In order to go to Heaven, people living in the age of grace have one thing that they must do.
Acts 16:31: “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
But what exactly does that mean? Most people would not argue against the fact that there was indeed a man known as Jesus Christ (in the English language) who was alive on the earth 2,000 years ago. But who was this man? And what did He accomplish?
For some people, Jesus Christ was just a man. I remember a joke on a television show where it was stated that Jesus Christ was just a guy whose abilities were greatly exaggerated, and Jesus was portrayed as a mere illusionist playing with several magician rings. Thanks to jokes like these, constantly put forth by Jewish-controlled Hollywood (many Jews hate Jesus Christ), and many other knocks against the Bible that come from various sources, lots of people picture Jesus Christ as a man who was either delusional or who had His character greatly exaggerated. These people believe that there was a man named Jesus Christ. But they do not believe on Jesus Christ. What is the difference? Let me show you. How did the apostle Paul say that a person becomes saved?
Romans 10:9: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
It’s not enough to believe that Jesus Christ once walked the earth. After He was crucified, Jesus did the unthinkable, the impossible, the unbelievable: He came back from the dead. Do you believe that? Do you know why it is necessary to believe that? Your eternal salvation is dependent not only on the crucifixion of Jesus, but also on His resurrection. But why? When He was crucified, Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice for sin. What did Jesus accomplish with His resurrection? We will soon find out. But first, let’s see what Paul had to say about the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
1st Corinthians 15:12-19: “Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep (died) in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”
If Jesus Christ stayed in that tomb, then the faith of all true believers is in vain. If Jesus Christ stayed in that tomb, then all true believers are still guilty of every sin they have ever committed and will yet commit. If Jesus Christ stayed in that tomb, then the most miserable people in the world will be all true believers, because they will have believed in someone who was a fraud. They will have put their very souls in the hands of a man who was an imposter, a man who died 2,000 years ago, was buried, and became nothing but a figure in history. This is what Paul taught, if the scenario should happen to be true that Jesus Christ died and stayed in His tomb. But folks, Paul had some great news. Jesus Christ got back up and came out of that tomb.
Romans 4:20-25: “He (Abraham) staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he (God) had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us (believers on Jesus Christ) also, to whom it (righteousness) shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”
Abraham believed that God would do what He promised, and because of that, righteousness was recorded to Abraham’s record. The only righteousness we can earn comes from obeying the law of Moses (Philippians 3:9), but that righteousness is not enough to take us to Heaven, because obeying the law does not justify anyone before God (Romans 3:20). If there is nothing we can do to earn our ticket to Heaven, then what is it that justifies us in the sight of God? Look again at that last verse of Scripture from Romans 4.
“Who (Jesus Christ) was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”
How does this work? Remember what Paul said? If Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, then true believers are stuck in their sins. We are all sinners (Romans 3:23), and we cannot change that. God hates sin, and sinners are destined for Hell. If you want to go to Heaven, you need to be justified in the sight of God. The way to do this is though Jesus Christ.
John 14:6: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
God justifies those who believe on Jesus Christ.
Romans 3:21-28: “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (sacrifice) through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”
When a person has faith in Jesus Christ, they are justified before God. How is this possible? Look again at a phrase you may have missed above:
"Whom (Jesus Christ) God hath set forth to be a propitiation (sacrifice) through faith in his blood"
The blood of Jesus Christ is the key to a believer's justification.
Romans 5:9: "Much more then, being now justified by his (Jesus Christ's) blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."
Why is the blood of Jesus Christ so important? Blood was required by God in order to forgive sin (Leviticus 17:11), both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament was built on a system that provided a temporary solution for sin. The New Testament was built on a system that provided a permanent solution for sin. When Jesus died on the cross, His sacrifice was for the sins of the entire world (1st John 2:2, John 1:29). But did you know that the work of Jesus Christ did not end there? Being the sacrifice for the sins of the world was step one. Step two would require Jesus to come back from the dead to accomplish it. So what exactly was step two? Blood is the key. Let's contrast the use of blood in the Old Testament with its use in the New Testament.
Hebrews 9:16-22: “For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
The Old Testament was initiated with blood. Moses explained the law to the Jews, and then the book and the people were sprinkled with the blood of calves and goats. God saw the blood, and it reminded God of His covenant with His people. Eventually, the time came for a new covenant.
Hebrews 8:7-9: “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he (God) saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.”
