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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Hebrews 9

 

 

Verse 1

Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.

Then verily , [ men (Greek #3303) oun (Greek #3767)] - 'According]y then.' Resuming Hebrews 7:5. In accordance with the command to Moses, "the first covenant had," etc.

Had - not 'has;' for as a covenant it no longer existed, though its rites continued until the destruction of Jerusalem.

Ordinances - of divine institution.

Service , [ latreias (Greek #2999)] - worship.

A worldly sanctuary , [ to (Greek #3588) hagion (Greek #39) the article marking the subject), kosmikon (Greek #2886) (the predicate)] - 'its (literally, the) sanctuary worldly,' mundane: consisting of elements of the visible world. Contrasted with the heavenly sanctuary. Compare Hebrews 9:11-12, "not of this building;" Hebrews 9:24. Material, outward, perishing (however precious); also defective religiously. In Hebrews 9:2-5 the "worldly sanctuary" is discussed; in Hebrews 9:6, etc., the "ordinances of ... service." The outer tabernacle signified this world; the Holy of holies, heaven. Josephus calls the outer, divided into two parts, 'a secular, common place,' answering to 'the earth and sea;' the inner holiest place, the third part, appropriated to God, not accessible to men. Worldliness is the root of sensuous ritualism. The modern mass-idol would be too monstrous for any to believe in, were it not decked in worldly finery.


Verse 2

For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.

Defining the "worldly sanctuary."

Made , [ kateskeuasthee (Greek #2680)] - built and furnished.

The first - the anterior tabernacle. Candlestick, and the table - typifying light and life (Exodus 25:23-39). The candlestick consisted of a shaft and six branches of gold, seven in all; the bowls made like almonds, with a knop and flower in one branch. It was carried in Vespasian's triumph: the figure is to be seen on Titus' arch at Rome. The table [ shulchan (Hebrew #7979) hapaniym (Hebrew #6440): 'the show-table,' Numbers 4:7] of shittim wood, covered with gold, was for

The showbread , [ hee (Greek #3577) prothesis (Greek #4286) toon (Greek #3588) artoon (Greek #740)] - 'the setting forth of the loaves;' i:e., the loaves set forth: Hebrew [ lechem (Hebrew #3899) paniym (Hebrew #6440)], 'bread of the faces,' or 'presence;' and 'bread of ordering' (1 Chronicles 9:32) [ hama`


Verse 3

And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;

And , [ De (Greek #1161)] - 'But.'

After - behind: within.

Second veil. There were two curtains; one before the Holy of holies [katapetama] here alluded to, the other before the tabernacle door [kalumma].

Called - as opposed to 'the true.'


Verse 4

Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;

Golden censer , [ thumiateerion (Greek #2369)] - must not be translated 'altar of incense,' for it was in the outer holy place, not in "the Holiest" place; but as in Ezekiel 8:11, "censer." So Vulgate and Syriac. This GOLDEN censer was only used on the day of atonement (other censers on other days), and is associated with the holiest place, as being taken into it on that anniversary by the high priest. "Which had" does not mean that the golden censer was deposited there, for then the high priest would have had to go in and bring it out before burning incense in it; but that the golden censer was one of the articles belonging to the yearly service in the holiest place. He virtually supposes (without specifying) the 'altar of incense' in the anterior holy place, by mentioning the golden censer filled with incense from it: the incense answers to the prayers of the saints; the altar, though outside, is connected with the holiest place (standing close by the second veil, directly before the ark of the covenant), even as we find an antitypical altar in heaven (Revelation 8:3). The rending of the veil by Christ has brought the antitypes to the altar, candlestick, and showbread of the anterior holy place into the holiest place, heaven. In 1 Kings 6:22 [ '


Verse 5

And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.

Over it - over "the ark of the covenant."

Cherubim - representing the ruling powers by which God acts in the moral and natural world (note, Ezekiel 1:6; Ezekiel 10:1): sometimes the ministering angels; mostly the elect redeemed, by whom God shall rule the world and set forth His manifold wisdom: redeemed humanity, combining in and with itself the highest forms of subordinate creaturely life They stand on the mercy-seat, and on that ground become the habitation of God, from which His glory is to shine upon the world. They expressly say, Revelation 5:8-10, "Thou ... hast redeemed us:" there distinguished from the angels, and associated with the elders. They were of one piece with the mercy-seat, even as the Church is one with Christ: their sole standing is on the blood-sprinkled mercy-seat; they gaze down at it as the redeemed shall forever; the "habitation of God through the Spirit."

