Introduction: This week Hebrews teaches us more about Jesus’ work in
the heavenly sanctuary. At first we seem to be dealing with estate
planning, then we find out that every one of us can be that lucky
relative who inherited a windfall! What happens if we turn down the
windfall? When is Jesus doing what in the heavenly sanctuary? Let’s
jump into our study and find out!

  1. The Will

    1. Read Hebrews 9:16-17. I currently have a will and I am in
      the process of changing my will. Is it a pressing matter
      to get the changes in my will completed? (Only if I am
      going to die soon. Hebrews points out that a will only
      goes into effect when a person dies.)

    2. Read Hebrews 9:18-20. The writer of Hebrews compares the
      Old Covenant to a will. Tell me how the two are similar?
      (The Old Covenant also required death – the death of

    3. Read Hebrews 9:21-22. Why did the Old Covenant require the
      death of animals and the shedding of blood? (Because the
      law said there was no forgiveness without the shedding of

      1. If the Old Covenant, with its death of lambs, cows
        and birds, was like a will, did the people inherit
        anything from these animals? Was it truly like a
        will, the lamb died and the person received what had
        belonged to the lamb? (In some sense the person
        received life from the death of the animal, but it
        hardly seems like a normal will. Indeed, Hebrews has
        previously taught us( Hebrews 9:9)that the death of
        animals did not give the people life.)

      2. If the people did not inherit anything from the
        animals that died under the Old Covenant sanctuary
        service, why does Hebrews compare the old system to a
        will? (Hebrews is telling us that the Old Covenant
        system itself was like a will. A will says “You get
        this when I die.” The Old Covenant sanctuary system
        showed us that we would get something when Jesus
        died. The sanctuary system was an “acted out will.”)

  2. The Inheritance

    1. Read Hebrews 9:23 What did we get that was promised in the
      Old Covenant “will?” (A “better sacrifice.”)

      1. What did this better sacrifice do? (It “purified …
        the heavenly things.” It cleaned the sanctuary in
        heaven from sin.)

        1. What does this bring to mind? (The sanctuary
          system on earth transferred the sins from the
          person to the sanctuary. Then on the Day of
          Atonement, the sanctuary was cleaned of sin.)

    1. Read Hebrews 9:24-26. What is “better” about this
      sacrifice? (1. Jesus entered the heavenly sanctuary, not
      the copy on earth. 2. He entered the Most Holy place in
      the heavenly sanctuary just once – not once a year (on the
      Day of Atonement) like the High Priests in the Old
      Covenant sanctuary. 3. Jesus appeared once to take away

  1. The Timing.

    1. Notice that Hebrews 9:26 attaches a very general time
      designation to when Jesus entered the Most Holy Place of
      the heavenly sanctuary. When was that? (He appeared once
      “at the end of the ages.” You may notice that this verse
      and verse 24 also use the word “now.” Now in verse 24 can
      be translated “hereafter” or “soon.” The “now” in verse 26
      is a variation of verse 24.)

      1. Do you think this “end of the ages” is a reference to
        the time of Jesus’ crucifixion? (It doesn’t seem to
        logically fit the language. If the writer of Hebrews
        meant “at the cross” why not say it? Instead, Hebrews
        seems to signal a time closer to the Second Coming of

    2. Consider the timing of the work in the Old Covenant
      sanctuary. How often were animal sacrifices made?

      1. How often did the High Priest enter the Most Holy
        place of the sanctuary?( Hebrews 9:1-5 explains the
        two compartment system of the Old Covenant sanctuary.
        It had a “Holy” and a “Most Holy” place (room,
        compartment). Hebrews 9:6-7 explains that the priests
        entered the Holy place every day
        (“regularly”)(compare Leviticus 1), but the Most Holy
        place was entered only once a year on the Day of
        Atonement (compare Leviticus 16). We previously
        learned that the Old Covenant sanctuary system on
        earth was a prophecy of Jesus as our Messiah and a
        prophecy of what would be going on in heaven. The two
        compartments, and the different timing for the
        sacrifice and the atonement, lend support to the idea
        that Jesus entered the heavenly sanctuary after His
        crucifixion – but Jesus did not enter the “Most Holy”
        place in heaven until a later time, “the end of the
        ages.” ( Hebrews 9:26))

