Today’s reading: Hebrews 8
In today’s reading the author specifically declares the Old Covenant obsolete:
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
What is interesting about this is that there is an ongoing question of how much converts to Christianity from Judaism participated in Jewish rituals after conversion. Further, what meaning, if any, did it have for them. Most likely, it had some sentimental value, we crave what is familiar and holidays and traditions mark the seasons. The question really is, did Jewish rituals hold any religious value for them?
The book of Hebrews pretty emphatically declares that the Old Testament sacrifices were ineffective. I have always been pretty solidly in the camp that is of the opinion that early converts quickly abandoned the Old Covenant practices and only participated as a means of “going undercover” to gain access to potential converts. However, the end of verse 13 may limit mitigate that thinking to a degree. I would still say that certainly the Apostles, evangelists, and priests recognized the futility of the Old Covenant from the outset. However, verse 13 seems to indicate that the Old Covenant was withering away as opposed to dying instantly. Thus, it may have retained some value during the transition period. That would certainly not have been valuable for salvation but rather value as a channel of grace for conversion.
Tomorrow: Hebrews 9