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Bible Commentaries

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Hebrews 9

Verse 1

Heb 9:1. The apostle now enters into more of the typical features of the Mosaic system. occasionally pointing out some of the places in which it differed from the one under Christ. Ordinances means ceremonies that were ordained to be observed in the service. Worldly sanctuary is used because that part of the tabernacle was a type of the church that is in this world, and not in Heaven where God lives.

Verse 2

Heb 9:2. This verse names what was in the first part of the tabernacle, the part called "worldly sanctuary" in the preceding verse. This room is called the sanctuary because the word means "holy," a type of the church which is said to be holy (Eph 5:27). The placing of the articles named is recorded in Exo 40:4.

Verse 3

Heb 9:3. After the second vail. The entrance to the tabernacle was enclosed with a vail (Exo 26:36). That makes the next one the second as it is called here, and it is described in Exo 26:31-33. The room of the tabernacle enclosed by this vail is called Holiest of all. It is so called because it contained the ark and was a type of Heaven, into which our High Priest (Christ) has gone (chapter 6:19, 20). This service of Christ will be considered further when we come to verse 24 of this chapter.

Verse 4

Heb 9:4. Golden censer. According to Lev 16:12 the high priest burned incense in the most holy place on the day of atonement. A censer is a vessel to be carried in the hand and used in the manner of fumigating. This instrument was necessary because the golden altar of incense was in the first room or holy place of the tabernacle. As proof of this we read in Exo 40:24 that the candlestick was placed in the "tent" of the congregation. Then in verse 26 it says the golden altar also was in the "tent" or the same place where the candlestick was. Hence, the golden altar of incense was in the holy place or first room of the tabernacle, making it necessary to have this censer in the most holy place. Ark of the covenant is so called because it contained the tables of the covenant (Deu 10:1-2). For the history of the pot of manna and Aaron's rod, see Exo 16:32-34 and Num 17:1-11.

Verse 5

Heb 9:5. The mercy seat was made of solid gold and served as a covering for the ark as well as a resting place for the cherubims. (See Exo 25:17-21.) Cannot speak particularly means he was not ready to enter into detail about the separate services of these parts.

Verse 6

Heb 9:6. Ordained signifies to be prepared or made ready, and refers to the articles in the two rooms of the tabernacle. The priests went always is said in the sense of going daily or frequently, in contrast with "once a year" as in the next verse. First tabernacle refers to the first room or the tabernacle, and the common priests might enter this place any time it was necessary, and they were the ones who did most of the service of that room.

Verse 7

Heb 9:7. The second means the most holy place which was "within the vail" (chapter 6:19, 20), and no one but the high priest was permitted to enter this room while it was in service. Once every year means on the one day only, for he made more than one entrance into the most holy place on that day. (See Leviticus 16.) Not without blood. The passage just cited explains where and how he got the blood. Offered for himself. That was necessary because those priests were all erring creatures (contrary to our High Priest). The people signifies that the service performed in the most holy place by the high priest was for the sake of the nation as a whole. If any individual was personally indebted to the Lord because of his sin, he was required to attend to that as his own personal duty. (See Lev 4:27-35.)

Verse 8

Heb 9:8. The Holy Ghost (or Spirit) inspired the writers of the Bible, and in the present case it signified something by the "setting" of things in the tabernacle. The thing signified was the idea that the way into the holiest--the way by which man could reach the holiest place, or Heaven--was still unrevealed. The vail is what kept the most holy place out of sight, for the high priest only was ever permitted to enter that room, and that on one day of the year only. As long as that tabernacle was standing the vail also was standing between. But the death of Christ and his resurrection, after which He entered Heaven, was equivalent to removing the vail to the extent at least of giving others a glimpse (by the eye of faith) into Heaven. That is why the vail was rent from top to bottom at the death of Christ (Mat 27:51). This vail is connected with the flesh of Christ in chapter 10:19, 20.

Verse 9

Heb 9:9. Which was a figure means these things were types of the institutions of Christ. Gifts and sacrifices is explained at chapter 8:3. Not make him . . . perfect. A popular notion is that sins were not forgiven under the Mosaic law. This subject will be dealt with fully when we come to chapter 10:4.

