MOUNT SINAI AND MOUNT ZION (12:18-29)
It was evident to many of the Jews that being godly in a godless society was costly and it causes them to fear. This passage gives a warning of something far more fear-inspiring than what any human persecution can inflict, namely God’s judgment.
Every man will either be judged by the law or by grace, by his own works or by Christ’s work, by the provisions of Sinai or by the provisions of Zion. Their fear should not be of coming to Mount Zion but of turning back to Mount Sinai. The contrast is vivid.
MOUNT SINAI—THE FEAR OF THE LAW
“For you have not come to a mountain that may be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word should be spoken to them. For they could not bear the command, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it will be stoned.” And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I am full of fear and trembling.” (12:18-21)
The Old Covenant was associated with Mount Sinai because that is where God spoke to Moses when the covenant of law was instituted. It was also a covenant of judgment and of fear. That is not the place to which the New Covenant brings us.
May be touched does not refer to permission but possibility. The people were forbidden to set foot on the mountain of Sinai and were under penalty of death. The earthly mountain symbolized the earthliness of that covenant, as contrasted with the heavenly Jerusalem (v. 22). It was given was to be obeyed in more physical, tangible, picturesque, and symbolic ways.
It was to be a day unique in human history. The demonstration of power was through the physical means of thunder, lightning, thick clouds, loud trumpet sounds, fire, smoke, and violent trembling of the earth (Exodus 19:16-18). The primary purpose of all these signs was to convince the people of the absolute unapproachableness of God. Sinful man could not come near Him and live. “They trembled and stood at a distance,” and pleaded with Moses, “let not God speak to us, lest we die” (Exodus 20:18-19). At this, Moses assured them that they had no reason for being terrified unless they disobeyed. “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin” (Exodus 20:20). If they had the proper fear of God by honouring His holiness and obeying His law, they had no reason to fear His wrath.
Since no man in himself can fulfil its demands, no man in himself can escape its punishment. The symbols of Sinai are darkness, fire, trembling, and trumpets of judgment. The purpose of Sinai was to bring the people face to face with their own sinfulness, with no place to hide. Every sinner who stands at the foot of Sinai is paralyzed with fear. So terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I am full of fear and trembling.”
“For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them’ ” (Gal. 3:10).
MOUNT ZION—THE GRACE OF THE GOSPEL
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.” (12:22-24)
The mountain of the New Covenant is Mount Zion, representing the heavenly Jerusalem. Opposite to Sinai, it is not touchable, but it is approachable. Sinai symbolizes law and Zion symbolizes grace. No man can be saved by the law, but any man can be saved by grace. The law confronts us with commandments, judgment, and condemnation. Grace presents us with forgiveness, atonement, and salvation.
Zion is open to all, because Jesus Christ has met all terms and will stand in the place of anyone who will come to God through Him. Zion symbolizes the approachable God. Sinai was covered by clouds and darkness; Zion is the city of light. “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shone forth” (Ps. 50:2). Sinai stands for judgment and death; Zion for forgiveness and life.
The Jews to whom Hebrews is speaking, were already on the gracious mountain of God, already in the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. As Christians, we are already citizens of heaven, where we now spiritually dwell (Phil. 3:20).
THE HEAVENLY CITY
The city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, is heaven itself. That is where our treasure is, our inheritance is, our hope is. Until the Lord takes us there to be with Himself, however, we cannot enjoy its full citizenship and blessings. For now, we are ambassadors on earth. Sinai is the mountain of bondage. Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, is the mountain of freedom.
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The general assembly refers to the myriads of angels, rather than to the church of the firstborn. When we come in Jesus Christ to Mount Zion, we come to a great gathering of celebrating angels, whom we join in praising God. Contrary to what some churches teach, we are not to worship angels. We join them in worshiping God, and God alone. “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize,” Paul warns, “by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels” (Col. 2:18).
