Tuesday, March 28, 2017

HEBREWS 9:23-27

It's not too soon to start celebrating Easter, is it?  No, I didn't think so. 
I think flowers come out to celebrate.

This passage explains His sacrifice and victory...

"Therefore it was necessary
for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these,
but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands,
a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself,
now to appear in the presence of God for us;
nor was it that He would offer Himself often,
as the high priest enters the holy place
year by hear with blood that is not his own.
Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often
since the foundation of the world;
but now once at the consummation of the ages
He has been manifested to put away sin
by the sacrifice of Himself.
And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once
and after this comes judgment,
so Christ also, having been offered once
to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation
without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him."

"Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands."

You see, Christ never entered the holy of holies in the temple while He was here on earth.  But any smugness of a high priest, or one putting their trust in a high priest only, is silly.  Did they offer their own blood?  Nope.  It makes me wonder when Jesus was a boy if He ever got into one of those arguments, "My Dad's bigger than your dad."  Well, His Dad is bigger than anyone else's, even the high priests.  Jesus had no need to enter the holy of holies here on earth.  He had come from the highest heaven and knew He would return to it.  It is then said, "Christ...will appear a second time for those who eagerly await Him."  Yep, He's coming back.

Once again, we see that the "holy place made with hands, (is) only a mere copy of the true one."  I offer but a poor example that might help make sense: how would a polaroid picture compare or even a video to seeing someone in person?  Would you rather put your palm on the imprint in one of those deemed the greatest on a sidewalk in Hollywood, or greet the persons themselves?   

In such a way, the temple was temporal. 
Yet, Solomon said at the dedication of the temple...

"The Lord has said that He would dwell in the thick cloud.
I have surely built You a lofty house,
A place for Your dwelling forever...
But will God indeed dwell on the earth?
Behold, heaven and the highest heaven
cannot contain You,
how much less this house which I have built."
(I Kings 8:12-13, 27)

Andrew Murray says, "Heaven itself is now opened up to us.  Christ has entered, not simply on His own behalf, but entirely to appear before the face of God for us.  Yes, for us, His entering in has obtained for us boldness to enter in.  His entering in was through the rent veil; there is no veil now between God and us.  We are to draw nigh in the fullness of faith."

Another point, made  by Adam Clarke, is that verse 28, "'So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many,' alludes to the ceremony of the scapegoat...the sins of the people were to be confessed over the head of it, and after this the goat was dismissed into a land uninhabited, laden...with the sins of the people; and this word 'to bear or carry away,' seems to imply.  So truly as the goat did metaphorically bear away the sins of the many, so truly did Christ literally bear the punishment due to our sins; and in reference to every believer, has so borne them away that they shall never more arise in judgment against him."

The word 'once' was used three times in the last two verses in this chapter.  Once is all it took.  There was no need to suffer often.  Once was enough.  "It is finished."  He sat down on the right hand of the Father. 

Andrew Murray says, "'By the sacrifice of Himself.' The words reveal the inmost meaning of the death of Christ: it was self-sacrifice.  Sin, in its deepest root, is a turning from God to self; rejecting God to please self.  From the wilderness to the garden this was the one temptation with which Satan sought to lead Him astray.  By doing not His own will but the will of His Father, by the sacrifice of Himself to God and His will, He conquered sin in His own person, and gained a victory over it...Which shall it be?  Sin and myself or Christ and His Self...Which shall it be--self-pleasing or self-sacrifice--a life in self or a life in Christ."

As to His coming back, Adam Clarke says, "And let no one ever expect to see Him at His second coming with joy, unless he have, in this life, been turned away from his iniquity, and obtained remission of all his sins, and that holiness without which none can see God.  Reader, the time of His reappearing is, to thee, at hand!  Prepare to meet thy God!"  To the Christian, we can say, "Yippe!"  Aren't you glad this ol'world is not all there is!

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