Replacing the Old Covenant (Hebrews 9:6-16)

Pastor Anthony Bacino, March 31, 2019
Part of the Exposition of Hebrews series, preached at a Sunday Morning service


Years ago my wife and I were out to visit Dottie Paugh at her house. She was always busy doing something. I remember her bringing us back in the house from her garden and offering us a chair because her couch was covered with fabric. I saw pieces of paper pinned to that fabric scattered over the back of her couch. I thought that was odd until she explained. Those pieces of paper were from the pattern package. They were invalu¬able in helping her make an article of clothing. However, the pattern was never intended to be a substitute for the garment itself. In the same way, the book of Hebrews explains to Jewish believers that the sacrifices of the old covenant were just a pattern of the real thing to come they never intended nor could give redemption from their sins. Now the Holy Spirit will give understanding regarding the priestly service under the Old Covenant verses the new.

I. The Function of the Old Tabernacle. (9:6-10)

1. When everything was in its place, priests regularly entered the first taber¬nacle, the Holy Place, accomplishing the service of God (Heb. 9:6). They offered incense daily (Ex 30:7), set out the holy loaves on the Sabbath (Ex 25:30), and trimmed the wicks on the candles to keep them burning (Ex 27:20-21). Only the priest would eat the bread a week later.

2. In verse 7 into the second [the Holy of Holies] went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for him¬self, and for the sins of the people (9:7). On the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the high priest entered the Holy of Holies with the blood of a bull and sprinkled blood on the mercy seat to cover his own sins (Lev. 16:11-14). Then, he returned with the blood of a goat and sprinkled blood on the mercy seat (Lev. 16:15) to cover the errors of the people. The word translated errors refers to sins committed in ignorance.

3. Under the old covenant, there was no sacrifice for premeditated sins. God tell Moses what must be done to anyone who doeth ought pre¬sumptuously or sins defiantly (Num. 15:30c)
This is because that person hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment (Num. 15:3 1). This presented a huge dilemma for King David. The old covenant did not provide a sacrifice for his pre¬meditated sins. That’s why he writes, For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it (Psa. 51:16a).

4. In verse 8 we see the regulations concerning the tabernacle and offerings, the Holy Spirit reveals that entrance into the Holy of Holies is not freely open as long as the first tabernacle is yet standing (Heb. 9:8). The Day of Atone¬ment makes it clear there was no way for anyone except the high priest to come into God’s presence. The ancient Jewish Rabbis wrote of how the high priest when he came out, threw a party for all his friends, because he had emerged safely from the Holy of Holies and presence of God.

This is a figure of the present age that the old covenant sacrifices … could not … perfect [cleanse] the conscience of the worshiper). At the tabernacle an Israelite could fulfill regulations and laws but still would not have a clear conscience be¬fore God. Only a personal relationship with God through Christ will per¬fect, or purify, our conscience. The ceremonial washings and ordinances applied only until the time of reformation, God’s better way (9:10).

As we move to verse 11 it leads into the greater more superior sanctuary. Jesus, as our High Priest, ministers in an exceptional sanctuary – the very throne room of God, a place greater than anything human hands could make.

The Jews had to live by the old covenant until God’s better way came. To understand how to live this better way, remember the limitations of the old tabernacle and …

II The benefits of the perfect tabernacle (9:11-14).

1. God’s better way is when Christ became our high priest … by a greater and more perfect tabernacle. The heavenly tabernacle was not made with hands (9:11). The Lord Jesus did not go into the earthly Holy of Holies but into the perfect tabernacle in heaven, of which the earthly tabernacle was only an example and shadow (8:5).

He did not enter the perfect taber¬nacle in heaven with the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood… having obtained eternal redemption for us (9:12). The blood of Jesus obtained eternal redemption, which means His sacrifice covers all sin ¬past, present, and future. His sacrifice never has to be repeated. — Ephesians 2:13

2. Under the old covenant, the blood of bulls and of goats was offered as a sacrifice for sin. The phrase ‘ashes of an heifer’ refers to a ceremony for someone who was ceremonially unclean. However, it was just an outward ritual for the purifying of the flesh that made the Israelites outwardly clean (9:13; Num. 19:1-10).

3. God’s better way does so much more through the blood of Jesus Christ. Through the eternal Spirit [Jesus] offered himself without spot to God. This verse reveals all three persons of the Trinity have a part in securing our eternal redemption. Jesus shed His blood to purge, or cleanse, our conscience from dead works, so we may serve the living God (9:14c). A great result of our eternal redemption is having a clear conscience.

4. Our consciences make us painfully aware of our sin, and as a result we feel guilty. Dead works refers to the works of the Law and good deeds that cannot impart spiritual life. Many today try to appease their consciences with dead works by giving money, doing good deeds, etc. Yet, our consciences can only be cleansed by Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross.

Each of us can look into our past and remember things we have done that cause shame and guilt. Guilt is a tremendous mental burden that can also make us feel unworthy to serve God. However, you can have a clear con¬science if you want one. 1 John 3:5 declare this fact. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

On the Day of Atonement, the high priest placed his hands on the head of a goat and confessed the sins of Israel, symbolically transferring the na¬tion’s sin to the goat, called the scapegoat. Then, he sent the goat into the wilderness never to return, taking away their sins (Lev. 16:10, 21). God’s better way means Jesus became your Scapegoat-taking away your sins so you can be rid of all your guilt, have a clear conscience, and be ready to serve God. This is only possible because Jesus is now our High Priest in the perfect tabernacle.

III. The forgiveness of sin by the mediator of the heavenly Tabernaclle (9:15-16).

1. After His death, Jesus became the mediator of the New Testament, or cove¬nant (9:15a). Christ is now our High Priest in the original tabernacle¬ God’s throne room. Christ is our Advocate, interceding for us with the Father. The responsibility of a mediator is arbitration, bringing two op¬posing parties together-in our case, a Holy God and sinners. So, Jesus bridges, or spans, the gulf so we can obtain entrance into God’s holy pres¬ence. We must have a mediator because we are sinners and our sins sepa¬rate us from God. The word “mediator” is (ma-see-tate) mesiates. It has to do with a go-between. Jesus, by the act of death, became a go-between from God to man.

Jesus paid for all our sins-past, present, and future-with His own blood. Therefore, we can enter God’s presence only through Him.

2. Jesus’ blood sacrifice on the cross was retroactive. The writer of Hebrews puts it like this: that by means of death, for the redemption of the trans¬gressions that were under the first testament (9:15b). People living under the first testament (covenant) were saved through Christ’s sacrifice before it happened. By His death, then, He brought redemption to those under the first covenant.

Under the old covenant, when persons brought an unblem¬ished animal to sacrifice as God commanded, though they didn’t under¬stand completely, they were anticipating and accepting Christ’s coming sacrifice for their sins. I John 2:2

3. The reason Christ’s death was retroactive is: 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 (9:16-17). These verses refer to a last will and testament, which only takes effect at the death of the person who made it. The new covenant was inherited by all of God’s people, but it was not put into ef¬fect until Christ died on the cross.

Conclusion: The way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing: The old had to pass away before God’s new way could be revealed. The only high priest of the heavenly tabernacle is Jesus Christ.


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Hebrews 9:6-16

6Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. 7But 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: 8The 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: 9Which 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; 10Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. 11But 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; 12Neither 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. 13For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14How 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? 15And 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. 16For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. (KJV)

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