THE CHURCH OF THE FIRSTBORN
The church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven is the Body of Christ. The firstborn are those who receive the inheritance. As believers, we are “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,” who is “the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:17, 29). Jesus tells us that we should not rejoice in the great works that God may do through us but that our “names are recorded in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Our names are enrolled in heaven in “the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:27).
THE SPIRITS OF RIGHTEOUS MEN MADE PERFECT
The spirits of righteous men made perfect are Old Testament saints, those who could only look forward to forgiveness, peace, and deliverance. When we come to heaven, we will join Abel, Abraham, Moses, David, and all the others in one great household of God (cf. Matt. 8:11). They had to wait for us (Heb. 11:40), in the sense that they had to wait for Christ’s death and resurrection before they could be glorified. In heaven we will be one with them in Jesus Christ. He is the mediator of a new covenant. First John 3:2 sums up the ultimate end of this truth: “we shall be like Him.”
THE SPRINKLED BLOOD
To come to Christianity is to come to the sprinkled blood, the atoning blood, through which we have redemption, “through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7), and by which all who “formerly were far off have been brought near” (2:13). The sprinkled blood of Jesus far surpasses the sacrifice of Abel (Heb. 11:4) and speaks better than the blood of Abel. Abel’s sacrifice was acceptable to God because it was offered in faith, but it had no atoning power.
RESPONDING TO THE GOSPEL
“See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” And this expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, in order that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.” (12:25-29)
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son” (Heb. 1:1-2). If men were held accountable for heeding God when He warned them on earth, from Mount Sinai, how much more will they be held accountable now that He warns from heaven, from Mount Zion?
The unbelieving Israelites who ignored God at Sinai did not enter the earthly Promised Land, and unbelievers today, Jew or Gentile, who ignore God when He speaks through His Son from Mount Zion will not enter the heavenly promised land. Whether God speaks from Sinai or from Zion, no man who refuses Him will escape judgment.
At Sinai, God shook the earth. From Zion He is also going to shake the very heavens, the entire universe. The writer quotes from what the Lord had predicted through Haggai, “Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land” (Hag. 2:6; cf. Isa. 13:13). The sun will become black, the moon will become like blood, stars will fall to earth, the sky will split apart like a scroll, and every mountain and island will be moved out of its place (Rev. 6:12-14). Everything physical (those things which can be shaken) will be destroyed. Only the eternal things will remain.
Peter tells us that at that time, which “will come like a thief,. . . the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up” and “the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!” (2 Pet. 3:10,12).
But some things are unshakable, and these will remain. God has prepared “a new heaven and a new earth,” which will include “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:1-2). This is the kingdom we receive. It is a kingdom which cannot be shaken. It is eternal, unchangeable, immovable. We will never be taken from it, and it will never be taken from us. For this amazing blessing in Christ, we should show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe.
The closing verse of chapter 12 is perhaps the severest warning in the book of Hebrews: for our God is a consuming fire. If you have truly come to Zion and received all its blessings, it is inconceivable that you would want to hold on to Sinai in any way.
CHARACTARISTICS OF THE OLD AND THE NEW COVENANT (9:1-14)
In Hebrews 9:1-14 the Old and New Covenants are further contrasted. The first part of the passage (vv. 1-10) outlines, or summarizes, the characteristics of the Old, whereas the second part (vv. 11-14) outlines the characteristics of the New.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE OLD COVENANT
“Now even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship and the earthly sanctuary.” (9:1)
The first covenant was not worthless or pointless, as it was given by God. Through it He prescribed certain kinds of worship and a special place in which to worship, but it was temporary, as signified by the earthly character of the sanctuary.
THE OLD SANCTUARY
“For there was a tabernacle prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the sacred bread; this is called the holy place. And behind the second veil, there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant. And above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail.” (9:2-5)
The tabernacle was the first sanctuary and also the most temporary and the earthiest. Fifty chapters in the Bible focus on the Tabernacle (see especially Ex. 25-40). It is actually a giant portrait of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ said, “I am the way” and “I am the door.” Just as there was only one entrance to the Tabernacle, there is only one way to God—the only Way and the only Door, Jesus Christ.
