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We have in this Chapter some Account of the Furniture of the Old Tabernacle in the Wilderness. To this succeeds a most blessed Account of Christ, whom the Holy Ghost meant to prefigure by this worldly Sanctuary.
(1) Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. (2) For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. (3) And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the holiest of all; (4) Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid roundabout with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; (5) And over it the cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.
How gracious was it in God the Holy Ghost, to give the Church an account, as he hath here done, of the furniture of the tabernacle and so blessedly explained the subject, as he hath hereafter done in this chapter, in relation to Christ. Oh! the goodness and condescension of God the Spirit! Truly was it said, by our dear Lord, concerning him, when teaching his disciples to be on the lookout for his coming after Christ's departure, he shall not speak of himself, And where do we find the blessed Spirit speaking of himself? But he shall glorify me, said Jesus. And, oh! Reader, how doth the Holy Ghost indeed glorify my Lord to my poor soul, when Ha shews me more and more the plague of my own heart; and that there is none in heaven or earth that can bring a remedy for it, but the Lord Jesus Christ John 16:13-14 . I do hope, before we close this Chapter, both, the Writer and Reader (if it be the Lord's holy will) may find cause to raise a renewed monument of praise to the Holy Spirit, for what He hath here revealed of all-precious Jesus!
I desire the Reader, one by one, to observe the several articles here enumerated, in what belonged to what is called the first covenant. All were costly. And as all was of God's own appointment in divine service, and yet were but typical and preparatory to the Gospel Church of Christ, they serve the more to shew of what vast importance in God's sight must have been, and still is, that glorious dispensation by Christ, which was thus set forth with such a world of attention? The first court, which was called the holy place, and used in daily service, contained the candlestick, to intimate, perhaps, that as the light there shining communicates brightness around, so Christ, in his Church, is the sole light of his Church. The table, which is said to have been made of Shittim-wood, Exodus 25:10 , and which was not liable to be worm-eaten, was perhaps typical of the incorruptible nature of Christ's humanity, which, though subject to death, as the sacrifice for sin, yet not to corruption, Psalms 16:0 . And as a table is a place of fellowship in families, where the several members partake of the same viands, it is probable that the Holy Ghost might intend to convey, by this representation, the communion and fellowship Christ and his members have with each other. All these were, in what was called the sanctuary, or holy place, to distinguish it both from the world without, and the Holy of Holies within. Here was performed all the ordinary service of the priests, in their daily ministration. Christ must be the daily light, and life, and food, and communion of his people. To Him do all his redeemed; whom he hath made kings and priests to the Father, duly come, and by him offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name, Hebrews 13:15 .
By the second vail is meant within the vail, for there was but one veil in the sanctuary, Exodus 26:33 , and which was rent in the moment of Christ's death, to imply that all intervening obstructions, which kept the people of God from the Lord, was now done away by that death. Jesus had then removed forever the vail spread over all nations, Isaiah 25:6-8 ; Colossians 2:14 . Hence the call to draw nigh, Hebrews 10:19-23 . The furniture within this vail, which was called the holy of holies, was, no doubt, highly significant also; but, as the Apostle's speaking of those things in full declared that he could not now speak particularly, so may we. That they were all typical, seems to be without all doubt, for the law itself was a shadow of good things to come. But there is a certain obscurity thrown over such things as are not immediately necessary to be known, for wise and good purposes. We can, and do, through divine teaching, behold the figure of Christ, in the golden Censer: see Revelation 8:3-4 . and in the Ark also, there could be no other than Christ intended, who is to all his elect as the Ark was to Noah, into which the Patriarch entered by faith, Hebrews 11:7 . The Pot that had manna, which in its nature is so perishing, and yet so wonderfully preserved by this means, very strongly, and aptly represented Christ, preserving our nature. And the Rod that budded, pointed to Him, who is Jehovah's rod of strength, and the everlasting bud, blossom, and fruit of Jehovah's eternal love, to all his people forever, Psalms 110:2 . The tables of the Covenant, perhaps had an allusion to God's New Testament dispensation, when God promised to write them in the living tables of the heart of his people, Hebrews 8:10 ; 2 Corinthians 3:3 . And the Cherubim of glory, could mean no other than what from the first, at the gate of Eden, represented the glorious Persons in Jehovah. Through all the word of God it is plain, the Cherubim could have allusion to none but the Lord. Reader! think with what a vast preparation the Gospel of Christ hath been ushered in, and how infinitely important, therefore, it must be? Oh! for grace, to contemplate more and more, the Person of the Lord Jesus, in, whom all centre, and who is the sum and substance of all!
