Tuesday, April 15, 2024, January 17, 2012

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


The writer of the Hebrews continues his contrast between the old and new covenants by a description, not of the temple of Jerusalem, and its ritual service, but of the wilderness tabernacle.


He refers to the tabernacle of Moses as an earthly sanctuary which to him meant that it belonged to the imperfect world of types and shadows.


The word “type” is a foreshadowing; that which takes place in a natural realm pointing to the antitype (substance; reality) of the spiritual realm.


The tabernacle as a whole speaks of:


Christ the head who was tabernacled in flesh.

Christ the body who is tabernacled in flesh (universally, locally, and individually).


There was a need for the Tabernacle so that:


1.     God might dwell among his people.

2.     God might teach His people of His Holiness.

3.     God might teach people of their sinfulness.

4.     God might teach people how to approach Him through sacrifice.


The one outstanding factor that made this Tabernacle different from the heathen temples of other nations was the Presence of God, the Shekinah Glory of His Presence in the Cloud and Fire.


Hebrews 9: 1-9:  The first covenant had ordinances of divine service, and the earthly sanctuary.  For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the show-bread; which is called the sanctuary.  And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; and over it the cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.  When these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.  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.  The Holy Ghost thus signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while the first tabernacle was yet standing. Which was a figure for the present time, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices that could not make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience.  


The tabernacle system was powerless to help man with his conscience.  They were wholly external regulations and did not penetrate deeply enough into the moral realm to clear the conscience from the sense of guilt.  The tabernacle with its two tents, its symbolic furnishings and elaborate ritual were not valueless or wrong.  They were a type and shadow of the Pattern Son, Jesus Christ.  They were temporary for they were imposed until the time of the new order; until the shadow should give way to the reality.


This time has now come!  The veil has been rent.  What the ancient priesthood with its sacrifices and earthly sphere of operation could not accomplish, Christ was able to accomplish.


Aware of his sin, a sinner will not go through that veil to meet a God whom he knows punishes sin.  His guilty conscience forces him to stay on this side and find ways to justify himself in his own eyes.  A sinner does not want to get any where near God’s presence.  He is uncomfortable enough around those who represent Him.  Until a man’s conscience is washed by the Blood of the Lamb, the last person he wants to meet is God.


Now here is what the Holy Spirit teaches us from this arrangement (type and shadow):  As long as the tabernacle enjoyed its exclusive status, the way into the holiest of all, the true sanctuary, was barred to everyone.  Even so, God was pleased to use it until Christ should come and put the New Covenant into effect.


Hag. 2:9: The glory of the latter house shall be greater than of the former, says the Lord of hosts; and in this place will I give peace, says the Lord of host.”


That peace is a conscience cleansed of all guilt and condemnation.


The Bible describes ten houses of His Glory.  God moved from tent to temple.  Every house increases in glory.


1.     God walked in the garden with Adam.

2.     God visited the patriarchs.

3.     The Tabernacle of Moses.

4.     The Tabernacle of David.

5.     The Temple of Solomon.

6.     The restored Temple after the Babylonian Captivity (Zerubbabel’s Temple)

7.     Herod’s Temple until Jesus (the glory of it departed) (Mt. 23 38; 39; 24:1):Behold your house is left to you desolate.  For I say to you, you shall not see Me hereafter, until you shall say, Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord.  And Jesus went out and departed from the temple.

8.     Christ the Tabernacle:  John 1:14: And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

9.     The Christian, The Church, and The Body of Christ; 1 Co. 3: 9-16: For we are laborers together with God; you are God’s husbandry, you are God’s building” 11 Cor. 6:16: You are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  Heb. 12:22: You have come to Mt. Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and the church of the firstborn, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.


Hebrews 9: 10-12: Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.  But Christ having come as the 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.  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.  For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh; 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.


The effectiveness of the Blood of Christ is seen from the fact that it purifies the conscience (Vs.9).  It realizes in personal experience what all the other blood-sacrifices merely pointed to but could not effect.  As the Savior depended upon the power and direction of the Father in all of His life, so He did in death.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh” said Jesus, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit(John 3:6).


Anyone whose conscience has been cleansed by Faith may now enter the holy of holies as a priest to render worshipful service to a God who is all life.