Of glory. The cherubim were bearers of the divine glory (the "chariot of the cherubims," 1 Chronicles 28:18; Psalms 68:17; Ezekiel 1:1); whence, perhaps, they derive their name [from raakab (Hebrew #7392), to carry: by transposition]. The Shechinah cloud of glory between the cherubim over the mercy-seat, the lid of the ark, represented Yahweh. The twelve loaves of showbread represent the twelve tribes, presented as a consecrated community before God; Just as in the Lord's supper believers, the spiritual Israel, all partaking of the one spiritual bread, and becoming one bread and one body in Christ, present themselves before the Lord as consecrated to Him (1 Corinthians 10:16-17); the oil and light, the pure knowledge of the Lord, in which the covenant people shine (the seven (lights) implying perfection); the ark of the covenant, God's Old Testament kingdom, God dwelling among His own; the ten commandments in the ark, the law as the basis of union between God and man; the mercy-seat covering the law, and sprinkled with the blood of atonement for the people's collective sin, represents Gods mercy in Christ stronger than the law; the cherubim, the redeemed creation personified, looking down on the mercy-seat, where God's mercy and God's law are set forth as the basis of creation and redemption.

Mercyseat , [ hilasteerion (Greek #2435)] - 'the propitiatory;' the golden cover of the ark, on which was sprinkled the blood of the propitiatory sacrifice on the day of atonement; the footstool of Yahweh; the meeting-place of Him and His people.

We cannot - conveniently. Besides what met the eye in the sanctuary, there were spiritual realities symbolized which it would take too long to detail, our chief subject being the priesthood and the sacrifices. "Which" refers not merely to the cherubim, but to all the contents of the sanctuary (Hebrews 9:2-5).


Verse 6

Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.

The use made of the sanctuary by the high priest on the anniversary of atonement. The tabernacle is described according to the original design, not as the temple of Herod, its continuation, actually was.

Ordained - arranged.

Went - `enter,' present.

Always - twice every day, for the morning and evening care of the lamps and offering of incense (Exodus 30:7-8).


Verse 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: Once every year - the tenth day of the seventh month. "Once" means on the one occasion only. The two, or possibly more, entrances within the veil on that one day were regarded as parts of one whole.

Not without blood (Hebrews 8:3).

Offered - `offers.'

Errors , [ agnoeematoon (Greek #51)] - 'ignorances:' 'inadvertent errors.' They might have known, as the law was clearly promulged: they were bound to study it: so their ignorance was culpable (cf. Acts 3:17; Ephesians 4:18; 1 Peter 1:14). Though one's ignorance mitigate one's punishment (Luke 12:48), it does not wholly exempt from punishment.


Verse 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:

The Holy Spirit. Moses did not comprehend the typical meaning (1 Peter 1:11-12).

Signifying - by the typical exclusion of all from the holiest, except the high priest once a year.

The holiest of all - heaven, the antitype.

The first (anterior) tabernacle - representing the whole Levitical system. While as yet 'has a standing' [ echousees (Greek #2192) stasin (Greek #4714); i:e., has continuance], the way to heaven (the antitypical "holiest place") is not yet made manifest (cf. Hebrews 10:19-20). The Old Testament economy is represented by the holy place; the New Testament by the Holy of holies. Redemption by Christ has opened the Holy of holies (access to heaven by faith, Hebrews 4:16; Hebrews 7:19; Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 10:19; Hebrews 10:22 : by sight hereafter, Isaiah 33:24; Rev. 10:19; 21:2-3 ) to all mankind. "Not yet" [ mee-poo (Greek #3380)] refers to the mind of the Spirit; the Spirit intimating that men should not think the way was yet opened (Tittmann) [ou-poo would deny the fact objectively; mee-poo (Greek #3380) denies subjectively].


Verse 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;

Which , [ Heetis (Greek #3748)] - 'The which;' namely, anterior tabernacle: 'inasmuch as it is,' not 'was.' Figure - `parable:' a parable setting forth of the character of the Old Testament.

For the time then present - rather, 'in reference to the (now) existing time.' The temple worship belonged to the Old Testament, but continued still in Paul's time. In contrast to the, 'existing time' stands "the time of reformation" (the New Testament; Hebrews 9:10), which to believers was already existing. So 'the age to come' is applied to the Gospel, because it was present only to believers, and its fullness even to them is still to come (cf. Hebrews 9:11).

In which - tabernacle, not time [ kath' (Greek #2596) heen (Greek #3739), for hon (Greek #3739) in 'Aleph (') A B Delta, Vulgate]; or, 'according to which' parabolic representation.

Were , [ prosferontai (Greek #4374)] - 'are offered.'

Gifts - unbloody oblations.

Could not - Greek, 'cannot.'

Make him that did (does) the service - any worshipper. [ Latreuonta (Greek #3000), serving God, the duty of all men; not leitourgounta, performing a ministerial office].

Perfect - perfectly remove the sense of guilt, and sanctify inwardly through love.

As pertaining to the conscience - `in respect to the (moral-religious) consciousness.' They can only reach the outward flesh (Hebrews 9:10; Hebrews 9:13-14).


Verse 10

Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

Which - sacrifices.

Stood , [ epi (Greek #1909) broomasin (Greek #1033)] - consisted in (Alford); or have attached to them only what appertains to the use of foods, etc. The latter go side by side with the sacrifices (Tholuck) (cf. Colossians 2:16).

