Israel’s Ultimate Sin Offering

“But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God.”
(Hebrews 10:12)

(Devotion Drawn from the Old Testament)

On the Jewish Day of Atonement the high priest would sacrifice the superlative Jewish sin offering to convey (not create) forgiveness for Israel’s sins of the past year. At this annual observance the high priest entered the Tabernacle’s Most Holy Place, God’s throne room among men, and there he sprinkled the sin offering blood of the innocent creature toward God’s throne…the mercy seat. The high priest then exited God’s throne room, awaiting the next Day of Atonement when this lofty, yearly sin offering would again be sacrificed for the nation of Israel.

This portrayed a greater heavenly reality. In several places the writer of Hebrews conveys the Jewish belief that the earthly Tabernacle had its heavenly counterpart. In Hebrews 8:5 the priests are said to “serve a copy of the heavenly things.” Hebrews 9:11 explains that “when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation.” The same theme is found in Hebrews 9:23: “Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these [animal sacrifices], but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.” The “things in the heavens” are the heavenly “tabernacle and all the vessels” (9:21). The earthly Tabernacle (later, the Temple) of the Jews, enabled God’s people to begin to grasp the highest heavenly realities. It all pointed to Jesus.

Jesus is our innocent sin offering. After he had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He did not merely present His blood to the Father in heaven and then exit the heavenly throne room, but He sat down at the right hand of God. He sits down. Now in some transcendent way, Jesus is enthroned on the heavenly mercy seat with the Father, having finished His atoning work; no more sin offerings are needed.

Christ’s single sacrifice did not merely cancel sins from the previous year, but it created forgiveness of sins for all people for all time. He will not exit the heavenly Most Holy Place until Judgment Day, and then, for those who trust in Him, there will be no reference to sin—ever. This is explained by the author of the epistle to the Hebrews:  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…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…so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of [the] many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him [9:24,26b,28].

Thank you Lord Jesus that your sacrifice completely paid for my sins. Amen