The drama of the high priest was pictured in the transfer of Christ’s life to us.  When we receive Jesus (via the Holy Spirit) His life becomes our life.  We then have a life that is holy and acceptable to God.  The Spirit witnesses to our hearts that our sins are gone!  When the Holy Spirit seals to our hearts the truth that the guilt of our sin has been removed, we can then say we have been “washed in the blood of the Lamb.” 

Since Christ has been exalted as a “priest forever” our deliverance from the guilt of sin is eternal.  When we put our trust in Him, we receive that same victorious spirit which was obedient unto death.


9:13-14: For if the blood of goats and calves, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh; 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?


This Eternal Spirit is the third person of the trinity, the Glory of God; that Stephen saw standing with Jesus at the right Hand of God.


The writer gives us two examples of cleansing for sin and defilement under the Jewish system:  (1) the “blood of bulls and goats.” Referring to the annual ceremony on the Day of Atonement; (2) and the “ashes of a heifer,” which were used to remove any defilement contracted through touching or approaching a dead body.  There were many other sacrifices, but these two represented the whole range of cleansing by animal sacrifice.  Yet every bit of it was outward.  It was all ceremonial.  It couldn’t do anything for a man’s conscience.  However, the precious blood of Jesus has the power to remove the guilt of sin and bring men into fellowship with God Himself.


9:15: For this cause He (Jesus) 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.


Let’s re-phrase this last sentence into modern English.  “His death atoned for the sins of all men, including those who lived under the Old Jewish covenant (first covenant).


What of those people of faith who lived under the old covenant?  Are they left in their sins, since their institutions did not adequately cope with the sin-problem, removing it only ceremonially?  The range of the effectiveness of Christ’s death is so vast as to set them free from the sins done under the first covenant.  The death of Christ is retroactive (Rom 3:25).


9: 16-22:  For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.  For a testament is of force after men are dead; otherwise, it is of no strength at all while the testator lives.  Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.  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, sayings, This is the blood of the testament which God has commanded to you.  Moreover, he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.  Almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and with out shedding of blood is no remission.


The writer wishes to show that Jesus is more than a mere intermediary between God and man.  He is that very one whose death was required to ratify the covenant.  By a will or testament, the dying Christ bequeathed to all the believers the goods of salvation and His righteousness.


The Lord spoke to Moses, The life of the flesh is in the blood.  I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls (Lev. 17:11).


Both elements of the flesh and blood are needed.  That is why we have death of the “body” and the application of the life “the wine.”  This is why we have the bread and wine in the communion.  The bread pictures the death of His Body on the cross, the wine (the Blood) the application of His life to us.


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.


That the Heavenly things themselves had to be purified stretches my level of revelation.  I quote Matthew Henry: “Christ’s sacrifice was by himself carried up into heaven, for he appears in the presence of God for us.”


9: 24-28:  For Christ has not entered into the holy place made with hands which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.; Nor yet that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters into the holy place every year with blood of others; 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 since by the sacrifice of Himself.  As it is appointed to men once to die, but after that the judgment. 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.


This is the only explicit statement in the New Testament that Jesus’ Parousia (coming) will be a second appearing to those “that look for Him.”  He will be visible to the human eye just as the angels said He would (Acts 1:11), and as He said He would (Matt. 24:30).  Our writer obviously has in mind the Day of Atonement and that moment when the Jewish high priest emerged from the tabernacle.  When he went into the most holy place to present the blood offering, he wore white linen.  But before he re-appeared to the waiting crowd, he changed to his ornate garments of “glory and beauty.”  When Jesus entered the heavenly sanctuary via the cross, He wore only the “white linen” of his personal righteousness.  Yet when He reappears to those who are looking for His appearing the second time, He will be clothed in His Royal Glory!  We shall then see Him as He is, the triumphant King of Kings and Lord of Lords!  Every knee shall bow to Him.  He will not be returning as a priest, but as a triumphant King eager to reward His faithful followers.


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church, 10115 West Hidden Lakes Lane, Richmond, TX.


Scripture from K.J.V.; Bibliography:  Matthew Henry Bible Commentary; C.S. Lovett’s Lights on Hebrews; F. F. Bruce Bible Commentary.

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