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In Heb. 9:12, it is written,

12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. KJV, 1769

ΙΒʹ οὐδὲ δι᾽ αἵματος τράγων καὶ μόσχων διὰ δὲ τοῦ ἰδίου αἵματος εἰσῆλθεν ἐφάπαξ εἰς τὰ ἅγια αἰωνίαν λύτρωσιν εὑράμενος TR, 1550

I would like to provide two commentaries which are the impetus for this question.

Barnes, Albert. Notes, Explanatory and Practical, on the Epistle to the Hebrews, p. 203:

But by his own blood - That is, by his own blood shed for the remission of sins. The meaning is, that it was in virtue of his own blood, or "by means" of that, that he sought the pardon of his people. That blood was not shed for himself - for he had no sin - and consequently there was a material difference between his offering and that of the Jewish high priest. The difference related to such points as these.

(1) the offering which Christ made was wholly for others; that of the Jewish priest for himself as well as for them.

(2) the blood offered by the Jewish priest was that of animals; that offered by the Saviour was his own.

(3) that offered by the Jewish priest was only an emblem or type - for it could not take away sin; that offered by Christ had a real efficacy, and removes transgression from the soul.

He entered into the holy place - Heaven. The meaning is, that as the Jewish high priest bore the blood of the animal into the Holy of Holies, and sprinkled it there as the means of expiation, so the offering which Christ has to make in heaven, or the consideration on which he pleads for the pardon of his people, is the blood which he shed on Calvary. Having made the atonement, he now pleads the merit of it as a "reason" why sinners should be saved. It is not of course meant that he literally bore his own blood into heaven - as the high priest did the blood of the bullock and the goat into the sanctuary; or that he literally "sprinkled" it on the mercy-seat there, but that that blood, having been shed for sin, is now the ground of his pleading and intercession for the pardon of sin - as the sprinkled blood of the Jewish sacrifice was the ground of the pleading of the Jewish high priest for the pardon of himself and the people.

Clarke, Adam. The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, p. 381:

But by his own blood - Here the redemption of man is attributed to the blood of Christ; and this blood is stated to be shed in a sacrificial way, precisely as the blood of bulls, goats and calves was shed under the law.

Once - Once for all, εφαπαξ, in opposition to the annual entering of the high priest into the holiest, with the blood of the annual victim.

The holy place - Or sanctuary, τα ἁγιᾳ, signifies heaven, into which Jesus entered with his own blood, as the high priest entered into the holy of holies with the blood of the victims which he had sacrificed.

Question: So, how should Heb. 9:12 be understood? Did the Lord Jesus Christ bring his blood into heaven and offer it on the mercy seat in the heavenly Temple?

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10 Answers 10

Good question. My answer is no, for reasons which will become clearer in the following paragraphs. We first need to make a distinction between the three tabernacles spoken of in Hebrews.

  • The first tabernacle was the earthly sanctuary Moses was instructed to build to enact the first covenant through the various regulations of divine worship (9:1). Picture a courtyard having a perimeter marked off by a fence erected in the shape of a rectangle. The fence consists of linen hangings attached to pillars, having only one entrance or gate situated in the east side of the two shorter sides of the rectangle. Situated inside the fenced-in courtyard is the first tabernacle, often referred to as the "Tent of Meeting" (beginning in Exodus 27:21 and throughout the Tanakh), which is literally a tent of four layers. Inside the tent are two sections, which together form the tabernacle proper, the first section of which is called the holy place.

  • The second tabernacle is the second section of the tabernacle proper, and it is called the Holiest Place, or the Holy of Holies. Whereas the priests entered the holy place daily, only the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies, and then only once a year, in the prescribed manner, and carrying the blood of sacrifice.

  • The third tabernacle is the eternal tabernacle, not made by hands, which is in heaven. In short, it is the throne room of heaven where God is "lofty and exalted" and "sitting on a throne," surrounded by angels who cry "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory" (Isaiah 6:1,2).

It is this third tabernacle, the antitype of the earthly tabernacle, into which Jesus stepped "once for all," but only after the work of redemption was finished and He had cried with a loud voice, "Tetelestai!/Finished!/Accomplished!" I believe Hebrews teaches us since this third tabernacle is not a literal, material, corporeal tabernacle made with hands, it is therefore symbolic of what Jesus accomplished in time and space through His sacrificial and substitutionary death on the cross as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29,36).

Matthew 27:51-53 tells us what happened after Jesus yielded up His spirit to the Father:

"And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many"

Notice, the literal veil of the literal temple in Jerusalem, the veil which separated the holy place from the Holy of Holies was torn in two when Jesus died, indicating that the great chasm of separation between sinful man and Holy God had now been bridged through the body and blood of Jesus, our Savior and Lord.

