Chapters 1-7 have been showing us how Jesus is superior to the old covenant in different ways and that everything in the old covenant was merely a picture of Jesus in the new covenant. Chapter 8 showed us God's definition of the new covenant. The new covenant is God writes His law of faith on your heart and all your sins have been forgiven through the work of Christ Jesus on the cross.
Remember, the former system (the old covenant) was only an earthly representation of the true heavenly things.
Hebrews 9:1 1 The former system had instructions as to how to worship, and an earthly sanctuary.
Hebrews 9:2 2 The first room in the tabernacle housed the candlestick, the table, and the sacred bread. This was called the Holy Place.
The sacred bread is a picture of Jesus: Jesus said "I am the bread of life".
John 6:35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty."
The tabernacle had a holy section and a holy-of-holies or Most Holy Place section. They were separated by a curtain. Any priest could go into the holy section. But only the high-priest could go into the holy-of-holies section. There were exacting requirements to enter the holy-of-holies. The Most Holy Place is a picture of the most intimate and closest place to God. It is an image of God's throne room in heaven.
Hebrews 9:3 3 Past the second veil in the tabernacle was the room called the Most Holy Place.
The agreement chest is also called the ark of the covenant. The agreement chest is shaped like a coffin and within it are reminders of Israel's sin. Israel's sin has been covered by the ark and no one is allowed to open the ark to see Israel's sin.
In the same way, the Jesus covered our sin. Actually, he did more than cover our sin, He completely paid for all our sins, so they do not remain anymore.
Comment from The Free Bible Version on Hebrews 9:4a
Traditionally translated “ark of the covenant,” a wooden box symbolizing the place of meeting, reconciliation, and agreement between God and his people.
Hebrews 9:4 4 This contained the golden altar of incense, the gold-covered "agreement chest." Inside this were the golden pot containing manna, Aaron's rod that had produced buds, and the stone inscriptions of the agreement.
When the stone was rolled away from Jesus tomb, there were two angels in the tomb. The work of Christ brought us reconciliation with God. The place of reconciliation is also called the mercy seat. Jesus' work on the cross transformed God's judgement seat into a mercy seat. Now we can come to God and receive mercy instead of judgement.
Hebrews 9:5 5 Above this were the glorious angel cherubim covering the place of reconciliation. We can't discuss all of this in detail now.
The significance of the blood sacrifice is that "Without shedding blood nothing is made free of sin" Hebrews 9:22. Jesus is our perfect blood sacrifice, so we have been made perfect forever by the shedding of His blood.
Comment from The Free Bible Version on Hebrews 9:7
Blood is a frequent theme in the latter part of Hebrews. It is a shorthand symbol for life, and the shed blood of death, and while the original context of the sacrificial system is certainly literal, its use in Hebrews when applied to Christ is primarily as a symbol of what he accomplished by his life, death, and resurrection.
Hebrews 9:6-7 6 Once all of this had been set up, the priests would go in regularly to the first room of the tabernacle to perform their duties. 7 But only the high priest went into the second room, and only once a year. Even then he had to make a sacrifice involving blood, which he offered for himself and for the people's sins of ignorance.
This is God's direct interpretation of the meaning of the tabernacle system. As long as we continue to observe the first tabernacle (the old covenant way), the holy-of-holies---intimacy with God---is not available.
Hebrews 9:8 8 By this the Holy Spirit indicated that the way into the true Most Holy Place hadn't been revealed while the first tabernacle still existed.
Comment from The Free Bible Version on Hebrews 9:8
The meaning of this statement is the subject of much debate. It could be generally concluded that in the light of the new revelation of God through Jesus that is the focus of the New Testament and particularly the Book of Hebrews that this passage is referring to Jesus as the full revelation of God, providing “access” to him, and that this had not happened under the old system (reference Jesus’ statement in John 14:6)."
Why is intimacy with God unavailable under the old covenant? Because we would still have a guilty conscience. Only Jesus' blood can cleanse our conscience.
Hebrews 9:9 9 This is an illustration for us in the present, showing us that the gifts and sacrifices that are offered can't make the worshiper's conscience clear.
