27/11/16 Hebrews 9:1-14 “How much more acceptable Christ’s sacrifice is!”
Until now we have been looking at why a new covenant was necessary and why Christ was the only possible mediator of such a new covenant. Now we look at the differences between the two sacrificial systems, the old (under the Aaronic priesthood) and the new (under the priesthood of Christ).
Hebrews 9:1 – Then verily the first [covenant] had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.
The first covenant, though bound by man’s mortality, was still effective in that it, as a shadow of the true, still involved some measure of ordinances of divine service.
Hebrews 8:5 – 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 word “covenant” isn’t in the original (Vs 1 above) and there is some suggestion that it actually should be “tabernacle”, yet, as it includes “a worldly sanctuary”, it must therefore be more than just the sanctuary (which is the name given to the tabernacle in Vs 2 below).
Thus, even the first covenant had ordinances of a divine nature, despite the sanctuary being worldly. That is, even the first covenant had spiritually effective attributes; it wasn’t entirely useless! Perfectly applied (including looking forward to the perfected second and final new covenant), it could still save to the uttermost.
Hebrews 9:2 – For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein [was] the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.
The tabernacle in the desert was based on the pattern of the tabernacle in the heavens (in Hebrews 8:5 it is the word “example” rather than “pattern” which is the same as “pattern” in Hebrews 9:23), and the Temple was made after the pattern of the tabernacle in the desert, not the other way around.
Hebrews 9:23 – [It was] therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
And at least part of the reason for the earthly tabernacle to be a pattern of the heavenly was to allow it to rest upon the effectiveness of that which it was just a figure, a copy, an example, a pattern. Everything in heaven has a purpose which was made effective (though less so) in the earthly form through symbolic association. Note that even the sacrificial blood of animals was only effective through its symbolic association with the blood of Christ applied in the heavenlies.
Hebrews 9:3 – And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;
The first veil was at the opening of the tabernacle:
Exodus 26:36 – And thou shalt make an hanging for the door of the tent, [of] blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework.
and the second veil separated the most holy place from the rest of the tabernacle:
Exodus 26:31 – And thou shalt make a vail [of] blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubims shall it be made:
Holiest of all – hagion hagion (set apart for God to be exclusively His – twice!)
tabernacle – skene (tent, tabernacle) as opposed to mishkan (dwelling place, tabernacle) as used in Psalm 132:7 – We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool. A point of interest is that “shekinah” (= dwelling) which is a term not found in the Bible, comes from the same root word as mishkan and relates to God’s presence in the tabernacle …..
Exodus 40:34-35 – 34 Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
…… and also in the temple.
1 Kings 8:10-11 – 10 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy [place], that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, 11 So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord.
(Sometimes termed shekinah glory; however, it isn’t in the original Hebrew text.)
Hebrews 9:4 – Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein [was] the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;
While it is never mentioned that the original Holy of Holies had a censer, note that Aaron was commanded to take a censer into it during the Atonement each year.
Leviticus 16:12-13 – 12 And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring [it] within the vail: 13 And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that [is] upon the testimony, that he die not:
The other items – (a) the ark of the covenant with the golden pot of manna – Exodus 16:33 – And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot, and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the Lord, to be kept for your generations. – representing God’s provision for His people. The word “golden” is added in the Septuagint.
(b) Aaron’s budded branch – Numbers 17:10 – And the Lord said unto Moses, Bring Aaron’s rod again before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from me, that they die not. – the high priestly calling of Aaron and his descendants.
(c) the ten commandments on the tablets of stone – Exodus 25:16 – And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee. – representing the law that the Aaronic priesthood was to administer to God’s people.
censer – censer, altar of incense.
Hebrews 9:5 – And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.
Exodus 25:18; 20 – 18 And thou shalt make two cherubims [of] gold, [of] beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat.
20 And the cherubims shall stretch forth [their] wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces [shall look] one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be.
cherubims of glory – The glory of God covered the mercy seat (cf shekinah glory).
mercyseat – hilasterion (mercyseat; a propitiation; expiatory sacrifice or victim; the place of the sprinkling of blood on the Day of Atonement) Note hileos “merciful” (propitious) in Hebrews 8:12.
we cannot now speak particularly – That is, we won’t go into a lot of detail on these right now.
