Finding Fault With Perfection… Or With Translation?

Published by Rob Skiba February 19, 2015 at 3:21 PM

Many people like to quote Hebrews 8 whenever we suggest that obeying YHWH is still a valid and needed thing to do as Believers. The problem is they are guilty of two things: 1) Trusting in INSERTED (italicized) English words for their flawed doctrine and 2) Cherry-picking verses out of context.

Hebrews 8 starts off with…

Hebrews 8:

1 Now of the things which we have spoken THIS IS THE SUM: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;

2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.

When someone starts off with “this is the sum of what I am saying” that begs the question, “What has this person been saying for them to have a need to summarize it?” The entire previous 4 chapters was about the flaws of the Levitical PRIESTHOOD and the need for a change in it. With that in mind, let’s continue…

Hebrews 8:

4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:

5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

Why should Yeshua not be a priest? Well, remember, the author is SUMMING UP what had previously been stated…

Hebrews 7:

12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.

14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.

Priests came from the tribe of Levi according to the Law. But Yeshua was not born of the tribe of Levi, but rather Judah. Thus, the writer is explaining both a problem and a solution. Chapter 8, continues…

Hebrews 8:

6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

Wait, wait, wait… what?? Here comes the problem: English translators, INSERTING a word that does not belong there. The word “covenant” is NOT in the Greek text!!

By inserting the word “covenant” into verse 7, it changes the entire SUBJECT of the SUMMARY this author is making! So, if we’re going to play the “Let’s insert our own words into the text” game how about we stick to the SUBJECT and add in the word PRIESTHOOD instead and see what happens?

Hebrews 8:

6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

7 For if that first PRIESTHOOD of Levites had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

8 For finding fault with THEM, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

In my mind verse 8 nullifies the “covenant” argument. The author (let’s just say Paul, as many believe – as I do – that he was the one writing this) says, “finding fault with THEM”which is plural, versus the singular of “covenant.” It’s like a smoking gun. The grammar is off if you go with “covenant” verses the actual SUBJECT of this conversation, which is the priestly system made up of flawed Levites. Also, if we are talking about the covenant of the Law, how do you find flaw in PERFECTION? David said…

Psalm 19:7

The law of the Lord is PERFECT, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

So what is Paul referring to in verse 8 as being “flawed”? Is he saying that PERFECTION is flawed? No. Can’t be. That is inconsistent with the whole of Scripture and a blatant contradiction of the Psalmist. Again, he is summarizing what had previously been said…

Hebrews 7:

11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?

Ah, now Hebrews 8:7,8 makes perfect sense! So, let’s look at the other usually cherry-picked verse in chapter 8…

Hebrews 8:

13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

This is the big one. It leads us – thanks to English translators again playing the “Let’s insert our own words into the text” game – to believe that the Torah is that “old” thing that no one should be paying any attention to because it has “decayed” and has “waxed old” and has “vanished away” under the shadow of our “better covenant” in Christ, our High Priest in the Order of Melchizedek. Well, yet again, consider the fact that the word “covenant” is NOT in the text…

Now of course, I realize that this is anathema and a total heresy to the KJV Only crowd. How dare I question the “Authorized Text” of (KJV) Scripture? Well, all I can say is, this is just one of many reasons why I am NOT a KJV Only cultist. Words mean things. And if you are going to put your trust in them, you may want to see what was ACTUALLY written, not what was later INSERTED by flawed translators – many of whom apparently are coming from an antinomian mindset carried forward through time from the likes of Marcion and Constantine (among MANY others).

It is also interesting to note that the word, “New” (translated from Καινὴν) is capitalized in the Greek:

Why is the Greek word for “New” capitalized? Because it is talking about the new PRIESTHOOD of the Melchizedek Order, which is replacing the flawed priesthood of Levi! Therefore, Hebrews 8:13 – if we are going to play the “Let’s insert our own words into the text” game – should read…

Hebrews 8:

13 In that he saith, A New PRIESTHOOD, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

Why? Because Paul is summarizing here. Hebrews 7 included the problem of mortality and hence the act of “growing old” and “vanishing away” in the Levitical system. Yeshua is the immortal, everlasting priest in the Order of Melchizedek, Who never grows old, nor vanishes away, becoming obsolete in death. Again, the writer is SUMMING UP what had previously been said in this chapter. And – again – what was previously said was all about the PRIESTHOOD.

Hebrews 7:

23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:

24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

Furthermore, Hebrews 8:10 (Paul of course quoting Jeremiah 31:31-34) tells us that the Law essentially got an UPGRADE from stone to flesh:

Hebrews 8:

10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

That is what made it a “better covenant” than it had been before! Going from words written on stone to words written on our heart and mind by YHWH Himself upon acceptance of His better High Priest, Who (through His Holy Spirit) enables us to keep it and forgives us when we fail is seriously GOOD NEWS! It is not a covenant that replaced a faulty previous one, it is a covenant that made the perfect one easier to keep with Grace covering our failures by the blood of the High Priest Himself, who intercedes for us (1 John 2:1-6) when we fail to do so!

How can you read verses 10-12 and then somehow imagine that all of that has just disintegrated into the flawed translation of verse 13? What sense does it make to upgrade the Law to your heart and mind, only to then turn around in the next verse and nullify that by saying the Law has “vanished away” and become “obsolete”? That makes no sense at all!

Therefore, I submit that to read Hebrews 8 in any other context apart from the summarized need to replace the flawed Levitical priesthood is to read and understand it in antinomian error.

I have found nothing but tremendous blessing in my attempts to obey YHWH’s commandments. I COMPLETELY understand that my salvation is not in these works (Ephesians 2:8), but rather that such activity is – or SHOULD BE – the manifestation of my LOVE for the Creator (1 John 5). Besides that, I’d really like to grab some fruit from the Tree of Life and have access to the coming New Jerusalem, so I figure I might as well start practicing now…

– Rob Skiba

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