First Baptist Church Laredo
Study in the Book of Hebrews: Hebrews 9:1-10
- In this section, the author does not assume that the readers understand the tabernacle and how it functioned. In order to understand how Jesus’ sacrifice is superior, one must understand how the tabernacle functioned on earth. Remember that the earthly tabernacle is a representation of the original heavenly tabernacle.1. Image of the earthly tabernacle. ()<show picture of the earthly tabernacle>If you wantA. The First Room: The Holy Place ()1 Now the first covenant also had regulations for ministry and an earthly sanctuary. 2 For a tabernacle was set up, and in the first room, which is called the holy place, were the lampstand, the table, and the presentation loaves.i. The lampstand<show picture>The lampstand was made out of pure gold and had six branches, three on each side. Seven lamps were made to sit on the stand.ii. The table with consecrated bread<show picture>The table was made out of acacia wood. It was overlaid with gold and the consecrated bread was place on the table.This is not the point of the writer of Hebrews, but in Jesus we see many fulfillments of the tabernacle. Jesus is the light of the world. Jesus is the bread of life. Really, Jesus is the true tabernacle. Jesus dwelt or tabernacled among us. He talked about destroying the temple of his body, but in three days he would raise it up again.B. The Second Room: The Holies of Holies ()3 Behind the second curtain was a tent called the most holy place. 4 It had the gold altar of incense and the ark of the covenant, covered with gold on all sides, in which was a gold jar containing the manna, Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. 5 The cherubim of glory were above the ark overshadowing the mercy seat. It is not possible to speak about these things in detail right now.i. Golden altar of incense<show picture>ii. Ark of the Covenant with the mercy seat<show picture>The ark was made of acacia wood and was covered with gold. By the way “ark” simply means “box”. God didn’t want them to worship a box, he wanted them to worship him. The mercy seat is very important because it is the cover of the box. In order to deal with sin, the sin had to be covered. The mercy seat, the cover of the box, would be covered with the sprinkling of blood once a year for the sins of the people. Inside the box, were three items.Gold jar of mannaAaron’s staff10 CommandmentsApparently, the author felt that he was about to go down a rabbit’s hole because he ends the discussion about the earthly tabernacle with the phrase, “It is not possible to speak about these things in details right now.” He didn’t want to get sidetracked because he wanted to talk about something of more significance. If you want to read more about the construction of the tabernacle, read . With this basic overview of the ancient tabernacle, the author moves into how the priests ministered in the earthly tabernacle.2. Ministry in the earthly tabernacle ()A. Ministry in the first room was done repeatedly. ()6 With these things prepared like this, the priests enter the first room repeatedly, performing their ministry.They would go into light the lamps and change the bread. They did this repeatedly on a daily basis. Multiple priests would perform these services. In contrast to the daily ministry, only one priest, once a year, could enter the second room.B. Ministry in the second room was done by one priest, once a year. ()7 But the high priest alone enters the second room, and he does that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.The sacrifice would be in blood for both his own sins and the sins of his household. This offering was done with bull’s blood. Then, the priest would offer the blood of a goat for the sins of the rest of the people. The blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat and in front of it. The priest could not enter the Holy of Holies without blood.22 According to the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.Then, the author points out the limitations of the sacrificial system of the tabernacle era.C. There was no way for people to enter into God’s presence. ()8 The Holy Spirit was making it clear that the way into the most holy place had not yet been disclosed while the first tabernacle was still standing. 9 This is a symbol for the present time, during which gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the worshiper’s conscience.8 The Holy Spirit was making it clear that the way into the most holy place had not yet been disclosed while the first tabernacle was still standing.8 The Holy Spirit was making it clear that the way into the most holy place had not yet been disclosed while the first tabernacle was still standing. 9 This is a symbol for the present time, during which gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the worshiper’s conscience. 10 They are physical regulations and only deal with food, drink, and various washings imposed until the time of the new order.The Holy of Holies was a barrier to people entering into God’s presence. When the writer says, “the present time”, he is not talking about today or the age in which the new covenant had come. He was talking about the people living under the old covenant. Even though they had a way to “cover” their sins, it could not cleanse. It could not resolve the feelings of failure and guilt. People are not barred from God by a physical barrier. It is our inner conscience that prevents intimacy with God. In other words, one of the main limitations of the old covenant is its inability to free man from his own sense of guilt. The author is using this section to set up a contrast of themes and applications later in the book of Hebrews. Although this section of Scripture is to primarily set up later contrasts and themes, it does contain some important applications.The Holy of Holies was a barrier to people entering into God’s presence.The Holy of Holies was a barrier to people entering into God’s presence. When the writer says, “the present time”, he is not talking about today or the age in which the new covenant had come. He was talking about the people living under the old covenant. Even though they had a way to “cover” their sins, it could not cleanse. It could not resolve the feelings of failure and guilt. People are not barred from God by a physical barrier. It is our inner conscience that prevents intimacy with God.3. Applications fromA. God want a relationship with people.The whole design of the tabernacle was about people coming to God. The regulations provided the method of how people could approach him. He desire people to approach him. He wants to be in a relationship with people.B. God is particular about how people approach him.I think this is very important for us to remember today. There is only one way to approach God and that it through Jesus Christ. There are specific requirements to approaching God. This is something that we need to take into consideration in our modern forms of worship. God has always been particular about how people approach him. Are we approaching him in the right way?C. God is holy and people are sinful.It is our sinfulness which fights against holiness. It is the problem and the prevention from a relationship with God. God is holy and cannot tolerate sin. Man is sinful. Sinfulness and holiness cannot co-exist. This is why there is a war for control inside of us.
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