New and Improved! (Hebrews 8:1-13 & 9:11-28)
This week’s questions:
1. Hebrews’ author believes that the Old Covenant (OC) was deficient (8:7). According to the writer, even God found fault with it (8: 8)! How can this be? What did the OC entail? Did God make a mistake?
2. In 8: 13 the writer says that God rendered the OC ‘obsolete.’ What does that mean? Should we do away with the Old Testament altogether? Should Christians only rely on the New Testament now? Explain.
3. The word ‘covenant’ is mentioned twelve times in chapters eight and nine. The author is comparing the natures of the two covenants. In the OT the word commonly referred to legal matters between two parties. In essence, it was an agreement. Therefore, if the Israelites did all that God asked them to do, they would be blessed. If they defaulted on their responsibilities in the agreement, there were consequences (see Dt. 28). In the NT, however, some commentators believe the ‘covenant’ has more to do with God’s disposition towards His own. In other words His promises to us are not contingent on our allegiance to a list of rules. What do you think? What, if any responsibility, do we share in this New Covenant?