Hebrews 9

The Holy Place

One does not come to God on their own term whether it is the first covenant or the new covenant. The writer of Hebrews proceeds to explain the liturgy and regulations observed in the tabernacle as well as describing its structure and furnishings. The tent was prepared and consisted of two parts. The first section was closer to the entrance from the outer courtyard, and it had three pieces of furniture in it, the lampstand, the table and the bread of the Presence. This area was called the holy place. The second curtain separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. The ark of the covenant stood in the Most Holy Place in the tabernacle and in Solomon’s temple, but not in the later temple. Three items are mentioned in the contents of the ark. The golden urn storing manna, Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tables of the covenant. Above the ark, were the cherubim of glory and they were overshadowing the mercy seat. The writer of Hebrews does not offer any details and comes to an abrupt stop in describing the tabernacle any further. The Israelites could not approach God directly; they had to come through the priests, and only one could enter annually into the Most Holy Place. Certain preparations were necessary before the priests were allowed to enter, preparations which served to remind the priests of their personal need and God’s provision. As the Day of Atonement approached, the soberness of the occasion was made clear as the priest prepared a blood sacrifice for himself before providing it for his people. The high priest would sprinkle the blood of the bullocks on the mercy-seat seven times and then repeat the performance with the blood of a goat. The Holy Spirit indicates that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper and worship is a matter of conscience. The first covenant dealt with external issues about matters of food and drink and various washing. 

The Mediator Of A New Covenant

Christ appeared as a high priest. The picture is the Day of Atonement, but Christ’s offering of himself is the propitiation and expiation of sin. Christ offered himself once and for all, securing eternal redemption for his people. These external provisions only offered ritual cleansing from the defilement of the flesh and only provided ceremonial purity on a temporary basis. Christ's sacrifice purifies the conscience eternally. The offering of Christ is through the eternal Spirit, which is an entirely different category from the Levitical animal offerings. Christ offered himself without blemish by his perfect obedience.With an offering so superior, the results must be correspondingly greater. Christ, the mediator of a new covenant, bringing a righteous God and disobedient children together. It is all of grace. The new covenant provides the promised eternal inheritance. The sign and seal of the Mosaic covenant was the victim’s blood. The general conclusion is that almost everything is purified with blood under the law. The forgiveness of sins comes through the shedding of blood points shown by the death of the animal and the ceremonial outpouring of its blood. The picture is about more than the giving of life, and its effectiveness comes from the application of the blood. The copies give way to the heavenly realities through the sacrifice of Christ. All that the copies were intended to teach are to be seen in Jesus. The present mission of Christ is to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. The finality of the voluntary self-offering of Jesus does not need repeating; it is complete. Jesus offered the sacrifice of himself. Sin has been carried away by Christ like the Levitical scapegoat which carried the sins of the people away into the wilderness. Those who are eagerly waiting for Jesus know that when he returns, it will be to complete salvation. 

Things To Consider:

  • What do the separations in the tabernacle teach us about God?
  • Why can't we come to God in our own way?
  • What does the annual Day of Atonement teach us about God's holiness?
  • What is the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation?
  • Why couldn't the law save?
  • How is Christ priest and sacrifice?
  • How is Christ the scapegoat and the lamb?
  • Why do we need a mediator?
  • What did Jesus redeem us from?
  • Why is blood necessary for the forgiveness of sins?
  • What are two ways that Christ deals with our sin?
  • Are you eagerly waiting for Jesus?