Jesus Is Greater: Session 21- The Better Tabernacle

Jesus Is Greater: Session 21- The Better Tabernacle
June 4, 2023

Jesus Is Greater: Session 21- The Better Tabernacle

Passage: Hebrews 9:1-14
Service Type:

Series: Jesus is Greater

Title: Session 21

Scripture: Hebrews 9:1-14


Central Theme:

Objective Statement:  The tabernacle shows how much Jesus Christ is greater.  We can see this in three observations described for us in Hebrews 9:1-14.

Keywords: Observations


  1. The Sanctuary Examined. (v.1-5)
    1. The Outer Room (v.2)
    2. The Inner Room (v.3-5)
  2. The Service Explained. (v.6-10)
    1. What the priests wrought. (v.6-7)
    2. What the Spirit taught. (v.8-10)
  3. The Savior Exalted. (v.11-14)
    1. The Superior Payment. (v.11-12)
    2. The Superior Purging. (v.13-14)



  • I’m so excited to have Miles back, and I’m even more excited to have Anna here with us.
  • They were married just a couple of weeks ago, and next Sunday night we are going to have a reception for them after our evening service. I encourage you to come, and to bring them a card with a gift card in it to help them get started.
  • When my wife and I got married all the way back in 2006, we gave each other wedding gifts.
  • My wife was so sweet to give me two items. One was a hardcover set of “The Chronicles of Narnia” Book series, as well as a Cd Set of that series by Focus on the Family Radio Theatre.
  • Through the years I really enjoyed those stories because of the power of metaphor and picture to relate things that are very much true.
  • There have been times now that I have read some of those books to my kids and while I did something said in the story points to something true about God, Creation, Christ, Redemption, Courage, and the like, and there begins to be a frog in my throat and a tear in my eye.
  • There is a moment in one of those books, the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, where the children must leave to go back to their world from Narnia. When they do they tell Aslan, a picture of Jesus in the books, that they don’t want to leave because they will miss him in their real world.

“It isn't Narnia, you know," sobbed Lucy. "It's you. We shan't meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?"
"But you shall meet me, dear one," said Aslan.
"Are -are you there too, Sir?" said Edmund.
"I am," said Aslan. "But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.” 

  • Now, when C.S. Lewis wrote those words he wasn’t saying that there is an acutal place called Narnia, and an actual lion that is the same as Jesus Christ.
  • He is saying something about the purpose of this fiction.
  • He is telling the reader that He has been trying to teach the reader about Jesus.
  • One pastor said this about the subject of the text we come to today:

In C. S. Lewis’s well-known Chronicles of Narnia, he describes how several quite ordinary English children, while playing hide-and-seek, enter a quite ordinary English wardrobe. Pressing deeper into the familiar garments, they suddenly find themselves in a strange and mysterious land. Some such phenomenon occurs to those who think deeply about what Scripture says about that humble structure of skins and panels called the tabernacle. At first, all is factual, measurable and straightforward. But as we press deeper the walls silently move back, the commonplace begins to glow, and soon we find ourselves before the awesome throne of God in a heavenly temple, surrounded by myriads of worshiping angels, and watching the ritual of redemption through wholly transformed eyes.


  • Certainly, there is no Narnia.  Don’t get hung up on that.
  • God is an incredible story teller, and He cannot lie.
  • He tells incredible stories, and we have been learning the story of redemption in the book of Hebrews.
  • The first part of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is greater in His Person.
  • We are in a middle part of the book of Hebrews that tells us that Jesus is greater in His ministry.
  • What is His ministry now? We learned the sum of it two weeks ago when we studied Hebrews 8.

Hebrews 8:1-3

[1] Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; [2] A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. [3] For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.

