Introduction: When God gave His people the Ten Commandments, He also
gave them detailed instructions on how to build a place for Him to
live with them. God’s home on earth was designed for a procedure the
people could use to rid themselves of sin. Any “outsider” looking at
this would have concluded that God was very concerned about sin.
After all, His dwelling itself addressed the problem of sin. Of
course, an outsider would also probably be mystified by the “sin
removal procedure” with its focus on the shedding of animal blood.
This week we study Hebrews 9 to try to uncover what God really had in
mind with His house design and sin procedures. Let’s dive into our

  1. Earth Sanctuary

    1. Read Hebrews 9:1-5. What is this “earthly sanctuary?” What
      is being described in these verses? (If you review Exodus
      25 & 26 you will see this is a description of the
      tabernacle that the Israelites built while on the Exodus
      from Egypt.)

      1. Read Exodus 25:8-9. What was God’s reason for having
        the Israelites build this tabernacle? (God wanted to
        dwell with them. This was to be God’s dwelling on

        1. Who decided how the tabernacle and the
          furnishings should be made? ( Exodus 25:9 and
          Exodus 26:30 reveal that God gave the plans for
          the tabernacle and the furnishing to Moses. You
          would expect the owner of a home to select the

      2. Hebrews 9:1 describes the “first covenant” as having
        “regulations for worship and also an earthly
        sanctuary.” Is the “first covenant” the same as the
        “old covenant?” (Yes, these are interchangeable

        1. Was God’s house part of the “old covenant?”

        2. How about the Ten Commandments? Are the Ten
          Commandments also part of the “old covenant?”
          ( Hebrews 9:4 mentions the “stone tablets of the
          covenant.” This is a clear reference to the Ten
          Commandments. However, Hebrews 9:1 teaches us
          that the old covenant was not simply the Ten
          Commandments, but the entire system of worship
          regulations that were part of the sanctuary

    2. Let’s continue on in Hebrews 9. Read verses 6-8. Carefully
      consider verse 8.

      1. Why was God’s dwelling place designed to deal with
        the sins of the people?

      2. What is the “way into the Most Holy Place?”

      3. How was that “way” not disclosed? Wasn’t it just the
        next room? Was God’s house so big you couldn’t find
        your way around it?

      4. Why did God’s house, the tabernacle (sanctuary,
        temple) have to be destroyed before the “way” could
        be disclosed?

      5. What did finding the “way” get you?

    1. Read Hebrews 9:9-10. How do these verses answer the
      questions I just asked? (What happened in the temple
      service on earth was merely an “illustration” – it was
      symbolic. The high priest went into the Most Holy Place
      only on the Day of Atonement – the one day a year when the
      sins of the people were totally erased from them and the
      temple. (See Leviticus 16) The purpose of the Day of
      Atonement was to remove sin from the community and God’s
      house. This ritual illustrated (symbolized) Jesus’ death
      to take away sins. Therefore, until Jesus came, the “way
      into the Most Holy Place” was not truly realized. Once
      Jesus came and died for our sins, the symbol no longer had
      any purpose. The reason for its existence had ended. It is
      for that reason that the curtain which separated the Most
      Holy Place from the rest of the temple was torn in two at
      Jesus’ death. ( Matthew 27:60-51))

      1. Notice something interesting in verse 9: we are told
        the sanctuary sin removal procedure “is an
        illustration for the present time.” I thought it was
        an illustration for the people who lived under the
        old covenant, not for the people who were first
        reading Hebrews. Why does the writer of Hebrews say
        this? (2,000 years after Jesus’ death the answer is
        not obvious to us. We think (correctly) that the old
        covenant sacrificial system was a lesson to the
        people about what would happen to the Messiah.
        However, if you back things up about 2,000 years ago,
        we see the Bible writers trying to convince the
        people that Jesus was the Messiah. Thus, the writer
        of Hebrews is arguing that Jesus’ death is proof that
        He was the Messiah because the sanctuary service
        illustrated the fact that the Messiah would have to
        die for our sins.)

  1. Heavenly Sanctuary

    1. Read Hebrews 9:11. What tabernacle “is not a part of this
      creation?” (This turns on the light. This text tells us
      that God has a perfect home (tabernacle, temple,
      sanctuary) in heaven. God’s command for the Israelites to
      build a place for Him to dwell on earth based on a pattern
      He gave them was merely a command to build a model based
      on God’s perfect dwelling in heaven.)

    2. Read Hebrews 9:12-14. Why did God set up the “sin removal
      procedure” in His earthly home? (It symbolized what Jesus
      is doing for us.)

      1. Do you think that Jesus actually entered God’s temple
        in heaven just as the high priest entered the Most
        Holy Place in the earthly temple on the Day of
        Atonement? (That is exactly what this text tells us.)

      2. Notice that Hebrews 9:13 speaks of being “outwardly
        clean.” Why does it use that term to describe the old
        covenant system? (It is only the life and death of
        Jesus on our behalf that truly cleans us of our sins.
        He is the only way to have our sins truly forgiven.
        Hebrews 10:4 tells us it is “impossible for the blood
        of [animals] to take away sins.”)

    1. Read Hebrews 9:15. What new things are we learning about
      the “new covenant” in this text? (What is “new” about the
      new covenant is that Jesus has given His life for our sins
      so that we can be truly clean of sin. He is also our
      mediator, like the high priest of the old sanctuary
      service, except Jesus’ mediation gives us “the promised
      eternal inheritance.”)

    2. Read Hebrews 9:24. Under the new covenant, what is Jesus
      doing for us right now? (He is “appearing for us.” When I
      represent a client in court, I make what is known as “an
      appearance” for that client. We are Jesus’ clients when He
      appears before God the Father in God’s dwelling in

      1. What kind of client are you?

        1. How much does it matter?

      2. Read Hebrews 9:26b-27. Who is the focus of this
        judgment? (This says that Jesus sacrificed Himself to
        do away with our sins. The focus is on Jesus, not
        you. However, we must not forget the “big picture” of
        the symbolic system on earth. The people came to the
        temple, they confessed their sins and the shedding of
        animal blood pointed them towards the coming
        sacrifice of Jesus. Nothing under the new covenant
        lessens the need for coming to God, confessing our
        sins, and relying on the sacrifice and work of our
        Mediator in heaven.)

        1. Verse 27 tells us that Jesus is coming again “to
          bring salvation to those who are waiting for
          Him.” Don’t we already have salvation? What does
          this mean? (Read Galatians 1:4. The NIV says
          “rescue us from the present evil age.” “Evil
          age” is the phrase used by about half the
          translations I consulted. “Evil world” is the
          phrase used by the other half. I think the
          “rescue” takes us out of this evil world. When
          Jesus comes to bring salvation to us, He is
          coming to take us out of this world and up to
          heaven where He lives!)

    3. Friend, God has always been greatly concerned about the
      sin problem. His home on earth and His home in heaven
      address this very issue. He sent His Son to come and live
      as a man, perfectly obey the law, and then die on our
      behalf. Jesus, as fully God and fully man, is the perfect
      connection between God and us. Given God’s great concern
      about sin, and His offer of a way out of sin and into
      salvation, will you accept it today? Will you determine
      to avoid sin until He takes you to heaven with Him?

  1. Next week: Covenant Faith