Praise God that within three days of Jesus' crucifixion, God the Father gave His official "stamp of approval" to what His Son had accomplished on behalf of a world of sinners by raising Him from the dead (see Romans 4:25 and Ephesians 1:19-23). All believers could now be justified freely in God's sight through Jesus' shed blood, which he shed once and for all (Hebrews 7:27).

As important as the spilling of Jesus' holy blood was in the accomplishing of His work of atonement and redemption, He did not need to ascend to heaven with His blood and sprinkle it literally on the ark of the covenant in heaven. Why? Because the heavenly tabernacle is heaven itself, where God dwells in unapproachable light. Jesus' precious blood cleared the way for sinners to be fully reconciled to a holy God. Moreover, Hebrews 7:25 tells us

"Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them."

In other words, there will never come a time when Jesus' work of intercession will end. This means that all believers in Christ will never again come under the wrath of God, once they are IN Christ (Romans 8:1). God will forever see all believers as being IN Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We have become the righteousness of God IN Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). Our sins have been separated from us as far as the east is from the west; they have been cast into the sea of God's forgetfulness; and they are gone eternally, having been nailed to the cross of Christ (see Psalm 103:12; Micah 7:19; and Colossians 2:14) .

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If he could symbolically sprinkle the blood on the mercy seat, why couldn't he just symbolically die? If one part of atonement could be done symbolic, than it all could be done symbolically. The problem with the temple that the veil was rent was there was no ark of the covenant in the holy of holies. Look at my comment above, take a look at the video and let me know your thoughts. – JLB Feb 4 '14 at 0:43
    
@JLB: I'll address your questions more fully via email. I will say here, however, that becoming too literal in the meaning you--or anyone--assigns to the blood of Jesus is simply a place you do not want to go. It is a tangent, and in its literalness misses the symbolic Truths of which the literal truths speak. Symbolic Truth always, it seems to me, has precedence over literal truth, or what can often be referred to as facts. Did Jesus, for example, spill literal blood at Calvary? Yes. Did He gather up that blood after His death and carry it to heaven. What about the blood that was left on – rhetorician Feb 4 '14 at 18:21
    
the Roman "cat o' nine tails" which tore the flesh off his body prior to His crucifixion. What about the blood on the Roman spear that pierced His side. What about the blood that mixed with the soil at Calvary and was eventually washed away by rain? Do you see where I'm going with this? As important as Jesus' actual, literal, factual, and bloody death was and ever will be, the truth of what He accomplished through His death both literally and symbolically, will always surpass in importance what is only literal. Both are important, but isolating the physical misses the bigger picture. – rhetorician Feb 4 '14 at 18:28
    
You didn't watch the video. Watch it and then comment please. I want to see what you think. youtu.be/pyxYSme52t4 – JLB Feb 4 '14 at 23:12
    
@JLB: No, I did watch the video, at least until the part where it stated the pope was the antichrist. My comments to you, above, were written after I watched the video. When the video started with the identity of the antichrist, a red flag went up into my mind. As for Ron Wyatt, he seems sincere and all, but even if he did discover the Ark of the Covenant, I have to ask, "So what?" Recently a boat was exposed (I guess because of evaporation?) near the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Some folks suggest it could've been one of the disciple's boats. OK, even IF Jesus sat in the boat: so what? Email – rhetorician Feb 4 '14 at 23:32

"So, how should Heb. 9:12 be understood? Did the Lord Jesus Christ bring his blood into heaven and offer it on the mercy seat in the heavenly Temple?"

The Church Fathers don't seem to believe that the Lord did any such thing after His death on the cross. Cyril of Jerusalem refers to Hebrews 9:12 in his explanation of the Lord's last words, It is finished [John 19:30]:

Having drunk wine mingled with myrrh, and vinegar, after receiving which, He said, It is finished. For the mystery has been fulfilled; the things that are written have been accomplished; sins are forgiven. For Christ being come an High-Priest of the good things to came, by the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, nor yet by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, entered in once far all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption; for if the bland of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer, sprinkling the defiled, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more the blood of Christ? [Hebrews 9:11-14]. And again, Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh [Hebrews 10:10]. And because His flesh, this veil, was dishonoured, therefore the typical veil of the temple was rent asunder, as it is written, And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom [Matthew 27:51]; for not a particle of it was left; for since the Master said, Behold, your house is left unto you desolate [Matthew 22:38], the house brake all in pieces.

These things the Saviour endured, and made peace through the Blood of His Cross, for things in heaven, and things in earth [Colossians 1:20].

Catechetical Lectures, Lecture XIII

Unless one speculates that somehow the Lord bilocated during his last moments, what Hebrews is describing took place as the Lord died on the cross.

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The first thing that is crucial to understanding Hebrews is that we serve the only true God. He is not like the gods of the heathens. There are a few verses that I believe are essential to understanding who this God is:

"Thus saith YHVH of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh.

