The Superior Priesthood of Christ. 9:1-28
Old covenant was only the shadow of good things to come. 9:1-5.
In Hebrews chapter 9, the author shows the superiority of the new covenant over the old covenant. The old covenant under the Law of Moses was only a shadow of good things to come. It was a temporary earthly pictures of an eternal heavenly reality. The author gives a detailed account of the Tabernacle and it's ordinances to show their inefficiency to cleanse the conscience of the worshiper. Tabernacle was the earthly sanctuary erected in the wilderness where God's presence was visible. It had two rooms. The outer room was called Holy place and the inner room, the Most Holy Place. They were separated by a veil. In the Holy place were the golden candlestick, the table of show bread. Inside the Most Holy Place were the golden alter and the ark of the covenant with its mercy seat and the cherubim of glory where God's presence was manifested. The Ark contained the table of the covenant, golden pot of manna and the Aaron's budded rod. The author mentions the placing of the golden alter within the Most Holy Place because of its close association with the ritual (9:4). The Alter of incense was a type of Christ in His intercessory ministry.
Christ made the once inaccessible fellowship with God possible. 9:6-10.
Only the high priest could enter the Most Holy Place once a year with the blood of atonement offered for his sins and for the sins of the people(Leviticus 16). The sin mentioned here is the unintentional sin (Numbers 15: 27, 28). There was no sacrifice for intentional sins (Numbers 15:30, 31; Heb 10:26). The Most Holy Place was inaccessible to people except the high priest. Therefore fellowship with God was not possible until the death of Christ when the veil was rent from top to bottom. The animal sacrifices and offering only provided an external ritualistic cleansing. They did not have the ability cleanse the guilt of the conscience (9:6-9). It was a short-term provision until Christ offered His atoning sacrifice for sinners. Thus the sacrifices offered under old covenant could not cleanse the conscience of the worshiper. They were temporary ordinances of flesh and not spirit. Only through Christ we can have perfect fellowship with God.
In Christ we have eternal redemption and inheritance. 9:11-22.
Here the author shows the contrast between the the Law and the Christ. Christ serves in a greater and perfect tabernacle. The earthly tabernacle was symbolic and temporary. In contrast to Old Testament high priest who offered the blood of sacrificial animals, Christ offered his own blood to secure our eternal redemption. The blood of bulls and of goats and the ashes of heifer could only cleanse the flesh and not the conscience of the worshiper (Numbers 19). But the blood of Christ is able to cleanse our conscience from dead works to serve the living God (9:13, 14). Christ is the mediator of the new covenant and guarantees our perfect salvation. He sets us free to serve God with sincerity and zeal. Jesus is the agent of God's new covenant with his people (Heb 9:15). By His death Jesus inaugurated the new covenant (Luke 22:20). It was the the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies (Jeremiah 31:33). It was sealed and made effective by Christ's death. Under the old covenant the earthly things were cleansed with blood (Exodus 24:8). Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. The author concludes that the heavenly things are to be cleansed by a better sacrifice. Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper by saying “This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the forgiveness of their sins"(Matt 26:28). Jesus' death inaugurated the new covenant. Only his death redeems people from the transgressions committed under the first covenant (9:15). Do we understand the significance of the Lord's Supper when we celebrate it.
Christ will appear in power and glory. 9:23-28.
Christ came first to put away sin by his sacrifice. His incarnation was to suffer and die for our sin. Then He entered into heaven to appear before God as our mediator and intercessor. So He is able to help us in times of need to enjoy fellowship with God and serve Him. It is because of the sins of saved people that heaven must be cleansed by Christ's intercession. He does that on our behalf (9:24). First Christ cleansed us by the blood He shed on the cross (9:25-26). Old Testament sacrifices could only cover the sin but Christ's sacrifice removes all our sins (9:26). Unlike the Old covenant, Christ does not have to appear again and again to offer sacrifice for the people because He put away our sin by His one sacrifice. He shall appear a second time in power and glory to culminate the salvation for all those who eagerly waiting for Him. Christ came once to bear our sin and die for us. So now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2). It is appointed for all men to die once. After that there is no opportunity for salvation but only the judgment. Do you know Jesus Christ as your savior?