The Best Sacrifice & Tabernacle, Hebrews 9.

The first Tabernacle from Moses was a sanctuary in a physical world, which became a Temple. Primarily and prayerfully sanctifying the spiritual activity & welfare of Hebrews and any proselytized foreigners, see 1st Kings 8:40-43 Isa. 56:7, 60:4-7.  Many things were made of, or overlaid with gold, it was still a man made, temporal structure – a far cry from heaven itself where our present High Priest currently serves. The Nation of Israel had very limited access to the Temple’s inner chamber, “The Holy of Holies”.  Only the high priest could enter, and then only once a year, and “not without blood” (Heb 9:7). These restrictions did more than signify the holiness of God; they indicated “that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing” (9:8). Not even the High Priest could enter without the blood of an animal. How would that make him,  “a human being”, clean? That is, on its own merits, the tabernacle worship “cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience” (9:9).  Spiritual access to heaven, as in full fellowship with God, was unattainable by the laws of Moses. A genuine Israelite should have been aware that ultimate forgiveness was yet in the future, and that in his present time he was granted a favorable position by God’s grace via these “fleshly ordinances.”  How this should have made him long for the “the Lamb of God” to take away his sins!

The nature and accomplishments of Christ Jesus make him “the Mediator of a new covenant” (9:15), a covenant of “better promises” about eternal redemption & inheritance (8:6; 9:12, 15).  But what is it exactly that sets the bloody sacrifice of Jesus apart from all others? It involved the free-will offering of an eternal spirit (9:14).  The blood of animals had nothing to do with free will, the spirit or moral purity.  They were fine physical specimens of no moral significance slaughtered against their own will.  While this satisfied God’s requirements of ritual purification (see, for example, Lev 12), there was no ultimate cleansing of the conscience from transgression.  The blood sacrifice of Jesus, on the other hand, was morally pure & an eternal spirit freely offering Himself for the sins of others. Not only was this offering effective, it was eternally effective – “once for all” (9:12).  This was the ultimate plan of God before the world began – to redeem sinful humanity to Himself by the blood of His Son. This blood would be unique, as biologically, there was no man involved in His conception. The Holy Spirit of God created his blood via the ovum of Mary. An astounding divine and human biological miracle!

The author makes three points to establish the necessity of the death of God’s Son – a huge stumbling block to the Jew.  First, having just described salvation as an “eternal inheritance,” he notes that a will only goes into effect when the testator dies (9:16-17).  This should further help the Jew accept why his Messiah had to die. Secondly, blood has always been associated with the dedication of holy things (9:18-21).  If the Jew could accept at face value the necessity of the Law, the tabernacle and its furnishings being dedicated with blood, could he not see the necessity of the new covenant and the heavenly tabernacle being dedicated with divine blood?  Thirdly, “without shedding of blood there is no remission” (9:22). The penalty for violating God’s law is death, Rom. 3:23 & 5:12.

The very idea of having a need for a Savior to return to earth for ongoing sins, indicates our reality in the Hebrew writer’s mind. Our reality is that the church is the spiritual body of Christ while simultaneously, the resurrected body of Christ sits by the Throne in Heaven, 9:23-28. “While we wait”, means much more than twiddling our thumbs; this waiting involves the body of Christ loving God and serving the lost as the true tabernacle on earth, while we look for his reappearance, 1st Corinthians 1:6-7 & Galatians 6:1-8.

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