A biblical covenant is the legal establishment of a relationship between God and His people. God takes the initiative, institutes this close relationship, and secures it personally. He makes the first step and does it because of His love for His children. The covenants He cuts are based on His love, grace, and faithfulness, and rooted in God’s eternal covenant established within the Trinity before the foundation of the world to save humankind in case they would fall into sin (Eph 1:3-4; 2 Tim 1:9; Titus 1:2; 1 Peter 1:20; Rev 13:8).1 In the epistle to the Hebrews, the apostle Paul2 makes a clear distinction between the “first” and the “new” covenants and states that if there had been nothing “deficient” or “inadequate” with the first one, the “second” or “new” would be not have been needed. The new covenant was first stated by Jeremiah (33:31–34), explained by Ezekiel (36:22–32; 37:23-28), and then repeated by Paul in Hebrews (8:8–12), which is the longest quotation of an Old Testament passage in the New Testament. Paul discusses the new covenant in the setting of Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary as our High Priest in comparison to sanctuary services in the earthly tabernacle with the animal sacrifices and the Levitical priesthood. He speaks about the “better covenant” (7:22; 8:6), and this better covenant is the “new covenant” (8:8; 9:15; 12:24; [see also Luke 22:20; 1 Cor 11:25; 2 Cor 3:6] or the “second” one (8:7). The key adjective “better” is a comparative of “good,” thus Paul compares the first covenant which was “good” to the new covenant which is “better.” It is important to remind ourselves that Paul’s purpose for writing the epistle to the Hebrews is to admonish his readers to stay faithful to Jesus and not abandon their faith in Him because in Christ everything is better and superior in comparison to the previous sacrificial system full of rituals.3



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