The Book of Hebrews #35 chapter 9:15-28 pt. 3
The Book of Hebrews
The New Covenant, Part 8
Hebrews 9:15-28
We are looking at the reasons Jesus had to die in connection with His superiority over the Old Testament covenant.
First, He had to die to activate the will.  Wills don’t go into effect until a death occurs.  We are the beneficiaries of some wonderful promises, and eternal inheritance as the author calls it.  But we can’t access it until the death of the will maker occurs.
Second, Jesus had to die, because we need forgiveness, and by God’s standards, bloodshed is necessary for forgiveness to take place. Now we began our look at that point last week and I ran out of time.
So let’s back up to verse 25 and start there.
Verse 25
There we see the superiority of the sacrifice of Christ. It was better, first of all because, when he got done He entered right into the presence of God and stayed there and number two, He never had to do it again.
On the other hand, they had to do it “often.  In the Old Testament they kept repeating it over and over, but Jesus didn't have to.
Why is that such a big deal that the sacrifice didn’t have to be repeated?
verse 26
If the Jesus offering was not a sinless sacrifice, then it would have had to be repeated for every sinner who ever lived.  Jesus would've had to die throughout history. Over and over and over and over and over and over and over, He would've had to be dying. He'd be dying and dying and dying and dying since Adam.
But that’s not necessary because ". . . now once, at the end of the ages, he has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself."
Now follow the logic of this argument.  If the old system needed blood, so does the new one. If the old system depended upon sacrifices, so does the new one. But the new one is better because, number one, Jesus, when He finished it, entered into God's presence. And it's better, number two, because He never had to repeat it. If it needed to be repeated at all, then it had to be repeated for everyone, but since it is a perfect sacrifice, it doesn't need to be repeated at all.
That means it was so totally effective it was done once and that was it. And He says it was done once at the end of the ages. What does it mean that “when Jesus died, it was the end of the ages?”
Leading up to Jesus, there were a lot of ages.  There was the age when Satan fell. There was of creation.  There was the age when Adam sinned.
There was the age when God saw the wickedness of man and destroyed the earth by flood. There was the age when God spoke at Sinai. There was the age of the prophets and the kings.  Lots of ages leading up to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.
How many ages have there been since Christ? Only one.  This is the last times;; these are the last days.
And it all hinges upon the coming of the Jewish Messiah.  We even date history according to the coming of Christ.
John called this “the last time” in I John 2:18.  James 5:8, "The coming of the Lord draws nigh." I Peter 4, "The end of all things is at hand." Since the time that Jesus came, it is the last time. This is the end of the ages. 
It is no wonder the early believers expected Jesus to come any moment because once He had arrived the first time, it was the end of the age. The end of the age has been going on for 2,000 years. This is the last age. This is Messiah's age. And at the end of the ages, by one sacrifice He put away sin. No longer is sin just covered and pushed forward.  It is removed and fully and finally dealt with.
That’s why it is so important to underline the fact that this sacrifice did not need to be repeated.
Is anyone here familiar with Catholic teaching?  There's a prominent teaching, a false doctrine of the Catholic church that really bothers me, and I want to familiarize you with it.  It is as blatant and serious heresy as you will ever find.  It deals with the perpetual offering of Christ.
It states this. I read. "Inasmuch as the priesthood of Christ is perpetual, and sacrifice is an essential part of priesthood, therefore, the sacrificial offering of Christ must also be perpetual." That quote is from a book written by Ludwig Ott, a leading Catholic theologian, on Catholic dogma.
In this book he says this. "The holy mass is a true and proper sacrifice.  It is physical and propitiatory, removing sins and conferring the grace of repentance." That says the mass is the actual physical propitiatory sin-removing sacrifice of Christ, which means that every Sunday, four or five times, Jesus is offered as a sacrifice again. That's the essence of what the mass is.
"Propitiated by the offering of this sacrifice, God, by granting the grace of the gift...and the gift of penance, remits trespasses and sins, however grievous they may be."
In other words, God's satisfaction regarding sin is dependent upon the weekly mass. That's the essence of the decision of the Council of Trent.
And so much of Catholic teaching is tied to this heresy regarding perpetual sacrifice.  For instance, they believe in transubstantiation which teaches that at Communion the bread and wine literally become the flesh and blood of Jesus.
Why must there be present in the Mass the literal body and blood of Jesus? What purpose does it serve?  The answer is found in the doctrine of perpetual sacrifice.
Listen to this quote from "The Roman Catholic Sacrifice of the Mass" by Bartholomew F. Brewer, who is a Catholic with a Ph.D.: "The sacrifice of the Mass is the same sacrifice of the cross, for there is the same priest, the same victim, and the same offering."
The Roman Catholic Church believes and teaches that in every Mass, in every church, throughout the world (estimated at up to 200,000 Masses a day) that Jesus Christ is being offered up again, physically, as a sacrifice for sin (benefiting not only those alive, but the dead as well!)
Every Mass is a re-creation of Jesus' death for the sins of the world. Not a symbolic re-creation! But a literal, actual offering of the flesh and blood of the Lord to make daily atonement for all the sins that have been daily committed since Jesus was crucified almost 2,000 years ago.  That’s not my opinion.  That’s what they say of themselves.  ("The Catholic Home Instruction Book", #3, P. 90.).
That's why the elements must become physically Jesus' body and blood, so that they can be once again offered for sin:
Here’s another quote from their writing.  "The Holy Eucharist is the perpetual continuation of this act of sacrifice and surrender of our Lord. When the Lord's Supper is celebrated, Christ again presents Himself in His act of total surrender to the Father in death." ("The Spirit of Jesus" pp.89-90, Imprimatur: John Joseph Cardinal Carberry, Archbishop of St. Louis.)
