Everywhere you look there are symbols and icons. The symbols point us to something recognizable. For example, when a person hungry and driving through town they will look for their favorite icon that represents fast food. The icon may look like a girl in red pig tails, a bell, or even golden arches. Or when someone is needing medical attention they look for an “H” or red “+” which says a hospital is nearby. A person who wears a ring on their left hand shows they are married.
The tabernacle and sacrificial system that began with Moses (vs.1-8) and the children of Israel were also symbols. They pointed to a greater sacrifice that was to come (v.9a). Israel knew that no human agent or animal sacrifice could really pardon their sins completely (vs.9b-10). It was the system God had originated to give light to something greater yet to come.
When Jesus came to earth he embodied the symbol of the greater thing that was to come. He did what no man could do—live a perfect, sinless life. He sacrificed his life in the place of an animal. He pardoned mans sin once and for all (vs.11-14).
Jesus Himself mediated a new covenant, signed by his blood and sealed by his death (vs.15-23). He was both the mediator and guarantor of the New Covenant. His blood both covered and cleansed man’s sin. Also, his Covenant fulfills and superseded the old covenant Moses carried on tablet down the mount Sinai.
See how Jesus of the new covenant compares to Moses and the old covenant (vs.24-28):
In all aspects, Jesus is greater. Jesus is not a symbol or icon. He is the real deal. The old covenant did its job and pointed to Jesus—the great sacrifice for sin.
Questions for Reflection:
- How does Exodus 25-26 and Leviticus 16 give definition to Hebrews 9:1-5?
- How was the old covenant given to Moses ultimately from God?
- What was the tabernacle, sacrificial system, and atonement meant to symbolize?
- How do God already have both covenants in mind from before time and creation?
- Why isn’t the blood of a goat or bull sufficient atonement for the blood of man?
- Why wasn’t the high priest’s annual atonement sufficient enough for full atonement?
- How intricate and beautiful is the symbol of Jesus New Covenant?
- How does Hebrews 9 show two worlds colliding (heaven and earth)?
- How do we walk in both worlds?
- What “man-made things” do people often trust in more than God-made things?
- What sacrifice are you making to try and earn salvation with God or to cover your sins?
- How will you step boldly and confidently into the sanctuary of God today?