Updated 1 Jun 2019
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This is a chapter which focuses upon the power of the blood of Christ to deal with our sin. In previous chapters, the writer has talked about the sacrifices required by the law of God but this chapter talks about the Tabernacle, explaining its symbolism as an earthly representation of the presence of God. There are some key verses at the end of the chapter, where the writer points out that we are destined to die and, after that, comes judgement. But the core message is that Christ was sacrificed once for all, to take away the sins that could not be atoned for under the Old Covenant. The blood of Christ is a perfect sacrifice, which requires no further offering.
The Holy Place was the outer room of the Tabernacle where there was a table, a lampstand and 12 loaves of consecrated bread, which were renewed with new loaves every sabbath. The Old Covenant required that these loaves had to be continually present, as a symbolic representation of God's provision for His people.
The Most Holy Place was the inner room of the Tabernacle and here was found a golden altar of incense and the gold-covered Ark of the Covenant. In the ark was a gold jar of manna and Aaron’s staff, together with the stone tablets of the covenant. The manna spoke of God’s provision, Aaron’s staff was a statement of of God's authority and the stone tablets were, of course, the Ten Commandments. Under the Old Covenant, only the High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place, as a symbolic representation of his exclusive access to God.
Under the New Covenant, Jesus has entered heaven itself, to appear for us in the presence of God and, through his sacrifice, we now all have access to God. God's provision for our salvation is assured because Jesus intercedes for us continually and he will appear a second time, to bring salvation for all those who are waiting for him!
The Role of the Priests
The High Priest entered the inner room once a year, with the blood of an animal to offer sacrifices for himself and for God’s people. Only sins committed out of ignorance could be dealt with and conscious sin remained uncleansed. This priestly ministry was a shadow and illustration of the coming Christ, who would be able to deal with all sin. The many offerings and ceremonial washings were undertaken to emphasise the seriousness of sin and to make it clear that our sins cannot be dealt with lightly or thoughtlessly.
The Blood of Christ
Christ is our great High Priest and he was able to enter heaven by offering his own blood to deal with our sin. To enter the Most Holy Place is now possible for all believers, because Christ has made a way for us. The blood of Jesus deals with our sin and cleanses even our conscience, so that we can now truly serve God without fear and guilt.
Christ, the Mediator of a New Covenant
Jesus has redeemed us from Satan’s power and has put into force, a legacy for our benefit. Without Jesus shedding his blood, there could be no forgiveness of sin. But Jesus has entered heaven itself - a sanctuary far superior to anything made on earth - so that we can find acceptance and peace in God’s presence. This sacrifice is once for all. We only have one life and we will only die once, after which we will face judgement. Christ was offered once for our sins and he has taken upon himself, the judgement we deserve!
Our wonderful High Priest not only came and suffered, he also rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and, one day, he will return. He will return to rescue those who have trusted him, so that we, having been forgiven and cleansed of our sins, will be taken into a sinless environment to live with him forever. Jesus will be glorified at this wonderful time!
Points to Consider:
- In what way do we see a glimpse of heaven in the Old Testament Tabernacle?
- What was the role of the priest in Old Testament times? How is our role different, as ministers of the gospel today?
- We believe in the priesthood of all believers, so how can we learn from this chapter, ways in which we are able to approach God today?
- To what degree do I live, realising that I only have one life and that I will be accountable to God for what I do with my life?
- Am I living my life with a genuine expectation that Jesus will be coming back?
God bless you!
Bible Study: Hebrews 9
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