(6) Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. (7) But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: (8) The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: (9) Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; (10) Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
I very earnestly beg the Reader to indulge me, with calling his attention to what is here said of God the Holy Ghost, which, in my view, most decidedly shews, and to a demonstration, both the Person, Godhead, and Ministry of the Holy Ghost; and that it is He, who all along, from the beginning, had been the Almighty Minister in the Church of God; and now is the whole, and every part, both in the ordination, and the efficiency of it, being from, and by Him. And, as nothing can be equally important to the child of God, to be always waiting on the Lord the Spirit's ministry, in an age when He is so little known, and regarded, I crave permission to state what is here said, with all that attention it so loudly demands. The Lord make the statement profitable, if it be strictly consistent with his truth, to his people.
And, first. I desire the Reader to remark with me, the name by which the Lord the Spirit is here mentioned, namely, the Holy Ghost. And let it be shewn, if it can, by any common sense argument whatever, wherefore a name, so defining personality, should be given to anyone, but under the idea of a Person? The Holy Ghost is here said to have a meaning in a certain appointment, and that appointment is fully confirming a will, design, and pleasure. The Holy Ghost this signifying.
Secondly. The signification here spoken of, being in allusion to the ordinances in the sanctuary service, could have been in the appointment of none but God. The services must imply that they were God's services. The priests and servants ministering in them, God's priests and servants; and consequently, the Lord the Spirit, here called by his special personal name, the Holy Ghost, could be no other than God.
Thirdly. The Holy Ghost thus manifesting both his Person and Godhead; the former by actions which could belong only to personality, and the latter in appointments of holy services, which belonged to none but God to appoint: so by those actions, and appointments during the Old Testament dispensation, which began with the Church, and shadowing events, which reached to the New Testament dispensation in the days of the Gospel, and to extend to the latest Period of time most plainly, and decidedly proved, that the personal ministry of God the Holy Ghost, hath been all along exercised, and that he hath uniformly presided over the Church, in all ages. So that here is, in this blessed Scripture, the most full, and ample testimony, to the Person, Godhead, and Ministry, of the Lord the Spirit.
I stay not in this place to enquire into what is here said of the Holy Ghost's signifying by those services his divine intention. This meets us in all the shadows of his appointment, under the law, when we discover them ministering to Christ, who is the substance of all. But I will in this place, with the Reader's indulgence, take one moment longer, just to add to what has been said a short observation, and which I hope will not be unsuited to the former, on the particular name, and title of God the Holy Ghost.
Wherefore is God the Spirit specially, and personally, called the Holy Ghost? I have often pondered the expression. It cannot be, with the most distant intention, of implying, anything more holy in his nature, and essence than in the other Persons of the Godhead. The whole three Persons are One, in nature, essence, and perfections. And hence it hath been supposed, and with good reason, that the ascription of Holy, is trebled, in the hymns of Angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect, on this account, when they cry out Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts! Isaiah 6:3 ; Revelation 4:8 . But it should seem, that this name is specially, and personally given to the Holy Ghost, in reference to his office-character, in the special work of redemption. His office by regeneration is to quicken the redeemed, and chosen, of the Lord, from the death of sin, to a life, of holiness in Christ. And if so, what an endearedness of character, doth it give to the souls of God's people, concerning God the Holy Ghost? How precious doth the Lord the Spirit appear on this account? And what sanctity of conduct ought it to induce in our spirits, when we call to mind, that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in us? 1 Corinthians 6:19 .
