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HEBREWS 9:11-10:18 (web)

Christ the Better Sacrifice II

I. The New Covenant's Sanctuary

9:11 But Christ having come as a high priest of the coming good things,
through the greater and more perfect tabernacle,
not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation,

II. The New Covenant's Sacrifice

A. The Effectiveness of the Blood of Christ

9:12 nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood,
entered in once for all into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption.

9:13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer
sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify to the cleanness of the flesh:
9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ,

who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God,
cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

9:15 For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant,
since a death has occurred for the redemption of the transgressions
that were under the first covenant,
that those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

B. The Necessity of the Blood of Christ

1. Because an Inheritance Can Only be Gained
with the Death of the Testator
9:16 For where a last will and testament is, there must of necessity be the death of him who made it.
9:17 For a will is in force where there has been death, for it is never in force while he who made it lives.
9:18 Therefore even the first covenant has not been dedicated without blood.
9:19 For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people
according to the law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats,
with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,
9:20 saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you."
9:21 Moreover he sprinkled the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry
in like manner with the blood.
9:22 According to the law, nearly everything is cleansed with blood,
and apart from shedding of blood there is no remission.
2. Because the Sacrifice Must be Ideal
to Provide Its Intended Benefits
9:23 It was necessary therefore that the copies of the things in the heavens
should be cleansed with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
9:24 For Christ hasn't entered into holy places made with hands,
which are representations of the true, but into heaven itself,
now to appear in the presence of God for us;

C. The Finality of the Blood of Christ

9:25 nor yet that he should offer himself often,
as the high priest enters into the holy place year by year with blood not his own,
9:26 or else he must have suffered often since the foundation of the world.
But now once at the end of the ages,
he has been revealed to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
9:27 Inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once, and after this, judgment,
9:28 so Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many,
will appear a second time, without sin,
to those who are eagerly waiting for him for salvation.
10:1 For the law, having a shadow of the good to come, not the very image of the things,
can never with the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually,
make perfect those who draw near.
10:2 Or else wouldn't they have ceased to be offered, because the worshippers,
having been once cleansed, would have had no more consciousness of sins?
10:3 But in those sacrifices there is yearly reminder of sins.
10:4 For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.
10:5 Therefore when he comes into the world, he says,
"Sacrifice and offering you didn't desire, But a body did you prepare for me;
10:6 In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you had no pleasure.
10:7 Then I said, 'Behold, I have come
(In the scroll of the book it is written of me) To do your will, God.'"
10:8 Previously saying,
"Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you didn't desire, neither had pleasure in them" (those which are offered according to the law),
10:9 then he has said,
"Behold, I have come to do your will."

He takes away the first, that he may establish the second,
10:10 by which will we have been sanctified
through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

10:11 Every priest indeed stands day by day ministering and often offering the same sacrifices,
which can never take away sins,
10:12 but he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever,
sat down on the right hand of God;

10:13 from that time waiting until his enemies are made the footstool of his feet.
10:14 For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
10:15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying,

10:16 "This is the covenant that I will make with them:
'After those days,' says the Lord, 'I will put my laws on their heart,
I will also write them on their mind;'"
then he says,
10:17 "I will remember their sins and their iniquities no more."
10:18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.

Discussion Questions

What do you suppose was the purpose of the animal sacrifices that God ordained in the Old Testament?

What does it mean in vs 14 to "cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death" and vs 15 "to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant"? As a Christian, have you experienced these in your life? Or are these more like things that we simply reckon by faith to be true, but may not have any particular experience associated with them?

Also in vs 15 what is "the promised eternal inheritance"?

According to a Will, who must die for an inheritance to be gain? vs 16,17
So who died for us to gain the eternal inheritance? vs 26
Who does that make Christ to be?

vs 19-22 What is so special about blood?
(Xref Lev 17:11 "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.")

