Through the Book of Hebrews—Exploration and Discussion:9:15-28

The writer of Hebrews is continuing to develop the sacrifice of Christ to redeem people from the bondage of sin. Through Christ we have an eternal inheritance. The author explains that this was/is only possible because of Christ’s death.

Grab your Bible and read 9:15-28, then come back and walk through verse by verse. Remember we use the New International Version, unless otherwise noted.

v. 15 “For this reason” (What reason?) could be referencing back to v. 14, Christ mediates the new covenant because “the blood of Christ… cleanse[s] our consciences from acts that lead to death, (or “dead works”) so that we may serve the living God!” In addition, looking forward, “Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are ‘called’ may receive the ‘promised’ eternal inheritance.”

Who makes the initiative so that we may receive the promise?

We will see that the covenant-testament was initiated by God; there was no negotiation in which God talks things over with people to come to a mutual agreement. Only God lays down the terms.

The meaning of covenant and testament is captured in one Greek word diatheke, which “denotes something like an authoritative laying down of what is to be done and is the normal word for a last will and testament. But it is also suited to covenants God makes with people” (Morris, 1981).

What does “called” imply about salvation?

Salvation is initiated by the call of God for one to come to Jesus as Savior. This is accomplished by God alone. However, I think it is theologically accurate to say we have a choice whether or not to be obedient and trust God with our lives once salvation has occurred. Paul makes it clear that we struggle, but we do have a choice whether or not to nurture our relationship with our Lord.

What are some practical ways we nurture our relationship with God? Through accountability relationships that are Christ centered? How about group process that examines the Scripture? What about being committed to a Church Body?

How do you know whether or not you’ve been called by God?

I would say that one is called by God unto salvation through Jesus if the questions like the ones above and follow are considered important. Is there a desire to live for God in every area of life? Do you recognize you don’t deserve God’s grace, but you cry out for mercy and want to really know God? Maybe you’ve said, like the father of the boy with an evil spirit in Mark 9:24, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.” Obviously, those not called by God are not concerned about these types of questions.

How would others know you are called by God unto salvation through Jesus Christ?

The fruit of your life? The content of your speech? Out of the mouth the heart speaks?

What is the implication of the word “eternal?”

Once you have been called, there is no ending or reversing God’s promise of eternal life.

What is our eternal inheritance?

Our eternal inheritance is life in heaven for eternity and an ongoing fellowship/relationship with our living God now and forever! This was made possible through our sovereign God and continues to be realized by all who God draws to Christ.

v. 15b The writer views Christ’s death as a _______________ to set them ____________ from the sins committed under the first covenant.

We have learned that animal sacrifices could not redeem or take away sins. The sacrifices were only a shadow pointing to the ultimate sacrifice that is Christ. Christ’s sacrifice brought healing to broken relationships with God due to unbelief and disobedience under the old covenant. So too, under the new covenant, Rayburn (1989) wrote, “By the payment of his own life, Christ has delivered those whom God is calling to salvation from the guilt and the power of unbelief and disobedience which alienate them from God” (pg. 1142).

v. 16-17 . Pett discusses the dynamic of the covenant-testament:

“For where a covenant-testament (diatheke) is, there must of necessity be the death of him that made it. For a testament is of force where there has been death, for it never avails while he who made it is alive.’ Thus having brought out that the new covenant was, as far as God is concerned, a ‘covenant-testament’ he stresses again that it was more than a covenant. It was an unconditional God-to-man covenant (diatheke), with God the Benefactor and man the beneficiary, because it referred to what God had covenanted to bring about, and it was a testament (diatheke) because from the very beginning its bringing about was, in God’s purposes, linked to the death of the Covenantor. Such a covenant testament thus necessarily involves the death of the One Who made it, without which it could not come into force. The further implication here is that God has in the covenant given all things to His Son (John 3.35; 13.3; 16.15; 17.10), Who has therefore become the covenantor as well as the mediator, and that He must die in order for the covenant to come into force because of the special nature of the covenant as a covenant-testament.”

v. 18 So, the author emphasizes “…without blood” it took death and shedding of blood (animal sacrifices) for the first covenant to be realized.

v. 19-22 We see that God spoke through Moses, proclaiming the terms and conditions of the covenant. Morris (1981) writes, “he made plain the requirements the covenant laid on the people so they were left in no doubt as to what covenant membership demanded of them. They were now God’s people, and that meant they must obey God’s laws.”

