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The Earthly and the Heavenly Sanctuaries


Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. 2For a tent was constructed, the first one, in which were the lampstand, the table, and the bread of the Presence; this is called the Holy Place. 3Behind the second curtain was a tent called the Holy of Holies. 4In it stood the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which there were a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; 5above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot speak now in detail.

6 Such preparations having been made, the priests go continually into the first tent to carry out their ritual duties; 7but only the high priest goes into the second, and he but once a year, and not without taking the blood that he offers for himself and for the sins committed unintentionally by the people. 8By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the sanctuary has not yet been disclosed as long as the first tent is still standing. 9This is a symbol of the present time, during which gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, 10but deal only with food and drink and various baptisms, regulations for the body imposed until the time comes to set things right.

11 But when Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation), 12he entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13For if the blood of goats and bulls, with the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer, sanctifies those who have been defiled so that their flesh is purified, 14how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God!

15 For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, because a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant. 16Where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18Hence not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19For when every commandment had been told to all the people by Moses in accordance with the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the scroll itself and all the people, 20saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God has ordained for you.” 21And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

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. 24For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one, but he entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25Nor was it to offer himself again and again, as the high priest enters the Holy Place year after year with blood that is not his own; 26for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to remove sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27And just as it is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the judgment, 28so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

28. The second time without sin, etc. The Apostle urges this one thing, — that we ought not to be disquieted by vain and impure longings for new kinds of expiations, for the death of Christ is abundantly sufficient for us. Hence he says, that he once appeared and made a sacrifice to abolish sins, and that at his second coming he will make openly manifest the efficacy of his death, so that sin will have no more power to hurt us. 160160     “Was once offered,” προσενεχθεὶς, — Grotius regarded this participle as having a reflective sense, “having once for all offered up himself;” and so does Stuart. The first aorist passive has often this sense. “By whom was he offered?” asks Theophylact; he answers, “by himself, he being a high priest.” This amounts to the same thing. — Ed

To bear, or, take away sins, is to free from guilt by his satisfaction those who have sinned. He says the sins of many, that is, of all, as in Romans 5:15. It is yet certain that all receive no benefit from the death of Christ; but this happens, because their unbelief prevents them. At the same time this question is not to be discussed here, for the Apostle is not speaking of the few or of the many to whom the death of Christ may be available; but he simply means that he died for others and not for himself; and therefore he opposes many to one. 161161     “We are told that οἱ πολλοὶ is often equivalent to πάντες. It is not however quite certain that the Apostle here meant to express πάντων; the verse concludes with the mention of those who ‘wait for him’ i.e., who wait for Christ’s second coming in humble hope of receiving their reward; and these manifestly are not the whole human race.” — Bp. Middleton, quoted by Bloomfield. — Ed

But what does he mean by saying that Christ will appear without sin? Some say, without a propitiation or an expiatory sacrifice for sin, as the word sin is taken in Romans 8:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; and in many places in the writings of Moses; but in my judgment he intended to express something more suitable to his present purpose, namely, that Christ at his coming will make it known how truly and really he had taken away sins, so that there would be no need of any other sacrifice to pacify God; as though he had said, “When we come to the tribunal of Christ, we shall find that there was nothing wanting in his death.” 162162     Schleusner and Stuart consider “without sin” to mean “without sin-offering” without any sacrifice for sin. Doddridge and Scott take its meaning to be “without being in the likeness of sinful flesh,” or, without that humiliating form in which he atoned for sin. Some have said, “without sin” being imputed to him. The construction which the passage seems to afford is this, “without bearing sin.” The previous clause is that, to bear or to suffer for, he having made the first time a full and complete expiation.
   To “bear sins,” is not, as some say, to take them away, in allusion to the scape goat, but to endure the punishment due to them, to make an atonement for them. See 1 Peter 2:24; where the same word to “bear,” in connection with “sins,” is used; and where it clearly means to bear the penalty of sin; the end of the verse is, “with whose stripes we are healed.” — Ed.

And to the same effect is what he immediately adds, unto salvation to them who look, or wait for him. Others render the sentence differently, “To them who look for him unto salvation;” But the other meaning is the most appropriate; for he means that those shall find complete salvation who recumb with quiet minds on the death of Christ; for this looking for or wanting has a reference to the subject discussed. The Scripture indeed does elsewhere ascribe this in common to believers, that they look for the coming of the Lord, in order to distinguish them from the ungodly, by whom his coming is dreaded, (1 Thessalonians 1:10;) but as the Apostle now contends that we ought to acquiesce in the one true sacrifice of Christ, he calls it the looking for Christ, when we are satisfied with his redemption alone, and seek no other remedies or helps. 163163     Most commentators adopt the same view, as conveyed in our version, connecting “salvation” with appearing, such as Beza, Grotius, Doddridge, Scott and Stuart. — Ed.

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