Sunday, 13 January 2019
For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; Hebrews 9:24
The word, “For,” explains what was said in the previous verse concerning “the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these” being purified. The purification that Christ brought about will be explained through the end of the chapter, but the final point of it is found in verse 9:28 which says that “Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.” This is the ultimate point of the sacrificial system. Sin is the problem, shed blood (proving the death of the covenant-victim) was what was ordained to atone for sin. The types and shadows of the Levitical priesthood in regards to this only looked forward to the actual work of Christ.
The Levitical priests entered into an earthly sanctuary, but it says that “Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands.” Thus, the earthly, physical sacrifices which were conducted by the Levitical priests were an inferior type of sacrifice conducted in an inferior place. What they did simply prefigured Christ. Year by year, the anticipation was that the Messiah would come and fulfill these types and shadows. Finally, He did come. But in the fulfillment of His work, His blood wasn’t presented in these places made with hands, “which are copies of the true.”
Again, the author reveals (as he has already done) that the earthly sanctuary was a copy of something greater, something heavenly. As he says, it wasn’t into these copies, “but into heaven itself.” It shouldn’t be supposed that the physical structures that were made are physically seen again in heaven. Rather, the physical structures represented spiritual realities found in Christ. The colors, shapes, sizes, etc. of all of the things of the sanctuary pointed to spiritual realities.
For example, the type of wood chosen for the Ark of the Covenant pictured the incorruptible nature of Christ’s humanity. This doesn’t mean the physical nature of His body, but the spiritual incorruption of sinlessness. It is true that the spiritual incorruption then translates into an incorruptible physical body, but it is the spiritually incorrupt nature of Christ which is being conveyed to us. The same is true with all of these physical things. They represented spiritual truths, not corresponding physical things in heaven. The thought then continues in the next words, which say, “now to appear in the presence of God for us.”
God is Spirit; He does not have parts. God is. Therefore, Christ’s death, in fulfillment of the Mosaic Covenant, conveyed a spiritual reality. The sins of those who anticipated Christ under the Mosaic Law were atoned for, once and forever. At the same time, a New Covenant was initiated for those who receive this atonement. All of this is done by Christ in the presence of God. As God is – without change of any kind – then this is a one time and for all time atonement; it is eternal. The author will continue to explain this in the coming verses.
Life application: Christ said during His ministry, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). People misinterpret this verse and teach that the law is still in effect for believers; it is not. The law is in effect for all persons until they come to Christ. When one comes to Christ in faith that He fulfilled the law on their behalf, the law is then set aside and a new law takes effect. This is the purpose of Jesus’ death. In one mighty act, Jesus fulfilled the Old Covenant, set it aside for believers, and also established the New Covenant. The cross then is God’s glorious way of demonstrating His infinite grace, truth, mercy, love, holiness, righteousness, and justice. All of these eternal and unchanging attributes are reconciled at the cross of Jesus. Without this moment, a tension between these attributes remains between God and man, resulting in eternal separation and condemnation. Ensure you understand this! If you misinterpret Jesus’ statement concerning the law, you will feel bound to it when in fact you are not. If you misinterpret God’s eternal nature, then you will miss the point, and you will flounder in an ocean of uncertainty. Instead, have faith in Christ and be at peace with God!
What an amazing gift, O God! That you would unite with Your creation in the Person of Jesus in order to reconcile us to You. It’s beyond comprehension how glorious You are and we can only shout praises and thanks to You for sending Jesus to reveal that glory in a way in which we can comprehend! Hallelujah and Amen.