Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Hebrews 9:23-28 - Christ's gift of heavenly things

Hebrews 9:23-24
And if such purification was needed for what was but a representation of the heavenly world, the heavenly world itself will need sacrifices more availing still. The sanctuary into which Jesus has entered is not one made by human hands, is not some adumbration of the truth; he has entered heaven itself, where he now appears in God’s sight on our behalf. 
Necesse est ergo exemplaria quidem cælestium his mundari: ipsa autem cælestia melioribus hostiis quam istis. Non enim in manufacta Sancta Jesus introivit exemplaria verorum: sed in ipsum cælum, ut appareat nunc vultui Dei pro nobis: 
Aquinas:

The Old Testament was suggest the pattern of heavenly things: ...Now better things are always cleansed with better things. But they were the figures of heavenly things be cleansed with better blood... For the high priest expiated the sanctuary which was made with hands, but Christ has entered into the Holies not made with hands, for they were not, so far as they were concerned, the patterns of the true one, but into heaven itself...

Sacrifices, in the plural: Yet there is but one sacrifice of Christ...it was prefigured by several sacrifices of the Old Law.

Why?:  In order now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Here the Apostle alludes to a rite of the Old Law according to which the high priest, who entered the holy of holies, stood before the mercy seat to pray for the people. Similarly, Christ entered into heaven to stand before God for our salvation. But not in the same way, because the high priest could not see the holy of holies or any face on account of the smoke ascending from the censer; but Christ appears before the face of God: not that a bodily face is there, or a cloud, but clear vision.

Hebrews 9:25-26
Nor does he make a repeated offering of himself, as the high priest, when he enters the sanctuary, makes a yearly offering of the blood that is not his own. If that were so, he must have suffered again and again, ever since the world was created; as it is, he has been revealed once for all, at the moment when history reached its fulfilment, annulling our sin by his sacrifice. 
25 neque ut sæpe offerat semetipsum, quemadmodum pontifex intrat in Sancta per singulos annos in sanguine alieno: alioquin oportebat eum frequenter pati ab origine mundi: nunc autem semel in consummatione sæculorum, ad destitutionem peccati, per hostiam suam apparuit. 

Once and for all:  But Christ has not entered into the place made with hands, nor was it to offer himself often, as the high priest enters into the holies every year with the blood of others...Christ offered Himself for the sins of the whole world, because He was made the propitiation for our sins and for those of the whole world. Therefore, if He were offered frequently, it would have been necessary for Him to have been born and to suffer from the beginning of the world; but this would have been most unbecoming.

The fulfillment of history: Now at the end of the age, Christ has appeared: ‘We are the ones upon whom the ends of the ages are come’. And he says this on account of the number of years, because already more than a thousand years had passed since he said this. For the ages of the world are taken according to the ages of men, which are chiefly distinguished according to the state of progress and not according to the number of years. The first age was before the deluge, in which there was no written law or punishment, as in infancy. Another was from Noah to Abraham; and so on for the ages, so that the final age is the present one, after which there is no other state of salvation, just as there is no other age after old age. But just as in the other ages of men there is a definite number of years, but not in old age, which begins at sixty, and some live for 120 years, so it has not been determined how long this state of the world will continue. Yet it is the end of the ages, because no other age remains for salvation.

Hebrews 9: 27-28
Man’s destiny is to die once for all; nothing remains after that but judgement; and Christ was offered once for all, to drain the cup of a world’s sins; when we see him again, sin will play its part no longer, he will be bringing salvation to those who await his coming.
Et quemadmodum statutum est hominibus semel mori, post hoc autem judicium: sic et Christus semel oblatus est ad multorum exhaurienda peccata: secundo sine peccato apparebit exspectantibus se, in salutem.
Death and judgment:  In every man we find two things, namely, the need to die; secondly, that he should rise, not to be cleansed but to be judged according to his deeds. He touches on the first when he says, and just as it is appointed for men once to die.

Christ did not have to die: ...since Christ had not descended from Adam by way of human seed, but merely as to bodily substance, He did not contract original sin; consequently, He was not obliged by that statute: ‘For in what day soever you shall eat of it, you shall die the death’, but He underwent death by His own will: ‘No man takes it away from me: but I lay it down of myself’... Therefore, he says, that he was offered: ‘He was offered because it was His own will’ (Is. 53:7);

Efficacy of Christ's death: our death is the effect of sin: The wages of sin is death’. But Christ’s death destroys sin; therefore, he says, to bear the sins of many, i.e., to remove them. He does not say ‘of all,’ because Christ’s death, even though it was enough for all, has no efficacy except in regard to those who are to be saved: for not all are subject to Him by faith and good works.

Sin will not be a part of the Second Coming: He shall appear a second time not to deal with sin... In the first coming He was also made a victim for sin: ‘Him who knew no sin, he has made sin for us’. But those things are not to be found in the second coming; hence, he says that he shall appear without sin.

Judgment: ..He will appear not to be judged, but to judge and to reward according to merits; hence, he says that he will appear. And although He will appear to all in the flesh, even to those who wounded Him, He will appear according to His divinity to the elect that eagerly wait for him by faith to save them: ‘Blessed are all they that wait for him’ ; ‘We look for the Savior, Our Lord Jesus Christ, who will reform the body of our lowliness, made like to the body of his glory’.

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