It was time for a new covenant. A better covenant. This is where Jesus Christ entered.
Hebrews 8:6: “But now hath he (Jesus Christ) obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.”
Under the Old Testament, sacrifices had to be offered regularly to God due to the sins of the Jews.
Hebrews 7:27: “Who (Jesus Christ) needeth notdaily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.”
Hebrews 10:11: “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:”
Hebrews 9:6-7: “Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:”
Bulls and goats were consistently sacrificed to God, and their blood was offered to God for the forgiveness of sins. Two lambs a day were also sacrificed (Exodus 29:38-42).
Hebrews 10:4: “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.”
The blood of these animal sacrifices could not take away sin. It simply satisfied God’s price for sin temporarily. The tabernacle and temple on earth were designed to be pictures of what was in Heaven (Hebrews 8:1-2, 9:11, 24), and if the altar and mercy seat in the tabernacle and temple on earth needed to be sprinkled with blood, then it follows that the tabernacle in Heaven would also require blood.
Hebrews 9:22-24: “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands (the holy sanctuaries in the tabernacle and temple on earth), which are the figures of the true (the holy sanctuary in Heaven); but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:”
The blood of bulls and goats was sprinkled on the altar and mercy seat in the tabernacle and temple, reminding God of His old covenant. When Jesus Christ rose from the dead, He outdid those priests of old. Jesus took His own blood to Heaven and entered the holy sanctuary that exists in the very presence of God.
Hebrews 9:11-15: “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands (the true tabernacle in Heaven), that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works (obeying the law) to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption (the payment) of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”
The priests stood daily in the tabernacle, and later the temple, on earth (Hebrews 10:11), and once a year, the high priest entered the holy sanctuary (Hebrews 9:6-7). Jesus Christ entered one time into the holy sanctuary in Heaven. Are you getting this? Jesus Christ took His own blood into Heaven, into the holy sanctuary, and sprinkled it on the mercy seat there so that God would forever remember His covenant, the second and better one. The blood of bulls and goats was never enough to take away the stain of sins, but the blood of Jesus, the very Son of God.... Well, it doesn't get much better than that. That was the ultimate payment, and when God sees the blood of His own Son in that Heavenly, holy sanctuary, that blood is more than enough to pay the price for the sins of the world. But wait. There’s more.
Hebrews 9:24: “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:”
Jesus Christ is in the very presence of God, and He is there on behalf of all true believers. Not only is the blood of Jesus in that Heavenly, holy sanctuary, Jesus Christ Himself is sitting right next to God as a constant reminder of that incredible second covenant that was instituted, wherein simple faith in Jesus results in the forgiveness of sins. Could a believer on Jesus ever lose their salvation? Absolutely not. God's Son would not allow that, as He has taken on the role of a defense attorney, defending believers before God.
Hebrews 7:22-25: “By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
Hebrews 10:12-14: “But this man (Jesus Christ), after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”
Hebrews 8:1-6: “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest (Jesus Christ), who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle (in Heaven), which the Lord pitched (built), and not man. For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.”
The job of the high priest on earth was a shadow of what was to come in Heaven. The tabernacle and temple on earth were pictures of the true tabernacle in Heaven, and the sprinkling of the blood of bulls and goats was a picture of the blood of Jesus. The tabernacle, the temple, and the sprinkling of blood were a part of Moses’ law, which was merely a shadow of Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 10:1: “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.”
Hebrews 9:11: “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle (in Heaven), not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;”
Folks, if Jesus Christ never came out of that tomb, then we have no hope. But Jesus did come out, and He accomplished bigger and better things than the priests, the sacrifices, and the law of Moses could ever achieve. The death of Jesus Christ was the single most important event that had ever occurred on the earth. Three days later, Jesus Christ shook the world with the next phase of His plan: He rose again. The resurrection of Jesus Christ was more than just a miracle. It was the sign that God accepted the new covenant. If Jesus Christ was just a man who was crucified, His remains would still be in that grave. Instead, Jesus Christ was the Son of God on a mission. When God raised Jesus from the dead, God was confirming His new covenant. God was showing that He approved of everything that Jesus had accomplished thus far, and He was giving His Son the green light to go ahead and finish His work. The first covenant, which was weak, was ushered in with the blood of calves and goats. The second covenant, which was better in every way, was ushered in with the blood of God's one and only Son. If you believe that Jesus existed, that is not enough. If you believe in Jesus, then you believe that He died on the cross, was buried, and rose again three days later. The resurrection is an integral part of the Gospel message, which is a package deal. Without the resurrection, the work of Jesus Christ would not be finished, making the Gospel of Christ of no effect. The Gospel of Christ is nothing but the story of a dead man without the resurrection. But because of the resurrection, the Gospel of Christ has the power to save souls (Romans 1:16). The awesome news of the resurrection of Jesus Christ was first shared by Peter with the Jews on the day of Pentecost.
