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Bible Commentaries

Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible
Hebrews 9

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

HEBREWS CHAPTER 9

Hebrews 9:1-14 The service and sacrifices of the first tabernacle

were far less perfect and efficacious to purge the

conscience than the blood of Christ.

Hebrews 9:15-22 The necessity of Christ’s death for the confirmation

of the new covenant,

Hebrews 9:23,24 and of better sacrifices than those legal ones to

purify the heavenly things.

Hebrews 9:25-28 Christ was offered once for all.

The Holy Spirit, Hebrews 9:1-10:18, is illustrating his two last arguments taken from the tabernacle and covenant administrations, about which both the Aaronical priests and the gospel High Priest did minister; in both which Christ hath beyond all comparison the pre-eminence, which the Spirit proves by an argument drawn a comparatis, of the tabernacle and service of the Aaronical priests, and the tabernacle and work of Christ. He beginneth with a proposition of the adjuncts of the first covenant from Hebrews 9:1-10: The three particles introducing it, men, oun, and kai, agree, the one in connecting, the other demonstrating, and the last in asserting, that which followeth to depend on what went before, as: And then truly the first.

The first covenant: h prwth is an ellipsis, nothing is in the Greek text joined with it, though some Greek copies add skhnh, the first tabernacle; but this is to make the same thing a property of itself, and it is absurd to read, the first tabernacle had a tabernacle; it is therefore better supplied from that which first relates to in Hebrews 8:7,13, viz. the Mosaical covenant administration, which had or possessed, as its proper adjuncts, even those three distinct ones following.

Had also ordinances; dikaiwmata, we read ordinances; others, ceremonies or rites. It is derived from a passive verb, and may signify, a righteous sentence or ordinance of God, or a righteous event that answers that law or decree, as Romans 8:4. In the plural it notes jura, the laws of God, but especially here the ceremonial laws, these just constitutions for ministry which God gave by Moses to the Aaronical priesthood.

Of divine service; latreiav, which our translators make of the genitive case singular; but this is repugnant to the next words connected to it, which should strictly be of the same case; it is therefore best rendered in the accusative case plural, and by apposition to ordinances, and so is read services or worship, which because it refers to God, our translators have added to it the word Divine. How various this worship was in the ministry of the high priest and ordinary priests, the apostle showeth afterward, and therefore most properly to be rendered services.

And a worldy sanctuary: to agion was the sanctuary where these services were performed, called the holy, from its relation to God and his service. It consisted of two tabernacles, as is described, Hebrews 9:2,3. It is styled kosmikon, being externally decent, beautiful, and glorious, as is evident by its description, Exodus 26:1-37. Made it was after God’s own model, a mystical structure, and a type of a better; yet though that were so pleasing to the eye of the world, its materials were, like it, frail, brittle, and passing away, as things made with hands make way for better, Hebrews 9:24.


Verse 2

For there was a tabernacle made: the Spirit descends to a particular account of the three former adjuncts to the covenant, beginning with the last, the sanctuary; which being glorious, he advanceth the glory of Christ from the place of his ministry above it.

For is demonstrative of what was asserted Hebrews 9:1, the first visible habitation that God had amongst men, 2 Samuel 7:6, as a token of his gracious presence with them. This tabernacle consisted of three parts, of the court where stood the brazen altar of burnt offerings, the brazen laver for the priests to wash the sacrifices in, and to purify themselves when they came and offered them upon the altar, Exodus 27:1, &c.; Exodus 30:17-21 38:1-20 40:28-33. This court the Holy Ghost here leaves out. Separated from this court by a veil was the first tent or tabernacle, called the sanctuary, or holy place, where the priest did the daily service, which is called the first, Exodus 26:36 40:22-29. Inward of this, and separated by a veil, was the holy of holiest, where the ark was, and where the high priest only entered once a year, Exodus 25:10,22 40:20,21. This tabernacle was according to God’s pattern and command, prepared, finished, and reared up by Moses, Exodus 40:1-38.

The first; the sanctuary, or holy place, separated by one veil from the holy of holiest, and from the court by another, had in it the following sacred utensils.

