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In Hebrews 9:12, it is written,

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

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. Please read them both because they provide 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. Commentary on the Bible.

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.

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

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This is not a hermeneutical answer so I wanted to put it in comments. A archeologist Ron Wyatt says he found the ark of the covenant and found the blood of Jesus on the mercy seat. Sounds crazy but watch the video, he will explain everything and you tell me - Check out some of his other videos, you will get a more complete picture of what transpired. Please comment here when you are done and tell me your thoughts. I would like to get your opinion. – JLB Feb 4 '14 at 0:50

3 Answers 3

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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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. – 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

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)

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

Another good sermon on the heavenly sanctuary is here -

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

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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

protected by Dan Feb 5 '14 at 4:47

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