THE BOOK OF HEBREWS
James Deering, AncientPath.net
THE VISUALIZED TEXT (NASB) (conjunctions
& prepositions underlined,
words not in original text in italics)
(alternate text in purple)
9:1 Now even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship and the earthly sanctuary. 2 For there was a tabernacle prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the sacred bread; this is called the holy place. 3 And behind the second veil, there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies,
4 having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron's rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant. 5 And above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
6 Now when these things have been thus prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle, performing the divine worship, 7 but into the second only the high priest enters, once a year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance. 8 The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed, while the outer tabernacle is still standing, 9 which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, 10 since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
15 And for this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
16 For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. 17 For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives. 18 Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, "THIS IS THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT WHICH GOD COMMANDED YOU." 21 And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. 22 And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
23 Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 nor was it that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood not his own. 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, 28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The Old and the New
Christ is Superior in His Priestly Ministry 9:1-10:18
I. The Earthly Priesthood
A. 9:1-6, The Tabernacle of the First Covenant
9:1 Now even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship and the earthly sanctuary. 2 For there was a tabernacle prepared, the outer one, in which were the Lampstand and the table and the sacred bread; this is called the holy place. 3 Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, 4 having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant; 5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
The writer of Hebrews is now in the middle of a discussion concerning the First, or Old, Covenant between God and the nation of Israel. The end of Chapter eight leave us with a collection of verses from Jeremiah Chapter 31 that demonstrate in what manner God found fault with the Israelites and their violation of that first covenant with their God Jehovah.
The writer of Hebrews is demonstrating that there are "rules" in the New Covenant just as there were rules in the Old Covenant. This indicates that they are responsible to live under the Sovereignty of God in either case.
Within that first covenant a tabernacle (the place where God chose to dwell among His people) was set up and within were two rooms with a thick partitioning curtain between them. If this had been a non-portable dwelling there would have perhaps been a golden locking door between the two rooms. In order for the High Priest to get into the second room (the Holy of Holies) he had to pass through the first room (the Holy Place) and enter the second room by going through the curtain. The curtain barred anyone from seeing into the second room and by law prevented anyone other than the High Priest from entering the second room - into the presence of God (dwelling among His people).
Within the first, or outer, room was a 7 tiered golden Lampstand (the 7 ministries of the Holy Spirit of God), a golden table with 12 loaves of of bread (representing the people of the twelve tribes of Israel, and the provisions for them that God provides).
Behind the curtain was the second room called the Most Holy Place (or the Holy of Holies). The writer speaks here of the golden Altar of Incense as if it was in the second room and that is because, although it was actually in the first room standing against the curtain that divided the two rooms, it was "Spiritually" the only means of entry into the Holy of Holies and a part of that shadow of truth.
Within the second room was the gold-covered Ark of the Covenant. The Ark held the jar of manna, Aaron's staff that budded, and the stone tablets that contained the writing of the Covenant.
Even though the writer of Hebrews did not want to consider the meanings of these things (as he was writing mostly to Jews who already had much knowledge of these things) we need to consider a few points concerning them.
Most important in understanding the Scriptures concerning all these things is the fact that whole The Tabernacle (including its fences and doorways) all represent some aspect of Jesus the Christ. As the Second person of the Godhead He was granted all power and authority over not only that which was created, but also over the power to create all things in the first place. Therefore, when we speak of God in both the Old and New Testaments we are largely speaking of the Second person of the Godhead - He would become incarnate and be known as Jesus, the Christ (Messiah). We should only see The Father when He is spoken of as "The Father."
The items inside the Ark represented three different aspects of God the Son. The first, the jar of manna, represented His provision for His people. He is the Bread of Life - then and now. Aaron's staff that budded demonstrated that this God had the power to bring dead things to life (resurrection) and also that He had authority over all things. The stone tablets that He gave to Moses contained the writings of the Law which codified the character of God, His holiness (His dedication to His people), and the way of salvation. His law contained the rules for righteous living, and the methods of forgiveness when those laws could not be followed (grace). If you committed sin, there was forgiveness available through blood sacrifice.
The items were so arranged inside the tabernacle so show the shadow and pattern of the "path of salvation."
