Hebrews 9:23-28 The Greatness Of Christ’s Sacrifice.
Those things which will be forever, required a sacrifice which would be complete-once for all-this is our author’s point. Biblical religion sets itself apart from all others, in that our sanctuary, and the High Priest of this sanctuary, are things not made with human hands. There is no manmade works righteousness. Our religion is a matter of faith in the finished work of Christ (v. 23). The pattern was always that which is in heaven, showing that Moses and the earthly sanctuary was meant to be temporary (8:5). “For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (v. 24). His sacrifice only had to be offered once, because it was an offering of Himself which was complete, and therefore it was not dependent on another (v. 25).
This is another point which our author wanted to make to his audience still being pulled toward the old covenant sacrifices still being offered. “The repetition of sacrifices was evidence that they were not effective to remove guilt (10:2), and it was a recurring reminder of sins (10:3). The author earlier stressed that the Day of Atonement ceremonies took place only once a year (v. 7); here the emphasis is that they are repeated again and again (10:1)” (NGSB p. 1947). The point is, if those high priests had to continually offer the blood of another, this would mean that the Son would also have to offer his blood continually from the fall onward, but instead He offered Himself “once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (v. 26). Not well, when our author said from the foundation of the world he was affirming the fall.
Something else should not go unnoticed here. The once and for all sacrifice which the Son offered He offered at “the end of the ages.” This is the same as what he said in the beginning verses of this letter, namely “the last days.” It is the position of this writer, that these were the last days of the old covenant, including the end of the old sacrificial system and ordinances associated with it. The promise of Joel, quoted by Peter at Pentecost, indicated the in those last days the prophetic revelation would occur, but also come to an end with the close of the canon. Here, by our author pressing the point that this “end of the ages,” that is, the culmination of the old covenant administrations of the one covenant of grace, found their fulfillment in this “once at the end of the ages” sacrifice of the Son. This sacrifice is not repeated, because at the end of the ages of the old, the new arrived complete.
There is literally nothing more to come between this once for all finished work of the Son, until the day of judgment. “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (vv. 27-28 Cf. Gen. 3:19; Eccl. 3:20; Is. 53:12; Mt. 26:28; Rom. 6:10; I Cor. 1:7; II Cor. 5:10; Titus 2:13; I Jn. 4:17; I Pet. 2:24). With the destruction of the temple in 70 AD, an end which our author foresaw in his day, the future awaits the Son putting His enemies at His feet, through the work of His church faithfully taking the Great Commission forward, ultimately fulfilling the original Creation Mandate given to Adam at the dawn of creation (Gen. 1:26; Mt. 28:18-20). The many given to the Son, and for whom He died, “eagerly wait for Him.”