Year B – Proper 27 – Hebrews 9:24-28

24For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one, but he entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.25Nor was it to offer himself again and again, as the high priest enters the Holy Place year after year with blood that is not his own;26for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to remove sin by the sacrifice of himself.27And just as it is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the judgement,28so 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.

Summary— The Old Covenant was like a “will”: it promised God’s People an eternal inheritance, but it could not deliver on that promise by itself: it looked to the New Covenant, which could redeem God’s people from the sins they committed while under the Old Covenant (9:15).  The New Covenant is the completion of that “will,” but the inheritance promised in a will is not given until the one who wrote the will dies (9:16, 17).  The blood of calves and goats was temporary, typological scaffolding around the “will,” while it was being built (9:18-22); but, but for the completed will—the New Covenant—to deliver the promised inheritance, the One who wrote the will needed to die, and His blood needed to be offered, not in a sanctuary made with human hands (a mere copy of the True Sanctuary), but in Heaven itself (23, 24).

Insight— Since Christ, the One who wrote the will, has died, we may receive our inheritance.  But not yet—not fully.  Oh, sure, we’ll go to heaven when we die, but that’s not our inheritance: that’s just a temporary layover.  We won’t settle for a heavenly layover—the will promised us far more than that: the will promised us the earth (Matt. 5:5, Rom. 4:13).  So our will required not only the death of the One who wrote it, but also His resurrection and ascension, so that He could appear a second time to save what is waiting to be saved (v.28), which includes the earth (Rom. 8:19-22).  That’s when we’ll receive the fullness of our inheritance.

Child Catechism—
Q:
What had to happen for us to receive the inheritance God promised us?
A: God had to die.

Discussion— If the earthly sanctuary was only a copy of the heavenly, is it possible that other earthly things are likewise only copies and shadows of heavenly realities?

Prayer— Almighty and Everlasting God, Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the True One, but He entered into Heaven itself, now to appear in Your presence on our behalf.  Nor was it to offer Himself again and again, as the high priest used to enter the holy place year after year with blood that was not his own.  But Christ appeared once for all at the end of the ages to remove sin by the sacrifice of Himself.  And just as it is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the 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 us.  Grant that we might eagerly wait for Him who always lives with You and the Holy Spirit, one God forever.  AMEN.

Contributed by Scott Cline

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