STUDY Hebrews 9:11-15
(click here for notes)
When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit, offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance-now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. (NIV)
Good Things Are Here
The first part of Hebrews 9 recaps Israel's tabernacle service. In this passage the author moves into contrasting the tabernacle sacrifices with the blood of Jesus. Christ came "as high priest of the good things that are already here," or alternately translated, "that are to come." (v. 11)
1. What are the "good things" which are already here? (see Hebrews 8:5; 10:1; Colossians 2:17)
2. There are two possible meanings of "the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made." William Barclay cites one interpretation in his commentary on Hebrews, and the NIV study notes refer to the other. What are those possible meanings? (v. 24; Heb. 8:2; John 2:19)
3. How do each of these interpretations influence the meaning of this passage?
A Different Sacrifice
1. The blood of bulls and goats (v. 13) refers to the sacrifices on the Day of Atonement which the high priest offered each year. What were the occasions for sprinkling the ashes of a heifer? (Numbers 19)
2. What were these sacrifices and rituals unable to do for the people?
3. What implications does Jesus' "once for alleternal redemption" have for humanity, both pre-cross and post-cross? (see Romans 3:25; Acts 14:16; 17:30; Titus 2:11-12; 2 Timothy 1:9-10)
4. What is significant about Jesus offering himself "through the eternal Spirit"? (see 1 Peter 3:18)
5. How was Jesus' offering of himself different from the animal offerings? (see Ephesians 5:2, 25)
1. How is Jesus' cleansing of our consciences different from the cleansing that resulted from the old covenant sacrifices? (Jeremiah 33:8; Zechariah 13:1; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 10:2, 22)
2. An alternate translation for the phrase in v. 14 "from acts that lead to death," is "from useless rituals". What does it mean to "cleanse our consciences" from useless rituals or acts that lead to death? (see Galatians 3:10-16; Hebrews 6:1)
3. How does this deep cleansing change us and enable us to serve the living God? (see Jeremiah 31:33-34; John 3:3; 1 Corinthians 2:14-16; 1 Peter 4:6-8; Romans 8:1-11; 26-27)
Mediator of a New Covenant
1. What is the reason Christ is the "mediator of a new covenant"? (v. 14, 15)
2. What is the "new covenant"? (see Hebrews 7:22; 8:6, 13)
3. Who are the "called" in v. 15? (see Romans 8:28, 30; 11:28-29; 1 Corinthians 1:9; Galatians 1:6, 15; Ephesians 4:1,4; 1 Thess. 2:11-12; 2 Timothy 1: 8-9; 1 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 1:10)
4. What is the "eternal inheritance" which the called may now begin to receive? Jeremiah 31:31-34; Acts 20:32; Ephesians 1:7-10; Matthew 25:34; Colossians 1:12-14; 3:23-24; 1 Peter 1:3-5)
5. The Greek word for "ransom" was used most often to refer to the money paid to release a slave. From what did Jesus free the "called"? (v. 15; Mark 10:45; Matt. 20:28; Gal. 3:13-14; 4:4-5)
1. What "good things" of the new covenant are you experiencing?
2. From what specifically has Christ's ransom freed you?
3. How is your experience different from before since realizing that Jesus has cleansed your conscience?
4. How has God affirmed his forgiveness to you and his acceptance of you?
1. In what ways is your experience of the new covenant intellectual instead of transforming?
2. About what in your life is God calling you to be truthful so he can cleanse your conscience?
3. For whom do you need to pray that they will experience God's cleansing of their conscience(s)?
4. Ask God to reveal to you the things in your life which he wants you
to "own" without excuses so he can transform them. Ask him to
cover you with his cleansing blood and to put his Spirit of truth in you
so you can walk in light instead of in the darkness of self-deception.
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Studio, Redlands, CA USA. All rights reserved. Revised March 14, 2001.