Welcome back to our study of the book of Hebrews, today we’ll be focusing on Hebrews 9:11-28, the redemption through the blood of Christ. Last week, we talked about the inferiority of the first covenant’s temple and its practices and regulations. Every piece of furniture within the tabernacle of Moses was symbolic of a greater spiritual reality in the new covenant. The writer showed from the first ten verses of chapter 9 that the old covenant’s tabernacle was indeed a shadow and a copy of the realities of the new covenant’s tabernacle. In the remaining verses of chapter 9, he is going to now show that the sacrificial system of the old covenant was also inferior to the sacrifice wrought by Christ on the cross.
Redemption Through The Blood Of Christ
The Passage: Hebrews 9:11-28
Redemption Through the Blood of Christ
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come,[a] then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 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. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify[b] for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our[c] conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
15 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.[d] 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19 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, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
23 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. 24 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. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 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. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 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.
- Verses 11-12
When Jesus Christ took upon a human nature through the virgin birth, He began the reformation. He was the High Priest of the better promises God had sworn to give to His people in Jeremiah 31:31-34. We spoke extensively about the better promises of the new covenant in chapter 8. Jesus Christ acquired those promises on behalf of the people of God, HE is the only reason why those promises were made available. We saw in chapter 4 that He has passed through the heavens and is seated at the right hand of God. HE has surpassed the Levites because He went through the heavenly tabernacle where HE ministers. He went through the actual tabernacle that was revealed to Moses, the one that God Himself had erected, a temple undefiled by man’s hands. The writer by this argument is showing the superiority of Jesus, the High Priest of the better promises of the new covenant. And He is also going to show how this High Priest Jesus was able to enter the heavenly tabernacle. Jesus entered the heavenly tabernacle with His own blood. Let’s pause for a second and think about this. The High Priests under Aaron’s order were only allowed in the earthly tabernacle of Moses once a year by using the blood of goats and calves. And after the Day of Atonement, access to the Holy Of Holies was restricted until the following year’s Day of Atonement. After shedding His blood on the cross, Jesus Christ was received in the heavenly tabernacle. And unlike the High Priests under Aaron’s order, He performs His duties as a High Priest in the Holy Of Holies permanently. The writer is also showing here the worth of the blood of Jesus. His blood is so worthy that it gave Him permanent access into the Holy Of Holies. And why did Jesus do all this? First of all we need to understand that He did it voluntarily ( as recorded in John 10:17-18). And second, He did it to save mankind as recorded in Isaiah 53, to obtain an eternal salvation for the people of God, thus fulfilling the redemptive plan of God- restoring our fellowship with Him.
- Verses 13-14
The author is showing the inferiority of the blood of goats and bulls in comparison to the blood of Christ. The old covenant rituals and practices as we saw in chapter 8 only put an emphasis on the external ceremonial cleansing. This doesn’t mean that people didn’t have a spiritual experience. As long as the worshipers obeyed the prescribed regulations, they were declared clean. But these rituals couldn’t cleanse the conscience of the worshiper. He is going to talk extensively about this in chapter 10. We talked about the better promises of the new covenant in chapter 8. God the Holy Spirit was sent to us that we may be empowered to do will of God. But the Spirit of God couldn’t have been given to the people of God without the initial work of Christ. The giving of the Spirit was contingent on the obedience of Jesus- shedding His blood for the remission of sins in order that the Holy Spirit may come to dwell in us. Because mankind has a shallow view of the Holiness of God, we don’t understand what the law requires. Deuteronomy 6:5 calls us to love the Lord with all our hearts, might and minds. And not one of us can do that because of our sinful nature. God said, you shall be Holy for I the Lord am Holy. When Jesus shed His blood, sins were washed away and our bodies became the temple of the Holy Spirit. Our consciences were cleansed, and we received the righteousness of Jesus, that the Spirit of God could now dwell in us, for the sole purpose of living our lives for God. Let’s go to Acts 3:17-25 and Acts 2:37-39
- Verse 15
Because of all the reasons the writer just mentioned, it is evident without ambiguity that Jesus is indeed the mediator of a new covenant. Under the old covenant, the blessings depended on the obedience of God’s people. If they obeyed, they were blessed, and when they disobeyed , HE withheld His blessings. Not only were the blessings temporary, they were also temporal ( limited to this world i.e crops, rain, protection from enemies, sickness, basically material blessings). But the new covenant came with eternal blessings, because it is spiritual in its nature, that’s why the people of God were called to cast their gaze on things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. I do want to mention a key word here, the writer use the words “ those who are called”. The promised eternal inheritance mentioned here is only allotted to those God Himself has called by His own Sovereign Will. I just wanted to make that point clear. And once again, the writer reminds his original readers and us ultimately that this new covenant is possible because a death has occurred that has redeemed the people of GOD from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. See he reminds his readers that those transgressions were still counting against the people as long as the first covenant was effective.
