Jesus and the Old Covenant

How does Hebrews contrast Jesus with aspects of the Old Covenant?

High Definition Video Standard Definition Video

(Right click this link to download video.)


Undoubtedly, the author of Hebrews contrasts Jesus and the sacrificial system of the Old Testament. He especially emphasizes that Jesus is both the high priest who does the sacrifice and the sacrificial victim. Let me explain this a little further. For example, in chapters 4 and 5 in particular, he puts great emphasis on Jesus being a priest of the Melchizedek order. This implies something about the order. It does not mean that Jesus is the new Melchizedek, but instead that Jesus is a priest with no previous lineage, which means that he should not have been a priest according to the Jewish system, since he was not a Levite. And the author emphasizes that because his sacrifice is perfect, it does not have to be repeated after it took place. Also, Jesus is the sacrifice. In Chapter 9, the author explains that Jesus is now the sacrifice of the Day of Atonement, the day in which all the sins of the people were washed away and erased forever. And so, by sacrificing himself, Jesus ensures salvation forever. So then, what the author does is to explain that Jesus fulfilled the sacrificial system of the Old Testament, and the sacrifice does not need to be repeated. As Christians we can be sure that we do not have to return to the sacrificial system in order to be sure that our sins have been forgiven.

Answer by Dr. Alvin Padilla

Dr. Alvin Padilla is Academic Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Western Theological Seminary.