4/12/16 Hebrews 9:15-28 “The blood of the everlasting covenant”
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.
And because of this (that is, what has been dealt with in the previous verses – Hebrews 9:11-14) Christ is the mediator of the new testament (or covenant – see Hebrews 9:4).
testament – covenant; testament. It is translated “covenant” 20 times and “testament” 13 times in the New Testament. It is clear from the context of Hebrews 9 that this word should read “covenant”, as the same Greek word is used to establish the term “covenant” twice in Vs 9:4, yet here it is translated “testament” twice in Vs 15. Consistency requires that the word be translated “covenant” here as well. However, it appears that “testament” may have been used because it could make more sense when discussing it with respect to the death of the testator in the rest of the chapter.
mediator – one who intervenes between two, either in order to make or restore peace and friendship, or form a compact, or for ratifying a covenant. A duty of the executor of a will is to be a litigant for mediation, that is, a mediator.
by means of death – the penalty for the transgressions of man was death (Romans 6:23a - For the wages of sin [is] death)
The law of the old covenant had prescribed death for sin (which all had committed – Romans 3:23a – For all have sinned) Thus Christ’s sacrifice had to be able to remove the penalty of death from all mankind (all have sinned).
Matthew 20:28 – Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
The transgressions mentioned here were as a result of the application of the law under the first covenant, the law that could only condemn yet never set man free. These transgressions could only bring death, yet the old covenant also had a remedy: sacrifices and blood offering which couldn’t remove the sin (merely cover it) but, if carried out faithfully, could permit the sinner to rest upon the real promises of the second covenant. The old covenant provided no actual redemption, yet God honoured His promises in the old covenant by giving to it the power to redeem that was contained in the new covenant. Thus the new covenant became the fulfilment of the law, providing the real redemption of which the old covenant was merely a figure, a shadow of the true. And, without the new (second) covenant, the old (first) covenant could have no effect on the sins of mankind. Therefore the promise of eternal inheritance (eternal life, heaven, salvation in general) through the redemptive sacrifice provided by Christ via the new covenant (testament) was also available for those who had been under the old (first) covenant (testament).
Psalm 50:5 – Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. (where “covenant” means a pledge between God and man.
Hebrews 9:16 – For where a testament [is], there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
testament – as for “testament” in previous verse.
testator – to arrange, dispose of, one’s own affairs; to dispose of by will, make a testament; to make a covenant, enter into a covenant, with one. This word can apply to the one making a will to dispose of his worldly goods, and thus the use of “testament”. Note that it is necessary for the one making the will to die before the will may become a legal statement for the purposes of transferring possession. However, this assumes that Christ left us a legacy by last will and testament; yet it is still a covenant (a legally binding agreement between two or more parties) rather than a last will and testament. However, the new (second) covenant was established by the death of the covenanter (another term for testator) and couldn’t be effective without the death of the covenanter.
So even though this word should still be translated “covenant” (and thus “covenanter” for “testator”), the truth is that it could only take effect after the death of the covenanter (“testator”). Christ did not die to make way for an heir, nor did He leave His estate to another. Therefore, the use of this analogy of the last will and testament is clearly to demonstrate that the legal standing of the new covenant in the blood of Christ could only be in force after the death (sacrifice) of the covenanter. See Hebrews 9:20 and Hebrews 13:20.
Hebrews 9:17 – For a testament [is] of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.
For such a testament only carries legal weight after the person has died; a will only becomes a legally binding statement after the person’s death. Likewise the new covenant can only carry legal weight after the death of the covenanter. Note also that even under the old covenant, the death and shed blood of the sacrificed animal was necessary to ratify the legality of the covenant.
Hebrews 9:18 – Whereupon neither the first [testament] was dedicated without blood.
That is, even the first covenant couldn’t be dedicated (or consecrated) without the shedding of blood, and the life of the animal was in the blood.
Leviticus 17:11 – For the life of the flesh [is] in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it [is] the blood [that] maketh an atonement for the soul.
Without the blood there could be no atonement, no covering of sin. Even the Passover required the blood on the doors to cover them from the death that swept through Egypt that night.
Hebrews 9:19 – For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,
precept – commandment, in particular those of the law.
After Moses had spoken every commandment according to the law (of the old covenant) to all the people, he took the blood of that covenant and sprinkled both the book of the law and the people listening to the law (see Exodus Ch.20-23). (Note that the sprinkling of the blood on the book isn’t mentioned specifically in the following passage, yet must still be true from Hebrews 9:19.)
