Old Covenant’s Sanctuary
Verse 1 – Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary.
Verse 2 – For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary;
Verse 3 – and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All,
The tabernacle, like the temple afterward (the wilderness tent), was divided into two parts, by the veil, one of which was called the “holy place,” and the other “the Holy of Holies.”
The lampstand – it was made of pure gold, and had seven branches, there on each side and one in the center. This was to shed light on the altar of incense, the table of showbread, and generally on the furniture of the holy place.
The table – the table on which the showbread was placed. This table was made of shittim-wood, and overlaid with gold.
The showbread – this bread consisted of twelve loaves, placed on the table, every Sabbath. The Hebrews affirmed that they were square loaves, having the four sides covered with leaves of gold. The number twelve was selected with reference to the twelve tribes of Israel. They were made without leaven (yeast); were renewed each Sabbath, when the old loaves were taken away to be eaten by the priests only.
The Holiest of All – the room behind the veil was also called the Most Holy place, or the Holy of Holies. It was called this because of the divine presence – the “Shekinah” – dwelt there between the Cherubim.
Verse 4 – which had the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant;
Verse 5 – and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy-seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
There were two cherubim on the ark, placed on the lid in such a manner that their faces looked inward toward each other, and downward towards the mercy-seat. They stretched out their wings “on high” and covered the mercy-seat, or the lid of the ark.
The mercy-seat was to be where God was seated, and from this place He was to dispense mercy to the guilty, when the blood of the atonement was sprinkled there. This was undoubtedly designed to be a symbol of His dispensing mercy to people in virtue of the blood which the Savior shed as the great sacrifice for guilt (Hebrews 9:13-14).
Old Covenant’s Sacrifice
Verse 6 – Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services.
Verse 7 – But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance;
The holy place was entered every day to make morning and evening sacrifices, but only the high priest entered the Holy of Holies once a year.
Verse 8 – the Holy Spirit indicating this that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing.
The whole arrangement in the service of the tabernacle is represented as having been under the direction of the Holy Spirit. The way to heaven was not open or fully understood as of yet – “not yet made manifest.” That way has now been opened by the Redeemer to heaven, and by the assurance that all who will may come in His name.
“While the first tabernacle was yet standing” – while the first system stood and the appointed services were held, until it was superseded by a more perfect system.
Verse 9 – It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience –
Verse 10 – concerned only with foods and drinks, various washing’s, and fleshly ordinances, imposed until the time of reformation.
Even when the outward ceremonial rites, offerings, and sacrifices were made, it did not free the conscience from guilt. They could not fully do what the conscience needed for peace with God. Nothing would do but the blood of the Redeemer.
New Covenant’s Sanctuary
Verse 11 – But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands that is, not of this creation.
Now that the Messiah has come, a more perfect system is introduced by which the conscience may be made free from guilt.
Verse 12 – Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
Verse 13 – For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,
Verse 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?
If the blood of animals had any effect at all, even in removing ceremonial pollution’s, how much more is it reasonable to suppose maybe effected by the blood of the Son of God?
Verse 15 – And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
People in the Old Testament were saved through Christ’s sacrifice also, even though that sacrifice had not happened yet. Then, there was no more need for the animal sacrifices.
Verse 16 – For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
It’s talking here of a “Last will and testament.” The will only goes into effect after the person dies.
Verse 17 – For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.
Verse 18 – Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood.
Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins (Hebrews 9:22).
Verse 19 – For when Moses had spoken every precept to all people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,
Verse 20 – saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.”
Verse 21 – Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry.
Verse 22 – And according to the law almost all things are purged with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.
Yes, there were also some things purified by water, but almost everything in the tabernacle and temple were consecrated by blood.
There is no greater symbol of life than blood, blood keeps us alive. Jesus shed His blood to give us life, so that we wouldn’t have to spend eternity separated form Him. He gave His life to pay our penalty for our sins. After Christ rose from the grave, He claimed victory over sin and death.
Verse 23 – Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
I don’t think any of us fully understand how the things in the temple on earth that was a copy and symbol of the heavenly things.
Verse 24 – For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;
Verse 25 – not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another –
Verse 26 – He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at ht end of the ages, He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
We are still living in the “end of the ages,” and will continue to do so until Christ’s return.
Verse 27 – And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
Verse 28 – so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time apart from sin for salvation.
Christ died only once and made the atonement for sins and so we can expect to die only once. The same thing with judgment – only once, not to be repeated.
However, there is a second death for all those who do not have their names written in the “Book of Life!