24 For the Messiah 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. 25 He did not do this to offer Himself many times, as the high priest enters the sanctuary yearly with the blood of another. 26 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. 27 And just as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, judgment— 28 so also the Messiah, 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.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
But now He has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
During the summer of 2013, I had the privilege of leading a team of 27 exceptionally gifted college students as we ministered to over 3,500 kids in grades 3-6 at Centri-Kid Camps. And each week, we spent one whole day teaching kids about the tabernacle in the Old Testament.
We explained that the tabernacle was a representation (or copy) of the true, heavenly temple. Many of the intricate details of the construction of the tabernacle were actually symbols that pointed forward to Christ, and these symbols were ultimately fulfilled through his birth, life, death, and resurrection.
Just as the tabernacle represented God’s presence on Earth among his people, Jesus came to be our tabernacle – to actually be Immanuel, God with us. It was such an honor to be a part of teaching kids these deep spiritual truths and to see them walk away from camp with a greater appreciation of God’s redeeming work. Today’s passage deals with these same truths.
Throughout Scripture, Jesus is described in many different ways. He is the Wonderful Counselor, the Prince of Peace, Teacher, Master, Prophet, Savior, and the King over all things. One of his most important roles, though, is as our High Priest.
In the tabernacle (and later in the Jewish temple), a thick veil or curtain separated God’s presence from sinful people. Only the high priest could enter in to the most holy place once a year with a blood sacrifice in order to atone for the sins God’s people. When Jesus died once and for all for the sins of the world, he entered into the heavenly temple to atone for our sin. When he died, the curtain in the temple was torn from top to bottom, and he also effectively destroyed all the things that separate people from God.
Now we have access to respond in faith and have a relationship with the God of the universe. We can be adopted as his sons and daughters, and that is good news. Praise God for this work of redemption!
Today’s passage also mentions the return of Christ. Hebrews 9:28 says that when he returns he will “save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” This verse implies that there will be some people that are not waiting for him, and for those people that will be a fearful day indeed. On that day, those not in Christ will not know him as High Priest but as a dreaded warrior, and they will be separated from God eternally in hell.
Being a part of God’s people is certainly something to rejoice about, but it also carried with it an urgent responsibility. Christ has entrusted us with the message of reconciliation. Are you being faithful with that message?
- Because Jesus came to Earth as a man, He’s a High Priest who can sympathize with our burdens, worries, and temptations. Are you taking your taking your cares and petitions before the Lord in prayer?
- Christ died for our sin once for all. If we are in Christ, He gives us the freedom to live in his victory over sin. Are you living in Christ’s freedom and victory, or are you continuously giving in to temptation and indulging in sin?
- Jesus is King, and one day He’ll return to judge the earth. In the meantime, what can you do to more effectively share the good news of reconciliation with others? What steps can you take to live with more urgency?