(11) But Christ being come a 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; (12) 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 for us. (13) For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: (14) How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
I did not detain the Reader, under the view of the foregoing verses to remark, how blessedly the Holy Ghost, by those shadowing representations, taught the Church, that all pointed to Christ, and in him had their accomplishment; because I knew, that under this paragraph we should be led to the consideration of the subject again, and might therefore enter into it, somewhat more fully. The daily entrance of the Priests into the first tabernacle, and the yearly entrance of the High Priest into the second; were all typical of Christ, Indeed without an eye to Him, the whole had no meaning. For what could those Priests accomplish, or what virtue, or efficacy, could there be in the blood of goats, or calves, to take away sin? But what grace is shewn, in the Holy Ghost to the Church of Jesus to keep up such an unceasing remembrance of sin, and to hold forth, such wonders as were to be manifested, in the Person and work of Christ, by the sacrifice of himself.
Reader! ponder well the subject, for it is for your life. Observe, Christ hath obtained eternal redemption. And he hath entered with it, by his own blood into heaven. He hath carried it up with him there, and on the mercy-seat, the propitiatory, paid it down in the full current coin of heaven. Yea! He offered it, through the eternal Spirit. And he was justified by the Spirit, in the deed, by his resurrection from the dead, 1 Timothy 3:16 . And God our Father hath confirmed it still more, as the God of peace, which brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the everlasting Covenant, Hebrews 13:20 . Oh! what strength, and energy, do those united views give, to the faith of the redeemed, when pleading these precious things, before the throne!
(15) And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. (16) For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. (17) For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. (18) Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. (19) For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, (20) Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. (21) Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. (22) And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. (23) It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
We enter at the first of these verses, on a most interesting subject, in which Christ is considered, as the Testator of all the blessings, purchased by him in the Covenant, for his people; and the Testament he hath made, in the blessings Covenanted for, of grace here, and glory forever. I beg the Reader to attend to the subject, with that attention its importance demands. Christ hath made his Testament or Will in which all the several legacies are mentioned, in relation to temporal, spiritual, and eternal blessings; the things themselves are registered in the word of God; the blood of Christ is said to be the purchase; God the Father is pledged for the performance by word and oath, and is a party witness to the great transaction; and God the Spirit hath sealed the writings with his broad seal of heaven, in the charter of grace. So that it hath every confirmation to make it sure and binding.
But as all testamentary writings become of force after men are dead, and are of no value before, Christ the Testator to his Will, dies also, to give efficacy to his. And as Christ is both the Testator, Administrator, and Executor of his own will; it became necessary that he should arise from the dead, and enter into glory, that he might pay all the legacies himself; with his own hand. This was strikingly set forth, under the law, by the shedding of blood; to intimate the Covenant or Testament being confirmed; and by the sprinkling the blood, to intimate the application. Indeed here were four distinct services, in the Old Testament dispensation of shedding of blood, as one alone could not have set forth in shadowy representations, those several grand and momentous truths, in the death of Christ. The first was that of the Passover, Exodus 12:0 , teaching, that Christ, our Passover is sacrificed for us, to deliver from the wrath to come, 1 Thessalonians 1:10 . But the Church of Christ, when in the Adam-state of a fallen nature, needed somewhat more than a deliverance from wrath; and therefore the atonement of sin, became the second, and which was also shadowed out, in the great day of the sin offering, Leviticus 16:0 . Here was shewn, how the Church being delivered from wrath, was also brought into a state of reconciliation, and favor, by the offering of the body of Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:21 . But we must not stop here. For even a deliverance from wrath, and an atonement for sin, to bring into reconciliation and favor, need also, a qualification in the Lord's people, to partake of those rich mercies. Our souls, while unregenerated by the Holy Spirit, and on sanctified in the Adam-nature, are not made meet partakers, of the saints in light. Hence, a third service, in the Jewish Church, typified the great blessings, to be enjoyed from the Lord Jesus in the Christian; and by the service of the slaying of one bird, and the flying away of another in the air, was set forth, Christ giving himself for his Church, that he might sanctify and cleanse it, with the washing of water, by the word, and to present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing. And thus Christ was set forth, by the sacrifice of the one bird that was killed over the running water; and the Lord's entrance into heaven, in his own blood was also represented by the other bird being sprinkled with blood, and being let loose in the open field. Compare Leviticus 14:6-7 with Ephesians 5:26-27 . And, lastly, as a ratification of the whole, this of the Testament, as here set forth, is in conformity to the Lord's appointment under the law, Exodus 24:8 .