Chapter 8 described the new covenant as God writing his law of faith on our hearts and the complete removal of sins. Through this, everyone who believes would know God, from the least to the greatest. So intimacy with God is not accomplished through the old covenant, but through the new covenant. Mainstream Christians still live an "old covenant" relationship with God. They are constantly mindful of there sins which produces a guilty conscience, instead of being constantly mindful of Christ's righteousness and His work on the cross, which produces a pure conscience. When you have a guilty conscious, you stay outside the holy-of-holies, offering sacrifices for your sins because you are afraid of entering the most holy place.
That is the revelation Sofi and I received October 2012. We were constantly offering sacrifices for our sins because we had a guilty conscience. We were always confessing our sins, going to alter calls, asking for pastors to pray for us, and going to Christian counseling. Even serving at church was a way for us to "pay God back" for our sins.
Thank God for Jesus because he paid the debt and set us free from a guilty conscience.
Today, I still see many Christians that have that old covenant mindset. They do many works for God, but it is driven by fear and guilt. They believe by their many works, they can pay God back. You can never pay for your sins. Only Jesus can. Because only He is perfect.
Jesus work at the cross was and can only be a free gift. You must accept it freely as he has given it freely with no strings attached. To do otherwise is to say that Jesus' work is not enough.
Hebrews 9:10 10 They're just religious regulations---about food and drink, and various ceremonies involving washing---which were put in place until the time of God's new way of relating to him.
Jesus is our true high priest and he went into the true holy-of-holies on our behalf with the perfect offering for all our sins to bring about perfect and complete forgiveness of sins. He did not need to make a sacrifice for himself because there is no sin in Him.
Hebrews 9:11 11 Christ has come as a high priest of all the good experiences we now have. He went into the greater, more complete tabernacle that wasn't made by human hands---not part of this created world.
Jesus paid with His own blood which made us perfect forever!
Hebrews 9:12 12 He didn't enter through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood. He entered once, for all time, into the Most Holy Place, setting us free forever.
The blood under the old covenant made the Israelites ritualistically clean. The blood of the goats and bulls were just pictures of the true cleansing blood of Jesus. When you receive Jesus' blood that he shed on the cross to pay for your sins, you are made completely clean.
A clean conscience does not mean you never sin. It means you know that your sins have been paid for.
Hebrews 9:13-14 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a cow sprinkled on those who are ritually unclean make the body ceremonially clean, 14 how much more does the blood of Christ---who offered himself in his sinless life to God through the eternal Spirit---clean your consciences from your past sinful lives so you can serve the living God?
Jesus has set us free from our sins through His death on the cross. The result is that our sins are forgiven and we now receive the promise of an eternal inheritance. If we believe in the work of Jesus than we inherit the promise of eternal life and all of God's blessings. We can now receive God's grace, favor, health, wealth, and everything that goes along with an abundant life.
Hebrews 9:15 15 This is why he is the mediator of a new agreed relationship. Since a death has occurred to set them free from the sins committed under the first agreed relationship, now those who are called can receive the promise of an eternal inheritance.
We will cover verses 16-28 in more depth next week. For now we will just read them to get an understanding of the whole chapter.
Hebrews 9:16-28 16 For a will to be implemented, the person who made it must be dead. 17 A will is only valid when there's been a death---and is never applied while the person who made it is still alive. 18 That's why the first agreement was established with blood. 19 After Moses had given all the commandments of the law to everyone, he took the blood of calves and goats, and together with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, sprinkled the book itself and all the people. 20 He said to them, "This is the blood of the agreed relationship that God has told you he wants with you." 21 Moses sprinkled the blood in the same way on the tabernacle and everything used in worship. 22 According to ceremonial law, almost everything is made clean with blood, and without shedding blood nothing is made ritually free from the stain of sin. 23 So if the copies of what is in heaven needed to be cleansed in this way, the things in heaven needed cleansing by better sacrifices. 24 For Christ hasn't entered a Most Holy Place constructed by human beings that is only a pattern of the original. He has entered heaven itself, and now appears on our behalf, speaking for us in God's presence. 25 This was not to repeatedly offer himself, like a high priest has to enter the Most Holy Place year after year, offering blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. No: just this one time at the end of the present age he came to remove sin by sacrificing himself. 27 Just as human beings only die once, and then are judged, 28 so too for Christ---having been sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people, he will come again, not to deal with sin, but to save those who wait for him.
(All verses from the Free Bible Version Bible)
Author: Lyall Jonathan Di Trapani 04 Jan 2015