Sažetak Christ’s death and resurrection from the grave lie at the very heart of the plan of salvation. Calvary was God’s final answer to the human predicament. Christ’s sacrifice is described as “once for all” (Heb. 10:10), valid “for all time,” hence unrepeatable (verse 12). Nothing can be added to the cross in order to supplement its atoning and expiatory power. Jesus, who in His own life was victorious over the tempter (Matt. 4:1-11; Heb. 4:15), came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). His victory over the forces of evil makes possible our own victory over sin (Rev. 12:11), as well as the final eradication of evil from our world (Rev. 20:9-15). The NT’s emphasis on the finality of Christ’s atoning death has led some to conclude that His work for our salvation came to an end at the cross. This calls for further clarification.
Having accomplished on earth the work for which He came (John 17:4, 5; 19:30), Christ was “taken up ... into heaven” (Acts 1:11) “to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25), till at His second coming He will appear “not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Heb. 9:28). Between these two poles, the cross and the Lord’s glorious return, Christ functions as royal priest “in the sanctuary and the true tent which is set up not by man but by the Lord” (Heb. 8:2), the advocate (1 John 2:1) and intercessor for those who believe in Him (Rom. 8:34). As our high priest, Christ is ministering the benefits of His sacrifice to those who draw near to Him, a ministry as essential to our salvation as His atoning death.
The priestly ministry of our heavenly high priest was prefigured in the OT sacrificial system, especially as seen in the Hebrew sanctuary, made according to a “pattern” shown by God to Moses (Ex. 25:9) and pointing to the heavenly sanctuary. The sanctuary services were a lesson book in salvation. For this reason, the study of the sanctuary and its services not only clarifies the meaning of the rituals followed, but it also sheds light on the heavenly ministry of Christ.