Acts 2:22-24: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”
The apostles were soon arrested (Acts 4:1-3) and were asked to explain themselves. Peter once again told of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Acts 4:8-12: “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole (in the name of Jesus Christ, Peter had healed a man who could not walk); Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole (the crippled man was healed). This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Later on, when God opened the door of salvation to the Gentiles, Peter shared the news of the resurrection of Jesus Christ once again.
Acts 10:38-43: “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
Whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, it does not matter. Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. Do you believe that? If so, the following applies to you:
Colossians 2:12: “Buried with him (Jesus Christ) in baptism (your body is dead because of sin), wherein also ye are risen with him (your soul will live forever) through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”
Ephesians 1:17-20: “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,”
A lot of people talk about the death of Jesus Christ, and rightfully so. Jesus died in order to be a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world (1st John 2:2, John 1:29). But let’s not forget about an equally important subject: The resurrection of Jesus Christ. When Jesus became the sacrifice for sin, it was accomplished on the cross for the world to see. When Jesus took His blood to Heaven to justify believers (Romans 5:9), it was done away from the public. This is why Jesus does not seem to get much credit for what He accomplished after the resurrection. But as we have come to learn, the resurrection is a part of the Gospel of Christ for a very good reason, because what Jesus did with His blood was necessary (Hebrews 9:23). According to Romans 4:25, Jesus died for believers, and Jesus rose again for believers.
Romans 4:25: “Who (Jesus) was delivered for our offences (killed for our sins), and was raised again for our justification.”
How do we receive this justification?
Romans 5:9: “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
The blood of Jesus Christ is what justifies those who are saved. Jesus rose from the dead and took His blood to Heaven in order to secure this justification. Thus, the resurrection is a core part of the Gospel of Christ.
1st Corinthians 15:1-4: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
Romans 10:9: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 8:33-34: “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he than condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”
The High Priest of the New Testament
There is more to consider here. The earthly tabernacle that God instructed Moses to build (Exodus 25-27) had an inner room, called “the Holiest of all” (Hebrews 9:3). There was a veil hung up to separate this room from the rest of the tabernacle (Exodus 26:33). Only priests could go into the tabernacle (Hebrews 9:6), but into the most holy room on the other side of the veil, the only person who could enter was the high priest (Hebrews 9:7). This holiest room contained the mercy seat (Exodus 25:17-22, Hebrews 9:3-5). The high priest would go into the holiest room once a year and sprinkle the mercy seat with blood, and this was done because of the sins of the Jews, in order to satisfy God’s penalty for sin (Leviticus 16, Exodus 30:10, Hebrews 9:6-7). These designs and procedures were later repeated with Solomon's Temple. At the very moment Jesus Christ died on the cross, the veil in the temple in Jerusalem was torn from top to bottom (Matthew 27:50-51). This occurred as a sign to show that God was no longer only accessible by the earthly high priest. The way to receive forgiveness for sins was no longer going to be accomplished in an earthly tabernacle or temple. This was because God had appointed a new high priest: His own Son. The other high priests down through the ages could not continue in their positions due to the fact that they were human (Hebrews 7:23). They would always die. Jesus Christ would have a unique priesthood: He would be the high priest forever, because He would live forever (Hebrews 7:24). Remember how the tabernacle/temple on earth was a picture of the true tabernacle in Heaven (Hebrews 8:1-2, 9:11, 24)? If that holiest room of all, the inner room of the tabernacle/temple, could only be visited by the high priest, and the pattern of things done on earth was set up to match the pattern of things done in Heaven (Hebrews 9:21-24, 8:3-5), then this would mean that only the high priest in Heaven could enter into the holiest room of the tabernacle there. Jesus Christ was/is that high priest.
Hebrews 4:14: “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.”
Hebrews 7:20-22: “And inasmuch as not without an oath he (Jesus Christ) was made priest: (For those (human) priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him (God) that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou (Jesus) art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.”
