Inferiority of the Old to the New Covenant in
the Means of Access to God: The Blood of
Bulls and Goats of No Real Avail: The
Blood of Christ All-sufficient to Purge Away Sin, Whence Flows Our Hope of His Appearing Again for Our
1. Then verily—Greek,
"Accordingly then." Resuming the subject from Heb 8:5. In accordance with the command given to
Moses, "the first covenant had," &c.
had—not "has," for as a
covenant it no longer existed, though its rites were observed
till the destruction of Jerusalem.
ordinances—of divine right and
a worldly sanctuary—Greek, "its
(literally, 'the') sanctuary worldly," mundane; consisting of
the elements of the visible world. Contrasted with the heavenly
sanctuary. Compare Heb 9:11, 12, "not of this building," Heb 9:24. Material, outward, perishing (however
precious its materials were), and also defective religiously. In Heb 9:2-5, "the worldly sanctuary" is
discussed; in Heb 9:6,
&c., the "ordinances of worship." The outer tabernacle the Jews
believed, signified this world; the Holy of Holies,
heaven. Josephus calls the outer,
divided into two parts, "a secular and common place," answering to "the
earth and sea"; and the inner holiest place, the third part,
appropriated to God and not accessible to men.
2. Defining "the worldly tabernacle."
a tabernacle—"the tabernacle."
made—built and furnished.
the first—the anterior tabernacle.
candlestick … table—typifying
light and life (Ex 25:31-39). The candlestick consisted of a shaft
and six branches of gold, seven in all, the bowls made like almonds,
with a knop and a flower in one branch. It was carried in Vespasian's
triumph, and the figure is to be seen on Titus' arch at Rome. The
table of shittim wood, covered with gold, was for the showbread
showbread—literally, "the setting
forth of the loaves," that is, the loaves set forth: "the show of the
bread" [Alford]. In the outer holy
place: so the Eucharist continues until our entrance into the heavenly
Holy of Holies (1Co 11:26).
which, &c.—"which (tabernacle) is
called the holy place," as distinguished from "the Holy of Holies."
3. And—Greek, "But."
second veil—There were two veils or
curtains, one before the Holy of Holies (catapetasma), here
alluded to, the other before the tabernacle door (calumma).
called—as opposed to "the true."
4. golden censer—The Greek, must
not be translated "altar of incense," for it was not in "the
holiest" place "after the second veil," but in "the holy place"; but as
in 2Ch 26:19, and Eze 8:11, "censer": so Vulgate and
Syriac. This GOLDEN censer was
only used on the day of atonement (other kinds of censers on other
days), and is therefore associated with the holiest place, as
being taken into it on that anniversary by the high priest. The
expression "which had," does not mean that the golden censer was
deposited there, for in that case the high priest would have had to go
in and bring it out before burning incense in it; but that the golden
censer was one of the articles belonging to, and used for, the
yearly service in the holiest place. He virtually supposes (without
specifying) the existence of the "altar of incense" in the anterior
holy place, by mentioning the golden censer filled with incense
from it: the incense answers to the prayers of the saints; and
the altar though outside the holiest place, is connected with it
(standing close by the second veil, directly before the ark of the
covenant), even as we find an antitypical altar in heaven. The
rending of the veil by Christ has brought the antitypes to the altar,
candlestick, and showbread of the anterior holy place into the holiest
place, heaven. In 1Ki 6:22,
Hebrew, "the altar" is said to belong to the
oracle, or holiest place (compare Ex 30:6).
ark—of shittim wood, that is, acacia.
Not in the second temple, but in its stead was a stone basement (called
"the stone of foundation"), three fingers high.
pot—"golden," added in the
Septuagint, and sanctioned by Paul.
manna—an omer, each man's daily
portion. In 1Ki 8:9; 2Ch 5:10, it is said there was nothing in the ark
of Solomon's temple save the two stone tables of the law put in by
Moses. But the expression that there was nothing THEN therein save the two tables, leaves the
inference to be drawn that formerly there were the other things
mentioned by the Rabbis and by Paul here, the pot of manna (the
memorial of God's providential care of Israel) and the rod of Aaron,
the memorial of the lawful priesthood (Nu 17:3, 5, 7, 10). The expressions "before the Lord"
16:32), and "before the
testimony" (Nu 17:10)
thus mean, "IN the ark." "In," however,
may be used here (as the corresponding Hebrew word) as to things
attached to the ark as appendages, as the book of the law was
put "in the side of the ark," and so the golden jewels
offered by the Philistines (1Sa 6:8).
tables of the covenant—(De 9:9; 10:2).
5. over it—over "the ark of the
cherubim—representing the ruling
powers by which God acts in the moral and natural world. (See on Eze 1:6; Eze 10:1). Hence
sometimes they answer to the ministering angels; but mostly to the
elect redeemed, by whom God shall hereafter rule the world and set
forth His manifold wisdom: redeemed humanity, combining in, and with
itself, the highest forms of subordinate creaturely life; not angels.
They stand on the mercy seat, and on that ground become the
habitation of God, from which His glory is to shine upon the world.
