Hebrews 9

First covenant, earthly sanctuary 1
Earthly sanctuary symbolic 6
Heavenly sanctuary 11
Death of mediator necessary 16
Christ entered holy places not made by humans 23
.1 ¶ Then verily 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 shewbread; 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 cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.
  1 - First covenant See on he0807ff.
  3 - After From meta meaning "behind." "Holy of holies" is also a good translation.
  4 - Censer From thumiasterion. The word means "a place for burning incense." Thus it may refer to the altar of incense. It may be better to note that the Holiest (second room) "had" the censer. The altar of incense is in the first room as seen elsewhere but was part of the Most Holy Place ministry.
  4 - Aaron's rod It involved the miracle that confirmed God's recognition of Aaron as high priest. nu17.
.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:
.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.
  6  - These preparations having thus been made, the priests go continually into the outer tent, performing their ritual duties; 
  7 - but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood which he offers for himself and for the errors of the people. (RSV).
  8 - The Holy Spirit is signifying this: that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed, while the outer tabernacle is still standing.
  8 - was yet standing Jesus said that it was desolate being the house of the Jews but no longer His house mt2338. The ceremonies were no longer valid but its presence was a testimony that Jesus did not intend to destroy it mt2661, mr1458.
  9 - which is a symbol for the present time. (NASB, best translation of this verse) The KJV, NKJV and NIV mistranslate, changing the present tense to the past.

The illustration shows the sanctuary with the altar of burnt offering in the courtyard (at the right, east). In the holy place (larger white area) are the table for the bread, the golden altar of incense, and the lampstand. The most holy place is the second room (far left). is the ark of the covenant. The purple band is simply outside of the sanctuary no significance.
Comments begin below in this column
.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.
  11 - Greater and more perfect tabernacle Paul directed his readers not to a temple to be built in Jerusalem but to the sanctuary in heaven. Most of the Jewish people missed their opportunity to be part of the kingdom of grace when they rejected their Messiah. The tabernacle for all people is not a temple in Jerusalem but one made without human hands. Also see ro0906.
  Jesus ministers for us in heaven v28. Focusing on today's Jerusalem we will not find Him.
  12 - Entered in once into the holy place The NIV reads "Entered the Most Holy Place once for all." This ignores the Old Testament sanctuary scene the verse is base on. The ordinary priest, representing Christ the coming Messiah would take blood of the sacrificial animal (also Christ) slain in the court outside of the tabernacle (tent) and enter the first area (Holy Place) of the two-room tent le0401-7. Once a year (on the Day of Atonement le16) the high priest (also Christ) entered the Most Holy Place.
   Christ died on the cross in our place. He received our punishment. This happened on earth represented as the courtyard of the sanctuary system. Thus "outside the gate" (Calvary) he1312. After ascending to heaven, He represented the sinner in the first room of the tabernacle before the Father as the ordinary priest. On the Day of Atonement, the sacrifice was confirmed. This "Day" coming just before the Feast of Tabernacles celebrated in the heavenly Canaan represents the final preparation and judgment time before the return of Christ.
  12 - Entered ... having obtained When Christ entered the temple in heaven he0801 He had already paid the purchased price for our redemption. His sacrifice was complete but His ministry was not. Notice in v.15 that He then became the mediator of the new covenant allowing those of the earlier covenant to receive the promise of eternal inheritance. See note below. Of course He is our mediator, too. As part of His ministry, He can stands before the Father in our place because He died in our place.
 13  For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth 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?
 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.
  13 - Ashes ... heifer Purification with ashes. See nu19.
  13 - Unclean Or "defiled." nu1918.
  13 - Purifying of the flesh Compare "purging of the conscience" v14.
  14 - Through the eternal Spirit This could be the Holy Spirit but, because no article precedes the word "Spirit" It could be the eternal Christ before taking on humanity. The words "offered himself without spot" supports or confirms this person as the Lamb of God. See on 1pe0318-21.
  14 - Dead works See on he0601.
.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 liveth.
 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 hath enjoined unto 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.
  16 - Testament ... death "A general axiomatic truth; it is 'a testament'; not the testament. The testator must die before his testament takes effect (Heb 9:17). This is a common meaning of the Greek noun diathece. So in Lu 22:29, 'I appoint (by testamentary disposition; the cognate Greek verb diatithemai) unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me.' The need of death before the testamentary appointment takes effect, holds good in Christ's relation as MAN to us; Of course not in God's relation to Christ." (JFB Commentary)
  18 - First testament Or "first covenant." Covenants with Israel are being discussed.
  18 - Dedicated From egkainizo which may also mean "inaugurate."
  19 - When Moses See on and following ex2403.
  22 - Almost all things For exceptions see nu19, nu3123.
.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 entereth 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 hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
.27  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
.28  So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
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   24 - Christ ... to appear He does this "for us." This is a continuation of His ministry of atonement. Some take this verse to mean that He began His work of intercession for us immediately after His ascension and that it corresponded to the ministry of the High Priest in the Most Holy Place of the sanctuary on earth le16. The problem is that no place is left for the Holy Place ministry which precedes the Most Holy. The preadvent judgment is also omitted in this scheme. See note below. The problem is solved in realizing that Jesus did go to heaven immediately after the cross jn2017. After a time He ascended with a cloud of angels ac0109-11. And he went into the Most Holy Place. But it was for the inauguration of the sanctuary le08, not to begin His ministry as High Priest. Compare ex40.
   26 - Once From hapax, Once for all.
   27 - Once to die Notice the comparison with Christ's being offered only once. The rock in the wilderness was to have been struck only one time nu2007. There are no more times of probation.
   27 - Judgment People are judged after death because their final decision for eternal life or eternal death will then have been made. (The case is a little different for those living at the time Christ returns.) People are not, however, judged one-by-one at death. The judgment begins at a specific time as we see in ez0906 and context.
   28 - Offered to bear ... sins The "offering" points to the symbolism of the sanctuary. He paid the price for our sins co0114.
   28 - Without sin He never sinned but he bore our sin on the cross after his first coming. Thus His coming in glory is not as the sin bearer. See on le0626. The preadvent judgment will have been completed.
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The process of redemption