The candlestick; for matter and form answering God’s pattern, as Exodus 25:31,40 37:17,25 40:24,25. It was of pure gold, and of six branches artificially wrought, by which was typified that Spirit of light which Christ giveth to the true tabernacle, his body mystical, the church wherein God dwelleth, not unusually set out by lamps, Revelation 4:5. And by reason of that light is the church set out by the emblem of candlesticks, Revelation 1:4,12,13,20.

The table; for matter, of plates of pure gold covering the shittim wood, and a crowning verge of gold round it, Exodus 25:23-30 37:10-16 Exodus 40:22,23. Most excellent for its spiritual use, setting out Christ in all his excellencies, well stored and furnished for his; which the Jews by their unbelief and profaneness made contemptible, Malachi 1:7.

The shewbread was twelve cakes made and set on the table, new every sabbath day in the morning, and when taken away were to be eaten by the priests only, Exodus 25:30 40:23 Leviticus 24:5-9. However, on David’s necessity God dispensed with that law, and allowed him to eat of it, Mark 2:26. This was an emblem of God’s provision for the twelve tribes, the type of his church; and the bestowing on them the bread of life from heaven, the all-sufficient food for them, John 6:32-58; compare Colossians 2:16,17.

Which is called the sanctuary; which first tabernacle was called the holy place or sanctuary, being relatively so, as God’s tent, and no otherwise, so is it styled by the Spirit, Exodus 26:33.


Verse 3

And after the second veil: this distinguisheth the second tabernacle from the first; for, passing through it to the end of it, there hung up a curious veil made of blue, purple, scarlet, and fine twined linen, with figures of cherubims, Exodus 26:31,32 36:35,36 40:21. The mystery of which is interpreted after, Hebrews 9:8: see Hebrews 6:19. A veil noteth distance and obscurity; or, covering, opposite to that which is open and free.

The tabernacle which is called the holiest of all: behind this veil was the second tabernacle, called the holy of holiest, Exodus 26:33, by God himself, which did really, though typically, hold out the place of God’s special appearance for propitiation and gracious answers of peace to the desires of his people in the Lord Jesus; applied afterwards to heaven itself, the holiest of all, where the High Priest is entered for us, and sits at the right hand of his Father, making intercession for us, Hebrews 6:19,20 7:25 9:24 10:19.


Verse 4

Which had the golden censer; in the holy of holiest was reserved the golden censer, on which the high priest put the incense when annually he entered there, {see Leviticus 16:12,13} that the cloud of it might cover the mercy-seat, and so was kept for that service in it: see Joseph. Antiq. lib. 3. 7. Many would refer this to the golden altar of incense that stood before the veil in the holy place, Exodus 30:6-8; and so they read it, having the golden altar of incense before it for its service, and not within it; signifying the Godhead, by which Christ maketh his intercession, sanctifying and perfuming his own, and all offerings made in his name.

And the ark of the covenant; it was a coffer or chest of shittim wood, plated all over with gold, Exodus 25:10-22 37:1,6 40:20,21. This chest had for its cover a mercy-seat, listed or verged with a crown of gold round it; and is called the ark of the covenant, because the tables of testimony were laid up in it, Exodus 25:16 40:20; those two stone tables wrought by Moses, and carried up into the mount, (after he had on the idolatry of Israel broken those of God’s own making, and on which God had written the ten laws, the terms of his covenant with them), on which God wrote afresh his laws, and renewed his covenant with them, Exodus 34:1,2,28,29; compare Exodus 31:18. This ark was a type of Christ interposing between God and us, who had broken the covenant of his laws.

Wherein was the golden pot that had manna; en h, wherein, refers not to the ark mentioned just before, for in it was nothing pnt but the two tables of the covenant; but the tabernacle, called the holy of holiest, in which was reserved the golden censer, pot of manna, provided by God’s charge before the giving of the law, and laid up afterwards in that archive by God’s order, Exodus 16:32-34. This manna was the bread God fed Israel in his church with forty years in the wilderness, and is called angels’ food, Psalms 78:25; a type of Christ the true bread, that God gave from heaven to his church, John 6:31-58.

And Aaron’s rod that budded; which was by God’s order put before the testimony in the holy of holiest, and not into the ark, for it was to be in view there as a token of the true priesthood, the type of Christ’s, against all after-murmurers and usurpers: see Numbers 17:1-11.

