About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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The Blood Of Christ (ch.9:11:28)

In verse 11 the writer says that Christ came to be our Great High Priest and serves in a sanctuary that is not made with hands.  As I've said before, when it comes to heaven; when it comes to the spiritual world in which God lives, we have very little knowledge of what it is like.  There is clearly a sanctuary in heaven but what it is like we just don't know.  We have some descriptions of it but we they might be anthropomorphic.  That is to say, they are described in human terms so humans can understand, at least to a degree.  The picture portrayed might not be the reality of things.         


The author uses the present verb tense in verse Jesus being a High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary is present reality.  This is not something that we are looking forward to.  Right now in real time our Lord is our High Priest in Heaven.  He is serving us, by representing us before God.  Jesus is much like a lawyer.  God, the judge, sees our sinfulness, but God sees us in Jesus, through the lens of Jesus since Jesus was the one who was punished on our behalf.  This is what the term "in Christ" means. 


It should be noted that the present verb tense that I mentioned above is not in all Greek manuscripts.  Some manuscripts use the future tense.  That is to say, all of the good things that are a result of Jesus being our High Priest are yet to be realized.  I believe that the present tense is the better rendering of this verb because it fits the context better.  


It says in verse 12 that Jesus has entered this Most Holy Place , not with the blood of animals, but with His own blood.  After shedding His blood on the cross, Jesus ascended back to His Father.  He entered into the presence of God.  He did this once and for all, never having to do it again.  His sacrifice of Himself is a one time event.  Once and for all time He has redeemed us in order that we could be reconciled to the Father.  He has paid the necessary price for this reconciliation. This is what the word redemption means, as seen here in verse 12.


We should note that the price that Jesus paid to redeem us, to buy us back, was not paid to the devil and some think.  It was paid to God.


Note the pronoun "eternal" before the word "redemption."  This is not a temporary redemption as was the case in the Law of Moses.  This is an eternal redemption and because of that, Jesus' sacrifice is far better than all of the animal sacrifices made in Old Testament times.  


Once again, in verses 13 and 14 the author tells us that the sacrifices of animals just didnít do it, yet, the blood sacrifice of Jesus is able to "cleanse our conscience."  I believe this speaks to the fact that our consciences need line up with the Word of God.  We have fallen consciences that cannot be relied upon to tell us what is right or wrong, or, good or bad.   


In verse 14 the writer says that we are cleansed from "acts that lead to death."  These acts that lead to death have been talked about earlier.  They are not just sins, although they do include sin.  They are all of the good works that people did over the centuries to try to make things right with God.  All these acts of good works simply lead to death.  They really cannot help us in our search for acceptance with God.


Verse 15 tells us that Christ has become the mediator of the new covenant.  Moses, a mere man, was the mediator of the Old Covenant wile Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant.  A mediator is someone who stands between two people and works out a solution to bring the two people together.  Jesus has done just that for us.  He has worked out the solution by becoming a ransom.  This means that He paid the necessary price to bring us and God together. 


Note the words "those who are called."  Some see this as predestination.  I can see how they may come to understand these words but I don't quite see it that way.  What I do believe is that a person can only get saved once God, through His Spirit, calls him, or invites him to salvation.  One cannot just become a Christian on his own.  It's all in the timing of the Lord, when He, not us, wants to call us to salvation.  For this reason, we pray for our loved ones who as yet are not saved.  We pray that God, through His Spirit will call them to Himself.   


The writer also says that "he has set us free from our sins committed under the first covenant" (the Law of Moses).  We are set free from Godís wrath that would punish us for our sin.  We have also been set free from our sin since the Holy Spirit lives within us and we now have the ability to begin to overcome sin.


In the next paragraph the writer compares both the Old Covenant and the New Covenant to a will.  With a will, the will does not take effect until the person to whom the will has been written for dies.  The author explains that when Moses received the Old Covenant he went through a ritual that included the death and sacrifice of an animal.  Even the giving of the Old Covenant could not be finalized without an animal dying.  Moses had to sprinkle everything in the tabernacle with blood. This would make it clean in the presence of God. 


