The Book of Hebrews #31 chapter 9:1-14 pt. 2
The Book of Hebrews
The New Covenant, Part 4
Hebrews 9:1-14
 
Last week we began our study of Hebrews 9 by looking at the comparison the author provides between the Old and New Covenants.
 
He begins with the Sanctuary and describes the physical layout of the tabernacle in the wilderness along with some of the furnishings and what they teach us about the superiority of the New Covenant.
 
Tonight we move to verse 6 and following where we see
 
2.  The Services
 
verse 6
 
The first division of the Tabernacle was called the Holy Place. The priests went in there every day. They had to go in every day to trim the oil on the lamp stand and prepare the incense on the altar.  Then they had to go in every Sabbath Day to change the 12 loaves of bread. So they were in and out of there every day. This was a never-ceasing, ongoing work.
 
And again, that is a perfect picture of Jesus Christ, who does not cease lighting, who does not cease feeding, who does not cease interceding on our behalf. It is perpetual. It is continual. Aren't you glad you have a Christ who never stops His priestly work? He is constantly and perpetually going about His priestly duty on our behalf.
 
Then notice verse 7
 
Now while everything in that tabernacle was significant and symbolic of Jesus, nothing pictures Christ more than what is described in verse 7.
 
The statement in verse 7 refers to the Day of Atonement.  It is still recognized by the Jews as Yom Kippur.  And in my opinion, it is God’s supreme Old Testament picture of Christ.
 
And the writer of Hebrews doesn’t give any detail about it here in chapter 9 because his original readers knew all about it.  We want to keep in mind he is writing to Jews, so they are well-versed in what he’s discussing.
 
Now since we’re not Jews, I want to spend some time and give you some detail so you understand the teaching of this chapter.
 
Now we know God had a relationship with Israel, but every time Israel sinned, that relationship was affected.  And the repair and restoration of that relationship depended upon the work of the priest going into the Tabernacle to do their work.
 
So all through the year, sins are piling up.  And it’s probable that after a while you didn’t even remember all the sins and some would slip through the cracks and no sacrifices would be offered for them, and as verse 7 says, they were committed ihn ignorance.
 
 
 
So the Day of Atonement was kind of a catch-up service. All of the ones for which you had not made direct sacrifice would be gathered together, and they would all be covered in the sacrifice of the Day of Atonement for the whole nation.
 
So it was a great day of liberty of the conscience. All through the year you'd been racking up these sins,  and you knew you'd remembered some of them but you hadn't remembered all of them, and if you were conscientious at all, you knew these needed to be dealt with or you and God had problems.
 
So you longed for the Day of Atonement, because when the sacrifice was made, at least for a few minutes you could be free. Sin severed the relationship. Only forgiveness through sacrifice could put it together. And so there needed to be a day to clear the record and make sure an atonement was offered for all the things that people had forgotten. And so that was the Day of Atonement.
 
Now, let's look at how that happened.
 
Very early in the morning on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest arose, cleansed himself by washing, and got dressed in the High Priestly garments.  This outfit was only for this day.
 
First, there was the robe of the ephod. On its shoulders were two large onyx stones engraved with the names of the tribes of Israel.
 
Then there was the tunic, and on it was a breastplate adorned with 12 precious stones, each one of them having on it engraved one name of a tribe.
 
And you will remember from a few weeks back, this meant the priest entered the Tabernacle with the names of Israel on his shoulders and on his heart. And there he is a perfect picture of Jesus Christ, who takes us not only on His heart, which means He cares for us, but on His shoulders, which means He's not only willing, He's able.
 
So the high priest got himself all cleaned up and put on his robes. Then he began to do his daily sacrifices. He had to go through the whole routine of all the sacrifices. One writer says, very likely, he would have already slaughtered 22 different animals by the time he reached the event known as Atonement. It was a very busy and very bloody thing that he did every day.
 
Then when he finished all of the work of sacrifice, it was time to get ready for the requirements of the Day of Atonement.  This was only once a year.
 
