CONSIDER JESUS OUR GREAT HIGH PRIEST
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Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
Swindoll's Chart, Interesting Pictorial Chart of Hebrews, Another Chart
Borrow Ryrie Study Bible
Hebrews 8:10 "FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS, AND I WILL WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS. AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. (NASB: Lockman)
Greek: hoti aute e diatheke en diathesomai (1SFMI) to oiko Israel meta tas hemeras ekeinas, legei (3SPAI) kurios, didous (PAPMSN) nomous mou eis ten dianoian auton, kai epi kardias auton epigrapso (1SFAI) autous, kai esomai (1SFMI) autois eis theon kai autoi esontai (3PFMI) moi eis laon.
Amplified: For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will imprint My laws upon their minds, even upon their innermost thoughts and understanding, and engrave them upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds so they will understand them, and I will write them on their hearts so they will obey them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Wuest: Because this is the testament which I will arrange with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord, giving my laws into their mind, also upon their hearts I will write them. And I will be to them God, and they themselves will be to me a people.
Young's Literal: because this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, after those days, saith the Lord, giving My laws into their mind, and upon their hearts I will write them, and I will be to them for a God, and they shall be to Me for a people;
FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AFTER THOSE DAYS SAYS THE LORD: hoti aute e diatheke en diathesomai (1SFMI) to oiko israel meta tas hemeras ekeinas legei (3SPAI) kurios:
- This is the covenant - Hebrews 10:16,17
- Hebrews 8 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
For (hoti) is a term of explanation- What is the writer explaining? He is explaining why the priesthood of Jesus is superior to the priesthood associated with the Old Covenant.
This is the covenant - Now the good news of the new covenant of grace.
Covenant (1242)(diatheke from dia = two + tithemi = to place) conveys the picture of that which is placed between two parties, thus, a covenant is something placed between two, an arrangement between two parties. It was a commonly used in the Greco-Roman world to define a legal transaction in settling an inheritance. Diatheke denotes an irrevocable decision, which cannot be cancelled by anyone. A prerequisite of its effectiveness before the law is the death of the disposer and thus diatheke was like a "final will and testament". In reference to the divine covenants, such as the Abrahamic covenant, diatheke is not a covenant in the sense that God came to an agreement or compromise with fallen man as if signing a contract. Rather, it involves declaration of God’s unconditional promise to make Abraham and his seed the recipients of certain blessings.
I will make… says the Lord - God is (always) the Initiator when it comes to grace gifts. Every good gift comes from Him. He is the Author of grace. Israel absolutely did not deserve this covenant promise, but God in mercy gave it out of His great heart of everlasting lovingkindness and amazing grace.
- Covenant: New Covenant in the Old Testament
- Covenant: Why the New is Better
- Covenant: Abrahamic vs Old vs New
- Hebrews 8:1-13 Hebrews and the New Covenant - Excellent review of Hebrews 8:1-13 by Dr S Lewis Johnson former professor of Systematic Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary
I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS AND I WILL WRITE THEM UPON THEIR HEARTS: didous (PAPMSN) nomous mou eis ten dianoian auton kai epi kardias auton epigrapso (1SFAI) autous:
- I will put - Ex 24:4,7; 34:1,27; Dt 30:6; Jer 31:33; 32:40; Ezek 11:19; 36:26,27; 2Cor 3:3,7,8; Jas 1:18,21; 1 Pe 1:23
- I will write - Heb 11:16; Ge 17:7,8; Song 2:16; Jer 24:7; 31:1,33; 32:38; Ezek 11:20; 36:28; Ezek 37:27; 39:22; Hos 1:10; 2:23; Zech 8:8; 13:9; Mt 22:32; 1 Cor 6:16
- Hebrews 8 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
THE NEW COVENANT
AN INTERNAL WORK
The Old Covenant consisted primarily of external laws and obedience to these laws was motivated primarily by fear of punishment and/or fear of loss of divine blessing. The New Covenant is a covenant of grace, where in this context grace signifies God's provision of supernatural power, or what I would call "enabling" grace or "transforming" grace. In the New Covenant the Spirit has poured out the love of God in our hearts (Ro 5:5), and now our love for God (birthed in us and enabled in us by the Spirit) is our motivation for obedience. Under the New Covenant the Spirit births a desire in us to walk worthy of the calling of the Lord.
