Hebrews 10:1-18 – Christ Is Enough

From Hebrews 9:27 we reminded ourselves that the Bible says it is appointed for every person to die, and after that comes the judgment.  It’s a concept that utterly terrifies thousands of people.  Whenever we talk about standing before God in judgment, the elephant in the room is always, “What do we do with sin?”  Some, in order to resolve that, just seek to dismiss the concept of sin, yet in our guts we know we can’t just do that.  We know deep within our souls, we have a problem—we’re sinners! We have fallen short of God’s perfect standard, and mind you it is not just a handful of ten commandments.  So how do we as sinners stand before a holy God?  What do we do to deal with the sin problem? 

We find ourselves in Chapter 10, verses 1-18, which is really in many ways a summary of the great rich theology that we have learned in the book of Hebrews.  Starting in verse 19, which will follow, there’s really a shift to the practical living out of this truth.  What does this look like lived out in life?  But now, Chapter 10, verse 1: 

For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form (or substance) of things, (*NASB, Hebrews 10:1a) 

So the Law here is used as a synonym for the old covenant. It is the entire Law, as we saw from Hebrews 7:11-28, meaning everything from the tabernacle, the temple, the priesthood, the sacrificial system, the Sabbath, the dietary laws, the feast, the festivals—all of the whole of the old covenant or Mosaic Law.  Else where Paul confirms, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. Things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ (Col 2:16-17). And we’re reminded that this entire law was only a shadow.  It’s not the substance; it’s just the shadow of the good things to come. Who is the reality? Christ himself. When did the good things come about which the old covenant law was pointing to? “But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that have come to be, passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation” (Hebrews 9:11)

So the entire Law of the Old Covenant was looking forward to the fulfillment of the promises.  It’s just really important to keep reminding ourselves that the shadow is not the substance.  That’s where the confusion lies.  So think of it this way:  This week I got a card from a friend of mine, and on the front was the picture of a beautiful mountain lake.  It was a beautiful picture.  But inside the card, the note was, “We need to find this lake together.”  There was a clear understanding; the picture [shadow] was not the lake [substance or real thing]. 

…the very form of things, can never (not it might be hard)... can never by the same sacrifices (meaning the same kind of sacrifices) which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. (Hebrews 10:1b) 

Because the old covenant was not the substance but just a shadow, there was never even the slightest possibility that by offering the same kind of sacrifices day after day, week after week, year after year, that they could ever make someone perfect-complete…right before a holy God.  Now this isn’t a new conversation.  We’ve seen it in Hebrews.  In chapter 7, verse 19, he said, “For the law made nothing perfect.”  It’s critical to understand there was nothing within the old covenant that had the capacity to make sinners righteous before a holy God.  No amount of sacrifices.  No amount of rituals.  No amount of law keeping. No amount of anything in the old covenant could make them complete…right… perfect before a holy God.  That was never the intent.   Verse 2: 

Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? (Hebrews 10:2)

The logic of the argument was that if those sacrifices actually cleansed them from sin, then there would be no reason to keep doing it.  If it worked, then there’s no need to keep repeating it over and over and over again.  In other words, the repetition day after day, week after week, year after year was indicative of the fact it wasn’t actually cleansing them from sin.  All the old covenant could do was cover their sin.  It wasn’t actually paying the price of sin.  It wasn’t actually taking sin away.  It was just covering it until the ultimate payment would actually be made.  We learned that people in the old covenant were not actually redeemed. They did not receive their eternal inheritance until the death occurred.  It was only then that the promises made in the covenant—in the will—were actually carried out and fulfilled.  No amount of religious activity can possibly make the sin problem go away.  Since we crashed into the holiness of God, and there is now a huge dent that somebody has to pay for.  No amount of religious activity, no amount of good works, no amount of good intentions somehow make the dent go away.  There’s a debt and the debt has to be paid.   

Verse 2 reminds us of the relentless nature of religion.  This is what makes religion so oppressive to people—this sense that enough will never be enough.  If we’re going to talk about good works, if we’re going to talk about religious performance, if we’re going to talk about some ritual, when is enough, enough, and how do I know that?  And if I’m good for today, what about tomorrow, and what about the next day?   The problem in the old covenant was even though they offered a sacrifice for sin, an hour later they sin again.  Now what do I do?  And there was this relentless oppression of, “Enough will never be enough!”  That’s the idea—that they realize deep down inside, “Nothing has actually cleansed me from sin.”  Their conscience was never free in the sense that the sin debt had not been finally been paid for.  We’ve already learned this in Hebrews, that they understood no matter how many times a sacrifice was made, there was no real sense within their conscience that the debt has finally been paid, and so it was again and again and again.   

