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The aim of this explanation is to further interpret verses which speak of either Christ’s death and ressurection, or his blood – as they are; poetic and meorphical in a certain way, especially if they read along the lines of ‘sacrifice’ or ‘makes us clean’.
Instead we find that they are ultimately speaking of how Christ is always faithful and obedient, and laid down his life as specified in Holy Scripture. The Law of Moses states that human sacrifice is not allowed (Deuteronomy 24:16) – the end result of his walk here, was that Christ was declared High Priest in the order of Melchizadek (Psalm 110:4, 45:7), and this means that the new covenant was instituted (Isaiah 43:6, 49:8, Jeremiah 31:31-34), and this means newness and everlasting life to all who believe (Isaiah 28:16, Ezekiel 36:26-27, 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV).
As High Priest, Christ in turn makes intercession (prayer) for people, and the Father (G-d) hears (ref. Romans 8:34, Isaiah 53:12, Hebrews 2:17, 1 John 2:1).
Let us now review and explain some verses;
■ Hebrews 9:26;
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.
Hebrews 9:26 ESV
Scripture tells us why he laid down his life only once, and also suffered willfully (ref. John 10:18) – in a way which is in agreement with other verses which speak of such in a [literal] manner;
‘…so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.’
(Hebrews 2:17 ESV)
This means, to become high priest, he only had to die once, and not over and over again.
Then, when it says ‘to make propitiation’ – this is again what he now does as high priest, and Scripture actually says he does this continually – ‘propitiation’ here meaning to ‘pray for transgressors’ (Romans 8:34, Isaiah 53:12, Hebrews 2:17, 1 John 2:1).
This is also what we see in literal verses which relate to him being;
• ‘mediator’ (1 Timothy 2:5),
• declared High Priest – because he hated wickedness when he was here (Psalm 45:7), and,
• making intercession (prayer) for sinners to God – scriptually, this is how forgiveness of sins works by grace through faith, especially without a temple and certified Levitical priests;
‘…Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.’
(Romans 8:34 NIV)
‘…makes intercession for the transgressors.’
(Isaiah 53:12 ESV)
‘…if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.’
(1 John 2:1 NIV)
In plain, brief – yet reverential English;
Christ (Messiah) is active, ongoing, representation for mankind that falls short. (Psalm 110:4). He died once, and was declared High Priest as per the Psalm (45:7).
More importantly, through this new covenant, this is how everlasting life is obtained, by a person believing ‘in’ Christ;
‘…‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’’
(Isaiah 28:16 ESV)
‘…Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,’
(Ephesians 2:20 ESV)
‘…whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’
(John 3:16 KJV)
■ Hebrews 9:23;
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.
Hebrews 9:23 ESV
Hebrews 9:23, is referring to heavenly sacrifices such as the praise and prayer (intercession of Christ [Isaiah 53:12], which according to Psalm 40:6, Hebrews 10:5, 10:9 – confirm are better sacrifices than burnt offerings.
‘…the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.’ (ESV)
– Without getting too aloof and poetical, Scripture literally states that thanksgiving, steadfast love, and good deeds (without sin) are looked upon more favourably than sacrifices;
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Hebrews 13:15-16 ESV
Christ literally praises and prays to God as mediator for the forginess of sins of people (Romans 8:34, Isaiah 53:12, Hebrews 2:17, 1 John 2:1);
‘…we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.’
(1 John 2:1 ESV)
Here is a proof text of three verses which ultimately agree here, in that Christ does God’s will and such is pleasing to God, and God hears the prays of the righteous (Proverbs 15:29). The explanation of them follows;
Sacrifice and offering you did not desire– but my ears you have opened — burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.
Psalm 40:6 NIV
‘Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me;
…“Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second.’
(Hebrews 10:5, 10:9 ESV)
• Interpretation of these three verses which go towards explaining Hebrews 9:23;
‘…Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired…’ (ESV) means;
God does not really desire sin offerings over and over- he desires open ears, hearts, and diligent observance of His commandments. He desires no sin from His people.
Christ does God’s will perfectly, a sin offering is not really required of him for actual sins, as he did no violence (Isaiah 53:9) – he is annointed beyond maximum (Isaiah 48:16, Colossians 2:9).
