From chapter 7 to chapter 10, Hebrews is moving us into the Holy of Holies as Jesus does the work of a priest making atonement for the people. We are then invited to also enter through the veil into the Holy of Holies but the veil has become our high priest’s torn body (Hebrews 10:20). Every year on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, a high priest would enter through the veil into the Holy of Holies with the blood of a goat and bull and sprinkle the Ark of the Covenant. In the same way, the writer of Hebrews declares Jesus as our high priest entered into the heavenly temple and sprinkled his own blood (Hebrews 9:21, 23-24). The greek word here for sprinkled is ῥαντίζω and it is almost exclusively found in Hebrews. So it is intriguing that the writer makes a subtle shift of imagery in 10:24.
“…let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
As we now find ourselves in the Holy of Holies with our living high priest, instead of Jesus sprinkling the Ark of the Covenant as he did in Hebrews 9:23-24, Jesus sprinkles us in Hebrews 10. The divide that once separated us from the presence of God is not simply removed but we are now unified with the very presence of God. We now become the Ark of the Covenant, the Mercy Seat of God, the very throne of the Lord. Where once we had to go to the temple to approach God, we now leave the temple bearing God’s glory, dispensing his mercy, and expanding His rule.
Jesus came as the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15) and that is exactly what you and I are (Genesis 1:26). As a priest of his people, Jesus once again breathed life into his people through his resurrection. This is what John was alluding to that after Jesus’ resurrection: “he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit'” (John 20:22). The redemptive work of Jesus was to restore again what has been the foundational truth of Genesis 1: we are the tov me’od (very good) imago dei (image of God), if I may combine hebrew and latin in the same phrase. And, perhaps the most difficult part of Easter, we are shown what it looks like to live as the image of God: Jesus sacrificing himself, making atonement for others, and forgiving even his enemies. A celebration of Resurrection is not complete unless those whom have sacrificed for us are also offered forgiveness. This is how they may also enter through the veil of a torn body into the presence of God.