Main point summary
Christ's better blood was shed once-for-all, for the purification of our consciences so that we might be utterly saved, receiving a better, eternal salvation: serving the living God in his presence forever.
Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship
and m an earthly place of holiness.
For n a tent 1 was prepared,
the first section, in which were o the lampstand and p the table and q the bread of the Presence. 2
It is called the Holy Place.
Behind r the second curtain was a second section 1 called the Most Holy Place,
having the golden s altar of incense and t the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was u a golden urn holding the manna, and v Aaron’s staff that budded, and w the tablets of the covenant.
Above it were x the cherubim of glory overshadowing y the mercy seat.
Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
These preparations having thus been made,
z the priests go regularly into the first section,
performing their ritual duties,
but into the second only a the high priest goes,
and he but a once a year,
and not without taking blood,
b which he offers for himself
and for the unintentional sins of the people.
By this the Holy Spirit indicates that c the way into the holy places
is not yet opened
as long as the first section is still standing
(which is symbolic for the present age). 1
According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered
d that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper,
but deal only with e food and drink and f various washings, regulations for the body
imposed until the time of reformation.
But when Christ appeared as a high priest g of the good things that have come, 1
then through h the greater and more perfect tent
( i not made with hands,
that is, not of this creation)
he j entered k once for all into the holy places,
not by means of l the blood of goats and calves
but m by means of his own blood,
n thus securing an eternal redemption.
For if o the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with p the ashes of a heifer,
sanctify 1 for the purification of the flesh,
how much more will q the blood of Christ,
who through the eternal Spirit r offered himself without blemish to God,
s purify our 1 conscience t from dead works
u (1) to serve the living God.
Therefore he is v the mediator of a new covenant,
so that w (2) those who are called may x receive the promised eternal inheritance,
y since a death has occurred
that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. 1
For where a will is involved,
the death of the one who made it must be established.
For z a will takes effect only at death,
since it is not in force
as long as the one who made it is alive.
Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated a without blood.
For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people,
he took b the blood of calves and goats, c with water and scarlet wool and hyssop,
and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,
saying, d “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.”
And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both e the tent and all the vessels used in worship.
Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood,
and f without the shedding of blood
there is no forgiveness of sins.
Thus it was necessary for g the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites,
but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
For Christ has entered,
not into holy places h made with hands,
which are copies of the true things,
but into heaven itself,
now (a) to appear in the presence of God i on our behalf.
Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly,
as j the high priest enters k the holy places every year
with blood not his own,
for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly
since the foundation of the world.
But as it is, l he has appeared m once for all
n at the end of the ages
(b) to put away sin
by the sacrifice of himself.
And just as o it is appointed for man to die once,
and p after that comes judgment,
so Christ, having been offered once
q to bear the sins of r many
will appear s a second time,
t not to deal with sin
but to (c) save those who are eagerly u waiting for him.
which serves as a symbol and a type of this present time, showing us how we, now, do have access to God and his presence. Cf. 10:1
The Gk. word can also refer to the censer, which did in fact go into the Holy of Holies While it featured in the annual atonement ceremony when the high priest went behind the curtain (Ex 30:10), it was also to be used twice every day (30:7–8), and no one was allowed behind the curtain on any other day of the year. The incense altar stood directly in front of the curtain, so that the high priest had to pass it (and sprinkle it, like the mercy seat, with blood) as he went inside, and in that sense it can be described (functionally if not physically) as “belonging to the inner sanctuary” of Solomon’s temple Guthrie, George H.. Hebrews, James (The Expositor's Bible Commentary) (pp. 112-113). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition.
Note the mercy seat and the objects within the Holy of Holies. All three objects bore testimony to Israel's sinfulness - the tablets, the staff and the urn. Thus, the need for mercy, and a reminder of the reality of an inward problem.
