Paul seeks to emphasise the fact that the Jewish religion is but an earthly parable of the heavenly Kingdom. Were we to sum up what the ceremonies and ordinances which the Jews religiously continued in their Tabernacle we can do no better than accept the banner written over the entrance which was “Holiness unto the Lord” The tabernacle has all to do with man’s relationship and fellowship with God. Though God sent them the Law of commandments which revealed their sin, yet he also sent them a means whereby they could still have some kind of a relationship regardless of the very thing that separates man from God. There was a means of dealing with sin and an earthly way of Holiness that would be acceptable to God. The burden fell mainly on the High Priest. But these things were only acceptable because they were designed to be but a parable or shadow of the real means of fellowship with God through the great High Priest Jesus Christ. The true Lamb had already been slain. For example, the blood of goats and animals didn’t stand an “earthly” (literally”) chance of paying for sin, or indeed of clearing the conscience of the one who had sinned. The degree of inefficiency of these ceremonies is even better shown in the Lava where they washed their bodies to portray “Holiness” or “Sanctification”. Water could never wash a sinner clean enough to find acceptance with a thrice Holy God. So these two acts of “shedding animal blood” at the brass altar and “washing in water” at the Lava are but a parable of the work of Christ, through whom we know the blessings of Justification and Sanctification. These are the two great doctrines of the Christian faith, namely Justification and Sanctification. One of the sad things in Christian teaching is all too often the hearers seem to get the impression that Justification is the good news that we receive the righteousness of Christ as a gift by faith, but Sanctification is some kind of an optional extras. Yet the tabernacle was one complete package summed up in “Holiness unto the Lord”. The banner still stands high under the New Covenant. So it is imperative that we see this truth; Jesus Christ is the complete and full package of our salvation. He is the personification of all that went on in the Tabernacle. He is the full extent of the way (road, path) into the presence of God and continued fellowship with God. The above truths together, are the rock upon which we are called to rest our faith. So just as we accept by faith to be justified, it is also by faith in the Sanctifier that we are also sanctified. In both cases our behaviour will reveal our faith. Believing we are justified will give us peace of mind and an air of liberty from condemnation, and believing one is sanctified will cause us to keep our clean white garments unspotted from the world. Indeed we find that “worldly" things cause much diversity in Christian beliefs between individuals and some have a strong conviction by the Holy Spirit to avoid certain things, but others are apparently not similarly convicted. It is certainly not for one christian to judge another man’s servant but live our individual lives in personal response to the Holy Spirit. He knows the things that would be harmful or a stumbling block to each child of God. But essentially we are all sanctified before God by the offering of the body of Jesus, not by the standard of our own “works of righteousness. The offering of our own body in service is the expression of our faith. Faith has three parts Knowledge, Belief and Action. Consecrating one's body to the Lord is the "action" part. (Rom 12:1) Later in chapter 10 we read of a very, very strong warning to the Jews about backsliding, by putting their faith in the “shadowy” earthly things of the Jewish religion and rejecting or not depending solely and totally on the work of Jesus Christ who is God our Saviour. One can understand the reality of this severe warning only when we see how much better, higher, greater, more effective, more efficient, and of far, far greater value then the tabernacle built by men is the salvation that God has ordained, by offering his own son as His lamb for his people. Consider and compare for example, which would be more acceptable to God, the blood of a goat or the blood of His own dear Son. Is it not a ridiculous consideration in the first place because there is really no comparison? So consider how God would react to someone putting faith in the blood of an animal rather than the blood of His own Son who He Himself had slain as his “lamb” to take away sins. In this light we should read chapter 9. Christ’s own blood gained “Eternal redemption”, which means that for those who continue to believe, their Sin is “everlastingly” paid for. This is the New Testament, or covenant between God and man. In the New, God remembers our sins and iniquities NO MORE- forever. Both covenants were blood covenants. Just as a will (testament”) is never valid till the testator dies, so death was essential under both covenants. But the Old, which involved the death of animals (as substitutes for the sinner) wasn’t the real effective and acceptable way of appeasing God. But the Death of Christ (and the offering of his blood as evidence) is indeed and has always been the only offering acceptable to God