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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Derek Prince » Derek Prince - Old and New Covenant In Bible COMPARED

Derek Prince - Old and New Covenant In Bible COMPARED

Derek Prince - Old and New Covenant In Bible COMPARED
TOPICS: Hebrews Bible Study

Now we're going to begin our study of Hebrews 8. We'll be using the printed outline. But, before we go directly into chapter 8, I would like to review very rapidly with you the material on sheet 7/4 and 7/5 which is headed 'Points of Contrast between the Levitical Priesthood, and the Priesthood of Melchizedek.' This will be a kind of helpful introduction to the comparison that follows in chapter 8 which we'll be studying between the Old Covenant and the New. Very quickly, without pausing for comment, we'll go through the fourteen points of contrast between the Levitical priesthood, and the priesthood of Melchizedek.

First of all, Melchizedek's priesthood combines priesthood and kingship. The priesthood, under the Old Covenant, was allotted to the tribe of Levi with kingship to Judah and no interchange was permitted.

Number two, Melchizedek gave to Abraham bread and wine, emblems of the New Covenant not previously given by Abraham. But the Levitical priests only gave back to the Israelites part of the sacrifices previously received from them. They had to receive before they could give.

Point number three, Melchizedek receives tithes from Abraham. The Levitical priests gave tithes through Abraham.

Point number four, Melchizedek, because of an indestructible life, had a permanent priesthood which never passed by succession to others. The Levitical priests, because of mortality, had only a temporary priesthood.

Number five, Melchizedek does not trace his genealogy from Abraham. The Levitical priests must be descended from Abraham.

Number six, Melchizedek blessed Abraham, therefore he is greater. The Levitical priests owe their blessing to Abraham, therefore they are less.

Number seven, Melchizedek provided direct access to God and perfection. The Levitical priesthood could not provide direct access or perfection.

Number eight, Melchizedek was priest by the power of an indestructible life. The Levitical priests only on the basis of a physical requirement.

Number nine, Melchizedek was appointed with God's oath. The Levitical priests were appointed without an oath.

Number ten, Melchizedek insures a superior covenant. The Levitical priests were linked to an inferior covenant.

Number eleven, Melchizedek and his priesthood provides one all sufficient priest. But, the Levitical priest, because of death, had to be many and were never sufficient.

Number twelve, Melchizedek, through his priesthood, in the person of Jesus is able to save completely and forever. The Levitical priests are unable to save.

Number thirteen, Jesus as the priest after the order of Melchizedek did not need to offer sacrifice for His own sins. He had none. But, the Levitical priests needed to sacrifice first for their own sins.

Number fourteen, Melchizedek's priesthood provides as a priest God's perfect Son. The Levitical priesthood provides only men with human frailty.

Now, with that in mind we'll go into chapter 8, the main part of which is a comparison between the Old and New Covenants. But remember, the covenants are linked to the priesthood. We're turning now to Hebrews 8:1. I'll read these in translation, that's 1 and 2. Then we'll go through the outline. My translation is not always fluent because I have to stop sometimes, and think what's the best word. The main point of that which we are saying is that we have such a high priest, who sat down on the right of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister of the sanctuary [or the holy things] . I think the phrase includes more than just the sanctuary, it means all the vessels that were used in the sanctuary. So he's a minister of the holy things: and of the true tent [or tabernacle] which the Lord pitched, not man.

Bear in mind that the tabernacle of Moses was a real tent. The word that's used there in Greek to describe it is the same word that's used to translate the Hebrew festival of Succoth or Tabernacles or Booths. So, the word has a history all through the Bible. We'll pause there and we'll look now at the outline. These two verses extract the main points about Jesus as high priest from the foregoing elaborate comparison which we looked at just in summary at the end of chapter 7. The four points which are brought out in this brief summary at the beginning of chapter 8 are as follows, and as I said, the writer says the main point that we're trying to make is this. So if you're a little confused by the elaborate comparison in chapter 7, he's trying to help you. He says, Don't try to remember it all, here are the four main points that you need to keep in mind, which distinguish Jesus as our high priest.

