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                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"

                     The Earthly Sanctuary (9:1-10)

INTRODUCTION

1. The main points in the "The Epistle To The Hebrews" are rather 
   simple...
   a. The superiority of Christ - He 1:1-7:28
   b. The superiority of the New Covenant - He 8:7-10:18

2. In the "transition passage" of He 8:1-6, we find...
   a. The first point summarized - He 8:1
   b. The second point introduced - He 8:2-6

3. In demonstrating the superiority of the New Covenant, three points
   are made...
   a. The New Covenant is based upon "better promises"
   b. The New Covenant pertains to a "better sanctuary"
   c. The New Covenant provides a "better sacrifice"

4. In He 8:7-13 we read of the "better promises"...
   a. Foretold through the prophet Jeremiah - cf. Jer 31:31-34
   b. In which God promised a closer relationship with His people, made
      possible by the forgiveness of sin

5. In chapter nine, our attention is now drawn to the matter of the 
   "better sanctuary" provided by the New Covenant...
   a. To appreciate the author's argument, we must be acquainted with 
      the sanctuary of the first covenant
   b. Therefore we find a brief discussion concerning "The Earthly 
      Sanctuary" - He 9:1-10

[We could turn back to the books of Exodus and Leviticus to read about
the earthly sanctuary, but in our text we find a helpful and concise 
summary.  Beginning with...]

I. THE EARTHLY SANCTUARY:  ITS DESCRIPTION (1-5)

   A. THE HOLY PLACE (2)
      1. This was the first part of the tabernacle, in which the 
         priests entered daily
      2. Inside of it were...
         a. The lampstand - cf. Exo 25:31-40; 26:35
            1) Placed next to the south wall of the tabernacle
            2) Made of gold and had seven lamps for burning olive oil
            3) It was never allowed to go out
         b. The table and the showbread - Exo 25:23-30; 26:35; Lev 24:
            5-9
            1) A table overlaid with gold
            2) On which were kept twelve loaves of bread, in two rows
               of six
            3) Fresh loaves were brought in each Sabbath, and the old
               were eaten by the priests - cf. 1Sa 21:3-6; Mt 12:3,4

   B. THE HOLIEST OF ALL (3-5)
      1. This was the part of the tabernacle behind the veil, also
         called "The Most Holy" - Exo 26:31-33
      2. This innermost room of the tabernacle, the holiest place in
         the worship of Israel, had...
         a. The golden altar of incense (golden censor, KJV)
            1) The golden altar of incense was actually in the Holy 
               Place, just on the other side of the veil separating the
               two rooms - Exo 30:1-10
               a) On this altar sweet spices were continually burned
                  with fire taken from the brazen altar (which was
                  outside the tabernacle)
               b) The morning and evening services were begun by the
                  high priest offering incense on this altar
               c) Once a year, the High Priest would take a censer of
                  burning coals from this altar along with incense into
                  the The Most Holy Place - Lev 16:12
            2) It is appropriate to say the The Most Holy Place "had"
               the golden altar...
               a) For the smoke of the daily incense would permeate 
                  through the veil, and as such be "a perpetual incense
                  before the LORD" - Exo 30:8
               b) The annual ceremony on the Day of Atonement connected
                  in a tangible way the altar of incense with The Most
                  Holy Place - Lev 16:12
         b. The ark of the covenant
            1) A chest made of acacia wood, about four feet long by two
               and half feet high and wide - Exo 25:10-16
            2) Covered with gold, it was the most sacred thing in the
               tabernacle
            3) In it contained...
               a) The golden pot that had the manna - Exo 16:32-34
               b) Aaron's rod that budded - Num 17:1-11
               c) The tablets of the covenant - Deut 10:1-5
            4) Covering the ark was the mercy seat - Exo 25:17-22
               a) This lid, covered with gold, was topped with two 
                  cherubim (with wings stretched upward, and their 
                  faces "toward each other and toward the mercy seat.")
               b) The Lord was said to appear in a cloud above the 
                  mercy seat - Lev 16:2; Num 7:89; 2Ki 19:5

[As stated by the author himself, "of these things we cannot now speak
in detail". But a little more is now said regarding the ritual of the
earthly sanctuary...]