for the sins of mankind. The Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world. That fact alone made the Jewish religion tenable for a time but had he not been slain before then all their religion would have been a gross insult to the holiness of God. Only on the basis of the real was the shadow acceptable to God. The chapter closes with an oft quoted verse, which is just as often quoted out of context. "It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgement" This is not just a verse to throw at the sinner to bring him to fear the judgment. In fact in context it has nothing to do with that. It is merely stating a fact of the judgement of all men. And having previously established firmly and convincingly that Jesus is a man then HE TOO must appear before God to be judged after his death. Just as the High Priest went in with his offering into the earthly tabernacle, so Jesus went in with his offering into the real tabernacle in heaven.. So just as the people waited in hushed anticipation to see if High Priest would reappear and so prove God’s acceptance, so we also by faith in Christ’s present intercession as our High Priest, will await his reappearing. Those who don’t believe will not be living in anticipation of that great day. That will be the time of our great redemption- Sin will be gone forever. Jesus will appear the second time without sin. In John ch. 1 we have a literary illustration of this truth. John the Baptist first introduced Jesus as “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world” and the next day he introduced Jesus as “the Lamb of God”- there was no mention of sin. There is will be no mention or remembrance of sin- when he appears the second time.
The New Covenant; An agreement brings two parties into some kind of a relationship. The purpose of God’s agreement with men was to this end. He desired to be their God and He desired them to be HIS people. But the old agreement failed to make this possible. Man could not keep his part of the agreement because of the weakness in his flesh. Even had he wanted to be holy, he had no chance of being so. There are those who mistakenly take themselves out of society into some kind of monastic life, in order to attain some kind of holiness. However, even cut off from all the influences of the evil outside world, there remain standards which are unreachable. Being late for morning prayers, letting one’s mind wonder during Holy Communion, are enough to plunge such sensitive souls into remorse and repentance. The flesh is incapable of reaching a standard worthy of God. At best we can only hope to attain, or make an attempt to attain, we will certainly never attain to holiness under such rules for living. However, Christ has negotiated a new agreement whereby God will no longer even remember the sins of the other party any more and he will forgive the wickedness of the other party. That my friend, is some agreement! Equally, one might say, that is some mediator! Some negotiator! How has this come about? Has God just decided to go easy on Sin, like an understanding Father? Surely not, for God's very holy nature could never take such an attitude towards sin. It is hard for any human to really understand just how God views sin. His Law is an expression of his life and nature. This cannot be broken or disregarded. It has to be fulfilled. If the scriptures say that even our righteousnesses are like filthy rags in his sight, then goodness knows what our sins seem like to him. For God cannot look on sin. The Law decreed that the one who sins must die? Now we could argue forever what it means to die under the law, but it is obvious from experience that it incorporates both physical death, (eventually) and spiritual death. Both can be defined as "separated from Life". Natural death is separated from life on this earth. The spiritual death simply means "separated from God" for God is Life. And as God's Spirit (which also means "Life”) left Adam when he sinned so all men since, have inherited this death. No man born on this earth has contact with God spiritually enough for God to count him or her as his child or for them to naturally call God their father. So a drastic breakdown in a relationship demands some equally drastic solution. God, being God, is not only a righteous God, who has to demand justice and a fulfilment of his laws but also He is Love. And it is that characteristic joined with his wisdom and power that devised a means of salvation for mankind. Before the world was created, due to his wisdom and foreknowledge of all things, he planned to send his “son” to earth to live as a man. There he would be a son of Adam. Could it be possible for a man to do the will of God throughout his entire life and yet still endure all the temptations and suffering that men endure because of Sin in the world. So Jesus was born and lived for 30 years, and was tempted in all points like all other men are, but he did not sin. While being fully man, he proved himself to be the son of his father by having the same characteristics in terms of righteousness and love. Such love as to bring him to offer his life as a substitute for all men. Just as the animals had died under the older agreement as substitutes, so he became willing to offer himself as the sacrifice