Hebrews 9:1-28 The Power of the Blood
Up to this point in The Letter to the Hebrews, the word “blood” has not been mentioned. But from this point on, the author begins to reveal the great power in the blood of Jesus Christ. He tells us that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” (9:22) The blood of Jesus opens the door to the Throne Room of God, the Holy of Holies where God is present.
Many hymns have been written about the power of the blood. “Would you be free from the burden of sin, there’s power in the blood” is one of the most famous hymns, no longer sung often in American churches but sung regularly
in churches around the world that are experiencing revival (#268 in the Korean hymnal). “The blood will never lose its power” is another famous hymn. I have noticed in churches that mostly sing modern songs that were composed in the last ten years, that the congregation often does not sing with much enthusiasm. But when they do insert a hymn such as “Would you be free from the burden of your sins,” the congregation, even young people who do not know this hymn, sing with gusto and power. It must be the power of the Holy Spirit, who works through the power of the blood of Christ!
Hebrews 9:1-10 The Power of the Blood in Worship
This passage begins with a description of the earthly tabernacle that God gave directions to Moses to build. It is only a shadow of the true tabernacle that exists in heaven, but God allowed Moses to build it to show that the opening of the “Holy of Holies,” which gives access to the presence of God, is possible only through the sacrifice of blood. (9:7) The “Holy of Holies” was separated from the “Holy Place” by a thick veil. All the priests could go often into the “Holy Place,” but never “beyond the veil.” Only the high priest was allowed to enter once a year.
This passage gives the “regulations for worship” that Israel observed in worship. Worship was very powerful in Israel. When Solomon completed building the temple, “the priests could not stand to minister . . . for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.” (1 Kings 8:11) The Psalms are unparalleled in their beauty and power of worship.
Nevertheless, the people of Israel, who were at that time under the law of Moses, were limited in their worship. “The way into the Holy Place is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing (which is symbolic for the present age.)” Hebrews 9:8-9) The “present age” means the age in which the Old Testament people were living.
We can learn from this passage (Hebrews 9:1-10) how to worship in Spirit and in truth. (It might help if you can look at a picture of the earthly tabernacle described in this passage. A Bible Atlas can be found online.) This will show us the progression of worship.
Worship is sacrifice.
- Sacrifice of the blood of Jesus. Jesus worshiped His Father by the sacrifice of His blood, “and the veil was torn in two” (Matthew 27:51). The Holy Spirit invites us now to worship in Spirit and in the truth of the Gospel. (John 4:23-24) The blood of Jesus opens the door to worship.
- Sacrifice of thanksgiving. (Psalm 100:4) God says, in Psalm 50:23 (NASB) “The one who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me.” We worship now inside the Holy of Holies, in the presence of God. It may help to see what was in the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle. (Hebrews 9:4-5) The Ark of the Covenant contained:
- Manna – “The Lord will provide.” We are thankful for all things God gives us in salvation.
- Aaron’s staff that budded – This represented God’s choice of Aaron. We are chosen to glorify God in the world. (John 15:16)
- Tablets of the covenant – The 10 Commandments, God’s unchanging commands for our welfare.
- The Mercy Seat – It was placed on top of the ark of the covenant, with the cherubim of glory overshadowing it. The mercy of the Lord, His abundant grace, overshadows His law, and bids us to come into His presence. We give thanks, for the Lord is great.
Psalm 116:16b-17 – A good reason for offering the sacrifice of thanksgiving! “You have loosed my bonds. I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.”
- Sacrifice of praise. As we enter closer to God, our thanksgiving becomes the sacrifice of praise. “Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess God.” (Hebrews 13:15) God actually lives in the praises of His people! He is enthroned upon our praises. (Psalm 22:3)
Our thanksgiving and praise are the expressions of our joy in the Lord. When we praise God in worship, we are on a “journey of joy” that leads us into the presence of the Lord. (I learned this from my wife, Ellen, who always rejoices even in difficult times, and who wrote about this in her book “Journey of Joy.” Soon to be published in English) We rejoice in the Lord, knowing that the joy of the Lord is our strength! (Nehemiah 8:10)
- Sacrifice of our lives. (Psalm 95 will help us understand how worship progresses from thanksgiving and praise, and finally into worshiping with our lives.) Daniel got down on his knees and gave thanks and praise to God three times a day. He was giving his body as a living sacrifice to the Lord. When Abraham prepared to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice to God, he told the men who were with them, “Stay here . . . the young man and I are going to worship.” (22:5) Going to worship . . . going to sacrifice the one thing he loved the most! The Lord provided a lamb as a substitute for Isaac. But He did not provide a lamb as a substitute for His Son to die on the cross, for Jesus Himself was the The apostle Paul tells us that the sacrifice of our lives, in unreserved commitment to God, is the “climax of our worship.”
We present our bodies as a living sacrifice to the Lord and ask Him to use us for His glory alone. (Romans 12:2)
Now is the time to worship the Lord. He is in total control of the world. We are not facing a battle between two equal forces – God and Satan. No, Jesus Christ destroyed the work of Satan through the cross and resurrection. (1 John 3:8) He alone is the Lord of heaven and earth. But the battle continues. Remember the invasion of a great army against tiny Judah. (2 Chronicles 20) King Jehoshaphat confessed his powerlessness to the Lord and said, “But our eyes are on You.” This is the heart of prayer. We are very much aware of our problem with the pandemic today, and as Christians we work together to do what is necessary to stop it. We take every precaution and work with world leaders to solve it. But our eyes are not on the problem, nor on those who caused it. Our eyes are on You, Lord!
