November 14, 2021

Rev. Bernt P. Tweit



Old Testament Lesson; Malachi 4:1-2a

Psalm of the Day; Psalm 90

Gospel Lesson; John 5:19-24

Sermon Text; Hebrews 9:24-28


Today the text we are going to be looking at is taken from the book of Hebrews.  The author of the book of Hebrews does a masterful job of showing how Jesus is superior to many things in The Old Testament.  For example, the people in The Old Testament had a high regard for angels.  The author of the book of Hebrews, early in the book shows Jesus is superior to angels.  The people of The Old Testament had a high regard for Moses.  The author of the book of Hebrews shows that Jesus is superior to Moses.  The people of the Old Testament had a high regard for The Old Testament priesthood and the sacrifices that were given.  Well, the author of the book of Hebrews shows that Jesus is superior to The Old Testament High Priesthood, and he is also showing that Jesus is superior in the sacrifice He made once and for all, for sin.

In life there are probably three main questions a person asks throughout their life.  That is these questions:
“Where did I come from?”

“Why am I here?”

“Where am I going?”

It is really on this Sunday of last judgment that we focus on that last question.  “Where am I going?”
Jesus is going to appear a second time, and we want to make sure we know the answer to that question, “Where am I going?”, when Jesus appears, and when Jesus returns.

Let's look at God's Word taken from Hebrews, chapter nine, looking at verses twenty-four to twenty-eight.  This is God's Word, as the author of the book of Hebrews writes:


For Christ did not enter a handmade sanctuary, a representation of the true sanctuary.  Instead, He entered into Heaven itself, now to appear before God on our behalf.  And He did not enter to offer Himself many times, as the high priest enters The Most Holy Place year after year with blood that is not his own.  Otherwise He would have needed to suffer many times since the creation of the world.  But now He has appeared once and for all, at the climax of the ages, in order to take away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.  And, just as it is appointed for people to die only once and after this comes the judgment, so also Christ was offered only once to take away the sins of many, and He will appear a second time-without sin-to bring salvation to those who are eagerly waiting for Him.


These are your words.  Heavenly Father, lead us in the way of truth.  Your Word is truth.



So, I suppose we should begin today by understanding The Old Testament Tabernacle, and The Old Testament High Priesthood.  You may remember before The Children of Israel moved in to the permanent temple in Jerusalem, what they worshiped in was something that was temporary.  It was the tabernacle.  It could be taken down.  It could be moved.  It could be put back up, again.  The Tabernacle was the place where the people worshiped God.  Inside of the Tabernacle were two rooms.  The larger room was The Holy Place.  The smaller room was The Holy of Holies, or The Most Holy Place. 

This is what God told Moses to tell Aaron (Aaron was the very first High Priest).  God said, “Tell Aaron, don't go in to the Most Holy Place, whenever you want to.  But, you can only go in to The Most Holy Place one time per year.” 

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, was the only day. 

Here is what God told Moses to tell Aaron to do on that day.  Leviticus, chapter sixteen tells us Moses was to tell Aaron, “You are to get a bull.  You are to sacrifice that bull.  You are to gather the blood from that bull, and go in to The Most Holy Place and you are to sprinkle blood.  That blood you sprinkle on The Ark of the Covenant, which is in The Holy of Holies, representing the presence of God, is going to pay for the sin of the High Priest.” 

After the High Priest had paid for his own sin, through the shedding of blood, he was to kill a goat.  After that goat was sacrificed, he was to take blood from that goat, and to go in to The Most Holy Place, and sprinkle it all over the place, on The Arc of the Covenant.  It was through the sprinkling of the blood of that goat, that it was to pay for the sins of all of the people. 

Then God said, “After the blood of the bull has been sprinkled, and shed, after the blood of the goat has been shed, and sprinkled, then you and the people are all cleansed from your sins.” 

The High Priest is cleansed from his sin, and all of the people are cleansed from their sins.  Atonement has been made, because reparation or payment has been made for sin.

Now, why is this important?  Why is it important that payment be made for sin?  Well, consider what it is that our text for today says.  It is pretty pointed, when it speaks these words.  Right in the middle of our text it says,

“ is appointed for people to die only once

and after this comes the judgment...”

Now, that is different from what God had planned in the beginning.  In the beginning, God planned for people to live forever.  He did not plan for people to die.  And yet, after Adam and Eve sinned in The Garden of Eden, God came to Adam and Eve.

-Yes, He told Eve there would be pain in childbirth. 

-And, yes, He told Adam there would be struggles with thorns and thistles, when trying to plant things in the ground. 

But, here is what God said to Adam.  (Remember, God had made Adam out of the dust of the ground.)  God said to Adam,

“Dust you are,

and to dust you will return.” 

Those are words we still speak at a committal service today, at the cemetery. 

Scripture goes on, and says even more than that, when it says about Adam, and his sin,

“Sin entered the world through one man

and death through sin. 

In this way, death came to all,

because all have sinned.”

It is not like playing video games.  I don't like playing video games, but a lot of my students in my classes love to play video games.  I say, “Guys, it is not like playing video games, because when you play a video game, and you die, what do you get to do?  You get to hit the reset button.  You get to play all over again, like nothing happened.”  

