Redemption through far Better Blood and Sacrifice
16Now when someone leaves a will, it is necessary to prove that the person who made it is dead. 17The 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. 18That is why even the first covenant was put into effect with the blood of an animal. 19For 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. 20Then he said, “THIS BLOOD CONFIRMS THE COVENANT GOD HAS MADE WITH YOU.” 21And in the same way, he sprinkled blood on the Tabernacle and on everything used for worship. 22In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. 23That 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.Hebrews 9:16-23
We still have these questions remaining for this section:
Why does the author say Moses sprinkled both the book of God’s law and all the people when Exodus 24 doesn’t include anything about the book being sprinkled? (9:19)
Then Moses went down to the people and repeated all the instructions and regulations the LORD had given him. All the people answered with one voice, “We will do everything the LORD has commanded.” Then Moses carefully wrote down all the LORD’s instructions. Early the next morning Moses got up and built an altar at the foot of the mountain. He also set up twelve pillars, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he sent some of the young Israelite men to present burnt offerings and to sacrifice bulls as peace offerings to the LORD. Moses drained half the blood from these animals into basins. The other half he splattered against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it aloud to the people. Again they all responded, “We will do everything the LORD has commanded. We will obey.”
Then Moses took the blood from the basins and splattered it over the people, declaring, “Look, this blood confirms the covenant the LORD has made with you in giving you these instructions.”Exodus 24:3-8
You can see clearly after reading this excerpt from Exodus 24 that no mention is made about purifying the book. Rather the comment is made that the blood confirms the covenant which we have talked about already. Exodus 20:1 to 23:19 is a section about the Laws God gave Moses. No mention is made in Exodus 24 about sprinkling the book. Yet the author of Hebrews writes clearly:-
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.Hebrews 9:19
The connection appears to be in the fact that Moses had written all the instructions the Lord had given Him and then had repeated them all. The people then said “We will do everything the LORD has commanded.” Notice they make that oath twice. It appears that the writer of Hebrews picks up on the fact that the writing of the book and reading it twice was done to confirm the covenantal oath. Does the reading of covenant twice mirror the halves of the covenantal sacrifice? The first time Moses repeated what God had said to the people. Then he prepared the blood sacrifice and sprinkles the people. The author of Hebrews included the book in the sprinkling even though it was not mentioned in the text of Exodus because Moses has now taken the oral Law and written it down. So the Law needed to be confirmed or ratified before God as it had been written by human hands. So the ritual of sprinkling included the book for that reason to ensure the written form of the book was covered.
Why does the writer say the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices (9:23) – that seems to suggest heaven needed purifying?
That my friends is a GOOD question. The commentators are split on this one. Some think the real tabernacle in heaven needed to be purified because sinners were going to enter. Thus the personal cleansing of sinners is what is in focus. But why does that necessitate the sanctuary in heaven being purified? Besides, the sinners haven’t entered yet. Other commentators feel the word ‘purified’ here does not imply that the sanctuary in heaven was unholy before this action. The suggestion is that there is a zeugma related to the use of ‘purified’ here as it relates to tabernacle on earth and the original tabernacle in heaven. I had to look up what a zeugma is; I had not met that term before.
A zeugma is a figure of speech in which a word applies to two separate things in different senses.
I will save this matter to ask the writer of Hebrews myself when I get the chance. Or ask the LORD Himself for His input and wait for His answer. But don’t wait for me to explain that in a Gem. I don’t know if or when the LORD will answer.
Why say nearly everything was purified with blood? 9:22
- The literal order of the Greek sentence reads:- almost by blood all things are cleansed.
- almost all things are purified by blood according to the Law. [LITV]
- with blood almost all things are purified according to the Law [LSV]
The word [schedon] ‘nearly’, ‘almost’ is applied to and qualifies the word [panta] ‘all things’ or it applies to the sense of the whole clause. The sense is that there were a few things according to the Law which were purified by water and there were other things that seemingly didn’t need cleansing. However, as a blanket rule anything and everything related to sin required blood to be shed in order to be forgiven. Thus the writer adds [schedon] to the clause to exclude those few things which didn’t require a blood sacrifice. i.e. not absolutely everything required a blood sacrifice, there were exceptions.
Here is the next section of the Redemption through far Better Blood and Sacrifice pericope to deal with:-
24For 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. 25And 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. 26If 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. 27And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, 28so 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 9:24-28
Here are the readers’ questions for this section thus far. Perhaps you still have some more to add before we look at this part of the pericope in the next Gem.
He has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin – I am confused with the comment appearing at the end of the age to remove sin. What does “end of the age” refer to? 9:26
I don’t think I really understand Hebrews 9:27. Could you explain that please Ian?
What does He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him mean? When are we saved? I thought we were saved when we accepted Christ. 9:28
You can learn from ANYONE if you ask wise questions. “Good advice lies deep within a person’s heart & the wise draw it out” Proverbs 20:5Ian
The quality of your life is set by the questions you ask yourself. The more honest & brave the questions, the further you’ll go.Rick Warren
Life is less a matter of getting the right answers and more a matter of asking the right questions.Ian
More important than the answers I give you are the questions I stir you to ask.Ian
It is not that I’m so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.Albert Einstein