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Hebrews: Day 10

The most holy place

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Today's Text: Hebrews 9:1-28, Matthew 27:50-51

Text: Hebrews 9:1-28, Leviticus 16:15 Matthew 27:50-51

“For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.”
– Hebrews 9:24

The Gospel of Christ takes my breath away.

It’s clear and simple, yet spectacularly mysterious. Reading Hebrews 9 makes me want to fly the flag of my High Priest all over town. “It’s so simple! Don’t you see? It was God’s rescue plan all along!” The blood and sacrifices on the altars, and the final blood of the final (yes, final!) sacrifice on the cross—it’s all so beautiful and complete.

Death and life are deeply intertwined—goats and calves died one after another that their blood may guard life. Christ died once and for all that He may secure life eternal for us. And, in verse 14, the blood of Christ purifies our conscience “from dead works to serve the living God.”

Dead works.
Living God.

I had to look it up. With all this death and life talk, what exactly are “dead works”?

The word “dead” in this passage is the Greek word “nekron”, which means “neuter, useless, ineffective; not the issue.” The Grand Plan is being outlined before us, and the writer of Hebrews brings our efforts into view only long enough to say it’s just really not about them. He also makes super clear what it is about.

Dead works.
Living God.

I’ll be honest y’all; I’m about to pick up my flag again for another lap!

But before I do—I want to make one thing clear: These verses should not make us feel small or less than or not enough. They should compel us to understand that we have a higher privilege than the Old Testament Israelites ever enjoyed—our Great High Priest gave his own blood, thus literally tearing the curtain of the temple from top to bottom (Matthew 27:50-51, Mark 15:37,38) and granting us unrestricted access to the Lord of Lords!

“We have now boldness to enter into the holiest, in all acts of worship,
by the blood of Jesus; yet such as obliges us to holy reverence.”
-Matthew Henry

The Most Holy Place where the Israelites stored their most treasured possessions was replaced with one Great High Priest in whom alone we find our greatest treasure.

Goats and altars and tabernacles and makeshift propitiation—when Christ groaned “it is finished” from the cross and the veil ripped from Heaven to Earth, it was indeed FINISHED once and for all. We just get to confess and believe.

So, join me! Grab your flag of Gospel joy and fly it with me—The Gospel is true! It was His Grand Plan all along.

10

 

  • “Be FREE–Jesus did it ALL!” Those are the thoughts continually running through my head. Thank you Jesus for giving me freedom. Please help me to remember that it is not by my works, but by your sacrifice that I truly live. Help my “works” to only be a beacon to you my Living God.

  • Roxanne

    What a glorious day that will be when we are in the Holy’s of Holy’s with our Lord and Saviour who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our sins,
    with our Lord and savour Jesus

  • Oh Raechel, thank you for this words. I LOVE the phrase, “the veil ripped from heaven to earth.” Jesus made a way!! Because of His sacrifice we have been made new and blessed access to our Creator, the Author and Sustainer of our lives. Grab that flag and shout it from the rooftops!

  • Shelley Krupa

    This lesson is so encouraging…I agree to all the comments here and that it makes me want to shout out “Hallelujah, He restored my soul!”

    I think of the song by Citizen Way and am so thankful for the truths in the scripture reading and today’s devotional thoughts…and the lyrics in this song…

    “Yea though I walk through the valley…
    I know that You are always right beside me
    And I will fear no evil
    You’re my rock
    And my strength
    You comfort me

    Amazing grace how sweet the sound
    I hear You singing over me
    I once was lost but now I’m found
    And it’s beautiful
    Amazing grace how sweet the sound
    It covers every part of me
    My soul is silent
    I am found
    And it’s a beautiful sound

    You carry me through the waters
    Where Your peace clears away all my sorrow
    And nothing can separate us from Your love
    Oh, Your love it will always be

    You were healing in the pain
    You were shelter in the storm
    Hallelujah You restore my soul

    Amazing grace how sweet the sound
    It covers every part of me
    My soul is silent
    I am found
    And it’s a beautiful sound!!!

    Thank you Jesus, for rescuing us…our sweet and great High Priest!

    • SheReadsTruth

      I love this, Shelley! Thanks for sharing encouragement today!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • Ashley S.

    Its very reassuring knowing that Jesus WILL come back one day & that makes living for Christ easier! I appreciate the breakdowns b/c Hebrews is hard to understand!