And the tables of the covenant; and as these, the urn of manna and rod of Aaron, were in the holy of holiest; so especially the two tables of the covenant were there too, but laid up in the ark which was in that place: see 1 Kings 8:9 2 Chronicles 5:10. Oters think the preposition en is to be read, by which, or about, near which ark, as it is used of Christ’s sitting en dezia, Hebrews 1:3; and so notes, as to the pot of manna and Aaron’s rod, an apposition of them to or by the ark, when the tables of the covenant were undeniably put into it.


Verse 5

And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercy-seat; on the cover of the ark at each end was a cherub of beaten gold; these and the cover of the ark were all of one piece, they had their feet on the ledge of the cover, or its crown, at each end; their faces looked towards each other, and their wings touched each other in the extreme part of them, and so on the cover formed the mercy seat see Exodus 25:17-22: and Exodus 37:6-9 40:20. Their form is described by Ezekiel, Ezekiel 1:1-28 and Ezekiel 10:1-22. They were glorious for matter and service, God in his glory manifesting himself over them, gave propitious answers unto Moses about his church, Exodus 25:22 Leviticus 16:2. These cherubims typified the ministry of angels to our Lord Jesus, especially in his great work of rendering God propitious to his church, and saving it, Hebrews 1:14. Standing on the two ends of the ark’s cover, they showed Christ to be the basis of their own standing, when others fell: they spread out their wings, to show their readiness for serving him in all; with their faces opposite to each other, and looking down on the mercy-seat and ark, typifying what the apostle saith of them, 1 Peter 1:10-12, desirous to pry into the mystery of this great Propitiator, the Surety and Mediator of God’s testament, and on his propitiation and its effects, which is admirable and astonishing, not to sinners only, but to angels, Ephesians 3:10.

Of which we cannot now speak particularly; the apostle apologizeth for his but mentioning these mysterious things now, that it was not to eclipse the glory of that administration, but because the matters were well known to them already, only in this they were defective, that they reached not after Christ, the truth and substance of all these types; and therefore he proceeds from the places, to treat of the services to be performed by the Aaronical priesthood in them.


Verse 6

The Spirit now proceeds to the second adjunct of the Mosaical administration, having stated the places of them, even the Aaronical priests’ services in them.

Now when these things were thus ordained; when the tabernacles were made and reared, and the utensils rightly disposed in them, and all things set in God’s own order, now

the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God; into the holy place or sanctuary within the first veil, described, Hebrews 9:2. Not only the high priest, but all the common priests, consecrated by God’s order to their work; every one in his daily course, constantly performing, and completely acting, all the services enjoined on them by God to be done there, as to put on the shew-bread, and to eat what they took off, Exodus 25:30 Leviticus 24:5-9; to keep the lights in the candlestick, supplying it with oil, and clearing the lights, Exodus 25:37,38 Exo 27:20,21 30:1,8 Num 8:2,3; to burn incense on the golden altar before the ark: the priests took a censer, and filled it with fire from the altar of burnt sacrifice, and then came to the altar of incense before the veil, and there put the incense on the fire in the censer; during the evaporating of which, the people in the court were pouring out their prayers for pardon, each person by himself; see Exodus 30:1-9,34-36 40:26,27 Lu 1:9,10; even all the ordinances of worship commanded by God, did the priests perform in it. All which services in the holy place do but typify the true services in the gospel church, of all made priests by the blood of Christ, 1 Peter 2:5,9 Re 1:5,6 5:9,10; offering prayers and praises to God continually in the name of Christ, perfumed with the incense of his merits, Malachi 1:11; compare Revelation 8:3; obtaining thereby the light of his grace through his Spirit, and the bread of life, till they are perfected by their great High Priest, and carried into the holy of holiest, there to be praising and enjoying God in him for ever, as he hath prayed for them, and promised to them, John 14:2,3 17:20,21.


Verse 7

This verse contains the special anniversary of the high priest alone in the inward tabernacle, the holy of holiest, of which you have the law, Exodus 30:14 Leviticus 16:2, &c.

