April 19, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The New Services

And not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. (9:12)

How does Christ minister in His heavenly sanctuary? What does He do as our eternal High Priest? He does three things, primarily. First, His service is in His own blood, not that of sacrificial animals. The Sacrificer was the Sacrifice. Second, He made His sacrifice only once, and that once was sufficient for all people of all time. Third, He obtained permanent, eternal redemption. He cleansed past, present, and future sins all in one act of redemption.[1]


12. Neither by the blood of goats, &c. All these things tend to shew that the things of Christ so far excel the shadows of the Law, that they justly reduce them all to nothing. For what is the value of Christ’s blood, if it be deemed no better than the blood of beasts? What sort of expiation was made by his death, if the purgations according to the Law be still retained? As soon then as Christ came forth with the efficacious influence of his death, all the typical observances must necessarily have ceased.[2]


12 The second dia clause is a double one, stating both negatively (“not by means of”) and positively (“but by”) the nature of the sacrifice that enabled Christ to enter the inner sanctuary. The ritual of Leviticus 16 required the OT high priest to take with him into the inner sanctuary the blood of a bull and of a goat he had slaughtered, but the blood that authorized Jesus’ entry was his own, shed in his death on the cross. (Note that the author does not speak of Christ as presenting his blood as an offering.) The brief mention in 7:27 that he “offered himself” (cf. also 9:14) is now filled out by the specific mention of Christ’s blood, by which he “obtained eternal redemption,” and “blood” will remain a key term throughout this chapter. Lytrōsis, “redemption” (GK 3391), and its variant apolytrōsis (GK 667; translated “a ransom to set them free” in v. 15) feature significantly in NT explanations of Christ’s death, drawing on his own statement that he was to give his life as a “ransom” (lytron, GK 3389) for many (Mk 10:45). The root idea is that of liberation at a price, and the price is the blood (death) of Jesus. When the OT speaks of God as “redeeming” his people, the focus of the metaphor is on the freedom won rather than the means by which it is achieved, but the NT linkage of this language with the sacrifice of a life gives it greater depth. Why Christ’s redemption is “eternal” in contrast with that provided annually under the old covenant will be explained in the following verses. What he has done can never be repeated, and there is no more to be done. For “once for all,” see on 7:27.[3]


9:12 / The tabernacle referred to in the preceding verse, however, is not something through which Christ passed to get to the Holy of Holies (as, for example, he passed “through the heavens,” 4:14). It is itself the heavenly reality, not made by hands, the place of “God’s presence” (9:24). Thus Christ entered the Most Holy Place not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood. But as F. F Bruce notes, the author refrains from actually saying that Christ took his blood into the Holy of Holies. This would be to press the analogy too far, with the result that the atonement is made to depend upon something subsequent to the cross, that is, the appearance of Christ and the offering of his blood in the heavenly sanctuary. The text of the original says simply that it was “through his own blood” that Christ entered once and for all into the Holy of Holies. The necessity for the offering of blood is underlined in verses 18 and 22. So superior is the offering of his own blood that it procured eternal redemption, by which language the author intends a sharp contrast to the provisional character of what was accomplished by the offering of the blood of animals. Stress on the salvation accomplished by Christ as eternal is also found in 5:9 (cf. 13:20). Since his work is once for all, its consequence is an eternal redemption. The superiority of Christ’s accomplishment is thus both qualitative (intrinsic) and temporal (time-transcending).[4]


9:12. Jesus’ redemptive work consisted of offering his own blood, not the blood of goats and calves. Jesus had given himself. The blood of Jesus our High Priest was far more precious than the blood of animals. His was a once for all offering that never needed repeating. Christ’s offering required no daily or even annual repetition. A single offering was eternally effective.

Some interpreters emphasize the idea that Christ took his blood into heaven as if our redemption depended on something which Jesus did after the cross. The statement that Jesus had obtained eternal redemption suggests that Jesus has accomplished redemption at the cross. It was by the blood shed at the cross that he entered heaven. All of Jesus’ work for our salvation occurred at the cross, not subsequent to it.[5]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (p. 229). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentary on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews (p. 203). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 117). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Hagner, D. A. (2011). Hebrews (p. 136). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Lea, T. D. (1999). Hebrews, James (Vol. 10, p. 168). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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