Summary: Verses 11 and 12 contrast “the good things to come” with the types and shadows of the Old Covenant ─ the precious blood of the Lamb of God. The perfect tabernacle in contrast with the sanctuary made of earthly materials; the precious blood of the Lamb of God in contrast to the blood of animals.
Lesson 28 IE3b. The Perfection of the Heavenly Sanctuary (Heb. 9:11-12)
11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
Verses 11 and 12 contrast “the good things to come” with the types and shadows of the Old Covenant - the precious blood of the Lamb of God. The perfect tabernacle in contrast with the sanctuary made of earthly materials; the precious blood of the Lamb of God in contrast to the blood of animal sacrifices which could never take away sins. We see the appearing of our great High Priest, His entering into the holy place by passing through the veil once, for all, forever, in contrast with the daily sacrifices offered by the Levitical high priest in the earthly tabernacle; and we have the eternal redemption purchased by the precious blood of the Lamb in contrast with bondage under the law.
11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
“But Christ being come an high priest” carries with it the idea of a dramatic arrival on the scene of the great High Priest, who changed everything. To arrive in the very presence of God, he had to pass through the upper heavens, not through a royal court “made with hands.”
“But Christ” . . . (not but Jesus). This title given to Jesus deserves special attention. Jesus is His earthly name, meaning Savior; Christ is His heavenly name. He is God’s Christ, He is man’s Jesus, He is the Christian’s Lord. In Isaiah 9:6 we read, “. . . His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Here in this verse the Holy Spirit refers to Him simply as Christ. Here in this verse the Holy Spirit refers to Him simply as “Christ” meaning “the Anointed.”
“Of good things to come” really means good things that have come to pass; that is, the good things that have come through Him, things that have already arrived! All things that were foreshadowed by type in the tabernacle was now reality because of Christ’s priestly ministry in heaven. The pattern for the tabernacle here on earth was modeled after the sanctuary in heaven, but today we no longer need the pattern. We have the eternal reality! Christ is our true tabernacle. He is the very presence of God.
“A greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands.” “Greater” points to Christ’s superiority in dignity and excellency and has to do with His human nature. “More perfect” has to do with His Holiness. The body of Christ was more perfectly suited to the ministry of the true tabernacle because He was both human and divine. Like no other priest He could make atonement for sin because He was the sinless One!
Mankind had no part in the building of this “tabernacle.” The better tabernacle does not belong to this natural creation, like the materials or builders. Though our Lord’s body was a perfect human body it did not come by the way of natural generation; His miraculous conception will sufficiently justify the expressions used here by the apostle.
I will say this as kindly as I can. All this fuss generated today by trying to sweeten up the worship service with pictures and videos and candles and crosses and musical bands and orchestras ministers to the flesh. It is fleshly because it ministers to the physical side of man. It does not minister to his spiritual side at all. We need to recognize that there is a real tabernacle in heaven; there is a real High Priest there, and there is spiritual worship. You can worship Him anytime and anywhere, and it is wonderful when people can come together in a church and really worship God.
“Not of this building,” simply means, “not made with hands”; “not of this creation.” The heavenly tabernacle did not need materials (Heb. 9:24) such as was used in the construction of the earthly tabernacle. Since the heavenly tabernacle does not belong to this creation, it is not affected by the ravages of time.
“The Superior Heavenly Sanctuary.”
The writer has emphasized the superiority of the heavenly sanctuary before because he wants his readers to focus their attention on the things in heaven and not on earthly things. Some things on earth, and that includes the beautiful Jewish temple, would soon be destroyed; but the realities of heaven would endure forever. The Old Testament tabernacle was made by the hands of men (Ex. 35:30-35). The tabernacle of Moses was made with materials that belong to this creation. The New Covenant sanctuary was not made with hands.