Summary: The first covenant was a shadow of the perfect sacrifice that would purge our guilty conscience

“Shadow and the Sacrifice”

Hebrews 9:1-14

Warden Assembly of God

Pastor John L. Harper

November 2, 2008


In our text, he shows that the old covenant sacrificial

system was temporary and imperfect. It could not provide a clean

conscience for the worshipers. God designed that old system to

point ahead to the superior, final sacrifice of our high priest, Christ,

who offered His own blood to obtain for us eternal redemption

and a clean conscience.

© Steven J. Cole, 2004


A. The first covenant had ordinances

B. The first covenant had a worldly sanctuary

1. It contained the following “furniture”

a. The Golden Candlestick

b. The table of Shewbread

2. Also behind the 2nd veil

a. It is called the Holiest of All

b. The Golden Censer

c. The Ark of the Covenant (overlaid with gold)

• Golden pot of manna

• Aaron’s rod that budded

• Tablets of the covenant

• Cherubims of glory over the mercy seat

The author does not explain the symbolic meaning of any of

these things, but hurries on to his point, that these things were

temporary and looked ahead to Christ. But let me comment briefly.

The lampstand pictures Christ, not here as the light of the world

(because the world was not allowed into the holy place), but as the

one who illumines the things of God through the Holy Spirit (the

oil) to those who draw near. The table of sacred bread pictures

Christ as the sustenance of His chosen people and their communion

with Him. The altar of incense shows Christ interceding for

His people in God’s presence.


The ark pictured the very presence of God. The golden jar of

manna shows Christ as the daily bread of His people. Aaron’s rod

that budded shows Christ, the branch, chosen above others because

He alone is life-giving. The tables of the covenant reveal

God’s holy standards. © Steven J. Cole, 2004

d. We can’t talk about these things in particular


A. The priests went always into the 1st tabernacle

1. When this was the way things were ordained

2. When they were accomplishing the service of God (Zacharias)

B. The High Priest went into the 2nd tabernacle

1. Alone once a year

But 9:7 focuses on the Holy of Holies. Only the high priest

could go in there, once a year, on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus

16). He would first offer a bull for his own sins. He would enter

the Holy of Holies and sprinkle the blood of the bull on the mercy

seat and in front of it. Then he would go back out and slaughter

one of two goats as a sin offering for the people and take this

blood into the mercy seat. He would go back out and lay his hands

on the living goat, confessing over it the sins of the people. They

would lead this goat out into the wilderness and let it go.

© Steven J. Cole, 2004

2. They did not come into the Holy Place without blood

3. They came to make offerings for sins

a. First for his errors

b. Then for the errors of the people

C. The way into the Holiest of all

1. The Holy Ghost made known that the way was not shown yet.

2. This way would not be manifest while the 1st Tabernacle was standing

D. The 1st tabernacle was a figure for the present time

1. This is where gifts and offerings were made

2. These gifts and sacrifices could not bring perfection

a. To the priest (the one who did the service)

b. When it was pertaining to the conscience

E. The 1st Tabernacle imposed things until the time of reformation

1. It stood for meats and drinks

2. It stood for many washings

3. It stood for carnal laws (ordinances)


A. Christ is the priest of a greater tabernacle

1. One that is more perfect

2. One that is not made with hands

B. Christ is the High Priest of good things to come

1. He entered the Holy Place once

2. He entered the Holy Place to obtain eternal redemption for us

a. Not by the blood of goats and calves

b. But by His own blood

C. The blood of Christ will purge our conscience

This infinitely efficacious sacrifice satisfied God in a way that the

blood of bulls and goats never could. Through Christ’s blood, we

can have a clean conscience.

The Bible teaches that the conscience alone is not an infallible

guide. Through repeated sin, the conscience can be defiled (Titus

1:15) and seared (1 Tim. 4:2). For example, I read that Cambodian

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