Hebrews 9 begins with a brief overview of the tabernacle layout. The difference between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place and some of the furnishings are described. Verse 6 transitions into what the priests do in the Holy Place to what the High Priest does in the Most Holy Place. These accounts are brief. The instructions for making the tabernacle are given in great detail beginning in Exodus 25. The instructions for priests are the focus of the Book of Leviticus.
And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it. Ex. 25:8-9
The rest of Hebrews 9 describes redemption through Christ while continuing the comparison of the old and new covenants. He is the mediator of a better covenant and has entered into the real holy places, not the copies made by human hands. This chapter goes into more detail about how the real holy places have been sanctified by a better sacrifice. The blood of Jesus Christ is superior to the sacrifices of goats and bulls.
The final argument is that Christ is offered as a sacrifice once and for all. The Master’s Table is a very ecumenically friendly place. We have readers and sometimes contributors from a variety of Christian faith traditions. I myself lead a group that brings many Protestant denominations as well as Episcopal and Catholics to the same table believing that we can do more working with each other than against each other. Having said that, I am an ordained Baptist minister. While I defend other Christians against attacks that I feel are unfair, if I agree fully with everything some other church taught I would leave my church and join that one. For what it’s worth I don’t always agree fully with everything my own denomination says and does; but I have yet to find anything better, which is of course highly subjective. Roman Catholics believe a lot of things correctly about Jesus. I could walk through the Apostles’ Creed line by line and every Christian should be able to nod through most it. There are a couple of theological distinctives that Catholics and Protestants should be divided by and the Eucharist is one of those. The doctrine of transubstantiation is the belief that the elements of communion actually become the body and blood of Christ. It is a miracle that occurs at the table each time the elements are blessed. Baptist, Methodists and Presbyterians believe those things represent the body and blood, Catholics believe they are the body and blood. Each time. Meaning the sacrifice is made again and again.
Baptist churches have split over the issue of open vs. closed communion. (The difference is who is invited to the table.) My preference is to always show grace. I have some personal stories that would perhaps be better suited for another blog post. We’ll continue the once and for all discussion in Hebrews 10.