They expressly say, Re 5:8-10,
"Thou hast redeemed us." They are there distinguished from
the angels, and associated with the elders. They were of one piece
with the mercy seat, even as the Church is one with Christ: their sole
standing is on the blood-sprinkled mercy seat; they gaze down at it as
the redeemed shall for ever; they are "the habitation of God through
of glory—The cherubim were
bearers of the divine glory, whence, perhaps, they derive
their name. The Shekinah, or cloud of glory, in which Jehovah
appeared between the cherubim over the mercy seat, the lid of the ark,
is doubtless the reference. Tholuck
thinks the twelve loaves of the showbread represent the twelve tribes
of the nation, presented as a community before God consecrated
to Him (just as in the Lord's Supper believers, the spiritual Israel,
all partaking of the one bread, and becoming one bread and one body,
present themselves before the Lord as consecrated to Him, 1Co 10:16, 17); the oil and light, the pure
knowledge of the Lord, in which the covenant people are to shine (the
seven (lights), implying perfection); the ark of the covenant,
the symbol of God's kingdom in the old covenant, and representing God
dwelling among His own; the ten commandments in the ark, the law as the
basis of union between God and man; the mercy seat covering the law and
sprinkled with the blood of atonement for the collective sin of the
people, God's mercy [in Christ] stronger than the law; the cherubim,
the personified [redeemed] creation, looking down on the mercy seat,
where God's mercy, and God's law, are set forth as the basis of
mercy seat—Greek, "the
propitiatory": the golden cover of the ark, on which was sprinkled the
blood of the propitiatory sacrifice on the day of atonement; the
footstool of Jehovah, the meeting place of Him and His people.
we cannot—conveniently: besides what
met the eye in the sanctuary, there were spiritual realities symbolized
which it would take too long to discuss in detail, our chief subject at
present being the priesthood and the sacrifices. "Which"
refers not merely to the cherubim, but to all the contents of
the sanctuary enumerated in Heb 9:2-5.
6. The use made of the sanctuary so furnished
by the high priest on the anniversary of atonement.
always—twice at the least every day,
for the morning and evening care of the lamps, and offering of incense
went—Greek, "enter": present
7. once every year—the tenth day of the
seventh month. He entered within the veil on that day twice at
least. Thus "once" means here on the one occasion only. The two,
or possibly more, entrances on that one day were regarded as parts of
the one whole.
not without blood—(Heb 8:3).
"inadvertent errors." They might have known, as the law was clearly
promulged, and they were bound to study it; so that their
ignorance was culpable (compare Ac 3:17; Eph 4:18; 1Pe
1:14). Though one's ignorance
may mitigate one's punishment (Lu 12:48), it does not wholly exempt from
8. The Holy Ghost—Moses himself did not
comprehend the typical meaning (1Pe 1:11, 12).
signifying—by the typical exclusion of
all from the holiest, save the high priest once a year.
the holiest of all—heaven, the
the first tabernacle—the anterior
tabernacle, representative of the whole Levitical system. While
it (the first tabernacle, and that which represents the Levitical
system) as yet "has a standing" (so the Greek,
that is, "has continuance": "lasts"), the way to heaven (the
antitypical "holiest place") is not yet made manifest (compare
10:19, 20). The Old Testament
economy is represented by the holy place, the New Testament economy by
the Holy of Holies. Redemption, by Christ, has opened the Holy of
Holies (access to heaven by faith now, Heb
4:16; 7:19, 25; 10:19, 22; by
sight hereafter, Isa 33:24; Re 11:19; 21:2, 3) to all mankind. The Greek
for "not yet" (me po) refers to the mind of the Spirit: the
Spirit intimating that men should not think the way was yet
opened [Tittmann]. The Greek
negative, "ou po," would deny the fact objectively;
"me po" denies the thing subjectively.
9. Which—"The which," namely, anterior
tabernacle: "as being that which was" [Alford].
figure—Greek, "parable": a
parabolic setting forth of the character of the Old Testament.
for—"in reference to the existing
time." The time of the temple-worship really belonged to the
Old Testament, but continued still in Paul's time and that of his
Hebrew readers. "The time of reformation" (Heb 9:10) stands in contrast to this, "the
existing time"; though, in reality, "the time of reformation," the New
Testament time, was now present and existing. So "the age to
come," is the phrase applied to the Gospel, because it was
present only to believers, and its fulness even to them is still
to come. Compare Heb 9:11,
"good things to come."
in which—tabernacle, not
time, according to the reading of the oldest manuscripts. Or
translate, "according to which" parabolic representation, or
could not—Greek, "cannot": are
him that did the service—any
worshipper. The Greek is "latreuein," serve God,
which is all men's duty; not "leitourgein," to serve in a
make … perfect—perfectly remove
the sense of guilt, and sanctify inwardly through love.
as pertaining to the conscience—"in
respect to the (moral-religious) consciousness." They can only reach as
far as the outward flesh (compare "carnal ordinances," Heb 9:10,
stood—consisted in [Alford]; or, "have attached to them" only
things which appertain to the use of foods, &c. The rites of meats,
&c., go side by side with the sacrifices [Tholuck and Wahl];
drinks—(Le 10:9; 11:4). Usage subsequently to the law added
many observances as to meats and drinks.
and carnal ordinances—One oldest
manuscript, Syriac and Coptic, omit "and." "Carnal
ordinances" stand in apposition to "sacrifices" (Heb 9:9). Carnal (outward, affecting only
the flesh) is opposed to spiritual. Contrast "flesh" with
"conscience" (Heb 9:13, 14).
imposed—as a burden (Ac 15:10, 28) continually pressing heavy.
until the time of
reformation—Greek, "the season of
rectification," when the reality should supersede the type
8:8-12). Compare "better,"
11. But—in contrast to "could not
make … perfect" (Heb 9:9).