Number one, He sat down. He never needs to repeat His sacrifice. You'll observe that through these chapters of Hebrews there is great emphasis placed on the fact that Jesus, having finished His ministry, sat down. This is always contrasted with the Levitical priests who never sat down and always remained standing. It's interesting if you study the description of the furniture of the tabernacle, there are no chairs anywhere. There are no seats. That's deliberate. They never sat down because their task was never complete. They never could offer a sacrifice that ended it all, they just offered temporary sacrifices. So, they had to remain standing. Jesus, having offered one all-sufficient sacrifice forever, sat down on the throne.

So there's great emphasis in the fact that He sat down. Then it says He sat down on a throne. What kind of person sits on a throne? A king. So again, it's pointed out that not only is He a priest, He's also a king. That's the distinctive feature of the order of Melchizedek because Melchizedek (His Hebrew name), means 'king of righteousness,' and it's also stated in Genesis 14 he was a priest. As we pointed out in the brief summary at the end of chapter 7, under the Levitical law it was forbidden for a priest to be a king or a king to be a priest. There were two kings in Old Testament history that tried to carry out the function of a priest, which was to offer sacrifice. One was King Saul and the other was King Azaiah. Both of them were judged by God.

So, there was an absolute line of division between priesthood and kingship. That's under the Levitical covenant. But the original priest first mentioned in the Bible is not a Levitical priest but Melchizedek and he was both king and priest. When Jesus came, the priesthood of Melchizedek, which had been kind of in abeyance, reemerged in him. Do you remember we saw that the two things that he offered to Abraham were bread and wine. I don't know whether it's ever occurred to you, but at the Last Supper when Jesus took the bread and the wine and offered them to His disciples, He was saying by that act: 'Here's the priesthood of Melchizedek restored in Me. I'm both your priest and your king.'

Let me point out the practical application. As a priest He represents us, He sees to our interests. As a king He has the authority to get it done. So never come to Him just as a priest but come to Him as a priest who is also a king. You see, what seems to be a rather kind of, almost verbal distinction, when first encountered, becomes charged with meaning when you meditate on it. You could say, 'So, He's a king and a priest.' But when you think it over, it has a great meaning for you and me.

The third main point is that Jesus exercises His ministry in the heavenlies. The Levitical priest operated on an earthly level. Jesus didn't take over their priesthood, but His priesthood is instituted in the heavenlies. And fourth, it's in the true tabernacle pitched by God, not man. I like the word 'pitched.' It's really such a practical word. I'm going to come to this a little further on but I really believe there is a tabernacle in heaven. If you find difficulty in believing that, that's your privilege. I believe God pitched a tabernacle in heaven. After all, His Son was a carpenter. The Godhead is very practical, believe me.

We'll go on now with verses 3 and 4. Verses 3-4: For every high priest is appointed [or holds office] for the purpose of offering both gifts and sacrifices; wherefore it is necessary [or it was necessary] that this man also [that's Jesus] should have something to offer. Now if he were upon earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are those priests who offer gifts according to the law. We'll stop there. This brings out one extremely important point, which we did deal with in our previous series. What is the supreme, unique function of a priest expressed in only one key word? Sacrifice. No one but a priest has a right to offer sacrifice. And, together with that, nobody has a right to offer anything to God unless he's a priest. This is a truth that's very clear in the Scriptures but most Christians simply haven't grasped at all. We have no right to come to God and offer Him anything unless our offering is taken up by a priest.

See, most people don't think that. You cannot put your offering in the 'collection' and give it to God unless it goes through a priest. People who are not priests have no right whatever to offer anything to God. Neither gifts nor sacrifices. I can see you looking astonished. I mean, I appreciate your astonishment. But we have brazenly assumed that we could walk up to God at any time and slip ten dollars in His hand. We can't. That isn't the way God operates. It's wonderful if you want to give God ten dollars, but it's got to go through a priest. He's the only kind of person that has authority to offer gifts to God. If we don't have a priest we have no way of offering anything to God. No Israelite could offer anything to God unless he was a priest. That gives tremendous power to priesthood, doesn't it?