For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices:

But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.

But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward." Jeremiah 7:21

God did not give the Israelites any ordinances concerning sacrifices when he brought them out of Egypt (except for Deuteronomy 17:1 in which He tells them specifically what they are not to sacrifice to Him). Notice the beginning of Leviticus says:

"And YHVH called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying,

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto YHVH, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock." Leviticus 1:1

We are not told when God spoke to Moses here, so unless we contradict Jeremiah, Leviticus must have been written after Deuteronomy. The first word God says concerning sacrifices is "IF", which means absolutly none of this is necessary. Our Father is saying "If one wishes to offer sacrifices, these are the necessary rules to follow, but none of them are necessary for anything." God has no desire for sacrifices:

"And Samuel said, Hath YHVH [as great] delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of YHVH? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams." 1 Samuel 15:22

And again:

"To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith YHVH: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.

When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?

Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting." Isaiah 1:11

And again:

"For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." Psalm 51:16

And again:

"Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required." Psalm 40:6

The only reason God gave the rules for sacrifice is because men desired to offer sacrifices. They followed after the idols of their fathers, so God gave them the sacrificial system to blind them. Check this out:

"I lifted up mine hand unto them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the heathen, and disperse them through the countries;

Because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers' idols.

Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live;

And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through [the fire] all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am YHVH." Ezekiel 20:23

If there should be a sacrifice that was extra abominable towards God, it was this:

"When thou art come into the land which YHVH thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.

There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,

Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

For all that do these things are an abomination unto YHVH: and because of these abominations YHVH thy God doth drive them out from before thee." Deuteronomy 18:10

The first abomination that God says we shall not do is sacrifice our children. This is not what our God requires:

"They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind" Jeremiah 13:5

Even if one believes in the trinitarian thing, they still must say Yeshua is God's son, and that he is 100% human. So if his death was a sacrifice, it was an abomination. Yeshua himself says:

"But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Matthew 9:13

Why would a human sacrifice offer the ultimate "propitiation" or "atonement" for our sins? There are many things inconsistent with this idea, but there are also several English bibles that use this term. Propitiation means to appease an angry god. If God doesn't want sacrifice, then what would be appeasing to Him about a human sacrifice? Surely this word, in 1 John 2:2, 1 John 4:10, and Hebrews 2:17 has been mistranslated. In Luke 18:13, it is translated as "merciful", which makes a lot more sense.

The book of Hebrews becomes a lot clearer when we understand that the author is speaking figuratively (I know everyone hates that word), and when we understand what Yeshua means when he says:

"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." Matthew 5:17

Yeshua was not the "one sacrifice to end all sacrifice". He came to teach us the word of God, and his life abolished the sacrificial system because it was never the Law to begin with. He offered the ultimate sacrifice- to deny his own life.

In Hebrews, Yeshua is called "high priest", "a sacrifice", and the "veil" to the Holy of Holiest. Yeshua cannot literally be a priest in heaven, passing through a cloth version of himself, to offer himself as a sacrifice. This must be taken figuratively.

Conclusion:

God has no desire for sacrifices, Yeshua was not a literal human sacrifice to appease an angry God, and the book of Hebrews uses figurative language to teach us a deeper truth. So my answer is no, Yeshua did not literally offer his blood on the mercy seat of a heavenly temple.

Thank you.

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It's only recently that these emphases on God not being desirous of sacrifice have become more obvious to me. D'you have any more material on these thoughts? – Adinkra Jul 15 at 5:53
    
There are a few things I find relevant. Yeshua never offered a sacrifice, nor does he tell his disciples to. I found one instance where Yeshua tells somebody to offer a sacrifice (Luke 5:14 and Matt. 8:4) but he says to do this to "follow the commandment of Moses (not God)" And "as a testimony" rather than as a means for achieving anything. In Luke 17:14 Yeshua tells a few men to see the priest, which implies they should offer a sacrifice. However, on their way they are healed, and "when" one man noticed it, he returned before seeing the priest. Yeshua says "Your faith has made you well". – anonymouswho Jul 15 at 8:28
    
That is really interesting. There is an institutional avalanche of doctrine built around the idea that the sacrifices performed in the Tanakh, especially those prescribed by the Torah, are all "types" & "shadows" of the perfect sacrifice of Mashiyaḥ. Counter to this, however, is it that you see the ancient sacrifice system(s) as an interruption (rather than the development) of an ultimate scheme of things purposed by God (or such)? Or nothing the like? – Adinkra Jul 15 at 9:20
    
I'm not sure if interruption is the correct term. I don't believe God regrets anything, and I believe everything has a purpose. I guess you could say that God never desired the sacrifices, but He did desire a sacrificial system; just as God does not desire evil, yet He prepares it Himself and He is the one that has subjected us to it. So it has a purpose, and once it's destroyed, the outcome exceedingly justifies the means. For this reason, I can see the sacrificial system representing something deeper, but I may be too stubborn to give up on Hebrews yet. For now, I believe Peter wrote it. – anonymouswho Jul 15 at 11:54

Background Info

As other answers here show, to even begin to answer this from Scripture, one has to piece together other Scriptures, as the wording of Heb 9:12 is not distinct enough by grammar alone to know whether "διὰ δὲ τοῦ ἰδίου αἵματος" ("but by his own blood") implies in the exact same way as the picture of the OT sacrifices implies, where the priest did enter "with" blood to apply to the mercy seat.

