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In God's sanctuary for eternity

Therefore, it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves to be purified with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with hands (only a model of the true one) but into heaven itself, so that he might now appear in the presence of God for us. He did not do this to offer himself many times, as the high priest enters the sanctuary yearly with the blood of another. Otherwise, he would have had to suffer many times since the foundation of the world. But now he has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of himself. Hebrews 9:23-26 CSB

In these next four verses, the author of Hebrews shows how Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself was sufficient and did not require repetition. From verses 15 to 22, we saw that the old covenant required blood for purification in the rituals. Throughout the old covenant, animals were used for this purification process. But, in order for “heavenly things,” meaning atonement from sin, to be accomplished, “better sacrifices” were needed. The better sacrifice was Jesus Christ’s death on the cross. After Christ died at Calvary, Christ entered “heaven itself.” The high priests of the old covenant could only enter the Holy Place once a year, yet Christ is forever in the “presence of God for us,” being our mediator at all times, as seen in Hebrews 7:24-25, “But because he remains forever, he holds his priesthood permanently. Therefore, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, since he always lives to intercede for them.” Two key aspects of Christ’s sacrifice versus the previous animal sacrifices were: (1) that Christ offered Himself willingly, as Lea writes, “No animal could consciously say, ‘ I desire to do your will, O God,’” versus Christ’s sacrifice in Luke 22:42, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me—nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done;” (2) Jesus’s sacrifice only had to be done once, for if Christ’s death had to be done over and over, it would have to had been repeated since the “foundation of the world” until the end of time, yet through His sacrifice on the cross once, having “appeared one time,” physically on earth, He was able to accomplish His mission of paying the penalty of sin, removing the penalty for all that believe in Him. Death, which is the penalty of sin, can only be removed through the substitutionary death of Christ at the cross. “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ” (Romans 6:23). We stand condemned before God in our sins and heaven remains close to us. But because we trusted Christ and repented of our sin, His death made heaven a sanctuary for us so that we may live there and to be with Him for eternity.


Isaac De Guzman


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