April 16, 2012
The Christ of History
“Once in the end of the world (ages) He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”
Hebrews 9:24-28 brings before us the Christ of history, the Christ of heaven, and Christ on the horizon. It is often pointed out as well, that there are three appearings in these verses: He did appear, He is appearing now in heaven for us (v 24), and He will appear a second time apart from the question of sin (v 28). In verse 26 we are told that “once in the end of the ages (Newberry) He appeared to put away sin.”
Each expression is worthy of consideration. He appeared – the Son of God actually appeared in our world. He came! He visited His creation. The God Who is so great that He humbles Himself to behold the things that are in heaven and on earth (Ps 113:6), not only humbled Himself to look, but to live amongst us as a Man. He was actually here.
It was the end of the “ages” or the dispensations as we call them. God had spoken in varying ways through the differing ages: to Adam by one command, to Noah through conscience, to Abraham and others through promise, and then to Israel through the law. Each age had ended in failure as the revelation of God was either ignored or forgotten by men. But the ages had all been pointing to One Who would come. In Galatians we are told that when the “fullness of time” had come, that God sent His Son. Age after age had come and gone and men were only mired more deeply in failure and alienation from God. As God’s revelation of Himself increased, the natural antipathy in our hearts only increased with it. But now, He came.
As our sin mounted, as our rebellion became more obvious and odious, He came. But He came, not to judge our sin, but to bear it and make salvation possible. This verse contains truth which is actually greater than the fact that He suffered for our sins. Here we are told, that He put away sin – His sacrifice is so great, that it has become the basis for God to deal with the issue of sin wherever and in whomever it is found. It is the basis by which God will one day rid the universe of every trace of sin. It is the foundation for everlasting, eternal righteousness and bliss. The Christ of history has secured all for eternity!
1. In John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God Which beareth away the sin of the world.” Is there a corresponding truth here which links with our verse?
2. Can you see then in this verse, the goat which was slain and its blood brought within the holies on the Day of Atonement (Lev 16)? How would verse 28 fit into the scheme of Leviticus 16?
3. Verses 25 and 26 introduce the wondrous subject of the “once” for all sacrifice of Christ. What thoughts are linked with it being “once for all”? Its efficacy? Sufficiency? Finality?