World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
Christ’s Sacrifice Takes Away Sin
23 Thus it was necessary for the sketches of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves need better sacrifices than these.
23. The patterns, or exemplars, etc. Lest any one should object and say that the blood by which the old testament was dedicated was different from that of a testator, the Apostle meets this objection, and says that it was no wonder that the tabernacle which was earthly was consecrated by the sacrificing of beasts; for there was an analogy and a likeness between the purification and the things purified. But the heavenly pattern or exemplar of which he now speaks was to be consecrated in a very different way; there was here no need of goats or of calves. It hence follows that the death of the testator was necessary.
The meaning then is this, — as under the Law there were only earthly images of spiritual things, so the rite of expiation was also, so to speak, carnal and figurative; but as the heavenly pattern allows of nothing earthly, so it requires another blood than that of beasts, such as may correspond with its excellency. Thus the death of the testator is necessary, in order that the testament may be really consecrated.
He calls the kingdom of Christ heavenly things, 157157 By making “heavenly things” to mean things in heaven above, and not in the kingdom of heaven on earth, commentators have been under the necessity of altering the sense of the word “purified.” The tabernacle represented the whole kingdom of Christ, both on earth and in heaven. The sanctuary and the court, where the alter of burnt offering was, represented what Christ has done and is doing on earth; and the holy of holies was a representation of Christ’s kingdom in heaven. The victims were slain in the court without the vail; the shedding of blood was the atonement, but its sprinkling was its purifying and sanctifying effects. All the heavenly things in the Church on earth require purifying by the sprinkling of the blood of the atoning sacrifice once offered by Christ; and it is to this the reference is made here. And having provided means for purification, he as the high priest, by virtue of his sacrifice, entered into the holiest, heavenly things on earth, for the Church here below, in order to prepare it for the holiest above. “In the heavens” may probably refer to two parts of Christ’s kingdom, the one in heaven and the other on earth; and latter, as things which require a sacrifice; and then in the following verse the former part is alluded to, the kingdom above, even heaven, represented by the holy of holies. — Ed. for it is spiritual and possesses a full revelation of the truth. Better sacrifices he mentions instead of “a better sacrifice,” for it was only one; but he uses the plural number for the sake of the antithesis or contrast.