What does 9:27 say about the idea of reincarnation?

vs 25+ Is it necessary to continually resacrifice Christ (as on a weekly basis like the Catholics practice in their communion service) as under the Old Covenant?

Do you feel that the blood of Christ is sufficient for you to obtain the eternal inheritance, or do you feel you must add on to it perhaps your own sweat and blood to make up for its deficiency? (Compare with 10:14)


The Blood of Bulls and Goats

Heb 9:11-14 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!

The good things that are already here are such things as the forgiveness of sins, adoption into the family of God, regeneration, indeed eternal life itself starts now.

Let's not make too much of man-made things - even if they be ordained by God. For example at one point in Numbers 21 when the people sinned against God. Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, "We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us." So Moses prayed for the people. The LORD said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live." Num 21:6-8 Well it turned out some time later that King Hezekiah  broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it, and called it Nehushtan. 2King 18:4b

Things which are of this creation do not sanctify - be they buildings, institutions, ceremonies with their elements. Thus Paul writes his concern of the Galatian Christians, "now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years." Gal 4:9,10

Under the Law of Moses the priests utilized the blood of animals. But it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Heb 10:4 They are of this creation. But Jesus is not of this creation. For through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. John 1:3 Thus the value of his blood atoned for sin.

You can't cure sin by masking its symptoms. Thus Jesus said of those outwardly "good" people of his day, "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean." Mt 23:25,26

The blood of Christ cleanses from the guilt from sin. But while the blood deals with our justification, it doesn't end there.  For those who are in Christ he will also sanctify. Through the regeneration of being born again the inside of one's cup is undergoing sanctification that we may serve God, not in reluctance of the flesh, but by the power of the Spirit.

The Mediator of a New Covenant

Heb 9:15 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.

It is not that sins had not been forgiven previously. But they were forgiven in anticipation of the coming Christ. "God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—  he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus." Rom 3:25,26

The New Covenant with its promises is exclusive to the called. Being called involves hearing the gospel and responding to its call. So let us all be active in calling people into the faith.

As for Christ paying for sins some may ask as to whom the payment was made and how it was made. I believe there are a couple of aspects of God's judicial nature which come into play here. One that we're all familiar with is that God demands compensation for sins committed. But another aspect is that God also compensates those who undergo unjustified suffering. Christ suffered unjustly at the hands of wicked men, and so was entitled to compensation. Being the very Creator in the flesh the value of such suffering entitled him to pay for the sins of the world. Thus the payment was made to God's judicial nature.

Having had our sins paid for, we are no longer subject to the condemnation associated with the guilt of sin. And likewise our destiny is to be free from the corruption associated with sin which among other things affects our behavior. But we have been set free in order to serve God.

"You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness." Rom 6:18 "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love." Gal 5:13 

The Reading of the Will

Heb 9:16,17 In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living.

There's a similar analogy with regards to marriage which Paul gives in Rom 7 starting "For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man. So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another," Rom 7:2-4a

Of course as a principle of interpretation one should not read too much into such analogies, for all analogies break down at some point. Best to focus on the author's intended meaning as explicitly stated. But it is interesting that we see the New Testament letters speaking of an inheritance or inheriting the kingdom of God. An inheritance is not gained until the testator dies.

Heb 9:18-20  This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. He said, "This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep." Ex 24:8

Likewise Jesus said of the New Covenant, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you." Luke 22:20

Interesting that he mentions blood together with water. When Christ died a soldier pierced his side and out came blood and water.

No Forgiveness Without Blood

Heb 9:21,22 In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

"For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life." Lev 17:11 

"For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect." 1Peter 1:18,19

 "if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." 1John 1:7

"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace." Eph 1:7
Christ's death on the cross - a fact of which is denied by Muslims and belittled by Jews, is central to the New Covenant.

