May 1st, 2007
A will is a strange type of legal document. The person who makes a will is known as a testator, and he or she specifies in the will how his or her property is to be distributed after death. Normally someone is appointed as executor, with the job of complying with the testator’s wishes, and the people who are to receive the property are called beneficiaries. In general you can do what you like in your will, but various rules have evolved over the centuries allowing different grounds on which people can challenge the will. The unusual feature of a will is that it’s a legal document that you can never enforce yourself…
The Letter to the Hebrews — Chapter 9
9:1 The first covenant included rules for worship, and a holy place on earth. 9:2 A tabernacle was constructed. In the first part, called the holy place, were the lampstand, the table, and the holy bread. 9:3 Behind the second veil was a room called the Holy of Holies, 9:4 with a golden altar of incense, and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, inside which were a golden container holding the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. 9:5 Above it the cherubim of glory overshadowed the mercy seat. We will not address these things in detail now. 9:6 Things were arranged like this, and the priests went regularly into the first part to perform the services, 9:7 but only the high priest went into the second room, once a year, and never without offering blood for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. 9:8 The Holy Spirit was using this to show that the way into the Holy Place had not yet been revealed while the first tabernacle was still standing. 9:9 This was an illustration for the present time, where gifts and sacrifices which are offered cannot clear the conscience of the worshipper, 9:10 because they deal only with foods and drinks and ceremonial washing, human rules which are in effect only until the time comes to change them.
9:11 Christ came as high priest of the good things that have arrived. He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle which is not made with human hands, that is to say, not part of this creation. 9:12 It was not through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, that he entered the Holy Place once for all, securing redemption forever. 9:13 If the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on people who were unclean makes them holy so that their bodies are purified, 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who offered himself without blemish to God through the eternal Spirit, purify our consciences from dead rituals to serve the living God? 9:15 He is the mediator of a new covenant so that those who have been called can receive the promised eternal inheritance. His death has redeemed the sins that happened under the first covenant. 9:16 When a will is made, the person making the will must die for it to take effect. 9:17 A will comes into effect when there has been a death, but it never comes into effect while the person who made it is alive. 9:18 Thus the first convenant did not come into effect without blood. 9:19 After Moses had told the people all of the rules of the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, together with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people, 9:20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has decreed for you.”
9:21 He also sprinkled the tabernacle and all the holy containers in the same way with the blood. 9:22 According to the law, nearly everything is purified with blood, and there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood. 9:23 It was necessary for the earthly copies of heavenly things to be purified like this, but the heavenly things themselves had to be purified with better sacrifices than these. 9:24 Christ did not enter a holy place made by human hands, an imitation of the real thing. He entered heaven itself, to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 9:25 He did not have to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters into the holy place every year with blood that is not his own; 9:26 otherwise he would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. He came once, at the end of the ages, to cancel sin by the sacrifice of himself. 9:27 Humans are destined to die once, and then face judgment. 9:28 Likewise Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, and will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to bring salvation to people who are waiting for him.