Christ—The Messiah, of whom all the
prophets foretold; not "Jesus" here. From whom the "reformation" (Heb 9:10), or rectification,
emanates, which frees from the yoke of carnal ordinances, and which is
being realized gradually now, and shall be perfectly in the
consummation of "the age (world) to come." "Christ … High
Priest," exactly answers to Le 4:5, "the
priest that is anointed."
being come an, &c.—rather, "having
come forward (compare Heb 10:7, a
different Greek word, picturesquely presenting Him before us)
as High Priest." The Levitical priests must therefore retire.
Just as on the day of atonement, no work was done, no sacrifice was
offered, or priest was allowed to be in the tabernacle while the high
priest went into the holiest place to make atonement (Le 16:17, 29). So not our righteousness, nor
any other priest's sacrifice, but Christ alone atones; and as the high
priest before offering incense had on common garments of a priest, but
after it wore his holy garments of "glory and beauty" (Ex 28:2, 40) in entering the holiest, so
Christ entered the heavenly holiest in His glorified body.
good things to come—Greek,
"the good things to come," Heb 10:1; "better promises," (Heb 8:6; the "eternal inheritance," Heb 9:15; 1Pe
1:4; the "things hoped for,"
by a … tabernacle—joined with
"He entered." Translate, "Through the … tabernacle" (of
which we know) [Alford]. As the Jewish
high priest passed through the anterior tabernacle into the
holiest place, so Christ passed through heaven into the inner
abode of the unseen and unapproachable God. Thus, "the tabernacle" here
is the heavens through which He passed (see on Heb 4:14). But "the tabernacle" is also the glorified
body of Christ (see on Heb 8:2), "not of this
building" (not of the mere natural "creation, but of the
spiritual and heavenly, the new creation"), the Head of the
mystical body, the Church. Through this glorified body He passes
into the heavenly holiest place (Heb 9:24), the immaterial, unapproachable
presence of God, where He intercedes for us. His glorified body,
as the meeting place of God and all Christ's redeemed, and the angels,
answers to the heavens through which He passed, and passes. His
body is opposed to the tabernacle, as His blood to the
blood of goats, &c.
greater—as contrasted with the small
dimensions of the earthly anterior tabernacle.
more perfect—effective in giving
pardon, peace, sanctification, and access to closest communion with God
(compare Heb 9:9; Heb 10:1).
not made with hands—but by the Lord
12. Neither—"Nor yet."
by—"through"; as the means of His
goats … calves—not a bullock,
such as the Levitical high priest offered for himself, and a goat for
the people, on the day of atonement (Le 16:6, 15), year by year, whence the plural
is used, goats … calves. Besides the goat offered for the
people the blood of which was sprinkled before the mercy seat, the high
priest led forth a second goat, namely, the scapegoat; over it he
confessed the people's sins, putting them on the head of the goat,
which was sent as the sin-bearer into the wilderness out of sight,
implying that the atonement effected by the goat sin offering (of which
the ceremony of the scapegoat is a part, and not distinct from the sin
offering) consisted in the transfer of the people's sins on the goat,
and their consequent removal out of sight. The translation of sins on
the victim usual in other expiatory sacrifices being omitted in the
case of the slain goat, but employed in the case of the goat sent away,
proved the two goats were regarded as one offering [Archbishop Magee]. Christ's death is symbolized by
the slain goat; His resurrection to life by the living goat sent away.
Modern Jews substitute in some places a cock for the goat as an
expiation, the sins of the offerers being transferred to the entrails,
and exposed on the housetop for the birds to carry out of sight, as the
scapegoat did; the Hebrew for "man" and "cock" being similar,
by—"through," as the means of His
entrance; the key unlocking the heavenly Holy of Holies to Him. The
Greek is forcible, "through THE
blood of His own" (compare Heb 9:23).
once—"once for all."
having obtained—having thereby
obtained; literally, "found for Himself," as a thing of insuperable
difficulty to all save Divine Omnipotence, self-devoting zeal, and
love, to find. The access of Christ to the Father was arduous (Heb 5:7). None before had trodden the
eternal—The entrance of our Redeemer,
once for all, into the heavenly holiest place, secures
eternal redemption to us; whereas the Jewish high priest's
entrance was repeated year by year, and the effect temporary and
partial, "On redemption," compare Mt 20:28; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14; 1Ti 2:5; Tit 2:14; 1Pe
Heb 9:13-28. Proof of and
Enlargement on, the "Eternal
Redemption" Mentioned in Heb 9:12.
