Category Archives: HEBREWS 9

The contrast between the old covenant and the new, as regards entrance into the presence of God.

HEBREWS 9

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS CHAPTER 9, VERSES 1 TO 10

9:1 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.

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.

9:3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;

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;

9:5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.

9:6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.

9:7 But 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:

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:

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;

9:10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

INTRODUCTION TO THE CHAPTER

Having noted in passing, in 7:23, that the Lord Jesus is surety of a new covenant, and then in 8:6 stated that He is mediator of the better covenant, and then made a quotation from Jeremiah 31 giving the details of that covenant, the writer now proceeds to show that just as the first covenant of the law had a sanctuary, (the tabernacle in the wilderness), so the new covenant has a sanctuary too. But that sanctuary is in heaven, and the earthly sanctuary was a copy and representation of it. Several words are used in chapters 8 and 9 to describe the relationship between the earthly sanctuary and the heavenly, and they are as follows:

The example of heavenly things.

Hebrews 8:5 “The example…of heavenly things”.

Hebrews 9:23 “The patternsof things in the heavens”.

Example and pattern translate the same word. The priests served in an earthly sanctuary, but they did so in relation to the sanctuary in heaven. The earthly tabernacle was a sample of what was in heaven, but the heavenly things were the reality behind them, “the heavenly things themselves”, Hebrews 9:23.

The evidence of heavenly things.

Hebrews 8:5 “The shadow of heavenly things”.

The heavenly things were the substance, something that can cast a shadow, whereas the tabernacle was the shadow. They provided evidence that there was a heavenly reality.

The expression of heavenly things.

Hebrews 8:5 “The pattern showed to thee in the mount”.

The heavenly sanctuary was the pattern, (tupos), see 9:24 below. “Tupos” is a metal-worker’s word, coming from the word to strike, and means the original, archetypal pattern, which when impressed onto softer metal leaves its corresponding mark, the anti-type.

Hebrews 9:24 “The holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true”.

The word figure, (anti-tupos) is the reverse of the word used in Hebrews 8:5. The heavenly sanctuary is the type, whereas the tabernacle on earth is the antitype.

The explanation of heavenly things.

Hebrews 9:8 “The Holy Spirit this signifying”.

The tabernacle set-up was a sign the Holy Spirit used in Old Testament times to point the way to spiritual truths.

Hebrews 9:9 “Which was figure for the time then present”.

Just as the Lord Jesus in His parables used objects to represent truths, and just as He performed miracles that were called signs, so it is with the figure, (parabole) and sign of the tabernacle. The Holy Spirit used the tabernacle and its arrangement to convey spiritual truth in Old Testament times. It is interesting to note that the materials for the making of the tabernacle are called a heave offering in Exodus 25:2, for they represented a recognition of the God of heaven, the words heave and heaven being connected.

STRUCTURE OF THE CHAPTER

(a)

Verses 1-5

Description of the tabernacle layout and vessels.         

(b)

Verses 6-10

The significance of the two parts of the tabernacle.

(c)

Verses 11-12

The blood of Christ gives Him title to enter heaven as a representative.

(d)

Verses 13-14

The blood of Christ purges the conscience of the worshippers.

(e)

Verse 15

The blood of Christ deals with the transgressions under the first covenant.

(f)

Verses 16-18

The death of Christ enables the covenant to come into force.

(g)

Verses 19-22

The blood of Christ unites the people with the sanctuary.

(h)

Verses 23-24

The blood of Christ purifies the heavenly sanctuary.

(i)

Verses 25-26

The sacrifice of Christ puts away sin.

(j)

Verses 27-28

The body of Christ bears the sin of many.

(a) Verses 1-5      DESCRIPTION OF THE TABERNACLE LAYOUT AND VESSELS

9:1 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.

Then verily the first covenant- of which chapter 8 gives details.

Had also ordinances of Divine service- as well as covenant blessings, a mediator, and a high priest. It is important for the writer to be able to show that Christianity is not behind in this.

