In the Old testament, it was important for the High priest to present a bowl of pure, spotless blood in the Holies of Holies. If accepted by Jehovah, the Israelites would be in God's favor.

In the New Testament, it is revealed that Jesus, as High Priest, presented a bowl,but this time, His own blood and placed it in the Holy of Holies (spiritually speaking: in the heavenlies). Hebrews 9:7,11-14.

But only the High Priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood which he offered for himself and for the sins of the people...(Jesus) did not enter by mens of the blood of goats and calves, but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. (NIV, 1984)

In Him (Jesus) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. (Ephesians 1:7, NIV)

When during the Passion week did this happen?

  • Which translation of the Bible is quoted here? May 3 at 13:48

5 Answers 5


My reading of the chapter in Hebrews is that his version of "entering the Holy Place" was entering the presence of God. "For Christ has entered not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf" (v24, RSV) He gained access to this real sanctuary by his own blood (v12), whereas the ordinary priest can enter only the "copy" sanctuary, the physical sanctuary, "with blood not his own" (v25).

If we are obliged to define a timing for these events, we might identify the moment of "entering the sanctuary" with the Ascension, when he reaches the presence of his Father in a more direct sense. In which case, that would also be the moment when he "presented the blood".

Though it might be better to regard it as a timeless event, associated with the fact of Crucifixion-and-Resurrection.

I don't think this is a peculiarly Protestant interpretation. Just a scriptural one.

  • .Thank God the results of the Presentation of the redemptive blood is "timeless" deserving of a continual gratitude and worship! And I am not sure but Catholic and Orthodox churches would all rejoice in this. Have you considered that, while Jesus ascended "physically" after 40 days (43?), that possibly He ascended on Friday (with the thief in tow) "spiritually" into the spiritual sanctuary with the bowl of blood? It would not have congealed at that time as it would have 40 days later. What do you think?
    – ray grant
    May 3 at 18:29
  • 1
    @anne comment by OP here
    – User 14
    May 8 at 19:53

At no point did Jesus Christ present his own blood in the most holy part of the earthly temple in Jerusalem. The book of Hebrews shows him ascending in glory to the Father in heaven, and there presenting his blood. The whole of chapter 9 goes into this. The first 7 verses speak of earthly animal sacrifices, with the High Priest entering but once a year into the Most Holy, with a bowl containing blood, which he offered for his own sins, and those of the Israelites. Now comes the link to Jesus Christ:

"The Holy Ghost thus signifying that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: which was a figure for the time then present, ...until the time of reformation. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption." Hebrews 9:8-12 A.V.

There is no mention of a bowl (or scarlet wool or hyssop) when the risen Christ offered his blood in the throne-room of heaven. The reason why not is contained in the following verses:

"It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified by these [sprinkled blood of animals] but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." (Ibid, vss. 23-24) [Square brackets and bold italics mine.]

Christ did not enter into the Most Holy part of the temple in Jerusalem at any time during his earthly life, or after his death. As for, "as required by Law" (in the question) that Law only pertained to the earthly things prior to the once-for-all-time perfect sacrifice of Christ. At the point of his death on the cross, the immensely thick, woven tapestry in the temple on earth was supernaturally rent asunder, from top to bottom, signifying the spiritual way now being opened into the very presence of God - Christ being the one to first enter in to the heavenly reality.

Bear in mind what happened to the Law at the point of Christ nailed to the cross:

"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross." Colossians 2:14 A.V. [Bold mine]

This means that the requirements on earth for temple sacrifices had permanently ended, for God's people. Therefore, the risen Christ could go to heaven to present the value of his shed blood. We are told a few verses further on (in Col. 3:1) that Christ was sitting on the right hand of God. So, the answer to the question is that at some point after Christ died on earth, he ascended to stand before God, presented the blood of the new covenant, then sat down at God's right hand. That can be narrowed down to Jesus telling Mary on the morning of his resurrection not to cling on to him, for he had not yet ascended to the Father (John 20:17). Some Protestants may have pinned it down to a more exact time, but it is the fact that it happened, unseen by us, in heaven, that should be all of our consideration and joy.