For His blood, offered by Himself, purifies not only
outwardly, as the Levitical sacrifices on the day of atonement, but
inwardly unto the service of the living God (Heb 9:13, 14). His death is the inaugurating
act of the new covenant, and of the heavenly sanctuary (Heb 9:15-23). His entrance into the true Holy
of Holies is the consummation of His once-for-all-offered sacrifice of
atonement (Heb 9:24, 26); henceforth, His reappearance alone
remains to complete our redemption (Heb 9:27, 28).
13. if—as we know is the case; so the
Greek indicative means. Argument from the less to the greater.
If the blood of mere brutes could purify in any, however small a
degree, how much more shall inward purification, and complete and
eternal salvation, be wrought by the blood of Christ, in whom dwelt all
the fulness of the Godhead?
ashes of an heifer—(Nu 19:16-18). The type is full of comfort for
us. The water of separation, made of the ashes of the red heifer, was
the provision for removing ceremonial defilement whenever incurred
by contact with the dead. As she was slain without the camp, so
Christ (compare Heb 13:11; Nu 19:3, 4). The ashes were laid by for constant
use; so the continually cleansing effects of Christ's blood, once for
all shed. In our wilderness journey we are continually contracting
defilement by contact with the spiritually dead, and with dead works,
and need therefore continual application to the antitypical life-giving
cleansing blood of Christ, whereby we are afresh restored to peace and
living communion with God in the heavenly holy place.
the unclean—Greek, "those
defiled" on any particular occasion.
the flesh—Their effect in themselves
extended no further. The law had a carnal and a spiritual aspect;
carnal, as an instrument of the Hebrew polity, God, their King,
accepting, in minor offenses, expiatory victims instead of the sinner,
otherwise doomed to death; spiritual, as the shadow of good things
to come (Heb 10:1).
The spiritual Israelite derived, in partaking of these legal rights,
spiritual blessings not flowing from them, but from the great antitype.
Ceremonial sacrifices released from temporal penalties and
ceremonial disqualifications; Christ's sacrifice releases from
everlasting penalties (Heb 9:12), and moral impurities on the
conscience disqualifying from access to God (Heb 9:14). The purification of the flesh (the
mere outward man) was by "sprinkling"; the washing followed by
inseparable connection (Nu 19:19).
So justification is followed by renewing.
14. offered himself—The voluntary nature
of the offering gives it especial efficacy. He "through the eternal
Spirit," that is, His divine Spirit (Ro 1:4, in contrast to His "flesh," Heb 9:3; His Godhead, 1Ti 3:16; 1Pe
3:18), "His inner
personality" [Alford], which gave a free
consent to the act, offered Himself. The animals offered had no
spirit or will to consent in the act of sacrifice; they were
offered according to the law; they had a life neither enduring,
nor of any intrinsic efficacy. But He from eternity, with His divine
and everlasting Spirit, concurred with the Father's will of
redemption by Him. His offering began on the altar of the cross, and
was completed in His entering the holiest place with His blood. The
eternity and infinitude of His divine Spirit (compare Heb 7:16) gives eternal
("eternal redemption," Heb 9:12, also compare Heb 9:15) and infinite merit to His offering, so
that not even the infinite justice of God has any exception to take
against it. It was "through His most burning love, flowing from His
eternal Spirit," that He offered Himself [Oecolampadius].
without spot—The animal victims had to
be without outward blemish; Christ on the cross was a victim
inwardly and essentially stainless (1Pe 1:19).
purge—purify from fear, guilt,
alienation from Him, and selfishness, the source of dead works
your—The oldest manuscripts read
"our." The Vulgate, however, supports English Version
dead works—All works done in the
natural state, which is a state of sin, are dead; for they come
not from living faith in, and love to, "the living God" (Heb 11:6). As contact with a dead body
defiled ceremonially (compare the allusion, "ashes of an heifer," Heb 9:13), so dead works defile the inner
to serve—so as to serve. The
ceremonially unclean could not serve God in the outward
communion of His people; so the unrenewed cannot serve God in spiritual
communion. Man's works before justification, however lifelike they
look, are dead, and cannot therefore be accepted before the living God.
To have offered a dead animal to God would have been an insult (compare
Mal 1:8); much more for a man not
justified by Christ's blood to offer dead works. But those purified by
Christ's blood in living faith do serve (Ro 12:1), and shall more fully serve God (Re 22:3).
living God—therefore requiring living
spiritual service (Joh 4:24).
