Hebrews 8:13 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Hebrews 8:13, NIV: By calling this covenant 'new,' he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.

Hebrews 8:13, ESV: In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

Hebrews 8:13, KJV: 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.

Hebrews 8:13, NASB: When He said, 'A new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is about to disappear.

Hebrews 8:13, NLT: When God speaks of a 'new' covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear.

Hebrews 8:13, CSB: By saying a new covenant, he has declared that the first is obsolete. And what is obsolete and growing old is about to pass away.

What does Hebrews 8:13 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Verses 8 through 12 contained a quotation from Jeremiah 31:31–34. This was offered as proof that God's intent was never to use the old covenant—the Levitical priesthood—to obtain the ultimate salvation of mankind. Rather, those rituals and laws were meant to point towards the eventual Messiah (Hebrews 8:5). Even the tabernacle was intended as an earthly symbol, or a "pattern," of the real altar in heaven (Hebrews 8:1–2).

This verse returns to the point being made by the writer of Hebrews: God is the one replacing the old covenant with the new covenant, since the old system was flawed and imperfect (Hebrews 7:11). This new covenant is superior because it is not based on physical, earthly things (Hebrews 5:9; 9:12). As pointed out earlier by the writer of Hebrews, this prediction of a replacement for the Levitical priesthood is not rare or unique in the Jewish Scriptures (Psalm 110:4; Ezekiel 36:26–27).

At the same time, this comment is prophetic. Earlier in this chapter, the sacrifices of the priests were described using a present-tense verb. In other words, at the time the book of Hebrews was written, the temple was still being used for ritual sacrifice. This verse, however, indicates that the now-obsolete old covenant is "ready to vanish away." Not long after these words were written, the Jewish temple was obliterated by the Romans. As predicted here and elsewhere (Hosea 3:4; Luke 21:6), this ended Israel's ability to offer official sacrifices, a state which has persisted even until now.