People had been living by "faith" in the sacrifices looking to them instead of to the coming Lamb of God, whom the sacrifices represented. They were living by the old covenant as were the people at Sinai who promised obedience without claiming spiritual strength to keep their promise. They would soon break their promise by dancing around the golden calf (Ex. 32) following the customs of Egypt. When the Lord had asked them to be faithful, "The people all responded together, We will do everything the Lord has said." (Ex. 19:8, NIV).  So what about us? When we come to Christ or when we return to Him we pledge obedience but, as with the people at Sinai, we need also to ask for strength to be faithful. Through the slain Lamb of God at Calvary, we receive not only forgiveness, but also cleansing (1 John 1:9). He provides the power to be true (1 Cor. 10:13) as He would have been.

The covenants are discussed in the next chapter he10.

Is there a preadvent judgment?

Jesus will return in glory with rewards for all, determined by their behavior (Rev. 22:13; Mt. 16:27). This indicates a preadvent judgment where God's decisions for our destiny will have been determined. This judgment is seen many times in the Bible. Its fundamental explanation is in the operation of the sanctuary Lev. 16, 23:27-32. Judgment time is illustrated by the Day of Atonement when the the Lord appeared in glory in the Most Holy Place while the high priest stood in front of the ark of the covenant and the people humbled themselves and were judged and cleansed as the sanctuary was cleansed Lev. 16:29,30. Two of many appearances of this judgment time elsewhere in the Bible are in Dan. 7:10-13; Mal. 3:1,2, 17,18.

People who have not understood the preadvent judgment point to Heb. 9:24 (above) which seems to indicate that Jesus began His Most Holy Place ministry of atonement  immediately after His sacrifice on the cross. Thus, in reference to the sanctuary system, heaven is seen as the Most Holy Place. For several reasons, we reject this teaching.
The sanctuary in the wilderness was patterned after the one in heaven (Ex. 25:40). It had two areas of ministry, the first was entered by the ordinary priests. The second area was entered only once a year and only by the high priest (Lev. 16:2), thus we have the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. In the courtyard surrounding the tabernacle, representing the world, was the altar of burnt offering which represented the great sacrifice of Christ. For Him to have begun His ministry in the Most Holy Place the first area, the Holy Place ministry would have happened before the cross before there was blood of a sacrifice to present as an atonement for our sins (Heb. 9:22, above).
t is important to see that the Day of Atonement is judgment time coming just before the end of the sanctuary calendar of feasts representing the preadvent judgment just before the end of time when Jesus returns. The calendar begins with Passover representing leaving Egypt and sin and ends with the Feast of Tabernacles celebrated in the land of promise and thus heaven. We are now in the final preparation time.
To understand the problem text, Heb. 9:24, we also need to consider the work of the ordinary priests and the high priest. Christ is represented by both. Throughout the year sinners would come to an ordinary priest who would make atonement for the sinner who would then be forgiven by the Lord. See this in Lev. 4:27-35. Other sin offerings are described in the chapter. On the annual Day of Atonement, the forgiveness through the year was confirmed. Thus sinners since the Garden of Eden who have prayed for forgiveness showed their faith in the coming Lamb of God. In our time, we look back to that sacrifical Lamb in faith, repenting and being forgiven.