven is like by looking at the description God gives to Moses as to how to build the tabernacle. (see Exodus 26-27) 
  • What is Jesus doing in Heaven? We learned yesterday that He is in the Heavenly temple interceding for God’s people. We learn in vss. 2-3 a bit more information on what Jesus is doing now. “We have this kind of high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister of the sanctuary and the true tabernacle that was set up by the Lord and not man.” He is ministering in the Heavenly tabernacle in a deep place of authority, sitting down, but yet interceding still – the work of a priest – a high priest. Some have called the pope the highest priest. This is far from correct. Jesus is the one and only HIGHEST Priest, and His relational ministry is still active, though His Sacrificial ministry has ended.

But our main focus of discussion today is brought up by the last verse. Let’s read the chapter, and you listen out for it.

13 By saying a new covenant, he has declared that the first is obsolete. And what is obsolete and growing old is about to pass away.

This, my friends, is an interesting verse. Most interesting, in fact, and highly debated. Is it saying that the Old Covenant – the law of the Old Testament – is obsolete? I believe it is – at least for Gentiles, and I believe that this is the entire focus of the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15. Should Gentile converts ( AKA non Jewish Christians) be required to follow the Old Testament? No, said the apostles, but they must not eat strangled things, or blood, or commit sexual immorality, or partake of anything polluted by idols. I believe this means that the Old Testament is obsolete – NOT my word – for Gentile Christians. Here are some other passages that seem to back that up.

  1. New Covenant: Luke 22:20 In the same way He also took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood; it is shed for you.
  2. Gal 3: 23 Before this faith came, we were confined under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith was revealed. 24 The law, then, was our guardian until Christ, so that we could be justified by faith.25 But since that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
  3. Romans 6:14 “14 For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace.”
  4. Romans 15:4  4 For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures.

In SUM: The Old Testament is good, and instructs us. But we are NOT under the Law. The OT was not written to us, but to the Jews. Yes, we are grafted in, but We are not under the rules of the Old Testament. There is a new agreement. The old is obsolete. It has been fulfilled in Jesus and has passed away. 

One strong objection to this view that is often mentioned  is what Jesus said in Matthew 5:

17 “Don’t think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass away from the law until all things are accomplished. 19 Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever does and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:17-19

This is a strong objection, no doubt about it. Read one way, it appears that Jesus is saying that the whole of the law and Old Testament Commands are in force and binding on humans – not the least letter or stroke of a pen has passed away. But where this the right interpretation, then literally every Christian alive would be in BIG trouble, because NO CHRISTIAN today teaches people to obey the WHOLE law – every Old Testament command. If we obeyed every Old Testament command, then we would not be able to wear clothes made of blended fibers, like cotton and polyester, we would have to kill an animal for every firstborn son, we would have to call a priest when we had mold in our home, we would not be able to use more than one kind of seed in our fields, so if you have a garden that is growing tomatoes and anything else, then you are breaking the Old Testament commands, and finally, all of us must have tassels on the four corners of our outer garments. Those commands were all good, and had reasons for them and were apropos for the people they were written to – the Hebrews, but I believe (NOT MY OPINION) but the clear teaching of the New Testament is that those commands are no longer binding for Gentile believers in Jesus. And when Jesus is speaking of ‘all things being accomplished,’ I believe He is speaking of His crucifixion and resurrection as accomplishing all those things. If that interpretation is not correct then we are under EVERY SINGLE OT command…and I believe that the Bible itself teaches otherwise – we are not under Old Covenant/Old Testament, but the New Covenant/New Testament.

Now, a ten minute podcast is NOT the place for such a weighty discussion, so might I suggest a book like Five Views on Law and Gospel by Kaiser, Moo, Bahnsen, etc. for a deeper dive into this topic, or – better yet, read through the verses mentioned above (especially Acts 15) and the deeper context around them to get a deep look at what the Bible teaches.

End of the Show: Bible memory verse for March: Hebrews 7:25 “Therefore, [Jesus] is able to save completely those who come to God through him, since he always lives to intercede for them.”

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