Hebrews 9: The Earthly Form and the Spiritual Reality

Why might we think the objects of Tabernacle worship were more than a religious form?

Author’s Thoughts
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2 Samuel 6:6–7 When they reached Nachon’s threshing floor, the oxen shook the cart and Uzzah grabbed the ark to keep it from falling.
God was angry at Uzzah for touching the ark and struck him, so he died right there.
2 Timothy 3:5 They have a religious form with only a façade of righteousness, not the Holy Spirit acting with power in their lives. Do not fellowship with these people,
Hebrews 9:1–6 The first agreement had rules and rituals for worship in an earthly sanctuary. The lampstand and the table of showbread were in the Tabernacle’s first section, the Holy Place. The Holy of Holies was beyond the Tabernacle’s second veil, with the gold altar of incense and the Ark of the Covenant overlaid with gold, which contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that budded, and the two stone slabs of the Ten Commandments. On top of the ark, glorious cherubim spread their wings over the place of mercy, which we now can’t describe in detail. When these things were ready in the Tabernacle, the priests regularly entered the Holy Place to perform their religious duties.
King James
2 Samuel 6:6–7 And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.
2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
Hebrews 9:1–6 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; 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 the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.

What changes religious liturgy and tradition to something spiritually real and powerful?

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1 Kings 18:38 The fire of God came down and consumed the sacrifice—the young bull, the wood, and even the stones and mortar. Not a drop of water was left in the trench.
Matthew 9:13 “Go learn what the prophet meant when he said, I wanted you to show love, not make sacrifices. I have not come to invite to repentance those who think they are righteous. I have come for those who know they are sinners.”
Hebrews 9:6–8 When these things were ready in the Tabernacle, the priests regularly entered the Holy Place to perform their religious duties. But only the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies once a year, after offering a sacrifice for the sins of himself and the people. For as long as the Holy Spirit was manifested in the Tabernacle form of worship, people were not allowed to stand in God’s presence.
King James
1 Kings 18:38 Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
Matthew 9:13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Hebrews 9:6–8 Now 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 this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:

Of what value is a model in comparison to the real thing?

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Hebrews 9:9 The old offerings and sacrifices neither cleansed people’s consciences nor changed their desires. They were merely a pattern for the greater thing that God is doing now.
King James
Hebrews 9:9 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;

What was better about the new versus the old worship?

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John 4:22–24 “You Samaritans do not know what you worship. We know, because salvation comes through the Jews. The time is coming—in fact, it is here now—when the Father looks for true worship that is an expression from your spirit. God is spirit, so those people who truly worship must do so in spirit.”
Hebrews 9:10–12 The old standards of diet and drink, ritual washings, and all the laws and traditions that dictate what we should or shouldn’t do were imposed on us until we were given something better. Christ is our High Priest of these new and better things, not in a physical tabernacle on Earth but a spiritual reality without the blood of animals. With his own blood, he entered the Holy of Holies to obtain for us an eternal relationship with God.
King James
John 4:22–24 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
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 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; 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.

If animal sacrifices didn’t change people’s thoughts and actions, what was their value?

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Hebrews 9:13–14 If sprinkling animal blood and ashes had any value in purifying people’s thoughts and actions, how much more will the blood of Jesus, unblemished and without sin, make a difference in our relationship with God. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, he will cleanse our consciences and change our actions from worthless ritual to serving the living God.
King James
Hebrews 9:13–14 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: 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?

What makes the new agreement effective when the old was not? What could make it ineffective?

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Isaiah 29:13 God says, “These people express love with their mouths and their lips offer praise, but their hearts are somewhere else. Their reverence for me is nothing but a ritual.”
Hebrews 6:6 if they turn away, they have no means to gain repentance and forgiveness, since they crucify the Son of God a second time, putting him to open shame.
Hebrews 9:15 Thus he mediates a new agreement between God and his people, his death assuming the penalty for our sins under the Law, so all who hear and follow him may receive the eternal inheritance that was promised.
King James
Isaiah 29:13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
Hebrews 6:6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
Hebrews 9:15 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.

How does God’s commitment to us resemble a “last will and testament”? What are some of the conditions of this “will”?

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Hebrews 9:16–18 The provisions of a “last will and testament” become effective only after the person has died. For as long as its creator lives, the will has no impact at all, which explains why the first agreement required the death of an animal.
King James
Hebrews 9:16–18 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 liveth. Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.

What are the first biblical references to blood sacrifices?

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Genesis 3:21 God made clothes of animal skin for Adam and his wife.
Genesis 4:4 Abel brought an offering that was the choicest cuts of meat from the very best of his flock. God approved of Abel and his offering,
Genesis 8:20 Noah built an altar and offered burnt offerings to the Lord of every clean animal and bird.
Hebrews 9:19–22 After Moses spoke to the people about every provision of the Law, with scarlet wool, hyssop, and water he sprinkled the book and the people with the blood of calves and goats, saying, “This blood puts God’s agreement with you into effect.” He sprinkled the blood on the Tabernacle and all the objects of worship. According to the Law, the blood purifies just about everything. Without the blood, there is no forgiveness.
Revelation 3:18 You should seek treasure from me because my gold is 100 percent pure, of the highest value. Then you really will be rich. Buy my finest garments, and you will be free from embarrassment and shame. Accept my prescription for your eyes, and you will see clearly.
King James
Genesis 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
Genesis 4:4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
Genesis 8:20 And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
Hebrews 9:19–22 Verse text
Revelation 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

Where do you think pagan cultures developed the idea that sacrifices were important?

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Hebrews 9:23 Tabernacle practices were a physical representation of a heavenly reality that demanded a better sacrifice than the blood of animals.
King James
Hebrews 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.

What concept of sacrifice did Jesus demonstrate, which was largely missed?

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Hebrews 9:23–24 Tabernacle practices were a physical representation of a heavenly reality that demanded a better sacrifice than the blood of animals. Instead of the manmade Tabernacle resembling the spiritual realm, Christ entered Heaven itself to appear in God’s presence on our behalf.
King James
Hebrews 9:23–24 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. 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:

When is a sacrifice needed only once?

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Hebrews 9:25–28 He did this only once, not like the High Priest who entered the Holy of Holies every year with blood that wasn’t his own. Instead of following the earthly pattern where he would have suffered every year throughout history, in the last days Jesus sacrificed himself for our sins. Just as all people will die once and then must face judgment, so Christ died once for our transgressions. When he returns, we will greet him as those who have been freed from sin.
King James
Hebrews 9:25–28 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth 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 hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 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.