Hebrews chapter 9, class 12, Jesus Christ is the high priest mediator of a new and better covenant by death

April 1, 2009

Tod Kennedy

Main points to emphasize in Hebrew 9

  1. The first or old covenant with its regulations, furniture, and gifts and sacrifices was simply an inspired symbol to prepare people for Jesus Christ and His once for all sacrifice. The first covenant found its reality in Jesus Christ.
  2. The sacrifices of the old covenant could never and can never result in permanent forgiveness of sin and eternal life. The substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ did what the old covenant could never do.
  3. Christ returned to heaven as glorified God-man after successfully putting away sins by his substitutionary sacrifice. From heaven He appears before the Father on behalf of us and for our benefit.
  4. Christ will come to earth a second time, but this time for great blessing to believers. This is our great expectation.

Relationship of Hebrews 7, 8, 9, 10

  1. Hebrews 7 teaches that Christ’s Melchizedek priesthood is a better.
  2. Hebrews 8 teaches that Christ’s new covenant is better.
  3. Hebrews 9 teaches that Christ’s tabernacle-sanctuary is better.
  4. Hebrews 10 teaches that Christ’s sacrifice is better.

Outline

  1. The Levitical priests served in the earthly tabernacle and this tabernacle had limited and symbolic value (9:1-10).
  2. Jesus Christ, our high priest, served through the heavenly tabernacle by his once for all sacrifice (9:11-14).
  3. Jesus Christ mediated the new covenant by His death which is required of a covenant maker (9:15-17).
  4. Moses began the first covenant (old Mosaic covenant) by the death of sacrificial animals ((9:18-22).
  5. Jesus Christ offered Himself once to put away sin and then entered heaven where He will be until he comes to earth a second for salvation for those who await Him (9:23-28).