that God demanded and as an offering that he himself gave willingly. The cross was the brazen altar of the Lamb of God. For there the price that God demanded for breaking the law, was paid in full. He shed his blood as evidence of death and just as the high priest entered the holy of holies into God’s presence with the blood of an animal, so Jesus went into the tabernacle in heaven where God truly dwells and offered his own blood. There he negotiated a new agreement on man’s behalf. God agreed his demands had been met and that the price had been paid for all men and that no man any longer owed God anything. From that moment on God had a means of bringing men who were spiritually dead back to life again. He had a means whereby they could be born again. Now we know from the rest of scripture that the life of God is Faith. By this all human life is maintained in the natural. But spiritually faith must rest in something. Spiritual life comes from God’s word (water) - Gods promises. So man now needs only to apply that faith to the gospel message concerning what Jesus has done and all who believe, indeed come back to life. They are born again as God’s children. They can call God their father with the utmost confidence and can come into his presence boldly as a son and not a sinner. They can live by faith every moment in God’s presence. God puts his Holy Spirit in them to confirm the agreement. So then being Justified by Faith, we have peace (rest) with God. God's righteousness is fully justified. The scales of God's justice now balance. What he demanded has been paid. But there is a further clause in this agreement. This dealt with more fully in chapter 10. It deals with our sanctification. Wherever you read of Sanctification in the scriptures you will see it is linked to our bodies and our behaviour. So, not only was the blood acceptable to God, but also the body that Jesus lived in, is very significant. Jesus offered his blood, so that by his death God was satisfied, but Jesus also lived a life in a body which was free from sin, he didn’t have to die- he made an offering of his body, as well as his blood. When Jesus was baptised, God was so pleased with his son that he shouted from heaven about it. Also you may recall that. Jesus was able to pray in the garden, hours before his death “I have glorified your name on the earth”. God had never heard that before. No other man could have prayed that prayer. We have all come short of bringing any glory to the one who made us. Now the good news is for those of us who find it hard living a holy life in their sinful body, enough to satisfy a Holy God, can have a share in that also. (read Romans chs 7 & 8.) For Jesus is truly one of us. He is truly our High priest. He truly counts us as his brethren, so he offered HIS body for OUR Body. His blood is accepted as our blood and his body has been accepted as our body. Fantastic! In ch 10 we read that God never had pleasure in the sacrifice of animals, but just longed to see a man live a holy life in a human body (for that is how and why God created man) So just as we are justified by faith in his blood, we are also sanctified (made holy) by faith in the offering of his sinless life. Ch 10 says that "His will" sanctified us. What an agreement! – what a negotiator! Is that how you read it? Do you believe it? Sounds too good to be true, does it not? So now you know what it means when it talks about the grace of God. On the basis of the sacrifice and offerings of Jesus our High priest, God has declared that he not only has been paid for our sins but he will remember them no more forever. He will remove them from us as far as the east is from the west (they never meet) and cast them into the depths of the sea. Now that we are his children we have His Holy Spirit in us. We now have a source of life which by nature is Holy. Granted we still have our old flesh life but God has no interest in that. That will perish. He sees only Christ his son and if we continue to believe then we are accepted IN HIM. Our response (for faith will always produce works) is truly up to us. Our delight at being justified and feeling free from guilt within will surely be obvious when compared to those who don’t believe and also our behaviour will also be different from those who have no sense of being Holy. It is as though we have been clothed like the high priest in spotless white robes. We have an inner feeling by the Holy Spirit in us, that we would like to keep them clean because we love Jesus for all he has negotiated for us and the cost he paid to do so. We are eternally indebted to Him and to Him alone. So our love stimulates our obedience and just as he died and was resurrected so we also are able now (willingly) to experience dying to our own will and coming to know the wonderful spiritual experience of resurrection life. We truly are miracles- not only when we are born naturally as a baby but even more so, when we are born again of the Spirit of God, and start to experience living the life of God on this earth. This is how we get to know God- not by being educated to “Know the Lord” but to experience by living what it is like to be God- There is no selfishness in God. He gives and gives and gives again. He forgives and forgives and forgives again