Hebrews 9:11- But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building (KJV)
This verse in Hebrews is a great part of the story of what Jesus did in the time period known as Counting the Omer or Passover to Pentecost. Jesus started and ended His earthly ministry with a forty-day period surrounded by heavenly overtones. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was for our sins and provided the way for us to fellowship with the Father. These are some things that needed tending to.
- This is the umbrella statement; He fulfilled the First Covenant and started the Better Covenant.
- Yearly atonement by the blood of animals was ended.
- There was a change in the priesthood, Jesus is now the High Priest.
- Jesus’ death was the paying of the bride’s price for the Church’s marriage to Jesus.
- Paid debts, possession of keys, a crushed head, a footstool, and authority on earth and over people are legal topics that were addressed and will be finally settled at the Second Coming.
- I believe Jesus still had instructions He gave to His disciples.
The High Priest – The term Christ is not a name but a title of authority. See Chapter 7 of Hebrews and read about Melchizedek in Psalm 110. Melchizedek means king of righteousness and this Psalm ties King David and Melchizedek with the Messiah/Christ. (See: Was David a Priest?)
Jesus’ priesthood is like the one of Melchizedek. It does not come through the family line of Aaron (the Law) because Jesus was from the family of Judah. Our becoming “king and priest” is because we are found in Jesus and covered by His blood. (I tried for years to link Mary to the tribe of Levi. There is no need for that because He is of the “same kind” of the priesthood as Melchizedek.)
Term vs office – Under the Law, there was always a priest who was anointed to be the leader and go into the Tabernacle and offer blood on the Day of Atonement. The term High Priest really came into the vocabulary of Israel around the Second Temple period, before it was the “anointed priest”. Cohen hagadol (Hebrew) is the term you may want to explore further. Archiereus is the Greek word. Unfortunately, political power, earthly politics, and money also came in with the title. It is a good study to go further into.
Good Things – Your favorite translation, denomination, attitude, and preacher will affect your thoughts on the “good things to come” or agathos ginomai. But 1 Corinthians 15, especially verse 44 and 49 that are talking about a spiritual body sounds good to me.
For the writer of Hebrews Pentecost was real, the Holy Spirit’s gifts were a part of church life, and preaching the Gospel and making disciples was confirmed by miracles, signs, and wonders. Angry Jews and Romain persecution were also part of being a follower of the Way. So, do not put God in a box and believe what Jesus said and died to give us.
Megas kai Teleios Skene or “A greater and more perfect tent.” – More than perfect is hard for my humanity to grasp, but we are talking about God now, so my limits do not count. There are several levels here, so I will start with Moses. Moses made a copy of what he saw in Heaven-9:23 and 24. He inspected this copy in Exodus 39:43, it was “perfect”. So, how could something be more perfect? It is not of this creation it is heavenly. I have heard it preached that Jesus is the earthly Tabernacle and His resurrected body is the “more perfect tent”. I guess it is appropriate to include Solomon’s Temple in this train of thought, the major reason for this is Exodus 40:34 and 1 Kings 8:10 is the same response from God. The area was covered with “the cloud” and the priest could not do their work. His presence would elevate the Holy of Holies in Solomon’s man-made temple to the “perfect level”.
Ktisis – In the King James Bible ktisis became a building. That word in other places is creation. The entire last sentence should make it clear that this “building” is not of this earth. I have a feeling that the thought of our God having more than one “creation” may disturb people. He is the Creator; I have no need to fit a limitless God into my box.
I have had people imply that the tomb with the two angels was the Mercy Seat. It is no doubt a shadow, but that tomb was cut-rock made by human hands. Jesus still had to enter and present the blood offering Himself in Heaven.
Hebrews 9 – This chapter is a beautiful mini-lesson on the Tabernacle, the offerings, and the blood of Jesus. It covers the “shadows” and the fulfillment of Jesus’ sin offering at the altar of Heaven.
As I studied for this Bible 911, a question came up that I did not find a simple answer to. I have looked at Exodus 12, 23, and 34, Numbers 28 and 29, Leviticus 16 and 23, and Ezekiel 45 and 46. These are texts on the feast/sacred assemblies and their respective offerings. Hebrews 9:13 with its “blood of goats and bulls” added to my search. The question is – When did Jesus put His blood on the heavenly Mercy Seat? Was it before Pentecost after His ascension, during His Passover days in the tomb, or did He wait for the seventh month and do it on the Day of Atonement?
