Reading through the Bible together
The author argues in this chapter that Jesus has provided for us the blessing of having direct access to God, the most coveted of all the blessings.
In vv. 1–10, the readers are reminded that in the first sanctuary and its worship regulations, the people did not have access to God. Only one person could enter the Most Holy Place, where God’s throne was, and only once a year. The problem was that the sacrifices offered in this tabernacle could not cleanse the conscience of the worshiper. Verses 11–14 argue, however, that Jesus has entered once for all the heavenly sanctuary and offered a perfect sacrifice that cleanses our consciences. Verses 15–23 state that this sacrifice fulfilled two purposes. The first was to redeem us from the transgression committed under the first covenant and the second was to inaugurate the new covenant with its new sanctuary, the heavenly one. Then, vv. 24 - 29 culminate the argument by making clear the significance of Jesus’ achievement. While priests could only enter once a year into the immediate presence of God in the Most Holy Place, Jesus has entered once for all into heaven itself to begin his eternal ministry (7:25) in our behalf. Not only that, he has put away sin by his sacrifice, which reminds us of the prophecy of Daniel 9:24 that the Messiah would come “to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness.” In v. 27, the author mentions that there is a second phase in Jesus’ ministry related to judgment, but the purpose of this judgment will be to bring salvation to his people.
I love how Heb 9:24 describes Jesus’ sacrifice and ascension as “to appear in the presence of God in our behalf.” The Hebrew expression “to seek the face of God” meant to ask God for help. The hope was that when appearing before God His face would shine with joy (Num 6:25). This is certainly what happened when Jesus appeared in our behalf
May God’s face shine on you today!
Felix H. Cortez
Andrews University Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary