One of the reasons Christians are not as bold as they ought to be is because they do not know what covenant they are of. We have heard the stories of saints who have smelled of heaven; they have sizzled with the aroma of angels. And this is just what we are after. Some, not knowing the kingdom of heaven, have looked upon such saints and mistaken their boldness for pride, their freedom for madness. Some believers, even, who have drifted too far from the Heavenly Father, have made this same misjudgment. Even so, this is what we are after: the full assurance of faith seen in the likes of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego before the fire, or Jonathan climbing up to the Philistine garrison, outnumbered.
For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,
Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.
Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.
And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us (Hebrews 9:19–24).
SUMMARY OF THE TEXT
After Moses spoke God’s Word to the people at Sinai, he took the blood of calves and goats, mixed it with water, and sprinkled both the book of the covenant and all the people (v. 19). This was not just any blood but the blood of the covenant (v. 20) that covered the covenant people, the altar Moses had erected, and the book of the covenant itself (Exodus 24:7). Thus far, Paul refers to Exodus 24 when the Mosaic Covenant was inaugurated in blood.
Then he carries this theme further into the history of Israel. The tabernacle itself and the vessels of ministry were also sprinkled with blood (v. 21). The tabernacle and vessels did not exist yet in Exodus 24. So Paul carries the theme of “sprinkled with blood” to the Day of Atonement which we hear about in Leviticus 16. On that day, blood was placed upon the horns of the altar and even brought within the veil and sprinkled on the mercy seat. This sprinkling atoned for the holy place and the tabernacle (Leviticus 16:16, 20).
This blood atonement was necessary for in the law nearly everything was cleansed by blood; without it there was no forgiveness of sins (v. 22). Therefore it was necessary that the patterns of the things in the heavens should be purified with blood sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with a better sacrifice (v. 23). For Christ didn’t enter into man-made holy places, which were antitypes of the true, but into heaven itself to appear before God for us (v. 24).
A BIT OF WORLD EXPLAINING
Those last two verses can raise the eyebrow. They don’t make sense without a little world explaining. God did not merely tell Moses to build a tabernacle, but He told him to construct a tabernacle according to the type he saw on the mountain (Hebrews 8:5; Exodus 25:40). The Old Testament tabernacle was constructed according to a real, heavenly one.
ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN
The pattern God regularly uses is: from heaven to earth. It was this way in the beginning. He made the heavens and the earth, not the earth and the heavens. We pray that our Father’s kingdom would come on earth as it is in heaven not in heaven as it is on earth. David’s soldiers could go marching out to battle only after he heard the heavenly army marching atop the mulberry trees (2 Samuel 5:24). Many of our problems in life come from trying to boss heaven around. The other problems come from ignoring heaven, as if it had nothing to do with things down here on earth. The solution to these problems is to live on earth as it is in heaven.
THE HEAVENLY THINGS THEMSELVES
The stage is now set for the potency of our text. Where has Christ gone? Into heaven itself. What has He done? He has purified the heavenly things themselves by His blood. He is in heaven “for us” (v. 24). In another place we hear that we are seated with Him in those heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). If you are forgiven there, you are forgiven here. By faith, you are already there while you are still here.
BOLDNESS TO ENTER IN
The veil of the true temple has been torn in two and that veil is Christ’s flesh (Hebrews 2:20). You are in the holy place right now by faith in Christ. The tent made without hands has been sprinkled with Christ’s blood. The water from his side has washed you clean. The blood of the better sacrifice has been sprinkled on the true mercy seat, the true altar. The heavenly tabernacle is purified with you in it. What could you possibly be afraid of?