Heb. 9:23 - What is Purified by Sacrifices?

In Heb 9:23-24, when the writer says that the heavenly things themselves need to be purified "with better sacrifices than these," do you really think that the writer meant people? This is what I read in Not by Bread Alone. Since when are people called "things?" Earlier on in the chapter (v. 19, 21) the author lists "things" which, in the Old Testament, needed to be purified. These things included vessels, the tent, the book and also people. So the only time when people are allowed to be called "things" is when listed with many other things. But to assume that the author would refer to people as "things" (even when not listed with other real things) does seem like a stretch, don't you think? Where in the Bible do you ever find people being referred to as "things", or even "heavenly?"

The Greek does not say "things." It says "the heavenlies." Thus, the verse would literally read: "It was necessary for the representations of the things in the heavens to be purified with these, but the heavenlies themselves with better sacrifices than these."

Robert Sungenis
Catholic Apologetics International
June 7, 2002

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