And a worldly sanctuary- not in the wicked sense of worldly, but ordered and beautiful. The arrangement of the tabernacle is of importance in the argument. It is also important that it is of this world, compared to the true tabernacle which is in heaven, where the Lord Jesus officiates, 8:1,2.

9:2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the sanctuary.

For there was a tabernacle made- constructed by men at God’s direction. It was of earthly materials, and therefore not eternal. Made means prepared, equipped, as the next verses describe.

The first- now the writer distinguishes between the first compartment and the second; the first was beyond the first veil, the second beyond the second veil, which is the one we usually refer to as the veil. We must remember that the tabernacle proper was the innermost covering, and the boards and the bars were to keep this tabernacle up. See Numbers 4:25, where the Gershonites carry the tabernacle, meaning the curtains, and then verse 31, where the Merarites carry the boards of the tabernacle, i.e. the boards which are for the tabernacle in the sense that they hold it up. See also Exodus 35:11, where the tabernacle is spoken of as separate from the boards.

Wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread- the significance of these will come out in verse 24. The point to notice here is that the ordinary priests did not function in the light of the glory of God which shone in the Holiest of All, but rather in the light of the lampstand. Nor could they have full fellowship with God at the table, for that was not in the immediate presence of God either. Notice that showbread is mentioned as a separate item to the table. When David was hungry on one occasion, he went into the Tabernacle and asked for the showbread, 1 Samuel 21:6. The priest could not give him any of the twelve loaves that were arranged on the table, but there was bread from the table which had been replaced that day, and was stored in a vessel ready for the priests to eat during the next week. It is this that may be referred to in Hebrews 9:2. If so, then the lesson from the life of David is clear, reinforced as it is by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 12, that even under law the principle of grace was followed, and a man of the tribe of Judah could eat Levi’s bread. For as the Lord said, “In this place is one greater than the temple”, Matthew 12:6. In other words, if under the law there was room for grace, (for the priests worked to change the showbread but were nonetheless not guilty of Sabbath-breaking), how much more shall grace operate now that Christ has come. This lesson will not be lost on observant Hebrews.

Which is called the sanctuary- omitting the definite article, “which is called a holy place”, in contrast to that which is holiest of all.

9:3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;

And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the holiest of all- so there were degrees of holiness in the earthly tabernacle, which there are not in the heavenly sanctuary. Because it was holy, the tabernacle was closed to ordinary Israelites, who had forfeited their right to national priesthood because of the golden calf incident, Exodus 19:6; 32:26; Malachi 2:4-7. Because it was most holy, the second tabernacle was closed to the priest’s family because of the offering of strange fire, Leviticus 10:1,2; 16:1,2.

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;

Which had the golden censer- because he has the Day of Atonement in mind, the writer associates the censer with the second tabernacle, into which it was taken by the high priest on that day. Again the writer has put something out of reach of the majority of the priesthood.

And the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold- the most important vessel, being the object of attention on the Day of Atonement, and upon which the blood of atonement was sprinkled. Overlaid round about, i.e. entirely, with gold. The blood must meet the demands of the gold representing God’s glory.

Wherein was the golden pot that had manna- the token of God’s faithfulness. The hidden manna is reserved for the overcomer, Revelation 2:17.

And Aaron’s rod that budded- the token of God’s anger against the rebels, who spoke against Israel’s apostle, and their high priest, Numbers 16 and 17. This was the symbol of the authority of Aaron to officiate in the presence of God. Yet despite that authority being signified in such a miraculous way, (for Aaron’s rod, even though cut down, had budded, blossomed, and brought forth almonds all at once), he could not officiate in the place where his rod was, except once a year.

And the tables of the covenant- the token of God’s righteousness expressed in His law.

9:5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.

And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat- the representation of the guardians of the righteousness of God, associating with the glory-cloud, or Shekinah, which dwelt between them. They overshadowed the ark, protecting the interests of God. Those approaching God would be confronted by these symbolic things, and more than this, the truths they symbolised.

Of which we cannot now speak particularly- showing that it is possible to speak of these things in detail, for every particular of them has a lesson, but the point at issue is how things were arranged in the tabernacle, for that had deep significance.