Let’s imagine that you have something wrong with your car, so you take it to your mechanic.  Your mechanic says he fixed it, but two weeks later it’s doing it again.  So you go back and two weeks later you go back again, and two weeks later you go back again.  Wouldn’t you at some point be very clear, “You’re not fixing it!  If you were fixing it, I shouldn’t have to keep coming back every two weeks.”  It’s the same basic argument.  If the blood of bulls and goats could actually cleanse them from sin, then it would not be necessary to keep doing it again and again and again.  Verse 3: 

But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year (Hebrews 10:3)

So, a good question would be, “Then why did God tell them to do it?”  Well, the answer is because it created a picture…shadows…images of the ultimate fulfillment to come.  In Genesis 3 God made a promise that was developed in different places in the Old Testament and then within the old covenant.  These are pictures; these are images; these are reminders.  And so what the text says is these sacrifices day after day, week after week, year after year were reminders of sin, were reminders that I don’t measure up, reminders that I’m a sinner in need of a savior.  We learned that when God gave the covenant to Moses, it was sprinkled with blood. Right from the beginning it was all sprinkled with blood as a reminder there will need to be a death.  God promised through the seed of a woman He would send someone—God in the flesh—to die our death.  So sprinkled with blood was the reminder that this isn’t the solution.  This is just a shadow, but ultimately there will have to be a death in order for salvation to come to sinful men and women.  The old covenant wasn’t bad.  Just the opposite, it was good.  God actually instituted the old covenant.  God wanted the sacrifices.  God wanted the tabernacle.  God wanted the temple.  God wanted all that; He commanded it.  But they had to understand the purpose and the scope.  It wasn’t to accomplish salvation for them; that wasn’t the purpose.  They couldn’t ask the old covenant to do something God never intended for it to do.  It was simply a shadow or a picture—in this case a reminder of their sin and their need for a savior.   

We talked about the game of Monopoly.  Is it bad to play Monopoly?  Of course not; it’s a game!  Is it bad that the makers of Monopoly made all that Monopoly money?  No, it’s part of the game.  There’s no problem with that.  The problem is when you lose sight of the scope of the game, and you take a wad of Monopoly money to the bank and think you can buy a house with it.  At that point you’re using the Monopoly money for a purpose for which it was not intended.  You’ve gone beyond the scope of the game; that isn’t going to work.  That’s the same thing that happens when people start taking the activities and rituals and purposes of the old covenant and trying to do something it can’t possibly do.  Now for us today, it would just be good works.  It would be religious rituals.  It would be religious performance.  It would be this idea that as long as I have more good than bad…or, “If anybody gets in, I’ll get in.”  It’s all that sense in which somehow, someway, I can do this myself.  That was never the intent of the old covenant and the text is emphatic, “That could never, never make a sinful man or woman right before a holy God!” Verse 4: 

For it is impossible (not difficult, not challenging) for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. (Hebrews 10:4)

That was never the intent of the old covenant.  That simply was impossible.  It will not deal with our sin problem, which is why we’re, then, so thankful for the therefore in Verse 5: 

Therefore, (In light of this, is there no hope?) when He (Christ) comes into the world, He says, (So this is a quote from Psalm 40, but the voice in the psalm is Jesus Himself.) “SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME; (This is the Son saying, “I know the sacrifices aren’t what going to bring salvation, that the Father has prepared a body for the Son from the seed of a woman. God must become human flesh in order to pay the price for sin.) IN WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE TAKEN NO PLEASURE. “THEN I SAID, ‘BEHOLD, I HAVE COME (IN THE SCROLL OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF ME) TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD.’”  (Hebrews 10:5-7) 

So this is Jesus saying, “I know that all these sacrifices aren’t what ultimately pay for sin.  Instead the Father has prepared a body for the Son.  He must take on humanity and fulfill the will of God, to fulfill the promise going all the way back to Genesis chapter 3.  He even says, “This is what the Book is about.”  When He’s talking about the scroll, He’s talking about the Scriptures.  This is what the Book has been about all the way along.  This is the fulfillment.  This is the will of God. The Son’s offering of Himself is the true and final offering for sin, because it is the sacrifice, which, according to prophecy, God desired to be made, and not the killing of animals. God has no pleasure in them.

Verses 8 and 9

After saying above, “SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS AND WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, NOR HAVE YOU TAKEN PLEASURE in them”, then He said, “BEHOLD, I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second. (Hebrews 10:8-9) 

He’s talking there about the old covenant.  He takes away the old covenant—the shadows, the pictures—in order to bring in the new covenant which is the fulfillment.  He’s already told us the old covenant is obsolete.  It’s done; it’s served its purpose.  The old covenant has given way to the new covenant.  We’ve learned in the book of Hebrews that Jesus did not come to serve in the tabernacle.  He didn’t come to serve in the temple.  He didn’t come to offer more sacrifices.  He did not come to minister the Law of Moses. He wasn’t just a better version of what’s gone on before.  He was the fulfillment.  He was the tabernacle itself.  Jesus came to do away with the old covenant as the fulfillment and establish the new covenant, which is what the shadows had been picturing all along.  Verse 10: 

By this (by Jesus doing this) will (by fulfilling God’s purpose), we have been sanctified   through the offering (that’s sacrifice language) of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10)

Now Paul uses the term sanctified in a little bit different way.  He uses it as a little bit more of a process.  You can tell by just the verb tenses something happens.  But the writer of Hebrews consistently uses sanctified as something that happens at a moment in time, the moment we’re saved, much like justified.  In that moment we are set apart for God as God’s children.  The verb tenses tell us that clearly. So by what Jesus has done, we have been sanctified.  How did that happen?  Through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 

Now this is in contrast to this idea of sacrifices being offered continually day after day, week after week, year after year.  They were just a shadow; they were just a picture.  They couldn’t ultimately remove sin.  They were just a reminder that, “This is our problem,” and, “This is the solution.”  But when Jesus came as the fulfillment, Jesus sacrificed Himself once for all.  The debt was ultimately paid by the once for all death of Christ.  Verse 11: 

Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins  (Hebrews 10:11) 

Again, the old covenant system was not intended to do that.  You can’t ask it to do something God didn’t intend for it to do.  The priest stood because the work was never done. They were continually offering the sacrifices because people were continually sinning.  It talked about this all the way back in chapter one.  But what’s unique about Jesus?  Verse 12: 

…but He (Christ), having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD  (Hebrews 10:12)

As a result of the work being completed, Jesus himself, hanging on the cross uttered, “Tetelestai!” It’s an accounting term and means “paid in full”.  Sins past, present and future are paid for in the once for all time death of Christ.  Therefore, He sat down at the right hand of God.  Verse 13: 

…waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET  (Hebrews 10:13)

In other words, the next time He stands up—figuratively speaking—will be to return and to gather His children and usher them into their ultimate salvation, and all the wicked will be destroyed.  Verse 14: 

For by one offering He has perfected (so He did what the law, what the old covenant could never do) for all time those who are sanctified (set apart, those who receive His gift of salvation)  (Hebrews 10:14)

You remember the writer of Hebrews talked about how God made this promise that this payment would be made once for all time, and for all eternity it would be sufficient.  As a matter of fact, we were told earlier in Hebrews, He both promises and made an oath that as long as Jesus lives as the ultimate high priest, the payment for sin would be sufficient forever…forever!  We may set our conscience at ease, because we are truly, really, and accepted in him. “He has perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Those who are “perfected,” that is, “sanctified” or set apart, have been declared “free from the guilt of sin”. That’s what He just said.  Verse 15: 

And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; (meaning this is also written in the Scripture), for after saying, “THIS IS THE COVENANT (the new covenant) THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART, AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,” He then says, “AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.” (Hebrews 10:16-17) 

So again it’s a quote from Jeremiah 31.  He quoted a little bit more of this passage in Chapter 8.  When we were in Chapter 8, He said, “The old covenant is obsolete.  It’s been replaced by a new covenant,” which He said, “is a better covenant because it’s built on better promises that gives us a better hope.”  There were four better promises that He identified.   

Number one was the reality that as a result of what Jesus had done, we would be transformed from the inside out.  It would no longer be this external thing as it had been in the old covenant, but this would be an internal transformation.  We would be born again.  We would be made a new creation in Christ, which he alludes to again here in Chapter 10. 

The second promise was that there would be an intimacy in this relationship that was unimaginable in the old covenant.  You remember when Jesus died, the veil that separated the Holy of Holies was torn in two, symbolic of the fact that now we as the people of God could enter directly into the presence of God.  People in the old covenant were separated from the presence of God by multiple layers.  It was just unimaginable to them that it would be possible for sinful men and women to actually, themselves enter the presence of God.  That’s the better promise; that’s the better hope that we now as people whose sins have been forgiven, can have an intimate personal relationship with God. 

The third promise was that access to God is available to everyone.  There is no priestly class to go through.  There is nobody more than or less than.  It doesn’t matter who you are.  It doesn’t matter what you’ve done.  It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor.  It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a really good person or you’re just the vilest sinner in the room.  It doesn’t matter!  The sin debt has been paid, and He offers the forgiveness of sin to anyone who chooses to receive it.   

The fourth promise upon which all this was built was the reminder that on the basis of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, the long-awaited death that would be necessary to pay for sin had been made and that, as a result of that, we stand before a holy God forgiven!  The Day of Judgment is no longer a day of terror, but a wonderful celebration as God invites us in as His children to experience His paradise forever.  Not on the basis of religion…not on the basis of good works…not on the basis of ritual Sabbath observance in the last days or anything we have done, but simply on the fact that Jesus paid the debt of sin once for all and offers the complete payment for sin now and forever to anyone who chooses to receive it by faith.  Verse 18: 

Now where there is forgiveness of these things (these things referring to Verse 17- their  sins and their lawless deeds; there is forgiveness for these things), there is no longer any offering for sin.  (Hebrews 10:18) 

What that just said is on the basis of what Jesus did once for all, there is nothing more that’s needed.  Nothing more!  You don’t need to go out and get religious.  You don’t have to somehow accomplish this salvation. There’s nothing more. There’s nothing more that some church offers.  There’s nothing more you need from me as a teacher.  There’s nothing more you need from some priest.  There’s nothing more…there’s nothing more!  The debt has been fully paid and it’s freely offered.   

Religion does one of two things to people.  Either religion makes people very self-righteous.  They convince themselves that they’re really good religious people and that by carrying out their religion, by carrying out the rituals, by carrying out the practice, customs, holy day observances, by convincing themselves they’re better than everyone else, at the end of the day, certainly if anybody gets in, they will get in.  You hear people say that.  Religion deceives us into thinking, “Somehow, someway I can do this myself.”  The text couldn’t have been clearer.  It is virtually impossible for any religious activity or work to make us right as sinners before a holy God.  Not hard…not difficult…virtually impossible!  But the other thing that religion does to people is just the opposite.  Religion becomes so oppressive.  There’s this sense of, “Enough will never be enough,” and, “I will never measure up and I will never be good enough.” Eventually they drop out and they say, “Why would you want to go and get reminded of what a loser you are all the time with the sense that one day when I know I’m in trouble, I have no chance to make it before a holy God?”  