He first removed the robes of glory and beauty, bathed himself again from top to bottom so he was completely clean, then put on a garment of pure white linen with no decoration at all. And it was a symbol of holiness and purity.
 
Again, that is a perfect symbol of Jesus Christ.  When Jesus came to the is earth as an atonement for sin, He stripped off all of His glory and all of His beauty and became the humblest of humble, dressed in the simplest, if we will say so, linen of human flesh. But don’t miss the fact that it is a robe of white.  He took off the glory, but He never took off the purity.
 
 
And by the way, I’ll just go ahead and insert it now,
when the high priest was done with the sacrifice of atonement, he immediately put back on the robes of glory and beauty.
 
Remember Jesus, after He'd come to the cross, and He was preparing for the cross, in His prayer in John 17, He said, "Father, I've finished the work you gave me to do. Now glorify me with the glory that I had before the world began.”  In so many words, Jesus is saying, Father, I’m ready to put my robes back on.  I've done the job of atonement." That's exactly what the priest pictured.
 
So the priest put on the robes of linen, simple, pure white robes.  He would then take coals off the brazen altar where the sacrifice is going to be made.
You find reference to that in verse 4.  The golden censer was not a piece of furniture, but rather a container used to transport  the coals off the altar of sacrifice into the Holy of Holies.
 
Again, that is a beautiful picture of Christ. Access to the Holy of Holies is made possible because of the sacrifice that was made.  Only because of Jesus is there access to God.
 
Then he goes out and sacrifices a bullock that he has purchased himself.  This one represents his own personal sin.  He slaughters the bullock, catches the blood, walks into the Holy of Holies and sprinkles it on the Mercy Seat for his own sin.
 
Now this particular act is not symbolic of Jesus.  Remember what we read in chapter 7, verse 7.
 
Jesus doesn’t have to offer sacrifice for His own sins because He didn't have any. But the priest had to, and so first of all he had to go in and get himself right before God, and he sprinkled the blood of the bullock, tradition says seven times up one side, seven times down the other side. And then he hurried out.  He was always in a hurry to get out.
 
Now remember, the people are out in the courtyard watching all of this happen.  And I would guess the first time he came out there would be this collective sigh of relief.  He made it!
 
If he went in there unclean, he could be dead. There were so many rules about the priesthood, and it kept saying in Leviticus "that he not die, that he not die, that he not die." If he didn't do it right, he'd drop dead on the spot.
Now, when he came out, there were two goats waiting for him by the brazen altar, along with two little urns.  Each one contained a little piece of scarlet cloth.  One was marked “for Jehovah” and the other “for Azial” which means “for scapegoat”.
 
He would pull out those little pieces of cloth and mark the goats with them.  The goat that was designated for Jehovah was then killed on the altar. The blood was caught in the same way.  The priest would re-enter the Holy of Holies, and this time the blood was for the people.  He sprinkled it all on the Mercy Seat, and hurried back out, and again there was a sigh of relief when he made it out.
 
 
 
 
Now when he came out this time, there was that scapegoat standing there. The priest would put his hands on the scapegoat, confess his own sins and the sins of all of Israel, and symbolically transfer them over to the goat. That goat was then taken way out into the wilderness. They would travel as far as the Law permitted which was a Sabbath Day’s journey round trip, and then turn the goat loose.
 
Some said that they would push him off a cliff. Some tradition says they killed the goat. The best tradition indicates they just turned him loose way out in the wilderness. They wanted to be sure that that goat didn't come back. They had enough trouble forgetting their sin without a goat with a red ribbon tied to its horn wandering through camp.
 
So what do those goats teach us?  The first goat represented satisfaction. Christ's death satisfied God’s righteous wrath.  He bore all the fires of judgment. He shed His blood. He paid the penalty. It was done.
 
The second goat represents the removal of sin which satisfies man. The first goat satisfies God. The second goat satisfies us.
 
And by the way, the two are not two separate and distinct offerings.  They are one and they must not and should not be separated or viewed independently.
 
