1

In Hebrews 9:11-12 we are told that Jesus our High Priest enters the Most Holy Place only once

11But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that have come, He went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made by hands and is not a part of this creation. 12He did not enter by the blood of goats and calves, but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, thus securing eternal redemption*

My understanding is that this verse is used in support of the view that only a single sacrifice was offered for the cleansing of sin, however, verse 23 of Hebrews 9 seems to indicate that the Heavenly Sanctuary itself requires purification from multiple sacrifices...better ones than those of the Old Testament Covenant!

Hebrews 9:23

Berean Study Bible

  • So it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these

New Living Translation

  • That is why the Tabernacle and everything in it, which were copies of things in heaven, had to be purified by the blood of animals. But the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals.

New King James Version

  • 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.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English

  • For it is necessary that these things which are symbols of the Heavenly are purified by these things, but the Heavenly by better sacrifices than these.

So are we to deduce from this that whilst Jesus' sacrifice on the cross was once for all sin, the cleansing of items in the heavenly sanctuary requires multiple sacrifices?

How does one resolve this contradiction in a logical and consistent way that does not discount the text in Hebrews 9:23?

0
2

Christ's single sacrifice was better than the multiple repeated animal sacrifices. Look at the full context of Heb. 9:23, and you will see that the author is still arguing of the superiority of Christ's sacrifice because it is "once for all" without needing to be repeated as Old Testament sacrifices.

Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Heb. 9:23–26, ESV)

Hebrews also has these verses:

 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28 For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever. (Heb. 7:26–28, ESV)

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. (Heb. 9:11–14, ESV)

When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9 then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Heb. 10:8–14, ESV)

6
  • Hi Perry, thanks for the contribution. Out of curiosity why did you opt to Answer this question rather than Vote to Close as Duplicate? Was there something about it which made you think it's not a duplicate?
    – Steve Taylor
    Nov 8 '21 at 11:53
  • I didn't check on duplicates. Just noticed the question was migrated. However, the way this question is asked, it isn't quite a duplicate. Adam isn't asking about grammar. The previous questions understand the context, but question the grammar.
    – Perry Webb
    Nov 8 '21 at 13:53
  • Sure, I was just curious as the question already had a couple of close votes and comments on it before your Answer came in, so wasn't sure if you had a different view, or if you'd just started writing it before those things happened. We've had an increasing number of off-topic questions being answered by experienced community members rather than closed, which is neat for the askers but doesn't really help newer users learn about the site scope. Always appreciate any help spotting off-topic questions or helping the VTC process along. Thanks!
    – Steve Taylor
    Nov 8 '21 at 14:18
  • Yes , this is a difficult one to call, but note I didn't answer it the way I would have answered the question considered its duplicate. I'm attracted by questions with zero answers, but will pay more attention to the comments and respond if I don't think it is a duplicate.
    – Perry Webb
    Nov 8 '21 at 14:35
  • Let me give a context for why the question. Many claim the heavenly contains only the MHP. If these sacrifices turn out to be directly related to the 7 items found inside the tabernacle because those items (alter, laver, candlestick, altar of incense, table of showbread, ark, Aarons golden censor) identify the relationship man has broken with God, then I believe the sacrifices are representative of each item sin has defiled! This would then mean that the tabernacle in heaven remains complete as shown by the earthly model and that the seven last plagues of Rev 15&16 relate to this.
    – Adam
    Nov 8 '21 at 21:38
0

The choice appears to be primarily stylistic:

Hebrews 9:11-12 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that have come, He went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made by hands and is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by the blood of goats and calves, but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, thus securing eternal redemption.

Hebrews 9:23 Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these [sacrifices], but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

In both instances, the same grammatical number is coherently employed throughout; thus, after using the singular blood, it continues employing the same singular term; and, likewise, after using the plural these, it also continues employing the same plural term.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.