B. 9:6-10, The Ineffectiveness of the Animal Blood Sacrifice
6 Now when these things have been so prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle performing the divine worship, 7 but into the second, only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance. 8 The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing, 9 which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, 10 since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.
This amazing paragraph brings us into the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies to see the significance of these shadows of things to come (for them). We see a picture of constant activity to provide for atonement, the covering over of the sins of the individual as well as the nation.
The Holy of Holies was a place of worship. The priests came daily to perform the upkeep on each item in that room and to spend time at each location praying for the various ministries represent there. The bulk of their prayers would be thanksgiving for the provision of God. Their duties also included the sprinkling of blood from the appropriate animal blood sacrifices upon each and every item in that room. We should immediately recognize the purpose of this sprinkling of blood, as the work of Christ at the Cross is the basis upon which all things rest. When I say all things it means all things, not just the ministries represented in this room. Not only the creation of all things rests upon the second person of the Trinity, but the continual sustaining of all things that were created. Without the blood of The Christ there would be no purpose for all of creation for all of creation was for us and the plan of God to provide salvation through it.
The next few verses are complicated. The two separate rooms of the tabernacle represent the separation of God and His people because of sin and sins. He is gloriously Holy. Holiness is a kind of dedication in that God is so dedicated to His character that, without some kind of provision, He is unable to tolerate sin and sins. The tabernacle is the teaching symbol that God provided for His people so that the could understand not only His Holiness, but His provision for their forgiveness when they were not holy. That provision was, of course, based upon His work at the Cross. If He was to occupy the inner room then He needed some kind of separation from all others. The curtain between the two rooms was the representation of that separation between a holy God and sinful man.
The provision that was made would be seen in the ministry of the High Priest. But we need to know a little more about him and his office before we can understand what is going on here. The High Priest, according to the covenant, was the "administrator" of the covenant between man and God. He was like the president of a country - He was the "chief administrator" or the C.O. Under him were the priests, the administrators who reported to him. They were in charge of the Law, the teaching of it, and the enforcement of it. Just like any other government there was the trickle down of governmental responsibilities with governors, police, and others, all the way down to the individual member of the nation. This High Priest was the shadow or type of the ministry of Christ in the New Covenant.
It was the High Priest (the administrator of the Covenant) who was responsible once a year to enter into the Holy Place, sprinkle the blood and pray there for the Nation. He would minister at the Lampstand, the Table of Bread representing the people, and then, before entering the Holy of Holies through the curtain, the golden table of Incense. It was there that the smoke of the incense represented the High Priest's prayers for forgiveness of his people for that year.
It was absolutely essential that the High Priest was "clean" before the Lord. He needed to be a man of complete righteousness and completely (ritually) cleansed from all sin for he could not enter the Holy of Holies without being so - or He would die in the presence of Almighty God when he went through the curtain that separated man from God.
We should also make special note of the end of verse :7. The sacrifices and the Atonement sacrifice only covered sins the people had committed in ignorance. There would be no sacrifice for INTENTIONAL sin against God. This was the sin of Lucifer - intentional rebellion against God. No forgiveness for him or anyone who is found in intentional rebellion against God. Only those who "have a heart for God," the "Circumcised Heart," will find effectiveness in that sacrifice.
It is the High Priest who enters into the Holy of Holies, and "never without blood." You cannot come before Almighty God except for the sacrificial blood of His Son. This Old Testament ritual was the teaching of that very specific requirement.
