When I donated blood for the first time, I learned from the nurses that some types of blood are more desirable. A fellow donor shared that her relative used to be contacted by blood clinics repeatedly. Not only did she have the type of blood in greatest demand, but her blood also contained desirable antibodies. How beneficial for the person in need! Yet more superior is the blood of Christ. His was not a mere donation of 500mL to preserve physical life. When Christ’s blood is mentioned in Scripture, it alludes to the death that took place on Calvary so eternal life could rightly be bestowed upon any who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ. Upon the basis of this blood, there are benefits for us in the heavenly sanctuary.
Hebrews 9 – Sanctuary, Service and Sacrifice of the Covenants
V11-24 – Good Things to Come: The Greater Service in the Greater Tabernacle by a Greater Sacrifice
V15-22 – Mediator of New Covenant through Death and Blood
Christ is eligible to be the mediator of the New Testament because of the surpassing effect of His blood compared to the blood of the sacrifices of the Old Testament.
This death and blood, as v14 stated, dealt with the conscience. It dealt with the transgressions which under the first testament were hanging over the head of every individual. His blood obtained eternal redemption for those sinners (v12). This freedom secures “the promise of eternal inheritance” for the called ones of God. What a contrast to the earthly inheritance promised to the children of Israel in the Old Covenant!
There are two primary views of the next verses. The first view looks at them as a parenthesis, as if the writer is making a legal point. The second view, according to W.E. Vine, describes a “covenant victim” (Newberry margin) rather than the “testator.” This second view seems to best fit if one is comfortable with translating “testator” as “covenant victim,” since the first view requires a different idea of “covenant” or “testament” than has been discussed anywhere else in this Epistle.
V18-22 presents that there was indeed a death of a covenant victim when Moses ratified this Old Covenant with the people (Ex 24:5) as a covenant required it. Moses took the blood and “sprinkled both the book, and all the people.” (Ex 24:9) Not only was the First Covenant dedicated with blood, but it was also sprinkled upon the tabernacle and its furniture for its cleansing. Ex. 29:12, Lev. 8:15, and Lev 16. all give some details about this purging.
Lastly, blood is seen in relation to remission. It is required to remit sin. And thus even the sin offering of fine flour, which the poorest of the poor Israelite was permitted to bring (Lev 5:11), would be put on the altar with other offerings of blood. In God’s grace, the blood of another sacrifice would be put to their account. However impoverished before God a sinner feels, the blood of Another can be put to their account.
V23-24 – Purification of the Heavenlies by the High Priest in Heaven
The writer has been thinking extensively about purification by blood in the preceding verses. He has set the stage to show that better blood has purified the heavenly things. The blood of mere animals was all that was required for the pattern, but the reality of the things in the heavens required something superior.
It is by this blood that Christ is able to enter, not the Holy Places on earth, but the real sanctuary in heaven. His purpose in entering is to appear in the presence of God for us. Consider how little time that the High Priest of the Old Testament spent in the Holy of Holies on behalf of his people. He went in and out, year by year. Yet think of our Great High Priest, who entered heaven itself for High Priestly work officially at His ascension, who now appears and continues to appear in the presence of God for us. We have a representative before God for us by virtue of His purifying precious blood.
- Can you search out the sacrifice of each of the five special Covenants that God made, as well as its token/sign and promise? (Noah’s, Abraham’s, Moses’, David’s, and New)
- Can you find any of the instances in the OT where something other than blood was used to cleanse/purge? Notice v22, “almost all things are by the law purged with blood.