Limitation in The Earthly Sanctuary

The great attorney, orator, and statesman, Daniel Webster, was such an imposing figure in court that he once stared a witness out of the courtroom. Apparently Webster knew the man was there to deliver false testimony, so he fixed his “dark, beetle-browed” eyes on th … More


No book in the New Testament focuses upon Christ-like the book of Hebrews does. Only two chapters in the Bible are devoted to the creation story, whereas some fifty chapters focus on the tabernacle. This ninth chapter of Hebrews describes the Tabernacle and its sacrifices and regulations in rather close detail (vv. 1-28). A description of the Tabernacle is that it was one hundred fifty feet long and seventy-five feet wide. Its single gate, on the east side, was thirty feet wide and seven and a half feet high. Just as there was only one entrance to the Tabernacle, there is only one way to God (vv. 1-10). This chapter also presents a detailed contrast between the Old Covenant sanctuary (the tabernacle) and the New Covenant (heavenly sanctuary) where Jesus Christ now ministers (vv. 11-15). This contrast makes it clear that the New Covenant sanctuary is superior.

The ceremonies associated with the tabernacle was governed by rules that pertained to the outer man, but that could not change the inner man (vv. 1-5). The Tabernacle worship, with the bread, the incense, the offerings, the altars etc. was kind of a religious play enacted to teach the people what was going on in their inner life (vv. 6-8).

The conscience of the person making the sacrifice was never freed from the feeling of guilt because the guilt itself was never removed (v. 9). These Old Testament sacrifices were never meant to cleanse from sin, but only to symbolize such cleansing (v. 10). The cleansing was entirely external. The sacrifices pictured Christ, but they could never do the work of Christ. Only Christ’s sacrifice could provide internal cleansing and bring freedom from the guilty conscience.


How would I describe the state of my conscience? How can I have a clear conscience? (I John 1:9). Cleansing my conscience cannot be done by some external ceremony; it demands an internal power.

Hebrews 9:1-10 (English Standard Version)

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