However, I do believe the answer resides in Hebrews.

First, Christ is explicitly stated in Hebrews to represent in His own Person three aspects related to the atonement ceremony:

  1. Jesus is the High Priest (Heb 2:17, 3:1, 4:14-15, 5:5, 9:11 [more specifically in context to 9:12], et. al.; though of a different order than the Levitical ones, Heb 5:6, 10).
  2. Jesus is the Sacrifice (Heb 7:27, 8:3 [implied], 9:26-28 [very explicit], 10:12, et. al.)
  3. Jesus is the Veil that separated the holy place from the most holy place (Heb 9:3, 10:20)

Second, the book of Hebrews is also clear as to what the "holy place" He entered into was, for while the OT priest entered into two "holy places" (since access to the most holy place where the mercy seat resided was only by passing through the holy place where the table, lampstand, etc. were, i.e. the "first part" of the tabernacle Heb 9:6), but Christ entered "into heaven itself" (Heb 9:24). Heaven is paralleled only to the one holy place that could only be entered once a year, which was "the most holy place," or the "second part" of the tabernacle (Heb 9:7), where the mercy seat was, and which place believers are now boldly to enter into (Heb 10:19) because the veil to that place was Christ (Heb 10:20).

So heaven is the most holy place entered by blood that Heb 9:12 refers to, which blood is from Himself as sacrifice done by Himself as high priest by going through His own flesh as the veil of separation.

But to answer this question as well, it must be determined for what purpose was this bloody death, especially in Heb 9:12? There are three chief purposes that parallel with the day of atonement, while two more chief purposes are wrapped inside other parallel pictures between the Old Testament and Hebrews:

Day of Atonement Pictures (cf. Leviticus 16)

  1. Purchasing of redemption—animal sacrifices to redeem from another year of sins (Heb 9:7, 10:3), Christ's sacrifice for eternal redemption from sins (Heb 2:14-15, 17; 9:12).
  2. Cleansing of the holy place(s)—once a year cleansed the mercy seat, tabernacle, and its instruments with animal sacrifices (Heb 9:12, 21, 23a, 25; 10:3), but once forever cleansed heaven with Christ's sacrifice (Heb 9:12, 23b).
  3. Cleansing corporately of the people related to God in covenant, the animal sacrifices cleansed the flesh (Heb 9:13a), while the sacrifice of Christ cleanses the conscious (Heb 9:14, 10:22).

Other Pictures

  1. Mosaic Covenant (cf. Exodus 24): Making of covenant—animal sacrifices made the first covenant by Moses (Heb 9:18-22), Christ's sacrifice makes the new, everlasting covenant by Christ (Heb 9:15; 10:29; 12:24; 13:20).
  2. Water of Cleansing (cf. Numbers 19): Making of water for individual cleansing—the burnt sacrifice of a heifer, the ashes of which were used to create water for individual purifying of the flesh (Heb 9:13b; cf. Numbers ch. 19), the sacrifice of Christ cleanses from an evil conscious (Heb 9:14, 10:22).

There were both corporate (at day of atonement) and individual (at other times) cleansing provided in the OT picture, but Christ's sacrifice is able to fulfill both purposes.

Wrapping it Up

So the picture in question here in Heb 9:12 relates directly to the cleansing of the Most Holy Place ("Day of Atonement Pictures" #2). It performed the actual function of temporarily cleansing the mercy seat itself within the Most Holy Place (Lev 16:16-17. 20a, 33a) while also picturing the cleansing of the "heavenly things" (Heb 9:23) within the parallel to the Most Holy Place which is heaven itself.

In Levitical work, to cleanse the Most Holy Place, one had to first enter. This is where Heb 9:12 comes in, it states Christ entered heaven through some relation to His blood.

But when did Jesus enter heaven? After His resurrection is when He ascended (cf. John 20:17), which was the day of His resurrection and after His sacrifice was made. But does ascension and entry relate to an offering of blood in heaven? We know there is a function of the blood of Christ in cleansing heavenly things (Heb 9:23). By the Levitical picture, the cleansing occurs by entering into the Most Holy Place, so entry into heaven (Heb 9:24). The Levitical priest would do this both "by" means of blood and "with" blood. But does this mean Jesus brought His blood into heaven to do so exactly like the Levitical priests did? No.