15. for this cause—Because of the
all-cleansing power of His blood, this fits Him to be Mediator (Heb 8:6, ensuring to both parties, God and
us, the ratification) of the new covenant, which secures both
forgiveness for the sins not covered by the former imperfect covenant
or testament, and also an eternal inheritance to the called.
by means of death—rather, as
Greek, "death having taken place." At the moment that His death
took place, the necessary effect is, "the called receive the
(fulfilment of the) promise" (so Lu 24:49 uses "promise"; Heb 6:15; Ac
1:4); that moment divides the
Old from the New Testament. The "called" are the elect "heirs,"
"partakers of the heavenly calling" (Heb 3:1).
redemption of … transgressions …
under … first testament—the transgressions of all
men from Adam to Christ, first against the primitive revelation,
then against the revelations to the patriarchs, then against the law
given to Israel, the representative people of the world. The "first
testament" thus includes the whole period from Adam to Christ, and not
merely that of the covenant with Israel, which was a concentrated
representation of the covenant made with (or the first
testament given to) mankind by sacrifice, down from the fall
to redemption. Before the inheritance by the New Testament (for
here the idea of the "INHERITANCE,"
following as the result of Christ's "death," being introduced, requires
the Greek to be translated "testament," as it was before
covenant) could come in, there must be redemption of
(that is, deliverance from the penalties incurred by) the
transgressions committed under the first testament, for
the propitiatory sacrifices under the first testament reached only as
far as removing outward ceremonial defilement. But in order to obtain
the inheritance which is a reality, there must be a real propitiation,
since God could not enter into covenant relation with us so long as
past sins were unexpiated; Ro 3:24, 25, "a propitiation … His
righteousness for the remission of sins that are past."
receive," which previously they could not (Heb 11:39, 40).
the promise—to Abraham.
16. A general axiomatic truth; it is "a
testament"; not the testament. The testator must die before his
testament takes effect (Heb 9:17). This is a common meaning of the
Greek noun diathece. So in Lu 22:29, "I appoint (by testamentary
disposition; the cognate Greek verb diatithemai) unto you
a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me." The need of death
before the testamentary appointment takes effect, holds good in
Christ's relation as MAN to us; Of course not in God's relation
be—literally, be borne": "be involved
in the case"; be inferred; or else, "be brought forward in
court," so as to give effect to the will. This sense (testament)
of the Greek "diathece" here does not exclude its other
secondary senses in the other passages of the New Testament: (1) a
covenant between two parties; (2) an arrangement, or
disposition, made by God alone in relation to us. Thus, Mt 26:28 may be translated, "Blood of the
covenant"; for a testament does not require blood
shedding. Compare Ex 24:8
(covenant), which Christ quotes, though it is probable He
included in a sense "testament" also under the Greek word
diathece (comprehending both meanings, "covenant" and
"testament"), as this designation strictly and properly applies to the
new dispensation, and is rightly applicable to the old also, not in
itself, but when viewed as typifying the new, which is properly a
testament. Moses (Ex 24:8)
speaks of the same thing as [Christ and] Paul. Moses, by the term
"covenant," does not mean aught save one concerning giving the heavenly
inheritance typified by Canaan after the death of the
Testator, which he represented by the sprinkling of blood. And
Paul, by the term "testament," does not mean aught save one having
conditions attached to it, one which is at the same time a
covenant [Poli, Synopsis];
the conditions are fulfilled by Christ, not by us, except that we must
believe, but even this God works in His people. Tholuck explains, as elsewhere, "covenant
… covenant … mediating victim"; the masculine is
used of the victim personified, and regarded as mediator of the
covenant; especially as in the new covenant a MAN (Christ) took the place of the victim. The
covenanting parties used to pass between the divided parts of the
sacrificed animals; but, without reference to this rite, the need of a
sacrifice for establishing a covenant sufficiently explains this
verse. Others, also, explaining the Greek as "covenant,"
consider that the death of the sacrificial victim represented in all
covenants the death of both parties as unalterably bound to the
covenant. So in the redemption-covenant, the death of Jesus
symbolized the death of God (?) in the person of the mediating victim,
and the death of man in the same. But the expression is not "there must
be the death of both parties making the covenant," but
singular, "of Him who made (aorist, past time; not
'of Him making') the testament." Also, it is "death," not
"sacrifice" or "slaying." Plainly, the death is supposed to be
past (aorist, "made"); and the fact of the death is
brought (Greek) before court to give effect to the will.
These requisites of a will, or testament, concur here: (1) a testator;
(2) heirs; (3) goods; (4) the death of the testator; (5) the fact of
the death brought forward in court. In Mt 26:28 two other requisites appear:
witnesses, the disciples; and a seal, the sacrament of
the Lord's Supper, the sign of His blood wherewith the testament
is primarily sealed. It is true the heir is ordinarily the
successor of him who dies and so ceases to have the possession.
But in this case Christ comes to life again, and is Himself (including
all that He hath), in the power of His now endless life, His people's
inheritance; in His being Heir (Heb 1:2), they are heirs.
17. after—literally, "over," as we say
"upon the death of the testators"; not as Tholuck, "on the condition that slain sacrifices be
there," which the Greek hardly sanctions.
otherwise—"seeing that it is never
availing" [Alford]. Bengel and Lachmann
read with an interrogation, "Since, is it ever in force (surely not)
while the testator liveth?"
18. Whereupon—rather, "Whence."
dedicated—"inaugurated." The Old
Testament strictly and formally began on that day of inauguration.
