Ezekiel 16:42-17:24, Hebrews 8:1-13, Psalms 106:13-31, Proverbs 27:7-9
Today is the 7th day of November. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian. It’s great to be here with you as we continue the journey through our week. And the trail leads us back into the prophetic book of Ezekiel today. We’re reading from the Contemporary English Version this week. And today Ezekiel chapter 16 verse 42 through 17 verse 24.
Okay. If what we were reading in the book of Hebrews, especially the last part of what we were reading in Hebrews sounded vaguely or even very familiar, that’s because we’re reading Hebrews, quoting extensively from the book of Jeremiah. In fact, this is the longest Old Testament quotation found in the New Testament, it’s in Hebrews 8. So, to begin understand why a very lengthy quotation from Jeremiah chapter 31 is found in the book of Hebrews then we need to refocus on what is right before us the, name of this book or letter, Hebrews. Hebrews was written for Hebrews. So, the Hebrew or Jewish sensibilities, the entire worldview and context is foundational, is irreplaceable in this book. So, most of us are Gentile and most of us…well not most of us…all of us are several thousand years removed from the writing of this letter. But most of us are not a natural born Hebrew person. And yet all of the things that are being discussed are from a Hebrew perspective in Hebrews and for that matter for most of the Bible. And, so, we’ve grown accustomed to certain ways that things were done. Whether we understand them or not we kinda have a little bit of an overview of the Hebrew culture, at least biblically. So, imagine if there wasn’t anything called the Old Testament, the Torah. What if there weren’t the law and the prophets? What if they didn’t exist? Then what we’re reading in Hebrews wouldn’t make any sense at all because it’s coming completely from a Hebrew context as it relates to what we now call the Old Testament. So, we have to have our minds pretty clear here that the entire…like the whole premise for the book of Hebrews is to systematically provide evidence and theological statements about a new covenant and a new high priest and why that matters. And if any evidence could not be found, like from previous times in this culture then this would be like a newfangled invention that would be very hard for people to swallow. In fact, even with the evidence it was pretty hard for people to swallow. But the writer of Hebrews quoted Jeremiah at length because the prophecy found in Jeremiah foretold a coming new covenant. So, when Hebrews was written Jeremiah’s prophecy was already centuries old, but it wasn’t something that…that had fallen into obscurity. It was part of the Hebrew Scriptures, was part of the prophets. So, it was known. And people who were devout in their faith, they would’ve known what was being talked about here. So, the author of Hebrews is basically saying, “this isn’t surprising…like this isn’t surprising news. We’ve been waiting for this. This was foretold. This is what we’ve been looking for.” So, people who had begun to follow Jesus weren’t attempting to like to invent a new religion, make completely new inventions inside the faith. They were simply…they were announcing that what had been promised had come, and there was a new covenant. So…so the writer of Hebrews is like, “if the first covenant had no faults there would be no need for a second covenant to replace it. So, in this first covenant, priests represented the people and they fulfilled the sacrifices and rituals and customs and holidays, holy days, that they understood were the obligations of the law. But according to Hebrews, all of that effort, as good as it was and is, is only a copy, a foreshadowing of…of what’s really going on in heaven. So, kind of following the train of thought, if there were a new covenant that had been foretold a long time ago, and as the writer of Hebrews is pointing out that is the case because it’s found in the book of Jeremiah. If a new covenant actually did become valid and it had been instituted by the Lord God the most high, himself, then there would be a need for a new high priest to preside over that agreement. And that’s what the author of Hebrews is getting at. We have a high priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven, where He ministers in the heavenly tabernacle. So, let’s just zoom back here to our modern times understanding that we’re mostly Gentile people. And, so, we can read this, and we can even understand it. If we’ve spent any time in the Old Testament, we can understand what’s happening here. But it’s pretty complicated and highly theological. And, so, we can…we can pretty much zone out and just be like, “it’s like…it’s in the Bible…I accept it. I don’t understand how the tediousness of this.” But if we had been in the first century and we had been a Hebrew and we had been devout in our faith, what is being said here is so profoundly revolutionary that most…most people didn’t embrace the idea that God actually was doing something new in the world through a Messiah as spoken in Jeremiah. Like, they believed that was gonna happen, but very, very complicated. Like, they would’ve expected it to be more obvious. The thing about Hebrews is that it’s intention wasn’t to convince a Hebrew person to…to renounce their religious convictions and move to a different religion called Christianity. None of that was formed yet. Like, just the idea of people who believe in Jesus being called Christians was brand-new. So, nobody was trying to talk anybody out of their faith. It was actually the opposite. It was to reveal Jesus to the Jewish or Hebrew people as the foretold expected next step in their faith. So, Hebrews was unveiling the ongoing Hebrew story within the context of what God was inviting His people into, this new covenant. The shadow of the old covenant was being replaced by an unbroken and unblemished new covenant, presided over by a sinless high priest in heaven. So, for a Hebrew in the first century who’s devout hearing this, it would have indeed been monumentally good news if it were true, because it would mean that the final sacrifice had been made and that…that sin wasn’t an issue anymore. The law was fulfilled, which was just a bridge too far for most people. But at the same time, as Hebrews is pointing out, this has been foretold. Like, this isn’t new news. It’s old news that is now coming to fruition. And it’s not the only thing that Jeremiah foretold. “The time will come” according Jeremiah here. “I the Lord will write my laws on their minds and hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people. Not one of them will have to teach another to know me their Lord. All of them will know me no matter who they are. I will treat them with kindness, even though they are wicked. I will forget their sins.”
Father, we thank You for Your word. We thank You for all of the different ways that it that it stretches us. We thank You for the book of Hebrews and allowing us to understand the good news through the lens of the Jewish context and experience. And we thank You that You foretold what was going to happen all the way back in the book of Jeremiah. And then we have this interpretation in the book of Hebrews to contextualize it into the first century and we have been doing ever since, which brings us to today with a great high priest, presiding over a new covenant that tells us that we have been adopted into the family of God, Your family. We are Your family and that is news that is so good it’s almost impossible to comprehend. So, Holy Spirit we ask that You make it a reality in our lives so that we live accordingly, revealing Your kingdom at work in this world. Come Holy Spirit we pray. Into all of this we ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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And that is it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.