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Christ’s Sacrifice Takes Away Sin

23 Thus it was necessary for the sketches of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves need better sacrifices than these.

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23. patterns—"the suggestive representations"; the typical copies (see on Heb 8:5).

things in the heavens—the heavenly tabernacle and the things therein.

purified with these—with the blood of bulls and goats.

heavenly things themselves—the archetypes. Man's sin had introduced an element of disorder into the relations of God and His holy angels in respect to man. The purification removes this element of disorder and changes God's wrath against man in heaven (designed to be the place of God's revealing His grace to men and angels) into a smile of reconciliation. Compare "peace in heaven" (Lu 19:38). "The uncreated heaven of God, though in itself untroubled light, yet needed a purification in so far as the light of love was obscured by the fire of wrath against sinful man" [Delitzsch in Alford]. Contrast Re 12:7-10. Christ's atonement had the effect also of casting Satan out of heaven (Lu 10:18; Joh 12:31, compare Heb 2:14). Christ's body, the true tabernacle (see on Heb 8:2; Heb 9:11), as bearing our imputed sin (2Co 5:21), was consecrated (Joh 17:17, 19) and purified by the shedding of His blood to be the meeting place of God and man.

sacrifices—The plural is used in expressing the general proposition, though strictly referring to the one sacrifice of Christ once for all. Paul implies that His one sacrifice, by its matchless excellency, is equivalent to the Levitical many sacrifices. It, though but one, is manifold in its effects and applicability to many.