"Where the disposition, or arrangement, is ratified by
the blood of another, namely, of animals, which cannot make a
covenant, much less make a testament, it is not strictly
a testament, where it is ratified by the death of him that makes
the arrangement, it is strictly, Greek 'diathece,'
Hebrew 'berith,' taken in a wider sense, a
testament" [Bengel]; thus, in
9:18, referring to the old
dispensation, we may translate, "the first (covenant)": or
better, retain "the first (testament)," not that the old
dispensation, regarded by itself, is a testament, but it
is so when regarded as the typical representative of the new,
which is strictly a Testament.
19. For—confirming the general truth,
spoken … according to the
law—strictly adhering to every direction of "the law of
commandments contained in ordinances" (Eph 2:15). Compare Ex 24:3, "Moses told the people all the words
of the Lord, and all the judgments; and all the people
answered with one voice," &c.
the blood of calves—Greek, "the
calves," namely, those sacrificed by the "young men" whom he sent to do
24:5). The "peace offerings"
there mentioned were "of oxen" (Septuagint, "little
calves"), and the "burnt offerings" were probably (though this is not
specified), as on the day of atonement, goats. The law in Exodus
sanctioned formally many sacrificial practices in use by tradition,
from the primitive revelation long before.
with water—prescribed, though not in
the twenty-fourth chapter of Exodus, yet in other purifications; for
example, of the leper, and the water of separation which contained the
ashes of the red heifer.
scarlet wool, and hyssop—ordinarily
used for purification. Scarlet or crimson, resembling
blood: it was thought to be a peculiarly deep, fast dye, whence it
typified sin (see on Isa 1:18). So Jesus wore a
scarlet robe, the emblem of the deep-dyed sins He bore on Him,
though He had none in Him. Wool was used as imbibing and
retaining water; the hyssop, as a bushy, tufty plant (wrapt round with
the scarlet wool), was used for sprinkling it. The wool was also a
symbol of purity (Isa 1:18).
The Hyssopus officinalis grows on walls, with small
lancet-formed woolly leaves, an inch long, with blue and white flowers,
and a knotty stalk about a foot high.
sprinkled … the book—namely, out
of which he had read "every precept": the book of the testament or
covenant. This sprinkling of the book is not mentioned in the
twenty-fourth chapter of Exodus. Hence Bengel translates, "And (having taken) the book
itself (so Ex 24:7), he
both sprinkled all the people, and (Heb 9:21) moreover sprinkled the tabernacle." But
the Greek supports English Version. Paul, by inspiration,
supplies the particular specified here, not in Ex 24:7. The sprinkling of the roll (so
the Greek for "book") of the covenant, or testament, as well as
of the people, implies that neither can the law be fulfilled,
nor the people be purged from their sins, save by the sprinkling of the
blood of Christ (1Pe 1:2).
9:23, which shows that there
is something antitypical to the Bible in heaven itself (compare Re 20:12). The Greek, "itself,"
distinguishes the book itself from the "precepts" in it which he
20. Ex 24:8,
"Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord has
made with you concerning all these words." The change is here made to
accord with Christ's inauguration of the new testament, or covenant, as
recorded in Lu 22:20,
"This cup (is) the new Testament in My blood, which is shed for you":
the only Gospel in which the "is" has to be supplied. Luke was
Paul's companion, which accounts for the correspondence, as here
too "is" has to be supplied.
testament—(See on Heb 9:16, 17). The Greek "diathece" means
both "testament" and "covenant": the term "covenant" better suits the
old dispensation, though the idea testament is included, for the
old was one in its typical relation to the new dispensation, to which
the term "testament" is better suited. Christ has sealed the testament
with His blood, of which the Lord's Supper is the sacramental
sign. The testator was represented by the animals slain in the old
dispensation. In both dispensations the inheritance was bequeathed: in
the new by One who has come in person and died; in the old by the same
one, only typically and ceremonially present. See Alford's excellent Note.
enjoined unto you—commissioned
me to ratify in relation to you. In the old dispensation the
condition to be fulfilled on the people's part is implied in the words,
Ex 24:8, "(Lord made with you)
concerning all these words." But here Paul omits this clause, as
he includes the fulfilment of this condition of obedience to "all these
words" in the new covenant, as part of God's promise, in Heb 8:8, 10,
12, whereby Christ fulfils
all for our justification, and will enable us by putting His Spirit in
us to fulfil all in our now progressive, and finally complete,
21. Greek, "And, moreover, in
like manner." The sprinkling of the tabernacle with blood is
added by inspiration here to the account in Ex 30:25-30;
40:9, 10, which mentions only
Moses' anointing the tabernacle and its vessels. In Le 8:10, 15,
30, the sprinkling of blood
upon Aaron and his garments, and upon his sons, and upon the altar, is
mentioned as well as the anointing, so that we might naturally infer,
as Josephus has distinctly stated, that
the tabernacle and its vessels were sprinkled with blood as well as
being anointed: Le 16:16, 20, 33, virtually sanctions this inference. The
tabernacle and its contents needed purification (2Ch 29:21).
22. almost—to be joined with "all
things," namely almost all things under the old dispensation.
