The Final Sacrifice of Christ: Chapter 9, #3

In the first two paragraphs of Hebrews 9, the author of Hebrews draws theological points from the tabernacle, the priestly service of Aaron, and the Day of Atonement. He first observes that access to God was limited and that blood sacrifice was required for satisfaction of God’s wrath and the subsequent forgiveness of sins. He then explains the short-comings of the sacrificial system: it could not effect an entire satisfaction of God’s wrath, nor completely cleanse anyone from his sins. In the third paragraph, the author explains how the sacrifice of Jesus both fulfills the satisfaction of God’s wrath and is able to effect salvation in those who believe.

How does Jesus fulfill all of these requirements? First the author states that Jesus “appeared as a high priest.” This reminds us of the conversation at hand, that Jesus is a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. This is necessary because in God’s order of the universe only the high priest has direct access to God. Also, only a high priest was qualified to offer the sacrifice.

Secondly, he entered the Most Holy Place by means of his own blood. His sacrifice was superior to a sacrifice of bulls and goats on two grounds. First, his sacrifice was a perfect substitute. Jesus was not only human, but he was also sinless. Secondly, his sacrifice had eternal consequences not merely temporal consequences, “thus securing an eternal redemption.”

This eternal redemption includes the forgiveness of sin necessary for salvation. The sacrifices of the Tabernacle could take away those sins committed on a daily basis, much like 1 John 1:9. At a deeper level, sin had to be banished through a perfect substitute.