the second the high priest alone, once in the year, not without blood, which he offers for himself, and for the errors of the people.
Hebrews 9 [6.] Now these things having been thus prepared, the priests go in continually into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the services, but into the second the high priest alone, once in the year, not without blood, which he offers for himself, and for the errors of the people. The Holy Spirit is indicating this, that the way into the Holy Place wasn’t yet revealed while the first tabernacle was still standing; which is a symbol of the present age, where gifts and sacrifices are offered that are incapable, concerning the conscience, of making the worshiper perfect; being only (with meats and drinks and various washings) fleshly ordinances, imposed until a time of reformation.
Here, the "second part" refers to the Most Holy Place within the tabernacle or later, the temple. This inner sanctuary was separated from the rest of the structure by a veil, symbolizing the separation between God and humanity due to sin.
The significance of the high priest entering the Most Holy Place "once in the year" lies in the solemnity and exclusivity of this act. The annual Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur, was a pivotal event in the religious calendar of the Israelites. It was a day of cleansing and reconciliation, where the sins of the people were symbolically transferred to the sacrificial animals.
The phrase "not without blood" underscores the central role of blood in the atonement process. In the Old Testament, the shedding of blood was seen as a necessary and symbolic act to atone for sins (Leviticus 17:11). The high priest, representing the people, offered animal sacrifices as a temporary covering for their transgressions. However, the repetition of these sacrifices highlighted their limited effectiveness in permanently removing sin.
The high priest's dual offering "for himself, and for the errors of the people" emphasizes the universality of sin. Even the high priest, the most revered religious figure, was not exempt from the need for atonement. This recognition of the collective fallen nature of humanity is a recurring theme in the Bible (Romans 3:23).
The author of Hebrews draws a sharp contrast between the Old Testament rituals and the redemptive work of Christ. In the subsequent verses, particularly Hebrews 9:11-12, the focus shifts from the earthly tabernacle to the heavenly sanctuary. Jesus is portrayed as the ultimate High Priest, entering not an earthly sanctuary but the very presence of God to secure eternal redemption.
Temporal vs. Eternal Atonement: The annual rituals performed by the high priest provided a temporary atonement, requiring repetition year after year. In contrast, Jesus, as the perfect High Priest, offers an eternal and complete atonement through His sacrifice (Hebrews 9:12).
Inclusive Redemption: The phrase "for himself, and for the errors of the people" underscores the comprehensive nature of Christ's redemptive work. Unlike the limited scope of the high priest's offerings, Christ's sacrifice extends to all people, addressing the universal need for salvation (1 John 2:2).
Access to God: The veil that separated the Most Holy Place was torn in two at the moment of Jesus' death (Matthew 27:51). This dramatic event symbolizes humanity's restored access to God through Christ, signifying a new era where believers can boldly approach the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16).
In conclusion, Hebrews 9:7 serves as a poignant reminder of the intricate Old Testament rituals and the limitations of human efforts to atone for sin. It sets the stage for the profound theological exploration of Christ's redemptive work and the transformative impact of His sacrifice on the relationship between God and humanity.
PIB Scriptures are derived from the World English Bible