The Sabbath-School Worker



JANUARY 18. Hebrews 8:8-13

1. What was the old covenant that was made with Israel? Exodus 19:5-8; 24:3-8. SSW 10.1

2. How does the second covenant compare with the first? Hebrews 8:6. SSW 10.2

3. What was the necessity for the second covenant? Verse 7. SSW 10.3

4. Since the second covenant is better than the first, in that it is founded upon better promises, wherein must the first have been faulty? Ans.—In the promises. SSW 10.4

5. What were the promises of the first covenant? Exodus 19:8; 24:3, 7. SSW 10.5

6. What was God’s covenant which the people promised to perform? SSW 10.6

7. What is said of the nature of those commandments? Psalm 19:7; 119:172. SSW 10.7

8. What of those who do them? Psalm 119:1-3; Ecclesiastes 12:13. SSW 10.8

9. Then could the children of Israel have promised anything better than to keep God’s commandments? SSW 10.9

10. Wherein, then, was the fault? Hebrews 8:8, first part. SSW 10.10

11. What did the people really promise to do? Exodus 19:5, 6, 8. See note. SSW 10.11

12. What cannot the law do? Romans 3:20. SSW 10.12

13. What renders the law thus powerless? Romans 8:3. SSW 10.13

14. What is all human righteousness? Isaiah 64:6. SSW 11.1

15. What is the only true righteousness? Philippians 3:9. SSW 11.2

16. In the terms of the first covenant do we find any mention of faith, or of divine assistance? SSW 11.3


Let the student note that the promises in the old covenant were really all on the part of the people. God said, “If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant [the ten commandments], then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people.... and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” God did not say that he would make them such, but that they would be such a people if they obeyed his commandments. It could not be otherwise. The keeping of God’s holy law would constitute them a holy people; and as such they would indeed be a peculiar treasure, even as are all who are zealous of good works. All that was set before them was simply what would result from obedience to the law, and that covenant contained no promises of help in doing that. Therefore the first covenant was a promise on the part of the people that they would make themselves holy. But this they could not do. The promise was a good one; with it alone there could be no fault; the fault lay with the people. The promise was faulty, through the weakness of the people who made it; just as we read in Romans 8:3 that the law was weak through the flesh. SSW 11.4

The first thought in the minds of many, on learning that in the first covenant the people made a promise which they could not possibly fulfill, is that God was unjust to require such a promise. And since they know that God is not unjust, they conclude that the first covenant must have contained pardon and promise of divine assistance, although it contained no hint of it. If the student will wait until the subject of the covenants is concluded, he will see the justice and the mercy of God’s plan. But right here let us fasten these two thoughts: First, if the first covenant had contained pardon, and promise of divine assistance, there would have been no necessity of any other covenant. Pardon and divine aid are all that any soul can get, and if the first covenant had had these, it would not have been faulty. But, second, let it not be forgotten that the fact that there was no pardon, and no Holy Spirit’s aid, in that covenant does not imply that there was no salvation for the people who lived under it. There was ample provision for them, but not in the first covenant. What the provision was, and why the first covenant was given, will be learned later. SSW 11.5