I will...I will - This is a covenant of I will's from Almighty God to needy men. I will is the Divine word which stands behind His promises. God's sovereign activity is involved in fulfilling all of these "I will's".
I will put My laws into their minds and I will write them upon their hearts - Is God promising they will no longer have to read the Scriptures? Of course not. The difference is that now when they (and all who have entered the New Covenant) read the Scriptures, the Spirit will illuminate the truth (cf Jn 14:17, 1 Jn 2:20, 27) and enable loving obedience to the truth (cf Php 2:13NLT+). We see this principle clearly in the Old Testament promise of the New Covenant in Ezekiel where God says
“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. (Ezekiel 36:26-27+)
Spurgeon adds some practical comments on what it means to have God's laws internalized - When God comes to deal with His own chosen people, really to save them, he makes them to know His law. The law still stands in the Old Testament, and our blessed Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, has condensed it into one word, “Love.” Then He has expanded it throughout the whole of His earthly life to show us how it ought to be kept (ED: See The Holy Spirit-Walking Like Jesus Walked!). If children have learned a thing by heart, rather than merely by rote, they have made it their own, and it remains with them. A man with whom God the Holy Spirit deals is one who does not have to go to Exodus 20 to know what the law is. He does not need to stop and ask concerning most things, “Is this right?” or “Is this wrong?” but he carries within him a balance and a scale, a standard and test by which he can try these things for himself. He has the law of his God written upon his heart, so that, almost as soon as he looks at a thing, he begins to perceive whether there is evil in it, or whether it is good.
Minds… hearts - These terms cover the whole of man’s inward nature. Johnson notes that a friend of his referred to this as "a new inner control center in the individuals who are inheritors of this covenant". This is the essence of the term regeneration, for the one who has been spiritually regenerated has the laws of God placed in his mind and written in his heart. In Romans 6:17+, Paul rejoices "that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed."
Spurgeon - Although we can read the law in the Scriptures, and see it wrought out in the life of Christ, yet it is needful that the Spirit of God should come and enlighten us with regard to it if we are really to know what it is. Otherwise, a man may hear the Ten Commandments read every Sabbath day and go on breaking them without ever knowing that he is breaking them. He may be keeping the letter of the commandments and yet all the while be violating their spirit. When the Holy Spirit comes to us, He shows us what the law really is.
Take, for instance, the command, “And you shall not commit adultery” (Deut 5:18). “Well!” says one, “I have not broken that commandment.” “Stay,” says the Spirit of God, “till you know the spiritual meaning of that command, for everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt 5:28). There is, also, the command, “You shall not murder” (Deut 5:17). “Oh!” says the man, “I never killed anybody, I have not committed murder.” “But,” says the Spirit of God, “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer” (1 John 3:15+).
When the Lord thus writes His law upon our heart, He makes us to know the far-reaching power and scope of the commandment. He causes us to understand that it touches not only actions and words, but thoughts and indeed the most transient imaginations, the things that are scarcely born within us, the sights that pass in a moment across the mind, like a stray passenger who passes in front of the camera when a photographer is taking a view. The Spirit of God teaches us that even these momentary impressions are sinful, and that the very thought of foolishness is sin.
When He writes His law in our heart, He makes us to approve it. An ungodly man wishes to alter God’s law. “There,” says he, “I do not like that command, ‘You shall not steal (Ex 20:15).’ I should like to be a little bit of a trickster.” Another says, “I do not like that purity of which the minister spoke just now—I should like to indulge myself a little. Am I to have no pleasure?” But when the law of the Lord is written in his heart, the man says, “The law is right.”
When God writes the law in a man’s heart, he takes the law more to himself than he applies it to anybody else. His cry is not, “See how my neighbors sin,” but “See how I sin.” His clamor is not against his brother’s fault, but against his own fault. No longer does he look out for specks in other men’s eyes, but he is most concerned about the beam that he is quite sure is in his own eye, and he prays to the Lord to remove it.