  • Clarify whether or not Jesus presented any actual physical blood in heaven. Also did Jesus ascend to heaven more than once? Some seem to be saying his ascension 40 days after resurrection was not when the value of his sacrifice was presented. Instead Jesus popped into the heavenly holy place right after he spoke to Mary according to SLM’s answer
    – User 14
    May 8 at 12:28
  • @User 14 If the OP wishes me to clarify the points you raise, I will consider doing that. As it is, you have listed various points that require separate questions on this site. Comments are not for starting debates or for setting one answerer up against another. Each answer stands (or falls) on its own merits (or demerits) and it is up to the OP to make decisions about that. Your points are interesting and good, but this is not the way to get responses to them, I would respectfully suggest.
    – Anne
    May 8 at 12:47
  • 1
    Op does ask specifically about the bowl of blood being presented in the heavenly holies. Somewhere in comments Op was intimating that Jesus would have needed to get to heaven quickly before the blood congealed.
    – User 14
    May 8 at 13:21
  • @User 14 I specifically answered that no bowl, red cord, or hyssop is mentioned in the Hebrews account of Christ entering heaven. As for the OP hinting at a need to get to heaven quickly before the blood congealed; I re-read the Q and found no hint of such an idea. The matter of blood congealing would only ever apply to things happening on earth, in the physical realm. Christ's offering was in heaven.
    – Anne
    May 8 at 13:42
  • 1
    Find Op “answer” to his own question
    – User 14
    May 8 at 14:19

Wouldn’t this have been necessary for man. Jesus was not just man but God. The veil tearing in two shows me that this was not something Jesus needed to physically do within the temple as his own blood was spilled for our sins, the location of the blood doesn’t seem relevant since he is literally part of the Holy Trinity. He is literally the Holy of Holies

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    May 2 at 23:54

Entering the Holy of Holies in the Old Testament occurred once per year on the day of atonement. See also Lev 16:29-34.

Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. Lev 23:27

That would be the general pattern of the reality in Christ Jesus. I say "general" because while the Old required annual sacrifices, Christ did this once for all time never to be repeated. He does not suffer often.

For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Heb 9:26

But when did entering the heavenly Holy of Holies take place? Was it during His time in the tomb, ascension 40 days later, or some 6 months later at Atonement day or centuries later? Or does the bible tell us?

Recall the event between Mary Magdalene and Christ in the garden after He rose out from the dead.

Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. John 20:17

Touch me not because He had yet to ascend to His Father. This is an oblique reference to the High Priest at Atonement.

And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he [Levitical High Priest] goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel. Lev 16:17

In other words, Mary should not have been present, let alone touching Him. However, once He completed atonement, it was perfectly fine to touch.

Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. John 20:27

There is one other piece, the requirement that the one making a Testament must die before it is in effect.

For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. Heb 9:16

Christ made the Testament at the Last Supper and death. And then resurrected for our life.

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. Heb 9:28

So, to answer the OP from this Protestant point of view, when did Christ enter the heavenly Holy of Holies?

Within minutes of His resurrection, He ascended into the heavenly Holy of Holies.

TO ADD: Christ is explicit about the timing of ascending to God in John 20:17. He tells Mary, I ascend.

Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

"Ascend" is in the present tense. She leaves, He ascends.

Yes, that same day He also descends back to earth.

Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. John 20:19

Later the same day, He shows them His wounds to prove Himself who He is.