The Holy Spirit spoke: “Do not be afraid, and do not be dismayed at this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s! (20:15) “Stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord.” (20:15 -17) The king took counsel with his people and appointed the worshipers to go out before the army! When the Lord heard the sounds of praise and worship coming up to Him, He set an ambush and destroyed the enemy.
The power of praise! God reigns in the praises of His people! His Holy Spirit moves mightily when God’s people worship in thanksgiving, praise and commitment to live for Him alone. They named the valley was berach, or baca, which means “Valley of Blessing!” Will He not do the same thing today? God rules, and as the Church worldwide continues to worship, we will see release, victory and revival.
Hebrews 9:11-28 The Blood will never lose its power.
The blood of the Lamb is the main focus of thanksgiving and praise in heaven. Christ entered once for all into the throne room of God, not with the blood of animals but by means of His own blood. His blood has never lost its power.
Jesus Christ opened the door to all the promises that God gives to those who believe and follow His Son, Jesus Christ.
- Eternal redemption. Jesus entered once and for all into the Holy of Holies, with His own blood, and obtained eternal salvation.
- He cleansed our consciences from dead works. His work was an inward purification, freeing us from bondage to sin and guilt. The Old Testament (old covenant) gave the promise, but Christ’s sacrifice brought the fulfillment. (Colossians 2:13-14)
- He brought forgiveness of sins. (9:22) Jesus’ sacrifice by His blood actually removes sin (9:26). His blood has great power!
In 1972 I prayed at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. As I prayed, I spoke the words of Hebrews 9:13-14: “For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God!” The blood will never lose its power!
- Access to God. Jesus entered heaven itself and appeared in the presence of God on our behalf.
- He gave us access to God’s presence, which we enter by faith.
- We can now approach the throne of grace with confidence, to receive mercy and forgiveness, and grace in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
- Eternal inheritance. Jesus is the mediator of a new covenant, based on grace and not on the law. Now “those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.” (9:15)
- We share this inheritance with the Universal Church. The “universal Church” is the communion of all the saints (Christians) from every age, past, present and future; every ethnic and language group. (See Revelation chapters 5 and 9.)
No greater sacrifice is needed. All people will stand before God for judgment. “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him.” (Hebrews 9:27-28)
Jesus did not become our High Priest after He returned to heaven. He already was our High Priest as He performed His ministry on earth. His sacrifice was completed at Calvary. Now, He continues His priestly ministry in heaven in three ways:
- He represents to the Father all who through grace have been made one with Him.
- He intercedes for us, standing in perfect unity with the Father to welcome us into the presence of His Father.
- He blesses us with every spiritual blessing in heaven! “Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 1:3) This includes past, present, and future blessings.
Take some time to meditate on some of the blessings we have as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- God chose us before the creation of the world, to be holy and blameless in Him. (Ephesians 1:4)
- He predestined us to become His adopted sons and daughters through Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:5)
- He redeemed us by His blood and forgave us our sins. He continues to forgive all sins when we repent. (Ephesians 1:7) (1 Corinthians 15:3)
- He has “lavished the riches of His grace” upon us. (Ephesians 1:6)
- He has made known to us the mystery of His will, which is His plan to unite all things in Jesus Christ, things in heaven and earth. (Ephesians 1:9-10)
- He has given us an inheritance. (Ephesians 1:11)
- We have been “sealed with the Holy Spirit,” as a guarantee of all of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it. (Ephesians 1:13-14)
- We have been reconciled with God, having peace with Him. (Romans 5:1, 10)
- We now have fellowship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who make their home in us! We can enjoy intimacy with God. (Ephesians 2:13)
10.We can have victory over temptations, for we, too, have been crucified with Jesus. (Galatians 2:20)
11.We do not need to fear death. (Hebrews 2:14)
- We do not need to fear the devil, his demons, or his attacks on the world. (1 John 4:4)
- We know that even though we may die, we will be raised from the dead. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)
- We know that Jesus intercedes for us (Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:34), and His Holy Spirit intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27).
- We know that when we obey God by doing everything He tells us to do, all our work will be meaningful; it will never be in vain; and God will bless others through our work. (1 Corinthians 15:55-58)
- The blood will never lose its power in your life!
There are many more blessings; you will discover them as you continue to read and study your Bible. But do not seek blessings only; you will be disappointed. God’s commands are very important. If you obey God and stand in the center of His will, His blessings will flow; and through them, He will use you to bless the world.
Some question to consider:
- How do you worship God? How can you help your church, or your fellowship, worship God in a deeper way?
- How have you experienced the power of the blood of Jesus? Let us thank God that the blood has power today over all evil powers; let us ask Him to “cover the world with the blood of Christ” as we repent and pray for God’s intervention to stop the corona virus.
- Do you feel free to enter the Holy of Holies (God’s presence) that has been opened to us? If not, try it now. Spend a brief time now in His presence. Listen to Him. Respond to Him. Take time to meet Him. He is waiting for you.
- At “such a time as this,” perhaps we need to count our many blessings, and name them, one by one. We need to see what the Lord has done, and what He is doing now, in our lives. Remember, we are blessed to become a blessing to others.