Lesson 6

The Eschatological Day of Atonement

(Hebrews 9)
Print this lesson | Bookmark/Share:

Introduction: We know, from the record in the gospels, about some of the wonderful things Jesus did for us while He lived here on earth. Now that He is back in heaven, is He vacationing? Is He taking a well-deserved rest? Is He simply watching to see if we will take advantage of His sacrifice for us? Our lesson today pulls back the curtains on the windows of heaven and gives us a peek at what Jesus is doing for us now. Let's jump into our study!

  1. The Pattern

    1. Read Exodus 24:15-16. Why is Moses on this mountain? (Read Exodus 24:12. God is giving him the Ten Commandments and other instructions for the people.)

      1. When does God come to Moses? (On the seventh day.)

        1. Is that important? (Yes. The Fourth Commandment sets aside the seventh day as a time for us to come near to God. This text reinforces the idea of "special time" for God.)

        2. Is there any significance to the fact that Moses alone approached God? (We have the symbolism of Moses being a type of intercessor for the people with God.)

    2. In Exodus 25:1-7, we learn that the first thing God talks to Moses about is taking an offering! Let's read on: Exodus 25:8-9. What is the purpose of taking the offering? (To build a sanctuary, a temple, so that God can dwell with His people.)

      1. Who is the architect of this temple? (God had an exact pattern that He gave Moses.)

    3. Read Hebrews 8:5. Where did God get the plans for the temple that Moses build in the desert with the offerings from the people? (We find that what they built is a model of the actual temple in heaven! Do you want to have a peek into heaven? Then study the sanctuary/temple that Moses built here on earth.)

      1. Why would God want the temple on earth to look like the one in heaven? (He was apparently teaching His people a lesson. We turn to that lesson next.)

  2. The Lesson

    1. Read Hebrews 9:1-7. What happened in the temple that Moses built? What was its purpose? (Priests administered the daily sacrifices for the sins of the people. This system of sacrifice was the method by which the sins of the people were transferred from them to the temple. On the Day of Atonement (which is the "once a year" event described in verse 7), the temple was completely cleaned of the sins of the people by transferring the sin to the "scape goat." You can read more about this in Leviticus 16.)

      1. Notice that in Hebrews 9:1 this is referred to as the "first covenant." What does this suggest? (That there is another edition, an upgraded version, an improved model!)

    2. Read Hebrews 9:8-10. What was the reason for God's Spirit to give Moses the pattern for the temple on earth and the entire sacrificial system? (Verse 9 tells us it was an illustration. It was a simulation of something else.)

      1. Was there some deficiency in the "first covenant?" (Even though Leviticus 16 tells about the transfer of sin, Hebrews 9:8 says the "way into the Most Holy had not yet been disclosed." I think this means the illustration of the temple on earth was not yet completely revealed by the reality of Jesus coming and of the temple in heaven.)

      2. What is the "new order" referred to in verse 10?

    3. Let's read on. Read Hebrews 9:11-12. What does the sanctuary built by Moses and the sacrificial system illustrate? (It gives us an understanding of what is happening in heaven.)

      1. How is the heavenly temple and sacrificial system different?

        1. Is that the "new order?" (This answers the series of questions I was asking earlier. The temple on earth, its sacrificial system, its Day of Atonement, were all an imperfect illustration of Jesus, as our sacrifice and our High Priest, truly taking away our sins.)

    4. Read Hebrews 9:13-14. How are our sins forgiven now? (Jesus died once for our sins.)

    5. Read Hebrews 9:15. What is the "new covenant?" Is it like the "new order?" (This is further confirmation that Jesus is what the sacrificial system was all about. He was not only the sacrifice, He is also the High Priest mediating on our behalf. He does not have to keep sacrificing Himself. He died once, and that cleansed the sins of those who repent and rely upon His sacrificial death.)

      1. Read Hebrews 9:24-26. How is the new covenant better than the old covenant? (The work of the new covenant takes place in the heavenly sanctuary.)

  3. Day of Atonement

    1. If you read Leviticus 16 you will find, as mentioned above, that the sacrificial system for the Israelites culminated in the Day of Atonement when all of the sins of the people that had accumulated in the temple were wiped clean. Let's go back and pick up a couple of verses in Hebrews 9 that we skipped. Read Hebrews 9:22-23. What is this purification that needed to take place in both the copy and the original? (That points to the Day of Atonement.)

      1. Is there a Day of Atonement for the temple in heaven?

      2. Why would the temple in heaven need to be purified from sin?

    2. We have been looking at Daniel's prophecies. Let's go back and look at a text we looked at two weeks ago. Read Daniel 8:14. The word translated "reconsecrated" in the NIV means, according to Vines, "to be made righteous." Is it possible that Daniel's vision was about what the writer of Hebrews describes ( Hebrews 9:23) as the purification of the heavenly sanctuary? Is this the Day of Atonement in heaven?

    3. Read Hebrews 9:26 again and let's add verse 27. What should be our reaction to this event?

      1. When does this event take place? ( Hebrews 9:26 says "at the end of the ages.")

      2. Of what is this event (the heavenly Day of Atonement)a part? (Verse 27 suggests that it is part of the final judgment. Thus, the Day of Atonement in heaven is part of the final judgment that takes place at the end of the ages.)

  4. The Return

    1. Read Hebrews 9:28. What is the end result of the Day of Atonement in heaven? (Just as the Day of Atonement on earth purified the camp (the people and the temple) from sin, so the heavenly Day of Atonement will result in God's people and His heavenly temple being purified of sin. The sin problem will be over and Jesus will come a second time to bring salvation "to those who are waiting for Him.")

    2. Friend, Jesus says He is our sacrifice and our High Priest in heaven. He is interceding on our behalf with His own blood, just like the High Priest interceded in the Most Holy place of the temple on earth on behalf of the people. Will you repent and accept His sacrifice? Will you ask Him to intercede on your behalf in the final judgment? Will you be one of those who are waiting for Him to come again?

  5. Next week: Matthew 24: Jesus' Sermon on Apocalyptic Prophecy.

To receive the Bible Study of the Week by e-mail, please enter your e-mail address:

 Subscribe in a reader

Lessons on Great Apocalyptic Prophecies

Attention Translators!

Would you like to help us share the Bible Study of the Week with others? At present, the Bible Study of the Week can be read in ten languages: Bosnian, English, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Romanian, Russian, and Spanish. We welcome serious volunteers who are willing to spend the time each week to translate the lessons from English into another language. We are particularly interested in having the lesson translated into Portuguese. Please contact us if you would like to volunteer to translate.