In a certain sense, priests can either close or open the door to God. In certain sections of the church at certain times, that power has been abused by priests because they've dominated the people of God saying, in effect, 'If you don't do what we say, you can't get through to God.' That's not true of human priests. Thank God we have another priest. But it is true of Jesus. If you don't go by Him, your gift or sacrifice is not accepted. A priest to represent you is not a luxury, it's not some fine point of theology; it's an absolute essential. If I can impress this on you: you're going to have a very different attitude toward Jesus from now on. You're going to see that your entire ongoing relationship to God depends on Jesus being there. If you don't have Him there don't try to get to the throne. There's no way. Every high priest, it's very emphatic, is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices.

Now, Jesus doesn't offer the sacrifices of the Levitical priesthood, he's not a Levitical priest. But He also has His gifts, His sacrifices. The first and primary sacrifice that He offered was what? Himself. He was both the priest and the victim. When we come in His name and through faith in Him, we can offer to God our praises, our worship, our finance, our service. But apart from Him none of it is accepted. You may say to yourself, 'If I offered God a million dollars, He's going to be pleased.' You can't get a million dollars to God unless you go through Jesus. And God, in the last resort, will be well off without your million dollars. God is not for sale. It's praiseworthy to offer but bear in mind it's only acceptable through a priest.

Going on in verse 5. We'll read the verse and then we'll comment on it. It begins with 'who.' That is, the priests who offer on earth. who do their priestly service [I'm amplifying a little bit] in what is a pattern [or a model] and a shadow of the things in the heavenlies, as Moses is warned by God when he's about to make the tabernacle; for, God says, See that you make it all [or everything] according to the pattern which was showed you in the mountain. So, what the writer is saying is the Levitical priests on earth do their priestly service in something that is only a model or a shadow of the real thing which is in heaven. And in substantiation of that from the Old Testament we can turn to the passage that's actually quoted. We'll look at Exodus 25 at two successive verses. Exodus 25. This section of Exodus deals with the instructions, for making the tabernacle and all its furniture and utensils.

Exodus 25:9, the Lord is speaking and He says to Moses: 'According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it.' God is very specific. He says, 'I'm going to give you an exact pattern and you've got to make it exactly according to the pattern. But the pattern that I'm giving you is a pattern of which the original is in heaven.' Then in the same chapter, verse 40: Exodus 25:40: 'And see that you make them after the pattern for them, which was shown to you on the mountain.' So when Moses was up on Mount Horeb in communion with God and God gave him the instructions for making the tabernacle and all its furniture, God showed him an actual pattern or maybe showed him the original. He didn't just have the dimensions, he had the dimensions but he'd seen what he was supposed to make it like.

You see, there are many things in the Bible that although we have the dimensions, we really don't know how to make them. One is the tabernacle. Lots of different very learned scholars have worked long but they've never come up with a definitive, final picture of what the tabernacle was like. The other is the temple of Solomon. Concerning the temple of Solomon, David says that when he was making preparation for it, God caused him to know by His hand upon him in writing the pattern. So David, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, had a pattern, a blueprint of the temple. We don't have the blueprint. If you have just the dimensions without the blueprint, it's not at all clear in some ways what you're supposed to produce.

The point I'm making is that the tabernacle that Moses made was based on an original in heaven. I think that's very clearly stated there. I don't think there's any possibility of interpreting those words otherwise. You see, why I'm laboring this point is because I think a lot of Christians think that material things on earth are real and spiritual things in heaven are kind of misty, shadowy, amorphous, like little bits of mist that float around. They think if anything were specific it wouldn't be spiritual. I know that was my attitude as a teenager attending the Anglican Church in Britain. I thought about religion as a kind of mist that hung around in the corners of damp old buildings. That really was my mental image of it. I'm not saying it was right. I always thought, If I get religious it will be when the mist settles on my head. But it never did, so I concluded in the end it wasn't for me. I really wasn't too sorry, either. What I'm saying is that's not the way the spiritual is. The original is the spiritual. Things on earth are copies.

