Read & Study the Bible Online - Bible Portal

Hebrews 9:23-28 - Homiletics

Perfection of Christ's atonement.

In these verses the writer contrasts the incompleteness of the Mosaic sacrifices with the finality which attaches to the sacrificial work of the Lord Jesus.

I. THREE GREAT CHRISTIAN DOCTRINES . These rest respectively upon three facts, viz. the death and the ascension of Christ, which are matters of history; and the second advent, which is still future.

1. Christ died as a Sacrifice for sin. ( Hebrews 9:28 ) His death was a stupendous event—being that of a Divine Person. It did not occur as the result of disease, or of natural decay. It was not an accidental death. It was judicially inflicted. Sentence was pronounced upon Jesus, not merely in the high priest's palace and in Pilate's judgment-hall, but in the court of heaven. "It pleased the Lord to bruise him; 'The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.'"

2. He ascended to heaven as our Priest. ( Hebrews 9:24 ) Of the three offices which Jesus executes, the prophetical occupied the most prominent place while he was on earth; his priestly office has seemed to come into the foreground now that he has gone to heaven; and his kingly functions will appear to be most fully discharged after the second advent. Why was it necessary that he should enter heaven as our Priest?

3. He shall come again to consummate the salvation of his people. ( Hebrews 9:28 ) On the Day of Atonement, after Aaron had sprinkled the mercy-seat with the blood, he came forth from the holy of holies, reclothed himself in his splendid vestments of blue and red and purple, trimmed with pomegranates and golden bells, and appeared outside to bless the waiting multitudes. So our High Priest, although he still tarries in the heavenly tabernacle, filling it with the fragrant incense of his intercession, shall appear at the end of the ages, wearing the robes of his immortal glory, to say to his expectant people, "Come, ye blessed of my Father." He shall appear "apart from sin." When he came the first time, he was "made to be sin on our behalf," although he "knew no sin;" but at his second advent he shall not again assume the dreadful burden. He shall appear "unto salvation," i.e. to complete the redemption of his people. By his first coming he saved their souls; at his second coming, he shall save their bodies. Or, rather, at his first coming he paid down the ransom-price of our redemption; while at his second coining he shall receive the final installment of his purchased possession.

II. THE DOCTRINAL FOCUS OF THE PASSAGE . The chief point of thought for the sake of which these three doctrines are adduced is marked by the repetition of the word "once" in Hebrews 9:26-28 ; and by the contrast between this "once" and the "often" or "year by year" of Hebrews 9:25 . Christ died only once; he ascended only once; he shall come again only once. Why is it that, while Aaron entered the Hebrew holy of holies every year, Jesus Christ has gone into the heavenly sanctuary "once for all"? Two reasons are assigned: the one, that to repeat his sacrifice would be unnatural ; and the other, that to do so is unnecessary.

1. It would be unnatural. ( Hebrews 9:27 , Hebrews 9:28 ) Jesus Christ is the Son of man, and in all things he has been "made like unto his brethren." Now, it is a human thing to die once; and the death of every child of Adam will be followed by his appearance at the general judgment. So "it was in harmony with the law of mortality in this world that Christ should die but once. There would have been something unnatural in his dying and rising, and dying and rising, again and again without end" (Dr. Lindsay). The Lord's death and his second advent are parallel arrangements to what is the common lot of man.

2. It is unnecessary. This reason is still more satisfying, and it receives great prominence in the verses before us. It was not needful that Christ should die and ascend and come again oftener than once; for:

Be the first to react on this!

Scroll to Top

Group of Brands