The Earthly Holy Place
9 Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence. It is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.
Redemption Through the Blood of Christ
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
Hebrews 9 Commentary
by Hank Workman
“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?”Hebrews 9:11-14
The author of Hebrews has gone to great lengths, many chapters, in laying out the reality and case of Jesus being far superior to the standard of forgiveness offered to the Jews for centuries. I hope you’ve not been overwhelmed by a lot of these chapters as the wonderful truth of Jesus has shone through His ultimate sacrifice. We must remember that the audience initially written to were Jews struggling with leaving the old behind and embracing the new work and ultimate Son of God Himself, Jesus.
And so, point by point, even case by case the author has walked the reader through what they used to do and how it didn’t work completely and how Jesus’ final sacrifice brought the ultimate forgiveness.
The beauty from the verses above speak, however, even to us. Even though we may know Christ, many times we believe or at least act like we have to work hard enough personally, doing this and that and whatnot to make ourselves good enough for God. Yet, rules and regulations have never been the way; they’ve never cleansed us from our sin. This was the issue of the ancient Jewish audience even. But through the miraculous and astounding blood of Jesus, his ultimate sacrifice for each one of us, our consciences have been cleansed. We are freed from the fear of death and the sting it brings; allowing us to live fully for God in such glorious freedom. And truly most liberating is through Jesus we are freed from the power of sin that has ruled us. What an incredible, amazing thing Jesus has done!
If you’re struggling with guilt, wrestling with your conscience over some aspect of your life – stop and look at Jesus. Take another look at His sacrifice and what it means for you personally. Jesus can and does forgive our sin, can cleanse our conscience and free us from the frustrating guilt we have. He’s waiting to do so!
Hebrews 9 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
The author of Hebrews captures the incredible depth of what Jesus did for sinners. It is both stunning and poetic.
And just as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, judgment— 28 so also the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.Hebrews 9:27-28 HCSB
This is probably the most foundational statement in the entire Bible that describes the purpose of Jesus’ first and second coming. Salvation is not just the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. It also includes His second coming which will complete the Salvation process and prove that His sacrifice was acceptable to God.
In ancient Israel, on the Day of Atonement, all the people would gather and eagerly await for the high priest to appear from the Holy of Holies. His appearance and blessing would confirm to the people that the sacrifice was accepted by God. So, it could be said that the second coming of Jesus is confirmation that His sacrifice on our behalf was accepted by God.
Now, this brings up an interesting thought. Who will be the ones to receive Salvation?
“…but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.”Hebrews 9:28b HCSB
Those who awaited the return of Aaron’s sons were eager. They waited and watched for the return of the high priest because they understood the urgency and the priority at hand. However, there is a difference between us and them. They were uncertain of if the sacrifice would be accepted; we have absolute assurance! Therefore, how much more should we be anticipating the return of our High Priest?
When He comes He will bring the completion of Salvation and prove His work on the cross sufficient. Is it possible that there are some today who call themselves Christians who are not eagerly awaiting Him? Absolutely.
“It is assumed that all believers will eagerly wait for Him. It’s a sad case that this assumption doesn’t always play out as true!”David Guzik