Is it not a wonderful thing that God shall ever make it as natural for us to be holy as once it was natural for us to be unholy, and that then we shall find it as much a joy to serve Him as once we thought it a pleasure not to serve Him, when, indeed, to deny ourselves shall cease to be self-denial? It shall be enjoyment to us to be nothing; it shall be delight to renounce everything of self, and to cling close to God, and to walk in His ways. Then will be fulfilled in our experience the promise of our text, “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts.”
A W Pink (Profiting from the Word - The Scriptures and Obedience) explains that…The heart is now inclined to God’s law: a disposition has been communicated to it which answers to its demands; there is a sincere desire to perform it. And thus the quickened soul is able to say, "When you said, Seek you my face; my heart said unto you, your face, Lord, will I seek" (Ps. 27:8).
Spurgeon commenting on Ps 27:8: In this verse we are taught that if we would have the Lord hear our voice, we must be careful to respond to his voice. The true heart should echo the will of God as the rocks among the Alps repeat in sweetest music the notes of the peasant's horn. Observe, that the command was in the plural, to all the saints, Seek ye; but the man of God turned it into the singular by a personal application, Thy face, Lord, will I seek. The voice of the Lord is very effectual where all other voices fail. When thou saidst, then my heart, my inmost nature was moved to an obedient reply. Note the promptness of the response -- no sooner said than done; as soon as God said "seek," the heart said, "I will seek." Oh, for more of this holy readiness! Would to God that we were more plastic to the divine hand, more sensitive of the touch of God's Spirit. The heart in tune with its God. Note, the promptness, heartiness, personality, unreservedness, accuracy, and resolution of the response to the precept.
The new covenant changes our hearts of stone into hearts tender toward the Lord and His Laws. While life in the New Covenant does require obedience, it is not the external obedience of rules, rituals and regulations, but obedience from the heart out of love for God. Now we can more fully understand what Jesus meant when He said "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments" (John 14:15). When the Holy Spirit was given to us at the moment of our entrance into the New Covenant by grace through faith, He also poured out the love of God within our hearts (Ro 5:5+). We can only love now because He first loved us. It is His love that constrains, controls and compels us or moves us along the path of obedience (cp 2Cor 5:14+)
In Paul's second letter to the Corinthians he explained that the believers were…
being manifested… (as) a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts. (2Cor 3:3+)
Remember however that this promise was not fulfilled until Christ returns as Stephen Cole explains…
It is important to keep in mind that while this represents a fundamental change from the old covenant, it is not perfected until Christ returns. In 2 Corinthians 3, where Paul contrasts the new covenant ministry with the old covenant ministry of Moses, he makes it clear that it is a process. As we behold “as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, [we] are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2Cor. 3:18). Although we are new creations in Christ, and God has shone into our hearts with the knowledge of His glory in Christ, yet we have this treasure in earthen vessels (2Cor. 5:17; 4:6,7). While we have the gift of the Spirit, who is a part of our new covenant blessings (2Cor. 3:3, 6), He is only the pledge of our future full new covenant blessings (2Cor 5:5; Eph. 1:13,14). While the new covenant promise is to remove our heart of stone and give us a compliant heart of flesh, yet in the present, the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh (Gal 5:17). So we must walk by the Spirit, putting to death the deeds of the flesh (Gal. 5:16, 25; Ro 8:13,14).
Much more could be said, but at the very least, God’s writing His law on our hearts means that our affections towards God’s Word are changed. Before, the Bible was a burden or we were indifferent towards it. Now, it is a delight because of our love for God. But even this is a process that requires discipline. As Craig Blaising explains, “This [process] is the condition of living under inaugurated new covenant blessings. Only in the future will those blessings be granted in full, and the complete transformation promised by the new covenant will be realized” (Progressive Dispensationalism, with Darrell Bock [Baker], p. 209; italics his; the previous paragraph was developed from his treatment) (The Better Covenant - Pdf)
AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE: kai esomai (1SFMI) autois eis theon kai autoi esontai (3PFMI) moi eis laon:
- They shall Ex 19:5,6; Ro 9:25,26; Titus 2:14; 1 Pet 2:9
- Hebrews 8 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
I will be their God - They who had run after the so-called gods of idolatry, who are really no gods at all, are here given the glorious promise that the true God is to be theirs forever (there is no condition but just His promise "I will be their God")
My people - As wonderful as this is to belong to the true and living God, to be His very possession and treasure, such an honor certainly brings with it our responsibility to conduct ourselves in such a way that would bring glory and honor to His holy Name. Sound doctrine should always lead to right conduct.