(b) Verses 6-10     THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TWO PARTS OF THE TABERNACLE

9:6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.

Now- the beginning of the reasoning based on these arrangements.

When these things were thus ordained- same as “made” in verse 2, constructed after a certain pattern and design, which God intended to teach lessons by, see verse 8.

The priests went always into the first tabernacle- always signifies often, in contrast to the high priest once.

Accomplishing the service of God- the writer never disparages the tabernacle system, allowing that the service of God was carried on there, but also shows the superiority of the heavenly one, where Christ ministers.

9:7 But 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:

But into the second- the “but” begins the section showing the shortcomings of the system as compared to heavenly things.

Went the high priest alone, once every year- the contrast is between priests and high priest, and between always and once. And what is more, he did this every year, which supplies another contrast later in the chapter.

Not without blood- his way was barred if he came without blood. If he persisted, then the fire would devour him as it did his two sons who came with strange fire, See Leviticus 16:1, 2, “and died…that he die not”. The sanctity of God’s presence must be maintained. “I will be sanctified in them that come nigh Me”, Leviticus 10:3.

Which he offered for himself- note the idea of blood being offered, reminding us that “to offer” simply means to bring near, and does not necessarily mean to place upon the altar. The blood was offered where there was no altar.

And for the errors of the people- errors are sins of ignorance. The high priest and the people both committed sins of ignorance.

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 Holy Ghost this signifying- The Spirit had empowered Bezaleel to make the tabernacle according to the divine pattern, so that a clear signal could be sent as to important truth. The phrase would arrest the Hebrews, as they discover the real meaning behind the tabernacle system, perhaps for the first time.

That the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest- there was no clear line of sight for the priests, for the veil blocked their view, and blocked their approach, so the way they desired to tread was not visible. Note the “yet”, reminding us that the things of the tabernacle pointed forward to coming good things, verse 11.

While as the first tabernacle was yet standing- that is, as long as the first compartment had a standing separate from the second, these things prevailed.

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;

Which was a figure for the time then present-a contrast with the time of reformation, verse 10. The Holy Spirit depicted the situation in parable form, the separate compartments of the tabernacle bearing eloquent testimony to the inadequacies of the system.

In which were offered both gifts and sacrifices during that time, gifts in the form of tithes to support the priesthood, and sacrifices in the form of animals to deal ceremonially with sins were offered. Gifts and sacrifices were not offered in the first tabernacle, but outside, in the court. So “in which” refers not to these, but to “the time then present”.

That could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience- the ritual may have been carried out perfectly, as indeed it must, but the conscience of the offerers was not perfected, that is, fully fitted to come before God, since they still had conscience of sins. See 10:14 for the spiritual counterpart. Notice the three negatives in this section: in verse 7, “not without blood”; in verse 8, “not yet made manifest”; and verse 9, “not make him that did the service perfect”.

9:10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances- the standing or basis of the tabernacle system was represented in parable form by its division into two compartments, and all depended on the bringing of material offerings, such as sacrifices, or wine for drink offerings. The priests, too, were bathed initially and constantly washed at the laver, but only in a ceremonial way- their hearts were not affected. These were but ordinances, or righteous requirements, which came to them as men in the flesh- they were not required to profess faith before they became priests.

Imposed on them until the time of reformation- these commands were imposed, because the system was a legal one, in contrast to the voluntary coming in grace of the Lord Jesus. He came to set things right, not simply to reform and rearrange. It is significant that when Psalm 40 is quoted in Hebrews 10:5-7, the words, “Yea, Thy law is within My heart”, Psalm 40:8, are omitted. It is not that God’s law was not in His heart, but that grace was the over-riding factor in His movements.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS CHAPTER 9, VERSES 10 TO 22

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;

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.

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:

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?

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.

9:16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

9:17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

9:18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.

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,

9:20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.

9:21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.

