1 Now even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship and the earthly sanctuary.
2 For there was a tabernacle prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the sacred bread; this is called the holy place.
3 Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies,
4 having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant;
5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
6 Now when these things have been so prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle performing the divine worship,
7 but into the second, only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance.
8 The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing,
9 which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience,
10 since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;
12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh,
14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
16 For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it.
17 For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives.
18 Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood.
19 For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,
20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you.”
21 And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood.
22 And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
23 Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;
25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own.
26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,
28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.
AS I HAVE WRITTEN PREVIOUSLY, 20 YEARS AGO CHAPTER 8 – CLOSELY FOLLOWED BY CHAPTERS 9 AND 10 – WAS THE CHAPTER ABOVE ALL IN HEBREWS THAT FIRST GOT ME TO SERIOUSLY THINK I MAY NOT BE AS DEVOUT A DISPENSATIONALIST AS FIRST, AND FOR 20 YEARS OF MY SEMINARY TRAINING AND MINISTRY, THOUGHT. I BEGAN TO EARNESTLY RESTUDY MY THEOLOGY. IN SHORT, I SIMPLY COULDN’T SHAKE THE PERSISTENT THOUGHT THAT IN SPITE OF MY STRONG – SEEMINGLY UNSHAKABLE DISPENSATIONAL BELIEF THAT THE NEW COVENANT WAS PRIMARILY FUTURE AND NOT CHIEFLY APPLICABLE FOR THE MODERN NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH.
9:1–5. With regard to the “aging” First Covenant, the writer wished to discuss that covenant’s regulations for worship and its earthly sanctuary. These he highlighted in order to contrast them with the superior features of the New- Covenant ministry. How “earthly” (kosmikon, v. 1), or mundane, that first sanctuary was, he emphasized by reviewing the material objects associated with it. All these had typological value, but the author could not discuss these things in detail at the time (v. 5). He confined himself to the chief features of the comparison he wished to make. –Zane C. Hodges
“THE MAIN POINT OF THIS LONG SECTION IS FOUND IN THE WARNING (5:11-6:12). THE READERS MUST NOT FALL AWABY ADOPTING THE OLD COVENANT RATHER THAN THE NEW. The author assures them of the certainty of God’s promises (6:13-20). He teaches them that they have a better priesthood (Melchizedkian, 7:1-28), a better covenant (new rather than old, 8:1-13), and now a better sacrifice (9:1-10:1-18). The section begins the furniture and placement of items in the tabernacle (9:1-5). The ministry of the priests in the tabernacle is then considered (9:6). What is most significant, however, is that the holy of holies is entered only once a year and by only one person (the high priest, 9:7). Such a limitation signifies that access to God was not yet available as long as the tabernacle remained (9:8). The gifts and sacrifices and other regulations of the old administration are figural (9:9-10). They show that the conscience of worshipers is not yet cleansed and point toward a new day when everything will be changed.
IN CHAPTER 9 THE FOCUS SHIFTS TO THE SACRIFICES OFFERED UNDER THE OLD COVENANT. The Greek word ‘new’ here may designate ‘a resumption of the theme of the old covenant from 8:7…
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second.
The Greek word ‘first’ refers back to the same word in 8:13,
13 When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.
where it clearly refers to the old covenant. The old covenant was to be administered in a particular way. Indeed, many commands or ‘regulations for worship’ (ESV) were specified under the old covenant. Israel could not worship God according to its own wisdom and preferences. Worship was regulated and defined so that they followed God’s instructions in worshiping Him. The worship required took place at ‘an earthly sanctuary.’ The sanctuary here is clearly the tabernacle. The Greek word tells us distinctly (and with a negative connotation) the adjective is earthly, pertaining to this world rather than the heavenly world where God dwells, pointing forward and upward to something better. – Schreiner
Professor Thomas A. Rohm