Drinks (Leviticus 10:9; Leviticus 11:4).

And carnal ordinances. 'Aleph (') A, Syriac and Coptic, omit "and" [ dikaiomata (Greek #1345), for kai (Greek #2532) dikaiomasi of C]. "Ordinances" stand in apposition to "sacrifices," Hebrews 9:9. Carnal (affecting only the flesh) is opposed to spiritual. Contrast "flesh" with "conscience," Hebrews 9:13-14. Imposed - as a burden (Acts 15:10; Acts 15:28) continually pressing heavy.

Until the time of reformation , [ kairou (Greek #2540) diorthooseoos (Greek #1357] - 'the season of rectification,' when the reality should supersede the type (Hebrews 8:8-12 : cf. "better," Hebrews 9:23).


Verse 11

But Christ being come an 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;

But - in contrast to "could not make ... perfect" (Hebrews 9:9).

Christ - of whom all the prophets retold: not "Jesus." From whom the rectification (Hebrews 9:10) emanates, which frees from the yoke of carnal ordinances, being realized gradually now, to be so perfectly in the consummation of 'the age, (world) to come.' "Christ ... High Priest," answers to Leviticus 4:5, "the priest that is anointed."

An - having come forward (cf. [ heekoo (Greek #2240)] Hebrews 10:7 : here [ paragenomenos (Greek #3854)] vividly presenting Him before us) as High Priest. The Levitical priests must retire. Just as on the day of atonement no work was done, no sacrifice offered, or priest allowed to be in the tabernacle while the high priest went into the holiest place to make atonement (Leviticus 16:17; Leviticus 16:29), so not our righteousness, nor any other priests sacrifice, but Christ alone atones; as the high priest before offering incense had on common garments of a priest, but after it wore his holy garments of "glory and beauty" (Exo. 18:29-40; Leviticus 16:29 ), in entering the holiest, so Christ entered heaven in His glorified body.

Good things to come , [ ton (Greek #3588)] - the "good things to come" Hebrews 10:1; "better promises" Hebrews 8:6; "eternal inheritance," Hebrews 9:15; 1 Peter 1:4; "things hoped for" Hebrews 11:1.

By a ... tabernacle - joined with "He entered." 'Through the greater tabernacle.' As the Jewish high priest passed through the anterior tabernacle into the Holiest, so Christ passed through heaven into the inner abode of the unapproachable God (note, Hebrews 4:14). But "the tabernacle" is also the glorified body of Christ (note Hebrews 8:2), "not of this building" (not of the natural 'creation, but of the spiritual and heavenly, the new creation'), the Header the mystical body, the Church. Through this glorified body He passed into the heavenly Holiest (Hebrews 9:24), the immaterial presence of God, where He intercedes for us. His glorified body, as the meeting-place of God and all Christ's redeemed, and the angels, answers to the heavens through which He passed. His body is opposed to the tabernacle, as His blood to the blood of goats, etc.

Greater - contrasted with the small dimensions of earthly tabernacle.

More perfect - effective giving pardon, peace, sanctification, and closest communion with God (cf. Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 10:1).

Not made with hands - but by the Lord Himself (Hebrews 8:2).


Verse 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.

Neither - Nor yet.

By - through: as the means of His approach.

Goats ... calves. Not a bullock, such as the Levitical high priest offered for himself, and a goat for the people, on the day of atonement (Leviticus 16:6; Leviticus 16:15), year by year (whence the plural, goats ... calves). Besides the goat offered for the people, the blood of which was sprinkled before the mercy-seat, the high priest led forth a second-namely, the scapegoat: over its head he confessed the peoples sins, and sent it as the sin-bearer into the wilderness, implying that the atonement by the goat sin offering consisted in the transfer of the people's sins on the goat, and their consequent removal out of sight. The translation of sins on the victim, usual in other expiatory sacrifices, being omitted in case of the slain goat, but employed in the case the goat sent away, proved the two goats were regarded as one offering (Dr. Magee). Christ's death is symbolical by the slain goat: His resurrection to life by the living goat. Modern Jews substitute a cock for the goat as an expiation; the sins of the offerers being transferred to the entrails, and exposed on the house-top for the birds to carry out of sight, as the scapegoat did; the Hebrew for man and cock being similar [ geber (Hebrew #1397)] (Buxtorf).

By - through: the key unlocking the heavenly Holy of holies to Him [ dia (Greek #1223) tou (Greek #3588) idiou (Greek #2398) haimatos (Greek #129)] 'through THE blood of His own' (cf. Hebrews 9:23).

Once , [ efapax (Greek #2178)] - "once for all."

Having obtained - thereby [ heuramenos (Greek #2147)] 'found for Himself:' a thing of insuperable difficulty, except divine omnipotence, self-devoting zeal, and love (Hebrews 5:7).