9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

(c) Verses 11-12 THE BLOOD OF CHRIST GIVES HIM TITLE TO ENTER HEAVEN AS A REPRESENTATIVE

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;

But Christ being come- note the use of a title that speaks of Him as the Anointed one, the one approved of by the Holy Spirit. So the Holy Spirit who was speaking in parable form in the tabernacle system, now delights to be associated with Christ, the man who was to bring in the reality. As Jesus the Son of God He suits our need as those who are in the place of temptation, and need one to lead them through the wilderness. As Christ He suits our need as one who is appointed and anointed by God to lead His people into the sanctuary.

A high priest of good things to come- those good things foreshadowed in the tabernacle have now arrived in Christ. He is responsible for dispensing them, as God’s firstborn. “High priest of good things” means “dispenser, as High priest, of good things”.

By a greater and more perfect tabernacle- the writer never disparages the tabernacle, but shows that it speaks of a greater sanctuary, where perfection reigns. The heavenly sanctuary, which the Lord pitched and not man, 8:2, is greater in the sense that it is heavenly, and not of this creation. It is more perfect in the sense that it is Christ’s own blood that has sanctified it, verse 23. He comes by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, so the “come” refers to His arrival in heaven, at which time His high priesthood started. The heavenly sanctuary is the means by which He is able to officiate.

Not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building- human hands did not construct this sanctuary; they could not, for it is not part of this creation (building) at all. There are three things that mark this creation, and they are indicated in Genesis 1:1- “in the beginning” implies time, “heaven and earth” implies matter, and the fact that the two are separate implies space. None of these things is relevant in the sphere where Christ officiates. Time is irrelevant, for the presence of God is in eternity. Space and matter are irrelevant, too, for in that scene it is truth that is the reality. The heavenly sanctuary is the true tabernacle, the one where truth is all-dominant, and where truth finds its full and eternal expression.

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.

Neither by the blood of goats and calves- the blood of the sacrifices on the day of the covenant, as detailed in Exodus 24:5. The goats were burnt offerings, and the calves were peace offerings, for the people are reckoned, because of their vow to keep the law, to be in acceptance (burnt offering) and harmony (peace offering) with God.

But by His own blood- just as Aaron was able to enter the tabernacle because it had been sanctified by the blood of the covenant, Hebrews 9:21, so Christ is enabled to enter heaven by means of His blood shed on earth. Aaron entered by the blood of others, but Christ by His own. We enter by the blood of another, too, the blood of Jesus, 10:19. As God’s Son, He is ever suited to be in the Father’s presence, but as our representative, He needs the sanction of blood. The idea that Christ entered heaven with His own blood is untrue.

He entered in once into the holy place- once means once for all, in a strengthened form, in contrast to Aaron’s annual entry. Holy place is really “holies”, the thrice-holy sanctuary in heaven, not the holy place on earth.

Having obtained eternal redemption for us- not an annual provision, but eternal. The word used for redemption here was used by Zacharias when he spoke of serving (religiously) “without fear in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life”, Luke 1:74,75. Redemption for righteousness is the theme of Romans, where we are set free from sin to serve God in righteousness. Redemption for holiness is the theme of Hebrews, for we are set free from dead works to serve God in holiness. “For us” is in italics, for the thing which Christ set out to achieve was redemption, and He has obtained what He sought for, irrespective of who benefits.

(d) Verses 13-14 THE BLOOD OF CHRIST PURGES THE CONSCIENCE OF THE WORSHIPPERS

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:

For if the blood of bulls and of goats- of the day of atonement. Christ has entered heaven on the basis of His acceptance and harmony with God, (the counterpart of the burnt offerings and peace offerings of the Day of the Covenant), but He has obtained cleansing by the blood of His sin offering, (the counterpart of the sacrifices of the Day of Atonement). Note the blood of two animals, for priest and people, is now replaced by the blood of one person. He needs not to offer for Himself.

And the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean- there was need for cleansing in between days of atonement, showing that the dealing with sin was not complete and final. The blood of bulls and goats was sprinkled on the tabernacle, whereas the ashes of the heifer, which derived power from the sin offering, were sprinkled on the sinner.

Sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh- these sacrifices had a certain effect, fitting Aaron and the people to continue with God in the midst. The effect was only ceremonial and external, however.

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?

How much more shall the blood of Christ- if God-ordered animal sacrifices had an effect, how much more will the blood of Christ, the Approved Man, be effective. Those animals were not intelligent as to the will of God, but Christ was, for He purged sins in line with the majesty of God.

Who through the eternal Spirit- this phrase suggests a series of contrasts:

1. Between sacrifices which were only God’s will until the time of reformation, and a sacrifice which has eternal effectiveness. The Spirit who uttered a parable through the tabernacle set-up, verses 8 and 9, now empowers a work which is perfect and final.

2. Between carnal (fleshly) ordinances, and the Spirit of God ensuring that eternal counsels are put into effect.

3. Between the Spirit, and that which is physical, like the body of a beast.

Offered Himself without spot to God- Offer is not the same as burn on the altar; the wise men offered their gifts, and Aaron offered blood in the Holiest of All, verse 7, but in neither case does this involve burning on an altar. The idea is of bringing near, and the idea of burning on the altar is relevant is many cases, but not in all. In contrast to brute beasts, which may have needed to be dragged to the altar, Christ came willingly. The words of the psalm sung at the end of the feast of Passover- “Bind the sacrifices with cords, even cords to the horns of the altar” would no doubt be on the lips of the Lord Jesus as He left the Upper Room, but He did not need to be bound, for He declared “But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence”, John 14:31. He then went into Gethsemane, and said “Not My will, but Thine, be done”, Luke 22:42. This gives a character to His sacrifice that animal sacrifices did not have, for He came in grace, willingly, whereas they were brought according to law, unwillingly. They were unintelligent, but He came by the eternal Spirit, for He was privy to the counsels of eternity, and acted accordingly. Without spot means without blemish or defect. (Without spot in 1 Peter 1 means without stain). The sinlessness of Christ is of paramount importance, since “it must be perfect to be accepted” was the sacrificial rule, Leviticus 22:21. Aaron must wash his flesh with water before he put on his garments, for they were holier than he was, and made him ritually, what he was not really.

Purge your conscience from dead works- we might have expected “purged from sins”, but the phrase goes further, for the blood of Christ rids the conscience of the burden of needing to repeat works of sacrifice, since His one offering suffices. As a consequence, they become dead works. See also 8:13, where the Old Covenant is said to be decaying, waxing old, ready to vanish away. Now it is dead, made so by the work of Christ. The believer need not have a conscience about not being involved with Judaism, but may draw near to God with the full assurance that faith in Christ brings, 10:22.

To serve the living God- the prospect opens out before all the Hebrew believers, of whatever tribe, of serving God in a religious way. But since He is the Living God, He must be worshipped in a manner which is in harmony with His character. Dead works cannot be used to serve a living God. The expression “Living God” is used twice in connection with dead apostates, 3:12, 10:31; here in connection with dead works, and once in connection with coming to the city of the living God, rather than earthly Jerusalem, which was full of those under the sentence of death through the law at Sinai.

(e) Verse 15 THE BLOOD OF CHRIST DEALS WITH TRANSGRESSIONS UNDER THE FIRST COVENANT

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 for this cause- that of enabling His people to serve God. They must be in covenant relationship with God to do so. Is this why the Lord mentioned the new covenant when He set up the Supper? See Matthew 27:28. And also why Paul speaks of it in connection with the glory of God in 2 Corinthians 3/4? If we are to worship we must see the glory, just as Moses, having been shown the glory, bowed down his head toward the earth and worshipped, Exodus 34:8. And more than this, the covenant blood must link us with the heavenly sanctuary, just as half the blood of the covenant was reserved to sprinkle on the tabernacle after it had been constructed. Our highest service must be when we worship God in His presence, and it is the blood of the new covenant which brings us into this privileged position.

He is the mediator of the new testament- the Authorised Version rightly discerns that the secondary meaning of “will” is in view here, suggesting that Gentiles are free to enter into the good of this covenant, for whereas covenant is an Old Testament idea, testament is a Gentile one.

