Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hebrews 9 Bible Study

Posted below is the content of the handout I gave to the participants of the Hebrews 9 Bible study that I led this afternoon:

HEBREWS 9 Bible Study
(Date: June 12, 2010)

9:1: The "first covenant" refers to the Sinaitic Covenant which was destined to be abrogated by the new covenant in Christ. This old covenant had prescriptions for worship particularly suited to that time of types, shadows, and prefigures, with its reference to "earthly" pointing to its role in signifying the "heavenly."

9:2—5: The tabernacle set up in the desert, prior to entering the Promised Land, had 3 parts according to Calvin (1st: the court of the people, 2nd: commonly called the sanctuary; 3rd: inner sanctuary), and 2 parts by most commentators (1st: The Holy Place, 2nd: The Most Holy Place or "Holy of Holies").

The Holy Place contained The Golden Lampstand, The Table for the Bread of the Presence, and The Altar of Incense.

The Most Holy Place contained only The Ark of the Covenant. The current passage states that the Ark contained an urn holding the manna, Aaron's staff, and the tablets of the covenant, but the OT states that only the latter were contained therein. It is not unlikely that the two prior items were placed inside the Ark in a subsequent time.

These two sanctuaries were divided by a veil made from blue, purple, and scarlet dyed yarns woven with fine twined linen and embroidered with cherubim.

9:6—10: The priests of the Levitical tribe (narrowly, only the sons of Aaron)  went regularly into the Holy Place, dispensing of their priestly duties (changing the lamp oil, the bread of the presence, and the incense fire). However, for any given time, there was only a single High Priest, who had the right of access to the Most Holy Place. He would enter The Most Holy Place once a year, on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), offering up a blood sacrifice for himself and the people.

It is notable that mention is made of "unintentional" sins. This is not to say that voluntary sins cannot be forgiven but that sins of an apostate nature are unforgivable in that sin that is not repented of cannot be forgiven. Anyone who does not look to Christ for the forgiveness of sin is intentionally sinning and in a state of rejection of the only way of forgiveness and restoration of a right standing with God.

While the old system was still in place, no one was permitted access to God except the priests, and the said system was a type, shadow, or prefigure of the antitype or substance that is to be found in the sacrifice of Christ, by which the way was made for those who look to Him in faith to come into the Most Holy Place, i.e., the actual presence of God.

The sacrifices of the old system are incapable of reaching the conscience, of conferring forgiveness of sins and righteousness before God—benefits received in faith only through the sacrifice of Christ.

9:11—12: We now come to the discussion of the reality itself, the substance to which the old covenant system pointed to.

1.) Only the High Priest entered the Most Holy Place. Only Christ was suited to enter the Most Holy Place of God's presence in heaven.

2.) The High Priest offered the blood sacrifice and entered entered the Most Holy Place only once a year. Christ, in the fullness of time, offered Himself up and, bearing the ultimate efficacy of His own blood as sacrifice, needed to offer it but once for all time.

3.) The High Priest offered the blood sacrifice before entering the Most Holy Place. Christ offered up His own blood on earth before entering the Most Holy Place in heaven.

4.) The High Priest offered the blood of animals as a sacrificial offering. Christ offered His own blood.

The redemption that Christ, by His blood, secured for His people is eternal, efficacious for the saints prior to His coming and for those after, and unalterable.

9:13—14: The blood of animals availed not in the cleansing of the conscience. However, Christ having lived a perfectly righteous and sinless life, empowered by the Holy Spirit, offered up His own blood which served to justify and sanctify before God. The cleansing of the conscience entails both these concepts of justification and sanctification in that we are declared as not guilty in the sight of God in justification and we are enabled to serve Him in the gift of a new nature in sanctification.

9:15: Moses, as a type of Christ, was the mediator of the old covenant, as Christ is the mediator of the new. Moses' mediatorial work presented the Law to the people but could not guarantee obedience to it and hence the promised inheritance. Christ's mediation, however, secures for His people the inheritance promised to Abraham in Gen. 15 by virtue of His having kept the Law perfectly on our behalf and the payment of the penalty of our breaking of the Law through His atoning death.

Only the called, or the elect, are the beneficiaries of Christ's mediatorial work.

Our eternal inheritance in Christ has two aspects, the "already" and the "not yet." We now already enjoy the benefits of justification and sanctification; and thus having the Holy Spirit as the guarantee of our future glorification, we eagerly await the second coming of Christ for the consummation of all things.

9:16—22: The term, "covenant", used in the current passage, denotes two meanings: the traditional meaning whereby an agreement between two living parties is ratified  with blood, and the second meaning as referring to a "last will and testament", whereby the beneficiary receives the blessing only after the death of the testator. Both meanings are applicable to the sacrificial death of Christ, whereby in the first sense, Christ died, taking upon Himself the curse for the breaking of the covenant stipulations by His people, and in the latter sense, the benefits of Christ being conferred on His people only upon His death.

9:23: If the implements used in the old covenant system were purified with the blood of animals, being typological and pointing to the heavenly things, i.e. Christ and His mediatorial death, how much more shall the substance, the real thing, the heavenly things be put in place by the blood of Christ, the testator.

9:24—26: Christ, after having lived a perfectly sinless, righteous life and dying on the cross, shedding His blood on behalf of His people, has entered the Most Holy Place in heaven, God's presence, having purchased their redemption in the satisfaction of God's justice in a once-and-for-all act, as the True High Priest and Mediator of the New Covenant.  

9:27—28: Just as man is destined to die once and face the judgment of God, so Christ was offered up once-and-for-all and faced the judgment of God for our sins. Christ will come back again not to deal with sin once more, for He has already done that in His first coming, but to complete the work of redemption in bringing many sons to glory.

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