The next two chapters of Hebrews, 8 and 9, go together as they describe the old Jewish sacrificing traditions and rituals of atonement. They also explain that Jesus, being the ultimate scapegoat, washed our sins away once and for all.
These chapters take us back again to the Old Testament describing what the Jewish High Priest had to do once a year on the Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur….
Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. 2 There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle, the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands.
3 And since every high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices, our High Priest must make an offering, too. 4 If he were here on earth, he would not even be a priest, since there already are priests who offer the gifts required by the law. 5 They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.”
6 But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.
7 If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it. 8 But when God found fault with the people, he said:
“The day is coming, says the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel and Judah.
9 This covenant will not be like the one
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
and led them out of the land of Egypt.
They did not remain faithful to my covenant,
so I turned my back on them, says the Lord.
10 But this is the new covenant I will make
with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their minds,
and I will write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
11 And they will not need to teach their neighbors,
nor will they need to teach their relatives,
saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’
For everyone, from the least to the greatest,
will know me already.
12 And I will forgive their wickedness,
and I will never again remember their sins.”[Jeremiah 31:31-34]
13 When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear.Hebrews 8 NLT
Jesus’ New Covenant
God gave the Jews very specific instructions. Chapter 9 goes into a little more detail and there’s a video below that really demonstrates what the old Jewish sacrifice rituals were and what it means to Christians today.
That first covenant between God and Israel had regulations for worship and a place of worship here on earth. 2 There were two rooms in that Tabernacle. In the first room were a lampstand, a table, and sacred loaves of bread on the table. This room was called the Holy Place. 3 Then there was a curtain, and behind the curtain was the second room called the Most Holy Place. 4 In that room were a gold incense altar and a wooden chest called the Ark of the Covenant, which was covered with gold on all sides. Inside the Ark were a gold jar containing manna, Aaron’s staff that sprouted leaves, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 5 Above the Ark were the cherubim of divine glory, whose wings stretched out over the Ark’s cover, the place of atonement. But we cannot explain these things in detail now.
6 When these things were all in place, the priests regularly entered the first room as they performed their religious duties. 7 But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8 By these regulations the Holy Spirit revealed that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the Tabernacle and the system it represented were still in use.
9 This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. 10 For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies—physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established.
Christ Is the Perfect Sacrifice
11 So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. 12 With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.
13 Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. 14 Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. 15 That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant.
16 Now when someone leaves a will, it is necessary to prove that the person who made it is dead. 17 The will goes into effect only after the person’s death. While the person who made it is still alive, the will cannot be put into effect.
18 That is why even the first covenant was put into effect with the blood of an animal. 19 For after Moses had read each of God’s commandments to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, along with water, and sprinkled both the book of God’s law and all the people, using hyssop branches and scarlet wool. 20 Then he said, “This blood confirms the covenant God has made with you.” 21 And in the same way, he sprinkled blood on the Tabernacle and on everything used for worship. 22 In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.
23 That is why the Tabernacle and everything in it, which were copies of things in heaven, had to be purified by the blood of animals. But the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals.
24 For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf. 25 And he did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again, like the high priest here on earth who enters the Most Holy Place year after year with the blood of an animal. 26 If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice.
27 And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, 28 so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.Hebrews 9 NLT
The Day of Atonement — Yom Kippur
Tabernacle to Temple
The tabernacle, became the temple built by Solomon, then destroyed by the Babylonians. After the 70 years of captivity, the temple was rebuilt by Ezra and Nehemiah and then it was destroyed again by the Romans in 70 AD. Jesus predicted that final destruction in Matthew 24. The third and final temple will be rebuilt after the Rapture and the peace treaty with the Antichrist. That temple will be then desecrated by the Antichrist. But, I’m getting off topic. (Check out my study on Revelation.)
As you saw in the video, the high priest entered the Holy of Holies once a year and that was on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The way to God — in the Holy of Holies — was not open to all people. Only the high priest, a Levite. When Jesus died, the curtain in the temple was torn in two opening a way for all people who believe in Jesus and His salvation by grace to be with God forever.
As we saw in the video, the word “atone” means to cover, blot out, or cancel. Only through the shed blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, could all our sins be purged. Moreover, they are purged once and for all. Jesus was our scapegoat! That’s eternal redemption!
6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.Isaiah 53:6 NLT
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
the sins of us all.
It’s Your Choice!
That last paragraph in chapter 9 is important to understand…
27 And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, 28 so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people.Hebrews 9:27-28 NLT
Once we die, that’s it. There’s no turning back and there are no second chances. If you are a born-again believer, you have nothing to worry about. You’ll be welcomed into the loving arms of Jesus feeling no more pain or sorrow. If you’re not born again, you’re still going to see God, but it will be for judgement. Furthermore, He won’t count your grace points to see how long you’ll be in purgatory, because it doesn’t exist. The scene will go like Jesus described in Matthew…
21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’Matthew 7:21-23 NLT
You’ll list all the things that you faithfully did as told by churches who preach a watered-down gospel. However, they leave out important thing like the true way to salvation. And Jesus will say, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ Your next stop is not purgatory, but hell and there’s no getting out of there!
You Still Have a Chance!
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…