"NOW EVEN the first covenant had its own rules and regulations for divine worship, and it had a sanctuary [but one] of this world."  Of this world simply means that it was made from earthly materials by man and that its purpose was worship on this earth as opposed to worship in Spirit and truth (John 4:23). The OT primarily promised visible, material, temporal blessings for obedience to God (land, children, crops, health/long life, etc.) but the NT primarily promises inward, spiritual and eternal blessings for faith and obedience (love, joy peace, etc., Gal. 5:22-23) as modeled by the apostles and Jesus. They suffered greatly on earth but will be commensurately rewarded for all eternity. (Matt. 5:10-12; 2 Cor. 4:16-18; Rom. 8:17) The false prosperity gospel is more OT than NT in emphasis and without an eternal perspective, it can deceive many.

"For a tabernacle (tent) was erected, in the outer division or compartment of which were the lampstand and the table with [its loaves of] the showbread set forth. [This portion] is called the Holy Place. But [inside] beyond the second curtain or veil, [there stood another] tabernacle [division] known as the Holy of Holies. It had the golden altar of incense {Note: Not kept permanently in the Holy of Holies, but taken in on the Day of Atonement. Henry Alford, The Greek New Testament – Ex. 30:6 and 40:6} and the ark (chest) of the covenant, covered over with wrought gold. This [ark] contained a golden jar which held the manna and the rod of Aaron that sprouted and the [two stone] slabs of the covenant [bearing the Ten Commandments]. Above [the ark] and overshadowing the mercy seat were the representations of the cherubim [winged creatures which were the symbols] of glory." The furnishings in the tabernacle were custom-crafted by spirit-filled craftsman made of solid gold or overlaid with gold. Beautiful buildings, liturgical services, wonderful choirs can all be a means of grace to "see" the glory of God but in our fallen condition even as believers we can worship the symbols and miss the reality as the Israelites were tempted to do. The beauty and function of the tabernacle furnishings all point to the Person and work of Christ. {The Gate is Christ inviting us. "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture" (John 10:9). The Altar of Brass is Christ Saving us. "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep (John 10:11). The Laver is Christ Sanctifying us. "That He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word" (Ephesians 5:26). The Holy Place is Christ Serving us. "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:15-16). The Holy of Holies is Christ Securing us.  "Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God,  let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water" (Hebrews 10:19-22).  © 2010 Discover The Book Ministries | A Nonprofit 501C3 Bible Teaching Ministry Powered by Ekklesia 360}

"We cannot now go into detail about these things. These arrangements having thus been made, the priests enter [habitually] into the outer division of the tabernacle in performance of their ritual acts of worship." {"The holy place (the outer chamber of the tabernacle – the "den") was a virtual beehive of activity on a day-to-day basis. The priests were there to pronounce men and women clean or unclean, as prescribed by the law. They were also present to offer the different sacrifices that were set forth in the law. In addition to this, they were to teach the law to the Israelites. The courtyard and the outer court of the tabernacle must have been as busy as a shopping mall the day after Thanksgiving. "Near to the Heart of God – A Study of the Book of Hebrews, by Robert L. Deffinbaugh}

"But into the second [division of the tabernacle] none but the high priest goes, and he only once a year, and never without taking a sacrifice of blood with him, which he offers for himself and for the errors and sins of ignorance and thoughtlessness which the people have committed. By this the Holy Spirit points out that the way into the [true Holy of] Holies is not yet thrown open as long as the former [the outer portion of the] tabernacle remains a recognized institution and is still standing, seeing that that first [outer portion of the] tabernacle was a parable (a visible symbol or type or picture of the present age)."  The tabernacle and the temple still had a standing until the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and its principles were still valid until the veil of the temple was ripped in two from the top to the bottom. OT believers could never draw near to God because their sin was only covered (atoned for) but never removed.

"In it gifts and sacrifices are offered, and yet are incapable of perfecting the conscience or of cleansing and renewing the inner man of the worshiper. For [the ceremonies] deal only with clean and unclean meats and drinks and different washings, [mere] external rules and regulations for the body imposed to tide the worshipers over until the time of setting things straight [of reformation, of the complete new order when Christ, the Messiah, shall establish the reality of what these things foreshadow–a better covenant]." Here the author of Hebrews is showing that the most important work of the High Priest in the Levitical Priesthood, the Day of Atonement, was vastly inadequate and inferior to the work of Christ as High Priest.