Hebrews explicitly indicates that "by Himself" Christ purged sins (Heb 1:3), that by His sacrifice sin is put away (Heb 9:26), that sin was carried upon Him during the offering of Himself (Heb 9:28), so that sin would be taken away (Heb 10:11-12). Christ's body (including His blood) was a prepared body for such a sacrifice (Heb 10:5-10), and His offering on the cross had a spiritual aspect involved in the offering (Heb 9:14). His death broke the veil of His mortal flesh (Heb 10:20), which veil had separated humanity from direct access to God in heaven (Heb 10:19; so now one can have hope through Jesus, Heb 6:19).

By putting away sin during His sacrifice, Christ performed a cleansing work that is stated to have affected the "place" of heaven and the things within it. But the blood was "applied" to heaven on the basis of His sacrifice alone.

When He entered heaven, He did so already "having obtained eternal redemption" from sin (Heb 9:12).* So when Christ ascended the morning of His resurrection to enter into heaven, the purging of sin had already been completed by the blood shed at His death. But He could not have entered back into heaven alive at all except "by His own blood" through making such a sacrifice for sin.

* The phrase "having obtained" is the translation of εὑράμενος, an aorist participle of εὑρίσκω ("to find," "to obtain"). The aorist participle is used to refer to a past time in relation to the main verb of the clause (see Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament [Zondervan Publishing House and Galaxie Software, 1996], 614), with some exceptions if the main verb itself is aorist (which can denote either past time or contemporaneous time). Here it is used with another aorist verb, εἰσῆλθεν, from εἰσέρχομαι ("entered"), but we know that it is past time rather than contemporaneous reference because of the explicit nature of the other verses in Hebrews that directly link the purging and putting away of sin to the act of the sacrifice, not to the time and action of the entry.

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Q: So, how should Heb. 9:12 be understood? Did the Lord Jesus Christ bring his blood into heaven and offer it on the mercy seat in the heavenly Temple?

Short answer: No. Jesus didn’t take His blood to the mercy seat in heaven because He didn't need to. He’d completed His goal which here on earth (i.e. obtaining our redemption).

Heb 9:12 (KJV) Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

Jesus’ presentation of the bread and wine at the last supper symbolized what would soon happen. His body and blood would be offered up for us via the scourging at the pillar, crowning with thorns, carrying of the cross, and finally His crucifixion. Heb 9:12 shows Him entering heaven…“having obtained eternal redemption for us” (past tense).

With the completion of the crucifixion Jesus didn’t need to take anything to the mercy seat. He’d accomplished what He’d needed to.

John 19:30 (KJV) When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Matthew Henry Commentary interprets the verse very well. “…Especially observe the dying word wherewith Jesus breathed out his soul. It is finished; that is, the counsels of the Father concerning his sufferings were now fulfilled. It is finished; all the types and prophecies of the Old Testament, which pointed at the sufferings of the Messiah, were accomplished… It is finished; the work of man's redemption and salvation is now completed..” John 19:30 Commentaries

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In Heb. 9:12, it is written,

12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. KJV, 1769

ΙΒʹ οὐδὲ δι᾽ αἵματος τράγων καὶ μόσχων διὰ δὲ τοῦ ἰδίου αἵματος εἰσῆλθεν ἐφάπαξ εἰς τὰ ἅγια αἰωνίαν λύτρωσιν εὑράμενος TR, 1550

By itself, the phrase “by his own blood, he entered the holy place once” («διὰ...τοῦ ἰδίου αἵματος εἰσῆλθεν ἐφάπαξ εἰς τὰ ἅγια») does not imply that the Lord Jesus Christ entered the holy place with his own blood, for the Greek text would have stated «ἐν τῷ ἰδίῳ αἵματι εἰσῆλθεν ἐφάπαξ εἰς τὰ ἅγια».

The priests of «the order of Aaron»1 served “in the pattern and shadow of the heavenly things.”2 Thus, the “holy place” («τὰ ἅγια») that the Lord Jesus Christ entered is heaven,3 which was exemplified and foreshadowed by the most holy place (i.e., holy of holies) within the veil of the temple on earth.4

When the Aaronic priest entered the holy of holies on earth, he did so both “by the blood of goats and calves” («δι᾽ αἵματος τράγων καὶ μόσχων»)5 and “with another’s blood” («ἐν αἵματι ἀλλοτρίῳ»).6 By analogy, when the Lord Jesus Christ entered the most holy place, that is, heaven itself, he entered both “by his own blood” («διὰ τοῦ ἰδίου αἵματος»)7 and “with his own blood” («ἐν τῷ ἰδίῳ αἵματι»), for the Lord Jesus Christ was both the one who offered and the one offered.

