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Summary: In an argument from the lesser to the greater, this chapter commences with a demonstration of the limitations of the access to God allowed in the annual Day of Atonement. All this anticipates the comparison: But Christ…

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AN INFINITELY SUPERIOR HIGH PRIEST

Hebrews 9:11-14

This short passage is the high point of the writer’s comparison between the old covenant and the new.

In an argument from the lesser to the greater, the chapter commences with a demonstration of the limitations of the access to God allowed in the annual Day of Atonement (Hebrews 9:6-7).

There is also displayed a limit to what the Old Testament sacrifices could accomplish (Hebrews 9:8-9).

Yet even in this negative side of the argument, there are already hints of the better that was to come. The way into the heavenly sanctuary was ‘not yet’ opened (Hebrews 9:8).

The bodily regulations were imposed only ‘until’ the time of reformation (Hebrews 9:10).

All this anticipates the comparison: “But Christ…” (Hebrews 9:11).

The writer has already proved that Jesus is superior to Aaron (cf. Hebrews 5:1-10).

Now we see that the “building” in which Jesus serves is a “more perfect” tabernacle (Hebrews 9:11).

The ‘worldly sanctuary’ (Hebrews 9:1) served for a time, in both tent and Temple, but now the ‘reformation’ has been accomplished (Hebrews 9:10).

Jesus has ‘passed through the heavens’ to the heavenly sanctuary (Hebrews 4:14), of which the earthly was only a copy (Hebrews 8:5).

The sacrifice which Jesus offered was a more abiding sacrifice than that of Aaron, procuring our “eternal” redemption (Hebrews 9:12).

“Redemption” speaks of the release of slaves: the release of those who have been hitherto held in thralldom to sin, death and the devil. We are ‘redeemed by the blood of the Lamb’ (cf. 1 Peter 1:19).

Rather than merely providing temporary purification for the flesh (Hebrews 9:13), the sacrifice of Jesus “purges our conscience” (Hebrews 9:14).

It will never suffice for our salvation to go through even God-appointed rituals and rites, only to have to repeat them over and over again.

Yet what Jesus has accomplished, “by His own blood” – and that just “once” (Hebrews 9:12) – is the eternal “purging” of all our sins (Hebrews 9:14). Nothing else would have sufficed.

Our consciences are set free from the guilt of sin, and our lives released from the tyranny of the law. Furthermore, our purged conscience leads us out from dead works “to serve the living God” (Hebrews 9:14).

Just like the Hebrews of old, we are called out of captivity that we may worship and serve Him (Exodus 9:1).


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