The high priest does not go in to enjoy God, but to deal with sin, and the priesthood dealt with rituals - regulations for the body
They did not provide access to the presence of God (ver 8) and dealt only with external purification, not with the sinner’s conscience (ver 9–10). The ground is thus prepared for the explanation of the “new order” (ver 10)
The fact that the Mosaic Law is seen as from the Holy Spirit implies that we shouldn't be too quick about dismissing it. It does have value as is seen in our passage.
under protection as well (cf. Leviticus 16:13)
Intentional sins got death/cutting off (cf. Numbers 15:30-31) "Unintentional sins" = sins not committed with a high hand, not merely sins of ignorance.
Cf. Mark 15:38; Hebrews 4:16, 6:19-20, 7:19
Cf. 2:10; 5:9; 7:11,18-19, 28
The Messiah, the Davidic King
Redeems/Ransoms from whom?
Cf. 8:9 Cf. 7:11, 18-19 The old covenant was inadequate in its dealings with transgressions. It only dealt with the external, but not the purifying of our consciences.
The transition from covenant (diathēkē) to will (diathēkē) seems to occur because of the ideas of 'death' and 'inheritance', prompting the author to make this analogy. His point? A death is needed for the covenant/will to be inaugurated. Jesus died, but unlike other last wills, he executes (mediates) his will because he rose again and guarantees an inheritance to his 'called'.
This sacrifice with the express purpose of purifying our consciences is planned and worked out by all three persons of the Godhead. All of God working for filthy me
enkainizō , “put into effect,” derives from kainos, “new” (GK 2785), and is used sometimes for renewal but especially for the dedication of that which is new, e.g., Solomon’s temple, 1 Kings 8:63 (cf. Dt 20:5). Guthrie, George H.. Hebrews, James (The Expositor's Bible Commentary) (p. 120). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition.
The author adds ritual details that are not in the Exodus account: “water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop,” which belong to the regulations for the sacrifice of the red heifer mentioned in v.13 (Nu 19:6, 17-18) and for the cleansing of a leper (Lev 14:4-6). Apparently our author assumes these features would also have been included on this occasion of “cleansing.” (Wilson, 163, rightly points out that to “check every statement in his sources” was “a much more difficult thing to do before the days of concordances and chapter and verse divisions.”) According to Exodus 24:6, 8, the blood was sprinkled on the altar and on the people but not also, as our author assumes, on the scroll from which Moses read. And the further sprinkling on the tabernacle and its implements (v.21) goes far beyond the occasion in Exodus 24, since these had not yet been made at that stage! Indeed the later dedication of “the tabernacle and everything in it” was done with oil, not blood (Ex 40:9-11; Lev 8:10), though Josephus (Ant. 3.206) mentions blood in this connection as well. Our author is thus expanding the Sinai event with a broad-brush mention of later aspects of OT ritual to produce a more comprehensive account of the importance of blood. Guthrie, George H.. Hebrews, James (The Expositor's Bible Commentary) (pp. 120-121). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition.
Mt. 26:28, Mrk. 14:24
While water and fire were used for purifying as well in the old covenant, the author's primary point is that of a person's relationship to God. Only blood could make sense there, because the curse of sin implied both the physical and spiritual taking of a life.
Cf. Rom 3:25
4:14; 6:19–20; 8:1–2; 9:11–12.
This is Christ's role now, since the sacrifice is completed. Cf. 7:25
Cf. Rev 13:8; 1 Pet 1:19-20
Cf. 1:1-2; 1 Cor 10:11, 1 Pet 1:20 In many senses, the dawning of the kingdom was a new age, inaugurating the end of the ages.
So far the idea of purification has to do with our consciences, and its purpose, as seen in v14-15 is the service/worship of the living God. I doubt this has to do with heaven itself needing to be purified.
It's not that there are multiple sacrifices of Christ. This is purely serving as a literary device in the comparison of old and new. The old had sacrifices, and the new needs to exceed that. How the new is better is seen explicitly in that there is a once-for-all sacrifice so great in quality, that it quantifiably exceeds all the old sacrifices in itself (ver 12, 25-28).