God made a promise, and God will never repent, or change His mind, about that promise. (Repentance does not mean to “turn away from sins” like prideful Lordship Salvationists want you to believe. Repentance is a rethinking, or a changing of the mind. That is why God can repent. And yes, I will take every chance I get to call out Lordship Salvationists and their false, deceitful definition of repentance. See my page “Repentance 101.”) So God gave the title of high priest to His own Son, and Jesus Christ completely outdid what every high priest before Him had done. If there was a mercy seat in the earthly tabernacle/temple, then there is a mercy seat in the true tabernacle in Heaven as well. Remember, the mercy seat had to be sprinkled with blood once a year because of the sins of the Jews, and this could only be performed by the high priest. Had Jesus Christ simply died for the sins of the world and stayed dead, who would have taken His blood into that holiest room of the tabernacle in Heaven? Who would have sprinkled the blood of Jesus onto the Heavenly mercy seat? The answer is nobody. If our high priest had stayed dead, then His job would never have been finished. He would have died for the sins of the world, but without the sprinkling of blood on the mercy seat, God’s price for sin would have been paid but the transaction incomplete.
Jesus Christ offered a much, much better sacrifice for sin than bulls and goats (Hebrews 9:23, 10:4-10). The former high priests had to perform the same ritual year after year (Hebrews 10:1). Jesus Christ offered one sacrifice (Hebrews 10:12-14), which was His own body, and this one sacrifice put an end to the sin problem (Hebrews 9:26). The veil in the earthly tabernacle/temple separated the holiest room, where God could be reached, from the children of Israel. The veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom the very moment Jesus Christ died. God had prepared a new and better veil.
Hebrews 10:19-20: “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;”
The human body of Jesus Christ was the new veil. Under the Old Testament, in order to get to God, the high priest had to go through the veil in the tabernacle/temple. Under the New Testament, we all have the opportunity to reach God. Notice that believers on Jesus Christ have “boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus”. We don’t need a high priest to go into the holiest room for us. Because of the blood of Jesus, we have access to God. We all have to go through the veil, which is to say that we get to God through Jesus Christ (through faith in His death, burial, and resurrection, which were the things He accomplished in His human body, or the veil). Now do you understand the following verse?
John 14:6: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
If the resurrection of Jesus Christ never occurred, then we would be hopeless. We would have no way to reach God. The earthly high priests, along with the tabernacle and temple, were components of the law, and the law does not work anymore. The law ended when John the Baptist began his ministry (Luke 16:16). The law was given in order to show us that we are all sinners (Romans 3:19-20). The law was merely a shadow of much better things to come (Hebrews 10:1). The law was meant to lead us to faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:24). Jesus Christ nailed the law to His cross along with Himself (Colossians 2:14-17). Some false teachers try to force the law onto believers in the age of grace (Galatians 3:1-2, 1st Timothy 1:7). People who cannot see past the law have a veil over their face, blinding them from what Jesus Christ accomplished (2nd Corinthians 3:13-15). During the age of grace, when people place themselves under the law, they are placing themselves into bondage (Galatians 4:9). The opposite of bondage is liberty, which is what comes by way of Jesus Christ (2nd Corinthians 3:17, Galatians 5:13). Jesus said that the truth can set a person free (John 8:32), and Jesus called Himself the truth (John 14:6). The law is no longer in effect. When Jesus Christ rose from the dead, He returned to Heaven as our high priest. The earthly high priest would meet with God once a year on behalf of the Jews. The new high priest, Jesus Christ, is constantly in the presence of God, making intercession for believers (Hebrews 7:25, 9:24, Romans 8:33-34, 1st Timothy 2:5). The crucifixion of Jesus Christ was accomplished to provide the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the world (Romans 4:25, 1st John 2:2). This was part one of the plan. The resurrection of Jesus Christ was accomplished for the justification of all believers (Romans 4:25). This was part two of the plan, and this was finalized when Jesus Christ took His own blood into the holiest room of the tabernacle in Heaven and sprinkled the mercy seat (Hebrews 9:11-12). There was one person, and only one person, qualified to go into that holiest room in the Heavenly tabernacle. He was the high priest of the New Testament (Hebrews 9:15, Matthew 26:28), ordained by God Himself. If Jesus Christ had stayed in His tomb, then the mercy seat in Heaven would never have been sprinkled with blood, and God would still be demanding a price to be paid for the sins of the world. Imagine if sometime during the Old Testament an animal was killed for the yearly sprinkling of the mercy seat, but the animal's blood never went to its intended destination. The animal was killed. The sacrifice was made. The blood was shed. But if that blood was not taken to the mercy seat, then the sacrifice was carried out for nothing. The shedding of blood was only half of the procedure, and for the job to be complete, the high priest would have to take the blood to the mercy seat. This same concept applies to the work of Jesus Christ. His crucifixion was necessary because that was the sacrifice, the shedding of blood. But the blood of Jesus had to be taken to Heaven to sprinkle the mercy seat there, and since Jesus was the new high priest, then He was going to have to come out of that grave and finish the job. Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our high priest is alive and well, and He completed all of the work that made the New Testament possible. That is why the resurrection was/is so important.