I will only detain the Reader, with a short observation on this whole passage, just to remark, that if the Lord Jesus Christ, thus died, to confirm and make sure, all his testamentary gifts to his Church and people, how necessary it must be, for every one of his redeemed ones, to prove their relationship to Christ, by which alone they can lay claim to all the blessings of the Covenant. When Christ was in the full prospect of death, he instituted the Holy Supper, as a memorial to be observed, by his people forever. And, as he delivered them the sacred Cup, he said; This cup is the new testament in my blood. Take this, and divide it among yourselves. Luke 22:19; Luke 22:19 . Nothing could more strikingly illustrate, than the original institution of Moses sprinkling the book, and the people, in the Old Testament dispensation, was, in direct allusion, to this of Christ in the New, for Jesus hath nearly made use of the same words, verse 20. It will be our mercy, if we can prove our heir-ship in Christ, and our relationship to Christ, for then, all the legacies Jesus hath left his Church are our own. Reader! see to it, that as the Apostle saith, you make your calling and election sure; for so all temporal, spiritual, and eternal blessings, are in Christ, and from Christ, and an entrance shall be ministered unto us abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, 2 Peter 1:10-11 .
(24) 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: (25) Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; (26) 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. (27) And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
Nothing can be more satisfactory than the conviction, that Christ, as our great Covenant Head and Surety, hath passed into heaven itself, and is there as our Representative. So that in fact, we are there with him. So saith the Holy Ghost by Paul, Ephesians 2:5-6 . And this entrance into heaven, and sitting down on the right hand of the Majesty on High, not only manifests the everlasting safety of his people, but also proves the perfection of his obedience and sacrifice. He needed not as those high priests, a remembrance again of sin every year. Christ's one offering of himself once offered, hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. And it is this which every regenerated child of God is to plead before the throne continually; for it answers the whole demand of the law, silenceth all the accusations of Satan; is a satisfying reply to the alarms of conscience; and forms a full receipt to all the claims of justice. And what a blessed conclusion is made of the whole chapter. As death is the just sentence pronounced by the Lord on sin; and all men must partake of it naturally; so Christ by his death, took away the penal effects of death, in the spiritual and everlasting dominion of it, for all his people, and to them that look for him by faith in the full assurance of his salvation; he will assuredly appear again to call home his redeemed to himself; when he will personally come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all that believe!
Oh! the distinguishing mercy, to which, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Church is brought, in exchanging a worldly sanctuary, and carnal ordinances; for the open displays of grace, in the Person, work, blood-shedding, and righteousness of our adorable High Priest, who is the whole sum and substance of everything blessed; and having, by his own blood, obtained eternal redemption for us, is set down on the right hand of the Majesty on High. Precious Lord Jesus! thou art indeed the Testator of the New Testament in thy blood. Thou hast ensured all the blessings of the New Covenant to thy people. And blessed be the Holy Ghost, in his Person, Godhead, and Ministry, for all his divine teaching, both of the old Church, in type, and figure; and the new dispensation, in sum and substance; and all of Christ Jesus.
Lord Jesus! let thy sweet supper forever refresh the souls of thy redeemed, in the celebration of the New Testament in thy blood. Let it be a continual feast upon that one all-sufficient sacrifice, whereby thou hast perfected forever them that are sanctified. Oh! let the consciousness of thy continually appearing for us, in the presence of God, keep our souls alive, in the expectation of thy coming, that we may look for thee the second time, without sin unto salvation.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Hebrews 9". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Easter