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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Hebrews 9

 

 

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Verse 1

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

Ver. 1. Then verily the first covenant] Here the apostle proveth what he had propounded, Hebrews 8:5, that this assertion might be sound, such as cannot be condemned, Titus 2:8.

Ordinances] Gr. δικαιωματαρα justifications, viz. ceremonial, ritual, typical.

A worldly sanctuary] i.e. earthly and shadowy, opposed to true and heavenly.


Verse 2

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

Ver. 2. The first wherein was, &c.] He speaks nothing of the outer court, as not pertinent to his present purpose. But there was both in the tabernacle and temple, the holy of holies, the sanctuary, and the court of the people: answerable whereunto are in man, "The spirit, soul, and body," 1 Thessalonians 5:23. And as the cloud, 1 Kings 8:10-11, filled first the most holy place, and then the holy, and then the outer court, so doth the Holy Ghost renew the spirit of our minds, and then our wills and affections, and then the outward man.


Verse 3

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

Ver. 3. And after the second veil] This was not of any hard debarring matter, but easily penetrable then, and now also rent by Christ, to show our easy access to God with confidence "by the faith of him," Ephesians 3:12.


Verse 4

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;

Ver. 4. The golden censer] Or the altar of incense, which though it belonged to the most holy place, yet was placed without the veil, Exodus 30:6, &c., that it might be of daily use, the sweet incense offered thereon easily piercing through the veil, and filling the most holy with its savour.

Wherein was the golden pot, &c.] In or near to the ark of the covenant was this golden pot of manna, and Aaron’s rod, and the tables of the Testament, and the propitiatory or covering, and a crown of gold around it. To insinuate thus much, saith one, that we must be like the ark of the covenant, being builded and reared up still toward the mark; not only when the Lord feedeth us with the sweet manna of his mercy, but also when he afflicteth us with the sharp rod of his correction, and always keep the tables of the Testament, which are the commandments, that by faith in Christ, who is the propitiation for our sins, we may obtain the golden crown of eternal life.

And the table of the covenant] It may here be objected, that, 1 Kings 8:9; 2 Chronicles 5:10, it is said there was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone. For answer, εν η, "in which," relates not to ark, but tabernacle; so Junius observeth and reconeileth. Calvin and Pareus give other answers. Videsis, their conceit is not to be misliked, that say the ark is the Church, the tables the word, the manna the sacraments, and the rod the discipline.


Verse 5

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

Ver. 5. And over it the cherubims] The ark covering the law within it, the mercy seat upon it, and over them two cherubims covering one another; all these set forth Christ covering the curses of the law, in whom is the ground of all mercy, which things the angels desire to pry into, as into the pattern of God’s unsearchable wisdom and goodness.


Verse 6

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

Ver. 6. Were thus ordained] Gr. κατεσκευασμενα, prepared, fitted, finished by the hand of the artificer, and therefore called worldly in a good sense, Hebrews 9:1.


Verse 7

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:

Ver. 7. For the errors] Gr. αγνοηματα, The not knowings of the people; those errors that they could not help, and yet must else have answered for. Ignorat sane improbus omnis, saith Aristotle. Ignorance is the source of all sin, the very well spring from which all wickedness doth ooze and issue. What will not an ignorant man do, who knows not but he may do anything? "The dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty," Psalms 74:20. Christ therefore expiated the ignorances of his people.


Verse 8

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:

Ver. 8. The way into the holiest] That is, into heaven, typified thereby.

Was not yet made manifest] In regard of performance, and that evidence of faith and doctrine that is held forth under the gospel. The mystery of Christ was manifested piece meal and parcel wise, Hebrews 1:1.


Verse 9

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;

Ver. 9. Which was a figure] Gr. παραβολη, a parable, that is, such a form of service as intimated some greater matter than to the sense appeared; and called upon the people to look through the type to the truth of things, through the history to the mystery.


Verse 10

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

Ver. 10. And carnal ordinances] Such as carnal men might easily perform, and as were very suitable to the disposition of a carnal heart. Hence, Ezekiel 20:25, they are called "commandments that were not good," because they commanded neither virtue nor vices in themselves; and ill people rested in the outward acts.

Till the time of reformation] Gr. Of direction or correction, that is, evangelical and spiritual worship, that shall take place in the Church, till the times of the restitution of all things shall come at the last day, Acts 3:21.


Verse 11

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;

Ver. 11. Of good things to come] i.e. Of spirituals that were expected as things to come, when Christ came with a cornucopia, a horn of salvation in his band. The Latins call prosperous things Res secundas, things to come.

A more perfect tabernacle] i.e. His human nature, not made with hands, nor of this building, that is, not by the power of nature, by the ordinary course of generation.


Verse 12

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.