Verse :8 tells us that the two room construction of the tabernacle was necessary before the sacrifice of Christ. There had to be a place where one could become "holy" or dedicated to God before you could approach Him. The curtain between the outer room and God would have to stay in place... until the real sacrifice of His Son was complete. So then, under the Old Covenant, the sacrifices that were made to animals and the blood of animals that was symbolic of the Blood of Christ - could never actually forgive the sin and sins of the people. Through the symbolism of the sacrifices God granted "Atonement" for their sins. This is a "pledge" of forgiveness. I like to see it as God "sweeping sin under the carpet." All those accumulated sins would be eventually paid for at the Cross, by Jesus the Christ. So the writer states that "as long as the first (covenant) tabernacle was still functioning... the curtain between the people and God was still effective in keeping them separated. The remaining two verses (:9-10) indicate the non-effectiveness of all these "atonements" without the sacrifice and the shedding of the Blood of Christ at the Cross. As you consider these things it would be good to take a close look at Matthew 27:51. Upon the last breath of Christ, "And behold, the veil of the temple (tabernacle) was torn in two, from top to bottom...." Thus signifying that the division between the two rooms of the tabernacle, that kept man from God, now no longer existed - because of Christ's death upon the Cross. No longer would there only be atonement, but now complete forgiveness for those who would "believe" by giving their hearts completely to God the Son for the work He did to grant those who "believe" complete forgiveness and salvation - based upon His sacrifice at the Cross. This is why salvation is only through the "Name" of Jesus - the very Son of God.
C. 9:11-14, The Work of Christ the Eternal High Priest
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Verse 11 indicates that the New Covenant has a New and better High Priest (the message of the Book of Hebrews). He was "baptized" by John the Baptist into His position as the new High Priest. He, God Himself, would be the administrator of this New Covenant. He would be the High Priest of "good things to come."
The picture the writer displays for us here is in Heaven. The "Real Tabernacle" actually exists there - and all other tabernacles and temples are only shadows or reflections of the "Real Tabernacle" in the heavenlies. There He went "through" that greater and more perfect tabernacle (because it was made by God, not by the hands of mere man) in Heaven. That place is outside of His creation and is in the abode of God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Verse :12 tells us that THIS High Priest did not go through the tabernacle as the Old Covenant High Priest did - with the blood of animals - but with His Own blood. Doing so brought about the redemption of those who would "believe."
Verse :13 concerns the fact that the washings and sacrifices of the Old Testament only made the body clean but not the forgiveness of sin or sins.
Verse :14 "How much more, then" will the blood of the Savior accomplish. He sacrificed Himself, for the Father, that we might be saved from His wrath - that comes as a result of our sin and continual sins. The Son of God was enabled by the Holy Spirit of God to offer Himself "unblemished" to God. His shed blood "cleanses us from acts (sins) that otherwise would lead to death.
The end of verse :14 is perhaps one of the most profound and meaningful moments in the Scriptures. "So that WE (who believe) may serve the Living God." As unbelievable as it may seem... All of creation, all of history, was put into place that SOME may BELIEVE IN ORDER TO SERVE THE LIVING GOD. What is the purpose of salvation? ... To Serve the Living God.
D. 9:15-10:18, Christ's Fulfillment of the Promise
15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16 For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. 17 For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives. 18 Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. 22 And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
The book of Hebrews goes out of it's way to say things multiple times - in order that we might understand the truths presented there.
Christ's sacrifice, and the presentation of His blood, by Him, upon the Mercy Seat, that covers over the requirements of the Law... "For this reason Christ is the mediator of a New Covenant" (vs. 15). "That those who are called." We'll stop right there for a moment and consider this revelation.
But to consider it properly we will need to jump over to John Chapter 17. Jesus is praying to His heavenly Father. Starting at verse 6:
“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours."
We're not going to argue the point of whether the giving happened in eternity past or at the time of personal salvation. We'll let theologians debate those issues. No matter the answer to that question the truth of these verses is necessary for our proper understanding of the Heart of the Trinity towards those who choose to love God through the Author of Creation, the Son of God incarnated as Jesus the Christ.
It is the Son of God (Jesus) who revealed the Father to "those whom you" (the Father) gave to Jesus the Son - "out of the [entire] world." Verse seven states that Believers are the property of God the Father and He gave them to The Son of God (incarnate) and THEY have obeyed your word (revelation of the Son, in Jesus). Believers know with certainly that Jesus came from the Father, and that He sent Jesus.
How very profound. We belong to God the Father and were a gift to God the Son, in order to accomplish salvation IN US.
Now we can return to Hebrews 9:15
For all the reasons stated above in Chapter 9, those whom the Father has given the Son - "are called that they may receive the promised eternal inheritance."
At the end of verse :15 and on into the following verses we finally find out what a covenant is - A Testament and Will. A legal document that is only opened and read upon the death of the one who made that "covenant" or will.
