Hebrews 9:6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.
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:
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.
We see again that God is speaking to those who were well familiar with the Old Testament sacrificial system. The Jews were the original recipients of this letter. That does not mean it has nothing to say to Gentiles. Gentiles need to be informed of the Old Testament system and need to understand just as the Jews do, that Jesus Christ is the Saviour. There are many Gentiles that are involved in some form of law keeping or another. The religious groups that I was raised in were very much into a works orientated system. That was later altered to an anything goes system of belief that reduced salvation to any kind of belief in Jesus. Thus there is a need to know the facts and understand the blessing of living by the facts.
In verse 6 we are reminded that when the sacrificial system was ordained by God, the priests always went into the first tabernacle. They were busy in that outer section of the Tabernacle. That is where the brazen altar was and the people brought their sacrifices to the priest and several priests would be involved in accepting and offering up those sacrifices. That outer section was a busy place. We read that the priests were accomplishing the service of God. Those priests that followed God’s instruction offered those sacrifices as required. We know that Eli’s sons corrupted the priesthood and Eli did not stop them. He was as guilty as they were and God judged him for his disobedience to His orders.
Verse 7 reminds us that the second part of the Tabernacle, the Holiest, was reserved only for the High Priest of that time. He must make an atonement for his own sins before he could atone for the sins of the people. God was also very specific on this and the high priest took this very seriously. If he did not, he could be struck dead by God. The yearly sacrifice was very important. The need to have that day of atonement was very important to the life of the nation.
Verse 8 tells us that there was a certain mystery to the Old Testament system that even Moses did not fully understand. Moses did not fight against it. He walked by faith and instructed Aaron in the manner in which he needed to conduct himself and the way that his sons needed to conduct themselves. They did not need to understand it all in order to obey.
I Peter 1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
There are aspects of the Christian life that any true child of God would agree we do not fully understand, but we follow God by faith. We trust that He is right and one day we will know all about what we were told to do after we were saved. It is important to remember that God has never required anyone to be saved by works. It has always been by faith.
As Peter was directed to write, and as God directed the writer of Hebrews, there were things that the priests were required to do that they did not understand but we have greater understanding of those things now. The Holy Ghost has revealed them to us. There are things about the sacrifices that were not fulfilled until the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The veil of the Temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom at Jesus’ crucifixion because now every person could have access to the God of creation through the Great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. It was impossible for the common people to enter the Holiest in Old Testament times. In fact many people lost their lives for looking into the ark of the covenant or for touching that ark. We do not need to fear that now. We have access to God through the Lord Jesus Christ. His shed blood makes it possible for us to come before this Holy God and seek His forgiveness and His blessing. Jesus Christ made that possible.
In verses 9-10 we are reminded that while the Old Testament system was important and must be followed carefully, it was temporary and it was not able to forgive sin. It was never intended to do that. Those who trusted in God and brought their offerings in faith, believed that God would keep His promise. Even Job had an understanding that he would stand before his Redeemer one day. Job believed in the forgiveness of sin. He also believed in the resurrection of the dead. He also believed in a Redeemer. He accepted those things by faith and he was not disappointed.
In verse 10 God admitted that the Old Testament system was weighty. There was much detail that needed to be followed as the person would bring their various sacrifices. There was also much detail as to how the priest was to receive and deal with the sacrifices that were brought to him. Those things were necessary and they were to be followed until the time of reformation. The reformation would take place by God in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was not like the “Protestant Reformation” which was an attempt by different groups to reform a corrupt system known as Catholicism. We can see that reformation was fruitless in that most who at one time disagreed with Rome, have now accepted Rome and been welcomed by her. It was a compromised conflict that is typical of all humanistic efforts at reform.
The reformation spoken of in verse 10 was ordained by God and it did away with the Old Testament system and replaced it with the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Keep in mind that God is constantly reminding us that Jesus Christ is better. Jews and Gentiles do not need to keep that Old Testament system. Jesus Christ came to fulfil the law. He did not come to destroy the law. He fulfilled it. There are groups today that are trying to take people back to law keeping. Seventh Day Adventists are big into law keeping. However, they do not have the truth. Their big thing is keeping the sabbath. They have other laws as well, which they readily admit they do not keep strictly. Yet somehow they assume their form of law keeping is necessary. They have rejected God’s truth and if they are to be saved, they will need to come out of that corrupt and distorted system. God reformed the system and replaced the typology with the real “thing” in Jesus Christ. We see that further in the book of Hebrews.
Don’t settle for something that is no longer. Settle for that which is and that which will bless the recipient. The Old Testament system had its place, but it has been finished and all those who believed in God’s promises in the Old Testament, have been brought into the new system and are fully saved by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ just like we are today. It is all by faith in the true God.