The first article of furniture in the outer court was the bronze altar. The bronze altar is again a perfect picture of Jesus Christ, who Himself was a sacrifice for sin.
The next piece of furniture in the court was the laver or basin, where the priests would wash their hands, and even sometimes their feet, as they went about the bloody services of sacrifice. Here is a picture of Jesus Christ as the cleanser of His people.
The holy place took up two-thirds of this area, and the holy of holies was a perfect cube. Only priests could go into the Holy Place, in which were three pieces of furniture. On the left, there was a solid gold lampstand having seven branches, each filled with the purest olive oil. On the right was the table on which was the sacred bread. Only the priests could eat the loaves.
To the center of the Holy Place was the altar of incense. On this altar were placed the burning coals from the bronze altar in the courtyard, where sacrifice was made.
Everything in the outer courtyard was connected with salvation and the cleansing of sins. Jesus accomplished His sacrificial work on earth, outside God’s heavenly presence. The outer court was accessible to all the people, just as Christ is accessible to all who will come to Him. But in His heavenly sanctuary He is shut off from the world, temporarily even from His own people. From His heavenly place now, Jesus lights our path (pictured by the golden lampstand), He feeds us (pictured by the table of sacred bread), and He intercedes for us (pictured by the altar of incense).
Behind the second veil, there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, into which only the high priest could enter, and that but once a year, on the Day of Atonement. There was only one piece of furniture, the ark of the covenant. In it were three very precious articles: a golden jar holding manna, Aaron’s rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant. On the lid was the mercy seat, on which were the cherubim of glory, angelic figures made of solid gold. It was between the wings of those angels, on the mercy seat, that God met men. “And there I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel” (Ex. 25:22). If God and man were to meet it could only have been there, and only the high priest could do so.
The ark represents Jesus Christ, the true mercy seat. When we meet Jesus Christ as Savior, we are ushered into the presence of God, into the true Holy of Holies. God now communes with men in His Son, by whom the veil was torn in two.
THE OLD SERVICES
“Now when these things have been thus prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle, performing the divine worship, but into the second only the high priest enters, once a year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance.” (9:6-7)
The priests were continually in and out of the Holy Place, ministering in behalf of the people. In this they picture Jesus Christ, who does not cease enlightening and feeding and interceding on our behalf. Nothing, however, pictures Christ so perfectly as the work of the high priest in the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). The Day of Atonement was intended to make sacrifice for all those sins that had not yet been covered during the daily sacrifices. Unlike Christ, the high priest also had to sacrifice for his own sin.
After finishing all these sacrifices, the high priest took off the robes of glory and beauty and went and bathed himself completely. He then put on a white linen garment, with no decoration or ornament at all, and performed the sacrifice of atonement. In this ritual, the high priest symbolized Jesus Christ, who, in His true and perfect work of atonement, stripped off all His glory and beauty and became the humblest of the humble. He dressed Himself in human flesh, pure but plain and unadorned. In all of His humility He never lost His holiness.
There were always two goats (Lev. 16:5). One was marked for the Lord and the other for Azazel, for the scapegoat. Azazal was a demon or evil spirit to whom, in the ancient rite of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), a scapegoat was sent bearing the sins of the Jewish people. The goat designated for Jehovah was then killed on the altar. Its blood was carried into the Holy of Holies for the sins of the people.
He then placed his hands on the goat that remained, the scapegoat, symbolically placing the sins of the people on the goat’s head. That goat was taken far out into the wilderness and turned loose, to be lost and never to return.
The first goat represented satisfaction of God’s justice, in that sin had been paid for. The second represented satisfaction of man’s conscience, because he knew he was freed of the penalty of sin. Still again we see Christ. In His own death he paid for man’s sin, thereby satisfying God’s justice, and He also carried our sins far from us, giving us peace of conscience and mind. He satisfied both God and man.
