Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man.3 For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. 4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” 6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. – Hebrews 8:1-7
The New Covenant provides total and permanent forgiveness of sins through one sacrifice and one Priest. He lives today and makes intercession for us as you read this post.
The Old Covenant provided for an annual day of atonement that had to be repeated. There was a succession of High Priests that offered that annual sacrifice because those High Priests died and a new Priest was inaugurated.
The New Covenant sacrifice is God himself; Jesus, the third person of the Trinity. Perfect. Sinless. Infinite. Once for all, never to be repeated.
The Old Covenant sacrifices were many. Bulls, goats, birds, grain, flour, etc. All of the sacrifices were things created. They were only shadows. The New Covenant sacrifice was the Creator of the Old Covenant sacrifices.
The Old Covenant place of worship, the Tabernacle and then the Temple, were built from a pattern. The pattern was taken from the true Tabernacle in heaven. We now, through the blood of Christ, have access, not to a shadow of the Tabernacle, but to the true Tabernacle, to the very presence of God himself. We have no need of a human priest. We have the Great High Priest, Jesus Christ. He is our only mediator. He is the only Priest after the order of Melchizadek, that is, an eternal priest.
Undoubtedly, the greatest of the better promises is the permanent, constant, indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Old Testament believer experienced what we call regeneration by the Holy Spirit. Old Testament language referred to it as having a “circumcised heart.” But there was no ongoing permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit. His indwelling was only in select persons like prophets, priests, kings, and judges, etc. And then, it wasn’t necessarily permanent. Remember Saul? When David was anointed to be the next king, the Spirit left Saul.
The New Covenant promise and reality is the permanent, constant indwelling of the Holy Spirit in all believers. Remember when Jesus was telling his disciples about the Comforter and he said, “You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you?” They knew the Holy Spirit in regeneration; otherwise, they would not be believers. But, Jesus tells them, “He will be in you.” This was a revolutionary new idea. Then, of course, came Pentecost when it became apparent that the promise of salvation and this new indwelling relationship with the Holy Spirit was to be made available to “all flesh,” not just Jewish believers.
Let me leave the final exhortation to the author of Hebrews.
” Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:19-25
If you would like to do more indepth reading on the concept of covenant in Scripture, I recommend this book, Sacred Bond. Click on the book and you will be taken to Amazon where you can purchase a copy.