This is the oppression of religion.  People just check out and they’re done, and they convince themselves, “There’s no hope for me.  I’m too far down the wrong path.”   

The reminder of Hebrews is, “That simply isn’t true!”  It doesn’t matter who you are.  It doesn’t matter what you’ve done.  It doesn’t matter what’s been done to you.  That isn’t relevant.  There’s nobody here that doesn’t need a savior.  We’re all sinners in need of a savior.  God offers His salvation freely as a gift to anyone.  You simply choose to believe Jesus did for us what I could never do for myself—and I choose to believe that by faith!  It is appointed for men and women once to die and after that judgment, but that doesn’t have to be a day of terror.  Having received God’s gift of salvation, knowing Jesus has paid for my sin once for all time, it’s a day of celebration!  It’s a day of God welcoming His children home and ushering them into the paradise our souls long for. 

Hebrews 9:15-28 – Christ Died for Our Sins

For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the violations that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9:15).

For this reason. Because all this is true that was said before this verse about Jesus and His “once for all” sacrifice, and “once for all” entrance into the Most Holy place, heaven itself.

He is the mediator of a new covenant.  It does not carry the idea that Jesus is somehow negotiating terms between a holy God and sinful people.  It rather carries the idea of this layer between a holy God and sinful people.There was this clear understanding that the presence of God dwelt in the Holy of Holies, and that could only be accessed by the high priest, and only once a year.  So, the people were very clear that there was this layer, this mediation layer (sanctuary, sacrifices, High priest system) between them and a holy God in the Old Covenant. So, Christ is now the mediator of a new constitution between God and the whole human race, distinguished here from the old covenant between God and the Israelites.

Since a death has taken place for the redemption of the violations that were committed under the first covenant. Because of Jesus, this long-awaited redemption and atonement for transgression has already taken place for those under the old covenant or first covenant, as those sins could not be really atoned from the blood of bulls and goats. Because of its repetition, the old covenant ministry could not convince the worshipper that his/her confessed sin had actually been cancelled and “cleansed” (Heb 10:1-11).  Their conscience was not clean. However, that blemish is not carried over into the New Covenant. Christ has already redeemed every daily sin and every Day of Atonement residual sin confessed in the Old Testament (and also the New Testament). This makes Ellen White’s often repeated “The blood of Christ..was not to cancel sin” nonsense.

Those who have been called. All people under the old and New covenant who are called to be his children.

May receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. This knowledge of receiving the promise of eternal inheritance is a present reality for the believer and not a fact that needs to be determined based on a future investigation (1844) as SDAs teach.

For where there is a covenant, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. For a covenant is valid only when people are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives.  (Hebrews 9:16-17)

Covenant used here is like what we would say a last “will” or a testament. When somebody creates a will, that will may be full of promises, but those promises do not have legal force. They are not fulfilled or acted upon until that person dies.

Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood (Hebrews 9:18)

The first covenant had to be initiated, inaugurated, dedicated, sanctioned, consecrated, with the blood of animal. We should expect to hear how the new covenant is inaugurated as well very soon as the author is contrasting the old and new.

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.” (Hebrews 9:19-20)

For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law. That included all the law including the ten commandments.

He took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop. Blood of “the sacrificial victims”, and “water and scarlet wool and hyssop” used for purification is what is meant here.

Sprinkled both the book itself and all the people. In Exodus 24:8 no mention is made of the sprinkling of the book, only of the people. Sprinkling upon the altar, upon which the book of the covenant might lie is probably meant.

This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you. This is the blood by which the covenant is ratified. 

And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood (Hebrews 9:21)

He sprinkled both the tabernacle. Probably not at the same time that he sprinkled the book and the people, for then there was no tabernacle; but afterwards, at the time that it was set up.

All the vessels of the ministry with the blood. All the furniture employed in the service of God. The altar, the laver, the censers, dishes, bowls, etc (Exodus 40:10-11).

And almost all things are cleansed with blood, according to the Law, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22)

And almost all things are cleansed with blood. For some things were purified by fire and water (Numbers 31:22-23), but almost all things are cleansed with blood. Cleansed (katharizō) implies not only purification from sin, but also dedication or consecration like when Moses sprinkled with blood both the “book”, and “tabernacle” and “all the vessels” to consecrate them, and to inaugurate them, to initiate the earthly sanctuary service. After all, there was no sin in the “book” or “vessels” to purify from blood. 

Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. The bottom line is there is no salvation but through the sacrificial death of Christ, and to prefigure this, the law itself would not grant any remission of sin without the blood of a victim.

Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these things, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these (Hebrews 9:23) 

Therefore. “Therefore,” is given based on everything mentioned in the previous seven verses concerning the shedding of the blood of the covenant-victim and the purification or dedication of the things associated with the tabernacle, people, its implements, and its rites. If the earthly tabernacle was dedicated in type by blood, we can expect something to be said about the heavenly things themselves in the following words.

It was necessary. According to the appointment of God, it was necessary. There was no other way.