THE OLD SIGNIFICANCE
“The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed, while the outer tabernacle is still standing, which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.” (9:8-10)
In the illustration of the old sanctuary and its services, the Holy Spirit is teaching at least three things. First, the worship of God was limited in the Old Covenant as only the high priest could come only so close. Second, the cleansing accomplished was incomplete. There was no freedom of conscience, no assurance of cleansing. Third, the Old Covenant was temporary, and all had to be repeated.
Without a Redeemer, it is impossible to access God. Also, even with all the ceremonies and rituals, perfect cleansing from sin could not be accomplished. The way into the heavenly Holy Place could not be opened while the first Tabernacle was standing.
Only the New Covenant in Christ set things right, and the old symbols, the old forms, were meant to serve only until the time of reformation.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE NEW COVENANT
THE NEW SANCTUARY
“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation.” (9:11)
The old Tabernacle was designed by God, but it was made by men, out of material from the present physical creation. The new sanctuary, however, is made by God, in heaven, and of heavenly materials. Heaven is His dwelling place, His throne, and His sanctuary (Acts 7:48-50; 17:24). Christ ministers for us in heaven, in the throne room of God at God’s right hand. Unlike the Old covenant priests, our heavenly Priest takes His people with Him all the way into the sanctuary. “Our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil. 3:20).
THE NEW SERVICES
“And not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” (9:12)
Christ does three things, primarily. First, His service is in His own blood, not that of sacrificial animals. The Sacrificer was the Sacrifice. Second, He made His sacrifice only once, and that once was sufficient for all people of all time. Third, He obtained permanent, eternal redemption. He cleansed past, present, and future sins all in one act of redemption.
THE NEW SIGNIFICANCE
“For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (9:13-14)
The purpose of the old sacrifice was to symbolize, externally, the cleansing of sin. The purpose of the new sacrifice, however, was to cleanse actually, internally (where sin really exists). He through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, provided the cleansing of our consciences from dead works to serve the living God. In Christ, we are not cleaned-up old creatures but redeemed new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17). A sacrifice that has been offered once and for all, that is complete and perfect and eternal.
THE NEW COVENANT – A HEBREW PERSPECTIVE (8:1-13)
The primary focus of Hebrews 8 is on the New Covenant.
“Now the main point in 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 the heavens.” (8:1)
The Levitical priests never sat down. “And every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins” (Heb. 10:11). The priest’s job was never done, because the sacrifices he offered were never permanently effective. When Jesus Christ offered His sacrifice, however, He sat down (cf. 1:3). He was qualified to sit down because His work was done.
Christ sat down at the right hand of the throne of thrones, God’s heavenly, eternal throne. Even
more amazing is that, as believers, we will one day be invited to sit on that same throne. “He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Rev. 3:21).
“A minister in the sanctuary, and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.” (8:2)
The sanctuary in which Jesus is a minister is infinitely superior to the one in which the Jewish priests ministered. Jesus does not minister in an impressive temple as the priests did. Jesus’ sanctuary is in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man and which can never rot or crumble or be destroyed.
“True” is used here as opposed to the shadowy or unreal. Certain Greek mystical philosophers held that everything we see and hear, and touch is but a shadow or reflection of a “real” counterpart in another world. The earthly priesthood is only an inadequate shadow of the real priesthood.
“For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; hence it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer.” (8:3)
Jesus’ sacrifice and His atoning work is finished, but not His priestly ministry.
The gift offerings were given to represent personal dedication, commitment, and thanksgiving to the Lord. The blood offerings, on the other hand, were for cleansing from sin. Jesus has already ministered the one final blood sacrifice for the cleansing of sin that is sufficient for all people for all time.
But the need for His redeemed people to come to dedication and commitment and thanksgiving is not over. Just as no Israelite could offer either a gift or sacrifice to God except through a priest, so Christians cannot do so except through their High Priest. “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Col. 3:17; cf. Eph. 5:20).