- Verses 16-23
The word covenant carries with it the idea of will or testament. The writer in these verses want to put an emphasis on the necessity, reality and validity of the new covenant. First he explains what a covenant entails, death of the one who made it. A will isn’t effective unless or until the one who made it passes away. For the first covenant to be effective, Moses sprinkled the book of the covenant and the people with blood ( exodus 24:3-8). And the second element the writer mentions is the purification of the objects used in worship and forgiveness of sins only by blood. Let’s recall the significance of this practice. The ceremonial purification meant that the people were now acceptable to God. It’s important to understand the symbolism here, the earthly tabernacle as we mentioned before was supposed to convey the realities of the true tabernacle. Since God had ordained that remission of sins was through the shedding of blood only, and since purification came through the sprinkling of blood only, while the earthly, weaker tabernacle was purified with the blood of goats and bulls, the heavenly tabernacle had to be purified by the death of one whose blood was worthy. And there is none worthy but God, but since God couldn’t die, then HE had to take upon a human nature, shed His blood in order for the purification to occur. Now we know that the heavenly tabernacle was perfect so how could it be defiled? We need to understand that it had to do with people’s relationships to God. In order for the human race to bridge the gap to God, we have to be right with HIM. Sin separates us from God and there is literally nothing we can do to earn our way back to HIM because we’re already separated. So God Himself restored our fellowship with Him by the new covenant, that was inaugurated by the shed blood of Christ, and His blood also served as a propitiation and expiation for our sins. Now you see why the death of Christ was essential to the effectiveness of the new covenant.
- Verse 24
The reason why the new covenant and the death of Christ were necessary is because HE entered into the true sanctuary of God on behalf of the human race. Mankind was doomed, helpless, hopeless and desperately needed a representative because the first man Adam disobeyed God and caused the death of the entire human race. He didn’t have to do it, but HE did it voluntarily to demonstrated the love of God. The Scripture tells us how God demonstrated His love to us in 1 john.. (while we were still sinners Christ died for us).
- Verses 25-28
In these last verses of chapter 9, the writer again shows the weakness of the old covenant and its regulations. The high priests under Aaron’s order used the blood of goats and were only allowed to enter the Holy of Holies only once a year, and this process had to be repeated every year. Why? Because of its weakness and inability to blot out sin, it only served as a temporary remedy. But Jesus when He breathed His life on the cross uttered the words “ it is finished”, which means that God’s wrath against man was now satisfied and people’s sins were washed away. The veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom ,thus giving access symbolically on earth to anyone who would put their trust in Jesus. The writer’s argument here is that Jesus blood is so worthy that HE only had to offer Himself once. The Levites couldn’t even come close to this, first because they couldn’t offer their blood, because it was defiled, and they had to use animals blood which could only be used temporarily. He finishes this chapter with some strong words. Basically he is telling his readers that there is no middle ground. Jesus appeared to take away sins by His death, then Ministers now in the heavenly tabernacle and is going to come a second time, to save those who eagerly are waiting for HIM. We only have one shot at this, remember the story of the rich man Lazarus and the beggar. Lazarus asked for a second chance and it was too late. The writer is basically telling his readers to make their decision now. Those whom God has called will indeed receive eternal life on the second coming of Christ. And those who reject HIM will be eternally damned, and this is the TRUTH.
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