23 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. 24 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; 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another— 26 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. 27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 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, New King James Version)
Appointed to Die!
The book of Hebrews is a true gem, often delving more deeply into subjects covered elsewhere. That is exactly what we see in Hebrews 9. Keep in mind that the author is speaking to the Jews of his day. It was important that they (and we as well) understood the the sacrifice of Christ as a replacement for the sacrifices of the priests.
In Leviticus, much detail is given to the laws of God and the sacrifices required for specific sins. Why would God require such a thing? In our culture it would appear to be rather barbaric! God was illustrating visibly to the people the graveness of their sin, as well as teaching them the concept that blood needed to be paid to absolve their sin.
So, why do we not continue the sacrificial offerings in our day? The sacrifices were done as symbols or "types" of the true sacrifice that would be made by Christ. Once a year the High Priest had to enter the Holy of Holies (forbidden for all other people) to offer incense for the sins of all of the people. Christ, however, did not enter the Holy of Holies; rather, He entered heaven above and claimed once and for all his purchase of a people for 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.
Christ's one death atoned for the sins of all! Christ will never need to return to this earth and die again and again for our sins. He will return, but this will be for the salvation of his people.
These are amazing teachings that we can easily gloss over due to our very familiarity with them. But, stop! Take some time to meditate upon this passage. You see, it is appointed once for man to die. No matter how successful aging research may be, man cannot set aside this appointment with God! Unless we accept Christ's payment for our sins, that death will result in an eternal, second death from which no man can return.
It is a sobering thing to contemplate, is it not. Appointed to die! How ready are you?
God Bless You,