(The Blood Sacrifice of Jesus Christ)
Some of the verses preceding the passage that we are studying today describe the limitations of the Levitical priests, the tabernacle, and the Levitical sacrifices. The following verses reveal the unlimited nature of Christ’s priesthood and sacrifice and the surpassing greatness of the tabernacle in heaven.
11. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
This greater tabernacle is also called, “the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man”. (Hebrews 8:2)
12. Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
The blood of goats and calves was shed on the “great day of atonement” (Leviticus 23:27-28) and taken into the most holy place by the high priest. He was the only person who could ever enter the most holy place and he could only do so once a year on a specific day. Today this day is observed as Yom Kippur (the holiest Jewish day of the year) but the animal sacrifices are not taking place.
Over the centuries, high priests would have entered the earthly most holy place many hundreds of times, but Christ entered into the heavenly most holy place only once. His sacrifice was perfect and therefore never needing to be repeated.
13. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
The ashes of a heifer were sprinkled upon people who were considered unclean due to such things as coming into physical contact with a bone, a grave, or a dead body. (Numbers19:9,17,18)
14. How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Sacrificial animals that represented Christ were prohibited by the law from having any deformity or blemish, signifying that Christ (the ultimate sacrifice) would be without any sin whatsoever:
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things,
as silver and gold,
from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
But with the precious blood of Christ,
as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
I Peter 1:18-19
15. And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
16. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
17. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.
A mediator is a “middle-man” and a reconciler (which is exactly what a high priest is). The transgressions that were under the first testament are those violations of God’s moral law. Christ paid the price for these when he suffered, died, and shed his blood for us.
We commonly refer to the first 39 books of the Bible as the “Old Testament” and the last 27 books as the “New Testament”, but a testament is a will (a written testimony that dictates the distribution of the testator’s estate). A testament has no effect until the testator dies. So it is with the New Testament – Christ had to die in order for his children (those who have been born again) to receive the “inheritance”. This inheritance is glorious:
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened;
that ye may know what is the hope of his calling,
and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
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