CHRIST ENTERED ONCE INTO THE HOLY PLACE BY HIS OWN BLOOD (Hebrews 9:11-12)
Yes, the time of reformation has come. In the fulness of times God sent His son into the world, made of a woman and made under the law. (Gal. 4:4) Christ came near. He visited His people to save them from their sins. And he came as a great high priest, He is not a mere high priest under the shadows and types, but he is the high priest of “good things to come.” Such is his unique distinction from all the high priests which came before him. Ever the promises mercies toward which the types and shadows pointed had been in the offing; however, now these “good things to come” will be made a reality!
All the high priests of the Old Testament shadows came and performed their work by means of a tabernacle. It was a tabernacle of this creation. And the performance of the instituted worship could only be a parabolic performance. But not so Christ! He comes in a different tabernacle. He comes in the real and true tabernacle, which is heavenly. This is one which is pitched by the Lord. Thus we might notice in earlier essays in this series. There is nothing in this tabernacle which has in it what might be called “made by hand.” It did not belong to our present heaven and earth. It was above and beyond the world of our taste, touch and handling. It reached down on earth as did the pillar of cloud in the desert, came into this world, tabernacled in our midst, yet in such a way that it was really not part of this earthly. It was the tabernacle of God with man—Immanuel, God-with-us!
If the heaven of heavens could not contain God, how much less would a mere earthly temple do so. Yet, he who dwells in the light which is such that no one can approach unto it, came and dwelt in out midst in the flesh. He came into our midst, assumed our flesh and blood, and this became a living temple and sacrifice in our midst. This flesh of Christ is evidently the “better tabernacle.” How we must conceive of this better tabernacle in a local sense is difficult to say. The book of Hebrews does not give us any such temple here. It only describes for us the Mosaic tabernacle as a “pattern” of the heavenly, but this description does not warrant us to try to conceive of the heavenly counterpart in a local sense. The “shadows” needed such a building made with hands; however, the heavenly, which is called the “body,” is the real tabernacle which is centrally for us in Christ’s blood. Thus Christ is for us the way and the truth and the light. No man can come unto the Father except through Him. (John 14:6) He is the great “I Am,” Jesus, Jehovah-God, as he dwells with his people by His Word and Spirit in their hearts. And thus it becomes “I in them and thou in Me, that we may be perfect in one.” The hour cometh, says Jesus, when the true worshippers shall worship God in spirit and in truth, and then it shall not be on any particular earthly mountain, nor in any particular earthly temple. It seems to me that this is the only way we can represent the temple “not of this creation.”
Let us not overlook the fact that when the “blood of the covenant” was sprinkled by Moses as the law-giver, he did not sprinkle it in any temple made by hands, a temple of this creation. The entire scene is like unto all the Theophonies of God, such as are spoken of by Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Revelation. (Isaiah 6:1-4; Ezekiel 1:4 ff.;Revelation 4:1 ff.) For notice that according to Exodus 24:9-11the tabernacle of God was with man through the blood of the Mediator and sacrifice in such a way that Israel “saw God.” Here was a tabernacle not made with hands in visionary form. Do we not read “Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in its clearness. . .” Here we have the revelation of God in a form which is not made with hands. Here we see that the way unto God. is the covenant of blood. Only because of the blood of the covenant can we have the glorious reality of grace and mercy which is put in the following words “And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God and did eat and drink.” (Exodus 24:11) Forsooth this was more of a picture of the real and heavenly than any house made with hands.
Perhaps in the light of the foregoing we can see clearly that Christ, who is God in the flesh, did not come through any earthly temple, nor with the blood of goats and bullocks. He is the Lord of glory Himself. Does he not say: he that hath seen me hath seen the Father? (John 14:9) He is God manifested in the flesh. And this flesh is the “better tabernacle.” It is a better tabernacle because in this tabernacle God truly comes to dwell with His people. It is “more perfect,” since it is the far better vehicle for the realization of God’s dwelling with man, by the removal of sin. Here God can so dwell with Israel, His church, that he does not “lay his hand” upon them to destroy them! The law was given through Moses, but grace and truth became a glorious reality through Jesus Christ. (John 1:17) And in this tabernacle the waters of the wells of salvation flow from its sides into the four comers of the earth; here the waters flow from the throne of God and of the Lamb. (Ezekiel 47:1-8;Rev. 22:1-3)
In this greater and more perfect tabernacle Christ came with blood. It was shed blood! A victim died for the sins of the people. However, this time we have a better day of atonement which is not conducted officially by Aaron’s unprofitable priesthood, but it is one in which we have a great high priest, Jesus, the Son of God, Who shed His own blood. He gave himself for us! The great sacrifice of atonement was shed on the Cross of Calvary. And this Cross was “outside of the gate” of the city. Where that Cross stood no tabernacle of this creation was seen. What was there was that the God of Israel extended a cup to His Son in the flesh, and said “drink it.” God laid his hand upon this sacrificial Lamb. It was the Lamb which God had prepared for Himself. Here we see truly “Jehovah-Jired,” in the mount of the Lord it shall be seen. Thus all the former ages had waited for this redemption. Now their eyes were made to see the salvation of the Lord. For Christ, the anointed of the Father, came near through the greater and better tabernacle through His own blood!
