Ezekiel 20:27-49; Hebrews 9:24-28; Psalms 106:47-48; Proverbs 23:19-21
NT: “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. And just as it is appointed for people to die once — and after this, judgment — so also Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:24-28 CSB)
The first covenant was established by the blood of animals applied in the tabernacle that was made by hands. The new covenant was established by a better sacrifice, applied in a better place. The Greek word for ‘better’ has to do with being more forceful, stronger, more mighty and powerful, more noble with greater dominion – more excellent in every way. The sacrifice of Christ and the true sanctuary are not just a little bit better than the earthly copies and shadows – they are infinitely better.
The things of earth, made by human hands, do not last forever. The tabernacle of Moses was later replaced by the temple of Solomon. That temple was completely destroyed by the Babylonians. When the Jews returned to Israel after exile in Babylon, they built a new temple and King Herod expanded it and improved upon it. But that temple was later destroyed by the Romans, never to be rebuilt again. The earthly sanctuary is gone, but the true heavenly sanctuary lasts forever.
The sanctuary on earth was limited by the flow of time. The sacrifices applied in the earthly sanctuary could only cover sins that had been committed up to that time. Therefore the high priests had to enter the sanctuary year after year to atone for the past years sins – over and over. The true sanctuary, where Christ applied His sacrifice, is eternal and unbound by time. Therefore His sacrifice was not just for a time, but was for all time. His sacrifice did not just cover sins, it provided for the removal of sin. Christ did not have to offer Himself over and over to continue covering sins. He offered Himself once to bear (place on the altar) the sins of many (all those through the ages who have placed their faith in Him). The work of Christ is a completed, final and eternal work.
After offering the atonement sacrifice, the high priest of the first covenant would leave the Holy of Holies, stand at the entrance of the tabernacle, and bless the people. Christ does not have to leave the heavenly sanctuary. He remains there to this day interceding for us before the Father. However, He has blessed us by sending us the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, empowering us, leading us, and filling us with resurrection life. At the end of this age, Christ will appear again. But at that time He won’t appear to bear sin, but to bring final salvation to all who have believed on Him and remained faithful to Him to the end.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You for Your completed, final and eternal work. You have not just covered sins, You have dealt with sin. You have paid for my sin, which covers past, present and future sins. I don’t have to sin, but if I do, I can always find forgiveness by confessing and repenting because of what You have done. Help me, by Your grace and the Holy Spirit, to walk fully in what You have completed, and to remain faithful to You until the end. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.