I would like to mention the possibility of a slightly alternate scenario. The earthly tabernacle/temple may actually have been a picture of the dwelling place of God in Heaven. In this case, the holiest room in Heaven would not simply be an inner room in the tabernacle, but the very room where God can be found. This would make sense because it would correlate to how the second, inner room of the earthly tabernacle/temple was where God was reached. If this scenario is true, the mercy seat in Heaven would be near the throne of God. When Jesus Christ returned to Heaven as the new high priest and sprinkled His blood on the mercy seat, the blood would have been strategically placed forever in the sight of God, as a constant reminder of the New Testament. And if that was not enough, Jesus Christ Himself sat down on the right hand of God.
Jesus Christ Satisfied the Law
Here’s an additional thought concerning Jesus Christ and the law.
Matthew 5:17: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”
Jesus Christ shifted the world from the Old Testament to the New Testament. The law of Moses was the basis of the Old Testament. Jesus had to deal with the law in order to make the change that He came to earth to achieve. How did He do this? Jesus did not destroy the law, but instead, He simply fulfilled it, meaning that He fulfilled the requirements of the law. Let me show you how Jesus accomplished this.
1. The law gives the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20). Sin is defined by the law. If a person breaks just one part of the law, he is guilty of breaking all of the law (James 2:10). Jesus Christ never sinned (Hebrews 4:15, 2nd Corinthians 5:21), which means that Jesus obeyed the law. This kept Jesus completely pure, and throughout the Old Testament, God required animals that had no blemishes for sacrifices (Deuteronomy 17:1, Leviticus 1:3). This comes into play in the next point.
2. The law requires a sacrifice for sins and a high priest to apply the blood of the sacrifice to the mercy seat (Leviticus 16, Exodus 30:10, Hebrews 9:6-7). Jesus Christ did something very unique: He took on the role of both. Through His crucifixion, Jesus was the sacrifice for sins (1st John 2:2, Romans 3:25), and through His resurrection, Jesus was the new high priest (Hebrews 4:14, 5:8-10).
Jesus Christ took it upon Himself to do what people cannot do, which is to obey the law. But then Jesus went beyond that by fulfilling the other requirements of the law. By offering His own sinless body as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, and by sprinkling the mercy seat in Heaven with His own blood as the high priest, Jesus didn’t simply keep the law, but He far outdid what it required.
Hebrews 7:12: “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.”
Hebrews 7:16: “Who(Jesus Christ)is made, not after the law of a carnal(human)commandment, but after the power of an endless life.”
Hebrews 7:24: “But this man (Jesus Christ), because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.”
The sinless life of Jesus, His crucifixion, and His resurrection all played parts in Jesus Christ’s mission to fulfill the law. And thanks to Jesus Christ, believers are not under the law.
Romans 6:14: “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
When Did Jesus Christ Take His Blood to Heaven?
After the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, Jesus was buried in a tomb, and a giant stone was rolled into place to block the entrance. Three days later, on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene, another Mary, and a woman named Salome came to visit the grave of Jesus Christ. These women were surprised to find the giant stone pushed away from the entrance of the tomb. A young man (an angel) told the women that Jesus had risen from the dead, and that they should go and tell Peter and the other disciples (Mark 16:1-7). The women fled the scene, but Mary Magdalene returned alone and cried outside of the empty grave. Mary did not believe that Jesus had truly risen from the dead.
John 20:11-18: “But Mary stood without (outside) at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.”
We will return to the previous passage shortly.
