To better understand this portion of Scripture, I will divide it into four parts.
(Vs. 13-14) We know that the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sin (Heb. 10:4). These sacrifices were never given to remove sin but to illustrate the atonement and sacrifice of Christ. But if these Old Testament sacrifices did purify the people, hold back the wrath of God, and sanctify the flesh in an external way, HOW MUCH MORE shall the very blood of God's Son, offered to God (without spot, sin, or stain) through the Holy Spirit by design and purpose, thoroughly cleanse us, purify our souls, and deliver us from seeking acceptance through our dead works! If they could come to God THROUGH TYPES, how much better to come to God IN CHRIST! If they could find comfort and confidence in types, how much more comfort and assurance do we find in Christ! The blood of Christ effectually cleanses from all sin! (I John 1:7.)
(Vs. 15-17) These verses show us that Old Testament believers were redeemed by the death of Christ exactly as we are. This first testament reaches from Adam to Christ, for Adam and his sons offered blood sacrifices upon an altar. The transgressions that were under it are the sins of believers from Adam until Christ's personal coming into the world, and the redemption of these sins was by the death of Christ (Acts 10:43; John 8:56). The promise of eternal inheritance was made to all believers by Him Who is the Mediator of the will and testament (I Cor. 10:4; Luke 24:44-47).
Where there is a will and testament, there must be the death of the testator. No claim can be made by the heirs until the testator dies; even so, all that Christ has given to all believers can never be ours actually until He, BY HIS DEATH fulfills the requirements of law and justice (John 3:14-16; Rom. 3: 19-26). Christ must suffer and die if we are to be redeemed (I Peter 1:18-21).
(Vs. 18-23) Even the old covenant with Israel was not ratified nor put in force without blood. When Moses had given them the pattern for the tabernacle and its services, he took the blood and water (typical of the blood and water which flowed from the side of Christ, typical also of justification and sanctification) and sprinkled the book, the roll of the law and covenant, and the people. He also sprinkled the tabernacle and all the vessels used in divine worship. In fact, under the law of Moses almost all things were purified by means of blood (Lev. 17:11). Some things were cleansed by water and fire, but without the blood there was no forgiveness of sin! No example of pardon, where there is no blood, can be given. The blood of Christ has been shed; it would be foolish to suppose pardon without it (I Cor. 5:7).
In Verse 23 we see that the tabernacle, the mercy-seat, the written law, the priesthood, and the nation Israel were all patterns of what is in heaven (Heb. 8:5). Christ, our great High Priest, comes before the holy throne of God representing spiritual Israel. He satisfies the law; He atones for our sin with His blood; He prays for us; He presents a suitable atonement. Now if all this in heaven is done through His blood, the pattern on earth must have blood sacrifices.
(Vs. 24-28) Christ, our Mediator and High Priest, is not entered into a holy place made by human hands (as the tabernacle), which was but a pattern, or picture, of the true tabernacle; but He has entered into heaven itself, NOW TO APPEAR in the presence of God on our behalf.
It is not necessary for Him to offer more than one sacrifice (Heb. 10:11-14). If He had to offer a yearly atonement like the priests of old, He would have suffered death thousands of times; for He has been our Priest from the foundation of the world. But now in these last days, He hath appeared in the likeness of sinful flesh to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself (Isa. 53:4-6; Heb. 10:17-18).
As men die just once and face judgment but once, so Christ was once offered to bear our sins. They are paid for and put away. Unto them who believe on Him and look for Him, He will appear without sin unto eternal glory (Rom. 8:1, 33-34).