Summary: This is the 3rd sermon in the series "Jesus Is Better- The Better Covenant".

Series: Jesus Is Better- The Better Covenant [#3]


Hebrews 9:1-10


The main points in Hebrews are pretty simple: The superiority of Christ (Hebrews 1:10-7:28) and the superiority of the New Covenant (Hebrews 8:7-10:18). In the transition passage of Hebrews 8:1-6, we find the superiority of Christ summarized and the superiority of the New Covenant introduced.

In demonstrating the superiority of the New Covenant, there are 3 main points made: The New Covenant is based upon “better promises”. The New Covenant pertains to a “better sanctuary”. The New Covenant provides a “better sacrifice”. We have already studied the “better promises” in Hebrews 8:7-13.

In chapter 9 our attention is not drawn to the matter of the “better sanctuary” provided by the New Covenant. To appreciate the author’s argument, we must be acquainted with the sanctuary of the 1st covenant. Today we will look at “The Earthly Sanctuary”.

Hebrews 9:1 (NIV)

“Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary.”

The Earthly Sanctuary:

1. Its description.

Hebrews 9:2 (NIV)

“A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place.”

? The Holy Place.

This was the 1st part of the tabernacle, in which the priests entered daily.

Inside of the Holy Place was…

? The lampstand.

This was placed next to the south wall of the tabernacle which was made of gold and had 7 lamps for burning olive oil. It was never allowed to go out.

Inside of the Holy Place was…

? The table and the showbread.

This had a table which was overlaid with gold and on it was kept 12 loaves of bread in 2 rows of 6. Fresh loaves were brought in each Sabbath, and the old were eaten by the priest.

Hebrews 9:3-5 (NIV)

“Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron's staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.”

? The Most Holy Place.

This was the part of the tabernacle behind the veil, also called the “Holy of Holies”. This was innermost room of the tabernacle.

The Most Holy Place had…

? The golden altar of incense.

The golden altar of incense was actually in the Holy Place, just on the other side of the veil separating the two rooms. On this altar, sweet spices were continually burned with fire taken from the brazen altar (which was outside the tabernacle). The morning and evening services were begun by the high priest offering incense on this altar and once a year, the High Priest would take a censer of burning coals from this altar along with incense into The Most Holy Place. It is appropriate to say The Most Holy Place “had” the golden altar because the smoke of the daily incense would permeate though the veil and was perpetual incense before the LORD”. The annual, ceremony on the Day of Atonement connected in a tangible way the altar of incense with the Most Holy Place.

The Most Holy Place had…

? The ark of the covenant.

This was a chest made of acacia wood, about 4 feet long by 2½ feet high and wide. It was covered with gold, and was the most sacred thing in the tabernacle. It contained the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant. Covering the ark was the mercy seat. This lid, covered with gold, was topped with 2 cherubim (with wings stretched upward, and their faces “toward each other and toward the mercy seat.”) The Lord appeared in a cloud above the mercy seat.

As the writer stated, “We cannot discuss these things in detail now.” A little more is now said regarding the ritual of the earthly sanctuary.

Hebrews 9:6 (NIV)

“When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry.”

? The ritual of the Holy Place.

Every morning and evening, the priests would go into The Holy Place “performing the services”. They would trim the lamps on the lamp stand and they would offer incense on the altar of incense. On the Sabbath, the priest would replace the Showbread, but none went into The Most Holy Place during these daily services.

Hebrews 9:7 (NIV)

“But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.”

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