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The Heavenly Tabernacle
Heb. 9:23 – 28


This section concludes the doctrinal teaching of Hebrews and shows that Christ’s tabernacle is better in every way than that of the earthly tabernacle and that because of its perfection, offering for sins is no longer needed.
I. The Sacrificial work of Christ (Heb. 9:23)
A. The earthly tabernacle and its vessels were just symbolic replicas of the true tabernacle in heaven.
B. God has ordained that remission or forgiveness of sins is through the shedding of blood, and since purification comes through the sprinkling of blood, it is necessary that blood be shed and applied if the New Covenant is to be in force. The “patterns” (the Old Covenant tabernacle) were purified by the sprinkling of the blood. But the “originals” were also purified! The blood of Jesus Christ not only purifies the conscience of the believer (Heb. 9:14), but also purified the “heavenly things”.
C. How could the heavenly sanctuary ever become defiled? We can understand how the earthly sanctuary could be defiled since it was used by sinful men. Each year, on the great Day of Atonement, the tabernacle was purified through the sprinkling of blood (Lev. 16:12-19). But how could a heavenly sanctuary ever become defiled? Certainly nothing in heaven is defiled in a literal sense, for sin cannot pollute the sanctuary of God. But, for that matter, nothing in the earthly tabernacle was literally defiled by sin. It all had to do with people’s relationships to God. The blood sprinkled on a piece of furniture did not change the nature of that piece, but it changed God’s relationship to it. God could enter into communion with people because of the sprinkled blood.
D. The Old Covenant was established by blood, and so was the New Covenant. But the New Covenant was established on the basis of a better sacrifice, applied in a better place! The patterns (types) were purified by the blood of animals, but the original sanctuary was purified by the blood of the Son of God. This was a far more costly sacrifice. (BE Commentary)



Illustration/Application: Untold History of Nagasaki
August 9, 1995, marked the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan. What you may not realize is that Nagasaki was the center of Japanese Christianity. A substantial Christian community had survived three centuries of persecution. They worshipped underground and endured martyrdom. They were only allowed to live their faith in public at the turn of the century. Then, in 60 seconds, they were wiped out.
But the survivors’ response wasn’t anger. Takashi Nagai, who lost his wife in the blast and who later died from the effects of radiation, said that the 8,000 Christians who died instantly in the blast had been specially chosen by God as an expiation from all sins committed during the war. Nagai said, “Let
us give thanks that through this sacrifice, peace was given to the world and freedom of religion to Japan.” —from The Wilberforce Forum, Christian Reader, Vol. 33, no. 6.

II. The Priestly Work of Christ (Heb. 9:24-26).
A. He only needed to offer Himself once
1. The all-sufficiency of His sacrifice is seen that He only needed to offer Himself once. Otherwise, He would have needed to “suffer often from the foundation of the world”. Like the high priests of old, who entered the Most Holy Place each year.
2. Therefore, at the “end of the world”, He came to put away sin once for all!
a. The phrase “end of the world” is equivalent to the “last days” or end of the ages.
b. That is, the final period of the world’s history – 1 Cor. 10:11; 1 Pet. 1:20
B. Did you notice that the word “appear” is used three times in Heb. 9:24-28? These three uses give us a summary of our Lord’s work. He has appeared to put away sin by dying on the cross (Heb. 9:26). He is appearing now in heaven for us (Heb. 9:24). One day, He shall appear to take Christians home (Heb. 9:28). These “three tenses of salvation” are all based on His finished work.
C. The believer’s sanctuary is in heaven. His Father is in heaven and his Saviour is in heaven. His citizenship is in heaven (Phil 3:20) and his treasures should be in heaven (Matt 6:19 ff). And his hope is in heaven. The true believer walks by faith, not by sight. No matter what may happen on earth, a believer can be confident because everything is settled in heaven.

Illustration/Application: Appreciation of Heaven
Appreciation of heaven is frequently highest among those nearing death. Suffering both increases our desire for heaven and prepares us for it. John Bradford (1510–1555), less than five months before his fiery departure from life for preaching the gospel in violent times, wrote to a friend of the glories of heaven he anticipated:
I am assured that though I want here, I have riches there; though I hunger here, I shall have fullness there; though I faint here, I shall be refreshed there; and though I be accounted here as a dead man, I shall there live in perpetual glory.
That is the city promised to the captives whom Christ shall make free; that is the kingdom assured to them whom Christ shall crown; there is the light that shall never go out; there is the health that shall never be impaired; there is the glory that shall never be defaced; there is the life that shall taste no death; and there is the portion that passes all the world’s preferment. There is the world that shall never wax worse; there is every want supplied freely without money; there is no danger, but happiness, and honour, and singing, and praise and thanksgiving unto the heavenly Jehovah, “to him that sits on the throne,” “to the lamb” that here was led to the slaughter, that now “reigns” with whom I “shall reign” after I have run this comfortless race through this miserable earthly vale.
John Gilmore, Probing Heaven, Key Questions on the Hereafter, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989, pp. 26-

III. The Kingly Work of Christ (Heb. 9:27-28).
A. “And at it is appointed unto men once to die…” As death is a definite end of man on earth, with nothing afterwards but “the judgment,” so Christ’s death was final, and there is nothing further to be done in regard to sin.
1. This verse refutes the Hindu popular but false doctrine of reincarnation. If men die once and then are judged, it is obvious that they do not live and die and live and die through repeated cycles.
2. This verse teaches that man will face a divine judgment after he dies.
3. It also teaches that man’s death is by divine appointment. Death is not an accident, not the product of chance, but an appointed time which will happen whether you like it or not.
4. The reason for death is sin. See Rom. 5:12 and 6:23. God warned Adam that if he disobeyed, if he sinned, he would surely die and he surely did (Gen. 2:17). He died spiritually (Eph. 2:1) and physically.
5. Man’s destiny is settled at death (“and after this the judgment,” Heb. 9:27). There is no opportunity whatsoever for salvation after death. There are only two types of men, saved or lost, depending upon their relationship with Jesus Christ, and there are only two destinies, heaven or hell. No purgatory.
B. When he comes again, it will be for salvation, not sin.
1. At His first coming, He was the “sin bearer”. He came to bear the sins of many.
2. Because of that, He died on the cross for our sins (1 Pet. 2:24).
3. His second coming will be apart from sin.
a. To bring salvation (from the wrath of God to come (Rom. 5:9)
b. For those who eagerly waits for Him (1 Thess. 1:9-10).

Illustration/Application: Death is Universal
When you have had a loved one go to be with the Lord, do not feel like you’re the only person who has had this experience.
There is an Eastern legend about a Hindu woman whose only child had died. She went to a prophet to ask for her child back. The prophet told her to go and obtain a handful of rice from a house into which death had not come. If she could obtain the rice in this way, he promised to give her the child back. From door to door, she asked the question, “Are you all here around the table—father, mother, children—none missing?” But always the answer came back that there were empty chairs in each house. As she continued on, her grief and sorrow softened as she found that death had visited all families. yes, death is universal; our painful experience is not the only one of its kind. Because God is faithful, because Jesus Christ is alive, so is your loved one and mine.
Through Sorrow into Joy, Hugh Salisbury, p. 58

IV. Conclusion:
The Old Covenant and the New Covenant was established by blood. But the New Covenant was established on the basis of a better sacrifice, applied in a better place, and costlier blood of Christ. He doesn’t have to die again. Death may come to us anytime, anyplace. It is God’s appointment, and there will only be two destination, heaven or hell. Do you know where you are going when you die? If not, repent from your sins now and receive Christ as your personal Saviour before its too late.

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