The new order
The Holy Spirit was making it clear that the way into the most holy place had not yet been disclosed while the first tabernacle was still standing. This is a symbol for the present time, during which gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the worshiper’s conscience. They are physical regulations and only deal with food, drink, and various washings imposed until the time of the new order. Hebrews 9:8-10 CSB
The role of the Holy Spirit who speaks and interprets the Word is highlighted from our text. The writer of Hebrews introduced the Holy Spirit as the speaker of a psalm citation. “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you hear his voice’” (Hebrews 3:7). It is the Holy Spirit who discloses the meaning of the Word (John 14:26) and guides the believer into all the truth (John 15:26). It is also the Holy Spirit who makes plain the gospel and convicts sinners of their sin. During the old covenant, only the priests are allowed to enter the outer sanctuary but are not allowed to the inner sanctuary. It is only the high priest who is allowed to enter the Most Holy Place as the representative of the people once a year. There is a heavy curtain that separated God from man in the tabernacle. But when Jesus Christ died at the cross, His death opened the way to God. “Suddenly, the curtain of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom, the earth quaked, and the rocks were split” (Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38). Though the Most Holy Place was empty at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, the tearing of the curtain revealed that the separation between man and God has been ended. Christ’s death had paved the way for believers to gain access to His presence. This is why we have been exhorted to approach God’s throne of grace. Once again, the writer reiterated the insufficiency of sacrificial system of the old covenant for the “gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the worshiper’s conscience” (Hebrews 9:9). People were observing the old covenant and practiced the old ceremonies because of their awakened conscience; thus, they brought gifts and sacrifices to clear their conscience. But such sacrifices did not remove their guilt. Outwardly and ceremonially, the sinner seemed to be clean but it was only through the death of Christ that makes the sinner whole. The gifts and sacrifices were offered to satisfy “physical regulations and only deal with food, drink, and various washings imposed until the time of the new order” (Hebrews 9:10). They were only intended to satisfy external rules to achieve external objectives. But external observances will not satisfy man’s deepest longing of being made whole for it can only happen by being reconciled with God. This is what the writer refers to as the “new order” accomplished by the death of Jesus at the cross. This new order prevails for the sacrifice was made one time and to those who had placed their faith in Christ, they are assured and guaranteed that their sins are forgiven, thus, they were made whole. Once we have experienced being reconciled with God, let us not be involved with religious motions through external observances but instead let us humble ourselves to His throne of grace and allow His Word to speak to us so that we will reflect godly lives. “The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God” (Psalm 51:17).
Noel De Guzman