That by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first testament- the death of Christ was retrospective, as “eternal Spirit” would also suggest, as well as “not of this creation”. Since the sacrifices of the first covenant were burnt offerings and peace offerings, (for the people are taken up on their profession), that left sins not dealt with. How impressed the wavering Hebrews should have been, for the work of Christ finalises what the law left unfinished.

They which are called- God called Moses and seventy of the elders of Israel into the mount on the day of the covenant, and they saw God and ate and drank. Now this experience in all its reality is open to all the people of God. Leviticus, the priest’s handbook, began with “And the Lord called”, and this became the title of the book, but now the Christian worshippers are invited into the heavenly sanctuary.

Might receive the promise of eternal inheritance- the Levites had no inheritance in the form of land in Israel, but their portion was God Himself, and the sacrifices, Numbers 18:20, Deuteronomy 18:1. So with us, God in all His glory is our portion, and the appreciation of the sacrifice of Christ. This promise is not conditional, as Israel’s was, but is guaranteed to us, for Christ is the surety of it, 7:22.

(f) Verses 16-17 THE DEATH OF CHRIST ALLOWS THE COVENANT TO COME INTO FORCE

9:16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator- The whole purpose of a will is to bring into blessing after the will-maker has died.

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 a testament is of force after men are dead- not only do the blessings come after the death, they are sure to come (for they are of force) after the death, for that is the arrangement.

Otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth- while the testator is still living it is otherwise, i.e. of no strength, in contrast to being of strength or force when the testator has died.

(g)  18-22 THE BLOOD OF CHRIST UNITES THE PEOPLE AND THE SANCTUARY

9:18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.

Whereupon building upon the basis he has laid in the previous few verses about testaments, the writer shows that under the covenant a death took place before the worshippers were free to serve God, and that covenant victim also sanctified the sanctuary.

Neither the first testament was dedicated without blood- death came in with this covenant too. So Hebrew prejudice about a Messiah who died is being removed, for the principle was established under the law.

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,

For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people- so it was a full disclosure of their obligations, and before all of them. They knew what they were committing themselves to.

According to the law- reminding us of the character of the covenant, that it was conditional.

He took the blood of calves and goats- those mentioned in verse 12, but in reverse order. We are not told that the oxen were only peace offerings, and the goats only burnt offerings.

With water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop- we are not told of the latter two in Exodus 24. The hyssop would make a sprinkler, tied together by scarlet wool. The fact that the writer knows these things would indicate that God was revealing things to him, and thus he had authority.

And sprinkled both the book and all the people- note the connection between the book of the covenant and the people of the covenant, with the blood of the covenant uniting them together, and committing them to it as a conditional arrangement. In Exodus 17:14 Moses was commanded to write in a book, or as the margin puts it, “in the book”. Clearly Moses was writing the Pentateuch as events unfolded. He is said to have finished in Deuteronomy 31:24-27.

9:20 Saying, “This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you”.

Saying, “This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you”- Note the similarity of these words to those of  Matthew 26:28, in connection with the new covenant. But there it is “My blood”, “for the remission of sins”. The disciples would know that the first covenant was not ratified with sin-offering blood. The Lord anticipates the truth here revealed. The covenant-relationship between Christians and their God is in relation to worship in His presence. Relationship with Christ as head of the body, the church, has to do with earthly testimony, and the responsibility of the body to manifest Christ during His absence from the earth.

9:21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.

Moreover he sprinkled likewise with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry- now the link is established between the tabernacle and the people. Half the blood had been used for the sprinkling of the people, and now the ceremony is completed. Again, we are not told this in Exodus 24. The counterpart of this is seen in verse 23.

9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

And almost all things are by the law purged with blood- an exception (implied by “almostall things”), was the purging by fire of the pots used for the sin offering. Here the reference is to things like the tabernacle and the vessels.