For the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these things. It is the heavenly which is the pattern, and it is the earthly which is a copy.  These “copies of the things in the heavens,” meaning the earthly tabernacle, people and associated implements, “should be cleansed (katharizō) with these things.” The word “these” is speaking of the blood of dedication obtained from the covenant-victims. It was necessary for the earthly sanctuary to be initiated, inaugurated, cleansed, consecrated with blood of sacrificial victims.

But the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. However, to inaugurate and initiate the heavenly things themselves, where the ultimate presence of God is, it required better sacrifices than the blood of animals.In the actual presence of God, to actually make payment for sin, what would be required would be more than that! It would take something more than merely the blood of bulls and goats.  It would take the long-awaited death of the Messiah. Therefore, this verse is teaching that the Old Covenant inauguration needed to be fulfilled by a better inauguration sacrifice in order to bring in a New Covenant.

Moreover, under the Old Covenant, the author has already said that all things were sprinkled with blood in order to purify them, including “both the book itself and all the people” (Hebrews 9:19). As we are the purpose of Christ’s coming, meaning the redemption of man, then it is necessary that the people be purified by Christ’s shed blood. Hence, the heavenly things required not only the perfect sacrifice to inaugurate the new covenant, but also Christ presented Himself before the Father to purify or cleanse those things which will be accepted into His eternal realm. That is all His people, who are being built into “a dwelling of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:22). When did this happen? From the resurrection of Christ, when the new covenant was inaugurated, not in 1844.

Hence, the “cleansing of the sanctuary” is not about removing sin from the sanctuary per the old covenant day of atonement pattern. Hence, this verse is not speaking of cleansing heaven from defilement of sin or anything unclean that entered heaven. Rather it is about a new pattern which cleanses the believer [the temple of the living God] with the sinless blood of Christ (which happened when Christ inaugurated the heavenly sanctuary at His ascension, not in 1844).

There is not a single Bible verse anywhere in the Old or New Testament that says that confessed sins are transferred into the heavenly sanctuary and then defile the sanctuary in any way to be cleansed only on a future day of atonement. In the Old Covenant sanctuary, the Bible says that the entire sanctuary was cleansed on the Day of Atonement and not merely the Most Holy Place (Leviticus 16:20). In the Adventist sequence Jesus (at least) ministered in the Holy Place until 1844. This would have required that the Holy Place be cleansed first long before 1844. SDA’s to fit their cultic theology only cleanses the Most Holy Place in violation of the Old Testament type.

For Christ did not enter a holy place made by hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us (Hebrews 9:24)

For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands. So Jesus did not come to be assimilated into the old covenant tabernacle or the temple like a Jewish high priest.  Jesus would not simply go into the tabernacle and go through the routine of the Levitical Priestly system. That’s what an earthly high priest would do who entered into a sanctuary made by hands.

A mere copy of the true one.The earthly sanctuary was just a picture of the true one, not the exact thing, and was so formed as in some sense to correspond to it.

But into heaven itself. For the sanctuary into which Christ entered is not a copy or a token of the things in the heavens, but heaven itself. Since Christ is the veil (Heb 10:20), there are no separate “rooms” in God’s dwelling place. No sane person would quote this text to prove that God lives in a 2-room house in heaven.

Now to appear in the presence of God for us. We cannot doubt that these words continue the contrast between the true High Priest and the high priest on earth. As the Jewish high priest appeared before the shekinah, the symbol of the divine presence in the most holy, so Christ appears before God himself in our behalf in heaven itself at the ascension. The “presence of God” means exactly what it literally says. Contrary to the Old Covenant pattern, God’s throne room in Revelation contains a rainbow, 24 elders, 7 Spirit-lamps of fire before the throne, a sea of glass and 4 creatures surrounding the throne — all in contrast with the Old covenant patterns (Rev 4:2-8). The 1844 theology of two rooms or two phases is pure nonsense and cultic (Heb 9:24).

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 (Hebrews 9:25) 

As the high priest enters the Holy Place year by year with blood that is not his own. Again, this is talking about the once-a-year entrance of the Jewish High Priest into the most holy place. The earthly high priest had to offer sacrifices often to enter the Most holy place, but Jesus does not have to offer himself often to enter heaven itself. That is the whole point this verse and the next verse is showing. The sacrifice of Christ is not like that of the Jewish high priest, which must be offered every year to enter the Most holy place. If Christ sacrifice is like bulls and goats, then he would have to suffer often, and enter the sanctuary often.

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 revealed to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Hebrews 9:26) 

Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often. But Jesus wasn’t going to offer Himself year after year (he offered once for all). Otherwise, He would have to die every year since the foundation of the world. If Christ had not ended the patterns, then he must repeat them! If Christ did not end the daily sacrifices, then he must still die daily. If Christ did not end the yearly sacrifices (Day of Atonement), then he must still die yearly. Because he offered “once for all”, He entered the most Holy place (heaven itself) once for all. Notice again.

But now. “Now” refers to the first century, it is a reality when the apostle is writing these words. “Now” the Old Covenant sanctuary had already been replaced by “heaven itself.” The Aaronic priesthood had already been replaced with the non-Hebrew Melchizedek priesthood (Heb. 7:11-18). The everyday shadow rituals of the literal altar of burnt offering, the water laver, the loaves, the candlestick, and the altar of incense had all ended in the reality of Christ. Christ does not have to offer often as the High priest. Therefore.

Once. Once for all; once in the sense that it is not to be repeated again.

