Why did Paul focus on the sanctuary services in the book of Hebrews?


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The book of Hebrews consists of comparisons and contrasts between various aspects of the earthly and heavenly sanctuaries. After Jesus died on the cross as our sacrifice for sin, He ascended to heaven to serve as our Heavenly High Priest (Hebrews 9:11, 12).

Paul writes, “We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man” “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount” (Hebrews 8:1, 2, 5).

And he adds, “It was necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these: but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Hebrews 9:22-24).

The blood ministered by the earthly priest represents Jesus applying His blood to our record of sins in the sanctuary above, showing that they are forgiven when we confess them in His name (1 John 1:9).

In the OT, when a sacrifice was offered for the sins of the entire congregation, the blood was taken by the priest into the sanctuary and sprinkled before the veil which separated holy and most holy rooms. Thus, the sins of the people were removed and symbolically transferred to the sanctuary.

The Day of Atonement pointed to the blotting out of sin by the real High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary. This special judgment day, like that of Israel’s Yom Kippur, foreshadowed the final atonement to be made for planet Earth.

You may ask: wasn’t the atonement of Christ finished on the cross?

Jesus completed the sacrifice which provided for a final atonement for every soul on the cross. But, just as the sacrificing of the lamb in the courtyard did not cleanse the record of sin until it was sprinkled inside the sanctuary, so the death of Jesus can have no cleansing until it is applied to each individual life that seeks it through the High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary. And once the work of the investigative judgment out of the books of heaven is ended, Jesus will return to execute His judgment ( Revelation 22:11, 12).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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