Hebrews 9:16–22 (NKJV)
In this passage, the writer moves from a discussion of the heavenly sanctuary and the inheritance Christ left to mankind into a legal explanation of a testament, or–in modern vernacular–a will. He seeks to help explain the need for the death of Christ for the salvation of mankind.
16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. 19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.” 21 Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. 22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.Hebrews 9:16-22
Before a testament can be enforced, the testator must die. A will is not executable until the individual drawing up the will for himself or herself is no longer alive. Only then can the executor of a will begin to distribute the proceeds to satisfy debts and pass on wealth or goods to the beneficiaries. A will or testament is simply a document while the testator lives, but becomes an actionable plan at the death of the testator. In the case of Christ, the inheritance given to those who believe was not complete until Christ died. As a type or shadow of the new covenant in Christ, the first testament operated the same way. Moses spoke every precept of the law to the people, but it was not official until he took the blood of calves and goats with water and sprinkled it on the book of the covenant and all the people. He told them that the application was the blood of the covenant which God had commanded. He then sprinkled the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. The law calls for the cleansing of almost all things by the blood. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission, or payments, for sins.
Judaism and Christianity are considered bloody religions. In the name of God, warfare has ensued. In the name of God, capital punishment has been executed. In the name of God, countless animal sacrifices were made. The beauty of Christianity, though, is the fact that Jesus actually came to end animal sacrifices and, for that matter, to end death for all who would believe. Jesus died once so that we would not be bound by death. Jesus died once so that no other animal sacrifice would be necessary. Jesus died to save us, and He sacrificed His own life and not that of another. He shed His own blood to save us. He is the testator that died, but lives again. He gave His inheritance to men and women everywhere, and is now our living king. He is the ultimate at all He does, and proves it again and again!
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