Hebrews 9:26 (NIV):

Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin [offerings] by the sacrifice of himself.

Related: In Hebrews 9:26 what does it mean that Christ "did away with the sin"?

How are the end of the Levitic system and Christ's death related?

  • I've asked a question in a comment on the 'related' question, but I'll reiterate here: Why do you think 'sin' here means 'sin offering'? That's a pretty significant change to the verse that affects how we interpret the author's whole train of thought, but is there any reason to suspect every translation is mistakenly omitting the word 'offering'?
    – user2910
    Oct 28, 2017 at 14:57
  • @MarkEdward I modified the related question. However, it might be either since by ratifying the new covenant both sins and sacrifices for sins are ended.
    – Ruminator
    Oct 28, 2017 at 17:25

4 Answers 4


Hebrews at large answers that question. The essence of the whole letter is summed up in the opening sentences. "In the past" God has spoken partially in various ways: through the prophets, through the symbolism of the priestly sacrificial system, and so on. "But now" he has spoken finally and fully through his Son. In Christ we have a whole new level of action from God, so much so that all prior action has been made redundant.

Specifically with regards to the place of the sacrificial system, the writer expands on the relationship in detail in chapters 7-10. His argument is that the law is like a shadow or copy, whereas Jesus is the reality (Hebrews 10.1). So the law has value in that it tells us something about what Jesus' death means for us. But once we have the reality, there is no longer any need for the shadowy copy.

This comparison and contrast is detailed in many ways. For instance, the key symbolism of the priesthood throughout the Bible is that our offerings are made by someone else. The presence of the priest signifies that we cannot come to God by ourselves. We need help. Both the shadow and the reality paint the same picture, so in that way Jesus the priest is simply an extension of the OT system.

On the other hand, sharp contrasts are drawn. The OT priests offered repeated sacrifices, over and over (see Hebrews 10.1-4). But Jesus offered one sacrifice, for all time (Hebrews 10.11-14). The OT priests were unable to truly take away sin. If they could, why did they need to offer another sacrifice the next time? But Christ by his sacrifice has made us perfect forever. The OT system was a matter of external ritual. But Christ's offering was a life of perfect inner obedience to the will of God.

For all these reasons the shadow is no longer required. Why offer further sacrifices if the death of Jesus is one perfect once-for-all-time sacrifice?

  • 1
    I'm not sure if there's still a question here. Does your second comment mean you have answered your own first question for yourself? Oct 27, 2017 at 23:02
  • 1
    I thought your initial question was a good one. But now I'm not sure of your motives. When you talk about the writer "spilling a lot of ink" it sounds to me like you disagree with the argument. (Which you're allowed to do; but that's not the purpose of this site. We are here to interpret the text, not critique it.) And when you drop hints I get the feeling you want us to guess your answer rather than give our own constructive ideas. That's not my game. So I'm finished, unless you have a further reasonable question. Oct 28, 2017 at 10:59
  • The answer that "To the Hebrews" gives is found in Hebrews 9:15. Jesus made the Levitic system obsolete by ratifying the new covenant/testament that provided the forgiveness of sins.
    – Ruminator
    Oct 28, 2017 at 17:58
  • +1 For the first sentence, which is the real answer. The entire book of Hebrews is aimed at this very question. Mar 11, 2021 at 0:00

Hebrews 10:1 " For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect"

The levitical sacrifices were only a shadow of the true sacrifice that was coming. Just like Abraham told Isaac Yahuwah would provide his own Lamb. The law was a school master (Galatians 3), getting the Hebrews ready for their messiah. So when the light came, Christ, "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9), then the shadow served it's purpose and was no longer needed.

The blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin ( Hebrews 10:4). Sin and death came from the disobience of man, therefore life and righteousness also had to come from man (Romans 6). Yahuwah said in the day Adam ate of the tree he would surely die, therefore the redemptive blood can only come from one who was obedient, unlike Adam, and therefore can pay for our punishment and bare our sins.

Bulls and goats cannot do this, that's why they only were types and shadows of the true sacrifice to come.

Hebrews 10King James Version (KJV)

10 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.

4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:

6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.

