Christ in the Heavenly Temple

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 . . .  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 9:24-28)


Hebrews is clear that the Temple in Jerusalem, which was so significant to Israel’s identity as God’s chosen people, was only a copy of the true Temple.  Any temple build by human hands is not the true temple, but a mere copy – like that which was revealed to Moses (Exodus 25:40; 26:30).  Christ enters the real, heavenly temple through the Cross.  Christ through His own sacrifice makes the Jerusalem Temple obsolete.  He will come again from the heavenly temple to save all who await Him.


Origen writing in the 3rd Century asks:

“What are we to say then of the Lamb of God who was sacrificed to take away the sin of the world; who by his own blood has torn up the account of our debts, cutting it in two and fastening it to the Cross, so that not even a trace of the sins we had committed should be found; who, despoiling the principalities and powers, made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them through the Cross? [Origen]”  (Jean Danielou, GOSPEL MESSAGE AND HELLENISTIC CULTURE, p 192)


Origen lists for us the many benefits we receive through Christ Jesus: He takes away all of our sins, He cancels any debt we owe to God, He defeats all evil and demonic powers, triumphing over Death itself.  Christ unites us to divinity and to heaven.  Our response should be thanksgiving (Eucharist).

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