Hebrews 9:6-7 – 6Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service [of God]. 7But into the second [went] the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and [for] the errors of the people:
first tabernacle – the holy place where the Levitical priesthood entered in always, continually, that is, daily, to carry out their priestly duties.
accomplishing the service – Benson says, “Performing what was there to be done, namely, burning the incense at the morning and evening sacrifice, dressing the lamps and supplying them with oil, changing the show-bread every sabbath morning. Added to this, as the principal part of the service of this tabernacle, the priests brought into it the blood of the sin-offerings, and sprinkled it before the veil, Leviticus 4:6. At all other times they entered into it without blood, for the blood of the burnt-offerings was sprinkled about the altar, Leviticus 1:11.”
The word “But” (Vs 7 above) signifies a statement opposing the first, that is, as opposed to the most holy place, where the high priest could only enter each year on the Day of Atonement, to offer sacrifices for himself and then for the errors of the people. While the atonement was only once each year, the high priest could have entered more than once: to offer incense; to offer the blood of a bullock for himself and his household (Leviticus 16:6); to offer the blood of a goat for the nation of Israel (Leviticus 16:9).
errors – sins committed through ignorance or thoughtlessness. It could also mean all sins, including those committed in ignorance.
second (tabernacle) – the most holy place behind the second veil
Note that the high priest could not enter the most holy place without the blood which had to be offered for the covering (atonement) of sins, for him and then for the whole nation of Israel. This is significant as it states a requirement for Christ, that He not enter the most holy place without blood. Note Matthew 27:50-51 – 50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
Thus, when the sacrifice had been made, the account was finalised, and Jesus cried out with a loud voice. And what did He cry out? John tells us: He said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. (John 19:30b). The blood sacrifice had been given and accepted. It was indeed finished.
Hebrews 9:8 – The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:
The Word of God was spoken to man through the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:21 – For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.
Thus God’s word to man here signifies that Christ’s access into the most holy place couldn’t become a reality while the first tabernacle was yet standing.
first tabernacle – note Vs 6 above – the first tabernacle was the holy place into which all priests could enter, excluding all non-priestly people. But now all people could enter the holy place, the first tabernacle, as a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). The veil was torn from top to bottom; a new and living way had been opened. The entry into that previously restricted area had been made.
Hebrews 10:19-20 – 19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
That fact that the temple was destroyed in 70AD means that the first tabernacle, the holy place, was literally destroyed. This is probably significant here. For while Christ’s body (flesh) became the new tabernacle, the rending of the temple veil had to have been a visible sign of what had happened in the spiritual realm: that the first tabernacle and its rules no longer applied under the new covenant. The destruction of the temple was then that which completed the picture; thus the first tabernacle physically didn’t even exist after that.
Hebrews 9:9 – Which [was] a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
present – close at hand; present.
figure – parabole (parable; a placing of one thing by the side of another; a comparing, comparison of one thing with another; likeness; similitude)
Matthew 13:18 – Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
The first tabernacle was merely a parable for that time that it existed, that is, for the time being. However, now the old is out and the new is in; the old has reached its use-by date and has subsequently been replaced. It couldn’t make anyone perfect; it could only point to a new, better, perfect way to God. In the past, only the priests could enter the holy place, but now all may enter through “a new and living way”. In the “old”, the sacrificial system, instead of removing the guilt of sin, could only increase such guilt. (Only the “new” could literally remove the guilty conscience.)
Romans 5:20 – Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
The law never made you feel good; instead it caused the genuinely repentant person to feel more wretched and sinful than ever! His guilty conscience plagued him! Note the parable of the pharisee and the publican (the word signifies one who collects taxes). It was his guilt-ridden anguish that justified him!
Hebrews 9:10 – [Which stood] only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed [on them] until the time of reformation.
Meats, drinks and divers (varying; a variety of) washings, being carnal ordinances, could never purge the conscience; this seems to be the proper meaning. These services before God were all carnal (fleshly, satisfying bodily needs) ordinances (that which has been deemed right so as to have force of law). Some would maintain that the “and” before “ordinances” should not be there according to the grammar. Thus, “only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, (all) carnal ordinances”. Or perhaps, “meats and drinks, divers washings and (other) carnal ordinances”?
This working with carnal ordinances would be until the time that this imperfect system was reformed, or renewed, that is, until the new covenant.
imposed (on them) – to lie upon or over; rest upon; be laid or placed upon
Colossians 2:16-17 – 16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ.
Hebrews 9:11 – But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
Vs 1-10 above have focussed upon the old covenant, the law and its application to man. Now, with this “But”, the focus changes from the old to the new, from the old Aaronic priesthood to the new Christly priesthood after the order of Melchizedek.
of good things to come – the law could never achieve perfection, even when obeyed properly. However, it was never meant to achieve perfection in itself, but instead to demonstrate the hopelessness of trying to reach perfection through fleshly (carnal) ordinances.
