Hebrews 9 Reading Guide

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Chapter Summary

Remember, we're in a section of Hebrews which compares covenants (a solemn agreement between two parties, in which God will be our God and we will be His people). Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant. Chapters 9-10 show how Jesus has fulfilled all of the covenantal obligations we have.

  • v1-10 - The obligations of the Mosaic covenant were carried out in "an earthly sanctuary (v1)," first the tabernacle, which was a mobile structure that traveled through the desert with the Israelites, and later the temple in Jerusalem. The central feature of both of these was the room in which the Ark of the Covenant was kept (v3-6), called the Holy of Holies. This room, which was home to God's presence on earth, was so holy that only the high priest (who represented all of God's covenant people) could enter once a year after having made atonement (payment for sin) with blood. In this arrangement God was separated from His sinful people by a heavy (several inches thick) curtain, since the priest's offerings "were not able to clear the consciences of the worshipper (v9)."

  • v11-15- This passage begins with a massively important conjunction: the simple word 'but.' Verse 14 summarizes how different the new covenant is from the old, and the effect this has for you and me. Notice the logic of it:

  • How much more, then, will the blood of Christ,

  • who through the eternal Spirit

  • offered himself

  • unblemished

  • to God,

  • cleanse our consciences

  • from acts that lead to death,

  • so that

  • we may serve

  • the living God!

  • v16-22 - It's hard for us to imagine the bloodiness of old covenant worship, since so many thousands of animals were being sacrificed and having their blood poured out every day to make atonement for the sins of the people. This is why it's important for us to read this stark reminder in v22:

Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.