"I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" (Gal. 2:21) Many false religions add Jesus to their list of gods and affirm Him as a way (not the only way) to heaven. Would you offer your only son as a sacrifice for others if people could ignore this and pick another way? The Author of Hebrews shows us that Jesus is the only acceptable sacrifice; all else leads to eternal judgment!

We are all like Barabbas, guilty criminals awaiting execution (death and hell) and Jesus takes our place (Matt. 27:15-26) From Gen. 3 to Revelation we see that God has to provide a blood substitute (death) for mans sin. "For the life of the body is in its blood. I have given you the blood on the altar to purify you, making you right with the Lord. It is the blood, given in exchange for a life that makes purification possible."  (Lev. 17:11)

"For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance-now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant (the OT Mosaic covenant)." Jesus' blood and death have always been the only source of salvation because He was slain before the foundation of the world for all who believe (put faith in God) but the OT saints had to wait to experience this after the cross. (See Rom. 3:25-26; Heb. 4:3; 11:40; Eph. 4:8)

"In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living." {"A will requires the death of its own maker. Indeed, a will can be changed many times, so long as its maker lives; but his death sets it in force. The nature of Christ's death satisfies the requirements of both a will and a covenant, and it may thus be described as both (ch. 8-a covenant; here-a will). [1] KJV Bible Commentary. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1994} Jesus died and in His will we see that He left us an eternal inheritance. The questions for all mankind is, Will you accept the terms of this will – trust Christ alone for salvation?

"This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness."  (See vv. 18-22). Both the Old Covenant and the New Covenant were initiated (inaugurated) with blood showing mankind the high cost of sin against God even in sacrificing animals; how much more the blood of God's only Son. But it is not just blood but lifeblood, the death, of Jesus, the God-Man, that brings God's forgiveness. "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness".  This is an essential truth throughout the OT (esp. Exodus and Leviticus – See Lev. 17:11) yet after the temple was destroyed in AD 70 the Jewish people have ignored it and seek to earn salvation by works.

"It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these."  {"The shedding of Christ's blood on the cross of Calvary was the inauguration of the New Covenant ministry of our Lord. It redeemed men from the penalty of their sins, but it did more. It commenced a whole new ministry in the heavenlies, at the right hand of God, and blood shedding was an essential requirement for its inauguration.  Robert L. Deffinbaugh – Near to the Heart of God – A Study of the Book of Hebrews}  Heavenly things may also mean spiritual and eternal realities versus the external and temporal realities of the Old Covenant.

"For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence." {"This verse identifies the true holy places as heaven itself. This would dispute the notion that heaven contains a tabernacle corresponding in appearance to that which Moses was commended to build. Heaven itself is the fulfillment, or archetype, of that pattern. On behalf of those Jewish Christians who had difficulty relinquishing the ceremony and ritual of Judaism from their past, Christ has provided a superior ritual. Though the physical embellishments of the church are plain and simple, the symbolism of our Savior is superior to all. The priest of Christianity is the Son of God Himself. The sacrifice is the Lamb of God. The tabernacle into which the shed blood has been taken is heaven itself. And beyond any parallelism, we, the people, have been taken into the Holy of Holies itself, possessing complete access to God."   KJV Bible Commentary. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1994}

"Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation (foundation – ASV) of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end (consummation) –  ASV) of the ages (Anno Domini) to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself." The first coming of Christ was the climax of the OT period – "the end of the ages." Jesus' sacrifice not only forgives our sins it put away sin forever, which means we will be sinless in heaven.

"Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him." {"The relation of verse 27 to its context is often dismissed in order to stress the certainty of man's future judgment. It is axiomatic that man dies once. Exceptions do exist: Enoch and Elijah of the Old Testament, the New Testament saints who will be alive at Christ's return who will never die or Lazarus and others who have been raised from the dead and died twice. But no exceptions concerning God's judgment can be cited. There is no reincarnation; every person gets one chance to prepare for God's judgment.  Yet the full significance of verse 27 cannot be seen apart from verse 28. As it is appointed unto men once to die…. So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many (cf. Isa 53:12). The author is clearly presenting a comparison. As it is with man, so it was with Christ. As man can only die once, so the man Christ could only die once as a sacrifice. His relation to humanity would be marred if he would have to die more than once. Similarly, a second comparison seems evident. Beyond death there exists another reality. For (unrepentant) man it is the reality of appearing for judgment; for Christ it is the certainty of appearing (in His Eternal Glory forever – Phil 2:9-11) with deliverance from condemnation unto them that look for him." KJV Bible Commentary. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1994}

Judgment (Gr. Krisis –  a separating; condemnation and punishment) in v. 27 does not mean annihilation. Because of Jesus' resurrection all men will be resurrected to live forever; some will live in everlasting bliss (1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 21-22)  while others will live in eternal torment (2 Thess. 1:3-10; Rev. 20:11-15). But at that time your people-everyone whose name is found written in the book-will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt." (Dan. 12:1-2)

The three "appearings" of Christ – "Appearing number one is in verse 26. Look at it. "But now once in the end of the ages hath He 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. "Now to appear 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, shall He appear." Three appearings of Christ give us the account of His work on the cross, ministering for us now (as our High Priest in heaven) and in His return." (John MacArthur)                                                  


Discuss the many differences between the OT sacrifices for sin and the NT sacrifice (Jesus) for sin.

"Just as man is destined (appointed by God) to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him."  (Heb. 9:27-28) Are you ready for your appointment with God?

Do you long for Christ's return? Why or why not?  "Christ … will bring salvation to those who are waiting for him" (See v. 28).  "For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."   (2 Tim. 4:6-8)

What speaks to you the most in these verses?  "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good." (Titus 2:11-14)

How can we speed the return of Christ? "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness." (2 Peter 3:10-13)      
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