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THE SUPERIORITY OF THE SACRIFICE OF JESUS CHRIST
Victor M. Eskew
A. The writer of Hebrews introduces subjects briefly, then comes back to them in later portions of the book.
B. Two earlier themes:
1. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:3)
…when he had by himself purged our sins…
2. The true tabernacle (Heb. 8:2)
A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
C. He returns to these in the first part of chapter 9 (See vss. 11-12)
But Christ being come a 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 having obtained eternal redemption for us.
D. In Hebrews 9:1-14, the author will show his readers the superiority of Jesus’ sacrifice.
i. THE DESCRIPTION OF THE OT TABERNACLE (Heb. 9:1-5)
ii. THE DEFICIENCY OF THE OT SACRIFICES (Heb. 9:6-10)
iii. THE DOMINANCE OF JESUS’ SACRIFICE (Heb. 9:11-14)
I. THE DESCRIPTION OF THE OT TABERNACLE (Heb. 9:1-5)
A. Authorization by God (Heb. 9:1)
Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.
1. Established on ordinances
1) Strong (1345): an equitable deed, statute
2) Thayer: established and ordained by law
3) Vine: the precepts of law, all that it demands is right
b. The OT was not optional for the Jews. It was a law that was to be obeyed.
2. Empowered divine service
a. The ordinances of the OT enabled the service of the tabernacle to be conducted.
b. The service was a divine service.
1) Divine (2999): a ministration of God, sacred rites according to the requirements of Levitical law
2) God was the author of all that is found in the Old Testament.
3) This was a very important service. Moses was the law-giver, but he only spoke for God.
3. Entitled a worldly sanctuary
a. The OT tabernacle was divinely authorized, but it is described as being “worldly.”
b. It was made of earthly material.
It was made by earthly hands.
It was placed on the physical earth.
B. Articles in the tabernacle (Heb. 9:2-5)
1. The Holy Place (Heb. 9:2)
For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is the sanctuary.
a. NOTE: His intent is not to describe the tabernacle in complete detail. He tells enough so his readers will comprehend his knowledge of it.
b. “His object seems to be, not for information, for it could not be supposed that they to whom he was writing were ignorant on this point, but partly to show that it could not be said that he spoke of that of which he had no information, or that he undervalued it…” (e-sword, Barnes).
c. There were three items contained in the holy place: the candlestick, the table of showbread, and the altar of incense. The writer only mentions two of them.
1) The candlestick
a) Exodus 35:31-37
b) The candlestick was placed on the southern wall of the tabernacle.
c) It was the only light in the tabernacle.
d) It was not permitted to go out.
e) It was made of a talent of pure gold, 1536 ounces. At present market price ($1,217/oz.), the value would be: $1,869,312.00.
2) The table and showbread
a) Exodus 25:23-30
b) The table of showbread stood on the north side of the tabernacle.
c) There were twelve loaves on the table representing the twelve tribes.
d) The term showbread literally means “the bread of His presence.”
- The priests were in the presence of God as they ministered.
- God’s presence was also with Israel as His people.
e) Fresh loaves were brought in every Sabbath and the old loaves were eaten by the priests (Lev. 24:5-9).
d. The Holiest of All (Heb. 9: 3-6)
1) The division within the tabernacle (Heb. 9:3)
And after the second vail, the tabernacle which is called the holiest of all.
a) The first vail was the door into the holy place (Exo. 36:37).
And he made an hanging for the tabernacle door of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of needlework; and five pillars of it with their hooks: and he overlaid their chapiters and their fillets with gold: but their five sockets were of brass.
- The door of the tabernacle faced the east.
- Only the priests were allowed to enter in through the door into the holy place (Exo. 30:20-21; Num. 18:21-22).
b) The second vail separated the holy place from the holy of holiest (Exo. 26:31-34).
And thou shalt make a vail of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubims shall it be made. And thou shalt hang it upon four pillar of shittim wood overlaid with gold: their hooks shall be of gold, upon the four sockets of silver. And thou shalt hang up the vail under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the vail the ark of the testimony: and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy. And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place.
2) The designation of items within the vail (Heb. 9:4-5)
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 the cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.
a) The golden censer
1) Leviticus 16:12-13
2) This censer was used by the high priest on the Day of Atonement.
3) Since it was only used once a year, it was stored safely away in the most holy place.
4) NOTE: Some believe that this has reference to the altar of incense.
n Why? There is no specific mention of one golden censer that was to be made by Moses for the Day of Atonement.
n It was placed in front of the second vail in the holy place.
n Although not actually within, it was attached like a sign is attached to a building.
n In this writer’s opinion, this is a very difficult case to make.
b) The ark of the covenant overlaid with gold.
1) The ark was a box made of shittim wood and overlaid with gold (Exo. 25:10-16).
2) It was called the ark of the covenant or the ark of the testimony (Exo.25:22).
3) The ark contained three things:
n The tables of stone that represented God’s covenant with His people (16, 21).
n A pot of manna that fed Israel in the wilderness (Exo. 16:33).
n Aaron’s rod that budded to remind Israel that Aaron was God chosen high priest (Num. 17:10). It was a token of their rebellion against him.
c) The cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy seat.
1) Exodus 25:18-22; 27:7-9
2) The angel’s faced one another, and both wings reached inward over the mercy seat to cover it.
3) The cherubim represent the angels who are present around the throne of the almighty God.
d) The writer concludes with the words: “…of which we cannot now speak particularly.”
1) The word “particularly” means “in any particular.” In other words, there was much more that he could have said, but this was not the purpose of the writing.
2) It would have been wonderful to have a divine discourse on all of the shadows found in the tabernacle of the Old Testament, but we do not.