Jesus is in heaven today mediating for us…
The writer of Hebrews illuminates Jesus’ ‘better’ sacrifice – “Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with the blood of another – He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” (Hebrews 9: 23-28)
We learn from Leviticus what took place under the old covenant or Old Testament – “And the priest, who is anointed and consecrated to minister as priest in his father’s place, shall make atonement, and put on the linen clothes, the holy garments; then he shall make atonement for the Holy Sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tabernacle of meeting and for the altar, and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel, for all their sins, once a year. And he did as the Lord commanded Moses.” (Leviticus 16: 32-34)
Regarding the word ‘atonement,’ Scofield writes “The Biblical use and meaning of the word must be sharply distinguished from its use in theology. In theology it is a term which covers the whole sacrificial and redemptive work of Christ. In the OT, atonement is also the English word used to translate the Hebrew words which mean cover, coverings, or to cover. Atonement in this sense differs from the purely theological concept. The Levitical offerings ‘covered’ the sins of Israel until and in anticipation of the cross, but did not ‘take away’ those sins. These were the sins done in OT times, which God ‘passed over’, for which passing over God’s righteousness was never vindicated until, in the cross, Jesus Christ was ‘set forth as a propitiation.’ It was the cross, not the Levitical sacrifices, which made full and complete redemption. The OT sacrifices enabled God to go on with a guilty people because those sacrifices typified the cross. To the offeror they were the confession of his deserving death and the expression of his faith; to God they were the ‘shadows’ of good things that were to come, of which Christ was the reality.” (Scofield 174)
Jesus has entered into heaven and is now our Mediator – “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens.” (Hebrews 7: 25-26)
Jesus works on us from the inside out through His Holy Spirit – “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9: 14)
The first sin brought about the moral ruin of all mankind. There is one way to live in God’s presence for eternity, and that is through the merit of Jesus Christ. Romans teaches us – “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned – (for until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.” (Romans 5: 12-15)
Scofield, C. I. The Scofield Study Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.