Spurgeon - Where the Spirit of God has come to teach you the divine will, and make you love the divine will, God becomes to you—what? A father? Yes, a loving, tender Father. A shepherd? Yes, a watchful Guardian of His flock. A friend? Yes, a Friend that sticks closer than a brother. A rock? A refuge? A fortress? A high tower? A castle of defense? A home? A heaven? Yes, all that, but when He said “I will be their God,” he said more than all these put together, for “I will be their God” comprehends all gracious titles, all blessed promises, and all divine privileges. All flesh belongs to God in a certain sense. All men are his by rights of creation, and he has an infinite sovereignty over them. But he looks down upon the sons of men, and he selects some, and he says, “These shall be my people, not the rest; these shall be my peculiar people.” In the great battles and strifes of this world, when God lets loose the dread artillery of heaven His glance is stern upon His enemies, but the tear is in His eye toward His people. He is always tender toward them. “Spare my people,” says He, and the angels interpose lest these chosen ones should dash their feet against a stone. People have their treasures, their pearls, their jewels, their rubies, their diamonds, and these are their peculiar store. Now, all in the covenant of grace are the peculiar store of God. He values them above all things else besides. In fact, He keeps the world spinning for them. The world is but a scaffold for the Church. He will send creation packing when once it has done with His saints. Yes, sun, and moon, and stars shall pass away like worn-out rags when once He has gathered together His own elect, and enfolded them forever within the safety of the walls of heaven. For them time moves; for them the world exists. He measures the nations according to their number, and He makes the very stars of heaven to fight against their enemies, and to defend them against their foes. “They will be my people.” The favor that is contained in such love it is not for tongue to express. Perhaps on some of those quiet resting-places prepared for the saints in heaven, it shall be a part of our eternal enjoyment to contemplate the heights and depths of these golden lines.
This verse speaks of communion between the Father and those who are members of the New Covenant family.
Kent Hughes writes that…“I will be their God” (means He gives Himself to us), and “they shall be My people” (means He takes us to himself).
It is interesting that God made a similar statement in Exodus…
Then (when God brings Israel "out from under the burdens of the Egyptians") I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
And yet although there is a similarity between God's declaration in Exodus and the New Covenant, they are not the same. Leon Morris explains it this way…
The God Who saves people in Christ is the God of His redeemed in a new and definitive way. And when people have been saved at the awful cost of Calvary, they are the people of God in a way never before known. (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan Publishing)
Spurgeon writes that…
The Lord’s people delight in the covenant itself. It is an unfailing source of consolation to them so often as the Holy Spirit leads them into its banqueting house and waves its banner of love.
They delight to contemplate the antiquity of that covenant, remembering that before the day-star knew its place, or planets ran their round, the interests of the saints were made secure in Christ Jesus.
It is peculiarly pleasing to them to remember the sureness of the covenant, while meditating upon “the sure mercies of David.” They delight to celebrate it as “signed, and sealed, and ratified, in all things ordered well.”
It often makes their hearts dilate with joy to think of its immutability, as a covenant which neither time nor eternity, life nor death, shall ever be able to violate—a covenant as old as eternity and as everlasting as the Rock of ages.
They rejoice also to feast upon the fulness of this covenant, for they see in it all things provided for them.
God is their Portion,
Christ their Companion,
The Spirit their Comforter,
Earth their lodge, and
Heaven their home.
They see in it an inheritance reserved and entailed to every soul possessing an interest in its ancient and eternal deed of gift. Their eyes sparkled when they saw it as a treasure-trove in the Bible; but oh! how their souls were gladdened when they saw in the last will and testament of their divine Kinsman, that it was bequeathed to them!