My friend Lance Lambert made a remark recently at the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem which really impressed me. He said, 'This universe is primarily spiritual. It's the spiritual things that are the ultimate realities.' You might say, 'Well, does Jesus' robe really have a color?' I believe it does. 'Is there a certain material of the streets of the New Jerusalem?' I believe there is. 'What are the gates made of?' I believe they're made of real pearls. The pearls we have on earth are just a faint shadow of the heavenly pearls. That's my conviction. Our old Arab maid-who some of us here will remember well Jameela, many years ago when she was baptized in the Holy Spirit through the ministry of Lydia, she went out like a dead person. She was on the floor for probably a couple of hours.

Lydia knew she was in the hands of the Lord. When she came to, she was speaking in tongues and she said in a naive way, she hadn't any knowledge of the Scriptures, she couldn't read, she said, 'I was walking in a most beautiful place on something that was like yellow velvet.' She said, 'Then I came to Jesus and He breathed upon me.' And when He breathed upon her she began to speak in tongues. Well, I think heavenly gold is like yellow velvet. But that's just my opinion. What I want to point out to you is something, this is kind of philosophic. I won't stay in it too long. We tend to think that everything on earth has precise color. But in actual fact, that's not true to experience.

This past summer Ruth and I were making a journey through the Mediterranean. I stood on the deck sometimes for an hour or two and looked at the ocean. Do you know what? It was a dozen different colors at different times. It went from light blue through purple through black through every shade of gray. What is the color of the sea? Well, it reflects the sky, it depends on the depth of the water, it depends on the chemical contents. There's many different features. When we say the sea is blue or gray, what we're saying is there's a certain series of different colors that appear in different light settings and we know them. We think about it as precise, but it isn't. It says in one place about Jesus, I believe it's about Jesus, in the Song of Solomon, 'His head and his hair are black as a raven.' But in the first chapter of Revelation 'His hair was white like snow.'

I don't see any inconsistency. See what I'm saying? I really believe it has real color. If you don't believe, that's your misfortune, that's all! The heaven I'm looking forward to is a lot more interesting than the one you're looking forward to! I believe God really has a right hand and a left. Otherwise I don't know why there's so much emphasis on the fact that Jesus sits at His right hand and not His left. It would be meaningless.

Having said that, I want you to look with me in Revelation 11:19. This is speaking about something in the book of Revelation which, of course, there are different ways of interpreting Revelation. You may have discovered that or you may not. But it says at a certain point in this unfolding revelation: The temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and earthquake and a great hailstorm.

So, there is the temple of God in heaven. In it was the ark of His covenant. I believe the ark that Moses constructed on earth was simply a copy, but a very exact copy of the ark that's in heaven. There's a lot of fascinating thoughts like in Ezekiel 28 which is a picture of Satan-the second half, says 'Thou wast the anointed cherub that covered.' Covered what? Maybe the mercy seat, who knows? But, in the ark that Moses designed there were two cherubs, one at either end and they faced one another and their wings stretched out over and met in the middle. This is just a supposition, but the problem with Satan was he was so beautiful and so wise that he became proud and fell.

So after his fall who knows whether God said, 'We'll never make that mistake again. From now on there'll be two cherubs and each of them will look at the other and know that there's someone just as beautiful as he is!' I'm not saying that's right, but that's one possible explanation. I believe that in this ark in heaven there's a covenant of which the covenant on earth is simply a representation. I believe that God the Father made an eternal covenant with Jesus Christ the Son before time began. It's amazing to me, I wouldn't have thought about it that way. But it says in Titus 1 that God promised salvation before time began. To whom did He promise it? That's a matter of consideration but I believe God the Father was committed to Jesus Christ the Son by a covenant that was made between them before creation took place.

The Father said, 'If we make creation and take the risk of making man, what'll we do about it?' The Son said, 'If man sins, I'll become his substitute.' And the Father said, 'If You become his substitute and pay his penalty, I promise You I'll raise You from the dead.' And they made a covenant. You can believe that or not, but I think there's much evidence in Scripture that something like that took place. Let's look at one other passage in Revelation while we're about it. Revelation 15:5-8: And after these things I looked, and the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven was opened . Notice it's the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony.

