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Hebrews 9and10 - Hold Fast Your Confession Of Faith

INTRODUCTION: The author reviewed some of the characteristics of the earthly tabernacle and of the first covenant. The progression of the text describes the sacred design of the tabernacle, and that the services of the priests were to be followed in a strict pattern. But those elements were just a shadow of the things to come, and they were fulfilled by the all sufficient sacrifice of Christ. His sacrifice of death on the cross was made only once, and it was shown to be fully accepted by his resurrection. Christ is now the everlasting high priest and mediator who offers salvation to eternal life by grace, as a gift to all who will place their faith and trust in him.

NOTE: Bible passages are from the American King James Bible.

A - THE TABERNACLE OF THE FIRST COVENANT

Hebrews 9 "1 Then truly the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. 2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the show bread; which is called the sanctuary. 3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; 4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; 5 And over it the cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. 6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. 7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:"

COMMENTS: The first covenant had divinely given rules and regulations for the service in the tabernacle by the priests. The sanctuary had the candlestick, and the table, and the show bread. The priest went often into that first area to perform the prescribed duties. And behind the second veil was the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; and the author describes in his text what was there. The high priest was allowed by the law to go behind the second veil only once each year, and not without the prescribed blood of the sacrifice offered for himself and for the errors of the people.


B - CHRIST ENTERED INTO THE HEAVENLY TABERNACLE BY HIS PERFECT SACRIFICE

Hebrews 9 "8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: 9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. 11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"

COMMENTS: The Holy Spirit was indicating that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made clear and obvious so as to be understood while the first tabernacle was still in place. During that time the gifts and sacrifices imposed by the law could be summarized as ordinances related to the physical world, which were not able to make the one who offered them to be completely free from faults or defects in his conscience. At the time of reformation, Christ would come as a high priest of good things to come at the unquestionably superior tabernacle in heaven. By his own blood he entered once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. What greater sacrifice could there be than the blood of Christ himself, through the eternal Spirit offered without spot to God. Is there any other way to truly purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?


C - THERE IS NO FORGIVENESS OF SIN WITHOUT THE SHEDDING OF BLOOD

Hebrews 9 "15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. 16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator lives. 18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. 19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, 20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God has enjoined to you. 21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. 22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission."

COMMENTS: Christ Jesus is the mediator of the new testament, making available the cancelation and clearing of those violations that were judged under the first testament. By the means of the death and resurrection of Christ, those who are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. As used here, testament is the same as a legal will that defines how the heirs of the one who makes the will are to receive the inheritance; but those conditions are only valid after the death of that "testator." That is why the first testament was dedicated with the blood of the animals killed as a substitutionary sacrifice. Moses applied the precepts of the law that he had spoken to the people to be a will describing the inheritance for them as heirs of the promise. So, he sprinkled both the book, and all the people, saying to them that this is the blood of the testament which God has provided with which to instruct and urge you to follow. He also sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry to show that they were to be set apart by the sacrifice. The author explained that almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood there is no cancellation of sin, so the penalty thereto remains in force.


D - IT IS APPOINTED TO MEN ONCE TO DIE AND THEN THE JUDGMENT

Hebrews 9 "23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: 25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest enters into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world has he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin to salvation."

COMMENTS: It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens, as represented by all the physical elements for worship, should be purified in the manner described. But the things existing in heaven required a better sacrifice than that which was given through Moses. For Christ has not entered into a symbolic holy place made by the hands of men; but he has entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. His offer of his own body as sacrifice is not done once each year as with the high priest behind the veil, for that would have required him to repeatedly suffer since the foundation of the world. He has appeared once to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, because it is appointed to men to die only once and then to face judgment. since Christ was offered only one time to bear the sins of many; therefore, for all who look for him by faith, he shall appear the second time without any sin remaining; and he will give them salvation to eternal life.


E - THE LAW WAS JUST A SHADOW OF THINGS TO COME

Hebrews 10 "1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 5 Why when he comes into the world, he said, Sacrifice and offering you would not, but a body have you prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you have had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, See, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do your will, O God. 8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin you would not, neither had pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9 Then said he, See, I come to do your will, O God. He takes away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From now on expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he has perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, said the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin."

COMMENTS: Since the law was only symbolic of what was to come through Christ, it could never provide the salvation from sin to those who observed that law. And no person was ever permitted to stop repeating consistent observance of the law by claiming that their conscience was free from sin. But it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats will actually take away sins. I selected some passages below that have in part, the essence of the references made by the author.

Psalms 40 "6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire; my ears have you opened: burnt offering and sin offering have you not required. 7 Then said I, See, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, 8 I delight to do your will, O my God: yes, your law is within my heart."

Psalms 51 "16 For you desire not sacrifice; else would I give it: you delight not in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."

Hosea 6 "4 O Ephraim, what shall I do to you? O Judah, what shall I do to you? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goes away. 5 Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and your judgments are as the light that goes forth. 6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings."

Mark 14 "32 And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he said to his disciples, Sit you here, while I shall pray. 33 And he takes with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; 34 And said to them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful to death: tarry you here, and watch. 35 And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible to you; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what you will."

Jesus came to do the will of God the Father, and by his sacrifice of death on the cross he removed the first covenant, and established the second. We who have placed our faith in Christ Jesus, are sanctified through his offering of his own body once for all. Unlike priests who daily stand offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God until his enemies will be utterly subdued. This fact has been in Scripture more than once, including in the first chapter of Hebrews.

Psalms 110 "1 The LORD said to my Lord, Sit you at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool."

Mark 12 "35 And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the son of David? 36 For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit you on my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool. 37 David therefore himself calls him Lord; and from where is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly."

Hebrews 1 "13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?"

By one offering Christ has perfected forever those who are sanctified when they place their faith in him, and the Holy Spirit is a witness to us that it was given before from Scripture in Jeremiah 31:33-34 and also in Hebrews 8:8-12. Now where remission of these is given by the Lord, there is no more offering for sin.


F - LET US HOLD FAST TO THE PROFESSION OF OUR FAITH

Hebrews 10 "19 Having therefore, brothers, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching. 26 For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose you, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant, with which he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite to the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that has said, Vengeance belongs to me, I will recompense, said the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great fight of afflictions; 33 Partly, whilst you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst you became companions of them that were so used. 34 For you had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that you have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. 35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which has great recompense of reward. 36 For you have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise. 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. 38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of them who draw back to perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul."

COMMENTS: We have a special boldness to enter into the holiest place by the blood of Jesus as his sacrificed flesh became the veil opened between believers and the LORD God. And with Jesus as our high priest we should draw near with a true heart and full assurance of faith because he has sprinkled our hearts to remove an evil conscience, and our bodies to be washed with pure water. Therefore, we can hold fast to our faith without wavering because our God gave the promise, and he is faithful. It is important to gather together to encourage love and good works in each other as we see the day of the Lord approaching. If anyone sets their will to sin after having received knowledge of the truth, there is no other means to bring salvation to them. They would still be apart from God, and His judgment and fiery indignation would await them as with all others who have rejected Him. It would be as though they had walked all over the Son of God, counted the sanctifying blood of the covenant an unholy thing, and had been spiteful to the Spirit of grace. The passage that follows is part of the message given to the people by Moses before the LORD brought his ministry to a close, and would not allow him to enter the promised land.

Deuteronomy 32 "34 Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures? 35 To me belongs vengeance and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come on them make haste. 36 For the LORD shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he sees that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left. 37 And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted, 38 Which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? let them rise up and help you, and be your protection. 39 See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. 40 For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever."

The author of Hebrews gave a general reminder to his readers that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. However, many of them remained faithful after already enduring great difficulty by open persecution after their lives showed the effect the Word of God had on them, and also as they were close companions of others who were open about their beliefs. The author expressed his appreciation for those who had compassion for him in his bonds; and that they were even joyful when their goods were spoiled, because they knew within themselves they had in heaven a better and enduring substance. So he encouraged them not to give up on that confidence, because through patience in doing the will of God there will be a great compensation of reward when Jesus returns just as promised. Those who continue to live with a firm faith in Christ alone for justification before God, have their soul eternally secure in Him.

--- REFLECTIONS IN PRAYER ---

Lord, I thank you for the message in your Word about the representative purpose of the earthly tabernacle, and the way it was replaced by the heavenly tabernacle. That everlasting tabernacle has been made open to those from all nations and walks of life who will believe in the all sufficient sacrifice of Christ. Thank you, Lord Jesus, not only did you shed your own blood for the remission of my sin, but you are forever the faithful high priest and mediator of that new covenant for me and for all other believers. Lord, I know by your Word that it is appointed to man once to die and then the judgement. I praise you for your gift of grace to eternal salvation to me before my time has come to leave behind this earthly body. Strengthen me to hold fast to my confession of faith without wavering because you are faithful to your promise; and remind me often to consider my role with believers in the encouragement of one another to love and good works. Amen, and amen.

Published 29 January 2020