As Franz Delitzsch commented,8

Delitzsch, Vol. 2, p. 86-87

Note: Commentary is not included as the basis of the answer, but to reinforce the aforementioned exegesis which forms the substance of the answer.

Succinctly stated, the high priest had to bring the blood of the sacrificial victim with him into the most holy place on earth. Therefore, the Lord Jesus Christ, being both high priest and the sacrificial victim, had to bring his own blood into the most holy place, that is, heaven.


Footnotes

1 Heb. 7:11: «τὴν τάξιν Ἀαρὼν»
2 Heb. 8:5: «ὑποδείγματι καὶ σκιᾷ λατρεύουσιν τῶν ἐπουρανίων»
3 Heb. 9:24: «οὐ γὰρ εἰς χειροποίητα ἅγια εἰσῆλθεν ὁ Χριστός ἀντίτυπα τῶν ἀληθινῶν ἀλλ᾽ εἰς αὐτὸν τὸν οὐρανόν...»
4 Heb. 9:7
5 Heb. 9:12
6 Heb. 9:25. The phrase “with another’s blood” refers to the blood of the bullock of the sin offering and the goat of the sin offering which the priest slaughtered and whose blood he brought within the veil to make atonement on Yom ha-Kippurim. cp. Lev. 16:27.
7 Heb. 9:12
8 p. 86-87

References

Delitzsch, Franz. Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews. Trans. Kingsbury, Thomas L. Vol. 2. Edinburgh: Clark, 1872.

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Not to repeat already well presented answers, but to add an afterthought:

And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.(Rev. 13:8-KJV)

Adam and Eve's(as well as all men's) sin demanded a sacrifice; Calvary was foretold from Gen. 3:15, and that sacrifice, though not yet fulfilled until thousands of years later, was efficacious; the writer of Hebrews says in Heb. 9:26,

For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Therefore, the Mercy Seat of Heaven, of which the Ark of the Covenant was a 'type' of, was made available through the Perfect Blood of Jesus throughout all time "for without the shedding of blood there is no remission (of sin)".(Heb. 9:22)

Interestingly, Ron Wyatt, who some discredit had searched for the Ark of the Covenant, hidden by the Prophet Jeremiah during the Babylonian Siege. His claim is he found it, though was unable to extract it, and where he was told to look for it was directly underneath the post holes the Roman's dug at Golgotha, the site of the crucifixion. His photographs indicate 3 holes dug, with the center one cracked(through the earthquake at the time of Jesus's death). He found a cavern which was buried and had to be excavated by hand, which revealed the sacred objects of the Temple-and the Ark of the Covenant, which was covered in a brown substance, which he had examined and was determined to be blood. Since the Ark of the Covenant is our only picture of Heaven's Mercy Seat, isn't it fitting that the writer of Hebrews lent credence on earth to what is done in Heaven, doesn't the Lord's Prayer say,

Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.(Luke 11:2)

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The earthly is to be an example of the heavenly:

who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For he said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown to you on the mountain.” (Hebrews 8:5 NKJV)

Entering the Holy of Holies was determined by the calendar, not by blood. The high priest could enter only once, on the Day of Atonement. Jesus died at the time of Passover; His resurrection took place 3 days later. The Day of Atonement was about 6 months away and it is unlikely the earthly example is pointing to Day of Atonement to understand Hebrews 9:12.

The writer of the letter states:

Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by (διὰ) his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. (Hebrews 9:12 KJV)

He entered the Holy Place, not the Holy of Holies. As additional confirmation the animals identifed are goats and calves. There are no bulls, an animal needed for the Day of Atonement, a fact the writer immediately acknowledges:

For if the blood of bulls and goats and ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh. (Hebrews 9:13 NKJV)

Also the writer states:

and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. (Hebrews 9:5 NKJV)

While the Day of Atonement is discussed in the letter of Hebrews, that is not what Hebrews 9:12 is describing and the meaning of the passage should be based in what is outside the Holy of Holies.

The word διὰ means “through, on account of.” The underlying sense of the word is one of movement, “so across (to the other side), back-and-forth to go all the way through, ‘successfully across.’” [διά] Therefore if His blood marked the entrance to the Holy Place, or a door to a passageway that led to the Holy Place, He could enter by (διὰ) his own blood. (If He enters the Holy Place He need only go through the veil to reach the Holy of Holies; entrance into the first permits access to the second.)

Since Jesus died on the Passover, the use of blood on the Passover should be consistent with and provide the basis for the blood in Hebrews 9:12.

