Our last reading in Hebrews 9 is Hebrews 9:21-28
There is an inherent relationship between death and sin. We die because we are sinners. Death came into the world because of sin. An animal had to die as a consequence of sin. In the temple, its blood was dealt with in a very precise manner, and it was also appropriated as part of the service.
The death of Messiah was important. The blood of Messiah is equally as important and also needs to be emphasised.
After Yeshua rose from the dead, He told Mary Magdalene not to touch Him because He had not yet ascended to His Father (John 20:17). Later on, He was touched – He told Thomas to put his hand into His wound on His side (John 20:27). What was the change? It was because He went up to the true temple in heaven and with His own blood He purified everything in order that sinful man would be able to have an eternal habitation in the Kingdom of G-d. His blood was a vital part of this process. By means of the shedding of His blood redemption came.
v22: All things are purged with blood: There is an effectual aspect of blood for purifying, for cleansing, for putting something into a new status/condition where it is acceptable to G-d and can be used by Him.
- Without shedding of blood there is no remission: A death itself is not enough. At Passover, the lambs had to die, but when the angel of death went over Egypt, he was not looking for the dead carcass of the lamb (this was consumed) – he was looking for its blood.
- No remission: No forgiveness of sin. It is only by means of blood that the power and the effects of sin can be taken away.
v23: It was necessary: It was an absolute requirement.
- The copies: These examples. These things in the heavenly temple. The writer is speaking about the acts of worship in this verse. The paradigm for understanding this verse is found in Ex 24:6-8 and Num 7:1. Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the book (The Torah) and on the people. Likewise, when he had finished setting up the tabernacle, he applied blood to all of the utensils there (Menorah, incense altar etc) in order that they would be properly dedicated for worship. The Scripture is saying that, similarly, the elements in the true temple (the Heavenly one) needed to be subjected to the same process. However, the blood of bulls, goats and the ashes of a heifer were not sufficient for this. The heavenly temple needed a better sacrifice. A sacrifice that was provided by Messiah Yeshua.
v24: Copies of the true: These things made by hand, the temple and all its furnishings that stood in Jerusalem, were only shadows/a copy of the real temple or vessels that are in heaven. Messiah Yeshua dedicated/inaugurated/purified those vessels in heaven so that our worship would not just remain in Jerusalem but rather that it would penetrate into the Kingdom of Heaven. Our worship can now be presented before the Living G-d. Not as a paradigm of what took place but as the true worship. The Torah gave us a pattern of worship, Messiah gave us the ability to truly worship G-d – in Spirit and in truth.
v25: Nor that He should offer Himself often: This verse speaks of the sufficiency of Messiah’s work. If it had not been superior, He would have had to offer Himself up many times.
- The high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year: If Messiah’s work were no better than that of the Levitical high priests, it would have been insufficient. According to the law these priests had to offer sacrifices yearly. The implication for that High Priest’s work was (grace) for one year into the future. Messiah would have had to do this year after year after year. The construction of this verse reveals to us that this is not the case. Messiah offered Himself once – and that was enough. It was sufficient.
v26: Once at the end: This is a word that means to bring everything to perfection
- He has appeared …by the sacrifice of Himself: He came into this world for a purpose. He offered Himself up – only once. Being from a more excellent priesthood, His sacrifice was perfect and eternally redeeming. It does not have to be repeated over and over again. Those who walk in the Spirit fulfil the righteousness of the law. Not the letter of the law but the spirit, the purpose, of the law. Yeshua said that if we love Him we will keep His commandments (John 14:15). He is speaking of the same Biblical commandments, found in the Old Testament, but now we can do so in a more excellent way – and that is through the anointing, power, and guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is only when we understand the law that we can appreciate, perceive and, with that knowledge, respond properly to the all sufficient work of Messiah that purchased for us eternal redemption.
v27: Appointed: Decreed – this is an absolute word. G-d is making a promise of something that is going to happen.
- Once: This word has eternal consequences. In Daniel 12:2 we are told that just as everyone is going to die so too will everyone be resurrected. This resurrection is going to bring about G-d’s judgement. People are either going to be deemed as acceptable (everlasting glory) or are going to be rejected (eternal shame, death, and condemnation). This verse is not speaking about the judgement of works. There is going to be a judgement for works, but the criteria for that is different to the judgement mentioned here.
- After this the judgment: The judgement spoken of here will be based on our acceptance or rejection of Messiah. If we accepted Him, not only are our sins removed from us and seen no more but, by faith, His perfect righteousness is also imputed to us the moment we believe. This means that G-d will see the righteousness of His Son when He looks at us. Not everyone is going to be saved.
v28: Was offered once to bear the sins of many: Sin is a heavy burden and weighs us down. When we receive the free gift of salvation, from Messiah, He lifts this sin off us and takes it away.
- He will appear a second time: He is coming again! The first coming of Messiah Yeshua was for the purpose of dealing with the consequence of sin by dying on the cross. This is not the purpose for His second coming. He is coming for the salvation of those who believe in Him and for the establishment of His Kingdom. The reason He wanted to forgive our sins was for us to be with Him in His eternal Kingdom. We are enabled, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to live, even now, as citizens of this Eternal Kingdom.