As the other Mary and Salome went to tell the disciples about the news of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, they were met by Jesus Himself (Matthew 28:8-10). Jesus also showed Himself to Simon Peter (Luke 24:34). In addition, Jesus appeared to two men as they were walking (Luke 24:13-32). These two men went to the disciples in Jerusalem (Luke 24:33), and Jesus appeared in the midst of them (Luke 24:36). This meeting of the disciples took place in the evening (John 20:19). Jesus Christ spent forty days with the disciples (Acts 1:3), and then He ascended back to Heaven (Acts 1:9).
On the evening after His resurrection, when Jesus Christ showed Himself to His disciples, Jesus had to prove that He was real and not just a spirit to His frightened friends. He attempted to do this by showing them the nail wounds He suffered during His crucifixion.
Luke 24:37-39: “But they (the disciples) were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”
Notice that Jesus told the disciples “handle me”. This was in the evening. If you remember, early that morning, Jesus said something much different to Mary Magdalene. “Touch me not”. Why is this significant? This is just one of several questions that must be asked.
1.Why did an angel instruct the women to go and tell the disciples about Jesus Christ’s resurrection (Matthew 28:7)? Jesus showed Himself to the women, so why didn’t He simply go tell the disciples Himself that morning, or at least go with the women?
2.Why did Jesus instruct Mary Magdalene to tell the disciples that He was going to Heaven to see God (John 20:17)? Jesus had yet to spend the forty days with the disciples, and then they would witness Jesus ascend back to Heaven.
3.On the day of His resurrection, why is it that Jesus could be touched in the evening but not in the morning?
Though Scripture does not give us direct answers to these questions, I believe we can figure it all out given the pieces of the puzzle that we have. I have taught elsewhere on this page that Jesus Christ, after His resurrection, took His own blood to Heaven and sprinkled the mercy seat. Jesus did this as the high priest of the New Testament. The question becomes this: When did Jesus perform this task? I believe it was on the day of the resurrection. I believe Jesus made a trip to Heaven after His visits with Mary Magdalene and the other women, and before the encounters that Jesus had later in the day. Just prior to His first ascension to Heaven, Jesus Christ told Mary Magdalene “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father”. I believe that Jesus said this because as the new high priest who was about to enter into Heaven itself, Jesus Christ needed to remain undefiled. Jesus was without sin (2nd Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 4:15), and no offense to Mary Magdalene, but fresh from His resurrection, Jesus wanted to enter Heaven without being touched by a sinner. Jesus was about to carry out the most sacred event that would secure eternal salvation for all believers by taking His own blood and sprinkling it on the mercy seat in Heaven. The blood of Jesus was compared to that of a lamb “without blemish and without spot” (1st Peter 1:19). Jesus did not want to enter the Heavenly tabernacle with any blemish of sin on His person, and so Jesus told Mary not to touch Him. Look at the following once more:
“Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.”
Later that evening, Jesus would appear to His disciples, and Jesus would deal with their unbelief in His resurrection by telling them to actually touch Him and see for themselves that He was not a spirit, but a man with flesh and bones. It was fine for Jesus to be touched at this point, because He had gone to Heaven with His blood and finished His work. If Jesus had not made this quick trip to Heaven, there would have been absolutely no reason for Him to want Mary Magdalene to tell the disciples about said trip. Jesus could have simply told them about His future return to Heaven Himself, since He knew He would meet with them later that same day.
On the day of His resurrection, when Jesus joined up with the two men walking in the country, which occurred before the evening arrived, an interesting thing is said in Scripture concerning Jesus:
Mark 16:9-12: “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.”
I don’t know what Scripture means by “another form”, but the fact remains that Jesus was somehow different from when He had talked to Mary Magdalene. These two men returned to Jerusalem to tell the disciples what had happened, and they found out that Jesus had appeared to Peter as well. Suddenly, Jesus was in the midst of His disciples, and He told all of the doubters to touch Him in order to put their doubts to rest. This was done after Jesus had taken on another form. I believe that when Mary Magdalene saw Jesus early that morning, Jesus was in the form of the new high priest that He had become. Later that day, when Jesus returned to earth, His appearance was changed. He was in the form of a regular man, and the men walking in the country did not even recognize Him (Luke 24:16).
As I said before, this is not stated explicitly in Scripture, but I think we can understand what happened on the day of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. Jesus rose early in the morning, and He talked to the three women. Jesus then went to Heaven with His blood and carried out His duty as the high priest. Jesus then came back to earth and began showing Himself to others. After forty days, Jesus returned to Heaven as His disciples watched.
The concepts taught in this article are carried forward with a focus on the blood of Jesus Christ here: