The Book of Hebrews #34 chapter 9:15-28 pt. 2
The Book of Hebrews
The New Covenant, Part 7
Hebrews 9:15-28
 
Last week we covered verses 15-18 where we began looking at the reasons Christ had to die.  We noted first of all that God made a promise and that promise operated very much like a will operates in our culture.  In fact, it is referred to as a testament or a covenant in these verses.
 
Now in order for a will to become active, the originator of the will has to die.  In God’s case, He made a covenant agreement with Israel, and through them to the rest of the world, but the will was contingent upon Him dying.  And at that point, the deity of Jesus Christ becomes very significant.  Because if Jesus is not God, then God didn’t die and if God didn’t die, then the will is still inactive.
 
The writer of Hebrews is making the point that the death of Jesus was sufficient to activate the will because He was God in the flesh.  That argument, he’s been building since the very first verses of chapter 1.  Remember, He began by presenting Jesus as the Heir of all things.  He was the One Who framed the worlds.  He is the express image of the very Person of God.
 
Therefore, He is superior to the angels and Moses and the Law and the Sacrifices and everything else that was Old Covenant.  And when He died, God died and the provisions of the will are now available to those who are rightful heirs.
 
 
Then remember, we shifted gears at verse 18. Not only was the death of Jesus necessary to activate the will, but also because
 
2.  Forgiveness Demands Blood
 
Verse 18
 
Now the point is whether you are referencing the Old Covenant with animals or the New Covenant with Christ, covenants have always been ratified by blood. And if you doubt the necessity of the death of Jesus, even the first was not dedicated without blood. So if the first covenant was ratified by blood, what's so shocking about the second one being ratified the same way?
 
Then look at verse 19. And here He digs into the old covenant and it's a very interesting study.
 
Verses 19-20
 
Now remember, he’s talking to Jews so he takes them back to Moses and says, “With the first covenant, it was all about blood.”
 
Let’s go back to Exodus 19 and just look at the details of what he was talking about.  They knew what he was referencing; we need a refresher.
 
verse 5-8
 
And the Lord secretly said to Himself, “Yeah, right.”
 
 
 
 
So the covenant is established.  So from there, God gave them the various characteristics in the covenant.
 
In chapter 20, they get the Ten Commandments, but that's only the beginning of the Mosaic covenant. In verse 24, He gives him a little grace provision. He knows they're not going to make it.
 
Verses 24-26
 
In other words, you don't want people to be able to see up your dress tail while you’re going up to the altar.  It was a very sacred place, and He didn't even want carved stone. It was to be sacred, because it was a place where they could atone for sin.
 
From there, in chapter 21 He gives him all kinds of details. There are rules applying to slaves and personal injury. He deals with theft. Chapter 22 deals with property damage and dishonesty and immorality.  There's some civil and religious obligations closing out 22 and opening up 23.  Then there are all kinds of ceremonial rules in 23:10-19 and how they are to deal with defeated enemies.
 
So suffice it to say, the terms of the Mosaic covenant covered a lot of stuff. And according to Hebrews 9:19, Moses read every bit of it to the people.  Then notice what happened next.
 
Verse 19b
 
Historically, covenants had always been ratified by blood.
 
When God made a covenant with Abraham, He knocked Abraham him out with a divine anesthetic, slaughtered some animals, cut them in half and laid the bloody pieces on two sides, and then God passed between the bloody pieces. So not only the Mosaic Covenant, even the Abrahamic covenant was sealed by blood. And the Jews knew all about that.
 
Now, back in Exodus notice what happens at
 
Chapter 24, verse 1
 
Notice, it's always at a distance.  There was no access to God under the old covenant.
 
Verse 2
 
Moses is functioning in the role of High Priest.
 
Verse 3
 
They have great intentions.
 
Verse 4-8
 
See what’s happening?  That was God's requirement, and that’s what we read in Hebrews 9:19.
 
Now, by the way, just so there is no confusion, note that the writer of Hebrews adds for us certain detail that's not included in Exodus 24.
 
For example, He adds the goats. There aren't any goats in Exodus 24. Perhaps they were a special sin offering.
 
He adds water there. And water was not in Exodus 24 either.  However, it does show up in Leviticus 14:6 and in Numbers 19 to mix with blood in order to prevent it from coagulating so that when blood was sprinkled, the mixture of water thinned it out a little bit, making it easier to sprinkle.
 
Then He mentions also scarlet wool and hyssop. And they are also used in Leviticus 14 to sprinkle. They were tools used in sprinkling the blood.  And then he indicates at the end of verse 19, that he sprinkled not only the book but all the people and in Exodus 24 it says he sprinkled the altar and the people.
 
Does that mean we have contradictions?  I think it means we have completion.  Apparently he sprinkled the altar, the book and the people and the point he’s making is what a bloody mess this whole thing was.
 
I don't think we can really understand how bloody, how messy, this whole system really was. It was a messy thing and there was blood all over everywhere, and this was God, in living color, illustrating the seriousness of sin and that the wages of sin is death.
 
And as Christians, we make much of the blood of Jesus.  But don’t lose sight of the fact that the blood is an illustration or reminder of the fact that Jesus died. His bloodshed is synonymous with His death.  And it is a picture of the fact that sin could only be dealt with through death.
 