Hebrews 9 Study

  1. Hebrews 9:1-10. The Levitical priests served in the earthly tabernacle and this tabernacle had limited and symbolic value.
    1. Verse 1. The old covenant was designed for worship (λατρεία, ας, ἡ, latreia; service, mostly religious. S2999) and Israel’s tabernacle and temple. The old covenant had regulations δικαίωμα, ατος, τό dikaioma, requirement, regulation, commandment, S1345. The words for earthly sanctuary are ἅγιον κοσμικόν, hagion kosmikon. These are in the accusative because they are direct objects. Holy, hagios ἅγιος, α, ον is an adjective and is also used for believers (saints). In kosmikon you can see kosmos, world.
    2. Verses 2-5. This is a description of the earthly sanctuary or tabernacle (σκηνή, ῆς, ἡ skene S4633, tent, booth). In the holy place is the lampstand, the sacred bread, and the altar of incense (Exodus 26:35; 40:22,24,26). There were two curtains, one at the entrance of the holy place and one at the entrance to the holy of holies. The golden altar was at the entrance to the holy of holies right by the curtain. It was not in the holy of holies, but it was associated with the holy of holies because the high priest carried the incense from that altar into the holy of holies (1 Kings 16:22). Inside the holy of holies was the ark or box. Associated with the box were the jar of manna, Aaron’s rod, and the stone tablets. Over the ark-box were the golden cherubim looking down on the mercy seat (the cover of the ark-box), also called the place of propitiation.
    3. Verse 6. The priests day after day carry out their duties in the courtyard and in the holy place (the first room).
    4. Verse 7. Entrance into the holy of holies (the second room) was restricted to the high priest. He could only enter on the Day of Atonement every year (see Leviticus 16 for the Day of Atonement).
    5. Verse 8. The repeating tabernacle ritual was a teaching aid used by the Holy Spirit. It taught the Hebrew people that entrance into God’s presence had not yet been permanently secured. The permanent entrance will be gained by Messiah sometime in the future.
    6. Verse 9. The tabernacle was a symbol indicating that the gifts and sacrifices were only temporary solutions to sin. The gifts and sacrifices cannot permanently remove the guilt of sin (“cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience”).
    7. Verse 10. The tabernacle service operated according to its regulations (regulations δικαίωμα, ατος, τό dikaioma, requirement, regulation, commandment, S1345). was only temporary (until a time of reformation). Reformation is διόρθωσις, εως, ἡ diorthosis, a process leading to a new order, improvement. S1357. This time of the new order was when Christ died once or all sins and all people. At that point things changed. There was no more need for the tabernacle service.
  2. Jesus Christ, our high priest, served through heavenly tabernacle by his once for all sacrifice (9:11-14).
    1. Verses 11-12. Christ, the Melchizedek high priest, was able to enter the heavenly holy place, the presence of God through (dia plus the genitive of “His own blood”, by means of) His own blood. He did not do this by or through the blood of animal sacrifices. He was the sacrifice. And He did this “once for all.” No more sacrifice was needed. The result was eternal redemption, redemption that lasts forever.
      1. Verse 12. “having obtained” is εὑρίσκω eurisko S21247, to find, obtain, get for oneself; aorist middle participle. Christ is the subject. The middle voice suggest that he did this through Himself. The aorist participle is antecedent action to the verb “he entered” in verse 12.
      2. Verse 13. The animal sacrifices did a temporary job. Christ, by his blood sacrifice does a complete job of cleansing and making it possible for believers to serve God. Note some words that are important for the meaning.
        1. “eternal Spirit.” The Holy Spirit empowered the humanity of Jesus Christ. This calls to mind Jesus’ prayer in the garden when he asked the Father for help to do His will.
        2. “without blemish.” Jesus was the sinless sacrifice.
        3. “cleanse your conscience.” One does not need to follow the Mosaic ordinances. They did not have any reason to be guilty for not following he Law. All guilt from failure to keep the law ordinances was removed by His work.
        4. “dead works.” The works of the law that were unable to give life.
  3. Jesus Christ mediated the new covenant by His death which is required of a covenant maker (9:15-17).
    1. Verse 15. Christ’s death redeemed those who lived under the first covenant. They may receive the promised eternal inheritance which is eternal life in heaven and rewards for service. This then teaches that the death of Christ went back to benefit those who lived before His earthy life and substitutionary death.
    2. Verses 16-17. For a covenant to be valid, someone must die. This is like a will. For the will to take effect the one who authored the will must die. Christ died and so His new covenant came into power. Covenant διαθήκη, ης, ἡ diatheke S1242 . disposition of property by will, a testament, last will and testament, a compact, contract.
  4. Moses began the first covenant (old Mosaic covenant) by the death of sacrificial animals ((9:18-22).
    1. Verses 18-21. The Mosaic covenant was inaugurated with blood, ἐγκαινίζω egkainizo, perfect passive indicative; to renew, to ratify, to inaugurate, to dedicate. This was the blood of the animals. Moses ratified the Law and the tabernacle with its vessels. See Exodus 24:6-8, 40:9-15, and Matthew 26:28.
      1. Verse 22. Forgiveness can only be granted through substitutionary sacrificial death. Shedding of blood refers to the taking of life, to death. The Old Testament clearly taught this. The first case was when God killed animals to make coats of skin for Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21).
        1. There was an exception in the old covenant. If someone was to poor to offer an animal, that person could bring an offering of flour (Leviticus 5:11). The principle of blood sacrifice still holds. Christ by His death paid for all sins—past, present, and future.
  5. Jesus Christ offered Himself once to put away sin and then entered heaven where He will be until he comes to earth a second for salvation for those who await Him (9:23-28).
    1. Verse 23. Because of this principle just stated the earthly tabernacle had to be cleansed by a blood sacrifice (death) to provide ceremonial cleansing. The earthly tabernacle was merely a copy of the heavenly tabernacle. The heavenly tabernacle—the real thing—was cleansed by Christ’s own sacrifice.
    2. Verse 24. The heavenly tabernacle is now associated with heaven. He entered heaven “to appear in the presence of God for us.” This refers to his mediatorial work of death, resurrection, ascension, and intercession.
    3. Verses 25-26. The writer again clearly says that Christ sacrificed Himself only once to put away sins. He did not offer Himself over and over like the old covenant high priest offered sacrifices every year on the day of atonement.
      1. The consummation of the ages refers to the central point of history. The death of Christ for mankind’s sins is the central point in human history. This sacrifice is the key to resolving the angelic conflict; it is the key to reestablishing the dominion mandate under Christ’s rule; it is the key to glory God in spite of rebellion by Satan, Satan’s angels, and by man.
      2. Verses 27-28 conclude this section of the author’s argument with a summary and applications.
        1. Sin has consequences. All mankind face death. That is the way life ends. After death God will judge each person. There is no escape except by God’s intervention—Jesus the high priest.
        2. Christ came the first time to earth for the purpose to offer Himself as the sin bearer. This has been the emphasis so far in Hebrews. “Having been offered” προσφέρω prosphero, S4374, aorist passive participle, to bring, to present, to offer.
          1. “Once” is the word ἅπαξ hapax, a single occurance, once. We have the phrase hapax legomenon meaning a word is used only once in a body of writing. Here it means Christ was offered only once.
        3. Christ will come a second time to bring the historical results of salvation to each believer who eagerly awaits him. The historical results are a resurrection body, freedom from sin, kingdom blessings, and rewards. Note that this coming is not to offer Himself for sin. That was done, “offered once to bear the sins of many.”
          1. “He will appear” is ὁράω horaw, S3708, future passive indicative, to be seen by the eye, to notice, to catch sight of. People will see Him when He returns.
        4. The second time He come for blessing “to those who eagerly await Him,” ἀπεκδέχομα apekdechomai, to expect anxiously, eagerly await, present middle participle, masculine dative, ethical dative. At the coming of Christ all believers will be joined in company with Him (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Those who anxiously expect Him will receive their salvation inheritance—rewards and blessings.
  6. Review main points to emphasize in Hebrews 9
    1. The first or old covenant with its regulations, furniture, and gifts and sacrifices was simply an inspired symbol to prepare people for Jesus Christ and His once for all sacrifice. The first covenant found its reality in Jesus Christ.
    2. The sacrifices of the old covenant could never and can never result in permanent forgiveness of sin and eternal life. The substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ did what the old covenant could never do.
    3. Christ returned to heaven as glorified God-man after successfully putting away sins by his substitutionary sacrifice. From heaven He appears before the Father on behalf of us and for our benefit.
    4. Christ will come to earth a second time, but this time for great blessing to believers. This is our great expectation.