Eternal. The entrance of our Redeemer, once for all, into the heavenly Holiest, secures eternal redemption to us; whereas the Jewish high priest's entrance was repeated year by year, and the effect temporary and partail (cf. Matthew 20:28; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; 1 Timothy 2:5; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:19).

His blood, offered by Himself, purifies not only outwardly, as the Levitical sacrifices on the day of atonement, but inwardly unto the service of the living God (Hebrews 9:13-14). His death inaugurates the new covenant, and the heavenly sanctuary (Hebrews 9:15-23). His entrance into the true Holy of belies consummates His once-for-all offered sacrifice of atonement (Hebrews 9:24-26); His re-appearance alone remains to complete our redemption (Hebrews 9:27-28).


Verse 13

For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:

If - as we know is the case: the indicative. Argument from the less to the greater. If the blood of mere brutes could purify, in however small a degree, how much more shall inward purification, and complete and eternal salvation, be done by the blood of Christ, in whom dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead?

Ashes of an heifer (Numbers 19:16-18). The type is full of comfort. The water of separation, made of the ashes of the red heifer, removed ceremonial defilement whenever incurred by contact with the dead. As she was slain without the camp, so Christ (cf. Hebrews 13:11; Numbers 19:3-4). The ashes were laid by for constant use; so Christ's blood, once for all shed, continually cleanses. In our wilderness journey we are continually defiled by contact with the spiritually dead, and with dead works, and need continual application to the life-giving cleansing blood, whereby we are afresh restored to peace and living communion with God in the heavenly Holy place.

The unclean , [ kekoinoomenous (Greek #2840)] - 'those defiled' on any occasion.

Purifying , [ katharoteeta (Greek #2514)] - 'purity.'

The flesh - their intrinsic effect extended no further. The law had a carnal and a spiritual aspect: carnal, as an instrument of the Hebrew polity, God, their King, accepting, in minor offences, expiatory victims instead of the sinner, otherwise doomed; spiritual, as the shadow of good things to come (Hebrews 10:1). The spiritual Israelite derived, in these legal rites, spiritual blessings not flowing from them, but from the Antitype. Ceremonial sacrifices released from temporal penalties and ceremonial disqualifications: Christ's sacrifice releases from everlasting penalties (Hebrews 9:12) and moral impurities of conscience disqualifying from access to God (Hebrews 9:14). The purification of the flesh (the outward man) was by "sprinking;" the washing followed by inseparable connection (Numbers 19:19). So justification is followed by renewing.


Verse 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?

Offered himself. The voluntariness of the offering gives it its efficacy. He "through the eternal Spirit" - i:e., His Divine Spirit, (Romans 1:4, in contrast to His "flesh," Hebrews 9:3; His Godhead, 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 3:18), giving free consent to the act-offered Himself. "God is love:" so the Godhead in Him was the impulse to the self-sacrifice. The animals offered had no spirit to consent in the sacrifice: they were offered according to the law: they had a life neither enduring nor of intrinsic efficacy. But He from eternity, with His divine, and everlasting Spirit, concurred with the Father's will of redemption by Him. His offering began on the altar of the cross, and was completed in His entering the Holiest with His blood. The eternity of His Divine Spirit give eternal (Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 7:16; Hebrews 7:25 : cf. Hebrews 9:15) efficacy to His offering, so that not even God's infinite justice has any exception to take against it. It was 'through His most burning love flowing from His eternal Spirit,' that He offered Himself (OEcolampadius). So 'Aleph (') A B. But C Delta f, Vulgate [ hagiou (Greek #40) for aiooniou (Greek #166)], 'Holy Spirit' (Isaiah 11:2; Isaiah 61:1; Luke 1:35; Luke 4:14; John 3:34). Christ offered Himself not merely in figure, but really and spiritually for man's spiritual life. The outward bloodshedding is subordinate to the inward offering which preceded it (Hebrews 10:7; John 17:19).

Without spot - the animal victims were without outward blemish: Christ on the cross was a victim inwardly and essentially stainless (1 Peter 1:19).

Purge - purity from fear, guilt, alienation from Him, and selfishness, the source of dead works (Hebrews 9:22-23).

Your. So 'Aleph ('), Vulgate. But A Delta f, 'our.'

Conscience - religious consciousness.

Dead works. All works done in the natural state before justification, however life-like they look, are dead in the sight of "the living God;" for they come not from living faith in, and love to, Him (Hebrews 11:6). As contact with a dead body defiled ceremonially (cf. "ashes ... sprinkling the unclean," Hebrews 9:13), so dead works defile the spiritual consciousness.

To - so as to [ eis (Greek #1519) to (Greek #3588)] serve. The ceremonially unclean could not serve God in the outward communion of His people: the unrenewed cannot serve God in spiritual communion. A dead animal offered to God would have been an insult (cf. Malachi 1:8), much more for one not justified by Christ's blood to offer dead works. But those purified by Christ's blood in living faith serve (Romans 12:1), and shall more fully serve, God (Revelation 22:3).

