“This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant” (Hebrews 7:22 ESV).
One key aspect of the Old Covenant involves its dependence upon the ability of fallible human beings to fulfill its code of conduct. As the author of Hebrews will point out in the following chapter, even the Old Testament prophets recognized that such a system would eventually need to be replaced with something better. That “something better” is a New Covenant that is secured and validated by Jesus Himself.
One source details the differences between these two covenantal agreements in a manner that warrants a lengthy excerpt…
“Those who follow Christ enjoy the benefits of a ‘better hope’ (Heb. 7:19) and a ‘better covenant’ (7:22) than the Mosaic Law and the sacrificial system described in the Old Testament (7:11–12).
The Mosaic Law:
- Came from God.
- Prepared the way and pointed toward Christ (Matt. 5:17; Rom. 5:20; Gal. 3:19–25).
- Set the standard for holiness in every area of life, not just religious dimensions (1 John 3:4). (For example, Lev. 17–26 and Ex. 21–23 are concentrated collections of what the entire Law teaches. They include laws regarding leaders, the army, criminal cases, property rights and crimes against property, humane treatment, personal and family rights, and social behavior.)
- Helped people know of their need for God because it exposed their bondage to sin (Rom. 7:7, 12, 14–25).
The Levitical Priests:
- Came from the tribe of Levi (Deut. 18:1).
- Functioned to: administer the Law to Israel (Mal. 2:6–7); represent the people before God by offering sacrifices (Lev. 4:20, 26, 31); judge matters in the land as a supreme court (Deut. 17:8–13).
- Preserved the Torah, copies of the Law (31:24–26).
- Cared for the temple after it was built.
- Foreshadowed the priesthood of Christ’s followers (1 Pet. 2:9).
The writer of Hebrews shows that Christ is superior to the Law and the Old Testament priests. He is God’s provision to unite people directly with God.
- Offers a better hope than the Law (Heb. 7:18–20, 22).
- Is a permanent priest, no longer vulnerable to death (7:23–25).
- Always makes intercession for us (7:25).
- Is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens (7:26).
- Has offered the one, final sacrifice for sins on our behalf—Himself (7:27).
No wonder we are called to submit to Christ and follow Him (10:19–22). He is our priest and our sacrifice, restoring us to God as beloved children.” (1)
(1) Word in Life Study Bible, electronic ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1996), Heb 7:19–22