  • Hesaved83

    @Z-Girl, to sum my comment to your question briefly. I believe the rock symbolism represents hardened hearts but once Jesus died “finished it” now it’s possible for us (believers) to change to softened hearts.

  • I just want to say that at times Hebrews confused me which is why I never read the whole thing. But this study and the explanations helped me tremendously. I have only been a Christian since 2009 so I am still learning about the Bible every day. Thank you for this.

  • Casie,

    I pray the Holy Spirit gives you revelation through this link:
    https://bible.org/seriespage/hope-heaven-tabernac

  • We jst have 2 believe in our hearts n ask God 4 forgiveness wen eva we found ourselves guilty;What grace;Mercy..Yes God Loves us So dt he also lives in us tru D father Son n Spirit,he speaks 2 us n convicts us he abides with us;He is our grt high priest!
    Bt the oldies had 2 go tru sm priest wit d blood of goats n bulls n sacrifies..4 atonement of dere sins;Mst tyms;God brought plagues n fury upon dem wen they disobeyed or dint do his will(Aaron’s Son).
    Bt Christ abolished d law;n gv us hope;faith;peace;mercy..it says in heb 9 vs 14;D Blood of Christ purifies our conscience frm dead works;2 serve d living God.It ws indeed finished once n 4 all we jst had 2 confess n believe.”Lord I belive in u;In my darkest part u became my light;u redeemed my Soul n gave me Grace..I LOVE N Will 4eva Do ur will”.wht a living n true God

  • So I understand the significance of the veil tearing….but what is the significance of the rocks splitting?

    • Z-girl

      Might I add I'm really enjoying this study!!!!

    • Candacejo

      Not an expert by ANY means but I wonder if it is just showing the severity of the earthquake? So strong and powerful that rocks were literally split in half? I will research some today and see if I can find any other significance :) Good question!

      • Z-girl

        Haha I was thinking that too!!!…since the veil being torn had such a powerful revelation I thought the "rock statement" following behind it would too…anyway I've looked up some things about that and haven't come across anything so maybe there is no significance to it after all

    • christine

      My understanding of the rock splitting is that it symbolized the power of death and the grave being broken

  • I have never before understood the symbolism of the temple curtain ripping, indicating that we have direct access to our Great High Priest. I now have a beautiful picture to replace that part of the story that I read and knew, but never really understood. I am waving my flag with you! Praise Jesus!

  • Thank you Jesus for the second covenant! Dead works, Living God!

  • I love that picture of the curtain being torn in two. That moment when our Savior dies on the cross and we suddenly have direct access to God. No more third party mediators. Just us and Him. It's not about works or finding the perfect animal to sacrifice. We can go to Him whenever, wherever. Waving the flag with all my sweet SRT sisters today — have a blessed Friday!!

    • Emily

      I love that picture too, Sabrina! Reading about it always gives me goosebumps.

  • Question for everyone- when it talks about how the tabernacle is a copy of things in Heaven – what does that mean???

    • mazmagi54 (Peggy)

      Casie,

      No one seems to be attempting to answer this(nor will I). The "tabernacle" is a study all unto itself! Complicated but ever so beautiful!

      I do not have the answer for you either. Might I suggest looking at that particular verse or Hebrews 9 in other versions. Not sure which verse either that you are looking at — Hebrews 9:23? — which might help get answers. Here is one source I look at … for more specifics and other versions to better grasp the meaning…
      http://biblehub.com/hebrews/9-23.htm

      sorry that I had no specific answer to give :( I don't have my study Bible with me, which might help in this case. I might have prefaced all of this by saying this is a very good question and one we should reflect on …

      Try this too
      http://www.jesusone.com/biblestudies/thetabernacl

      "The tabernacle – followed at a later time by Israel's temple(s) – was essential for God's presence among His people. In addition to facilitating God's presence among the Israelites, the tabernacle served as a prototype of heaven. This is evident in God's words to Moses in Exodus, as well as in the New Testament Book of Hebrews:

      38 "Its trimmers and its trays are to be of pure gold. 39 About seventy-five pounds of pure gold is to be used for it and for all these utensils. 40 Now be sure to make them according to the pattern you were shown on the mountain" (Exodus 25:38-41).

