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  • Writer's pictureWayne Shelton

The Book of Hebrews - A Better Covenant: Access Granted

Hebrews 9:1-14

In his commentary on Hebrews, Michael Kruger remarks that one of his favorite films as a young person was Raiders of the Lost Ark. Harrison Ford played the role of the archeologist Indiana Jones. “Really, though, the star of the show was not Indiana Jones but what he finds in the movie: the ark of the covenant,” writes Kruger. The ark of the covenant was a golden box which represented God’s holy presence. Further, he writes:

“The God of the ark of the covenant is not a God you cozy up to easily. In the movie, when the explorers open the lid, they are killed by the fire of God’s holiness. Eventually the ark is hidden away in a crate in some warehouse, because everyone is afraid of it. The message is: God is holy, so leave him well alone.”

As Kruger reminds us, “Raiders of the Lost Ark is just a movie, and it is filled with Hollywood speculation about what the ark would be like.” But what the movie does get right is that God is more holy than you can possibly imagine. You cannot just charge into his presence.

The idea that God is holy and at a distance sums up the experience of the Old Testament worshipers. “They took part in real worship, and it was the real God they were worshiping; but it all had to be done at a distance. Access was denied” (Kruger).

Hebrews 9:1-10 highlights these sorts of limitations of old covenant worship. It accomplishes this by taking us deep into the inner workings of the tabernacle. The old covenant worship was ordained by God, and therefore it was good. But it had all kinds of limitations to it. Kruger concludes:

“The whole difference between the old covenant and the new covenant could be summarized in two words, ‘not yet.’ Do you have full access to the holy God? in the Old Testament, the answer is ‘not yet’. This could not happen… as long as the old covenant order – with its earthly tent – was still valid, then the way would be shut.

“But the implication is that there was a time coming when God would open up the door fully and widely, and enable people to enter into his presence. The ‘present age’ (v9) of restriction would be over, and a new age of access would come.”

All those limitations and barriers will be gone. This is the glory of the new covenant. That is why the very first word in the next section (9:11) is ‘But.’ But when Christ appeared, things changed. He entered the real throne room of heaven, not the earthly tent ‘of this creation.’ He made a sacrifice for sin and secured ‘an eternal redemption.’

Today, Thursday, May 9, is Ascension Day. This is the day the church celebrates Christ going up into the heavens to take his place at the right hand of God serving as our Prophet, Priest, and King. Because of what Christ has done in laying down his life for sinners, access to the holy God is granted. Come and worship!

I invite you to join us this coming Lord’s Day as we talk about ‘A Better Covenant: Access Granted!’ from Hebrews 9:1-14.


For His Glory,

Pastor Wayne



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