The Vanity of Imitations

Heb 9:23-26 It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Christ offered himself ONCE. These verses and the ones that follow may be set in stark contrast with Catholic theology with its heretical practice of what they call "the sacrifice of the Mass" in which it is alleged that the priest turns Christ into a piece of bread (trans-substantiation) and he and the congregation recrucify him so that their sins may be forgiven on  a weekly basis. Their site states, "The Eucharist is a true sacrifice, not just a commemorative meal, as "Bible Christians" insist." They are not satisfied with the Biblical concept that Christ's one time sacrifice was sufficient. Their faith is not in the blood of Christ, but in their ceremony, their sacrifice of the Mass.

This fact is verified by a number of Catholic Canons. I'll mention a few for reference:
TWENTY-SECOND SESSION, CANONS ON THE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS: "If anyone says that in the mass a true and real sacrifice is not offered to God; or that to be offered is nothing else than that Christ is given to us to eat, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA" (Canons on the Sacrifice of the Mass, Canon 1).

TWENTY-SECOND SESSION, CANONS ON THE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS: "If anyone says that the sacrifice of the mass is one only of praise and thanksgiving; or that it is a mere commemoration of the sacrifice consummated on the cross but not a propitiatory one; or that it profits him only who receives, and ought not to be offered for the living and the dead, for sins, punishments, satisfactions, and other necessities, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA" (Canons on the Sacrifice of the Mass, Canon 3).


And inasmuch as in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the mass is contained and immolated in an unbloody manner the same Christ who once offered Himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross, the holy council teaches that this is truly propitiatory and has this effect, that if we, contrite and penitent, with sincere heart and upright faith, with fear and reverence, draw nigh to God, <we obtain mercy and find grace in seasonable aid.>[10] For, appeased by this sacrifice (the sacrifice of the mass), the Lord grants the grace and gift of penitence and pardons even the gravest crimes and sins. For the victim (Jesus Christ) is one and the same, the same now offering by the ministry of priests who then offered Himself on the cross, the manner alone of offering being different. The fruits of that bloody sacrifice, it is well understood, are received most abundantly through this unbloody one, so far is the latter from derogating in any way from the former. Wherefore, according to the tradition of the Apostles,[11] it is rightly offered not only for the sins, punishments, satisfactions and other necessities of the faithful who are living, but also for those departed in Christ but not yet fully purified.

Thus they add ceremonial requirements for salvation, holding that Christ's death was not sufficient. For if their "sacrifice of the mass" does not take place, then apparently sins would not be forgiven. Reminds me of another group of alleged "Christians" who viewed Christ's death as insufficient to save, believing that one must add ceremonies to be saved. "Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: "Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved." This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. Acts 15:1,2 Yet today even among non-Catholic Christians there are those who add ceremonial requirements for salvation.

For more on the heresies of Catholicism see

Reincarnation a Heresy

Heb 9:27-28 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Reincarnation is incompatible with what the Bible says not only so with regards to death, but also with regards to the resurrection of the body. A person cannot claim to be a Christian and yet believe in reincarnation. Christ was not reincarnated. He was resurrected.

Christ will return and save those waiting for him. To Titus Paul writes, "We wait for the blessed hope— the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" Paul writes of those testifying of the Thessalonian Christians, "They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead— Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath." 1Th 1:9,10

Furthermore those who have died no longer have the opportunity to be saved under the New Covenant. Remember the rich man of Luke 16 who died. He, being in hell, wanted to be saved, but could not be saved. Likewise in Jesus' parable of the 10 virgins of Matthew 25, the five who arrived too late were not allowed to enter. With death comes the finality to one's opportunity to be saved through faith in Christ. Many, having died and ending up in hell, will regret how they have neglected to act upon this essential truth.


Heb 10:1-3  The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming— not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins,

Don't treat shadows as if they are real. Don't be afraid of shadows. The cult of the circumcision tried to scare early Christians into believing that one must be circumcised and followed the Law of Moses to be saved. (Acts 15:1) Whether it be Sabbath observing, tithing, ceremonial foods, the ten commandments along with the regulations of the Law, or the sacrifices, these are all but shadows. The realities are the principle or principles behind them.

