Monday, April 05, 2010

Bible Study on Hebrews 9-10, on Christ and His death and resurrection

Here are the notes from the Bible Study I wrote for my Sunday School class this past Easter Sunday.

Let’s study the wonder and miracle of Christ’s coming and resurrection today by looking in depth at the way the Old Covenant and the New Covenant in Christ interact, in Hebrews 9 and 10.  As always, please stop me anytime with a question or comment.

The Tabernacle, v1-5
One tabernacle to enter, then a 2nd veil to guard and separate the Holy of Holies.  What is the purpose of such a secretive, private place as this HoH?

The Conditions for Entering into the Holy of Holies, v6-7
Note the diff between the outer tabernacle and the HoH.
How often does who enter into the HoH?  What does he take with him? 

The Meaning of Entry into the Holy of Holies, v 8-9
Under the Old Covenant, read v 8 again – is the way into the holy place disclosed?  That is, was it ever fully and really understood under the Old Cov?  Compare 1 Pet 1:11-12.
Isn’t that crazy?  Those who came before were not apprised of all that Christ would bring; it was not revealed.  So much has come thru Jesus, and what if He had never come? 
So, what does this say about the Old Cov?  What if your religion reduces to doing the same thing as the Old Cov tried?  Worse, what did some’s misunderstanding the Old Cov lead them to?
              -1 Cor 2:8
              -Rom 9:30-33
  Now, this does not mean ALL of the Jews, the members/beneficiaries of the Old Cov, but it does mean many of them. 

The Illusion under the Old Cov that the Holy of Holies had been Effectively Entered, v 9-10
Here we see the contrast that the author wants to lay between “cleansing the conscience” and cleansing the body.  See how 9 and 10 raise up cleansing the conscience as the thing that the worshiper obviously needs but the OC couldn’t provide.  Rather, the OC assigned “gifts and sacrifices” for carnal/fleshly/worldly concerns – food and drink (ie, Kosher), washings/baptisms, other regulations for the body.
The implied question and problem – is the sinner’s main problem with his body, or with his conscience and inner man?
“Until a time of reformation” – did God have this whole thing planned out from the beginning?  Cf Acts 2:23.  
So let’s deal with Christopher Hitchens’, foul modern New Atheist, challenge to the Christian faith – a long part of human history with many ppl dying before God decided to reveal His solution to the problem of sin.  What do we answer?

What is better when Christ comes?
-Better tabernacle.  Why?
-Not thru the blood of animals.  Why is this better?
-Enters the HoH “once and for all”.  Is this better than going in year by year one time? Why?

Christ interposes His own blood instead of the blood of bulls and goats.  Ask yourself – can the blood of those animals take away sin and cleanse the sinner’s conscience once and for all?  If not, what was the purpose of sacrificing the animals?  Was it indeed God’s goal to cleanse our consciences once and for all?  How do you know?
Notice again the conscience/body distinction that the author is pulling in here – “if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh”, v13.
Is any animal you offer to God blemished?  Was Christ?  Then why were ppl supposed to seek unblemished animals from their flocks/herds to sacrifice to God rather than some sickly lame animal? 

What was the death that signified the OC? Answer in v 18-19. 
Thus, the death that intros the New Cov is Christ’s. 
Key – v22 – that’s why Christ had to die.  Note the eternal, long-reaching goal here.  Some ppl today like to focus on the Social Gospel, which is really no gospel at all!  Jesus never mistook His mission – “to seek and save that which was lost”.  And if there’s forgiveness that costs the very Son of God His very life, what was the problem?
Even heavenly things are cleansed with the blood of Christ – v 23.  The heavenly reality signified and indicated by the earthly tabernacle.
V26 – so if your religion demanded, for example, that you enter God’s presence often in order to get your sins forgiven and so you can get your dose of godliness for that time, wouldn’t the author of Hebrews say that you haven’t left the Old Cov in substance?  What good is a sacrifice that you have to make repeatedly?  What religion might I be referring to?
When we think about that question, is it not a blasphemous demotion of Christ’s worth by reducing its importance and effect to the level of bulls and goats, as in 10:2? 
What relevance does 10:3 have?

V28 – does Christ bear the sins of ALL or of MANY? 
Note how the author makes the connection clear between
1)   You die once and face jdgmt after, and
2)   Christ’s 2nd coming, His return. 
Note that He appears “without reference to sin”.  What does that mean?  In what way does it relate to what happens when we die? 
Thought continued into Heb 10:1-18, and repetition of the main thoughts.


Lvka said...

Well, since we're at Hebrews, here's a verse to ponder about:

Hebrews 9:5
 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly

Rhology said...

Right, and don't forget how it continues:
Heb 9:6 - And before the cherubim of glory, multitudes upon multitudes bowing down as before God, kissing the cherubim, lighting incense to them, lighting candles to them, imploring the cherubim inaudibly to dispense grace to them.


What? That's not in there?

Lvka said...

Uhm... I think that they did burn incence before them, since that was the only way the Great Priest was able to enter the Holy Of Holies at Yom Kippur.

Lvka said...

They also lit candles to them (the seven-branched Menorah).

Rhology said...

Ah, more irrelevant data is always welcome.

Lvka said...

You were the one to bring up candles and incense, not me. So deal with it.

Rhology said...

Deal with what? Irrelevancies that don't matter to my position?

Ryan said...

You might be interested in these protological observations:

Lvka said...

If they don't matter, why did you object to us doing them in the first place?

Rhology said...

There's more to it. It's disingenuous of you to say that I "object to your doing that".

Lvka said...


stop behaving like a woman.