II. THE EARTHLY SANCTUARY:  ITS RITUAL (6-7)

   A. THE RITUAL OF THE HOLY PLACE (6)
      1. Every morning and evening, the priests would go into The Holy
         Place "performing the services"...
         a. They would trim the lamps on the lampstand - Exo 27:20-21
         b. They would offer incense on the altar of incense - Exo 30:
            7-8
      2. On the Sabbath, the priests would replace the Showbread - Lev
         25:4-9
      -- But none went into The Most Holy Place during these daily
         services

   B. THE RITUAL OF THE MOST HOLY PLACE (7)
      1. Once a year, only the high priest entered The Most Holy Place 
         - Lev 16:2
         a. On the Day of Atonement
         b. The tenth day of the seventh month - Lev 16:29
      2. The high priest would do three things:
         a. Offer the incense to cloud the mercy seat - Lev 16:12-13
         b. Sprinkle the mercy seat with the blood of a bull, as a sin
            offering for himself and his family - Lev 16:11,14
         c. Sprinkle the mercy seat with the blood of a goat, as a sin
            offering for the people - Lev 16:15
      3. In this way he offered blood for his own sins and those of the
         people committed in ignorance - He 9:7

[With this summary of the ritual of the earthly sanctuary, we are 
reminded of the sort of services rendered under the first covenant. But
what was the true purpose of such service?  And did the sacrifices 
provide complete redemption?  These questions are addressed in the next
three verses...]
         
III. THE EARTHLY SANCTUARY:  ITS SYMBOLISM AND LIMITATION (8-10)

   A. IT WAS SYMBOLIC...
      1. As already stated, the tabernacle and its service was "a copy
         and shadow of the heavenly things" - He 8:4-5; cf. He 10:1a;
         Col 2:16-17
      2. Thus it was "symbolic for the present time" - He 9:9
         a. Symbolizing what eventually would occur when Christ came
         b. Symbolizing what Christ has now done in reality when He 
            entered heaven - cf. He 9:11-12,24-26
      3. The Holy Spirit was thus indicating that "the way into heaven
         itself was not yet made manifest" - He 9:8

   B. THERE WERE LIMITATIONS...
      1. The gifts and sacrifices could not make one perfect in regard
         to the conscience - He 9:9; cf. He 9:14; 10:1-4
      2. The ceremonies involved "fleshly ordinances imposed until the
         time of reformation" - He 9:10
         a. Just as the sanctuary was "earthly", the ordinances were 
            "fleshly"
            1) In contrast to that which is heavenly, spiritual
            2) Indeed, all of the ritual was designed to impact the 
               physical side of man
               a) I.e., his senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch)
               b) E.g., the burning of incense, the blowing of 
                  trumpets, the vestments
         b. Such ordinances were designed to be temporary
            1) Until "the time of reformation", when changes in worship
               would be made
            2) Indeed, now God expects "spiritual" worship - cf. Jn 4:
               21-24
               a) Worship that is more in keeping with God's true 
                  nature (Spirit)
               b) Worship that focuses on the inner man
                  1/ E.g., singing, where the emphasis is on melody 
                     made in the heart - Ep 5:19; Col 3:16
                  2/ Even in the Lord's Supper, which has physical
                     elements, the emphasis is on the communion we
                     share in the body of and blood of Jesus as we
                     commemorate His death - 1Co 11:23-26; 10:16-17
         -- Therefore we should not be surprised to learn that the
            early church did not simply institute the fleshly
            ordinances of the first covenant into their worship

CONCLUSION

1. The earthly sanctuary and its fleshly ordinances served God's
   purpose well...
   a. It revealed the terrible nature and high price of sin
   b. It revealed the need for the shedding of blood to provide the 
      remission of sin
   c. It prepared people for the coming of the ultimate sacrifice and 
      complete redemption

2. But as useful as it was, it was temporary and symbolic...
   a. A copy and shadow of what was to come
   b. Designed to vanish away when what it represented came to pass

3. As we shall see more fully in our next study...
   a. Christ has come and entered into "the greater and more perfect 
      tabernacle"
   b. He has "obtained eternal redemption"
   c. He has made it possible to "purge your conscience from dead 
      works to serve the living God"

Why would one ever wish to go back to the earthly sanctuary and its 
fleshly ordinances?  Why do some people wish to introduce Old Testament
practices into the worship of the Lord's church?

It can only be a failure to appreciate what we now have in Christ, and
the kind of worshippers God now desires.  As Jesus told the Samaritan
woman at the well...

   "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will
   worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking
   such to worship Him.  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him
   must worship in spirit and truth." (Jn 4:23-24)

Are we worshipping God the way He desires?  Or whatever way that
appeals to our fleshly senses and personal desires?

Brethren, think on these things...
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