At the consummation of the ages. This is referring to the days of Christ’s ministry on earth called the last days (Hebrews 1:2), the end of the ages (1 Corinthians 10:11), the fulness of the time (Galatians 4:4), when Christ appeared at His first coming.  This is saying it was time for the old covenant to be fulfilled, to usher in a new age, a new covenant through Christ our High Priest. 

While SDAs proclaim 1844 as the heavenly Day of Atonement and as a last day event warning about the nearness of the end of the age, they ignore 9:26b which clearly places the event at the “now” of Calvary. Last days began with Christ’s first coming. This same “consummation of the ages”, “end of the age,” “fullness of time” and “these last days” is found in Acts 2:17; 1 Corinthians 10:11; Galatians 4:4; Ephesians 1:10; Hebrews 1:2 and First Peter 1:20 — and none of these refer to 1844, but the time between His first and second coming.

New Covenant believers need to stop thinking about the New Covenant using Old Covenant terminology. “Christ is not” in a tiny building in heaven that has compartments like that of the Old Covenant. “Christ is not.” entering heaven many times. Again, He “is not.” He is “in heaven itself.” Since the first century He is “now” already in the “presence of God for us” –- in the Most Holy since his ascension to the right hand of God.

He has been revealed. He revealed himself as God in flesh at His first coming.

To put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. That’s a legal term. It means to render sin void.  Literally for the “the annulment of sin”. How? By the sacrifice of Himself. Hebrews 9:25-26 clearly tells everybody (except SDAs) that “now” Christ has appeared to “cleanse” or “put away sin” by the sacrifice of Himself, not in 1844, but at His ascension and enthronement, and is now in the very presence of God. No body can have a clear conscience under the SDA doctrine of investigative judgement, or pre-advent judgement, because like the Old Covenant sanctuary pattern, sins have not been completely dealt with. On the contrary, Jesus has appeared to put away sin “now”, not in 1844. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John `:9). “The one who believes in Him is not judged; the one who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:18)

And just as it is destined for people to die once, and after this comes judgment (Hebrews 9:27)

Destined for people to die once. Just as certainly as we die once.

After this comes judgment. Every single person will die, and you will stand face to face with a holy God and give an account whether we accepted Christ’s perfect sacrifice or not- this is the final judgement or white throne judgement (Rev. 20:12). If there was an investigative judgement going on now to determine who will receive the eternal inheritance, the author would have said “Just as it is destined for people to die once, and before this comes judgement”. No! Those who disobey the gospel are judged already now (John 5:24). According to the Scriptures, God doesn’t require any further judgement to decide who are his children before we die. After we die, we will face the final judgement. In that moment, do you really think it will be adequate to say, “I was very religious; I did some rituals; I did some activities; I did some good works?”  Do you really think that’s going to cut it in that moment?  What the writer of Hebrews is saying is that has never been the basis of salvation. From Genesis three on, there has always been a message that someone will have to die. The consequence of sin is death.  Someone had to die our death for God to grant us forgiveness, and God himself provided us that means of sacrifice through His Son.

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 (Hebrews 9:28)

So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many. Just as certainly as we die once and then face judgment, so Jesus only had to die once (not repeatedly, not continually) to bear our sins.

Will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin. That is, when be comes again he will not make himself a sin-offering; or will not come in order to make atonement for sin. Rather to usher them to the salvation of the new heaven and the new earth, where there is no reference to sin.

Hebrews 9:1-14 The Perfect Tabernacle

Now even the first covenant had regulations for divine worship and the earthly sanctuary (Hebrews 9:1)

Now even the first covenant had regulations for divine worship. The meaning here is the first covenant or old covenant, or former arrangement had religious laws, rites and services regulating the worship of God.

And the earthly sanctuary. The term “worldly,” applied to “sanctuary,” here means that it pertained to this world rather than to heaven. This earthly sanctuary was the blueprint God gave the Israelites because it pictured a greater reality in the heavenlies.

For a tabernacle was equipped, the outer sanctuary, in which were the lampstand, the table, and the sacred bread; this is called the Holy Place (Hebrews 9:2)

The outer sanctuary.  The first room on entering the sacred edifice is called the “outer sanctuary”. The apostle then proceeds to enumerate the various articles of furniture which were in this room. 

The lampstand. There was this lamp stand with seven branches out of it. It was lit. There were little cups of oil, and they would put the wicks in the oil and it was the light in this portion of the tent.

Table and the sacred bread. On the table were twelve loaves of bread.

This is called the Holy Place. The first room is called the Holy Place.  The author of Hebrews does not say that the candlestick, and the table of showbread, and the other furniture that follows were designed to represent some particular truth or had a designed spiritual meaning. There are other passages in Scriptures that allude to their meaning which will not be elaborated here.

Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Most Holy Place (Hebrews 9:2)

This is the second room. This second veil divided the holy place from the most holy, as the first veil did the holy place from the courts. This represented the visible symbol of His presence.

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, Aaron’s staff which budded, and the tablets of the covenant (Hebrews 9:3)

Having a golden altar of incense. The Greek must not be translated as “altar of incense,” for it was not in “Most Holy” place “after the second veil,” but in “the holy place”; but as in 2 Chronicle 26:19, and Ezekiel 8:11, “censer”. This GOLDEN censer was only used on the day of atonement. Alternatively, the writer of Hebrews probably meant that at the veil, not the Most Holy place, had the altar of incense and the ark of the covenant connected with it (Hebrews 9:3; cf. 1 Kings 6:22).