Exodus 24:3-8 – 3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do. 4 And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the Lord. 6 And Moses took half of the blood, and put [it] in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. 7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient. 8 And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled [it] on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words.
Half the blood is sprinkled on the altar; sprinkling is associated with atonement in Leviticus 16:14 – And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle [it] with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times.
sprinkled – to be cleansed by sprinkling, hence to purify, cleanse
water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop – not mentioned in the above passage from Exodus but implied from other Old Testament passages. Eg. Exodus 12:22 – And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip [it] in the blood that [is] in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that [is] in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.
Hebrews 9:20 – Saying, This [is] the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.
the blood of the testament – Note that that same term is used with “aionios” (= eternal) added: “the blood of the everlasting covenant” (Hebrews 13:20b) where “covenant” is correctly used. It is called a covenant in 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.
This is the blood that has been sprinkled on the book of law and the people – Vs 19 above.
Saying – an exhortation; to point out something in words.
enjoined – commanded. That is, this covenant is not a contractual agreement between equals, but rather one (God) retains the right to command regarding it. Thus, man does not have any real say in the terms and conditions of this covenant.
Hebrews 9:21 – Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.
Moreover – two words meaning “But; moreover; and” + “likewise; in like manner; in the same way”. That is, Moses also sprinkled blood on the tabernacle and the ministry vessels in the same way as he had sprinkled the book and the people, for the same reasons and purpose as well: to cleanse such by the sprinkling of the blood. Everything connected to the old covenant had to be sprinkled with the blood to purge it, to cleanse it, to purify it. The law doesn’t specify blood for these things; in fact, it specifies oil, yet as Hebrews points out, Moses must have done so!
Leviticus 8:10 – And Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that [was] therein, and sanctified them.
Hebrews 9:22 – And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
Just about everything that is involved with the covenant must be purified with the blood, for everything that requires purification involves uncleanness of some sort, and thus is an offense to a holy God. Everything that comes into God’s presence must be holy as He is holy, and almost all things are purged, that is, made holy, made acceptable to a holy God, with the blood.
Some things were purified with water ….
Numbers 8:6-7 – 6 Take the Levites from among the children of Israel, and cleanse them. 7 And thus shalt thou do unto them, to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purifying upon them, and let them shave all their flesh, and let them wash their clothes, and [so] make themselves clean.
…. and by fire …..
Zechariah 13:9a – And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried:
Numbers 31:23 – Every thing that may abide the fire, ye shall make [it] go through the fire, and it shall be clean: nevertheless it shall be purified with the water of separation: and all that abideth not the fire ye shall make go through the water.
But only by the shedding of blood could there be remission (that is, forgiveness or pardon for sins). This is an inviolable rule, an absolute truth, a doctrine, that without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness for any sin, ever. And the blood of the new covenant could only be that shed by Christ on the cross of Calvary. No other gospel can have any effectiveness at all: not spiritual manifestations such as tongues or “slaying in the spirit”; not the taking of mass nor confessions nor baptisms nor any other church rite; not the attendance at church on any particular day; not the “salvation” through the election before a person may come to the cross of Jesus and believe, and so on. Only the shed blood, only at the cross of Jesus!
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.
patterns – figure; copy; example for the purposes of imitation. Translated “example” in Hebrews 8:5. Thus, it was necessary that the examples or copies (for the purposes of imitation) of things in the heavens be purified with blood (that is, the blood of animals). However, the real things (not the copies) needed better (more useful; more serviceable; more advantageous; more excellent) sacrifices. That which was accepted as purifying the copies on earth (in the old covenant) was not sufficient for the purifying of heavenly things. The two standards are explained here:
Hebrews 9:13-14 – 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: 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?
the heavenly things themselves – those things upon which all our earthly service rests. Benson says: That is, the things whereof the others were patterns, — the redemption, worship, salvation, and eternal glory of the church.
Job 15:15 – 14 What [is] man, that he should be clean? and [he which is] born of a woman, that he should be righteous? 15 Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight. 16 How much more abominable and filthy [is] man, which drinketh iniquity like water?