      2. There is controversy over when Jesus entered the Most
        Holy place in heaven. Does the timing of His entrance
        make any difference to our salvation? (This is an
        issue for people who “need to get out” and spend more
        time on practical Christianity. Understanding the
        sanctuary is critical for three reasons. First, it
        demonstrates that Jesus is the Messiah because it
        validates the idea that the true Messiah would be
        crucified – and not overthrow the Romans and create a
        kingdom on earth at that time. Second, it reinforces
        the idea that Jesus’ death takes away our sins and
        allows us the opportunity for eternal life. Third, it
        comforts us with the knowledge that right now Jesus
        is ministering and mediating on our behalf in the
        sanctuary in heaven. I am yet to be convinced that
        timing issues are critical to any of these primary
        reasons the sanctuary is important.)

  2. Next Time

    1. Read Hebrews 9:27-28. What does man face after his death?

    2. What does Jesus look forward to after His death,
      resurrection and work in heaven? (He is coming again to
      bring salvation to those who otherwise would face

    3. Let’s skip forward to Hebrews 10:19-22. Knowing what we do
      about Jesus’ sacrifice, and His work in the heavenly
      sanctuary, what is our response? What should be our
      attitude? (We have several positive words and phrases in
      these verses: “confidence,” “sincere heart,” “full
      assurance of faith,” and the promise that we can be free
      “from a guilty conscience.”)

      1. Are these attitudes that are missing from your life?
        Would you like to have them?

  3. The Warning

    1. Read Hebrews 10:26-27. After all of this glorious
      discussion about righteousness by faith in what Jesus did
      and is doing for us, how do you explain this terrible

      1. Is it possible to lose our salvation according to the
        writer of Hebrews?

        1. If so, how? (If we keep on deliberately sinning
          we become an enemy of God.)
        2. How do the enemies of God end up? (In a fire
          that consumes them.)

    2. Read Hebrews 10:28-29. Is God being fair when He destroys
      the wicked by fire?

      1. What rational do you see for the judgment? (Hebrews
        has been making an argument for the love and mercy of
        God. We failed the test under the Old Covenant, so
        God gave us a New Covenant. In that New Covenant, God
        lived the perfect life and died for our sins. All we
        have to do is repent of our sins, and accept what God
        did on our behalf. God says, “I’m bending over
        backwards to get you saved. If you reject all of my
        efforts, you are not interested in My ways. You have
        disrespected and insulted Me. Therefore, you are an
        enemy who will be destroyed.” That seems more than
        fair and just to me.)

    3. Read Hebrews 10:30-31. Who would you rather know about
      your sins: your fellow church members or God?

      1. If you hide your sins from your fellow church
        members, what does that say about your answer to the
        question above? (We think it is “OK” for God to know
        about our sins, but we fear having our fellow church
        members know about our sins. If we have that
        attitude (and we all do), we have missed the point of
        verse 31 “it is a dreadful thing to fall into the
        hands of the living God.”)

        1. I thought it was good to be in God’s hands? My
          father used to pray that I would be “in the
          hollow of God’s hands.” Do you want to be in
          God’s hands? (The point is that we must not fool
          around with God and treat sin as a trivial
          matter. God loves us, died for us, and offers
          us eternal life. But all of this is serious
          stuff. If we keep deliberately sinning, we will
          find that God is also a mighty Judge.)

    4. Friend, the choice is yours. What is your decision today?
      Jesus died for you. Do not ignore what He has offered.

  4. Next Week: Jesus’ Ministry and the Sanctuary.