Daily Thoughts from Hebrews: Not a Second Time

Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:23-28, ESV)

Once again we are reminded that the earthly sanctuary, the Tabernacle and by extension, the Temple, was a copy of the heavenly holy places.  Consequently, a better offering, better blood, than that of animals, must be offered in this heavenly sanctuary.  And that is what Christ offered, his own blood.

But he only had to do this once, unlike the high priest of Israel who had to make this offering every year.  Were he merely a sinless human he might could have made this atonement by offering himself over and over again forever, but as the Son of God, very God himself, his death, his offering of himself through the eternal Spirit (9:14), made his one offering acceptable forever for any and all who need redemption.

His coming for this signals the end of the ages.  The present evil age is now withering and dying and the age to come is coming.  And just as one’s death is followed by judgment (there are no second chances after death), so Christ’s death signifies that judgment is coming as well.  His next coming will not be to “bear the sins of many” again but to bring his kingdom to earth and save us from the judgment that comes with that and from a world has been at war with him far too long.  I’m eagerly waiting!

Mr. Mark Kagan, speaking at one of the Advent Testimony meetings, said that when on a visit to Palestine he and some other Christians gathered together in an upper room within the city wall of Jerusalem, to remember Christ’s sacrifice and death. After the meeting was over, he and another friend went to the Mount of Olives; and as they passed along they caught up a with a Jewish man who said that he also was going to the Mount of Olives. “We orthodox Jews,” he said, “as we watch the things that are happening in the world, cannot come to any other conclusion than that the Messiah’s coming must be near at hand. On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, and I am going there every day that I may be ready to give Him a welcome.”

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