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Today: [Hebrews 9:] The True Tabernacle in Heaven: In chapter 9 the writer of Hebrews insists that Moses tabernacle was only a replica of a true tabernacle and altar located in the heavens. The writer depicts Jesus during His passion and death taking His own blood to that altar and in so doing making open to you, and I entrance into the presence of God not by our own merits but on the basis of His sacrifice of Himself on our behalf.
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[Heb 9:1-14 KJV] 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. 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. 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, 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?

Chapter 9 opens describing the ordinances of Levitical worship and the articles of Moses’ tabernacle. There were three sections of the tabernacle with originally was a portable tent and then Solomon’s temple, the Restoration Temple and the Temple of Herod during what is called the Third Temple period. Only in Solomon’s temple were the articles originally in Moses’ tabernacle found which is why the writer speaks of them to the Jewish believers to whom the letter is written.
In the outer court, we find the four-horned brazen altar and the laver where the priests would wash their hands before entering into the Holy Place where the lampstand, the altar of incense and the table of shewbread were located. The priests of lower rank served in both the outer court and the inner court, but only the high priest entered into the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant was placed. This Ark was a box overlaid with gold with an ornate lid depicting angels over the top of it. Inside the ark was Aaron’s rod that budded, the tablets given to Moses, the censor that Aaron would take among the people to halt plagues and initially the staff bearing the snake that Moses held up over the people when vipers attacked them and everyone looking on was healed.

In v. 5 the writer observes that nothing of particular note could be said of the ark of the Covenant because the ark disappeared from history during the reign of Solomon. The ark never sat in the Restoration Temple built by Zerubbabel neither was it to be found in the Temple of Herod. This fact was exposed to all when Jesus died on the cross, and the veil was rent in two by an earthquake, revealing an empty space where God’s glory once shined.

Though the priests often went into the Holy Place, only the High Priest went once a year into the Holy of Holies to sprinkle sacrificial blood on the Mercy Seat to expiate the sins of the people. To enter the High Priest had to pass through a very thick veil with a rope tied around his waist in case he was stricken dead in the process due to some ritual defilement. This entire picture was thus fashioned by God’s design (v. 8) to signify that the way into the Holiest place meaning the presence of God was not made open to the people while the first tabernacle was standing.

What this conveys to us is that the first tabernacle according to God’s design spoke in its entirety of prohibition and rejection of man in his own righteousness to stand before a Holy God. When Jesus came (v. 11) He came as a high priest of good things to come not to minister in the temple built by Herod and maintained by the hypocritical elites of Jerusalem. Neither did Jesus offer up the blood of goats and calves but instead He came into the holy place not on earth but in heaven to sprinkle His own blood on the original Mercy Seat shown to Moses on the mount in the desert as the pattern he was commanded to construct the earthly tabernacle according to. The emphasis is that Jesus need only enter once to cleanse sin whereas the earthly high priest had to come year after year providing only ritual purity for the people and not actual deliverance from the contamination of the fallen nature.

When Jesus offered Himself up (v. 14), He not only brought forgiveness but actual purging of our defiled conscience from the dead works of religion that could never satisfy divine justice. How is our conscience purged? By giving us a basis of an approach to God not according to our own works but on the basis of who Jesus is and what He has done for us on the cross to forgive our transgressions and purge us from the inveterate sin nature that held us captive in estrangement from God as our Father. By reason of this sacrifice of Himself (v. 15) Jesus constituted Himself to be the mediator of a New Covenant on that by means of His death he secured for us not only the forbearance of God but full redemption that we might receive from heaven not only as servants but as sons entitled to inheritance by the Holy Spirit.

[Heb 9:15–28 KJV]

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 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. 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.

In saying Jesus mediated for us entrance into a New Testament (or Covenant) v. 16 tells us that there is no testament (or Covenant) without a sacrificial death. In those days contractual covenant was sealed with blood and had no force of law without the complete exsanguination of the sacrificial offering. This then explains to us why Jesus’ body was so brutalized, not because God wanted Him to suffer but because of necessity His veins had to be completely drained of blood and that he was verifiably shown in his cause of death to be exsanguination when the soldier pierced His pericardium, and only water and serum came forth. Thus as the first tabernacle was sanctified by animal sacrifice, so the true Tabernacle in the Heaven’s was sanctified by Jesus sacrifice of Himself not to make His own way into the Holiest but to make way for us on the basis of Covenant and not our own righteousness into the very presence of God.

What is the writer telling us in all of this? This is the conveying of what was REALLY going on during the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. The events witnessed by men on the earth were only the beginning of the story. Behind the scenes, in the heavens, Jesus was consummating cosmic business before God for all mankind. The very plan of the ages was being brought to its apex in one great and monumental act of sacrificial benefit to all those who receive Jesus as savior.

In the first tabernacle (v. 19) Moses would take the blood of the sacrifice and sprinkle it on the people to declare the expiation of the sins of the nation. In fact (v. 22) every person, article, and item in Levitical worship was regularly sanctified by ritual blood for use in the worship of Jehovah. Likewise (. 23) we are given to know that after Jesus ascended on high, He purged with His own blood the tabernacle in the heavens not for his own benefit but for the benefit or all humanity that we might also enter in following in His footsteps. This blood sprinkled path was not required for Jesus, but for us, He offered Himself that we might walk behind Him into the very presence of God not in similitude but in reality that He might live in us and through us establishing the testimony of Himself on the earth through a Holy People. In v. 26 the point is made that He need to have done this only once to put away sin as a barrier to God’s presence by the sacrifice of Himself. This means that you can’t bring your contrition to God as a basis of acceptance. Your sincerity does not gain you standing before God’s throne either. There is nothing, absolutely nothing whereby you can claim any right to enter into God’s presence other than by the blood that was shed. In this manner we understand that we really cannot “apply the blood” as people often do in their prayers but we can attest to the blood in effect saying and claiming in our walk and our prayers that we attest to the blood of Jesus shed 2000 years ago and sprinkled on the true altar in the heavens as our basis of entrance before God and entitlement to the kingdom.

This is not on the basis of religious adherence or doctrinal belief or any conduct that we might conform ourselves to. Nothing opens the way into God’s presence other than the blood of Jesus, and the fact that we have come not in our own righteousness but in the righteousness of God expressed in the sacrificial offering of Jesus in our behalf.

This needs only to be done once (v. 27) because only once is man appointed to die and face judgment. As all men must face judgment only once even, so Jesus only once needed to offer himself up not for his own sin for He had none but for the sins of all humanity the sinless offered for the sinful that we partake of not by universal right but only on the basis of faith by which we come unto Him and enter into relationship not just as servants but as sons, heirs, and co-heirs with Him.

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