But into the second went the high priest alone once every year; into this place the high priest was to enter once a year only, and every year to repeat it, as Exodus 30:10, upon the atonement day, being the tenth day of the month Tisri, the seventh month in their ecclesiastical year, and the first of their civil: that day was he to enter several times into that place, first for himself, Leviticus 16:11-14, and then for the people, Leviticus 16:15,16, &c., carrying in the blood first within the veil, and then coming out again, and carrying in the incense on the golden censer: none of the other priests were to enter into the holy place while he was ministering, but him alone, as Leviticus 16:17.

Not without blood: when he first entered into the holiest of all, it was with the blood of a young bull, of a ram, Leviticus 16:3,14, with the blood of the he-goat, Hebrews 9:15,27. After he had offered the incense on his golden censer, Hebrews 9:4, he must sprinkle the blood upon the mercy-seat and before it, by which expiatory blood there was made an atonement, Hebrews 9:12-14.

Which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people; first, for his sinful self and family, Leviticus 16:11, and then for the ignorances, incogitancies, errors, and all sorts of sins committed by the people, Hebrews 9:16 Hebrews 7:27; all of them being committed with some error of the understanding. Which type, in all its parts, was perfectly fulfilled in Christ, the gospel High Priest, as is shown in the following verses; whereby not only his office, but his services, are transcendently set above, and preferred to, all the Aaronical ones.


Verse 8

The Holy Ghost this signifying; God the Spirit himself, the third relation in the Deity, the author of all the Mosaical institutions, who commanded all these ritual, ceremonial services in this tabernacle to be performed, who revealed all this to Moses, and who inspired him with it, Leviticus 16:1,2, the most infallible interpreter of his own institutions, declared by these signals and types, and demonstrated by the frame of ordinances, then given to the church, in these expressions, Exodus 30:10 Leviticus 16:2,12-15,17: the veil ever covering the holy of holiest, but only on the day of expiation, when it was drawn aside, and that laid open.

That the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest; the true and very means to God’s presence in heaven itself, which is only by Christ the great High Priest, through whose blood we can come to the throne of his grace there boldly, Hebrews 10:19-22, and by the perfect work of his Spirit on us, can enter with him into the holy of holiest in heaven; this was not so plainly, clearly, fully, universally known as afterwards by the shedding of Christ’s blood, and the revelation of it in the gospel to all the world. Christ was revealed to the Hebrews, and all these ceremonial ordinances did hold him out, and by him only the saints under that covenant administration got to heaven; yet the manifestation of it was obscure in comparison of what it is since.

While as the first tabernacle was yet standing; while the Mosaical covenant administration was to continue, till the coming of Christ in the flesh, and perfecting the work by his death, for the space of near one thousand five hundred years, was the true, right, and proper way for entering into heaven, darkly, and obscurely, and typically revealed unto the church; when by the death of Christ the veil of the holy of holiest was rent asunder, heaven laid open to be seen, and entered into by all penitent believing sinners through Christ, every day in their duties, and then in their persons, Matthew 27:51.


Verse 9

Which was a figure for the time then present: the tabernacle in all its parts, and the whole economy of it, was parabolh, which signifieth the translation of a word or thing from its own natural signification to signify another, which thing so signified by it is commonly more excellent than itself, as the substance exceeds the shadow; equivalent it is to those terms of types, examples, figures of things to come: such are the tabernacle and its services, representations of things spiritual and Divine, and very imperfect shadows of them, serving only for that infant state of the church: and when its nonage was to expire by the coming of the truths themselves, then were they to expire too. The only time when the tabernacle administration was present, and no longer.

In which were offered both gifts and sacrifices; in which tabernacle were performed services to the great God, whose tent it was, suitable to his person, and agreeable to his will, even gifts and sacrifices, as before described, Hebrews 5:1 8:3.

That could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; they were all impotent as to the restoring of a sinner to God’s favour by themselves; they could not reconcile him to God, preserve communion with him, nor bring them to happiness in him, Hebrews 10:3,4; no perfect justifying, sanctifying could be had by any of them, though never so often repeated. They might do all to the letter which God required, absolving the worshipper as to the external part, but not at all according to the conscience; or they could not take the guilt of sin from the conscience as to themselves, but it would cry guilty still; neither could they remove the power of it, for it was under bondage to it still; neither could they take away the fears and terrors of it, but left it shaking under them and unquiet still, being abused by them as a veil to keep them from Christ the true Priest and sacrifice, when as types and shadows they should have led these worshippers to him.


