Hebrewsby Robert M. Solomon
Jesus (His Person, life and death) is superior to any other person or religious system. His death is the perfect sacrifice with perfect results. In the old covenant, the blood of sacrificed animals was used again and again to purify all the things used in the tabernacle for worship (Hebrews 9:23; see Leviticus 16:14-20). All the priests had to be sprinkled with blood too (Exodus 29:20-21). Both objects and people were merely ″copies of the heavenly things″ (Hebrews 9:23), symbolising a more substantial reality in the heavenly realms. The heavenly things (not made with human hands-spiritual realities including the heavenly tabernacle and redeemed souls) are purified with ″better sacrifices″ (v. 23). This refers to Christ and His offering of himself as a sacrifice to do away with sin (v. 26).
Jesus did not offer ritual animal sacrifices for purification or bring their blood into the Holy of Holies (Hebrews 9:25). He never entered the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies in the temple on earth. Instead, we are reminded that the ministry of Christ takes place in the heavenly tabernacle (v. 24). He enters heaven on our behalf to ″appear for us in God's presence″ (v. 24), something that no Levitical priest or high priest was able to do. When Jesus died for us on the cross, the curtain in the temple (Exodus 26:33; Hebrews 9:3) that prevented anyone from entering the Holy of Holies (except the high priest once a year) was torn into two (Matthew 27:51). This was evidence that the death of Christ opened the way into God's presence for anyone who would believe in Jesus. His blood gives us all access to God (Hebrews 9:8; 10:19-20). Acts 6:7 records that ″a large number of priests became obedient to the faith″. Some of them may have even been eyewitnesses of the supernatural tearing of the curtain. They realised that Jesus is the ultimate and real sacrifice that put an end to all the temple rituals.
The death of Christ was ″once for all″-there was no need for repeated sacrifices (Hebrews 9:25-26). All people must die once and then face judgment (v. 27). Likewise, Jesus died once but has risen and will ″appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him″ (v. 28)-to consummate the saving work begun by His death and resurrection. He saved us on the cross, is saving us now from the power of sin, and will ultimately save us from the presence of sin.
How does the writer spell out the unique features of Christ's offering of himself in the heavenly tabernacle? Why is Jesus the perfect sacrifice? Speak to Jesus with gratitude.
How are you waiting for His second coming? What salvation would He bring? What are the implications for your present walk with Christ?