Israel, above anyone else, should have been able to understand that because of what God instituted among them with the sacrificial system.  In fact, that’s what Moses is talking about in verse 20.
verse 20
 
Notice the word "commanded." He doesn't say, "This is the blood of the covenant which you and God made together." "This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you and said, 'You obey it.'" God’s covenant calls for obedience and the blood was the confirming sign.
 
Do you remember the words of Jesus at the supper table the night before His death?  He picked up the cup and said, "This is my blood of the New Covenant in my blood which is shed for you."
 
He was just playing off of Exodus, chapter 24. He was to be the ratifier of the new covenant and it would come through His blood. The shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ, His atoning death, is the confirming sign of the new covenant.
 
And so the blood was a token of both covenants and the point of the writer is so well made. Why did Jesus have to die? Number one, he had a will to give and He had to die to free His will.
 
Number two, forgiveness is always based on blood and a covenant is ratified by blood. So Jesus brought a new covenant with forgiveness; therefore, He had to die.  Then he goes a step further.
 
Verse 21
 
 
 
 
 
Everything was contingent upon the blood.  The Tabernacle, the vessels of the Tabernacle, every bit of divine service was sprinkled with because God wanted men to know that every covenant He ever made with man was a covenant that relied upon bloodshed to deal with sin.
 
And then He wraps up this thought in verse 22
 
Wherever there is forgiveness, there is bloodshed. That's God's way.
 
And notice the word “almost” in verse 22.  There were some exceptions. I'm glad the word "almost" is in there, or we'd have a problem because there were some super-poor Israelites who couldn't afford an animal and didn’t have one available.
 
They were allowed to bring one-tenth of an ephod of fine flour (around two quarts) as a sin offering. If they were so poor that they couldn't afford a couple of turtledoves or pigeons, they could bring that. But that's the only loophole in the whole bloody system. The exceptions were very rare. Without the shedding of blood, there wasn't any forgiveness.
 
In Leviticus 17:11, they were told, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul." There is nothing else, other than bloodshed that can atone for sin.
 
You can't enter into God's presence by being good. You can't enter into God's presence by being a fine citizen.
You can't enter into God's presence by going through religious ritual. You can't enter into God's presence by reading the Bible, by going to church, by being a member, by thinking sweet thoughts about God. The only way you'll ever enter into God's presence and into participation in the new covenant is by the death of Jesus Christ and your faith and belief in His shed blood on the cross in your behalf. That's the only way. That's the only access.
 
God set the rules. "The soul that sins, it shall die." And then God, in grace, moved right back in and provided a death substitute. Jesus' death is the only thing that satisfies God. And He splattered blood all over the Old Testament as a reminder that bloodshed was the only remedy for sin.
 
Forgiveness is an extremely costly commodity.  How lightly we take the forgiveness of God when we rush into His presence, recite a couple of things we did that were wrong, and say, "Thanks for forgiving me," and think no more about it.
 
Forgiveness isn't just God looking down and saying, "Oh, it's all right. I like you a lot, and I'll just let it go." It's the costliest thing in the universe. Without bloodshed, there is no forgiveness of sins. If you are forgiven, it is because somebody died.
 
verse 23
 
Outside of Christ, everything else was just a sketch or a pattern of what was really in heaven. Jesus is superior to any goat, bull, ram or sheep and if it was necessary that the copy had to have sacrifices, how much more necessary that the reality had to have a better sacrifice?
The blood of the old covenant was nothing but a picture of the shed blood of Jesus. And the death of Jesus Christ is that which satisfies God.
 
And God was so satisfied with what Jesus did that He highly exalted Him and gave Him a name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, things in the earth and under the earth. God exalted Him and lifted Him up to the highest place He could lift Him to, His own right hand, because of what He had done. He was so satisfied. God is satisfied with Jesus.
 
Now think about the impact of that.  He's not satisfied with me.  He's not satisfied with you either. That's why when I come to God, I must come in the name of Jesus Christ.  When I enter into God's presence, I don't enter in my own righteousness, I enter in the righteousness of Christ, because God's not satisfied with my righteousness. God is satisfied with Jesus, and only Jesus.
 
But the death of Jesus Christ purchased forgiveness. He recognized that God was the one that had to be satisfied, and He offered His blood, and thus revealed God's love and mercy and forgiveness for all who believe.
 
verse 24
 
He didn't go into an earthly Holy of Holies. He went into the presence of God. And He did it for us. And isn't it beautiful to realize that when He went in we went in with Him? We're in Christ, therefore we are welcomed into the presence of God with Him.
 
Verse 25
There again we see the superiority of the sacrifice of Christ. It was better, first of all because, when he got done He entered right into the presence of God and stayed there and number two, He never had to do it again.
 
On the other hand, they had to do it “often.  In the Old Testament they kept repeating it over and over, but Jesus didn't have to.
 
Now that deserves a close look, and we don’t have time to get into it tonight, so I’m going to stop there.  Then next week we’ll look at why Jesus never had to repeat the sacrifice, beginning at verse 26, and then we’ll finish out with the third reason Jesus had to die.
 
He died to activate the will.  He had to die because forgiveness demands blood and then there is a third reason.  Go ahead a read on down for yourself this week and see if you can find it, then we’ll compare notes next week.
 
Let’s pray

 

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