Hebrews 9 Bible study

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Chapter 9


Paul has already shown that the Old Covenant was intended to foreshadow the ministry of Christ. He proceeds to give further evidence of this in chapter nine.


1. Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary. (NKJVTM)


The first covenant gave instructions about the service of God, including instructions about the construction of an earthly place of worship - the Tabernacle.


2. For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary. (NKJVTM)


This tabernacle was essentially a large tent within a fenced enclosure. Both the tent and the fence were fully portable, since Israel never spent long in one place as they traveled through the wilderness. The whole enclosure was considered holy and only priests were allowed inside. Within this enclosure was the tent, having within it two sections. In the outer section of the tent was placed items of symbolic furniture, made of shittim wood and overlaid with pure gold. They were the oil lamps stand and the table, on which was placed the consecrated bread, baked fresh each day.


3. And behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All. (NKJVTM)


The smaller section of the tent was wholly enclosed within the first. It could only be entered by passing through a very thick curtain known as the veil. This part of the Tabernacle was called the Most Holy Place.


4. Which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant.


In this Most Holy Place were the golden censer (used for offering incense) and the ark of the covenant which was overlaid with gold within and without. In this gold lined chest were kept: a golden pot full of some of the actual manna which God gave the Israelites as food ; Aaron's staff which had been planted in the ground and in one night blossomed, budded and produced almonds as a miraculous sign to confirm his call as High Priest; and finally the second two stone tablets on which God had written the ten commandments.


5. And above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. (NKJVTM)


The lid of the ark was called the mercy seat, for it was there the blood of the atoning sacrifice was to be sprinkled. It was overshadowed by a solid gold molding of two angels (cherubim) who looked down upon it, facing each other, their wings reaching above their heads and touching in the middle. Paul does not wish to go into the details of the tabernacle, each of which has symbolic meaning in reference to the ministry of Jesus Christ, at this point. Instead he mentions the Tabernacle in connection with the day of atonement.


6,7. Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people's sins committed in ignorance. (NKJVTM)


Whilst the priests were allowed to continue their ministry daily in the outer part of the Tabernacle, only one man, the High Priest, was allowed into the Most Holy Place, and even he could only enter once a year, on the day proscribed by God. The fact that he was not able to enter on his own merits was shown by the need of his taking with him the blood of the sin offering, offered for his own sin as well as  for the people.


8. The Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. (NKJVTM)


By this divine instruction, the Holy Spirit showed that the way into the Holiest - continual and universal fellowship with God - was not made known by the service of the earthly tabernacle. Something else, a better way would have to come to take its place, by which we may draw near to God without restriction.


9. It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience. (NKJVTM)


Although the high priest offered sacrifices for sins each year, those sins were never removed. The need for them to be repeated showed that they were not sufficient to cleanse the worshipper's conscience and justify him in the sight of God.


10. Concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation. (NKJVTM)


In fact, these ordinances, though proscribed by God, were not spiritual in their nature at all. They did not deal with sin and the heart of man. Instead, they consisted of regulations regarding food and drink and washing of the body. It was clear that more was needed. The fulfillment of this object lesson would be found in Christ, whose atonement would meet the need of the human soul.


11. But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. (NKJVTM)


Christ has now come as the High Priest of the new and better covenant. He who filled heaven and earth could not be confined to an earthly tabernacle. Instead when he left heaven and entered time, he chose a human body for his earthly tabernacle (John 2:19-22).


12. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. (NKJVTM)


Not by the sacrifice of animals, but by offering his sinless life on the cross, he obtained eternal redemption for us, providing a means by which our sins may be forgiven, before returning to his place in heaven.


13. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh. (NKJVTM)


According to the law, a man who was ceremonially unclean could be made clean again by being sprinkled with the blood and ashes of the sacrifices made according to that law. This gives us another picture of the far greater cleansing now made possible through Christ.


14. How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (NKJVTM)


The reason Christ's sacrifice is of such efficacy is that it was the offering of an eternal being - the Son of God - who thoughout his life had perfectly done his father's will, that his offering might be perfect "without blemish". His substitutionary death, accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit, has fully satisfied divine wrath. His sacrifice having been accepted by God, the believers' sin and guilt are fully cleansed that we might freely draw near to serve God.


15. And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. (NKJVTM)


Christ is the Mediator of a new covenant. By his death he paid the penalty for those who had sinned according to the law (the first covenant) so that those who respond to the gospel message (the called) may receive what was promised by God under the conditions of the new covenant - an eternal inheritance, that is, we are made his sons and heirs eternally.


16,17,18. For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.  For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. (NKJVTM)


Among men, an inheritance is only received from someone who has dies. Their will names the heir(s), but only comes into force after the one who made it is dead. For us to receive all that God intended for us to share, the will maker had to die. The entire  system of sacrifices under the Old Testament was a lesson to show that Christ had to die so that we might obtain the eternal inheritance.


19-22. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, "THIS IS THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT WHICH GOD HAS COMMANDED YOU." Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. (NKJVTM)


Throughout the Old Testament, Moses was instructed to use blood to ratify the covenant. The book and the people, the tabernacle and all the vessels used in its service were made ceremonially clean in this way, to teach us the importance of the shed blood and the death of Christ. Without it, there can be no forgiveness for sins.


23. Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. (NKJVTM)


If then, that which foreshadowed eternal realties needed to be cleansed by sacrifice, the eternal realities themselves needed a far better sacrifice. Christ's death accomplished what no other sacrifice could: the redemption of the souls of men.


24. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. (NKJVTM)


We have no more need for pictures, for Christ himself has entered into heaven on our behalf. Since he ever lives, we shall live forever with him.


25,26. Not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another-- He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. (NKJVTM)


He will never have need to repeat his sacrifice, as the High priest in the Old Testament was required to every year. Christ's offering of himself once and for all has done away with sin.


27,28. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. (NKJVTM)


Since men are only appointed to die once before facing judgment, Christ died once to bear the sins of men. Those of us who believe in him are forgiven and will not face judgment after death. Instead, we wait eagerly for our Savior's return. When he comes again it will not be to deal with sin, for he has already finished that work. Rather, he shall appear to redeem our bodies and complete the work of salvation which his death has already secured for us.

Hebrews 1  2  3 4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13 

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