For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
Comment: I taught for many years as a Surgeon both as under- and post-graduates. I can remember the same thing happening in my own education. You never try to teach it all at once but layer upon layer you try to bring to a ‘complete’ knowledge of the subject. That is what the author is doing here, although it seems repetitive!
- A covenant is the same word as a will in Greek. For a will to come into play someone, the maker of the will, must die. Christ as God was the Maker of the will, Jesus as the God-Man died to make the will, that is the New Covenant, effective.
- Blood was required even for the temporary covering which the Old Covenant gave to its practitioners. Its use was extensive, but an example and not an effective cure.
- The New Covenant required the blood of Christ – a much worthier sacrifice and effective in the way the Old was not.
- Christ’s sacrifice never requires to be repeated. But He will return to bring the salvation He promises to completion.
Not specifically seen here, but hinted at, it is often said salvation for an individual follower of Jesus has 3 parts. Past – forgiveness of sin; present – overcoming the power of sin; future – removing from the presence of sin.
Prayer: Where do I stand in Your sight, O God? Thank You, thank You, for what You have done for us sinful people.