"But [that appointed time came] when Christ (the Messiah) appeared as a High Priest of the better things that have come and are to come. [Then] through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with [human] hands, that is, not a part of this material creation, He went once for all into the [Holy of] Holies [of heaven], not by virtue of the blood of goats and calves [by which to make reconciliation between God and man], but His own blood, having found and secured a complete redemption (an everlasting release for us). For if [the mere] sprinkling of unholy and defiled persons with blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a burnt heifer is sufficient for the purification of the body, How much more surely shall the blood of Christ, Who by virtue of [His] eternal Spirit [His own preexistent divine personality] has offered Himself as an unblemished sacrifice to God, purify our consciences from dead works and lifeless observances to serve the [ever] living God?"  Some believe that the reference in v.14 is to Jesus' human spirit as the Amplified translation shows but others say it refers to the Holy Spirit and thus His deity as One who is eternal. Thus Jesus (the Son) made His sacrifice to God (the Father) empowered by the Holy Spirit showing the work of the Trinity in our redemption. The blood of the pure, spotless, Lamb of God purifies our conscience of guilt (we are forgiven) and frees us from trying to do good works (dead works) to earn salvation. {"There exists a peace of conscience because there is now peace with God (cf. Rom 5:1). Access to God within the Holy of Holies through Christ's sacrifice brings peace with God." [1] KJV Bible Commentary. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1994, S. 2556}

Since the Fall in the Garden of Eden sinful man has been separated from God and "hides" from God in shame and guilt. (Shame refers to my being – I am a sinner; and guilt refers to my doing – I commit sins.) Through the voluntary offering of His blood (His life) and our acceptance of Jesus' saving work as the only way to be right with God, our being/nature is changed (2 Cor. 5:17) and we now delight in obeying God (Rom. 7:22) as we walk in the Spirit (Rom. 8:1-8). {"On the one hand, God established various barriers to keep men from getting too close, because God is holy and we are sinners. But there is a second reason why men keep their distance from God: as sinners, our consciences are defiled so that we seek to hide from God and to keep our distance from Him. In Hebrews 9:1-14, our author tells us that Christ's atoning sacrifice through the shedding of His blood solves both sides of the problem. God's wrath toward our sin is satisfied or appeased (the fancy theological word is "propitiated"), so that we can approach Him. But Christ's sacrificial death and resurrection also purifies our guilt-ridden consciences, so that we no longer seek to draw back from a Holy God. Thus, the work of our Lord on the cross of Calvary not only paid the penalty for our sins, it cleansed our consciences, thus removing a significant barrier to our fellowship with God." Near to the Heart of God – A Study of the Book of Hebrews, by Robert L. Deffinbaugh}

No counseling, psychotherapy or religious works can cleanse and purify our conscience from true moral guilt before a Holy God (there is false guilt from parents/peers etc.). Nothing but the blood of Jesus can do this and no religion but Christianity says this. Now as forgiven and loved believers we can serve the living God versus dead works (to try to earn forgiveness and self-worth). "When Gentiles who have not the [divine] Law do instinctively what the Law requires, they are a law to themselves, since they do not have the Law. They show that the essential requirements of the Law are written in their hearts and are operating there, with which their consciences (sense of right and wrong) also bear witness; and their [moral] decisions (their arguments of reason, their condemning or approving thoughts) will accuse or perhaps defend and excuse [them] on that day when, as my Gospel proclaims, God by Jesus Christ will judge men in regard to the things which they conceal (their hidden thoughts)" (Rom. 2:14-16 Amp.). But man can sear his conscience 1 tim 4 etc and thus we must look to God's word and judge self by it


1) The false prosperity gospel is more OT than NT in emphasis and without an eternal perspective, it can deceive many. How have you or someone you know been deceived by the prosperity gospel? Discuss your answer.

2) Why do you think most people deny the truth of the Bible that Jesus offered His own blood (His life) for humanity's sins?

3) If you saw the movie, The Passion of the Christ, (or read the Scriptures) about the horrendous suffering Jesus chose to bear for our sins, do you accept the truth that it required all He suffered just for your sins? How does that make you feel? Why is it important to keep reading about Christ's suffering? (Mt. 26:67-68; 28:27-31; Mark 15:15; 22-25; John 18:19-23; 19:1-3)

4) (Jesus) has offered Himself as an unblemished sacrifice to God, to purify our consciences from dead works to serve the living God. (Heb. 9:14) "There exists a peace of conscience because there is now peace with God" (Rom 5:1).  What does it mean to purify our consciences from dead works to serve the living God? What does this mean for unbelievers and how can even believers do dead works?  

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