But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
- Christ appeared as a high priest not on earth but in heaven.
- Christ is the high priest of the good things that have come.
- Christ went through the perfect tabernacle.
- Christ entered once and for all into the holy places.
- Christ did not enter the holy places via the blood of animals.
- Christ entered the holy places by His own blood.
- By entering the holy places by His own blood Christ secured an eternal redemption.
- Christ’s blood does a much better job of sanctifying and purifying than the blood and ashes of animals.
- Christ offered Himself through the Spirit
- Christ was without blemish or sin.
- Christ’s sacrifice purifies our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
- Christ is the mediator of the new covenant.
- Those who are called receive eternal inheritance.
- Christ’s mediation of the new covenant allows those who are called to receive the promised inheritance.
- The called receive an inheritance because a death occurred that redeems
- Christ’s death redeems from transgression of the old covenant.
- The death the testator is required in order for benefactors to receive the inheritance.
- Since death is required to enforce a will not even the first covenant was initiated without blood.
- When Moses initiated the first covenant he sprinkled blood with water, wool and hyssop on both the people and the book containing the commandments.
- Moses sprinkled blood on the tent and all the items used in worship.
- Under the Law nearly everything is purified with blood.
- There is no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood.
- The copies of the heavenly things, tent, worship implements, book of the law etc. needed to be purified with rites.
- The actual heavenly things are purified with a better sacrifice than the rites used to purify the copies.
- Christ did not enter into the copy of the holy place.
- Christ entered the actual holy place, heaven itself.
- Christ is in the presence of God on our behalf.
- Christ does not repeatedly sacrifice himself as the high priest needed to offer the sacrifice yearly.
- If Christ’s sacrifice was not sufficient for all time, he would need to suffer repeatedly since the beginning of the world.
- Christ sacrifice, which is performed only once, is sufficient for all times, past, present and future.
- Christ’s death put away sin.
- It is appointed for man to die once.
- After death comes the judgment.
- Christ has been offered once.
- Christ death and sacrifice was for the sins of many.
- Christ will appear a second time.
- Christ’s second appearing will not be to deal with sin.
- Christ’s second appearance will be to save those who are waiting for him.
Christ has come and presents the true reality. Once we see reality we no longer hold on to the things that are simply shadows of the reality. The temple and the holy place and holy of holies are simply poor copies and place holders of the truly Holy Place. The ceremony of sacrificing goats and calves was a sign and seal of the old covenant. With Christ’s sacrifice the new covenant is established. Christ is the high priest of the new covenant. His sacrifice is a better sacrifice than the one made by the old covenant.
The high priest entered the Holy of Holies once a year. He brought with him the blood of goats and calves as a sacrifice for sin. Christ is the ultimate high priest. He enters, not the copy or cheap imitation of the Holy Place but the actual and truly Holy Place. Christ did not enter with a poor sacrifice of the blood of goats and calves. He entered with a sacrifice of His own blood. There is no need for Christ to present the sacrifice yearly as the Levitical priests needed to do. He only needs to present it once. It is the perfect sacrifice. The atonement paid for by Christ is always effective. It reaches both back into history for those who believed the God would fulfill His promise and it reaches forward into history for those who believe God has fulfilled His promise. Christ’s atoning sacrifice is the cause of our eternal salvation. The author makes this clear then he says, “Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world.” Those who lived before the coming of Christ are saved the same way we are, through the blood of Christ. If anyone doubts whether or not the sins of the patriarchs are covered by the blood of Christ the author states clearly “…a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.” (15b)
Christ far exceeded the sacrifice of the offering of the blood of goats and calves which were shadows of the Law. They were reduced to nothing. Therefore, all the ceremonial Laws of the temple have ceased because the sacrifice was made fully and finally.
By stating that Christ offered Himself through the Spirit the writer to the Hebrews clearly shows how Christ’s death was not simply an external act. It was not simply a man dying on a cross. The Romans crucified a lot of people. But by the power of the Spirit, Christ’s sacrifice atoned for our sins. Christ suffered as man; but His death becomes beneficial for us through the efficacious power of the Spirit. A sacrifice, which was to be an eternal atonement, was a work of more than a man.
Christ’s sacrifice atones for our sins; Christ is the mediator of the new covenant. He is the high priest. There is no need for another. Christ fills the role.
The new covenant is established so that those who are called may receive the promised inheritance. When the writer talks about the called, he is trying to persuade the Jews. The Jews were called out as a singular favor. When God give us the gift of knowing Christ, we ought to cherish that treasure. Some think the called refers to the elect, but I would disagree. The writer is teaching here the same thing as we find in Romans 3:25 that righteousness and salvation have been procured by the blood of Christ and we partake of them by faith.
We receive an inheritance only after a death. The testator had to die in order for the will to be executed. God never uses or establishes symbols unsuitably or unnecessarily. When God established the old covenant, the covenant of law, it used blood. So too the new covenant, the covenant of grace, makes use of blood. We now have the inheritance promised under the covenant of the law because of Christ’s sacrifice.
Both the old and new covenants are united. There were no symbols added or removed. Each sacrament under the new covenant is preceded by a symbol in the old covenant for without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
The Levitical priest went and stood before God in the name of the people. This was done symbolically. The priest went in to a Holy of Holies which symbolized the true holy place. They stood before the ark which symbolized or represented the presence of God. Christ stands and represents us in the real and true Holy Place. He stands not before a symbol of God’s presence but before the true presence of God so that He may obtain favor for us. He can do so because His sacrifice was sufficient of all time.
Christ’s sacrifice was an atonement for our sin. That was a long time ago. We hold on to that truth. The length of time does not affect the effectiveness of the cross. Just as time does not affect Christ’s atoning sacrifice so too we ought to wait patiently for His return. Time does not affect the promise of God.