The exceptions to all things being purified by blood are, Ex 19:10; Le 15:5, &c.; 16:26, 28; 22:6; Nu
shedding of blood—shed in the
slaughter of the victim, and poured out at the altar subsequently. The
pouring out of the blood on the altar is the main part of the
sacrifice (Le 17:11),
and it could not have place apart from the previous shedding of
the blood in the slaying. Paul has, perhaps, in mind here, Lu 22:20, "This cup is the new testament in my
blood, which is shed for you."
is—Greek, "takes place": comes
remission—of sins: a favorite
expression of Luke, Paul's companion. Properly used of remitting a debt
6:12; 18:27, 32); our sins
are debts. On the truth here, compare Le 5:11-13, an exception because of poverty,
confirming the general rule.
23. patterns—"the suggestive
representations"; the typical copies (see on Heb
things in the heavens—the heavenly
tabernacle and the things therein.
purified with these—with the blood of
bulls and goats.
heavenly things themselves—the
archetypes. Man's sin had introduced an element of disorder into the
relations of God and His holy angels in respect to man. The
purification removes this element of disorder and changes God's
wrath against man in heaven (designed to be the place of God's
revealing His grace to men and angels) into a smile of reconciliation.
Compare "peace in heaven" (Lu 19:38).
"The uncreated heaven of God, though in itself untroubled light, yet
needed a purification in so far as the light of love was obscured by
the fire of wrath against sinful man" [Delitzsch in Alford].
Contrast Re 12:7-10. Christ's atonement had the effect also
of casting Satan out of heaven (Lu 10:18; Joh 12:31, compare Heb 2:14). Christ's body, the true tabernacle
(see on Heb 8:2; Heb
9:11), as bearing our imputed sin (2Co 5:21), was consecrated (Joh 17:17, 19) and purified by the shedding of
His blood to be the meeting place of God and man.
sacrifices—The plural is used in
expressing the general proposition, though strictly referring to the
one sacrifice of Christ once for all. Paul implies that His one
sacrifice, by its matchless excellency, is equivalent to the Levitical
many sacrifices. It, though but one, is manifold in its effects and
applicability to many.
24. Resumption more fully of the thought, "He
entered in once into the holy place," Heb 9:12. He has in Heb 9:13, 14, expanded the words "by his own
9:12; and in Heb 9:15-23, he has enlarged on "an High
Priest of good things to come."
not … into … holy places made with
hands—as was the Holy of Holies in the earthly tabernacle
(see on Heb 9:11).
figures—copies "of the true" holiest
place, heaven, the original archetype (Heb 8:5).
into heaven itself—the immediate
presence of the invisible God beyond all the created heavens,
through which latter Jesus passed (see on Heb
4:14; 1Ti 6:16).
now—ever since His ascension in the
present economy (compare Heb 9:26).
to appear—To PRESENT Himself; Greek, "to be made to
appear." Mere man may have a vision through a medium, or veil, as Moses
had (Ex 33:18, 20-23). Christ alone beholds the Father
without a veil, and is His perfect image. Through seeing Him only can we see the Father.
in the presence of God—Greek,
"to the face of God." The saints shall hereafter see God's face
in Christ (Re 22:4): the
earnest of which is now given (2Co 3:18). Aaron, the Levitical high priest
for the people, stood before the ark and only saw the
cloud, the symbol of God's glory (Ex 28:30).
for us—in our behalf as our Advocate
and Intercessor (Heb 7:25; Ro 8:34; 1Jo 2:1). "It is enough that Jesus should
show Himself for us to the Father: the sight of Jesus satisfied
God in our behalf. He brings before the face of God no offering which
has exhausted itself, and, as only sufficing for a time, needs renewal;
but He himself is in person, by virtue of the eternal Spirit, that is,
the imperishable life of His person, now and for ever freed from death,
our eternally present offering before God" [Delitzsch in Alford].
25. As in Heb 9:24, Paul said, it was not into the typical,
but the true sanctuary, that Christ is entered; so now he says, that
His sacrifice needs not, as the Levitical sacrifices did, to be
repeated. Construe, "Nor yet did He enter for this purpose
that He may offer Himself often," that is, "present Himself
in the presence of God, as the high priest does (Paul uses the
present tense, as the legal service was then existing), year by
year, on the day of atonement, entering the Holy of Holies.
blood of others—not his own, as
26. then—in that case.
must … have suffered—rather as
Greek, "It would have been necessary for Him often to suffer."
In order to "offer" (Heb 9:25), or
present Himself often before God in the heavenly holiest place, like
the legal high priests making fresh renewals of this high priestly
function. He would have had, and would have often to suffer. His
oblation of Himself before God was once for all (that is, the
bringing in of His blood into the heavenly Holy of Holies), and
therefore the preliminary suffering was once for all.
since the foundation of the world—The
continued sins of men, from their first creation, would entail a
continual suffering on earth, and consequent oblation of His blood in
the heavenly holiest place, since the foundation of the world,
if the one oblation "in the fulness of time" were not sufficient. Philo [The Creation of the World, p.