  • What I told you in my comments on those verses is that God has been writing a story in that old testament, that old economy, that old sacrificial system that points to something real.
  • It is not as C.S. Lewis’s world, a fiction. It was a real institution- with priest, and sanctuaries, and worship all in a tabernacle.
  • But it pointed to something that is real, that came before, and will exist eternally- A true tabernacle and a true sanctuary which the Lord pitched, and not man.
    • It is not that the one from Exodus was false, but that it was not the first.
    • We’ll see from future verses that the one in Exodus is the copy and not the original.
  • God revealed to us through this Old Testament, this sacrificial system, this old covenant something that would help us understand the real.
  • And this is exactly what the writer of Hebrews wants us to examine today.
  • He is writing to Jewish people who had an affection for the old system- the old testament- the old economy.
  • But he had to make a scriptural case that this old testament, and old sacrificial system was unnecessary because of what Christ did.
  • That’s why the last verse we read right before today’s text in Hebrews 9 says this:

Hebrews 8:13

[13] In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

  • The writer of Hebrews was quoting Jeremiah who promised in the Old Testament that a new covenant was coming.
  • There is a new covenant, because the Old covenant couldn’t do all that needed to be done to fully and finally redeem mankind.
  • This old system can be done with because of Jesus Christ’s finished work and continuing ministry. This is the case that the writer is making.

The tabernacle shows how much Jesus Christ is greater.  We can see this in three observations described for us in Hebrews 9:1-14.

1.   The Sanctuary Examined. (v.1-5)

Hebrews 9:1-14

[1] Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.

  • 2 things are pointed out in this tabernacle where the first covenant was mediated:
    • Ordinances- These were ceremonial actions and rules that were carried out.
    • Physical Sanctuary- Called here a “worldly” sanctuary. It was a physical place here on earth where flesh and blood priests would perform these ordinances.
  • The tabernacle was made up of two parts.

A. The Outer room.  V2

[2] For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.

  • Also called the Holy Place. This was the place where all of the things listed were which are the following found in verse 2:
    • The candlestick
    • The table
    • The shewbread
  • This place was also called the sanctuary.
  • This was the place that only priests could enter into, and many priests did go into this place on a daily basis.
  • They performed these ordinances.

B. The Inner Room. (v.3-5)

[3] And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; [4] Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; [5] And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.

  • Also called the Holy of Holies.
    • This was a special place that held the Ark of the Covenant. In the ark of the covenant there were the following items:
      • The 10 commandments
      • Aarons rod that budded
      • Golden pot with manna
    • The ark of the covenant had two cherubim (angels with wings) on the top over what was called “The Mercy Seat”.


  • God is a revealer.
  • He used time and history to reveal all that he wanted to reveal.
  • He knows what He is doing in revealing some to some, but not all to all.
  • We can and should trust Him, even when we don’t understand everything.
  • We do not know everything. He does.
  • We are finite, while He is infinite.

2.   The Service Explained. (v.6-10)

A. What the priests wrought. (v.6-7)

[6] Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.

  • The word “ordained” speaks to the fact that this was chosen and instituted by God.
  • He refers to “the priests” speaking of the old Aaronic order, which is dying and has come to an end.
  • They “went always” meaning that it was a daily ministry.
  • They were always mediating to God on behalf of the people for sins, since they were so continuous. The sin never stopped, so the sacrifices never stopped.
  • Day after day, year after year, the blood never stopped. The sacrifices never stopped because sin never stopped and the sacrifices were never enough.

[7] But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:

  • The different place meant a different action.
  • “The second” speaks of that inner veil, the Holy of Holies.
  • It is that place described in verses 3-5 with the censer and the ark of the covenant.
  • One priest would go into this veil once a year on the day of atonement “not without blood”.
  • The Bible says that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.
  • Whose sins?
  • It says here, “first for himself”. The priests were not themselves sinless.  They needed cleansing and forgiveness before they could represent the people to God.


  • Sin doesn’t stop.
    • We need to stay in tune with God and filled with the Holy Spirit so I can confess and be close to God based on the sacrifice that Jesus made. Another word for this is the word abide.
  • Blood was the cost.
    • The blood of Jesus Christ washes away from all sin.

B. What the Spirit taught. (v.8-10)

[8] The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: [9] Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; [10] Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

  • This system, these laws, that kept people out of the Holy of Holies- the most obvious place that God used to display his presence- kept people at a distance from God.
  • They had to have these priests mediate.
  • They could not go in the veil.
  • The sacrifices of these animals could not fully and finally perfect them or assuage their consciences in the right way.
  • It was truly and predominantly ceremonial.
  • They were just pictures of the real.
  • They were just shadows of the authentic.
  • They were temporary.