THE GREATER CLEAAWNG EFFICACY OF THE BLOOD OF CHRIST (Hebrews 9:13, 14)
There was a certain ceremonial, cleansing power in the blood of goats and bullocks on the great day of atonement. It was an instituted ordinance of Jehovah God, who dwelt between the cherubim. However, it had only power of a fleshly cleansing. It consisted in washings, meats and drinks, in carnal ordinances. (Hebrews 9:10) The entire system of the Old Testament sacrifices was faulty. It perfected nothing. Wherefore the writer speaks not only of the imperfection of the blood of the day of atonement, the blood of goats and bullocks, but he also speaks of the blood of the red heifer, whose askes represented the power which would remove the greatest of impurities. The water: in which the ashes of the red heifer were mixed was called the “water of expiation.” Even the very best of the sacrifices and ceremonies fell short of their mark!! The only cleansing was that of the flesh, of the outward man!
Now the writer does not merely make a comparison between the Old Testament cleansings and the New Testament cleansing by the blood of Christ. He shows the “much more” of the latter. If the former was indeed a cleansing of the flesh, the latter was much more a cleansing of the conscience! What is this conscience which must be cleansed? Our conscience is our knowing together with God on His divine tribunal as he judges our deeds, whether they be good or evil. Unless a man’s conscience is cleansed he has a defiled conscience—defiled by the guilt of sin, so that we cannot stand before God, not draw nigh to him with boldness. Rather a defiled conscience would try to hide from God, and. says: Hills fall upon us, and mountains cover us from the eye of Him that sitteth upon the throne! A man can give nothing to ransom his own soul, nor to quiet his guilty conscience. It has no power to cleanse from “dead works.” Unless the conscience is cleansed one can never go beyond dead works. One can go to the temple, bring alms, return what one has stolen, but he cannot, in real and living service, serve the Lord. He is dead, and his works are arid remain “dead works.” They are the flesh which profits nothing. It is the “spirit” which giveth life. Man must be cleansed to stand before the living God before whom all things are naked and opened! And, unless one has his conscience cleansed, it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
It was the living God who came to Moses, Nadab, Aaron and Abihu on the ascent of Sinai. To see the “God of Israel” and live, that is the end of a cleansed conscience. And that takes place by the blood of Christ far more surely and efficaciously than does the mere cleansing of the flesh by the blood of goats and bullocks. The latter was merely parabolic in nature, while the former means that the kingdom of God has come upon us.
THE MEDIATOR OF THE NEW COVENANT (Hebrews 9:15, 16)
If the sins and transgressions under the Old Covenant were not removed as pertaining to the conscience, but only as pertaining to a fleshly cleansing, then the sins in the first covenant were never removed. All the sins of all the people in the Old Testament dispensation needed to be removed. And this all waited for the better blood, Christ’s own blood which he shed at Golgotha. They must all be paid for. Redemption from all these sins must take place. This all awaited the coming of Christ through the greater and more perfect tabernacle.
AS LONG AS THESE SINS ARE AN UNPAID ACCOUNT, they constitute a handwriting against Israel This handwriting must be nailed to the accursed tree. Only when this takes place can Israel, the church, receive the eternal inheritance. But this eternal inheritance is not for all. It is only for those who are “the called.” There is even the remnant according to election of grace, who are powerfully called out of darkness into God’s marvelous light. These are a class in distinction from others. They were called up to the present moment. Once called always called. The calling of God is without repentance. And for such called there must be a receiving in their hearts through the actual forgiveness of sins—the eternal inheritance.