and again. And the bottom line is that he does so because HE HIMSELF paid for us to be forgiven. I do hope you understand this because it should make you want to weep with joy or shout Hallelujah – take your pick. So let us ponder over again these things which are written in these chapters. Jesus was a better high priest, because he was of a higher priestly order, ordained with an oath, but also ministered in a better tabernacle and brought better gifts and offerings. Indeed the difference is so marked that it merits a totally new agreement. He was not trying to make the old agreement work better, by the administration of a better priest and sacrifices. He was in fact annulling the old agreement and establishing a new one. A new will, renders the former one worthless. So though there is a similarity between the two agreements because one is a copy, so to speak, and the other is the real thing, Paul is now definitely stating that the two can’t exist together. The new dismisses the old. Jeremiah ch. 31 v 34 prophesies that God would make a new and better agreement with His people. Why should God make a new agreement if the old was working satisfactorily. The problem with the old law with its rules and regulations was that the people did not want to do them. They wanted to be God’s people, but the conditions set for that relationship they could not meet. So under this new agreement, there was really nothing for man to do, because one Man came and did it all. He became the negotiator or mediator of a new agreement while the rest of us all just inherited the benefits of the will or agreement, by faith. So that now, as soon as someone believes, or trusts in the work of the New High Priest, they receive within them the Holy Spirit, who witnesses within them that they are a child of God. They do not need to be told by their parents as the Jewish children were “You are one of God’s people,” nor do they need to be educated into their faith, by history lessons or the reading of the law, but under this new agreement every individual has an assurance of salvation. That surely must be a better agreement. The old agreement is not even worthy of putting in the archives, it is fit only for vanishing away. So, we who now live, may not have an earthly tabernacle built by divine authority, as the Jews had. We may not have divinely robed priests offering specific sacrifices before our very eyes as demanded by a thrice Holy God, but we have a far more effective means of cleansing from our guilty conscience. We have nothing visible. We have never seen our priest, never seen the blood that was shed, never seen the tabernacle where the sacrifice was offered, never seen the mercy seat where the blood was shed. We have never seen anything. Someone just came and told us something (the gospel) and we believed; then we knew we were different, so it all worked. The new agreement has been effective in many of our lives without us understanding one jot or tittle of it. We have peace with God, our consciences have been cleansed, and we don’t ever feel the need to make sacrifices to God. Furthermore, we have the “feeling” to be able to call God our Father. We as sinners feel at liberty to call a thrice Holy God, “Father”. That is some mighty effective agreement. It is almost UN believable. Jesus our great High Priest went into the Holy of Holies in heaven with His own blood and paid the price God demanded in the law. We have been made to be Kings and Priests, ministering in heavenly places, as surely as the daily priests ministered in the Holy Place. They ministered in the candlestick, showbread and altar of Incense. So our Christian life as the children of God is a priestly ministry of service to the Lord, but we are ministering in the real things. The Jews ministered in the copy of them. Yet still we say everything is unseen. We have no visible priestly garments, no visible candlestick, no altar, no bread. Not even a visible Holy Place to enter into. Yet we manage somehow to achieve all this without thinking we are mad or wasting our time. It is all very real to us and it is not just mind over matter or hypnosis of some kind. Do we realise what we are doing when we worship in prayer and praise. Are we not keeping the incense of praise rising up to our God as a sweet savour. When we read, meditate and digest God’s word, or when we minister through God’s word to each other, are we not keeping the bread fresh daily. When we show others our Saviour by the works we do, are we not keeping the candlestick burning brightly in witness. In all these things we are serving the Lord as priests, in the Holy place. The greatest difference being, the curtain between the Holy Place and the Holiest of all has been torn in two and as we have said the two rooms have been knocked into one. We serve the Lord in His presence, within the veil. He is with us as we serve. He has promised never to leave us. May be for the younger Christians some explanation of the things in the old tabernacle and their significance will be necessary before they grasp the reality of what we are saying, and know the thrill, which the light of this truth brings.
BOARD SUMMARY CH 9. HERE IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU TO MAKE YOUR OWN SUMMARY OF THIS SPLENDID CHAPTER;