And thus Christ gloriously bears our judgement, taking away judgement upon us, and replaces it with something else - his second coming, but with a massively different purpose for his people - not judgement, but salvation!
What does "save" look like? Glorifying God and enjoying him forever in his presence. Cf. ver 14-15;
Here's a definition of the many: those who are eager for Jesus. Cf. Mark 10:45, 14:24; Is 53:11-12
The author, having insisted that there is a new covenant, outlines what took place under the old covenant. And then shows what Christ did under the new covenant to supersede it. BEFORE CHRIST APPEARED (9:1-10) What worship looked like (9:1-10) The Place - The earthly sanctuary (tabernacle) and what it looked like (9:1-5) The Offering - The regulations for worship (9:6-7) that were done with fear and trembling, repeatedly The Approach - The Holy Spirit is pointing to a current closure and future opening of the way into the holy places, typifying present-age access into God's presence. The old approach had the worshiper's body is cleansed but his conscience, not cleansed . He cannot really enter the presence of God with it - he is not perfect (9:8-10 ) 1. Do we see our need for mercy? Do we recognise on a daily basis, our sinfulness? 2. Can we practise writing down our sins or confessing it to one another, and remind ourselves of our need for mercy? 3. How seriously do we regard the worship of God? Do we see him as only deserving of holiness and goodness, and not our sinfulness? Do we see that we do not, by any means deserve access to God? 4. How often do we sin against God out of sheer rebellion - not wanting what God wants? Do we see his mercy in letting us live and still enjoy his presence? 5. Do we understand the realities of our consciences being perfected? What do we do when we find ourselves sinning? Do we try to resolve the issue (our guilt) on our own power, by penance, or do we trust in the work of our great High priest? BUT WHEN CHRIST APPEARED (9:11-22) Better Worship (9:11-14) The dawning of the new order, with the new, better high priest (ver 11a) The Better Place - The better sanctuary (ver 11b-12a) The Better Offering - He entered once for all into the better sanctuary with his blood ( ver 12 ) as opposed to bulls and goats ( ver 13a ). The Better Approach - t he eternal redemption is achieved (ver 12c ), i.e. the purification of our consciences ( ver 14a ) as opposed to the old approach of mere fleshly purification ( ver 10 ). 1. Do we understand, at least in part, the privilege and the seriousness of having access into the real Holy of Holies, through Jesus? Because of Better Blood (9:15-22) Because Jesus offered his own blood, he is the mediator of a new covenant (ver 15a) The necessity of death for the inauguration of a last-will and a covenant (ver 15b-17); see notes below on diakethe This pouring of life-blood is seen during the inauguration and everywhere else within the first covenant (ver 18-21) Under the law, the forgiveness of sins was possible only by the shedding of blood (although the conscience was not purified) (ver 22) Thus, Jesus' life-blood is better ( ver 12-14 ) and because he spilt his better blood (i.e., he died, as required by any covenant ), he is the mediator of the new and better covenant ( ver 15-22 ) 1. If so much blood was spilt repeatedly for the purification of the flesh, imagine the value of Jesus' blood. Does that lead us to worship? THE SUMMARY (9:23-28) Better Purification ( 9:23-28 ) We have seen the old covenant worship (ver 1-10,13,18-22) We have also seen the much better worship inaugurated and mediated by the Christ, our great high priest, who spilt his better blood (ver 11-17) These two ideas are summarised again in ver 23; the thrust being that the heavenly things (us) are purified by a better sacrifice ver 24-28 explains ver 23 comparatively and with purposes: a. The Better Place: Christ entered the real holy places, not the copies (ver 24) in order to appear on our behalf before the presence of God b. The Better Offering and Approach: Christ died once-for-all, spilling his own blood, not repeatedly with other blood (ver 25-26) in order to put away sin once and for all c. The Better Salvation: The purpose of Christ's second coming is judgement, but for the elect, Christ's death bears the judgement and the purpose of the second coming is altogether different - salvation for those who are eager for him (ver 27-28) 1. How do I go back to the law/what is old and discarded and thus diminish what is better? Tradition, without basis? Protestant Penance - overcoming guilt with good-works/'ministry'? Fighting sin in my strength instead of my weakness? P erhaps fighting it practically, but forgetting the theology that it is God, in Jesus, who is powerful and I am actually helpless. Focussing on sin rather than on Jesus and our better realities? Not living in dependence on community - the gift of the church (eg. exhort one another). Looking for head knowledge and understanding rather than heart-change? 