Hebrews 8–10 focuses on the work of Jesus as the Mediator of a new covenant. The issue with the old covenant was simply that it was only a foreshadowing of the good things that would come. Its institutions were designed to prefigure, to illustrate, the work that Jesus would do in the future. Thus, the priests prefigured Jesus, but they were mortal and sinners. They could not provide the perfection that Jesus did. And they ministered in a sanctuary that was a “copy and shadow” (Heb. 8:5, NKJV) of the heavenly sanctuary.
Jesus ministers in the true sanctuary and provides us access to God. The sacrifices of animals prefigured the death of Jesus as a sacrifice in our behalf, but their blood could not cleanse the conscience. Jesus’ blood, however, purifies our conscience, and through Him, having faith in Him and accepting His mediatory work in our behalf, we can approach God with boldness (Heb. 10:19–22).
Read Hebrews 8:8–12. What did God promise to us in the new covenant?
By appointing Jesus as our High Priest, the Father inaugurated a new covenant that will accomplish what the old covenant could only anticipate. The new covenant delivers what only a perfect, eternal, human-divine Priest can. This High Priest not only explains the law of God but also implants the law in our hearts. This Priest offers a sacrifice that brings forgiveness. This Priest cleanses and transforms us. He transforms our hearts from stone to flesh (Ezek. 36:26). He really creates us anew (2 Cor. 5:17). This Priest blesses us in the most incredible way, by providing us access into the very presence of the Father Himself.
God designed the old covenant in order to point to the future, to the work of Jesus. It was beautiful in its design and purpose. Yet, some misunderstood its purpose. Unwilling to leave the symbols, the shadows, and embrace the truths that the symbols were pointing to, they missed the wonderful benefits that Jesus’ ministry offered them.
“Christ was the foundation and life of the temple. Its services were typical of the sacrifice of the Son of God. The priesthood was established to represent the mediatorial character and work of Christ. The entire plan of sacrificial worship was a foreshadowing of the Saviour’s death to redeem the world. There would be no efficacy in these offerings when the great event toward which they had pointed for ages was consummated.”—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 165.
Supplemental EGW Notes
“Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a Minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” Hebrews 8:1, 2.
Here is revealed the sanctuary of the new covenant. The sanctuary of the first covenant was pitched by man, built by Moses; this is pitched by the Lord, not by man. In that sanctuary the earthly priests performed their service; in this, Christ, our great High Priest, ministers at God’s right hand. One sanctuary was on earth, the other is in heaven.—The Great Controversy, p. 413.
When Jesus speaks of the new heart, He means the mind, the life, the whole being. To have a change of heart is to withdraw the affections from the world, and fasten them upon Christ. To have a new heart is to have a new mind, new purposes, new motives. What is the sign of a new heart?—a changed life. There is a daily, hourly dying to selfishness and pride.
Then a spirit of kindness will be manifested, not by fits and starts, but continually. There will be a decided change in attitude, in deportment, in words and actions toward all with whom you are in any way connected. You will not magnify their infirmities, you will not place them in an unfavorable light. You will work in Christ’s lines. . . .
God’s power alone can change a heart of stone to a heart of flesh.—Sons and Daughters of God, p. 100.
To be pardoned in the way that Christ pardons is not only to be forgiven, but to be renewed in the spirit of our mind. The Lord says, “A new heart will I give unto thee.” The image of Christ is to be stamped upon the very mind, and heart, and soul. The apostle says, “And we have the mind of Christ.” Without the transforming process which can come alone through divine power, the original propensities to sin are left in the heart in all their strength, to forge new chains, to impose a slavery that can never be broken by human power. . . .
When Christ comes, the balances of heaven will weigh the character, and decide whether it is pure, sanctified, and holy. . . .
Happiness is the result of holiness, and conformity to the will of God. Those who would be saints in heaven, must first be saints upon the earth; for when we leave this earth, we shall take our character with us, and this will be simply taking with us some of the elements of heaven imparted to us through the righteousness of Christ. . . .
The experience that follows complete surrender to God, is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.—Reflecting Christ, p. 303.
The above quotations are taken from Ellen G. White Notes for the Sabbath School Lessons, published by Pacific Press Publishing Association. Used by permission.