Ver. 12. Neither by the blood of calves] As the Levitical high priest did, Hebrews 9:7.

Having obtained] Gr. ευρομενος, having found. See Romans 4:1. The Latins also use invenire or acquirere, to find, for to obtain. See also Matthew 16:25. Christ overcame by suffering, and by his own blood purchased his Church, as an Aceldama, or field of blood.


Verse 13

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:

Ver. 13. The ashes of a heifer] Gr. Ashes and cinders mixt together, as a monument of Christ’s most base and utmost afflictions, and of our justification and sanctification through faith in his name. σποδος. Sordidus cinis, et cum carbones extincti permisti sunt.

Sprinkling the unclean] With a hyssop bunch, to note that none can have comfort either by the merit or Spirit of Christ, without true mortification.


Verse 14

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?

Ver. 14. By the eternal Spirit] That is, by his Deity, called the Spirit of holiness, Romans 1:4, and the Spirit, 1 Timothy 3:16, that gave both value and virtue to his death, both to satisfy and to sanctify.

Purge your conscience] This is that eternal redemption, Hebrews 9:12.

From dead works] The most specious performances of unregenerate persons are but dead works, because they proceed not from a principle of life, and have death for their wages, Romans 6:23. A will written with a dead man’s hand can hold no law. God will be served like himself.


Verse 15

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.

Ver. 15. For the redemption] Here he showeth the reasons why it was needful that Christ should enter by his own blood, Hebrews 9:2, sc. to expiate our sins, and to possess us of heaven.


Verse 16

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

Ver. 16. For where a testament is] {See Trapp "Hebrews 8:6"} Here the testator is Christ, heirs the saints, legacies the gifts of the Spirit, executor the Holy Ghost, witnesses apostles, martyrs, &c.


Verse 17

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

Ver. 17. While the testator liveth] For it is in his power to alter it at his pleasure, as reason requireth. Our Henry II first crowned, and then cast off his eldest son Henry, not suffering him to be what himself had made him.


Verse 18

18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.

Ver. 18. Was dedicated] Or initiated to holy use, Leviticus 16:15-16, εγκεκαινισται.


Verse 19

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,

Ver. 19. He took the blood] See Exodus 24:8.

And sprinkled both the book] Which, as it seemeth, was laid on the altar to be sanctified thereby. The very book of God is sprinkled with the blood of Christ, that it may be opened and of use to the faithful.


Verse 20

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

Ver. 20. Saying, This is the blood, &c.] A tropical and sacramental expression, whereunto our Saviour seemeth to allude in those words of his, "This cup is the new testament in my blood," &c. The sacraments of the Old Testament had a resemblance unto the New; but that was for works of the law, this is for remission of sins.


Verse 21

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

Ver. 21. He sprinkled with blood] This sprinkling had a foreshadowing of the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 1:2; Isaiah 52:15; by his finger, that is, by his Spirit, Luke 11:20; Matthew 12:28.


Verse 22

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

Ver. 22. Purged with blood] Which yet of itself impureth and fouleth.


Verse 23

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.

Ver. 23. But the heavenly things] Those spiritual good things set forth by the types of the law; or the Church under the gospel, called Jerusalem that is above, &c.


Verse 24

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:

Ver. 24. To appear in the presence] As a lawyer appears for his client, opens the cause, pleads the cause, and it is carried, εμφανισθηναι.


Verse 25

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

Ver. 25. Not that he would offer] As Popish mass-mongers will have it. Eamus ad communem errorem (said Domitius Calderinus to his friends, when they persuaded him to go to mass, A.D. 1442), Let us go to the common error.


Verse 26

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.

Ver. 26. To put away sin] To abrogate it, Hebrews 1:3, to bind it in a bundle, seal it up in a bag, Daniel 9:24, cast it behind him as cancelled obligations, Micah 7:18-20, blot out the black handwriting with the red lines of his blood drawn over it.


Verse 27

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

Ver. 27. It is appointed] Gr. αποκειται, it lieth as a man’s lot. Stat sua cuique dies. Our last day stands, the rest run. The Jews at this day pray (such is their blindness) for the dead, that that bodily death may serve as an expiation of all his sins. (Leo Modem Rites of Jews.)

But after this the judgment] Every man’s death’s day is his doomsday. Many of the Fathers held that men’s souls were not judged till the last day. Which opinion is as contrary to purgatory (for which Bellarmine allegeth it) as the truth.


Verse 28

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.

Ver. 28. The second time without sin] Imputed to him, as Isaiah 53:6; 2 Corinthians 5:21. {See Trapp on "Isaiah 53:6"} {See Trapp on "2 Corinthians 5:21"}

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 9:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/hebrews-9.html. 1865-1868.

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Sunday, December 15th, 2019
the Third Week of Advent
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