Another:  "He offers Himself continually to the Father, in the same eternal act of offering that began on the cross and will never cease." ("Sons of God in Christ" Book 4, P. 117.)
"The Mass is identical to Calvary it is a sacrifice for sin it must be perpetuated to take away sin." (For Them Also, pp.289-299.)
Now think about that in light of Scripture.  On the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished.”
But according to Roman Catholic priest Richard W. Grace in his book, “The Sacrifice of Christ”, the "true meaning" of the words "it is finished!" is:  "these words do not declare that His sacrifice was finished, but that He had finished His former, normal, earthly life and was now fixed in the state of a victim...He then began His everlasting career as the perpetual sacrifice of the new law."
Therefore, according to Rome, Jesus must be forever dying for sin, "perpetually".
Have you ever wondered why in every Catholic Church they still have Jesus up on the cross? Every crucifix with Jesus portrayed as nailed to it, tells the whole Catholic story.  Jesus is still dying for the sins of the world! But that's a lie!
Verse 26, "But now," what's the next word? "Once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself."
And yet there are thousands of sincere Catholics around the world who, through their practices, destroy the whole concept of the single perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
When we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, the farthest thing from our minds ought to be that Jesus is still on the Cross.  He went there, no doubt.  He died there without question, but He did everything necessary to deal with all sins for all time, buried them in a grave in Jerusalem and arose victoriously as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
And notice what it says in verse 26
"He put away sin," singular. Don't you like that? Sins? No. The old Levitical system could do something for the sins. It couldn't do anything for the principle of sin. When Jesus died, He not only took care of the details, He took care of the principle. He removed sin as a principle.
So Messiah had to die, first of all, to activate His will. He must die, secondly, because forgiveness demands a sacrifice.  Thirdly, and just very briefly, He had to die because
3. Judgment Demands Substitution
verse 27
Now there is a vital connection here between verse 26 and 27.  How many times will you die?  Once.  It is appointed unto man to die once.
How many times did Jesus make a sacrifice?  Once.
See the connection?  Jesus doesn't have to be sacrificed often or over and over. God says you die once. And Jesus was a man, and it was appointed unto men once to die. He only died once.
And from that thought, we see the thought in relation not only to Christ, in verse 27, which is the primary meaning of the verse, but in relation to everybody else.
All men have to die, and our death is appointed. That's one appointment everybody'll keep. And immediately after death comes judgment.
Men die by divine appointment, and in their case judgment follows, but in Jesus' case, notice
verse 28
He didn't get judgment. He'll just come back. If you die for your own sin, what follows is judgment.  And from that judgment you will never return.
On the other hand, Jesus died once, and after that there was no judgment.  Instead, He'll return a second time, not to die for sin, but with salvation.
"So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many." Why? Because "it's only appointed to men once to die." He only had to die once. And He died for us. "Our sins He bore in His own body on the tree." "He became sin for us who knew no sin." Judgment demanded death. He died that one death that judgment demanded.
And I love the next phrase.
Verse 28b
Now don’t miss the picture that is given there in that phrase.  Remember, he’s talking to Jews.  So let’s put our Jewish glasses on and look through that lens.  Speaking of Jesus, he says, we eagerly wait for Him to return, without sin, for salvation.
The Israelites used to watch the high priest go into the Holy of Holies, and he'd go in there and do what had to be done.  They'd stand there with bated breath waiting for him to come out, because if he did anything wrong in there, he'd die. Several times in giving him his instructions it says, "Do this that you die not." And when he'd come out, they'd go "Ah. He made it."
Now, the Israelites who watched their high priest go in and out are who he is talking to when He says this. "For those that eagerly look for His, He will appear." There is no doubt about it.  Without question, He will return. And when He does, He will come apart from sin.  God is absolutely satisfied with the sacrifice.
And because God is satisfied, He'll come back with full salvation. He will bring it to completion.  When He comes to be...when He comes to take us to be with Himself, our salvation is full. Oh, what a terrific thing.
When He appears the second time to those who expect Him, it will not be to deal with sin. Sin only needs to be dealt with once.
It'll be to come back in the blessings of full salvation. You see what a perfect sacrifice is?
Now, there is only one potential hitch in the system and that is what we find in verse 27.
We're going to die and following that there awaits a judgment.
But He made three “appearings” to take care of it.
The first one is in verse 26.
- He has appeared to put away sin.
That's the first appearing on the cross.
The second appearing is in verse 24, at the end of the verse.
- He has appeared in the presence of God for us.
He's interceding for us.
The third appearing is in verse 28. One of these days, unto them that look for him,
- He Shall Appear
Those three appearances of Christ give us the full story of His work on our behalf.  He went to the cross, He is ever interceding, and one of these days, He’ll come for us.  He’s a Perfect Sacrifice!
When Jesus died, three crosses were prepared by the Romans for three criminals. On two of the crosses, thieves were to hang. On the third cross, one guilty of treason against the Roman Empire whose name was Barabbas. But Barabbas never made it to the cross even though He was guilty and sentenced.  Somebody took Barabbas' place.
And on that middle cross that day hung not Barabbas but a sinless, perfect Son of God, Jesus Christ. Barabbas went free.  But watch this:  Barabbas didn't go free because he was innocent. He went free because somebody took his place.
In that regard, Barabbas is a picture of us.  We were guilty, judged to be so, sentenced and condemned to die.  But by the grace of God, we can stand at the foot of the cross, look up and say, "That cross was prepared for me. I deserve to die there. But I go free because somebody else hangs there in my place."
It had to happen just the way it did so you and I could go free.  And because He did, we are free to inherit the blessings of the will.  His blood has provided for our forgiveness and He has taken our place in judgment.
Let's pray


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