And without shedding of blood is no remission- now the reference is to people and their sins. Remission is dismissal, which is what happened to the scapegoat; but his work was not valid without the other goat; two goats made but one offering, Leviticus 16:5. So now the question of sins has been dealt with for those who will approach God, and the sanctuary is prepared, and the people and the book are joined on the basis of blood.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS CHAPTER 9, VERSES 23 TO 28

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.

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:

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;

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.

9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

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.

(h)   23-24    THE BLOOD OF CHRIST PURIFIES THE HEAVENLY SANCTUARY

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.

It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these- so the tabernacle was a pattern, copy, similitude, of the heavenly sanctuary. The reality was in heaven, but the copy was on earth. It is always best to have the original, rather than a copy, so it is best to worship as a Christian, rather than in Judaism.

But the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these- both things were necessary- the earthly needed to be purified because human hands had made it, and failing priests were to officiate in it. Just as the tabernacle needed to be safeguarded beforehand from the failures of the officiating priests, (and especially the sin of Nadab and Abihu), so the heavenly sanctuary needs to be protected from our faults and failures as we worship God.

Those who made and erected the tabernacle, even if all believers, had sin about them. So the blood of the covenant victim had to purify the building, verse 21. The same was the case with the priests who officiated in the earthly sanctuary, so their ministry defiled the tabernacle. This meant that the blood of the day of atonement was needed to purify and reconcile the tabernacle and the altars, which is indicated in verse 22. So with the heavenly sanctuary, surprisingly enough. It has been defiled by the rebellion of Lucifer, who is described in Ezekiel 28:12-28 in terms which suggest he had a priestly role before his fall. Note in particular verse 18, “defiled thy sanctuaries”. The only means for restoring the heavenly sanctuary to purity is the blood of Christ. We are sure God was not compromised by the sin of Lucifer, for just as He dwelt in the midst of Israel despite their unclean-ness, safeguarded by the Day of Atonement ceremony, so He dwelt in heaven, safeguarded by the future work of Calvary.

Note the plural in verse 23, where the varied aspects of the sacrifice of Christ are in view, for the sacrifices on the day of the covenant were burnt offerings and peace offerings, whereas those on the day of atonement were burnt offerings and sin offerings, and His sacrifice was both atoning and covenant-making.

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 entered into the holy places made with hands- the places in question being the first and second tabernacle; both holy, but one most holy.

Which are the figures of the true- figure is the word antitupos; so the type is in heaven, the anti-type on earth. Tupos and antitupos are metal worker’s words. The type is the hard metal with some symbol embossed on it, the anti-type is the corresponding (anti) pattern produced when the type is impressed upon the softer metal. As with the type of typewriters, some of the type is a contrast, some a comparison. The heavenly sanctuary is the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched and not man, 8:2.

But into heaven itself- not the replica, but the reality. This would imply that “heaven itself”, (as opposed to heaven copied) is the heavenly sanctuary.

Now to appear in the presence of God for us- so He is there already, and officiates as High Priest to ensure our entry is to the glory of God. He does this by being the counterpart of the lampstand, shining in all His resurrection glory. In fact the word appear means to shine. How fearful we would be of approaching God if He were not there for us, especially as we know what happened to others who sought to enter the earthly sanctuary in a wrong way. He appears now– telling us it is ongoing. He appears– it is glorious. He appears in the presence of God for us– it is representative.

(i)   Verses 25-26    THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST PUTS AWAY SIN

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 yet that He should offer Himself often- Leviticus 16:3 directs Aaron to come into the presence of God with a bullock, (for “thus” can be translated “with this”), and this he did when he came with what represented the bullock, its blood. Christ, however, appears in person in the presence of God, on the basis of His blood, and as one who has died and is risen. That entry into God’s presence when He ascended was once for all in this connection, although in other connections He will come to earth.

As the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others- this is the contrast; every year/once for all; holy place/heaven itself; blood of others/by His own blood.

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 then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world- logic demands that if His work only affects sins for one year, as must be the case if He has to return to repeat the work, then since His blood deals with sins from the beginning of the world, then He must have suffered that many times too, since bloodshed involves suffering. Note the far-reaching consequences of the work of Christ, satisfying the righteous demands of God not just for a year, or even for a lifetime, but entirely.