The Old Covenant was attested through the death of animals - in order to provide atonement for those named as "inheritors." The inheritance is only named and distributed after the death of the one making the will. In the Old Covenant the people of the Nation of Israel received atonement upon the death of certain animals once a year - every year. Moses took that blood and sprinkled the people in the making of that covenant. That covenant was made with the nation. On the other side of that covenant the blood was sprinkled upon the tabernacle and everything it contained - the God side of the covenant. Verse 22 states "In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there IS NO FORGIVENESS."
9:23-28 The Heavenly Tabernacle was made perfect when Christ brought His blood as a sacrifice (as High Priest) and God was SATISFIED in His just demands concerning the redemption of believing men and women.
23 Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,
Imagery is everything here. There are things on earth which are COPIES of things in Heaven. These things on earth are pictures, shadows, images, or types of things that REALLEY EXIST IN HEAVEN! Our existence is only a shadow of something that is REAL in the heavenlies.
The writer states that it was necessary that the copies (things on earth) were purified by a copy of the Blood of Christ, that was yet to come. That was necessary in order to understand that the REAL things in heaven would be PURIFIED by something much better - which was the actual BLOOD OF CHRIST, which was delivered to God as Jesus, after the Resurrection, ascended to heaven and sat down on the Mercy Seat, on the heavenly Ark of the New Covenant, at the Right Hand of God the Father.
When we get to verse 25 we learn that Christ's work is so effective that He only had to do this once, instead of time-after-time, as in the Old Covenant made with the blood of animals. For the former High Priests entered the Holy of Holies with "blood that was not their own."
Just as people have to die once and then face judgment... Jesus died ONCE and took away the reason for judgment for those who choose to believe.
9:28 Jesus' purpose in His second coming
28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.
Verse 28 tells us of the HOPE... That when Jesus Returns He will do so NOT TO BEAR SIN - But to complete the salvation of all those who are waiting for HIM.
Chapter 9 is a wonderful explanation of the work of Christ. All of creation moans and groans while awaiting it's maker and sustainer's, triumph over sin and death. All who believe are waiting for the soon return of Jesus the Christ and the completion of His plan for our salvation.
 Exodus 25-Numbers 10 (etc.)
 Starting at Exodus 25
 Ryrie, The Golden Altar. Though the altar stood before the veil in the Holy Place, its ritual use was connected with the "Most Holy Place" (v. 3), especially on the Day of Atonement, which is being described in these verses (see Leviticus 16:12-13).
 John 1:1-3
 Ryrie, The fact that only the high priest could go into the Holy of Holies and that he had to go each year signified that no final offering for sin was made in Old Testament times and that the offerings that were made could not cleanse the conscience. Time of Reformation, i.e., the change brought about by the completed sacrifice of Christ and His entering into heaven (vv. 11-12).
 Ryrie, Our Lord's sacrifice was His own blood (not that of animals), offered once for all (not repeatedly), and resulted in eternal redemption (not temporal or annual covering).
 Ryrie, the one who made it, i.e., who made the covenant or will. This is strong proof that it is the death of Christ, not His life, that put into effect the New Covenant with all its blessings. His sinless life qualified Him to be the suitable sacrifice for sin, but it was His death that made the payment for sin.
 Ryrie, without blood, The death of animals in Exodus 24:3-8.
 Ryrie, nearly everything, For exceptions to the requirement of blood for cleansing permitted by the law, see Leviticus 5:11-13 and Numbers 16:46; 31:50.
 Ryrie, The heavenly sanctuary had to be purified by Christ's sacrifice. Most refer this to heaven itself, but some to the cleansing of believers whom God inhabits (Ephesians 2:22).
 Ryrie, consummation of the ages, The first coming of Christ was a consummation of the ages (1 Peter 1:20).
 Ryrie, to bear (take away) the sins of many, Quoted from Isaiah 53:12. Isaiah was a significant source of early Christian interpretation of Christ. not to bear sin, i.e., apart from the sin question. In His first coming Christ dealt with sin once for all; in His second coming He will take redeemed sinners to Himself in the consummation of their salvation.