The law is only a reminder of sins. "No one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin." Rom 3:20

Ineffective Sacrifices

Heb 10:4-6  because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins  Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased." Ps 40:6

While it should be obvious in view of God's judicial nature that the blood of animals cannot take away sin, there are those who view God as merely a divine vending machine in which if you push the right buttons you get what you want. Such people obsess about ceremony and ritual rather than embracing the nature of God in their understanding and in the application of their faith.

Though God hand commanded animal sacrifices under the Old Covenant, there are many examples which show that God viewed such things as trivial in comparison to the attitude of the heart.

Is 1:11-13 "The multitude of your sacrifices— what are they to me?" says the LORD. "I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your evil assemblies."

Yet thoughout history Christians have likewise applied scripture in a meaningless ritualisticl fashion, treating God with contempt as one would treat an idol.

As for the quote from Ps 40:6 it's taken from the Septuagint, as is the case for most quotes of the Old Testament given in the New, which explains the differences you may find when you look up such quotes in your Bible, seeing as most translations today utilize the Masoretic text rather than the Septuagint.

The "body" is of course the body of Christ through which sin would be atoned for by Christ's death on the cross.

Christ the Effective Sacrifice

Heb 10:7-10 Then I said, ‘Here I am— it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, O God.’" First he said, "Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them" (although the law required them to be made). Then he said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

"I have come to do your will" should be the attitude of the Christian, for "he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again." 2Cor 15:5 and even under stress we should say, "not my will, but yours be done." Lk 22:42

Speaking to Jewish Christians and those Jews yet to come to faith in Christ, the Jewish sacrificial system, though not in practice today among Jews, may have been a stumbling block for Jews at the time. To come to faith in Christ a Jew must no longer pledge allegiance to such things which had been mere shadows of that which was to come.   Same can be said of the various Neo-Circumcision sects among Christianity.

To obey is better than to sacrifice animals - or more generally than to follow mere rituals and ceremonies. 1Sa 15:22  But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams." It was through Christ's obedience that we are save, who "being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!" Php 2:8

"For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect." 1Peter 1:18,19

Perfected by One Sacrifice

Heb 10:11-14 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

Again "one sacrifice" as opposed to Catholicism's weekly sacrifice of the Mass.

Ps 110:1 The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." This is the same Psalm which contains the verse The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." and which Jesus referenced in Luke 20:42,43 and Peter in Acts 2:34,35 as referring to the Messiah.

He sits because his work is done, having been accomplished on the cross. Notice the tense in the phrase, "has made perfect forever" Those who are in Christ have in one sense already been made perfect, and not only so but "forever" indicates that such a state is permanent, which affirms the concept of Eternal Security (once saved, always saved). And this again is in contrast to the Old Covenant which as he said in the first verse of this chapter that such sacrifices under that covenant cannot make perfect those who draw near to worship. There is no eternal security under the Old Covenant.

But there is still a process of "being made holy" to which those born of God are subject. But as the grammar shows, it's passive, it's what's done to the believer as opposed to the various Neo-Circumcision sects in which one continues to try to maintain their salvation status through right behavior and where holiness is not inevitable. They still live under the Law.

Articles of the New Covenant

Heb 10:15-18 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: "This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds." Then he adds: "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more." And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.

The quote is from Jeremiah 31:33,34 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

Three aspects of the New Covenant

1. The Christian is justified, their sins being forgiven
2. They get to know God personally
3. They are born again - affecting their hearts and minds which impacts their attitude and behavior.

And with regards to forgiveness note that sins are not simply forgiven, but forgotten. In other words of the many possible responses a Christian may give on the judgement day if God asks, "Why should I let you into my kingdom", one such response could be "Why not?"

Through the cross all sins have been forgiven, consequently no more sacrifices are required (including "the sacrifice of the mass")
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." Rom 8:1,2

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

Feb 10,2009