Leviticus 16:5 says, "And he shall take two kids of a goat for a sin offering." They're just two parts of the same thing.
 
So in that offering there was satisfaction to God and satisfaction for men. There was both propitiation and pardon.  Again, they are perfect copies of Jesus.  He was both the substitution and propitiation. He died on the altar and shed His blood and at the same time bore away our sins.
 
Now, what is the significance of this?
 
verses 8 to 10
 
Here we find the purpose of the Old Covenant. The Holy Spirit wanted to teach something by this whole thing and He uses it as an illustration to teach three things.  Under the Old Covenant,
 
1. Worship was Limited
 
Verse 8
 
There was no access.  Remember, the high priest carried the people to God on his heart and on his shoulders, but they didn’t physically enter.  It was only symbolic.  And if the mind and heart of the priest were thinking spiritually, there must have been a certain degree of joy and relief, and at the same time disappointment and burden, because even though he entered the presence of God, he couldn’t stay there and he couldn’t get the people and leave them.
 
They went in, but they always came back out. I wonder how many times a priest must have gone into that holy place and just wish he could stay there a while?  I wonder if he ever wished he could bring his wife or kids or best friend and let them get it on what he got to witness and be involved in?
But he couldn’t and they couldn’t. He may have had it on his heart, but he didn't have the strength in his shoulders.
 
This whole thing provided no access and that’s what the Holy Spirit was teaching.  There is no access to God without a perfect priest and a perfect sacrifice and a perfect covenant. And by allowing the people to go no further than the outer court, and allowing the priest to go no further than the Holy Place, the Holy Spirit signified the old system was limited.
 
By the way, what is the Holiest of All?  Someone says, “The inner room of the Temple.”  No.  It’s heaven.  And ultimately, the teaching is you can’t get to Heaven through the Old Covenant.
 
 Am I saying that no Jew in the Old Testament ever went to heaven? No. They did. But they didn't go to heaven because of the old sacrificial system. They went to heaven because Jesus died for them.
 
And if you will remember, up until the crucifixion, they didn’t go to Heaven.  They went to Paradise, Abraham’s Bosom, and at the time of the crucifixion, Jesus descended to lead captivity captive and delivered those Old Testament saints into the presence of God. 
 
They couldn’t enter into the Holiest of All, into the presence of God, until Jesus had made the sacrifice that opened the veil.
 
Therefore, under the Old Covenant, worship was limited.
 
 
Secondly, under the Old Ceovenant,
 
2.  Cleansing was Imperfect
 
Verse 9
 
Notice the word “symbolic”.  The Old KJV uses the word "figure".  IT comes from the word from which we get the word "parable." The whole thing was only a parable. It was only an object lesson to explain the reality. So, the Spirit meant to teach by that very thing itself that it had limits because it couldn't bring access and it couldn't bring perfect cleansing.
 
Thirdly,
 
3.  The Old Covenant was Temporary
 
verse 10
 
"Food and drink” are temporary.  Various washings?  Temporary.  Fleshy ordinances, likewise are temporary.
 
The whole thing was only a temporary thing never intended to be permanent. It was built-in obsolescence because it was all built on impermanent things, like food and drink and washing yourself. And all of these fleshly things, they were only signs that were imposed, “until the time of reformation”.
 
What does that mean?  Well, the word means “to set things right”.
 
 
Let me give you a translation that I think is best: to bring things to satisfaction or completion.
 
The first covenant was not satisfactory because it couldn't set things right. The new one can. You see, it was only fleshly, until the time of that which brought things to completion.  That's what Jesus did. He did everything the old one couldn't do because it was limited, imperfect and temporary.
 
Its sanctuary was divine.  Its services were meaningful. But the significance was it served only as a temporary picture of Christ until He came and brought satisfaction and completion.
 
That means if you don't have Jesus Christ, all you have is an inadequate system that was destined to vanish away.
 
On the other hand, if you have Jesus, you’ve got everything you need.
 
Let’s pray.

 

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