But, life is not like that.  In life, we don't get to hit the reset button, as our text for today says.  We are destined to die once, and after that to face the judgment.
During the course of this past year, I officiated over a funeral service.  I was visiting with the son of the deceased, before the committal service.  He came up to me, and this is what he said.  “The words you spoke about our mom are nice, but they don't apply to me.  I don't believe that.”

I said, “It is my prayer that the words I spoke on behalf of your mom are words that do apply to you.” 

It has been my prayer ever since, that the Holy Spirit would soften his heart so that the words I spoke on behalf of his mother are words he also believes in, through the working of the Holy Spirit.

As our text for today says,

“...He (Jesus) will appear a second time.” 

We should not only pray for ourselves, but we should pray for all people.  We should even pray for our enemies.

Do you remember how earnest Abraham was, when God told him He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, because of their wickedness?  Do you remember Abraham's earnestness?  In his earnestness, six times Abraham prayed, “God, please don't destroy, if there are fifty righteous people”, “if there are forty-five”, “if there are forty”, “if there are thirty”, if there are twenty”, “if there are ten”.  “God, please don't destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.” 

That is how earnest we should be in our lives of prayers, not only for ourselves, but for other people, even our enemies, because the day is coming when Jesus will appear a second time.

One of the things I love about being a pastor of Holy Cross, with a church, and a school is this.  On the day you officiate the funeral service for an eighty-two year old, you can be walking down the hallway, and answer a question from a nine year old.  Now, just this last week, this happened.  I officiated for the service of an eighty-two year old.  Later, as I was walking through the hallway of the school, a nine year old girl stopped me, and said, “Pastor, I have a question.”  

I wondered what the question would be.  This is what was on her heart.  She asked, “Will people who are in 'that place' right now...” (She could not even say the word. Will people who are in 'Hell' right now), “...will they be given a second chance to go to Heaven?”

I answered her question.  I said, “This is a hard answer to give.”  I was thinking about our text for today that we are destined to die once and after that to face the judgment.  I said, “It is hard to say this, but it is true.  Those who do not believe in Jesus, as their Savior, and are in Hell right now, won't be given a second chance.  That is where they will spend the rest of their life.”

Do you know what her very simple answer to that was?  She said, “That is sad.”
I agree with her that it is sad.  That is why we want to be prepared, and ready for the day in which Jesus will appear a second time.  Our text for today gives us great hope.  It gives us great certainty.  Jesus is our great High Priest.  He is the key to the certainty of everlasting life in Heaven. 

Notice what it is that our text for today says about Jesus coming to be, not only our great High Priest, but Jesus coming to be the once and for all sacrifice for sin.  Notice what our text first of all says.  He came to do this on our behalf.  He came to do this on your behalf, and He came to do this on my behalf.  He did not come to do it for Himself.  He did it, because He was thinking about you. 

On top of that, He is the once and for all sacrifice for sin.  Remember in The Old Testament, every day, every week, every month, every year, animals needed to be sacrificed.  The blood of those animals needed to be sprinkled, to make payment for sin.  It was a continuous thing.  But, Jesus is the once and for all sacrifice for sin, in order to take away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

That is why Good Friday is so awesome.  On Good Friday we get to hear the words Jesus spoke from the cross. 

“It is finished.” 

When Jesus spoke those words, atonement was made.  Payment was made.  Reparation was made to pay for sin.  It is not a continuous thing, anymore.  It is the once and for all sacrifice and payment for sin.

How can we be sure of this?  We can be sure of this, because when God speaks to us, God's Word is truth.  We can be sure of this, and we can be certain of this, because God's Word is infallible.  God is incapable of lying.

Jesus will appear a second time.  Are you ready for His coming?

I don't know if you remember these commercials from a couple of years ago.  A couple of years ago, State Farm had some conversations in which they would split back and forth between a couple of events that were taking place.  The people were speaking exactly the same words, but the connotation was different.  For example, there was a sixteen year old girl who had just received keys to a car her parents had given to her.  She came out of the house, and with great excitement she asked, “Is this my car?!”  (Do you guys remember the commercial?)

On the other hand, there was a guy who spoke those same words.  His car had been stripped down.  It had been jacked up, and the wheels were gone.  The car was stripped down.  He said, “Is this my car?”  They spoke the same words, and yet the connotation was completely different.

Look who is coming.  Jesus is going to appear a second time.  Are you going to be like two teenage boys, whose parents went away, and they threw a party at the house.  They see the lights coming up the driveway in the car, and they say, “Look who is coming.”  Are you going to be like those same two teenage boys who heard a raucous in the backyard, and they are scared to death, and they see those same headlights, and say, “Look who is coming!  We are safe!”

Guys, the day is coming in which Jesus will appear again, a second time.  Will  you be filled with terror, or will you be filled with joy?  We don't need to be filled with terror, because the One who is our High Priest, the One who is our once, and for all sacrifice for sin has the ear of the Father.  He intercedes for the Father on your behalf, and on my behalf.  So, take great joy in the way our text for today closes.  It says,

“He (Jesus) will appear a second time...

to bring salvation to those who are eagerly waiting for Him.”

God grant this to all of us, for Jesus, our Savior's sake.



Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  As it was in the beginning, shall be now, and forevermore.