Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Hebrews 9:6-22
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Hebrews 9:6, 7
Verses 6,7: Though worship activities took place twice a day in the outer court of the tabernacle, a great curtain forbade entry by any human being into the inner chamber on the mercy seat. Only once a year was the high priest allowed to enter to offer the necessary blood offerings for himself and the nation. Then he quickly went out (Lev 16:2-4; 12-17; 29-34). Verse 7: On the Day of Atonement the high priest entered the Holy of holies on two separate occasions. The first time he entered he sprinkled bull’s blood on and before the mercy seat which was enveloped by a billowing cloud of incense coming from the incense altar. This firs offering was for himself and his household. Then he would exit and enter a second time with goat blood which he would also sprinkle on and before the mercy seat. This second offering was for the “sins of the people committed in ignorance.”

Monday: Hebrews 9:8
Verse 8: The prophetic truth the author of Hebrews wants us to see is this: the ceremonies at the very center of Israel’s worship reveal the failure of the Mosaic covenant to bring people near to God. One person, once a year, for a moment was the best the blood of that covenant could do. The room in the tabernacle where the presence of God dwelt was covered by a thick curtain (veil) which symbolically declared that the way for people to draw near to God had not yet been revealed. If his readers will let the Holy Spirit show them the real message of the tabernacle, they will discover that it announces that this institution can not lead people into a close relationship with God, but actually exists to keep ordinary people separated from a holy God. It atoned only for their ceremonial uncleanness allowing God to remain in their midst as their king. It was never meant to provide a path to heaven.

Tuesday: Hebrews 9:9, 10
Verses 9, 10: In the Greek text of this verse the author literally says that the tabernacle was a “parable” for the present season of time. By that he means the tabernacle itself proclaims a spiritual truth. It’s ceremonies and architecture tell us that it was never meant to bring us into a close personal relationship with God. Its sacrifices only covered matters of ritual uncleanness and sins committed in ignorance leaving untouched all the deliberate rebellious acts that each of us has done. The priest regularly presented offerings of meat, grain, first fruits, and the pouring out of libations of wine (food and drink) (Lev 23), and the priests continually washed their hands and feet to be ritually clean (Ex 29:4; 30:18-21). The insufficiency of all this to deal with the root of human rebellion and to make a way for us to draw near to God was obvious. Such regulations were designed only for a season in Israel’s life. Their inability to address the depth of human sin made it clear that God must someday do more if He is to save His people.

Wednesday: Hebrews 9:11-14
Verses 11, 12: Now compare the insufficiency of the tabernacle with the complete sufficiency of the priesthood of the Messiah. After Jesus made His “once for all” sacrifice on the cross, He physically ascended into heaven where He stands ministering in the “tabernacle” of the Father’s presence, not offering a powerless sacrifice of the bull’s and goat’s blood, but His own blood poured out in death. The death of the Son of God does not provide a weak, momentary atonement, but an eternal redemption for those who believe in Him. Verses 13,14: If God accepted animal blood as a means of cleansing people who became ritually unclean, how much more will the substitutionary death of the Messiah, the Son of God, cleanse not only our guilt before God, but even our own sense of separation from Him because of that guilt. His sacrifice affects more than a person’s moral standing, it literally changes the way we feel about being near God. Shame gives way to the deep conviction that we are forgiven and welcome, which in turn transforms the way we pray, worship and serve Him.

Thursday: Hebrews 9:14
Verse 14: The translation rendered “who through the eternal Spirit…” is misleading. By adding the pronoun “the” which is not in the Greek, the reference appears to be the Holy Spirit and it’s not clear how the Son would have offered Himself to the Father “through” the Holy Spirit, though it was certainly the power of the Holy Spirit that raised Him from the dead (Ro 8:11). But if we allow the Greek to speak as it does we read, “who through (on account of His being) …eternal spirit offered Himself…” This reveals a powerful truth: after Jesus died on the cross His eternal (indestructible) spirit appeared before the Father to present Himself as the sacrifice for our atonement. This is part of the unseen process which took place during the days between the cross and resurrection. When Jesus died, He committed His spirit into the Father’s hands, “breathed His last” (Lk 23:46) and was instantly with the Father in Paradise (Lk 23:43). Through this verse (8:14) we learn that during that time Jesus offered Himself to the Father as our substitution. Like a spotless lamb He was without the “blemish” of any sin (Heb 4:15; 7:26). Elsewhere in Scripture we learn that during that same period of time He also went and proclaimed His victory to captive demonic spirits awaiting the day of judgment (1Pe 3:18-20; Jude 1:6,7).

Friday: Hebrews 9:14
Verse 14 (continued): The phrase “dead works” powerfully expresses the hopelessness produced by religious rituals, or for that matter, any and every attempt by humans to earn God’s favor (Heb 6:1). Such works are dead and lifeless because they are unable to save. No matter how well-intentioned, they leave us with a conscience that still feels guilty. It seems we can never do enough to remove the shame. We usually fall short in our own eyes and therefore feel unworthy to draw near to God. But when we realize who it is who died for us and how completely His sacrifice has removed all our guilt, then we are set free to draw near to God and serve Him.

Saturday: Hebrews 9:15-22 (Introduction)
Verses 15-22 (Introduction): Verses 15-22 is a passage which assures that we, the readers, understand the spiritual meaning behind ancient near-eastern covenant ceremonies. Because such covenants were not well understood, the passage has often been awkwardly translated. Verses 16 and 17 in particular can seem out of place, so in order to make sense of them some have assumed the author suddenly shifted to a different topic in two verses and then returned, just as suddenly, at verse 18 to his discussion of covenant. Since the Greek word which is translated “covenant” can also refer to a person’s last will and testimony, some assume that the author momentarily played on the double meaning of the word to say that the new covenant is like Jesus’ will which didn’t go into effect until He died. While it’s true that wills only go into effect after the one who made the will dies, it’s an abrupt departure from the author’s natural progression of thought. As we’ll see shortly, there’s no need for such a shift because the statements he makes all apply perfectly to elements contained in ancient covenant ceremonies.  

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