Old covenant was only the shadow of good things to come. Hebrews 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 picture of an eternal heavenly reality. The author gives a detailed account of the Tabernacle and its 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 is called the Holy place and the inner room the Most Holy Place. They were separated by a veil. In the Holy place were the golden candlestick and the table of showbread. Inside the Most Holy Place were the golden altar 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 tablet of covenant with ten commandments written on them, golden pot of manna and Aaron's budded rod. The author mentions the placing of the golden censer within the Most Holy Place because of its close association with the ritual (9:4). The most holy place was filled with the glory of God. The golden censer filled the place with smoke of the sweet smelling fragrance to cover and protect the High priest from judgment as he enters the Holy of holies once a year. No one can see the glory of God and live. Altar of incense was a type of Christ in His intercessory ministry.
Christ made the once inaccessible fellowship with God possible. Hebrews 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, Psalms 51:16; 31; Hebrews 10:26). David committed two such sins, murder and adultery (Genesis 9:6; Leviticus 20:10). Yet God forgave David because he repented his sin from a broken and contrite heart (2 Samuel 12:13). Only when a person acknowledges his sin from a broken heart, he receives God's forgiveness (Psalms 51:17). The blood of Christ cleanses us from all our sins (1 John 1:7). The Most Holy Place was inaccessible to people except the high priest. Therefore fellowship with God was not possible until the death of Christ and the veil was rented from top to bottom. The animal sacrifices and offering only provided an external ritualistic cleansing. They did not have the ability to cleanse the guilty conscience (9:6-9). It was a short-term provision until Christ offered His atoning sacrifice for sinners. The sacrifices offered under the old covenant could not cleanse the conscience of the worshiper. They were only temporary ordinances of flesh and not spirit. Through Christ we can have perfect fellowship with God.
In Christ we have eternal redemption and inheritance. Hebrews 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 the 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 (Hebrews 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 (Hebrews 9:15). By His death Jesus inaugurated the new covenant (Luke 22:20). It was 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 are cleansed with the blood of animals (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"(Matthew 26:28). Jesus' death inaugurated the new covenant. Only Christ's death redeems people from their sin (9:15). Do you understand the significance of the Lord's Supper when you celebrate it?
Christ will appear in power and glory. Hebrews 9:23-28.
Christ came first to put away our sin by his sacrifice. His incarnation was to suffer and die for our sin. The risen Christ 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. He makes intercession 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 save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Is Christ your Lord and Savior? Do you live in anticipation of his coming? It is appointed for men to die once and after that the judgment. If you are not saved yet, now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation. Pray that your confidence rests entirely upon the finished work of Christ.