A Video Supplement for
Come, Follow Me Lesson 44:
“An High Priest of Good Things to Come”
In Hebrews 9:14–17, the author described Christ as the mediator of the new testament. What does he mean by this? I will discuss this after reading the passage in question, beginning with verse 14
14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.
So what is the “testament” being talked about in this passage and why does the “testator” need to die? Wayment expresses these verses in these words, Hebrews 9:14-17 (Wayment), “how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God. Because of this, he is the mediator of the new covenant;”
So the first of the KJV’s testaments is rendered as “covenant,” going on,
“those who are called may receive an eternal inheritance because a death had occurred that sets them free form the transgressions of the first covenant.”
The second testament here also has the sense of “covenant.” Continuing with the rest of the passage,
“For if there is a will, the death of the person who made it must be proven. For a will goes into effect at death, since it has no power while the one who made it is still living.”
This final usage is equated with the sense of a will as in a last will and testament, however, it is apparently still the same underlying Greek term, pronounced something like διαθήκη.
So the key takeaway here, is when the Epistle to the Hebrews addresses the topic of a “testament” or “new testament,” it is referring to a new covenant, in the sense of a legal document or instrument and can also refer to a will. Through Christ’s sacrifice and teachings, he established the means and conditions for our return into the presence of God and provided the means whereby if we are faithful we may inherit eternal life, in essence writing us into his will.
Personally I like the substitution of terms from Wayment’s re-translation. When Hebrews points us to “the promise of eternal inheritance” (v. 15) it is clearly a comparison to a legal custom we know as a “last will and testament”. Now the analogy the author is making as he asserts the death of the teststor is necessary makes perfect sense.
Thank you for this little discussion