  • “Within minutes of His resurrection, He ascended into the heavenly Holy of Holies.” Was this as a spirit or as a physical man?
    – User 14
    May 3 at 19:48
  • Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 1 Cor 15:50 Yet, He told Thomas to touch His wounds. So, spirit and flesh. Able to eat and walk through doors.
    – SLM
    May 4 at 16:08
  • What support can you offer for your claim that “within minutes of His resurrection Jesus was in the heavenly holy of holies?” Especially in light of John 20:17?
    – User 14
    May 4 at 19:58
  • I mention John 20:17 as an oblique reference to Lev 16:17. Based on that connection, I do assume that Jesus and Mary's conversation lasted only minutes. He says, don't touch me. I am not yet ascended to My Father (ascended is in perfect tense, meaning a once for all time completed never to be repeated. They depart. Mary to tell. Christ to the heavenly Holy of Holies.
    – SLM
    May 4 at 20:24
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    @raygrant Some see "today you will be with me in paradise" as referring to Abraham's bosom where Jesus preached unto those in captivity ... 1 Peter 3:19. May 5 at 13:01

The Atoning Blood Presentation All the comments and answers given are greatly appreciated. Here are a few observations that one might consider along these lines to aid in a resolution of the question.

  1. Any ascending to the heavenly tabernacle on Friday would be spiritual. And this would not be unusual since there is more to reality in the spirit realm, than in our physical universe. (This not to say individuals are not recognizable without a physical body: Moses and Elijah were recognizable on the mount of Transfiguration, etc. The thief would recognize Jesus on the way up to Paradise.) The physical Ascension would be a later manifestation.

  2. That the first Ascension was on Friday is determined by Jesus own words. The "comma" is placed in the correct position in the NIV translation. It comes naturally after the personal phrase Jesus used throughout His ministry: Verily I say unto you. He never said, "I say unto you today". So all this happened on Friday afternoon (evening?).

  3. That the Paradise in question is not Sheol nor Hades (the underworld) can be discerned by its usage in the N.T. (We do not have to appeal to Persian, Armenian, Old Testament, or rabbinical tradition.) (a) 2 Cor. 12:4-Paul associates it with the heavenlies. (b) Rev. 2:7-John related it to the Tree of Life (in heaven). These refer to an upward movement, not down to Sheol. In fact Jesus never used the word, Sheol, to the thief.

  4. The idea that Jesus did not already go to heaven is dispelled by the understanding that most modern translations of John 20:17 do not use the word, "touch," but rather "don't cling" or "don't hold on to Me." This removes the idea of contamination by Mary which would prevent Jesus from entering the Holy of Holies. It merely means Jesus had a lot more things to accomplish before the final physical Ascension. (Acts 1)

  5. If the blood of redemption was not presented until 40 days later after the Crucifixion, it would have been sorely congealed. It would have been more appropriate to apply it right after the Lamb of God was slain! (Friday) Just like it was in the old sacrificial system.

  6. Jesus would have had plenty of time to do all the other spiritual events Jesus is recorded to have done in the underworld, between Friday and Sunday morning. (Which is another irrelevant topic here.)

What do all these considerations point to? What conclusions can we draw from them? Do they pinpoint the time of Jesus atonement...or not?

It seems, however, that the use of "today" by Jesus limits it to Friday. And the Ascension Jesus referred to when talking to Mary was the "physical ascension" which happened 40 days later. The next sentence about telling the disciple He "was ascending" (present tense) expands on this idea: it was a lengthy process in order to wrap things up on earth.

Note that symbols, analogies, types, etc. all have their limitations. So the blood that Jesus carried would have been "spiritual" not physical, just as the new tabernacle was also not physical...and the right hand of God is not physical! But the spiritual realities are much greater than the physical ones; so Jesus's blood is indeed redemptive to the max (Eph. 1:7)!

  • This looks more like an elaboration of the question than an answer
    – User 14
    May 7 at 23:29
  • 1
    @anne see the points made in the Op “answer” here
    – User 14
    May 8 at 14:18
  • @User 14 See additional edit. One has often the need to lay a "ground-work" before answering a question to give it a substantial footing. To reiterate: the N.T. use of Paradise in an upward movement (not a downward Sheol)...and the word of Jesus, "Today"...and the customary (Law of Moses) presentation of the blood right after the slaying of the Lamb...all point to the time as Friday afternoon.
    – ray grant
    May 10 at 21:27

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