At the first Passover, blood was placed on the door post in three places:

And they will take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they will eat it. (Exodus 12:7 NKJV)

The father of each household would kill the Passover and use the blood to mark the door to their house. A family member knew that house was a safe place to spend the night because the doorframe (not the door) was marked in 3 places. As a result, the firstborn of that household was spared and redeemed and belonged to the LORD:

because all the firstborn are Mine. On the day I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Myself all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast. They shall be Mine. I am the LORD. (Numbers 3:13 NKJV)

After the Passover in Egypt blood was not used or included as part of the remembrance until the Passover on which Jesus died. First, when He was nailed to the cross and His blood was sprinkled on it in three places, marking the entrance to His Father’s House: enter image description here

The two uses of blood on the doorframe mark two doors. The first was a door in Egypt with an earthly orientation; the second is the door outside Jerusalem with a heavenly orientation. His blood now marked the doorframe to His Father’s house. Anyone who wants to enter the house of His Father and receive the same protection the Israelites found in Egypt must enter through the door hanging upon the doorframe of the cross:

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9 NKJV)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NKJV)

by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh. (Hebrews 10:20 NKJV)

This door is the only entrance to His Father’s house. He is the firstborn and has ” obtained eternal redemption for us.” (Hebrews 9:12) He has entered by His own blood (and marked the way for us).

At His death the temple curtain was torn from top to bottom:

And the temple curtain was torn in two, from top to bottom (Mark 15:38 NKJV)

If the earthly is the pattern of the heavenly, then both were torn in two and the heavenly separation between Holy Place and Holy of Holies ended; entrance to one is now entrance to both. The Day of Atonement restriction was removed. Jesus is the True High Priest always able to intercede for us.

Second, every use of His blood should be consistent with what happened on earth:

But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. (John 19:34 NKJV)

His blood was emptied from His body; there must be some significance to the blood poured out on the ground.

When Moses made his first trip up the mountain to receive His instructions on how to live, he never received any instructions on the sin offering or on the offering for the Day of Atonement. Before the sacrificial law, Moses received this instruction on how the high priest was to be installed:

And thou shalt cause a bullock to be brought before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the bullock. And thou shalt kill the bullock before the LORD, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And thou shalt take of the blood of the bullock, and put it upon the horns of the altar with thy finger, and pour all of the blood beside the bottom of the altar.” (Exodus 29:10-12 KJV)

The blood poured out at the foot of the cross serves to install Jesus as the True High Priest. So He is the True High Priest who is able to minister for us every day of the year, including the Day of Atonement.

In heaven the Day of Atonement and daily offerings are not blood from any animal. It is the body of the resurrected Christ:

Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come – In the volume of the book it is written of Me – To do Your will, O God.’” (Hebrews 10:5-7 NKJV)

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You are on the right track, in the same chapter it says

"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." (Hebrews 9:23)

In Hebrews 9:23 it says that the sanctuary on earth was a copy of a heavenly sanctuary in heaven, this is also verified in Hebrews 8 which says

For if He (Jesus) were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” (Hebrews 8:4-5)

If you look at the Old Testament high priest, after the sacrifice of a lamb, he would take the blood and go into the holy place and minister. Then once a year the high priest would go into the most holy place for the day of atonement. We know Jesus is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. The Bible says when Jesus died and rose again He became our High Priest for it is written

"Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man." (Hebrews 8:1-2)

In the Old Testament the blood sacrifice made forgiveness of sins available or in other words provision for forgiveness was made...but the process of atonement was not fully completed until the priest applied the blood to the mercy seat. So Jesus when He died on the cross finished the work of the sacrifice but He continued the process of our atonement when He became our High Priest. Jesus is not sitting around doing nothing, He is pleading our case in heaven for it is written

"Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us." (Romans 8:34)

Makes intercession is in the present tense, and Romans was written after the resurrection of Christ, thus Jesus was and still is making intercession for His people today.

Now that leads us to the question, is Jesus in the most holy place now? Yes, but if you look at the sanctuary there was only one way in to the holy place, and only one way in to the most holy place. You could only enter the most holy place by first entering the holy place. Thus when Jesus died and rose again He moved from the outer court, to the holy place and began the work of intercession. He entered the Most Holy Place on the anti-typical day of atonement, which was when the sanctuary was cleansed. Leviticus 16:19 tells us that during the day of atonement the sanctuary was cleansed for it is written "Then he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, cleanse it, and consecrate it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel. For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the LORD."

Since the human sanctuary was a pattern, when would the heavenly sanctuary be cleansed? Daniel 8:14 tells us "And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.” This would be fulfilled in 1844. Where did I get 1844 from? Well that can be proved from the Bible may I recommend these chapters for much more detail -

What is the Sanctuary? (Explains Daniel 8:14) http://www.crcbermuda.com/reference/ellen-white-books-g-m/great-controversy/chap-23-what-is-the-sanctuary

And the very next chapter entitled "In the Holy of Holies"

http://www.crcbermuda.com/reference/ellen-white-books-g-m/great-controversy/chap-24-in-the-holy-of-holies

Another good sermon on the heavenly sanctuary is here - http://www.amazingfacts.org/media-library/media/e/7138/t/the-heavenly-sanctuary.aspx

May the Lord continue to bless you as you study His Word!