Living God - requiring living spiritual service (John 4:24).


Verse 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.

For this cause - the all-cleansing power of His blood fits Him to be Mediator of the new covenant (Hebrews 8:6), securing forgiveness for the sins not covered by the former imperfect covenant, and also an eternal inheritance to the called.

By means of death , [ thanatou (Greek #2288) genomenou (Greek #1096)] - 'death having taken place.' At the moment that His death took place, 'the called received the (fulfillment of the) promise' (Hebrews 6:15; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4): His death divides the Old from the New Testament. The "called" are the elect "heirs," "partakers of the heavenly calling" (Hebrews 3:1).

Redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament - the transgressions of all men from Adam to Christ, first against the primitive revelation, then against the revelations to the patriarchs, then against the law given to Israel, the representative people of the world. The "first testament" includes the whole period from Adam to Christ, not merely that of the covenant with Israel, which was a concentrated representation of the former covenant made with mankind by sacrifice. Before the inheritance by the New Testament [for here the "INHERITANCE," resulting from Christ's "death," requires diatheekee (Greek #1242) to be testament, as it was before covenant] could come in, there must he redemption of (i:e., deliverance from the penalties incurred by) the transgressions committed under the first testament, for the propitiatory sacrifices reached only as far as removing outward defilement. But in order to obtain the inheritance which is a reality there must be a real propitiation, since God could not enter into covenant-relation with us so long as sins were unexpiated (Romans 3:24-25.)

Might , [ laboosin (Greek #2983)] - 'may receive,' which previously they could not (Hebrews 11:39-40).

The promise - to Abraham.


Verse 16

For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

An axiomatic truth; "a (not 'the') testament." The testator must die before his testament takes effect (Hebrews 9:17) [a common meaning of diatheekee (Greek #1242)]. So Luke 22:29, "I appoint [by testamentary disposition: the cognate diatitheemai] unto you a kingdom," etc. The need of death before the testamentary appointment takes effect holds good only in Christ's relation as MAN to us.

Be , [ feresthai (Greek #5342)] - 'be borne;' 'be involved in the case;' or else 'be brought forward in court,' to give effect to the will. [This sense (testament) here does not exclude other secondary senses of diathece in the New Testament:

(1) A covenant between two parties;

(2) An arrangement made by God alone in relation to us.

Thus, Matthew 26:28, "blood of the covenant:" for a testament does not require blood shedding. Compare Exodus 24:8, covenant which Christ quotes, though probably He included "testament" also under diathece, as this designation strictly applies to the new dispensation, and is applicable to the old also, not in itself, but viewed as typifying the new.] Moses speaks of the same thing as Paul. Moses, by "covenant," means one giving the heavenly inheritance (typified by Canaan) after the testator's death, which he represented by the sprinkling of blood Paul, by "testament," means one having conditions, and so being a covenant (Poli, 'Synopsis'): the conditions are fulfilled by Christ, not by us; we must indeed believe; but even this God works in His people. Tholuck, 'covenant ... covenant ... mediating victim:' the masculine used of the victim regarded as mediator of the covenant: especially as in the new covenant a MAN (Christ) was the victim. The covenanting parties used to pass between the divided parts of the sacrificed animal; but, without reference to this, the need of a sacrifice for establishing a covenant suffices. Others consider that the death of the victim represented the death of both parties as unalterably bound to the covenant. So in the redemption covenant, Jesus' death symbolized the death of God (?) in the person of the mediating victim, and also the death of man. But it is not, 'there must be the death of both parties making the covenant,' but singular, 'of Him who made [aorist, diathemenou (Greek #1303): not "of Him making"] the testament.' Also, it is "death," not 'sacrifice' or 'slaying' The death is supposed past: the fact of the death is brought forward to give effect to the will. These requisites of a testament concur:

(1) A testator;

(2) Heir;

(3) Goods;

(4) The testator's death;

(5) The fact of the death brought forward.

In Matthew 26:28, two other requisites appear: witnesses, the disciples; a seal, the sacrament of the Lord's supper, the sign of His blood wherewith the testament is sealed. The heir is ordinarily the successor of him who dies, and so ceases to have possession. But Christ comes to life again, and is Himself (including all that He had), in the power of His now endless life, His peoples inheritance; in His being Heir (Hebrews 1:2), they are heirs.


Verse 17

For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

After , [ epi (Greek #1909)] - 'over;' we say 'upon the death of the testator.' The Greek hardly sanctions Tholuck, 'on the condition that slain sacrifices be there.'

Otherwise , [ epei (Greek #1893) mee (Greek #3361) pote (Greek #4218) ischuei (Greek #2480)] - 'seeing that it is never availing' (Alford). Lachmann, with an interrogation, 'Since, is it ever in force (surely not) while the testator liveth?'


Verse 18

Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.

Whereupon , [ Hothen (Greek #3606)] - 'Whence.' Since the old dispensation also had its testamentary aspect.