So, in a sense, everything centered around the temple. The temple centered around the tabernacle and the tabernacle centered around the ark of the covenant, the testimony. In a certain sense, all God's dealings in eternity and time center around His covenant. I wish you've got three hands. Then I'd have 15 minutes instead of 10. I haven't even started. We're going on. Revelation 15:6: and the seven angels who had the seven plagues came out of the temple, clothed in linen, clean and bright, I believe it was clean, bright linen. You're free to believe what you like. girded around their breasts with golden girdles. I don't believe there's any inflation in heaven. I don't believe God ever has a financial crisis. If He wants gold, He's got gold. If He wants pearls, He's got pearls. Whatever it is, it's available. He just orders it.

Verse 7: And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power; and no one was able to enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished. I'm reading those passages, first of all, because they impress me. I think I'm probably getting to that stage in life where I'm more interested in heaven than some of you because I'm probably likely to be going there before some of you. But I tell you, heaven for me is a very real place.

A few years ago I was really concerned about my own spiritual condition and I asked God to make heaven more real to me. I believe heaven is the home of every child of God. I've never met a child that didn't have a pretty clear idea about its own home. They may not know the street outside, but they know the home. I think one of the marks of God's children is that we feel at home in relationship to heaven. This earth is beautiful, this life is exciting. By the grace of God, I'm doing well. But this is not my final resting place.

As a matter of fact, that's one of the themes of Hebrews we'll come to, especially in the 11th chapter. The great saints of God were looking ahead out of time into eternity. And they had some glimpses. It wasn't going to be a jump into the unknown. They had some clear revelation of what they could expect. I'm looking forward to the temple, I'm looking forward to the angels. I'm looking forward to the four living creatures. There's a whole lot of other things I'm looking forward to. The sea of glass mingled with crystal. I think that's going to be very exciting. No dull moments in heaven. I used to think as a boy, 'What do they do all the time up in heaven?' Really! And my picture was people sitting there in white clothes playing harps all the time. I thought, That's going to become monotonous after awhile. I wasn't in danger of being bored because I certainly wasn't qualified for heaven at that time!

We're turning back to Hebrews 8. I was wondering whether there was enough material in this outline to last for forty minutes. I see there is! Hebrews 8. We're coming up to verse 6 which, in a way, sums up some things that have been said. Verse 6: But now He [that is Jesus] has obtained a more excellent priestly ministry . You need to put in both words. insofar as He is the mediator of a better covenant, which is legislated . What does it say? Established? Enacted probably. which is enacted upon better promises. So there we have the introduction to the comparison between the Old and the New Covenant. Notice in the introduction the writer affirms three ways in which it was superior. It's there in your outline.

First of all, Jesus has a more excellent ministry. Second, He's the mediator of a better covenant. And third, it's enacted on better promises. So you see the three points of superiority? A more excellent ministry, a better covenant and better promises. I hope you realize that. When I think of some of the things that the Israelites had under the Old Covenant I wonder how much better ours really is. I mean, God brought about three million Israelites out of Egypt after several generations of slavery and deprivation and there was not one sick person among them. You find three million Christians and you'll find two and three-quarter million sick people. It really is true. I know from experience ministering to the sick. You can get a group of Christians, eighty percent of them at least will come forward for healing.

I don't say that to be critical, but I just wonder whether we really are enjoying all the benefits of our covenant. Or, is it because we don't realize how superior this covenant is? We'll go on just a little further. We'll read verses 7 and 8 and then we'll stop at the quotation from Jeremiah. My wife will please make a note where we're stopping so I'll remember. Verse 7: For if that first one had been faultless, no place would have been sought for a second. If the first covenant had done everything that was needed, why ever replace it with a second? So there must have been something inadequate in the first covenant. But blaming them [that's the Israelites], God says.

And then we come to this promise quoted from Jeremiah 31 that God will make a new covenant with the house of Israel. We can just bring out this one point which we'll have to go on with in the next session next time. The fault was not in the Law. God didn't blame the Law, He blamed them. The fault was in the people. The people were such by nature that they could not receive what was offered them through the Law. Not because there was anything wrong with the Law, we'll look at passages where Paul affirms this again and again. The law The law is just and holy and good. The problem is not in the Law, it's in the people who try to live by the Law.
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