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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
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1 The main point of what has been said is this:
we have such a high priest, who has taken his seat at the right hand of the
throne of the Majesty in heaven,
a minister of the sanctuary 2
and of the true tabernacle that the Lord, not man, set up.
Now every high priest is appointed to offer
gifts and sacrifices; thus the necessity for this one also to have something to
If then he were on earth, he would not be a
priest, since there are those who offer gifts according to the law.
They worship in a copy and shadow of the
heavenly sanctuary, as Moses was warned when he was about to erect the
tabernacle. For he says, "See that you make everything according to the
pattern shown you on the mountain."
Now he has obtained so much more excellent a
ministry as he is mediator of a better covenant, enacted on better promises.
3 For if that first covenant had been faultless,
no place would have been sought for a second one.
But he finds fault with them and says: 4
"Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will conclude a new
covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with
their fathers the day I took them by the hand to lead them forth from the land
of Egypt; for they did not stand by my covenant and I ignored them, says the
But this is the covenant I will establish with
the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their
minds and I will write them upon their hearts. I will be their God, and they
shall be my people.
And they shall not teach, each one his fellow
citizen and kinsman, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for all shall know me, from least
For I will forgive their evildoing and remember
their sins no more."
5 When he speaks of a "new" covenant,
he declares the first one obsolete. And what has become obsolete and has grown
old is close to disappearing.
1 [1-6] The Christian community has
in Jesus the kind of high priest described in ⇒ Hebrews
7:26-28. In virtue of his ascension Jesus has taken his place at
God's right hand in accordance with ⇒ Psalm 110:1
(⇒ Hebrews 8:1), where he presides over the heavenly
sanctuary established by God himself (⇒ Hebrews 8:2).
Like every high priest, he has his offering to make (⇒ Hebrews
8:3; cf ⇒ Hebrews 9:12,
⇒ 14), but it differs from that of the levitical
priesthood in which he had no share (⇒ Hebrews 8:4)
and which was in any case but a shadowy reflection of the true offering in the
heavenly sanctuary (⇒ Hebrews 8:5). But Jesus'
ministry in the heavenly sanctuary is that of mediator of a superior covenant
that accomplishes what it signifies (⇒ Hebrews 8:6).
2  The sanctuary: the Greek term
could also mean "holy things" but bears the meaning
"sanctuary" elsewhere in Hebrews (⇒ Hebrews
9:8, ⇒ 12,
⇒ 24, ⇒ 25;
⇒ 10:19; ⇒ 13:11). The
true tabernacle: the heavenly tabernacle that the Lord . . . set up is
contrasted with the earthly tabernacle that Moses set up in the desert. True
means "real" in contradistinction to a mere "copy and
shadow" (⇒ Hebrews 8:5); compare the Johannine
usage (e.g., ⇒ John 1:9;
⇒ 6:32; ⇒ 15:1). The idea
that the earthly sanctuary is a reflection of a heavenly model may be based
upon ⇒ Exodus 25:9, but probably also derives from
the Platonic concept of a real world of which our observable world is merely a
3 [7-13] Since the first covenant was
deficient in accomplishing what it signified, it had to be replaced
(⇒ Hebrews 8:7), as Jeremiah (⇒ Jeremiah
31:31-34) had prophesied (⇒ Hebrews
8:8-12). Even in the time of Jeremiah, the first covenant was
antiquated (⇒ Hebrews 8:13). In
⇒ Hebrews 7:22-24, the superiority of the new
covenant was seen in the permanence of its priesthood; here the superiority is
based on better promises, made explicit in the citation of
⇒ Jeremiah 31:31-34 (LXX: 38), namely, in the
immediacy of the people's knowledge of God (⇒ Hebrews
8:11) and in the forgiveness of sin (⇒ Hebrews
4 [8-12] In citing Jer the author
follows the Septuagint; some apparent departures from it may be the result of a
different Septuagintal text rather than changes deliberately introduced.
5  Close to disappearing: from
the prophet's perspective, not that of the author of Hebrews.
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