      1 Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We have such a high priest, one who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 a minister in the sanctuary and the true tabernacle that the Lord, not man, set up. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. So this one too had to have something to offer. 4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest, since there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. 5 The place where they serve is a sketch and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary, just as Moses was warned by God as he was about to complete the tabernacle. For he says, "See that you make everything according to the design shown to you on the mountain." 6 But now Jesus has obtained a superior ministry, since the covenant that he mediates is also better and is enacted on better promises (Hebrews 8:1-6). " https://bible.org/seriespage/hope-heaven-tabernac

      Maybe it was the reference in Chapter 8 … I'm not sure. It might help if you give the verse you're looking at … to get help with the meaning for someone more capable than I. I don't like to see anyone searching for more understanding, not to receive it. Hope someone can answer and does …

      (update on 8/16/14) Still pondering this and today I am listening to my audio explanation of Chapter 9 and this 1st day explains some of it (interesting) http://drivetimedevotions.com/mc/m/01422/audio/ I'll add more as I find more. Maybe listening to Pastor Tom explain as he reads through the chapters will help you as he does me. Join me at Drive Time Devotions (the full week of Chapter 9) http://drivetimedevotions.com/mc/ms/6ac0f/

  • “dead” – useless, ineffective, not the issue.

    Wow. Completely convicted here. How many times do I focus on the acts of others (or my own failures) & become offended, angered, or simply frustrated. A complete lack of grace. I am focusing on the “dead” – & I hear The Lord gently saying – this is not the issue. I came for your heart! Focus on the living heart! So my question for the day; am I focused on dead works, or serving the living heart?
    Waving the flag with you all & rejoicing in the freedom of Christ’s sacrifice!

  • I’m running late for work, so I can’t elaborate right now….BUT those some powerful, life-giving words right there! Waving that flag with you this morning. :)

  • I will definitely fly that flag with you. I am so thankful that His final sacrifice gave me that direct access to God and secured eternal life for me. What a wonderful sacrifice to meditate on today!

    • tina

      AMEN….Melody…a wonderful sacrifice to meditate on for today and always…God bless..xxx

  • Ruth Polson

    Praise Jesus! So thankful that He is my High Priest and that He intercedes for me. I think of the song “Before the throne of God above”———
    Before the throne of God above
    I have a strong and perfect plea
    A great High Priest whose name is love
    Who ever lives and pleads for me

  • Amen! What a beautiful beautiful story God has created. And how amazing that he has chosen us to joinhim in the telling of it.

  • I love today’s reading, Raechel. Thank you! I would love to bring some ladies into a discussion about this line, though: “we have a higher privilege than the Old Testament Israelites ever enjoyed—our Great High Priest gave his own blood.” This has been my same mentality foralmostever. And yet, I’ve started wondering lately if that’s a correct way to think, and I’d love to hear what others think. In the “This Is the Bible” study, David’s psalm repeatedly refers to the freedom that comes from God’s law, and surely God wouldn’t have placed on his people a law that wasn’t good. His law is so foreign to us now that we seem to think of it as a burden, but Christ came to fulfill it, meaning that the freedom of the law still applies to us today, through our faith in Christ. And further, Christ died for the sins and freedom of all those who came before him, too, bc he isn’t bound by time. So, by faith, didn’t those who preceded Christ have just as much freedom in the covenant as we do now? I’d love to hear what you ladies think.

    • Susan

      What a great question. I have wondered the same and really don't have an answer.

    • Gillian

      The Old Testament really lays the ground work… how the world came to be, a sort of "who's who" identifying important nations and their cast of characters, stories about how people were trying & repeatedly failing God, and why a second covenant was necessary (see Heb 9:16).

      So did the OT people (like David) who sought God have freedom in their day? Sure they did! But they were still tied to works and the old covenant. If you take the OT as a whole, you identify a pattern. Groups of people coming to know God, but subsequent generations falling back into sin time after time. It all seems so silly and evident to us – as present day readers – that things just could not go on that way.

      Jesus needed to come and offer himself as the be-all, end-all sacrifice. No longer did the people have to fulfill traditions, rituals, or sacrifices. No longer did those who believed need a high priest to intercede for them. Jesus was the final blood sacrifice, and the veil separating believers from the "Holy of Holies" was torn in two. Like the author of this post said "We just get to confess and believe." Directly to Jesus. Our freedom is freedom from the old covenant practices that are dead – 'useless, ineffective, not the issue.'