It is obviously necessary, then, for Jesus to continue to minister in our behalf. He continually brings the gifts—the worship, the praise, the repentance, the dedication, the thanks—of the hearts of His people before the Father.
“Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law; who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, “See,” He says, “that you make all things according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.” (8:4-5)
During His earthly ministry, Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, preached on the hillside and in the synagogue, forgave sins, and called Himself God’s true Son. But He never claimed the right to minister in the Temple. God never mixes the shadow with the substance, He ministers the new offerings in the new, heavenly sanctuary—built by God, not men (v. 2).
The Tabernacle built under Moses’ direction according to the pattern was not the original model, the type, that set the pattern for the more elaborate Temple and then the immeasurably still more elaborate heavenly sanctuary. The earthly was but a shadow.
“But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.” (8:6)
Mediator means someone who stands between two people and brings them together. In religion a mediator represents both God and men. The Israelite mediators could not bring men and God together and were also only shadows.
The New Covenant not only has a better Mediator but better promises. As far as God’s covenants are concerned, it is always His promises that are significant.
“For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. For finding fault with them, He says, “Behold, days are coming, says the LORD, when I will effect a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; for they did not continue in My covenant, and I did not care for them, says the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their minds, and I will write them upon their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, and everyone his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.” (8:7-13)
The Old Covenant was not false, but it had faults. Hebrews 8:8-12, with the exception of the first few words of verse 8, is a direct quotation from Jeremiah 31. Yet millions of Jews even today are hanging on tenaciously to the Old Covenant, even though their own Scriptures, through their own beloved prophet, have been telling them for well over 2,000 years that a new one was to come.
MADE WITH ISRAEL
I will effect a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah (v. 8; cf. v. 10). God has never made a covenant with Gentiles. The New Covenant is not made with the church, as some seem to think. It is made with the same people the Old Covenant was made with: Israel. Gentiles can be beneficiaries of the New Covenant, just like they could be beneficiaries of the Old (cf. Gen 12:3), because all the nations of the world were to be blessed in Abraham. But both covenants were made with Israel alone. Israel as a nation rejected God by rejecting His Son. But God has never rejected Israel, nor has He transferred His covenant with her to anyone else. “Salvation is from the Jews,” Jesus said (John 4:22).
“You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex. 19:6). Her calling was not ultimately conditional on her obedience or her faithfulness. Her blessedness was. She lost many blessings because of disobedience, but she never lost the calling (Rom. 11:29). She broke all the covenant laws, but she could not break the covenant. Jews today are still breaking the covenant laws and losing the covenant blessings.
When Gentiles are saved they become descendants of Abraham-spiritual descendants. “Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the nations shall be blessed in you’ ” (Gal. 3:7-8). “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Gal. 3:29).
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their minds, and I will write them upon their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (8:10)
Formerly God’s law was given on stone tablets and was to be written on wrists and foreheads and doorposts as reminders (Deut. 6:8-9). Even when the old law was given, of course, it was intended to be in His people’s hearts (Deut. 6:6). But the people could not write on their hearts like they could write on their doorposts. Now, however, the Spirit writes God’s law in the minds and hearts of those who belong to Him. in the New Covenant true worship is internal, not external, real, not ritual (cf. Ezek. 11:19-20, 36:26-27; John 14:17).
“And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, and everyone his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest of them.” (8:11)
Every believer has a resident Helper, a resident Teacher, a resident Friend. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26).
“For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” (8:12)
Under the Old Covenant, sin were only covered, foreshadowing and anticipating true forgiveness in Jesus Christ. But for those who belong to His dear Son—whether they believed under the Old Covenant or under the New—God forgets every sin.
“When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.” (8:13)
In sharing the gospel with Jews, one of the biggest stumbling blocks for them is the idea that the Old Covenant with its laws and ceremonies is done away with. The old sacrificial system actually was over when the veil was split in two and Christ’s sacrifice was complete (Matt. 27:50-51; Mark 15:37-39; Luke 23:44-46).
(MAIN SOURCE: MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY – JOHN MACARTHUR)