Verse 10

Heb 9:10. Meats and drinks has reference to the regulations under the law of Moses concerning what they were to eat and drink. Washings is explained at chapter 6:2 on the word "baptisms." Carnal ordinances refers to the outward ceremonies such as animal sacrifices and burning of incense, not that they were "carnal" in the sense of being sinful. Imposed is not used in the sense of forcing something unjustly upon them in the sense that we usually understand the word. Its meaning is that the ordinances were put in force over the people of that dispensation. Time of reformation means the institution of Christ. It is so called because Christ remodeled (reformed) the scheme of human redemption, by bringing into the world the last or final religious plan, of which those in force under the Mosiac system were types or figures, which were to be used until the Lord was ready to set up the completed form.

Verse 11

Heb 9:11. Not made -with hands bas the same meaning as "pitched" in chapter S:2. Good things to come signifies that the greatest values to be obtained from the New Testament institution will be enjoyed in the future. This building refers to the tabernacle all parts of which were on the earth. while that part called the holiest of all typified Heaven which is not on the earth. That is why the institution of Christ is called a greater and more perfect tabernacle.

Verse 12

Heb 9:12. This verse states another of the contrasts between the two dispensations. The first used the blood of dumb animals, while the second used that of the High Priest himself. Eternal redemption contains the special idea of spiritual benefits, and not those that pertain to bodily or fleshly ones. Since this redemption is eternal and hence is endless, it. was necessary for Christ to provide it only once.

Verse 13

Heb 9:13. The cleansing of fleshly or bodily impurities (which might be either physical or "ceremonial" or both), is fully described in Numbers 19 which should be carefully read. With that ceremony as a background it will be easier to appreciate the argument of our verse and the next. one.

Verse 14

Heb 9:14. The Hebrews admitted that the blood of animals could cleanse the bodies of men from outward impurity. That should enable them to believe in the greater sterilizing power of the blood of Christ. The animals used under the old law were required to be without spot. Likewise the sacrifice of Christ was perfect since He had no blemish either in body or mind or spirit. This sacrifice was made possible through the Spirit, which was necessary because the literal blood of Christ was poured out on the ground and never reclaimed. But the spiritual worth of it was taken into the Most Holy place (Heaven) by Him (verse 12). From dead works means to draw the Christians from the works of the law. (See comments at chapter 6:1.) To serve the living God in this age can be done only by accepting the perfect sacrifice made through the Son.

Verse 15

Heb 9:15. The argument of this verse will receive further attention when we come to chapter 10:4. For the present it is well to state that whenever a man was forgiven under the Mosiac exercises, the sins were charged up against the blood of Christ (not "rolled forward"). Hence when Jesus came into the world in the form of flesh, it was necessary for Him to make all of those instances good by His own blood. Thus Christ was not required merely to give "a pint of blood" but He was made to give it all, and thus assure the whole world of the possibility for eternal inheritance.

Verse 16

Heb 9:16-17. This paragraph may-he regarded as a companion passage of chapter 8:4, in that the New Testament which is the covenant or will of Christ was not in force until after His death. This is a rule that is generally recognized concerning testaments (or wills) that men make, in that such wills are not in force during the lifetime of the men who make them.

Verse 18

Heb 9:18. Death is the central idea in this part of Paul's argument, hence he states that the first testament was dedicated. (consecrated) with blood. Since the shedding of blood requires the death of the creature furnishing it, the circumstance makes the type and antitype complete. The animals died in order to dedicate (or put into force) the Old Testament or covenant, and Christ died and gave his blond to dedicate and render forceful His New Testament. (See Mat 26:28). Therefore the animals slain In sacrifice under the law constituted the testator of that system.

Verse 19

Heb 9:19. In keeping with the truth just referred to, Moses used blood to put into force the words of the law after he had spoken them. Regardless of the excellence of the words of that law, it required the blood of the testator (the animals) to render them valid. Likewise the words of Christ spoken in his personal ministry and to be spoken by the apostle afterwards, required the blood of Him who was to be the testator of the new law or new covenant.