7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God


According to "To the Hebrews" the way that the Christ did away with the sin offering is by ratifying the new covenant. (The new covenant is variously referred to in the scriptures as "the new covenant" and "the new testament" but I'll just referred to it here as "the new covenant"). Since the terms of this covenant involved the forgiveness of sins committed under the law there was no more need for the annual sacrifices:

NIV Hebrews 10: 5Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; 6with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. 7Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, my God.’ ” 8First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. 9Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. 14For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. 15The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: 16“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” 17Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” 18And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.

Please note that the annual sacrifices were part of the first covenant God made with Israel and that this covenant and these sacrifices were not relevant to the gentiles, only to those under the law. So too the new covenant is only relevant to the Jews:

Hebrews 9:15King James Version (KJV) 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

More specifically, in order to put the long-promised new covenant into force he had to shed his own blood to ratify the covenant:

NIV Hebrews 9: 15 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. 16 In the case of a will,[d] it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, 17 because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. 18 This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. 19 When Moses had proclaimed every command of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. 20 He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.”[e] 21 In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. 22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. 23 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. 24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. 25 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. 26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

So this is how his one sacrifice did away with the Levitic sacrifices. He shed his blood to ratify the new covenant and in so doing obviated the sacrificial system.

The fact that this was specific to the Jews is also why the meal that celebrates this deliverance is also only for the Jews, in the context of a seder:

Luke 22:20King James Version (KJV) 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

  • Only relevant to the Jews? That's a misinterpretation of Hebrews 9.15. The new covenant applies to "they which are called". The clear message of the NT is that those called are both Jews and Gentiles. Oct 29, 2017 at 11:07
  • @PeterKirkpatrick Please take a deep breath... I'm not saying that the gospel only applies to the Jews, just that the new covenant (like the Sinai covenant) applies only to them. Please read the new covenant, why it was instituted and with whom in Hebrews 8:7-13. "Communion" is a bastardization of the seder.
    – Ruminator
    Oct 29, 2017 at 15:51
  • I understand what you're saying, and I'm explaining why I disagree. You are relying on Hebrews 9.15, and I'm pointing out what the words of that verse explicitly say: that the new covenant is for "those who are called". So you need to interpret that phrase, and my view based on the consistent testimony of the NT is that it is not limited to Jews alone. Oct 31, 2017 at 11:10
  • @PeterKirkpatrick In Hebrews 8:7-13 are we not told with whom the covenant was made? The "called" are the "remnant" of the Jews aka "the elect". Please see Romans 9. The consistent testimony of the OT and the NT is that it was made "with the houses of Israel and Judah".
    – Ruminator
    Oct 31, 2017 at 11:28
  • We'll have to agree to differ :) Nov 1, 2017 at 9:44

In Hebrews 9:26 how did the sacrifice of Jesus end the Levitic sin offerings?

Comparing Hebr 9:28 and Luke 22:20, it looks like it was the shedding of the blood that took away the sins. This is interesting and could be a symbolic reference to wine and its frequent carnal consequences.

Although it was not easily understood, the sacrificial blood of animals in the Old Testament also symbolized 'wine'. It was due to this little known cryptic meaning that God needed to send his son to "spell it out in large letters" for us !?!? (Isa 28)

(Heb 10:14-16), Sobriety is the anti-dote to a, by alcohol, numbed conscience (Eph 5:18). Thus, an active, clear conscience, is the forerunner to holiness, since defending sinful acts is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit (Numbers 15:22-31). [God loves the sinner, but hates the sin].

  • (Pg.1) Luke 22:20 (EXB) In the same way, after ·supper [they had eaten], Jesus took the cup and said, “·This cup [or This cup that is poured out…] is the new ·agreement [covenant; a binding relationship between God and his people; Jer. 31:31–34] ·that begins with [that is established by; or that is sealed with; in] my blood, which is poured out for you [interpreters differ as to whether it is the “cup” or the “blood” that Jesus says is “poured out”]. Jan 6, 2019 at 2:59
  • (Pg.2) Isa 28:7,8,16 (NIV) And these also stagger from wine and reel from beer: Priests and prophets stagger from beer and are befuddled with wine; they reel from beer, they stagger when seeing visions, they stumble when rendering decisions. All the tables are covered with vomit and there is not a spot without filth. So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic. Jan 6, 2019 at 3:11
  • (Pg.3) Heb 10:26,27 (NIV) "If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God". John 9:41 (NIV) Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains". Jan 10, 2019 at 8:35

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