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3  
You had me up to the point where you state Jesus "continued the process of our atonement when He became our High Priest." The process of atonement was completed when Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "Tetelestai/Finished/Accomplished." His high priestly ministry of intercession began after He offered His own blood (not literally, but figuratively) to the Father on our behalf "in the greater and more perfect tabernacle" in heaven (Heb 9:11,12). I also do not follow how you go from Hebrews to Daniel. In other words, show your work and explain your thinking further. – rhetorician Oct 5 '13 at 19:00
    
@rhetorician: Hi rhetorician, good questions yeah after posting the Hebrews to Daniel I remembered I needed to post another verse first to connect but let me explain the atonement first. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:16-17 "For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!" Here Paul says that if Christ did not rise, we would not be saved from sin. Thus to say that the death of Christ without His high priestly ministry is sufficient for salvation is not in harmony with the Bible. – HelloWorld Oct 6 '13 at 16:18
    
When Jesus said it is finished, Satan knew His kingdom would come to an end, Christ had completed the work of the sacrifice and reclaimed dominion of the earth which had been forfeited by Adam's transgression but the work of His intercession and ministry to complete the process of the atonement would still continue based on Romans 8:34, Hebrews 8 etc. This also is in harmony with the Old Testament process of the atonement. We know that a lamb was slain daily in the OT, yet the process of atonement was not completed till the day of atonement for it says ... – HelloWorld Oct 6 '13 at 16:23
    
"For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the LORD." (Leviticus 16:30) Notice here that if the daily sacrifice were sufficient, then the day of atonement to "cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the LORD" would be unnecessary. I will update my answer to connect Hebrews to Daniel properly, thanks again! – HelloWorld Oct 6 '13 at 16:31
    
So, is that a yes or no? Did Jesus enter with his own blood into heaven (the holy place)? – Simply a Christian Jul 2 at 1:41

The purpose of the blood that the priest shed and sprinkled at the door was not any kind of payment for sins. It was an appeal for mercy for the priest and the people so that God would permit him to approach. God doesn't sell tickets to his temple. He doesn't sell indulgences. The priest first offered a bull for himself and then a goat for the people. In so doing he was acknowledging their sins and asking God to be merciful and grant access to the scape goat (the goat that would not be killed). He would enter and place his hands on the goat and the goat would carry the sins of the people off into the wilderness. It was of course a metaphor for forgiveness of sins. So the forgiveness of sins did not involve blood. The blood was only to prepare the priest and the people to receive divine forgiveness, which was freely given. Here's how sins were forgiven:

Lev 16:20 And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: Lev 16:21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: Lev 16:22 And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.

  • the blood was an appeal for mercy
  • the living goat carried away sins as a picture of forgiveness

So as to your question, how should this verse be understood:

οὐδὲ δι᾽ αἵματος τράγων καὶ μόσχων διὰ δὲ τοῦ ἰδίου αἵματος εἰσῆλθεν ἐφάπαξ εἰς τὰ ἅγια αἰωνίαν λύτρωσιν εὑράμενος King James Version:

Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

  • first, let's correctly translate it:

"Not by sprinkling blood from goats and bulls but because of his own blood he entered in one time into the holy place, having found everlasting release [from death]".

Jesus didn't "obtain" but rather "found" or "encountered" and it was not "for us" but rather he himself was freed from death by his death:

Rom 6:9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. Rom 6:10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

So what does our verse say about his blood? That it signifies his death which he died to sin and death and thus is free from sin and death forever. He is qualified as a high priest because of his endless life:

Heb 7:23 There have been many priests, since each one of them had to stop serving in office when he died. Heb 7:24 But because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Heb 7:25 Therefore, **because he always lives to intercede for them, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him. Heb 7:26 We need such a high priest—one who is holy, innocent, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Heb 7:27 He has no need to offer sacrifices every day like high priests do, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he sacrificed himself. Heb 7:28 For the Law appoints as high priests men who are weak, but the promised oath, which came after the Law, results in a Son who is eternally perfect.

Recap: Our verse says that Jesus found everlasting release from sin and death (lives forever). He didn't offer blood to God but rather himself, to serve as priest:

Heb 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who because of his unending breath [life] offered himself without any stain to serve as a priest to God, purge your conscience from death activities (sacrifices) to serve the living God?

Jesus' blood was spilled but he offered himself free from any stain of blood to serve as priest to God on the basis of an endless, purified life.

And so no, he didn't offer his blood to God. God didn't want blood.

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Great answer & awesome insight! – Adinkra Jul 15 at 5:49

protected by Dan Feb 5 '14 at 4:47

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