Verse 20

Heb 9:20. This language is similar to that spoken by Jesus when he was instituting the ceremony that was to symbolize the dedicating virtue of the New Testament. (See Mat 26:28 and 1Co 11:25.)

Verse 21

Heb 9:21. The passages in Exodus and Leviticus that record this use of the blood of animals are too numerous even to cite at this place.

Verse 22

Heb 9:22. Paul confirms the remark made in the preceding paragraph, by the general statement that almost all things are by the law purged with blood. He was therefore considering only the blood of animals when he said without the shedding of blood there is no remission. He had no reference to the blood of Christ in this statement. His blood is not even referred to until the latter part of the next verse, and then indirectly only. The statement is frequently quoted by brethren when presiding at the Lord's table and applied to the blood of Christ. Such a use of the passage is not only a perversion of it, but it destroys the interesting argument the apostle is making.

Verse 23

Heb 9:23. It was therefore necessary, etc. Paul is still speaking about the patterns or types in the Old Testament, that even they had to be purified or dedicated by these, meaning the blood of animal sacrifies. The blood of Christ has not been considered as yet. Then the apostle introduces by inference only the necessity of the blood of Christ. If the patterns or types of heavenly things required such blood (without the shedding of which there was no remission for the Hebrews), then the heavenly things themselves--the things pertaining to the New Testament called for better sacrifices. This is Paul's introduction for the blood and sacrifice of Christ, which has not been the subject for several verses.

Verse 24

Heb 9:24. Christ never did any official or priestly services in the temple at Jerusalem while on earth, for the priests of the law were still in that service (chapter 8:4). Hence He entered that place of which the one made with hands was a figure or type. He is there to be in the presence of God for us or on our behalf as our High Priest. This is another item in Paul's reasoning with the Hebrew Christians. He is showing them that in clinging to the service of the Levitical priesthood, the Judaizers are repudiating the One who has actually entered into the presence of God.

Verse 25

Heb 9:25. Another contrast is in the frequency with which the two priests performed their services in the most holy place. The high priests of the Levitical order had to repeat theirs often (every year). Blood of others means that the high priest of that law used the blood of a victim and not his own blood.

Verse 26

Heb 9:26. If the sacrificial service of Christ was exactly like that of the Levitical priests, then He would have been required not to wait so long before beginning it. He would have needed to begin it at the same time the world (inhabitants of the earth) began to exist. Since one time only was necessary because the sacrifices of the old system were taking care of the sins for the time (to be explained at chapter 10:4), He could wait until the end of the world to perform His. World in this place is from AIONION which means age or dispensation. Jesus died in the last weeks of the Jewish Dispensation; fifty days after His death the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles, thus cancelling the Old and ushering in the New Testament Dispensation. Unlike the high priests of the Levitical system, Christ performed his by the sacrifice of himself.

Verse 27

Heb 9:27. The preceding verse maintains that Christ needed to make his sacrifice only once. However, that is on the ground that man will go through death and the judgment but once. Hence this verse proceeds on that principle to affirm that it is appointed unto man to die once, and the judgment will come afterwards.

Verse 28

Heb 9:28. Having but one sacrifice offer, Christ waited until the typical dispensation was at its end before He did it. Bear the sins of many. The sacrifice of Christ was for the sins of the whole world (Joh 1:29). That means that by His one great sacrifice Christ made provision for the remission of sins for all men who will avail themselves of it under whatever dispensation they live. The rest of the verse is a beautiful likeness drawn from the procedure of the high priest of the Mosaic system. While he was in the tabernacle (or temple) performing the services for the people, they were on the outside waiting for him. After the services were completed he would come out and bless the waiting throng. (See Lev 9:15-24; Num 16:15-17; Luk 1:9-10.) Likewise faithful servants of God who are looking (with pleasure 2Ti 4:8) for Christ, will see Him come to earth the second time. Without sin means He will not come to make another sacrifice for sin. (One offering was all that was necessary.) When He comes it will be unto salvation; that is to complete the salvation of those who will be faithfully looking for Him.
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Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Hebrews 9". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/hebrews-9.html. 1952.