More especially it is the pleasure of God’s people to contemplate the graciousness of this covenant. They see that the law was made void because it was a covenant of works and depended upon merit, but this they perceive to be enduring because grace is the basis, grace the condition, grace the strain, grace the bulwark, grace the foundation, grace the top stone.
Greek: kai ou me didaxosin (3PAAS) hekastos ton politen autou kai ekastos ton adelphon autou, legon, (PAPMSN) Gnothi (2SAAM) ton kurion, hoti pantes eidesousin (3PFAI) me apo mikrou eos megalou auton.
Amplified: And it will nevermore be necessary for each one to teach his neighbor and his fellow citizen or each one his brother, saying, Know (perceive, have knowledge of, and get acquainted by experience with) the Lord, for all will know Me, from the smallest to the greatest of them. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their family, saying, `You should know the Lord.' For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will already know me. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Wuest: And in no wise shall each one teach his fellow citizen and each one his brother, saying, Come to know the Lord in an experiential way, because all shall know me in an absolute way, from the least to the greatest of them
Young's Literal: and they shall not teach each his neighbour, and each his brother, saying, Know thou the Lord, because they shall all know Me from the small one of them unto the great one of them,
Septuagint (LXX): Jeremiah 31:34: kai ou me didaxosin hekastos ton politen autou kai hekastos ton adelphon autou legon gnothi ton kurion hoti pantes eidesousin me apo mikrou auton kai eos megalou auton
AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERYONE HIS FELLOW CITIZEN, AND EVERYONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, 'KNOW THE LORD,': kai ou me didaxosin (3PAAS) hekastos ton plesion autou kai hekastos ton adelphon autou legon (PAPMSN) gnothi (2SAAM) ton kurion:
- They shall not teach everyone - Isaiah 2:3; 54:13; Jeremiah 31:34; John 6:45; 1John 2:27
- Hebrews 8 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
Perfect communion and oneness with Christ (and the Trinity) will be the experience of every believer! There will be special classes of believers, no haves and have nots. We shall have access to God in one Spirit! This is what we can look forward to in glory and concerning which we can have a wonderful foretaste even now!
They - Who is they? Remember that in context this covenant is made with the house of Israel after those days, which as discussed speaks to the end of this age and to the beginning of the Millennium. During that golden era, there will be many who seek to be taught by the King of kings Himself for Isaiah records that…
many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD (Mt Zion, in Jerusalem, site of Ezekiel's millennial temple), to the house of the God of Jacob; that He (the Lord) may teach us concerning His ways, and that we may walk in His paths." For the law will go forth from Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:3)
They shall not teach everyone - They have His law on their heart and in their mind which explains why there is no need to teach. He is however not saying that in the New Covenant there will be no place or need for teachers, but that each person in the New Covenant will have an intimate and personal relationship with the true and living God. God shall be their Teacher as we see from a number of passages…
Isa 54:13 “And all your sons will be taught of the LORD; And the well-being of your sons will be great.
John 6:44 “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. 45 “It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.
John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. (cp Jn 16:13-16)
1 John 2:20+ But you have an anointing from the Holy One (referring to the Holy Spirit given to those who enter the New Covenant), and you all know.
1 John 2:27+ And as for you, the anointing (The Spirit) which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.
Spurgeon on they will not teach everyone - The renewed man, the man under the covenant of grace, does not need constantly to resort to his Bible to learn what he ought to do, nor to go to some fellow Christian to ask instruction. He has not got the law of God now written on a table of stone, or upon parchment, or upon paper; he has got the law written upon his own mind. There is now a divine, infallible Spirit dwelling within him, which tells him the right and the wrong, and by this he speedily discerns between the good and the evil. He no longer puts darkness for light, and light for darkness, bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. His mind is enlightened as to the true holiness and the true purity that God requires.