The first testament - not that the old dispensation, regarded by itself, is a testament, but it is so as the typical representative of the new, which is more strictly a Testament. Dedicated , [ engkekainistai (Greek #1457)] - 'inaugurated.' The Old Testament formally began on that day.


Verse 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,

For - Confirming Hebrews 9:18.

Spoken every precept ... according to the law - adhering to every ordinance (Ephesians 2:15). Compare "Moses told all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments; and all the people answered," etc.

The blood of calves , [ ton (Greek #3588)] - 'the calves,' those sacrificed by the "young men" sent by Moses to do so (Exodus 24:3; Exodus 24:5). The "peace offerings" were "of oxen" (Septuagint [moscharia], 'little calves'), and the "burnt offerings" were probably (though this is not specified), as on the day of atonement, goats. The law of Exodus sanctioned formally many sacrificial practices handed down from the primitive revelation.

With water - prescribed not in Exodus 24:1-18, but in other purifications, as ex. gr., of the leper, and the water of separation, which contained the ashes of the red heifer.

Scarlet wool, and hyssop - ordinarily used for purification. Scarlet or crimson, resembling blood: thought to be a peculiarly deep dye, whence it typified sin (note, Isaiah 1:18). So Jesus wore a scarlet robe, emblem of the deep-dyed sins He bore on Him, though He had none in Him. Wool was used as retaining water; the hyssop, as a tufty plant (wrapped round with the scarlet wool) for sprinkling it. The wool was also a symbol of purity. The hyssopus officinalis grows on walls, with small lancet-formed wooly leaves an inch long, with blue and white flowers, and a knotty stalk about a foot high.

Sprinkled ... the book - out of which he read "every precept:" not mentioned in Exodus 24:7. Hence, Bengel, 'And (having taken) the book itself (so Exodus 24:7), he both sprinkled all the people, and (Hebrews 9:21) moreover [ kai (Greek #2532) de (Greek #1161)] sprinkled the tabernacle.' The 'itself' expressing that the testament was more important than that blood. The double exhibition, of the blood and of the book, thus constituted the 'dedication' (Hebrews 9:18). But the "and" [ kai (Greek #2532)] before "sprinkled" is thus superfluous; whereas in the English version it regularly follows [ te (Greek #5037)] "both." Paul, by inspiration, supplies the particular specified here. The sprinkling of the roll [ biblion (Greek #975)] of the testament, as well as the people, implies that neither can the law be fulfilled nor the people purged from sins, except by the sprinkling of Christ's blood (1 Peter 1:2). Compare Hebrews 9:23, which shows that there is something antitypical to the Bible in heaven (cf. Revelation 20:12). 'Itself' distinguishes the book from the 'precepts' in it which he 'spake.'


Verse 20

Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.

Exodus 24:8, "Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord has made with you." The change accords with Christ's inauguration of the New Testament, recorded Luke 22:20, "This cup (is) the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you;" the only Gospel in which the "is" has to be supplied, as here. Luke was Paul's companion, whence the correspondence.

Testament (note, Hebrews 9:16-17). Christ has sealed it with His blood, of which the Lord's supper is the sacramental sign. The testator was represented by the animals slain in the old dispensation. In both dispensations the inheritance was bequeathed: in the new, by One who has come in person and died: in the old, by the same one, only typically present. See Alford's excellent note.

Enjoined (me to ratify) unto (in relation to) you - me to ratify in relation to you. In the old dispensation the condition on the people's part is implied in Exodus 24:8, "(Lord ... made with you) concerning all these words." Paul omits this, as he includes the fulfillment of obedience to "all these words" as part of God's promise in the new covenant (Hebrews 8:8; Hebrews 8:10; Hebrews 8:12, whereby Christ fulfils all for our justification, and will enable us by His Spirit in us to fulfill all in our now progressive and finally complete sanctification.


Verse 21

Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.

The sprinkling of the tabernacle with blood is added by inspiration; Exodus 30:25-30; Exodus 40:9-10 , mentions only Moses' anointing the tabernacle and its vessels. Leviticus 8:10; Leviticus 8:15; Leviticus 8:30 mentions sprinkling of blood upon Aaron and His garments, upon his sons, and upon the altar, as well as the anointing; so we may infer, as Josephus has stated, that the tabernacle and its vessels were sprinkled with blood as well as anointed. Lev. 17:16,19-20,33 favours this. The tabernacle and its contents needed atonement (2 Chronicles 29:21).


Verse 22

And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

Almost all things - under the old dispensation. The exceptions are Exodus 19:10; Leviticus 15:5, etc. Leviticus 16:26; Leviticus 16:28; Leviticus 22:6; Numbers 31:22-24.

Without , [ chooris (Greek #5565)] - 'apart from.'

Shedding of blood - in the slaughter of the victim. The pouring out the blood on the altar subsequently is the main part of the sacrifice (Leviticus 17:11), and could not have place apart from the previous shedding of the blood in slaying.

