22 by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.
22 by so much more
The Levites never had to take an oath to be installed as priests. Jesus’ priesthood is much superior in that it was ratified by a unilateral covenant from God.
Jesus has become a surety [guarantor]
This is the only time the Greek word for “surety” is used in the New Testament. The word “surety” is a legal term referring to someone who assumed the obligation of another (He 8:6). Jesus will meet the “covenant” in all its provisions. In this role Jesus is not a mediator who arranges agreement among all parties. But as a guarantor assumes responsibility that the obligations of a contract will be fulfilled, Jesus guarantees the perpetual realization of the covenant as the believer’s representative.
Jesus’ “better covenant” is not a proviso, nor it is temporary. It is both abiding and effective, not weak or useless (He 7:18). This oath was sure to secure its purpose. There is no question that the Messiah would forgive the sins of those who believe on Him. This would also bring people into fellowship with God. God permanently installed Him in the priestly office.
of a better covenant.
A “covenant” is a unilateral will. It is a guarantee of a one-sided agreement as to what needs to be done (He 9:16, 17). The idea of an agreement negotiated between two parties was a rare usage and not found here. The thought in this phrase is not reconciliation of two people who have differences. The usual meaning or customary usage in the Greek was an arrangement made by one party with full authority. In this case God was the one with full authority to make this covenant (contract). People may not accept this arrangement, but they have no authority to alter it. The Lord is not set forth as the mediator in this verse but as the guarantor of the better covenant. A mediator gathers two parties to make an agreement. A guarantor is someone who insures that the obligations of the covenant are followed carefully.
God unilaterally launched a “better covenant” because it was interminable. There was no second party in this covenant. It was better because it was eternal. We see the concept of a “better covenant” in other passages in Hebrews (He 8:8–12; 9:11–14, 23–26). Our Lord’s covenant was “better” because it was “forever” (He 7:24). God’s covenant with Christ was both unconditional and unchangeable. This was not true with the Levitical priesthood. That is why Jesus’ priesthood rests on a “better” foundation.
This is the first of 17 occurrences of the word “covenant” in Hebrews. Its usage will climax in chapters 8 and 9 with 12 of the 17 usages.
Jesus sealed a better contract on our behalf with His blood.
Jesus assumed our guilt by sealing the “better covenant” with His blood (He 8:6; 13:20). That is our surety before God. This covenant will be called the New Covenant in Hebrews 8.