      I'm not an expert, and I would like to hear from others on this topic too. I hope my thoughts help our discussion!

    • Diana Anunda

      Hi Lauren, I truly believe this is the right way of thinking. The law was good yet the people were, just that, people. They, like you and me, were imperfect. If even the High Priest had to make sacrifices for himself we know that the rest of the people fell short of the law as well. The Israelites were human and therefore incapable of living a sin-free life. Having this God given blueprint to freedom, yet lacking the internal engineering to complete it, to me would be burdensome. On top of that, the Israelites faced the restriction of not being able to go freely into the presence of God. They couldn’t even schedule an appointment, it was VIP access only (very important priest) lol. But really, the High Priest was the only one allowed beyond the veil, where the ark of the covenant (the representation of God’s presence) sat. But God! But God, sent Jesus to do what we are incapable of doing for ourselves. Jesus lived a life without sin and died for ours, completely fulfilling the law. He tears the veil and releases the Holy Spirit to each and every person who accepts Him as Lord and Savior, and takes God’s presence from behind the veil and into these earthen vessels, you and me. Today as Christian, we are truly free through Jesus Christ and we most privileged that God has placed His very presence on the inside of us.

    • lauren

      thanks, ladies, for the responses. i guess the advantage we have is a more personal relationship–that out high priest IS our god, that we go directly to our god. wow. what a blessing we have. i’m still going to be fleshing this one out for myself with some more research.

      • Suzi

        I think that all their rituals were patterns that point to Christ's sacrifice. And as they had faith in those sacrifices it was a pattern of our faith in Christ's ultimate sacrifice. They were sorta looking ahead to His sacrifice as we are looking back.

  • Dead works. Living God! To have our flesh based ways called "dead" is scary. Our sins described in a way such as lawlessness, breaking God's law, deserving of death, not producing life…….this is big. It's easy to look at law and actively convict those who have obviously broken it, but to realize that those things we do that do not bring life….in other words, vain works, those which do not lift someone up, provide glory for God, better the lives of others, let "our lights shine", those that do not serve an eternal purpose, well we are just as convicted. Sentenced to death.

    I would venture to guess that if one has an opportunity to speak to a prisoner sentenced to death, *most* would gladly receive pardon for it. Relief from their sentence. Freedom from impending death. Christ is our pardoner. He actually carries out our sentence for us. He is the one in whom daily we can take up our dead works with and receive covering from. And He does more than just pardon us and let us go about our way, He walks us into new life, actively helps us to live beyond our flesh, forgives us when we fail and receives us into God's presence with Him because of the shedding of His own blood for our lawlessness. We are so undeserving of such love and sacrifice, but I will be forever thankful and will gladly raise my flag in gratitude for my pardoner, my high priest, my king. ~ B

  • joanne sher

    As someone who was raised Jewish, this book – this chapter – resonated so very strongly with me. NOT my works. NOT my ancestry. They may be “good” – but they absolutely, positively do NOT save me. Even as one of God’s chosen, I was separated from Him. But when I trusted Him by faith, He tore the curtain in two. He gave me unhindered access to the greatest treasure of all – not the Holy oh Holies of my spiritual ancestors’ time – but Him.

    • Emily

      Amen! I’ve always been a “do-er” and a people pleaser, so I often get caught up in works when I should be focused on the treasure I’ve received in Jesus. Thank you for posting, Joanne–I always look forward to reading your comments! :)

  • Thank You Lord that through the sacrifice of your Son, we today have unrestricted access to the Throne of Grace. For that I simply bless your holy name now and forever for yiu are worthy O Lord.

  • Sarah @ RunSingTeach

    This chapter really had me thinking of the history and context of worship during this time. So much work for our Jewish brothers and sisters to worship God! I am so thankful that Jesus has provided us this direct line. Our “red phone” to God. I am so truly grateful for this freedom!

  • Glory!!!! Thank you Lord for the finally act, sacrificing your life so that we can have totally access to come to you!! I am so grateful that I don’t have to go through anyone or channel to gain access to you. What a mighty God we serve!!! Can you imagine if we had to wait on someone else to gain access to God for us?! I don’t even want to think about missing those audience of one moments, or trying to rely my prayers to another person to speak for me….smh!! I love this study more and more each day!! Today, I am more grateful to know I can boldly approach the throne on my own and have my Lord’s undivided attention. All because He loved me so much, he was willing to die just for me!! GLORY!!!!!!