Hebrews 10:1 – For the law having a shadow of good things to come, [and] not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect
Its real goal was to cause the sinner to throw himself upon God’s mercy in desperation after recognising the impossibility of redemption through the law. The law was a shadow of the good things to come; but when Christ came, He fulfilled the law, allowing it to turn man to Himself in order to receive perfection, like a tutor to bring mankind to Christ (Galatians 3:24). The law could never redeem, but it could turn people toward the Redeemer!
Hebrews 9:15 – And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions [that were] under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
Christ has entered by (or “through”) a greater and more perfect tabernacle, one which is no longer the shadow but the “true”.
Hebrews 9:24 – For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, [which are] the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
And if we go back to just before the cross, Jesus said He would destroy the temple made with hands and three days later build another temple made without hands.
Mark 14:58 – We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.
So, if we follow this consistency through, the cross meant the destruction of the old tabernacle (the temple) and His resurrection would be the building of another tabernacle (temple) made without hands. Thus, Christ’s body is the new tabernacle.
tabernacle – skene (tent; tabernacle; of that well known movable temple of God after the pattern of which the temple at Jerusalem was built)
John 1:14 – And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt (skenoo – tabernacled) among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Even Hebrews 10:20 depicts the new and living way through the veil, that is, His flesh. – By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
(Note that “new” in Hebrews 10:20 meant “lately slaughtered; freshly killed; new”. It represented the newly slaughtered sacrifice. Thus, “By a newly-slaughtered and (yet?) living way”.)
Hebrews 9:12 – Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption [for us].
The blood of sacrificed animals could never on their own be sufficient for anyone to enter into the holy place, yet could still be effective as a figure of the perfect sacrifice of Christ. By themselves, the old covenant sacrifices could never obtain eternal redemption. They could neither purge the conscience nor allow access to God. However, when they caused the sinner, by faith, to fall upon the mercy of God, to receive the blessing of God’s grace, true redemption could be theirs, through the new covenant in the blood of Christ. Trusting in the old covenant sacrifices could never redeem; all the law could do was to let them see the depths of their sin more clearly. The blood sacrifices required by the law were to only condemn them further, only making them more guilty, so that they threw themselves upon God’s mercy as an act of desperation. And it was this that looked forward to the perfect sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God.
Note that Old Testament sacrifices had to be as perfect as possible, no lame, no sick animals, no blemishes. This especially applied to the Passover lamb – Exodus 12:5 – Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take [it] out from the sheep, or from the goats:
1 Corinthians 5:7b – For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
1 Peter 1:19 – But (you were redeemed) with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: (that is, without sin)
So by His own blood Christ, the perfect Passover lamb, entered into the most holy place (called the holy place in Leviticus 16:3), sprinkling His blood on the mercy seat, and not only cleansing our sins away (whiter than snow) but obtaining eternal redemption for us (that is, all who trust in the blood sacrifice of the cross of Calvary).
Note that “for us” isn’t in the original in Vs 12 above. However, while full atonement was made for all people on the cross, the effective application of this had to be by faith in Christ. Thus effectively, the eternal redemption is for those who trust in that blood sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
Hebrews 9:13 – For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
Hebrews 10:4 – For [it is] not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. However, such sacrifices, properly carried out, were considered acceptable to a holy God.
If you were unclean, in particular from touching a dead body, but for other reasons as well, you were to sacrifice a red heifer without spot, wherein [is] no blemish, [and] upon which never came yoke: (Numbers 19:2b) then sprinkle its blood before the tabernacle of the congregation seven times, and then burn the entire heifer with cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet. The ashes were then collected.
Numbers 19:9; 17 – 9And a man [that is] clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay [them] up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it [is] a purification for sin.
17And for an unclean [person] they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel:
sanctifieth – make holy, consecrate, sanctify
purifying – cleanness, purity, in a Levitical sense
Hebrews 9:14 – How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
If such sacrifices, being only a shadow of what was to come, could be considered acceptable to a holy God, how much more acceptable is the blood of Christ our Passover lamb who, through the eternal Spirit (either the Holy Spirit or Christ’s own spirit – Cambridge: In the Levitic sacrifices involuntary victims bled; but Christ’s sacrifice was offered by the will of His own Eternal Spirit.) offered Himself a perfect sacrifice without blemish, without sin? How much more shall such a sacrifice purge our consciences (of the guilt of sin, of dead works) in order that we be found acceptable to serve the living God?
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