But now- the truth is a present reality.

Once in the end of the world hath He appeared- once for all at the climax of all the ages, which meet at the cross. Time is no barrier to Him who is the “I am”. All ages looked on to the cross, and all ages, even those in eternity, (Ephesians 3:21), shall look back to it. One age shall give birth to another, to give to our God fresh opportunity to reveal the supreme wonders of His dealings through Christ. Appeared means manifested, as one who was there before, but hidden, a tribute to His Deity. The counterpart is the presence of Aaron at the altar to kill the sin offering, etc.

To put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself- to put away is to set-aside, abolish, make of no account. Instead of dealing with sins on a temporary basis, Christ has dealt with sin in the aggregate, sins all considered together. John the Baptist, (the son of a Levitical priest), saw this, and declared He would take away the sin of the world, in accordance with Daniel 9:24, “To finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity”, so that the next three things Daniel mentions can be introduced in their time. “Sacrifice of Himself” is a contrast to the sacrifices of Aaron, who came with a sacrifice separate to himself. The work of Christ displays God as holy, and a Saviour-God; clears Him of charge of complacency about the entry and continuation of sin; vindicates God for passing over the sins done before, in Old Testament times, Romans 3:25; enables God to bring in new heavens and earth righteously; gives ground for God’s dealings in grace, 2 Corinthians 5. See additional note on the subject of propitiation.

(j)   Verses 27-28    THE BODY OF CHRIST BEARS THE SIN OF MANY

9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement:

And as it is appointed unto men once to die- having spoken of the scope of Christ’s work time-wise, (foundation of the world), now he thinks of His work in relation to men personally, not just of Israel. Men die because they have a sinful nature, not, in normal circumstances, because they have committed particular sins. The death of man is by Divine appointment, and is once for all, with no return. The fear of death gripped the souls of men in the Old Testament, Hebrews 2:15. Even Aaron would have died if he had not come into the presence of God in the appointed way, Leviticus 16:2. And what if a man died, having sinned since his last sin offering? Only the sacrifice of Christ reaches into the future as well as the past, as the next chapter will show.

And after this the judgement- the sins they have committed being met by God’s response in judgement.

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.

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many- as men are appointed to die, so was He; as their death is once for all, so was His. But note the character of His death. Men die and go into eternity carrying the burden of their sins upon them, whereas Christ bore the judgement for sins before He died. “Many” does not necessarily imply “not all”, but emphasises that He, a solitary person, had the ability to bear the sins of a multitude. See Romans 5:19, where “the many” who are made sinners, are in fact, all men.

This is the counterpart of the two goats for a sin offering; one put away sin, the other bore sins. It is not correct to say that there are some whose sins are not borne, for this makes a mockery of the free offer of the gospel. But sinners must not have words with personal possessive pronouns put into their mouths, such as “He bare our sins”. The suffering which sinners endure as punishment for their sins in eternity does not atone for sins. We must distinguish between punishment and penalty. Punishment is not transferable, penalty is, if the Judge allows it.

And unto them that look for Him- Israel looked for two people to return on the Day of Atonement, the high priest out from the sanctuary, his work accepted, and the fit man out of the wilderness, the goat abandoned. Christ shall appear out from heaven according to His promise to take us to the Father’s house. But He has come back from the wilderness, too, as the goat did not. He is the fit man, and has emerged out of the hours of forsakenness having removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west. His sin offering enables our sins to be erased from the Divine memory, never to be recalled.

Shall He appear the second time-now the word appear means “to be seen”. As believers we have not seen our Saviour, “whom having not seen, ye love”, 1 Peter 1:8. But “we shall see Him as He is, 1 John 3:2.

Without sin-that is, literally, cut off from sins, meaning without reference to dealing with sin again. He appeared the first time to put away sin, and so successful has the work been that He does not need to take it up ever again.

Unto salvation-it only remains for His people to be taken up out of this world, thus saving them from its influences entirely. Resurrection bodies will be theirs, and full deliverance from the effects of the fall will be known at last.