  • I've been MIA recently, but have been following along from a distance. Our ladies Bible study was on Hebrews this past year, and I was blown away weekly by the depth and beauty of this book. It led me to the richness of God's story and plan, how so much of what we read in the Old Testament is (to borrow from the author of Hebrews) a shadow, a symbol, a type of Christ and the heavenly things to come. Rachael, I agree…it's hard not to wave a flag at both the simplicity and the rich fullness of the Gospel. Thankful for another reminder today.

  • Elizabeth

    “…now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” I can’t get over this… and how personal it can be for us! Jesus appearing to God on OUR behalf!

    Yes it is finished! And what it means to be finished changes our everyday and every way with how close we can get to Him!

    I think the world kinda likes having distance from God…someone else to confess to … and other things they have to do … or certain rigorous things to follow to get closer to Him. Because if you don’t know Him… that distance between you and The Almighty might appear safer. But what sadness to miss out on the real deal… and real straight access! We have the opportunity to get straight WITH Jesus so we can get straight TO God! This is amazing.

  • I will join I will join you in the flag flying, Rachael, and add an AMEN…..

    IT IS FINISHED….Amen…Jesus gave His life, His blood, once and for all, Never to be repeated…ever.., …for all, …that we might have now, boldness to enter into the holiest, in all acts of worship, by the blood of Jesus; yet such as obliges us to holy reverence.”……………..Amen… (Matthew Henry.)….

    AMEN….

    Bowled over, lost for words….penny seems to have just dropped…..

    Thank you Lord God, for this last and final act at reconciliation with us, at showing us just, just how much you love us, at showing us to what extent you would go to make us see and understand….that this LOVE, this LOVE is for keeps, for the good and the bad days..for the sinner and the saint, for the lost, the confused, the unloved, unwanted, the hurting, the misguided…..for ALL, … for always, for all who confess and believe….Thank you Lord God for giving us Jesus, to do this for us, in our own strength we would never have got it right, but by the blood of your Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, we are also able to say, It is finished, as we approach your great Throne of Grace…and love …and Mercy….Thank you Lord God… Thank you…

    Blessings and love, dearests….xx

  • Candacejo

    Love this! Every time I read about the veil of the temple being torn into TWO pieces…completely separated so we may walk through. No more high priest, no one to confess to, we go straight to Jesus ourselves! It just doesn't get any better than this friends!

    And yet it does…I love the part in the verse where it talks about our inheritance. There has to be a DEATH in order to receive an inheritance.

    "Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive."

    A will takes effect only at DEATH…it means nothing but a Promise as long as the One who made it is alive. But once Christ suffered for all, once He died for all, then the Promised Eternal Inheritance is given!

    We have a glorious inheritance, Jesus Christ the Righteous here abiding in us while we are here on this earth and the HOPE of heaven to come.

    Terrific study. Blessings, friends!

    • kim hull

      Candacejo…I need to tell you thank you thank you thank you. You sometimes share your fear of being the first to post, however I must say I look down through other posts to find yours each day. I love your insight, I love your heart for Christ, and I just wanted you to know that you stir my heart to learn. . Don't stop sharing!,

      • Candacejo

        Tears. God is good and always knows just what we need. I receive so much from all of you and your thoughts! ♥

    • Lucy

      “A will takes effect only at DEATH…it means nothing but a Promise as long as the One who made it is alive. But once Christ suffered for all, once He died for all, then the Promised Eternal Inheritance is given!” Nannette thank you for this elaboration about the will. For some reason today this part about the will really stood out to me. Maybe it’s because my husband is an attorney. :-) but that verse gave me such an Ah- ha moment today. And your post helped even more. So thank you once again for posting FIRST. :-). I too always look for your post as others have commented. And so glad you allow God to use you here at SRT and on your blog. Blessings dear sister.

      • Candacejo

        Thank you, Lucy. You would know all about wills and last testaments! :) Isn't God so wonderful to show us things in His Word that we may have read many times before but we see in a whole new light? ♥

    • tina

      So beautifully said Dear Friend….beautifully said…I just love that we always have HOPE in Jesus ….Amen.
      Love and blessings to you….Candace..x

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