Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 9

Christís work as our chief priest

Hebrews 9:12

The author of Hebrews is comparing Christís work with the work of Israelís chief priest (Hebrews 9:7). In particular, the author is thinking about the chief priestís work on the special day called the Day of Atonement. That was the day when God forgave the sins (wrong and evil deeds) of Israelís people.

Both Christ and Israelís chief priest entered the most holy place to carry out their work. For Israelís chief priest, the most holy place was a room in the tent called the tabernacle (Hebrews 9:3-5). Afterwards, it was a room in the building called the temple. But for Christ, the most holy place is in heaven. He went into the most wonderful and splendid place in heaven, where God the Father has his royal seat.

Both Christ and Israelís chief priest took blood into the most holy place. For Israelís chief priest, that was the blood of animals that he had killed as sacrifices (gifts to God). Really, it was the people (including the priest) who deserved to die. They were guilty of many sins. But God accepted the blood of the animals so that he could forgive his people.

But Christ offered his own blood to God. He died on the cross as a sacrifice. He was perfect and he did not deserve to die. He died to take the punishment for our sins (Isaiah 53:4-6). We are all guilty of very many sins (Romans 3:9-23). So we all deserve Godís punishment. But God accepts the blood of his Son so that he can forgive his people. To join his people, we must confess our sin to him, and we must invite him into our lives (Acts 3:19).

Israelís chief priest had to perform his special duty each year. But Christ did it once only (Hebrews 9:25-28). And because he died once, God can forgive our sins for all time.

Next part: Why did animals die as sacrifices? (Hebrews 9:13)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.