  • Now in a way we deal with this, and in a way we do not.
  • We have a real priest, Jesus Christ, who fully and finally sacrificed for us.
  • It is by Him that our sins are forgiven and we are saved.
  • Yet we live by faith because our salvation is not fully realized being in this earth in the flesh.
  • We are closer and have more access than they did.
  • It’s just that we wait on the redemption of our bodies.
  • The Holy Spirit is the down payment, the earnest of our inheritance, that tells us that more is on the way.
  • Praise the Lord that He has made a way.

3.   The Savior Exalted. (v.11-14)

A.    The Superior Payment. (v.11-12)

[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; [12] Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

  • Through Christ we have “good things to come”. This speaks of the eternal, heavenly realities that the first tabernacle and all of the ordinances were pointing to as shadows and pictures.
  • Jesus serves in a perfect tabernacle that was bulit by God.
  • It is a heavenly, eternal tabernacle where God’s presence is manifest.
  • He mediates this covenant having made a better payment through a better sacrifice.
  • He doesn’t sacrifice animals every day. That is no longer needed.
  • No, He sacrificed Himself, once for all, and it is on this basis that he has obtained a never-ending, everlasting, eternal redemption for us.
  • The payment has been made. It covers our full sin debt, and is they way we are freed from the penalty of our sin.  It is the payment that frees us from being slaves to sin.


  • This eternal payment for sin causes me to conclude to applications personally. Maybe this will help you:
    • I should trust in this Christ as my only shot at redemption. It’s my only way to enter the holiest, heavenly place in the presence of God.
    • It is my reasonable service and worship to live for Him, especially because He calls me to glorify Him by sharing this good news with everyone.
      • His sacrifice led to my redemption.
      • My redemption should lead me to offering my body as a living sacrifice back to him.
      • What he calls me to do in being a living sacrifice is to tell the world about what He has done for me.

B. The Superior Purging. (v.13-14)

[13] For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: [14] How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

  • In the old economy, the old covenant that God set up through Moses, He recognized the blood of bulls and goats as a substitute sacrifice.
  • The blood brought remission of sin because of the faith displayed through obedient sacrifice.
  • Even in that old covenant, God accepted the substitute of these bulls and goats because those sacrfices pointed to the sacrifice Jesus would make later.
  • Everyone only gets to the Father through Jesus because of the payment that He made.
  • The word here for “unclean” is “common”.
  • The blood of bulls and goats animated and activated people to live a life separated unto God.
  • It was a sacrifice that they made that impacted their consciences. They dealt with their own guilt through the temporary, earthly sacrifice that sanctified them.
  • Now notice the question in verse 14: “How much more…”
  • Think about how much better the blood of Christ is than the blood of those animals.
  • Christ’s blood is far more precious than the blood that was spilled all of those years.
  • They are dead, but He lives.
  • He lives forever and purges our consciences in a way that those sacrifices never could.
  • His work is done- once for all. He purges our consciences.
  • We are not sanctified by those old things. We are saved by Him.
  • And so what the writer of Hebrews was trying to help those Hebrews understand is that they didn’t have to have to feel bad about leaving that old ceremony and sacrificial system.
  • The Blood of Jesus Christ is so much greater than what that old picture was trying to convey.
  • The eternal, actual sanctuary not made with hands is so much better than the earthly tabernacle down here on earth.


  • The sacrifice that Jesus made not only deals with my sin at the legal level.
  • Jesus’ sacrifice deals with my sin at the emotional level.
  • His blood sacrifice for me takes away my guilt and shame.
  • It’s not that I’m proud of my sin, or that there is no regret.
  • It’s that my sin no longer defines who I am.
  • I’m no longer a slave to sin. I am a son, adopted by the Father.
  • I’m an heir and joint heirs with Christ.
  • He gives me a new identity and a new hope.



  • And do you know what that means for you and me?
  • I’m not saved by ritual.
  • I’m not saved by tradition.
  • I’m not saved by dead works and dead religion.
  • I’m saved because the blood of Jesus was shed for me.
  • I’m saved because He said whosoever will may come.
  • I’m saved because He said if I would confess with my mouth, the Lord Jesus, and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead, I’d be saved.
  • Jesus did all of the work.
  • I don’t have to work, and in fact I cannot work to get myself to heaven.
  • I’m there because of the blood of Jesus!
  • “What can wash away my sin…


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