Our next portion is Hebrews 9:16-20
v16: A testament: A will. In Greek there is only one word for covenant, but this same word can also be translated “will”(like last will and testament) Before someone dies he writes up a contract (covenant) about what He is going to give to certain people.
- There must also of necessity be … death: A will only takes effect once the one who made it dies.
v17: In force: Becomes sure, certified or established.
v18: In the same way that someone’s will and testament doesn’t go into force until his death the new covenant, that agreement of Messiah to His people, also only went into effect after His death.
v19: Moses had spoken every precept (commandment) to all the people: The emphasis of this text is not on Moses but on all the ordinances. It is the ordinances/commands that give us the paradigm, the framework, for understanding the work of Messiah.
- The blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop: In order for the covenant of Moses to come into force (Ex 24:8) the blood for cleansing, water for purification, and other elements (all mixed together) were required. These were placed on the book (Torah) and sprinkled on the people to inaugurate/dedicate/put into force the Old Testament law. It was done as an example for us, a pattern of the greater things to come.
v20: Saying: This is a verse found in Ex 24:8.
- G-d has commanded: He speaks of commandments because a covenant has implications. A covenant is a call to obedience. If we are not receiving Messiah for the purpose of being a faithful servant, we have misunderstood the gospel. Salvation is a free gift. Our obedience, our service, our works don’t save us, but, having been saved by grace, there is an expectation that we will be changed so that we can turn away from sin and walk in obedience to the will of G-d.