"THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"
The Superior Sanctuary (He 9:11-28)
1. In the current section of "The Epistle To The Hebrews", the focus
is on the superiority of the New Covenant which provides…
a. Better promises – He 8:7-13
b. A better sanctuary – He 9:1-28
c. A better sacrifice – He 10:1-18
2. Our previous study considered "The Earthly Sanctuary" of the Old
Covenant, that tabernacle which…
a. Served as copy and shadow of the heavenly things – He 9:9; He 8:5
b. Involved fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation
– He 9:10
…and was therefore limited in its ability to provide what man
truly needed! – He 9:9b
3. In the second half of the ninth chapter, we are now introduced to
"The Heavenly Sanctuary" of the New Covenant…
a. The true tabernacle in which Christ is a minister – He 8:2
b. The true tabernacle "which the Lord erected, and not man" – He 8:2
[As such it is "The Superior Sanctuary", which becomes apparent as we
make our way through the rest of the ninth chapter…]
A. A GREATER AND MORE PERFECT TABERNACLE…
1. A tabernacle "not made with hands"
2. A tabernacle "not of this creation"
— Where then is this tabernacle? Look ahead to verse 24…
B. IN HEAVEN ITSELF…
1. Christ has not entered the earthly tabernacle "made with
2. It is "into heaven itself" that Christ has entered!
3. He now appears "in the presence of God"
— Therefore "The Superior Sanctuary" is none other than heaven,
where God dwells!
[In this heavenly sanctuary Christ serves as "High Priest of the good
things to come". The "good things" likely includes the promises of
Jer 31:31-34, especially the one pertaining to forgiveness of sin, for
the author explains how with "The Superior Sanctuary"…]
II. ITS MINISTRY EFFECTIVELY DEALS WITH SIN (Vs 12-15)
A. ETERNAL REDEMPTION IS PROVIDED (v 12)
1. Christ entered the "Most Holy Place" (heaven)
a. Just as the high priest entered the Most Holy Place in the
b. With these two major differences
1) Jesus took not the blood of goats and calves, but His
2) Jesus entered "once for all", not once a year
2. With His blood, He "obtained eternal redemption"
a. This is why He does not need to offer His blood every year
– cf. He 10:10-12
b. But His redemption is "eternal" in another sense, as seen
later in verse 15
B. THE CONSCIENCE IS PURGED OF SIN (Vs 13-14)
1. The blood of animals was able to purify the flesh of an
2. But the blood of Christ is able to purge the conscience from
dead works (i.e., sin) to serve the living God
a. The animal sacrifices could not do this – He 9:9-10; He 10:1-2
b. For the daily and annual sacrifices constantly reminded
them of sin – He 10:3
c. Therefore Christ not only removes the "legal" guilt of sin,
but also the "inward" (or emotional) guilt of sin!
C. THERE IS REDEMPTION FOR SINS UNDER THE FIRST COVENANT (v 15)
1. His role as Mediator of the New Covenant is not limited to
those who lived after it became of force
2. His death covers not only sinners since His death, but also
those who lived under the first covenant, who were called to
receive the promise of eternal inheritance
— In providing atonement for those before and after His death,
Jesus has truly "obtained eternal redemption"
[The service rendered by its High Priest certainly makes the "heavenly
sanctuary" a superior one
As one contemplates the meaning of Christ’s death in its relation to
the heavenly sanctuary, there is much to consider, and the author
proceeds to explain further why…]
III. ITS MINISTRY NECESSITATED A COSTLY SACRIFICE (Vs 16-22)
A. TO INITIATE A NEW TESTAMENT (Vs 16-17)
1. A testament, or will, requires the death of the one
who makes it
2. It does not become of force until the testator dies
— The New Covenant with its heavenly sanctuary is like a
testament, requiring Jesus’ death for it to become of force
B. TO DEDICATE A NEW COVENANT (Vs 18-23)
1. Consider what was done with the first covenant…
a. It was dedicated with the blood of calves and goats
b. Its tabernacle and furniture were purified with the
sprinkling of such blood
2. Should the new covenant require any less?
a. The first covenant contained only "copies of the things in
b. Therefore the heavenly things required purification by
"better sacrifices" (i.e., Jesus’ own blood)
c. Exactly what is meant by "heavenly things" is unclear
1) Some point to passages like Co 1:20, where even "things
in heaven" are reconciled to God by Jesus’ blood
2) Some believe it has reference to the church, of which
the Holy Place in the earthly tabernacle was typical
3) B. W. Johnson comments: "By the heavenly things are
meant all of which the tabernacle was typical. The holy
place was a type of the church, which is cleansed with
the blood of Christ. Perhaps, too, there is a reference
to the redeemed church above, in the heavens, which
eternally praises him who cleansed it with his blood."
(The People’s New Testament)
[It was the "better sacrifices" (i.e., Jesus’ blood) that initiated the
new covenant and made the heavenly sanctuary superior to the earthly
one. More will be said about Christ’s sacrifice in chapter ten, but we
finally note concerning "The Superior Sanctuary" that…]
IV. ITS MINISTRY IS FINAL AND COMPLETE (Vs 24-28)
A. CHRIST IS NOW IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD FOR US…
1. No longer is a high priest serving in a tabernacle "made with
2. No longer is one serving in what was only a "copy"
— In God’s presence, Jesus is ministering as High Priest in that
which is the "true" holy place!
B. HE ONLY NEEDED TO OFFER HIMSELF ONCE…
1. The all-sufficiency of His sacrifice is seen that He only
needed to offer Himself once
a. Otherwise, He would have needed to "suffer often from the
foundation of the world"
b. Like the high priests of old, who entered the Most Holy
Place each year
2. Therefore, at the "end of the ages", He came to put away sin
once for all!
a. The phrase "end of the ages" leads us into the "last
days" – He 1:2
b. I.e., the final period of the world’s history – 1 Co 10:11;
1 Pe 1:20
3. Just as man dies only once, so Jesus needed to be offered for
sin only once
C. WHEN HE COMES AGAIN, IT WILL BE FOR SALVATION, NOT SIN…
1. With His first coming, He was primarily the "sin-bearer"
a. He came "to bear the sins of many"
b. Which He did by dying on the cross for our sins – 1 Pe 2:24
2. His second coming will be "apart from sin"
a. To bring salvation (from the wrath of God to come – Ro 5:9
b. To those who eagerly await for Him – cf. 1 Th 1:9-10
1. How is the sanctuary of the New Covenant superior?
a. By virtue of its nature: heavenly, not physical
b. By virtue of its ministry:
1) Dealing effectively with sin
2) Providing complete and final deliverance
2. Why should we be interested in the ministry of "The Superior
a. Because death is our appointed lot (unless Christ comes first)
– He 9:27
b. And then comes the judgment – cf. 2 Co 5:10
— The ministry of Christ prepares us for that coming judgment
3. Are you prepared to stand before the judgment seat of Christ?
a. Preparation involves obedience, for Jesus is "the author of
eternal salvation to all who obey Him" – He 5:9
b. Preparation involves allowing the blood of Christ to "purge your
conscience from dead works to serve the living God" – He 9:14
Through obedience to the precious gospel of Christ, we can "eagerly
wait for Him", knowing that for us He is coming to bring salvation
and not condemnation! – cf. 1 Th 1:10