FOR ALL WILL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST OF THEM: hoti pantes eidesousin (3PFAI) me apo mikrou auton eos megalou auton:
- For all - Isaiah 54:13; Jeremiah 24:7; Ezekiel 34:30; Habakkuk 2:14; 1John 5:20
- From the least - Jeremiah 6:13; 42:1,8; 44:12; Acts 8:10
- Hebrews 8 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
For (hoti) is a term of explanation- I would encourage you as you are reading the Bible, be on the alert for this term ("for"). Not every use is explanatory but most are and as such they provide many opportunities (e.g., there are over 7000 uses of for in NAS) to interrogate (asking 5W/H questions of) the text. As you practice this discipline, you will find yourself slowing down (not speed reading the text), actively (rather than passively) engaging God's Word and in essence beginning to perform the blessed practice of meditation on the Scripture (cp Josh 1:8-note, Ps 1:2-note, Ps 1:3-note). What is the writer explaining? He is explaining why the priesthood of Jesus is superior to the priesthood associated with the Old Covenant.
All will know Me - This will come to fruition when Messiah returns and all Israel is saved (Ro 11:26+). All the Jews who enter into the Millennial Kingdom will be believers in Messiah and all will know Him.
Old Testament passages allude to the fulfillment of this knowledge of God which will occur in the Millennium, Habakkuk writing this will be so "“For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea." (Hab 2:14+) Isaiah adds "They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea." (Isaiah 11:9+)
Spurgeon on they will all know me - The more we know of God, of this life, of the life to come, of heaven and hell, of the person of Christ, of the atonement, and of every other subject that is taught us in the Scriptures, the more we see the evil of sin, and the more we see the delights of holiness. Why, at the very first moment of his conversion, man is afraid of sin because of what he has seen of it. But as he begins to perceive how sin put the Christ to death, how sin dug the pit of hell, how sin brought all the plagues and curses upon the human family, and will continue to curse generations yet unborn, then the man says, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Trained and educated in the school of Christ, the more he knows, the more he delights in the law and the will of God.
Remember that the Old Covenant at Sinai was a "corporate" with the nation of Israel as a whole, and clearly included many individual Israelites who did not personally (by faith) know God. In contrast, the New Covenant, wrought by Jesus' Priestly sacrifice is for individuals who enter this covenant by grace through faith. All who are in the New Covenant are born again (Jn 3:3+).
Warren Wiersbe notes that "Hebrews 8:11 quotes Jeremiah 31:34+. It refers to that day when Israel shall be reunited with Judah (Heb. 8:8) and shall rejoice in the promised kingdom (Jer. 31:1–14+). In that day, there will be no need to share the Gospel with others because everyone will know the Lord personally." (BEC)
It is an amazing act of grace that sinners can truly know God, even as Jesus taught in His high priestly prayer…
And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. (John 17:3)
As New Testament believers who have entered into this New Covenant and do know God, our cry should ever be like that of the psalmist…
Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:25,26) (See Spurgeon's notes Verse 25 ; Verse 26)
Peter O'Brien explains that "At one level the people of Israel knew their God, because he had revealed himself to them, in contrast with the surrounding nations, which did not know him. But Hebrews recalls that the works God performed for Moses’ generation (Heb. 3:9; Ps. 95), which displayed his power, did not result in the people knowing his ways (Heb. 3:10). After the generation that entered Canaan under Joshua died out, the following generation ‘did not know the LORD’ (Jdg 2:10). Later Hosea complained that there was no ‘knowledge of God in the land’ of Israel (Hos. 4:1, 6). Jeremiah’s prophecy envisages not simply a national knowledge of God. Rather, it is a personal knowledge of him that is in view, such as Jeremiah himself possessed. God promised that every member of the new covenant community would know him directly and personally, from the least of them to the greatest. This is the result of his writing his laws on each heart or, in the words of Ezekiel, because each would be given a new heart and spirit by God. The expression, no longer will they teach their neighbors, is not a rejection of leadership or teaching as such. It is a powerful rhetorical device that underscores ‘the universality of this unmediated knowledge’. The emphatic words, ‘all of them’ will know me, demonstrate this. To know God is to recognize him, to trust him, and to obey him. Every believer is able to approach God in a personal and direct way ‘with confidence’ because Jesus has made this possible through his high-priestly work (Heb 4:16; 7:25; 10:19–22; 12:22–24). Such intimate knowledge increases until it reaches its consummation, when all of us will know fully as we are fully known. (The Letter to the Hebrews: The Pillar New Testament Commentary)