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Bible Commentaries
Hebrews 9

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

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Verses 1-28

Hebrews 9:2-6 . A tabernacle wherein was the candlestick. For a description of this portable temple, which disdains borrowing figures from the Egyptian temples, though they had some figures analogous to the jews, see the sixteen last chapters of the book of Exodus, and the book of Leviticus for its rituals. The candlestick having seven lamps, he names first, for without light the inner court could not be clearly seen; and so of the other mystical glories already explained as above. Concerning the golden pot of manna, and the rod of Aaron, the Hebrew doctors make strong memorials, putting the golden pot in front of their shekel, and the rod of Aaron on the reverse side. See the map of Jerusalem.

Hebrews 9:7-8 . But into the second veil, or holy of holies, went the highpriest alone once every year, on the great day of atonement. He might go oftener, if the special events of the nation so required, which shows that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest. The veil of Moses is now done away in Christ.

Hebrews 9:11 . But Christ being come a highpriest of good things to come, and come in the fulness of the time foretold. Galatians 4:4. The rags of Joshua are superseded by robes, as in the vision of Zechariah; the true, the heavenly temple is now laid open, and the church is filled with the glory of the only-begotten of the Father. This is the temple not made with hands, but is the spiritual or mystical body of Christ.

Hebrews 9:12 . Neither by the blood of goats and calves. David in the Spirit foresaw that these would be rejected. Psalms 40:6. He entered into the holy place with his own blood, to which our redemption is always ascribed, and by which we obtain eternal inheritance.

Hebrews 9:13 . For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean. Rabbi Maimonides, in his Novochim, has a good note here. He says that though the Hebrew altar made no atonement for murderers, for idolaters, for adulterers, yet there was an atonement made for them by the red heifer, and other accursed victims laden with their sins, [called here “dead works”] slain, and burned without the camp, from whose ashes the waters of purification were secreted.

Hebrews 9:14 . How much more shall the blood of Christ, the Lamb without spot, immolated by the good pleasure of the Father, and offered up through the eternal Spirit, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Was ever sacrifice like this? God spared not his own Son, but freely delivered him up for us all. For their sakes, said the Saviour, I sanctify myself, a vicarious victim, to satisfy the demands of justice, that mercy may be extended to the ruined and the lost. His death gave a perfect finish to the ransom; by the one offering of himself he has for ever perfected, as regards atonement and satisfaction, them that are sanctified.

Hebrews 9:15 . For this cause he is the Mediator of the new testament, which is open to the gentiles, and calls the world to turn to God. Aaron therefore, compared with Christ, was restricted in his powers. He could only look on the leper, but could not cleanse; whereas, all the gentile armies washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the lamb. Thus sinners, washed and reconciled, are brought nigh, and joined to the hundred and forty four thousand of the virgin church; they are made heirs of the promises, and all the blessings of eternal life.

Hebrews 9:21-23 . Moreover, he sprinkled likewise with blood, both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. All the church must of course be sprinkled with blood; all our words and works must be touched with the Redeemer’s merits. Such is the harmony of the divine counsel and love in our redemption.

Hebrews 9:27 . And as it is appointed unto men once to die, so Christ in the end of the world died for us. And as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so Christ bare the sins of many, or as above, he died for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant. There is no need then for his sacrifice to be repeated; but he shall come the second time without (coming to die for) sin, and shall judge the world, when those that pierced him shall wail because of him.


Paul reviews here the tabernacle, that he might show the true glory of that temple which is in heaven. He begins with the candlestick, whose seven lamps showed the interior sanctuary, where all the priests officiated. So God who in the beginning commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined into our dark hearts, to give us the light of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ. All the insignia of the sanctuary raised the expectation of better things, designated by the glory of all the types. The leviticum therefore could never make its votaries perfect; this was reserved for the introduction of a better hope. Jesus Christ, for whom all things were created, was to officiate in a better tabernacle, and to have somewhat better than beasts to offer. God prepared him a body, joined to a human soul, illustrious, immaculate, and heir of the world by descent. This body was offered upon the high altar of the cross to obtain eternal redemption, or a redemption once for all for us.

The approach of sinful man to an offended God is now opened by a new and living way; whereas under the law it was encumbered with restraint, and death was denounced against man or beast that should approach the mount. In the temple also the holy place was separated from the most holy; and no Israelite, no priest was allowed to enter it except the highpriest, and he only once a year with the blood of atonement. But Christ having entered heaven by his own blood, and made us all priests and kings by the spirit of adoption, allows us all to follow in his steps. Why then should the jew be obstinate, or the christian fall away from so glorious a hope?

The atonement made by Christ not only surpasses the blood of animals in efficacy to expiate guilt, but also in point of privilege. He is the mediator of the new testament, and has received for us the promise of an eternal inheritance: Hebrews 9:15. Exemption from punishment is but the negative good of our redemption; he prepares the soul by all the adorning of grace for the worship of his perfect tabernacle, and for the inheritance that fadeth not away. And this inheritance is left us by his last will and testament, and which now comes to us, the testator being dead.

Now, as it is appointed unto men to die but once; and he, the second Adam, dying for the family of the first which are many, so we look for him again without coming to die for sin, but to bring us everlasting salvation, and to give us an inheritance among all them that are sanctified.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Hebrews 9". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/hebrews-9.html. 1835.
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