Is , [ ginetai (Greek #1096)] - 'takes place.'

Remission - of sins: a favourite expression of Luke, Paul's companion. Properly used of remitting debts (Matthew 6:12; Matthew 18:27; Matthew 18:32): our sins are debts. Compare Leviticus 5:11-13, an exception because of poverty, confirming the general rule.


Verse 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.

Patterns , [ hupodeigmata (Greek #5262)] - 'the suggestive representations;' the typical copies (note, Hebrews 8:5).

Things in the heavens - the heavenly tabernacle and its contents.

Purified with these - with the blood of bulls and goats.

Heavenly things themselves - the archetypes. Man's sin introduced disorder into the relations of God and His holy angels in respect to man. The purification removes this element of disorder, and changes God's wrath against man in heaven (designed to be the place of God's grace to men and angels) into reconciliation. Compare "peace in heaven," Luke 19:38. 'The uncreated heaven of God, though in itself untroubled light, yet needed a purification, in so far as the light of love was obscured by the fire of wrath against sinful man' (Delitzsch in Alford). Contrast Revelation 12:7-10. Christ's atonement had the effect also of casting Satan out of heaven (Luke 10:18; John 12:31 : cf. Hebrews 2:14). Christ's body, the true tabernacle (notes, Hebrews 8:2; Hebrews 9:11), as bearing our imputed sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), was consecrated (John 17:17; John 17:19) by the shedding of His blood, to be the meeting-place of God and man.

Sacrifices. The plural is used in the general proposition, though strictly referring to the one sacrifice of Christ. Paul implies that it by its matchless excellency, is equivalent to the Levitical many sacrifices. It, though one, is manifold in its applicability to many.


Verse 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:

Resumption of the thought, "He entered in once into the holy place," Hebrews 9:12. He has, in Hebrews 9:13-14, expanded "by His own blood," Hebrews 9:12; and in Hebrews 9:15-23 enlarged on Hebrews 9:11, "an High Priest of good things to come."

Not entered into the holy places made with hands - as was the Holy of holies in the earthly tabernacle (note, Hebrews 9:11).

Figures - copies "of the true" holiest, heaven, the archetype (Hebrews 8:5).

Into heaven itself - the immediate presence of God beyond all the created heavens through which Jesus passed (note, Hebrews 4:14; 1 Timothy 6:16).

Now ever since His ascension (cf. Hebrews 9:26).

To appear - TO PRESENT HIMSELF visibly [ emfanistheenai (Greek #1718)]; 'to be manifested.' Mere man may have a vision through a veil, as Moses had (Exodus 33:18; Exodus 33:20-23). Christ alone beholds, and is beheld by, the Father without a veil.

In the presence of God - `to the face of God.' Compare, as to the saints hereafter, Revelation 22:4, and the earnest, 2 Corinthians 3:18. Aaron, the high priest for the people, stood before the ark, and only saw the cloud, the symbol of Gods glory (Exodus 28:30), Christ appears before God Himself.

For us - in our behalf as Advocate and Intercessor (Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1). It is enough that Jesus shows Himself for us to the Father: the eight satisfies God in our behalf. He brings before the face of God no offering which as only sufficing for a time, needs renewal; but He is in person, by the eternal Spirit in Him, our eternally-present offering before God.


Verse 25

Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;

Nor yet (did He enter heaven) that. Another superiority of Christ. His sacrifice needs not, as the Levitical sacrifices did, to be repeated. His purpose in entering the true sanctuary is not that He may offer [ prosferee (Greek #4374): subjunctive] Himself often; i:e., present Himself as the offering in the presence of God, as the high priest does the blood (Paul uses the present, as the legal service was then existing), year by year, on the day of atonement, entering the Holy of holies.

With - Greek, 'in.'

Blood of others - not his own, as Christ did.


Verse 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.

Then - in that case.

Must he often have suffered , [ edei (Greek #1163) pollakis (Greek #4178) pathein (Greek #3958)] - 'it would have been necessary for Him often to suffer.' In order to "offer" (Hebrews 9:25) Himself often before God in the heavenly holiest, like the high priests, He would have had, and would have often to suffer. His oblation of Himself before God was once for all (i:e., the bringing in of His blood into the heavenly Holy of holies); therefore the preliminary suffering was once for all.

Since the foundation of the world. The continued sins of men, down from creation, would entail a continual suffering on earth, and consequent oblation of His blood in the heavenly holiest, if the one oblation "in the fullness of time" were not sufficient. 'Philo de Mon.,' p. 637, 'The high priest of the Hebrews offered sacrifices for the whole human race.' 'If there had been greater efficacy in the repetition of the oblation, Christ would have been sent immediately after the foundation of the world to suffer, and offer Himself at successive periods, or at least at the jubilees' (Grotius).

Now - as the case is.