2. What implications does Jesus' entering the real Holy of Holies have in my life? His intercession? 3. What implications does Jesus' once-for-all death have in my life? It's value and permanence? 4. What implications does Jesus' second coming have in my life? My hope and life choices? 5. What does the reality of better purification mean to us? 6. Am I eager for Jesus (or my escape)? Who is Jesus, really, to me? WHAT IS THE BETTER, ETERNAL SALVATION? (9:14-15) To serve the living God (ver 14b) To receive the promised eternal inheritance (ver 15) How are they related? Grammatically , both verses are similar in thrust: both verses hinge on inferences, both talk of redemption, both talk of the same people - 'the called', both talk of Christ's death and our consciences and transgressions being dealt with. Grammatically, the two verses are almost parallel, implying that, in a sense, the purposes in both verses are the same, if not tightly related. But from the rest of Scripture , are these not different ways of saying the same thing? Cf. Hab 2:14, Ps 16:5-11, Rev 21:3-4 (the ultimate purpose of God for man is the glorification/worship of God across the cosmos, and the joy of his people in his presence). And is not the glory of God and our joy in the heavenly sanctuary so tightly bound, that our inheritance and our service are actually one and the same purpose? From the Westminster Shorter Catechism , there is one purpose/end for man described in two different ways: Q. 1. What is the chief end of man? A. Man’s chief end is to (1) glorify God, and to (2) enjoy him for ever. In Hebrews language, (1) to serve the living God, and (2) receive the promised eternal inheritance. And so, the promised eternal inheritance is, in a sense, the serving of the living God. The serving of the living God for all eternity in his presence is our inheritance. This is what it means to be saved (ver 28) It is a promise, guaranteed with an oath, with the blood of the great high priest-king being the means for all eternity. 1. How excited am I about my salvation, not just salvation from God's wrath, but salvation to my eternal inheritance of glorifying and enjoying my living God? 2. How excited am I about glorifying God right now? 3. What does my worship look like? 4. This is what being under the new covenant looks like. What does that mean for my everyday living? How would I respond to times of hopelessness and seeming futility every day? 5. How then, can we remind ourselves every day of this great reality? I am attempting this, purely symbolically, privately and personally, to jog my weak memory and not to demean or hijack the ordinance of the Lord's Supper. This is what I hope to do during any meal I enjoy: Whenever I eat, I remember the reality of God's purpose - serving the God who gives me life, i.e. to glorify God. Whenever I drink, I remember the reality of God's purpose - enjoying the promised eternal inheritance, i.e. enjoying him forever. NOTES: The word diakethe refers normally to last will and testament. In the normal use, to execute a will, someone needs to die. In the biblical sense too, someone needs to die for the will/covenant to be executed. So both the old and new covenants needed to be inaugurated by blood. The Abrahamic and Davidic covenants telescopically reached the new covenant - the new covenant explaining the specificities of both those covenants and fulfilling both those covenants. There was a death in the new covenant, which the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants looked toward. The old covenant, or Mosaic Covenant, was a temporary covenant that governed the nation of Israel (from the Abrahamic Covenant) in the land. This covenant too was inaugurated by blood, but only that of animals, also looking forward to the time when the 'permanent' covenant would be inaugurated.