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Hebrews 9:24  (King James Version)
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<< Hebrews 9:23   Hebrews 9:25 >>


Hebrews 9:19-26

This passage contains a couple of points to help us understand why Jesus Christ's death took place late on the afternoon of Abib 14, while the Passover was commanded to be observed at the beginning of that day. The first is that the entire sacrificial system, the Aaronic priesthood, and the Tabernacle system of worship were only copies of a spiritual reality. While the instructions given in the Pentateuch about these things are decidedly important in their own right—including the Passover instructions—they point to something that is vastly more significant. The physical rites were critically important for what God was doing with a carnal people, and they still contain valuable principles for us, but they in no way supersede the spiritual, heavenly reality.

Secondly, Jesus perfectly fulfilled all the spiritual requirements on which these physical rites were based. But it is imperative to remember that what was most important is what needed to be accomplished spiritually. The Father and the Son determined what needed to happen to meet the spiritual requirements. This passage shows that the Father was perfectly satisfied with everything that Jesus did, thus whatever the spiritual requirements were for the various sacrifices and rituals, they have been met. Everything in the sacrificial system that was of consequence to God's plan and His sense of justice has been fulfilled.

Yet, even though the physical rites point to the spiritual reality, they do not match up exactly. For example, the Israelites were required to make a morning sacrifice and an evening sacrifice. There is no doubt that Jesus Christ fulfilled all sacrificial requirements, including those. However, He was not crucified in the morning nor in the evening when those sacrifices were supposed to be made. He was not killed on a Sabbath, when special sacrifices were made. Nor was He killed on a new moon, when other special sacrifices were made. (The 14th day of the month is a full moon.)

Taking this a step further, the Day of Atonement is considered the holiest and most solemn day of the year. Only then could the high priest enter the Holy of Holies. The blood sacrifices for the sins of the priest and the nation were very detailed. In the passage above, Christ's sacrifice is described in the imagery of the Day of Atonement, not of the Passover. Jesus, though, was not sacrificed on Atonement. His blood was never sprinkled on any altar, let alone the Mercy Seat. Our High Priest did not enter the Holy of Holies of the physical Temple. He entered the heavenly Temple, but if He did that when He ascended to the Father, He did not do even that on the Day of Atonement.

Clearly, the way that Christ fulfilled all of these things was not identical to the requirements He gave to Israel. Rather, the instructions given to them were only types of what He would later fulfill in His life, crucifixion, and death.

David C. Grabbe
Why Was Jesus Not Crucified as Passover Began? (Part One)



Hebrews 9:19-26

So, how did Jesus fulfill the Passover requirements? He ate the Passover with His disciples at the beginning of the 14th day of the first month. While they probably did eat roasted lamb with bitter herbs, what Jesus emphasized for His disciples was the bread and the wine. Through washing His disciples' feet (John 13:2-17), He set the example of humble service, as well as forgiving others, because cleansing is symbolic of forgiveness. Most importantly, His sinless blood was shed on Passover day.

Yet, parts of the original Passover instructions were not fulfilled in their letter! Consider that He and His disciples left the house before morning, which the Israelites were forbidden to do (Exodus 12:22). Jesus was our Passover Lamb, yet He was crucified rather than being roasted in fire (Exodus 12:8). His remains were not burned, even though that, too, is specified. His blood was not caught in a basin, nor smeared on any doorpost (see verse 7). And, as we know, He was not killed between sunset and dark at the beginning of the 14th day.

So did Jesus fulfill the Passover? We know He absolutely did, and our Father was satisfied. But He fulfilled it according to requirements that were different from what He gave to a carnal people.

Jesus set the example for us of when and how to keep it. It was during the night of the 14th when He said to partake of the bread and wine “in remembrance of Me.” In reflecting on that night, Paul instructs the Corinthians to “proclaim the Lord's death till He comes” (I Corinthians 11:26). However, the timing of His death, which did not occur until the following afternoon, was about far more than just being the Passover Lamb—as pivotal as it was.

The death of the Lamb was planned from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). The timing was not an afterthought—it was deliberate, drawing our attention to something momentous. Jesus only died once to fulfill all the sacrificial requirements, including those for the Passover, the Day of Atonement and the other holy days offerings, the Sabbath, the New Moon—His one sacrifice satisfied it all. Yet, the date and time He was crucified do not correspond with any holy day, nor with any sacrifice that God commanded Israel to make! Rather, it corresponded with a much earlier event: God's covenant with Abraham.

David C. Grabbe
Why Was Jesus Not Crucified as Passover Began? (Part One)




Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Hebrews 9:24:

Leviticus 23:5
Psalm 133:2

 

<< Hebrews 9:23   Hebrews 9:25 >>



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