The “family” Passover lamb was for protection/deliverance from the death angel and to remember the first one. The later corporate offerings had bulls, goats, and lambs as burnt offerings and sin offerings. (I guess these stopped with the destruction of the Second Temple.) Each major feast day had a corporate offering, these are types and shadows of Jesus. The blood on the Day of Atonement was carried into the Holy of Holies and put on the Mercy Seat. That seems like the best answer, that Jesus waited to make His presentation. I just don’t see anything to back up this waiting period in the New Testament or as a shadow in the First Covenant.
Leviticus 16 – Leviticus 16 has detailed instructions for the High Priest on the Day of Atonement including the scapegoat. Here is where the phrase about the blood of bulls and goats comes into focus. We can see parts of this feast in what happened with Barabbas and Pilate on the morning of the trial. There is more “What” answered but still not the When. It must be noted that the Anointed Priest did not offer a lamb on this day for sin.
Round Two – Instead of rewriting the last section I decided to just add this. Several articles were called to my attention about Jesus’ blood, the presentation of His blood, and the Resurrection. They worked with and through Hebrews, especially chapter 9. They did a good job on the why and how but really did not answer when did Jesus present His blood. To be clear, I am not sure we are told or given clues, but the study is fun, and I am interested in the topic. So, on to round two.
- The cross received Jesus’ blood, just like the doorframe on the first Passover. (I am not sure where they put it during the years of wandering.) But the doorframe is not the altar or the Mercy Seat.
- The hours in between Jesus’ meeting with Mary and then dining with the disciples in the Upper Room is a possibility. Why? Going with King James’s “do not touch me” that could be “do not hold on to or cling to me” to Jesus inviting the disciple to touch Him might be the answer. He ascended and it was okay. But then why did He need another ascension forty days later (a formal goodbye)? The curtain tearing in the Second Temple at the crucifixion could play into that argument.
- In the feast-day offerings there were provisions for a sin offering that did not require going into the Mercy Seat. This may back up my thought about waiting for the formal presentation on the Day of Atonement.
It is Finished, The Feast Collide – St. Augustine said, “The New Testament is hidden in the Old, and the Old is fulfilled in the New.” God in His Word uses parables, proverbs, types and shadows, metaphors, and similes to help teach us the truth. The Father does not contradict Himself but will reveal His truth to us in levels for our good. Our computer-assisted artificial intelligent perfectionism does not allow for that kind of teaching, we have lost so much. Please don’t get stuck on one level, God has more. Many of my studies (The Ark, Kingdom, and the Bible 911 series), like the Feast, have collided in this study with Holy Week. I can give you what I have, I am sure there is more.
- Jesus rode into Jerusalem in a parade like David.
- Abraham started the idea that God would supply a lamb to save us (a ram shows up). Passover carried that theme as the lamb’s blood covered the family from the death angel. John the Baptist (the only one to say those words, twice) passed the title, Lamb of God, to Jesus. It was finished on the cross during Passover.
- Jesus and the crowd with Him left Jerusalem every day for Bethany and the Mount of Olives. The Feast of Booths.
- Greeks came to Jesus in John 12:20. Pentecost
- From the Day of Atonement come several types and shadows I had never seen before. Jesus and Barabbas are the two scapegoats. Pilate is the man who releases them and he washed his hands. The High Priest had linen garments that had to come off after the sacrifice, Jesus had burial “clothes” left in the tomb. You will need to read Leviticus 16.
I use a devotional prayer book called Praying Grace. It introduced me to the term Tetelestai. This is the word Jesus said that is translated – It is finished. Tetelestai is an accounting term that means the debt is paid now and forever (that is Marky Greek). Because of the “buck stops here” completeness of the term my imagination has fudged a bunch and jumped to a “but God” moment. Envision a God-forwarded version of the Feast cycle completed before Jesus was taken from the cross. Okay, this is still a study!
To conclude this post but not the study; Jesus died and was freed from the grave for my sins. Given that I serve a God who has a different perspective on time from His earthy creation, I am good not knowing the answer to my question. Hebrews 9 did take place and that is what is important.