Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Hebrews 9:15-28
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Hebrews 9:15
Verse 15: When Jesus died He not only took upon Himself the “curse of the law” (Gal 3:10-13) in order to provide forgiveness for all who had failed under the law, but the blood of His death also established a new covenant. In other words that one single death accomplished two important things: It fulfilled the old and began the new. By transgressing the laws of the first covenant the people of Israel brought upon themselves the curse of the law (Dt 28:15) and as we’ll see (Heb 10:1-4) there’s no permanent form of redemption (release from bondage) that can be provided by the sacrifice of animals. In order to release them from this bondage it was necessary for the Messiah to take their curse upon Himself. His death alone could provide the atonement that animal blood could only symbolize. His death allowed “those who have been called” in both the old and new covenants to “receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” Those in the old covenant may not have known His name or the particulars of how this sacrifice would take place (1Pe 1:10-12), but by trusting in the mercy of God, which was what the animal blood was meant to teach, they were laying hold of Christ by faith, and because of this they are fully included in the phrase, “those who have been called” along with all who are in the new covenant.

Monday: Hebrews 9:16
Verse 16: Ancient near eastern covenant ceremonies slaughtered animals to provide a vivid warning to anyone who might consider breaking the covenant. In effect the dead body of the animal symbolized the doom which God (or the gods) would inflict on a covenant-breaker. When covenants were made people invited their divinity to kill them if they failed to keep their promise. Without invoking such a curse, which in effect puts the covenant partner’s life at risk, a covenant is not in force. I believe this idea is the point of this verse. It can be translated to read, “For where there is a covenant it is necessary to offer the death of the one making the covenant.” Such a statement is completely in keeping with the meaning of a covenant ceremony. The “death” to which the author refers here is the potential death or “offer” of death made when a person enters a covenant.

Tuesday: Hebrews 9:17-20
Verse 17: This verse may be translated to read, “For a covenant upon (or “over”) dead bodies is firm since it is never in force while the one making the covenant lives.” We can see the meaning of this verse illustrated when we observe God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15:8-21. God ordered Abraham to lay out the dead bodies of animals as a gruesome warning that violent death would come to the one who broke that covenant. The covenant was made “upon” or “over dead bodies.” Verses 18-20: The covenant which the nation of Israel made at Mt. Sinai was exactly this type of covenant (Ex 24:1-8). By splashing each person with animal blood Moses symbolized their own blood being violently spilled if they failed to keep their promise to God. Interestingly, the author of Hebrews confidently mentions that Moses used water, scarlet wool and the herb hyssop to conduct the ceremony of sprinkling blood. These elements are not mentioned in the Exodus account, but are mentioned elsewhere as things used by Levitical priests (Lev 14:6, 7; Nu 19:6, 18). He also tells us Moses sprinkled the book of the covenant which we would also not have known from the Exodus account.

Wednesday: Hebrews 9:21-25
Verses 21, 22: Death is the only way violations of the Law can be cleansed, so Moses even sprinkled blood on the tabernacle and its equipment to cleanse away any trace of ceremonial contamination. The author uses the word “almost” to slightly soften the statement that all things are cleansed with blood, because the law did allow those who were very poor to substitute grain offerings in some cases (Lev 5:11-13). Verse 23: Though the earthly tabernacle could be cleansed with animal blood, it has no cleansing power in heaven and the real tabernacle where people’s eternal destiny is determined in the Father’s throneroom in heaven. Verses 24, 25: It was into the Father’s throneroom, not an earthly tent, that the resurrected Messiah entered to present Himself. Because His life is the ultimate sacrifice to which all animal sacrifices point His does not need to be repeated like the tabernacle sacrifices. The gift of His life has had a powerful “once for all” effect. Here the author of Hebrews wants us to compare in our minds a picture of two high priests: one being Israel’s human high priest bringing animal blood into the Holy of holies once a year on the Day of Atonement, and the other being the resurrected Messiah ascending into heaven to bring His own life’s blood before the Father as a one-time offering for all human sin.

Thursday: Hebrews 9:26
Verse 26: If the Messiah were anyone less than the unique combination of both the human son of David and the infinite Son of God He could not have provided the “once for all” sacrifice which is able to bring human beings close to God forever. This makes Him a unique high priest offering a unique sacrifice in the one location that really matters: heaven. What He has done is so important that it makes the turning point of human history. His incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection mark the beginning of the end of the old sinful age (“the consummation of the ages”) and the arrival of the “age to come.” At His resurrection the powers of darkness that had long held humans captive began to collapse. He was the first human to escape death and come near to God forever.

Friday: Hebrews 9:27, 28
Verse 27: After Adam sinned God announced that he and all humans who would come from him would die once and their bodies would return to the dust (Ge 3:19). This is another reason why Jesus, who fully became a man at His incarnation, must not die more than once either. No one should ever expect Him to come and die on a cross again. His sacrifice is complete and will never be repeated. We find no record in Genesis of God warning Adam that humans would face judgment after they died, but that truth has been revealed many other places in Scripture (Ex 32:32, Ps 1:5, 6; Ecc 11:9; Mt 12:36, 41-42; Jn 5:22; Ro 14:10; 2Co 5:10; 2Pe 3:7; 1Jn 4:17; Rev 20:12). So each person will die once and then stand before God. The main point the author wants us to see is that all human death is final and that includes the Messiah’s. Verse 28: When Jesus returns from heaven He will not be coming back to die again, but to announce to all who have been waiting for Him that the old age has ended and the new age of salvation has begun.

Saturday: Hebrews 9:28
Verse 28: (continued) In this verse the author continues to compare the ministry of Jesus to that of Israel’s high priest. Just as the high priest entered the Holy of holies on the Day of Atonement to present blood and then came out afterward and stood before the people to assure them that their atonement had been made, the Messiah Jesus will do the same thing. Having already entered the sanctuary of heaven and presented there the offering of His own blood. He too will return from heaven’s sanctuary to appear before the people, to announce to all “who eagerly await Him” that the promised blessings which His atonement has won for them have begun (F.F. Bruce, Hebrews, Erdmans (1964) 1973, p.223).

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