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:
For Christ is not a high priest of the law of the first covenant which rested upon the things in the tabernacle which were only figures (things made to resemble, copies) of the true. Such things were made with the hands of men and thus couldn’t be anything other than figures or copies. But Christ has entered into heaven itself, which we may logically assume was not made with the hands of men, but by God who has built all things.
Hebrews 3:4 – For every house is builded by some [man]; but he that built all things [is] God.
Thus Christ is not entered into that which is merely a copy of the real, but into the real or true itself; not to offer a mere covering for sin as the blood of the old covenant did, but to offer a better, more complete sacrifice for all sin, through the blood of the new (eternal) covenant. And while the priesthood of the old covenant offered blood which could never take away even one sin (Hebrews 10:4), Christ offered a blood sacrifice which would be infinite in value and effectiveness, able to take away all the sins of the whole world for all time.
John 1:29 – The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
While the high priests of the old covenant could only enter God’s presence in the Holy of Holies once each year, with fear and trembling, Christ now continually appears in the very presence of God as our advocate.
1 John 2:1-2 – 1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world.
Hebrews 9:25 – Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
Nor does Christ need to offer Himself often (frequently) as the high priest of the old covenant had to do each year (on the Day of Atonement) with blood that belonged to another. That is, the blood of something innocent had to be shed for the sake of those who were not innocent but declared sinners in God’s sight. And this blood had to be shed often because it wasn’t actually removing the sin but merely covering it, somewhat like a fresh coat of paint on the outside wall of a house covers a multitude of blemishes. If only we could get paint that only needed to be applied once for all time! If only a blood sacrifice could be offered that would take away the sins of all the world for all time! Once for all time! And it was!
The first deaths in the Bible are noted in the following verse, innocent blood shed for the sin of man. (Animals had to die to provide their skins!)
Genesis 3:21 – Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
Hebrews 9:26 – For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
For if Christ’s sacrifice were no more effectual than the blood of animals, then He would have to suffer such sacrifices each year from the beginning. He would have needed to apply a new blood covering (atonement) for sin each year. However, now He has come as a man (appeared to us) in order to not just cover sin but to put away (reject) all sin through His once for all time atoning blood sacrifice on the cross.
Hebrews 7:27 – 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.
Hebrews 9:27 – And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
appointed – to be laid away, laid by, reserved; reserved for one, awaiting him. Something that has been laid aside awaiting its future use.
That is, all men have a reservation (an appointment) made with death; you can only die once! This is a clear statement from the Bible that absolutely refutes reincarnation. It also states clearly that the same applies to judgment; that is, you also have a reservation made for the judgment, which also can only occur once. You neither get a second chance to live and die properly, nor do you get a second chance to prepare properly for the judgment. When it happens, you cannot change what happens! It’s too late!
Note the verses that teach that you cannot have a second chance at salvation either. If the first salvation you received were insufficient, then no further sacrifice for sin remains available for you.
Hebrews 10:26-27 – 26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
Hebrews 9:28 – So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
once – once for all. It emphasises the finality of that one offering.
Christ’s sacrifice was once only, never to be repeated, ever!
bear – to carry or bring up; to put upon the altar; to bring to the altar; to offer; to place on one’s self anything as a load to be carried; to sustain, i.e. their punishment. It carries a sense of a sacrificial offering, such as on the cross.
1 Peter 2:24a – Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, where “bare” is the same word used for “to bear” in Vs 28 above.
many – many; much; large. The term does not indicate in any way whether it means all or some, but simply a large quantity. It can mean all of a group, as in “There were many people at church today” which means that the total attending was a large quantity, relatively speaking. Or it could mean a large subset of the total, as in “Many of those present had colds”, that is, a significant proportion but not necessarily all. It can also indicate a large number as opposed to “few”. Thus “few” would then indicate a smaller number. If the context demands that “many” be a proportion of the whole, then that is how it should be interpreted. However, if no such indication is given, then it can only be taken to mean a large number as opposed to “few”.
Consistency, however, demands that other verses clearly teaching that Christ died for the sins of all people without qualification must apply (Eg 1 John 2:2; 1 Timothy 2:4; 1 Timothy 4:10; 2 Peter 3:9); thus the only correct interpretation is that Christ was offered to bear the sins of all mankind, being a very large number of people.
And unto them that look for His coming again, He will indeed appear the second time not to deal with sin this time, but to receive those who are to be the heirs of salvation (Hebrews 1:14). Also Revelation 22:20 – He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.