The author has explained many ways in which Christís work was similar to the work of Israelís chief priests. But here are two important differences. The author mentions them to show that Christís work was much better than the work of Israelís priests (Hebrews 9:23).
(1) Israelís chief priest went into the most holy place only on one special day each year (see Hebrews 9:7). But he had to do it every year. That was because his work was never complete. He could not end the power of sin (evil deeds) and death (Hebrews 2:14-15). And so his work could not make people perfect (Hebrews 10:1).
But Christ offered himself only once for our sin. And God accepted him. So therefore his work was both complete and perfect (Hebrews 10:10-14). His work has given his people a right relationship with God. And he has overcome the power of sin and death (Romans 8:2).
(2) Israelís chief priest could not offer himself for the peopleís sin. In fact, he could not even offer himself for his own sin (Hebrews 7:27). Sacrifices are gifts that God considers valuable. So a sacrifice has to be perfect. When the chief priest examined his own life, he too was guilty of sin, like everyone else. And the result was that he had to bring the blood of animals into the most holy place.
But Christ offered himself. And because he was not guilty of sin, he was the perfect sacrifice (1 Peter 1:19). Until Christís death, sin ruled everyoneís lives (Romans 5:12). But Christís death is the beginning of a new age (Romans 5:17-21). The time when Christ rules has already begun (Mark 1:15; Romans 8:2). And when Christ returns, everyone will know it (1 Corinthians 15:51-52. Mark 13:24-27).
Next part: The judgement of God (Hebrews 9:27)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.