The ark of the covenant. This is often called “the ark of the testimony,” i.e., the ark containing the tables of the Ten Commandments, which were the symbol of the covenant of God with Israel. (See Exodus 25:10-16.)

In which was a golden jar holding the manna, Aaron’s staff which budded. The golden pot holding the manna and Aaron’s rod that budded were not said in the Pentateuch to have been placed in the ark of the covenant; but no objection can be lodged against the statement in Hebrews to that effect, because such a keeping place would have been perfectly in line with God’s instructions that they were to be “laid up before the Lord” (Exodus 16:33), and “before the testimony” (Numbers 17:10). 

And the tablets of the covenant.  The stones on which the decalogue or ten commandments were written are called “the tables of the covenant” (Deut. 9:9), which were a handful of ten laws from the law of Moses, which outlined a handful of duties towards man and God, and this was placed inside the ark of the covenant. The author of Hebrews does not appear to go into all the details (Hebrews 9:4), but there was also the book in which the law was expanded and applied for the Jews (613 commandments including the ten) called “the book of the covenant” (Ex. 24:7), and this was placed by the side of the ark (Deut. 31:26) in the Most Holy place. The first or “Old Covenant” (now obsolete) included an earthly sanctuary, ceremonial aspects, and also the “tablets of the covenant”. It cannot be any clearer. Efforts to dissociate the tablets of that covenant from the annulment (obsolescence) that fell upon it fail in the light of such clear identification as this.

And above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the atoning cover; but about these things we cannot now speak in detail (Hebrews 9:4)

And above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the atoning cover. Above the ark of the covenant were glorious cherubim (plural). The atoning cover is translated elsewhere as the mercy seat. This was the ornate “lid” for the ark of the covenant, made with the designs of cherubim upon it. The blood of sacrifice was sprinkled upon it for the forgiveness of Israel’s sin on the Day of Atonement (Exodus 25:17-22). As God looked down into the ark, He saw the symbols of Israel’s sin, rebellion and failure. But when the blood of sacrifice was applied to the mercy seat, the blood of sacrifice had provided atonement for Israel’s sin.

About these things we cannot now speak in detail. The writer declined to speak of the tabernacle furnishings in more detail as we saw earlier (Hebrews 9:3) because his main purpose is not to give details of the first covenant and the earthly sanctuary but to contrast the two rituals and the two covenants.

Now when these things have been so prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle, performing the divine worship (Hebrews 9:6)

Now when these things have been so prepared. The earthly sanctuary was prepared and set up exactly as how God wanted.

The priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle, performing the divine worship. So, the priests could go into the holy place (outer tabernacle), and they had various functions on a daily basis (continually). 

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 (Hebrews 9:7)

But into the second, only the high priest enters once a year. But only the high priest and only once a year was he allowed to go behind the veil (Most Holy place) and only with blood in order to make payment for sin.  This was a day of utter terror for the people of Israel as they stood and waited, wondering if the high priest would come out alive.  If he came out alive, it indicated that God had accepted the offering for another year.  

Not without taking blood which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people. The atoning blood was first for his own sins and then for the sins of his people.

Committed in ignorance. Sins of ignorance were the specific aim of the Day of Atonement. It is known that known sin would be taken care of (atoned, cleansed, forgiven) through regular sin offerings and the daily sacrifices in the daily sanctuary service. Sins of ignorance (unatoned) were the specific aim of the Day of Atonement. God does not require two different atonements for the same sins as Seventh-day Adventist teach (see: Truth About the Sanctuary Truth)

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, which is a symbol for the present time (Hebrews 9:8-9a)

The Holy Spirit is signifying this. The Holy Spirit is unveiling this.

The way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed. The way into the heavenly sanctuary or heaven itself was not revealed. 

While the outer tabernacle is still standing. When the earthly sanctuary is still standing and functioning according to God’s design in a way that’s pleasing to God, it indicates that the Messiah has not yet come. If the Messiah had come, then the purpose of the earthly tabernacle, the covenant and the temple would be fulfilled and completed. Then the way into the heavenly sanctuary would be unveiled. In other words, the continuing activities at the first (old) covenant tabernacle were “signifying” that the way into the entire heavenly sanctuary, was not yet ready until the Old Covenant ended. From God’s perspective these activities ended at Calvary (Mt 27:51; Mk 15:38; Lk 23:45). At His ascension, Christ’s New Covenant ministry in the heavenly sanctuary began (Ps 110:1; Acts 2:33-34).

Which is a symbol for the present time. The things of the earthly sanctuary were a shadow, a picture, a temporary figure, it was for that present time only till the earthly sanctuary stood. Once the heavenly sanctuary is unveiled, the earthly pattern is abolished, and ought not to be revived. Again, the patterns given from heaven concerning the (old) covenant sanctuary were only “a figure for the time then present.” They were NOT “a figure for the future” as SDAs argue. They do not depict reality in heaven.

Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, since they relate only to food, drink, and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation. (Hebrews 9:9b-10)

Gifts and sacrifices. Thank-offerings and bloody offerings. All kinds of offerings to God were made there in the earthly sanctuary.

Cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience. That could not take away sin, and remove the stains of guilt. Since gifts and sacrifices were outward and ceremonial rites, and even when offerings were made for sin, the conscience was not relieved. And the fact that they had to do it every year made them constantly conscious of their guilt.

Since they relate only to food, drink, and various washings, regulations for the body. Since under this old covenant system, food, drink, various washings, and regulations were limited to the outward and external cleanliness, they could not change the consciences of the ones who participated in them.

Imposed until a time of reformation. The idea here is that those rites and ceremonies (old covenant) were only temporary in their nature and were designed to endure until a more perfect system should be introduced. That is until the new covenant.  “Until the time of reformation” refer to the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ (Gal 3:19). The Old Testament pattern of sanctuary service ended when the “time of reformation” arrived. SDAs part with the majority of Christians at Hebrews 9:9-10. The truth is that all of the patterns, examples and shadows given to Moses in the Law were only temporary blueprints of Old Covenant pre-Calvary reality!

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things having come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made by hands, that is, not of this creation (Hebrews 9:11)

But. But here stands for contrast with what happened in type. 

When Christ appeared as a high priest. Now that the Messiah has come as a High Priest. We cannot doubt that these words are contrasting between the true High Priest and the High priest on earth. Christ came as a High Priest from Judah after the king-priest rank of Melchizedek (Heb 7:11-18). He did not come as an Old Covenant Aaronic High priest from Levi who was required to follow the Law-patterns.

Of the good things having come. A more perfect system has been already introduced by which the conscience may be made free from guilt. Good things are now already here because Christ appeared as a High Priest.

He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle. He’s not entering the earthly tabernacle; He is entering the true tabernacle in the heavenlies.

Not made by hands, that is, not of this creation. The meaning is, that the place where he officiates is not made by human power but it is the ultimate presence of God. It’s the heaven itself.

And not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all time, having obtained eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12)

And not through the blood of goats and calves. Christ did not offer the blood of bulls and goats, these were the animals sacrificed on the day of atonement (Leviticus 16:3,11) which had no real power to make anyone clean—but would actually offer Himself.

But through His own blood. Christ would offer His own blood as payment for sin.

He entered the holy place [ta hagia] once for all time. The Greek word here is literally “holies.” The Septuagint uses it repeatedly in Leviticus 16 for the most holy place. The word itself can mean the sanctuary as a whole, or it can mean the first apartment, or it can mean the second apartment. You can prove nothing from the Greek, because it has these possibilities, but from the context it is obvious. It is speaking about a place that the high priest alone went once every year with the blood of bulls and goats. Here, Jesus entered the most holy place (heaven itself) once for all time. Having died “once for all” (Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 10:10) He was able to enter God’s presence “once for all.”

Having obtained eternal redemption. As long as the ultimate High Priest lives, His payment for sin is valid, and because He is eternal, then His payment for sin is eternal—so the redemption that He provides is an eternal redemption.

Since our high priest entered into heaven once for all, and has obtained not a yearly respite, but eternal redemption, he need not make an yearly entrance into the presence of God, or every 100 year entrance into the presence of God or even an 1844 entrance into the presence of God. He entered once for all time into the heavenly sanctuary, heaven itself, the presence of God, in opposition to the annual entering of the high priest into the holiest of all, with the blood of the yearly victim. Note again. In the earthly type, daily and yearly sacrifices were made. Instead of following the type pattern by dying many times, Christ fulfills the type by having died “once for all”. In the earthly type, the priest entered the sanctuary many times (daily and yearly). Instead of following the type pattern by entering the sanctuary many times (daily and yearly), Christ fulfils the type by entering the heavenly sanctuary, heaven itself “once for all”.

Andre Reis, an SDA theologian writes: “The book of Hebrews explicitly negates the notion that Jesus has engaged in a two-phase ministry since his ascension, with the final phase to be commenced sometime in the future. Hebrews 6:19-20; 9:12, 25; 10:19 are full of verbal parallels drawn from the sanctuary ritual culminating with the yearly Day of Atonement to explain Jesus’s sacrifice and subsequent activities as the Heavenly high Priest” (source: https://spectrummagazine.org/article/2015/10/22/perspective-1844-pillar-faith-or-mortal-wound ).

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 (Hebrews 9:13)

For if the blood of goats and bulls. Referring to blood of sacrificial victims.

And the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled. The heifer was sacrificed, and the ashes were used to make people clean when they had become unclean.

Sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh. If these things are adequate to restore a man to ceremonial cleanness which was a type of moral purity.

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? (Hebrews 9:14)

How much more will the blood of Christ. If the blood of an animal had any efficacy at all, even in removing ceremonial pollutions, how much more virtue must there be in the blood of Christ, to cleanse us from all sin?

Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God. Through his own eternal Godhead, offered “himself” without blemish, meaning the great sacrifice was “perfect”.

Cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God. The weakness of the sacrifices, “akin to dead works” made by earthly priests is that they could not really give us a clear conscience to serve the living God. They were a reminder of our sins that God had not completely dealt with our sin. And the fact that they had to do it every year made us constantly conscious of our guilt. But Jesus Christ has now purified our consciences for having to not offer “dead works”, instead we have peace that our sins have been cleansed (forgiven, blotted out, cancelled) to serve the Living God under the new covenant.