Once - for all: without need of renewal. Rome's UNBLOODY sacrifice in the mass contradicts her assertion that the blood of Christ is in the wine, and also that the mass is propitiatory; for, if unbloody, it cannot be propitiatory; for without shedding of blood, there is no remission (Hebrews 9:22). Moreover, "once" for all here, and in Hebrews 9:28, and Hebrews 10:10; Hebrews 10:12, disproves her view that there is a continually-repeated offering of Christ in the Eucharist. The offering of Christ was once done, that it might be thought of forever (note, cf. Hebrews 10:12).

In the end of the world , [ sunteleia (Greek #4930), toon (Greek #3588) aioonoon (Greek #165)] - 'at the consummation of the ages:' the winding up of all the previous ages, to be followed by a new age, Hebrews 1:1-2 : the last age, beyond which no further is to be expected before Christ's speedy second coming, the complement of the first, 1 Corinthians 10:11; Matthew 28:20, 'the consummation of the age' (singular). Compare "the fullness of times" (seasons), Ephesians 1:10.

Appeared , [ pefanerootai (Greek #5319)] - 'been manifested' on earth (1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Pet. 1:26 ). [The English version has confounded, Hebrews 9:24, emfanistheenai (Greek #1718); Hebrews 9:26, pefanerootai (Greek #5319); Hebrews 9:28, oftheesetai (Greek #3700). But in Hebrews 9:24 it is 'to present Himself' before God in the heavenly sanctuary; in Hebrews 9:26, 'been manifested' on earth; in Hebrews 9:28, 'shall be seen' by all, and especially believers.]

Put away , [ atheteesin (Greek #115)] - abolish: doing away sin's power as well as the guilt and penalty, so that it should be powerless to condemn; as also its yoke, so that believers shall at last sin no more.

Sin - singular: all the sins of men of every age are one mass laid on Christ. He hath not only atoned for actual sins, but destroyed sin itself. John 1:29, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin (not merely the sins: singular) of the world."

By (through) the sacrifice of himself - not by "blood of others" (Hebrews 9:25).


Verse 27

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

As , [ kath' (Greek #2596) hoson (Greek #3745)] - inasmuch as.

It is appointed , [ apokeitai (Greek #606)] - 'it is laid up (as our appointed lot)' (Colossians 1:5). "Appointed" [Hebrew, Shiyth (Hebrew #7896], in the case of man, answers to 'anointed' in the case of Jesus; therefore the "Christ" is the title here. The history of man and that of the Son of man strictly correspond. The two most solemn facts of our being are connected with the two most gracious truths of our dispensation, our death and judgment answering in parallelism to Christ's first coming to die for us, and His second coming to consummate our salvation.

Once - no more.

After this the judgment - namely, at Christ's appearing, to which, in Hebrews 9:28, "judgment" in this verse is parallel. Not 'after this comes the heavenly glory.' The intermediate state is a joyous, or else agonizing expectation of "judgment;" after the judgment comes the full and final joy, or else woe.


Verse 28

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Christ - Greek, 'THE Christ:' the representative MAN representing all men, as the first Adam did.

Once offered - not "often" (Hebrews 9:25); just as "men," of whom He is the Head, are appointed once to die. He did not need to die again and again for each individual, or each successive generation; for He represents all of every age, and therefore once for all exhausted the penalty incurred by all. He was offered by the Father, His own "eternal Spirit" (Hebrews 9:14) concurring; as Abraham spared not Isaac, but offered him, the son unresistingly submitting to the father's will, (Genesis 22:1-24.)

To bear the sins - from Isaiah 53:12, "He bare the sin of many" - namely, on Himself: so "bear," Leviticus 24:15; Numbers 5:31; Numbers 14:34 : [ anenengkein (Greek #399)] to bear up (1 Peter 2:24). 'Our sins were laid on Him. When, therefore, He was lifted up on the cross, He bare up our sins along with Him' (Bengel). Many - not opposed to all, but to few. He, the One was offered for many, and that once for all (cf. Matthew 20:28).

Look for Him , [ apekdechomenois (Greek #553)] - with waiting expectation even unto the end (Romans 8:19; Romans 8:23. 1 Corinthians 1:7 , which see).

Appear - `be, seen.' No longer in the alien "form of a servant," but in His own proper glory.

Without , [ chooris (Greek #5565)] - apart from, separate from "sin" (Romans 6:10). Not bearing the sin of many on Him as at His first coming (even then there was no sin in Him). That sin has been once for all taken away, so as to need no repetition of His sin offering (Hebrews 9:26; 1 Peter 4:1-2). At His second coming He shall have no more to do with sin.

Unto salvation - to bring in completed salvation; redeeming the body now subject to the bondage of corruption. Hence, in Philippians 3:20, "we look for THE SAVIOUR" (note, 1 Corinthians 1:30). Note, Christ's prophetic office, as the Divine Teacher, was prominent during His earthly ministry; His priestly is now from His first to His second coming: His kingly shall be fully manifested at His second coming.

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Hebrews 9:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/hebrews-9.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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