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Changing from the Old to the New Covenant is the great Dispensational switch.  God switching His people from the Old Covenant given to Israel to the New Covenant given to the Church is the great practical and theological switch in the Bible.  This switch is at the heart of Dispensationalism, which proposes that even though the Gospel has always been the same, the experience of the Gospel by different saints at different points in salvation history is much different.  Lewis Sperry Chafer, founder of Dallas Theological Seminary (1871 – 1952) said: “Any person is a Dispensationalist who trusts the blood of Christ rather than bringing and animal sacrifice, and who observes the first day of the week, rather than the seventh.”

 

The Book of Hebrews is all about this Dispensational switch.  The writer of Hebrews is writing to Jews who are holding on to Moses and the Old Covenant instead of switching over to Christ and the New Covenant.  Throughout the early chapters of the book, the writer is saying to these Jews: “God told you so.”  In Chapter 8, the writer quotes Jeremiah 31:31 – 33, the lengthiest Old Testament quotation in the New Testament.  It talks about God promising to switch His people from the Old to a New Covenant.  The main point is: “God told you so.”  God had published long before Christ came that He had a New Covenant waiting for His people, and that they should not hold on to the Covenant given to Moses.  God had told His people even before Jeremiah, during the time of David, that there would be a New High Priest of a different order, the order of Melchizedek and not the order of Aaron (Psalm 110:4), who would mediate between God and man forever.  God had told His people that He would bring in something “new” (8:13) and that this New Covenant would make redeemed man into brand “new” creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Throughout the Old Testament, God had already “told them so.”

The writer explains the Old.  He explains the purpose of Moses’ Tabernacle in 9:1 – 5.  Moses’ Tabernacle had glory (8:5) and lots of gold (8:4), but it was only a temporary symbol (9:9).  It was useful for teaching and pointing to ultimate reality, but it was intentionally limited in providing personal intimacy with God (8:7), intentionally limited in providing full access to God (8:9) and intentionally limited in providing atoning and purifying power (9:10).  According to the writer, the Holy Spirit’s purpose in presenting the Old Testament system was to create in the people of God an urge for something better (9:8).  Although all saints of all time are acceptable to God through faith, until the saints see Jesus face to face, intimacy with God will never get better than in the New Covenant.  As the writer states later: “All these [Old Testament saints], having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised [full, unobstructed fellowship with God and residence in heaven] because God had provided something better for us [New Testament saints], so that apart from us they should not be made perfect” (11:39 – 40).

It is finished!  Jesus has given God’s people free, full and eternal access to God!