637], shows that the high priest of the Hebrews offered sacrifices for
the whole human race. "If there had been greater efficacy in the
repetition of the oblation, Christ necessarily would not have been so
long promised, but would have been sent immediately after the
foundation of the world to suffer, and offer Himself at successive
now—as the case is,
once—for all; without need of renewal.
Rome's fiction of an UNBLOODY sacrifice
in the mass, contradicts her assertion that the blood of Christ
is present in the wine; and also confutes her assertion that the mass
is propitiatory; for, if unbloody, it cannot be
propitiatory; for without shedding of blood there is no
remission (Heb 9:22).
Moreover, the expression "once" for all here, and in Heb 9:28,
and Heb 10:10, 12, proves the
falsity of her view that there is a continually repeated offering of
Christ in the Eucharist or mass. The offering of Christ was a thing
once done that it might be thought of for ever (compare Note,
see on Heb 10:12).
in the end of the world—Greek,
"at the consummation of the ages"; the winding up of all the previous
ages from the foundation of the world; to be followed by a new age
2). The last age, beyond
which no further age is to be expected before Christ's speedy second
coming, which is the complement of the first coming; literally, "the
ends of the ages"; Mt 28:20 is
literally, "the consummation of the age," or world
(singular; not as here, plural, ages). Compare "the fulness of
manifested" on earth (1Ti 3:16; 1Pe 1:20). English Version has confounded
three distinct Greek verbs, by translating all alike, Heb 9:24,
26, 28, "appear." But, in
9:24, it is "to present
Himself," namely, before God in the heavenly sanctuary; in Heb 9:26, "been manifested" on
earth: in Heb 9:28,
"shall be seen" by all, and especially believers.
put away—abolish; doing away sin's
power as well by delivering men from its guilt and penalty, so that it
should be powerless to condemn men, as also from its yoke, so that they
shall at last sin no more.
sin—singular number; all the sins of
men of every age are regarded as one mass laid on Christ. He
hath not only droned for all actual sins, but destroyed sin
itself. Joh 1:29,
"Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin (not merely
the sins: singular, not plural) of the world."
by the sacrifice of
himself—Greek, "by (through) His own
sacrifice"; not by "blood of others" (Heb 9:25). Alford
loses this contrast in translating, "by His sacrifice."
27. as—inasmuch as.
it is appointed—Greek, "it is
laid up (as our appointed lot)," Col 1:5. The word "appointed" (so Hebrew
"seth" means) in the case of man, answers to "anointed" in the
case of Jesus; therefore "the Christ," that is, the anointed, is
the title here given designedly. He is the representative man; and
there is a strict correspondence between the history of man and
that of the Son of man. The two most solemn facts of our being
are here connected with the two most gracious truths of our
dispensation, our death and judgment answering in parallelism to
Christ's first coming to die for us, and His second coming to
consummate our salvation.
once—and no more.
after this the judgment—namely, at
Christ's appearing, to which, in Heb 9:28, "judgment" in this verse is parallel.
Not, "after this comes the heavenly glory." The intermediate state is a
state of joyous, or else agonizing and fearful, expectation of
"judgment"; after the judgment comes the full and final state of joy,
or else woe.
28. Christ—Greek, "THE Christ"; the representative Man; representing all men, as the first Adam
once offered—not "often," Heb 9:25; just as "men," of whom He is the
representative Head, are appointed by God once to die. He did
not need to die again and again for each individual, or each successive
generation of men, for He represents all men of every age, and
therefore needed to die but once for all, so as to exhaust the penalty
of death incurred by all. He was offered by the Father, His own
"eternal Spirit" (Heb 9:14)
concurring; as Abraham spared not Isaac, but offered him, the son
himself unresistingly submitting to the father's will (Ge 22:1-24).
to bear the sins—referring to Isa 53:12, "He bare the sins of many,"
namely, on Himself; so "bear" means, Le 24:15;
Nu 5:31; 14:34. The
Greek is literally "to bear up" (1Pe 2:24). "Our sins were laid on Him. When,
therefore, He was lifted up on the cross, He bare up our sins along
with Him" [Bengel].
many—not opposed to all, but to
few. He, the One, was offered for many; and that once
for all (compare Mt 20:28).
look for him—with waiting
expectation even unto the end (so the Greek). It is
translated "wait for" in Ro 8:19, 23; 1Co 1:7, which see.
appear—rather, as Greek, "be
seen." No longer in the alien "form of a servant," but in His own
without sin—apart from, separate from,
sin. Not bearing the sin of many on Him as at His first coming
(even then there was no sin in Him). That sin has been at His
first coming once for all taken away, so as to need no repetition of
His sin offering of Himself (Heb 9:26). At His second coming He shall have no
more to do with sin.
unto salvation—to bring in completed
salvation; redeeming then the body which is as yet subject to the
bondage of corruption. Hence, in Php 3:20 he says, "we look for THE Saviour." Note, Christ's prophetical
office, as the divine Teacher, was especially exercised during
His earthly ministry; His priestly is now from His first to His
second coming; His kingly office shall be fully manifested at,
and after, His second coming.