Moses also performed certain ritual actions. We learned in v. 13 that blood was used for ceremonial cleansing. Here the writer emphasizes the importance of the shedding of blood in the first covenant and the commencement of the superior New Covenant.

v. 23 The tabernacle—two tents: Holy of Holies and the Most Holy Place, the copies of the reality in heaven had to be purified with the blood of the animal sacrifices.

What is meant by “but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these?”

Morris (1981) said, “On the whole, it seems best to recall that in the NT there are references to ‘the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms’ (Eph. 6:12).” Moreover, 1 Cor 2:8, Rom 8:38-39, “Such references seem to indicate wickedness beyond this earth. And, when Christ performed his atoning work, he ‘disarmed the powers and authorities…triumphing over them on the cross (Col 2:15).”

Reference @ Net.Bible:
9:23 So it was necessary for the sketches of the things in heaven to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves required better sacrifices than these.

23Whereas animal blood adequately cleansed the prototype on earth under the Old Covenant, a better sacrifice was necessary to cleanse the realities in heaven (cf. 8:5; 9:24). Thus Jesus Christ’s death was essential. The “heavenly things” may refer to the consciences of men and women.[298] It seems more likely, however, that they refer to the things connected with the heavenly tabernacle. This may include angels that need cleansing (cf. Job 4:18; 15:15)[299] and or “wickedness beyond this earth”[300] (cf. Rom. 8:38-39; 1 Cor. 2:8; Eph. 6:12; Col. 1:20; 2:15).

“As sinful pilgrims on their way to the heavenly city, God’s people defile all they touch, even their ‘meeting place’ with God, and they need the constant efficacy of the sacrifice of Christ their High Priest to remove that defilement.”[301]!bible/Hebrews+9:15
Constable’s Notes.

v. 24 Christ entered_____________ itself, now to appear _______ _______ in God’s presence.

v. 25-26 In contrast to the high priest who entered the Most Holy Place with ___________ not his own, how often? Christ enters heaven “once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of ___________.” (cf. Col 1:20). “end of the ages” probably is best understood as “The Messianic Age has come—the age that all the preceding ages have led up to”

v. 27 We are all destined to physically die “once.” However, this is not the complete and final end. Physical death is more serious than the saying, “we live and then we die” because after death comes judgment for the sinner who isn’t redeemed through Christ.

v. 28 Christ was sacrificed “once” to take away our sins; he will appear a second time to bring _____________ for those who are ___________ for Him.

Why does the writer say, “not to bear sin?”

God came in Christ initially as our Savior from eternal death because of sin, which was accomplished on the cross. Today is the day of salvation through Christ! However, the second advent is not for the purpose of redemption.

In reference to, “to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” Morris writes, “There is a sense in which salvation has been brought about by Christ’s death. But there is another sense in which it will be brought to its consummation when he returns.”

In theological circles salvation is referred to in three phases so to speak: We are initially saved, we are being saved from sinfulness everyday, and we will be saved at the second advent of Christ.

Who is the writer of Hebrews referring to here? At this point (v. 28), the writer is concerned with those who are Christians, those redeemed through the sacrifice of Christ.

What does it mean to be waiting for Him? Jn 14:2-3; 2 Tim 4:8; Rev 22:20; James 5:7-8; Matt 25:10. 13-46; Lk 12:35-37;

Are we truly waiting for Jesus? How is this manifested in our daily life? Our attitude? Our behavior? Our relationships? Our Prayer life? Our Bible study?

Persevere through Christ- A co-participation toward maturity!


Evangelical Commentary on the Bible (1989) Elwell, W. A. (ed).
Expositor’s Bible Commentary (1981) Frank Gaebelein (ed)
Pett, Peter;

The Second Advent: Our Salvation
John 14:2-3
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

2 Timothy 4:8
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Revelation 22:20
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

James 5:7-8
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
Patience in Suffering
7 Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.

Matt 25:31-46
The Sheep and the Goats
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Luke 12:35-37
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.