Rather it then says,
‘…I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second.’ (ESV)
And this refers to how;
A) out of obedience, Christ was given to death in order to be confirmed and declared High Priest (in the order of Melchizadek),
And this was so,
B) his obedient walk in a body of flesh could be fulfilled as per Scripture (Isaiah 52:13-15, Micah 5:2 ESV, John 19:19-22)
C) ‘…the second.’ (ESV) [covenant] could be established, as it says in Isaiah 42:6, 49:8;
It was so the new covenant (Jer 31:31) could become active for those who believe in Messiah (Christ); Everlasting Life for people (Isaiah 28:16, John 3:14-15).
Thus believers are no longer under the curses which lead to perishing (‘wasting disease’; Deuteronomy 28:22 ESV, John 3:16 KJV); These they do not perish after ressurection, and thus there is no condemnation towards them (Isaiah 28:16-22, John 3:14-16, Romans 8:1).
Hebrews 9:23, is thus referring to sacrifices such as the praise and prayer (intercession of Christ), which according to Psalm 40:6, Hebrews 10:5, 10:9 – confirm are better sacrifices than burnt offerings.
Further Verses With Concise Explanation;
■ Hebrews 10:12
(with explanation in [brackets]);
But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice
[referring to Christ laying down his life in obedience to G-d, where he was given to death, once. This was so he could be mediator and high priest of the new covenant (ref. Jer 31:31, Isa 42:6, 49:8, Hebrews 8:6)]
for sins forever
[believers have their sins forgiven and recieve righteousness (qualities etc., Ref. Heb 10:14) from God by believing in Christ (Philippians 3:3). Christ then goes on interceding for transgressors however (Romans 8:34, Isaiah 53:12, Hebrews 2:17, 1 John 2:1)]
, sat down on the right hand of God;
Hebrews 10:12 KJV (with explanation in [brackets])
■ Hebrews 10:14
For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
Hebrews 10:14 KJV
Christ was given once (he laid down his life out of obedience), so that he could become High priest of the New Covenant, where people can recieve of the righteousness of God through faith in him (Philippians 3:3).
This does not then mean that Christ does not then go on interceding (acting as mediator for what sadly continues to fall short – people [ref. Acts 15:10-11];
Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”
Acts 15:10-11 ESV
We know this as other verses tell us that even now he is mediating between the Holy God and people, because of their sins (Romans 8:34, Isaiah 53:12, Hebrews 2:17, 1 John 2:1).
■ Humble Submission On Isaiah 53:12;
Isaiah says that the Messiah (Christ)
‘…bore the sins of many…’,
Isaiah also says that Christ
‘…makes intercession for believers and/or transgressors.’
(ref. Isaiah 53:12 ESV, see Acts 15:11)
It is put to you that as per the explanation, all references with regard to ‘blood washing the robes of believers clean’ (ref. Revelation 7:13) and the like, are metaphorical.
This is said, as if his death was in fact a literal human sacrifice (which it is not, as that is prohibited by the Law of Moses ref. Deuteronomy 24:16) – then there would be no reason for him to have to continually pray for sinners and believers as we have read in (Romans 8:34, Isaiah 53:12, Hebrews 2:17, 1 John 2:1).
Thus the ‘bore our sins [by way of his death]’ is a figurative metaphor, and the literal is in his acting as high priest and mediator – by interceding (making prayer) for people, an activity which is on going.
Lastly (and peaceably), Holy Scripture says that Christ was,
‘…given as a [‘new’ ref. Jer 31:31] covenant for the people…’
(Isaiah 42:6, 49:8)
How and in what way?
Answer: Sent and given once as per John 3:16 KJV;
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 KJV
This once part was so he could be made high priest after his faithful walk, as he fulfilled Scripture (Hebrews 2:17).
And Why and what for?
So all who believe can recieve everlasting life and forgiveness of sins, as described in the new covenant with him as mediator (Jeremiah 31:31-34, Ezekiel 36:26-27, Isaiah 27:16).
Hoping it is fruitful.
May G-d bless beyond maximum in Moshiach (in Christ).
• ‘Propitiation’: Intercession, Not Human Sacrifice (1 John 2:2, Isaiah 53:12)
• Christ [Became] A High Priest – (Hebrews 2:17)
May the Holy G-d bless you beyond maximum, believing in His risen Son the Lord Jesus Christ (Adonai Yehoshua HaMoshiach). Amen.