Hebrews 9:23-28

23 Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;

25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another —

26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,

28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

copies (v.23) — the earthly tabernacle. The tabernacle itself didn’t need purifying except that it was in the presence of sinful people. So the heavenly tabernacle needs purifying because it is fallen man’s meeting place with God.

As to the question why the heavenly things should require to be cleansed, the subject before us is not only the remission of our sins, but our access into the presence of God as His worshipers, through the eternal redemption obtained for us. The sanctuary of the presence of God required the savor of redemptive sacrifice. Just as the high priests of old entered into the Holy of Holies with the blood of sacrifice, on behalf of the people as worshipers of God, so only by the cleansing blood of Christ on the cross could the very presence of God become the meeting place between Him and the believer. — Vine, page 297.

sacrifices (v.23) — not that Christ offered multiple sacrifices, but that His one sacrifice was the fulfillment of several Old Testament sacrifices

The Old Testament tabernacle was a pattern, or type, of heaven itself (v.24)

That the Old Testament sacrifices weren’t perfect is shown by the fact that they had to be repeated.

The high priest entered the Holy of Holies with blood not his own (v.25) but Christ offered His own blood.

To offer Himself in the heavenly Holy of Holies multiple times would require that Christ suffer multiple times (v.25)

foundation of the world (v.26) — Revelation 13:8. If Christ’s death had to be repeated, it would have to have begun at the beginning of the world.

end of the ages (v.26) — the ages when Christ’s sacrifice was typified by tabernacle sacrifices

Christ came to earth for the purpose of sacrificing Himself to put away sin (v.26)

the idea that Christ has to die repeatedly is shown to be false because men die once (v.27).

without sin (v.28) — without a sin offering — nothing further is needed

those who eagerly wait for Him (v.28) — Israel

The words “unto them that look for Him,” refer to Israel. The disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus and said, “Art thou He that should come, or look we for another?” (Matthew 11:3). The Rapture is not in view here, neither the Church. This is Jewish. The expression refers to the second advent of Messiah to Israel for the Millennium. The first appearance of the high priest on the Day of Atonement was at the Brazen Altar where the sacrifice was slain. This corresponds to Messiah’s first appearance on earth to die on the Cross. The second appearance of the high priest was in the Holy of Holies. This corresponds to Messiah’s present appearance before God in heaven now. The third appearance of the high priest was out the gate of the court surrounding the tabernacle, to Israel, having in a symbolic way accomplished salvation. This corresponds to Messiah’s appearance upon the earth in the second advent to Israel, having actually accomplished salvation. His return will be apart from sin in that He settled the sin question the first time He came. Now He comes with salvation for the one who puts his faith in Him. — Wuest, page 171.


This closing portion of the chapter contains what are sometimes known as Christ’s three appearings. There are, however, three different words used in the original. In verse 24 the word is emphanizo, and there the idea is that of the presentation of Christ before the face of God in all the virtue and acceptance of His person and finished work. The second, in verse 26, is phaneroo, which is to bring into view that which before was hidden. Christ, who had been eternally sharing the glory of the Father, was now, by His incarnation brought into view in the world, in order that He might put away sin by His sacrifice at the height of the ages. The third, in verse 28, is a form of the verb horao, which here suggests that when He comes He will be actually seen, as He was before at His first advent, when He came to deal with the question of sin. — Vine, page 298.

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