The shadow and the substance
Hebrews 10 starts off telling us that the law is a shadow of the things to come. They were the shadow. Christ is the real thing. We can tell vague rough representations by a shadow. The OT way of worship was just a shadow that pointed forward to something better.
Here in chapter 9 we have the shadow of old covenant worship first. Then the substance of the covenant.
We are very privileged to be able to see both.
1/ the shadow of the old covenant worship.
It involved the earthly sanctuary called the temple. It also shows us how the worship was regulated.
From verse 2 the author then concentrates on the tabernacle.
The tabernacle was in the centre and all the tribes were encamped around it.
We learn here about it's layout and it's limitations.
First the layout. He doesn't mention the outer court but starts at the Holy Place. In it there was a lamp stand to give them light, a table and an alter of incense. Then there is a second curtain. A thick curtain going from the floor to the ceiling. In this room is a special box. This was called the arc of the covenant. Inside it was a golden jar full of manna. There was Aaron's staff which had budded and finally the two stone tablets containing the 10 commandments. On top of it was the atonement seat made with pure gold where the high priest brought the blood to atone for sins. Then there were 2 cherubim's attached to both sides of the seat again made of gold. It looked like a throne. It was the special place where God dwelled. These all points us to truths about Christ but the author doesn't do that in this passage.
Instead he moves on to tell us about the limitations of this tabernacle. This pointed to the need of something greater.
1/. No real access to the presence of God.
The priests entered the outer room regularly. However only the high priest entered the inner Room and only once a year. The most holy place where God dwelled was basically inaccessible. If you didn't come from the tribe of Levi you couldn't enter either the inner or outer room. There was no real access into the presence of God.
The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the presence of the Holy God had not yet happened.
2/. There was no cleansing. These gifts and offering were not able to clear the conscience of the worshipped. Those feelings of guilt that we get when we sin were not able to be cleansed. These were only external. They didn't cleanse the heart. This true of all religions that bypass the cross of Christ. All other religions have to repeat their rituals.
The tabernacle is saying I am not sufficient.
The substance of the New Covenant sacrifice. 11 - 14.
The shadow has passed the substance has come.
How? Through Christ.the cross of Christ, His death and His significance.
The superior place. V11
It wasn't man made. Jesus didn't go behind the curtain to shed His blood. He went to the cross and then entered the real holy of holies which is heaven itself. His offering was brought into a superior place.
The superior offering. V12
In the OT it was the sacrifice of bulls and goats. Did Jesus do the same? No. By His Own Blood. A violent death. His life taken. He was slain. Much more costly than anything in the OT.
The superior result. V13-14.
He obtained eternal redemption. He has purchased sinners from the slavery of sin and death. It is eternal. It will never end. He brings complete cleansing from the inside out. In the OT if you touched certain things you were unclean. You had to be cleaned from the outside. Jesus however cleans us from the inside out. Not just an exterior righteousness. A pure cleansing.
We will see later that as well as all this we can also draw near to Him. We have full access to God.
Jesus blood can make clean.
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