Since Jesus has died, those who embrace Him inherit what He has promised.


We have a problem with verse 19.  The events the author speaks of here are not recorded in our Old Testament.  The same is true in verse 21.  Either there is more to what happened in Exodus 24, what the author is referring to, or this is rabbinical tradition. Josephus, the famous first century author says the same thing.  So, this must have been a present first century understanding.    


Verse 22 is a well known Scripture.  It says that "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins."  This was the case in the Old Covenant and it is the case in the New Covenant.      


In verse 23 and 24 we continue the re-occurring theme of the New Covenant being better than the Old Covenant.  The tabernacle and all that is in it needed to be cleansed with the blood sacrifices, yet there is a real tabernacle in Heaven that is far better than the earthly one and with a better sacrifice.  Once again the author says that Jesus is in Heaven appearing "for us in the presence of God."  This is the duty of our Most High Priest.  I have said it before, just as the writer of this book has said it before, and that is, Jesus is still serving us today. He is like a lawyer, representing us in the presence of God.  How we need His representation.  God may view us as sinless but we still sin, and for this reason I believe we still need a High Priest to represent us before God.


In verse 23 it seems to say
that they heavenly things need to be purified along with the earthly things.  Just what that means, at the moment I am not sure.


Verse 24 states again that Jesus entered into the presence of God in Heaven.  This verse seems to equate, although I could be wrong, that Heaven itself is the heavenly tabernacle and if that is so, I can understand that.  


Remember, the author is attempting to sway these Jesus believers away from the notion that they need to revert back to their former Judaism.   He does this by comparing the Levitical priesthood with Jesus.  Unlike the priests on earth, Jesus made one sacrifice and that's it.  His sacrifice was perfect.  No one can improve on that, although many in our Evangelical world attempt to do so with their many rules.          


In verse 26 it says that Jesus "has appeared once and for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself."  Has sin been totally done away with yet?  No, it hasn't.  Our sin, once we trust Jesus, has been done away with in the sense that God does not view us as sinners any longer, yet, there will come a day, which is a result of the cross, when there will be no more sin.  At that time all of the various aspects of the cross will finally be realized.  We should know that our salvation is a process.  The Bible speaks of us as already saved, as being saved, and ultimately will be saved.   


Notice the phrase "at the end of the ages."  In Christian terms, you would say we are in the second age, the first age being the Old Testament.  In Jewish terms they would say they are in the first age.  The next age is the Messianic age.  Another possibility, although it's is speculation, that there has been prior ages before the creation in Genesis 1.  Those who believe in what is called the Gap Theory believe that there was an age prior to the Genesis creation.   


Verse 27 says that we all will die at some point, and after this death we will face the judgement of God.  For the unbeliever there will be the White Throne Judgment that we see in Revelation 20:11 and following.  They will be sent to an eternal fire.  For the believer, he will stand before Jesus and give account of his works of service.  This is not a judgment to determine one's eternal destiny because if you arrive here you are saved. You have eternal life with Jesus.  This judgment is a judgment of rewards.  Your works will be judged and rewarded for.  See 1 Corinthians 3:10 and following


In verse 28 the author says that Christ's sacrifice takes away the sins of many.  Those who believe in predestination use this verse to support their belief.  Jesus died for the many, the many that He had chosen for salvation.  I don't see it that way.  I believe Jesus died or all, but not all receive His salvation.  In that sense of the word, Jesus died for the many.          


The author closes this chapter by saying that Jesus will return, not to deal with our sin, since that has already been done, but to give us the totality of our salvation that we are waiting for.  Once again, this shows us that salvation is a progressive thing.  We were saved.  We are being saved, and we will be saved.  All three aspects of salvation can be found in Scripture.  


Here at the end of this chapter we see the message of the return of Jesus to earth. It is one of the major themes of the whole Bible. 

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