Verse 10

Having shown the typicalness, weakness of the Mosaical covenant administration; in respect of the tabernacles, services, and ordinances, he closeth his description of them in this verse, by showing their carnality and mortality. As they were external things, they could reach no further than the flesh only, as appears by particular instances, and therefore could not quiet the conscience, considered without Christ, nor justify, sanctify, or save the sinner. For meat and drink offerings, and meats clean and unclean, and drinks prohibited by God, in which the Jews placed much of their religion, separate from what they signified, commended no man unto God, 1 Corinthians 8:8.

Which stood only in meats and drinks: as to meats, see Leviticus 11:1-47 Deuteronomy 14:3-21. As to drinks, forbidden the priests, Leviticus 10:9, and the Nazarites, Numbers 6:2,3; the jealousy water, Numbers 5:24, and the paschal cup, Psalms 116:13, and cup of thank-offerings; see Leviticus 1:1-17 and Leviticus 2:1-16.

And divers washings, which were many for the priests in their services, and for others in performing theirs by them; some by sprinkling with blood, Exodus 29:20,21, with water, Numbers 8:7 19:9-19; some by washing at the brazen laver, as the priests, Exodus 29:4 30:17-21; so the sprinkling of healed lepers, Leviticus 14:4-9, and the purification of the unclean. All these were of God’s own instituting, but still reach no further than the flesh or body of the sinner: see Hebrews 9:13.

And carnal ordinances: other carnal rites and ceremonies, such as could not reach the conscience, as they used them, yet were to be used by them in obedience to God’s will, and to discriminate them from others, which were various in the ceremonial law.

Imposed on them; epikeimena, imposed, may agree with dwra, Hebrews 9:9, gifts imposed; or may have the whole sentence for its substantive, as, being matters imposed or settled in meats and drinks. All these things were not the inventions of Moses, but God’s own institutions, enjoined by his own authority on the Jewish church, to lead them by a regular use of them to life by Christ, but by their own corruptions were made burdens to them. The Divine precept obliged them to an observation of them, and to the serving God in, by, and through them.

Until the time; as they were outward, bodily, and carnal things, so they were mortal; as to their being and continuance enjoined by God, they were mecri kairou until is a term settled and limited, and not indefinite, and its limit is a singular time, even that point of time wherein Christ, having finished the work of redemption, ascended and sat down on the right hand of God, and powerfully thence breathed forth the Spirit, of infallibility on his apostles, for guiding them in laying the foundation of his church, by preaching the gospel throughout the world, and perfecting of it, and no other. This the Jews and others expected from the Messiah, John 4:25, in his time. All the New Testament perfecting was by them, and therefore they give a charge against the least alteration of the gospel, truth, and law, which they left as a rule for ordering of Christ’s church to his last coming: see Matthew 28:20.

Of reformation; diorywsewv, of putting things to rights by the law, rule, and ordinance of Christ, the work of this special point of time. He, the great church reformer, thoroughly righteth things to God-ward, by removing and taking away what was faulty, not in itself, but by man’s abuse of it, even all the Mosaical economy and church-frame, which carried men about to God, by opening and making that to be seen with open face, which was well veiled, and so mistaken, even the mystery of Christ hid from ages, by manifesting and establishing that which was the truth itself, instead of the shadows that did but represent it; even that true churchframe intended first by God, and now fully revealed and settled by his Son as a standing rule and pattern to all for ever; which unmovable kingdom of his is described further, Hebrews 12:22-28.


Verse 11

But; the Spirit, by this adversative But, opposeth and applieth the truth to the type, and brings in view the antitype, the office, tabernacle, sacrifice, and ministration of Christ, which vastly exceedeth the Mosaical one.

Christ being come an High Priest of good things to come; the High Priest preferred is no less person than God the Son manifested in the flesh, and anointed to his office with the Holy Ghost and power, Acts 10:38. In the fulness of time, before the antiquating and removing the former order, was he exhibited and consecrated the true High Priest, of which all the other were but types, and bringing with him all those good things which were figured and promised under that economy, all pardon, reconciliation, righteousness, holiness, adoption, and glorious salvation, which were under that dispensation to come, being present and exhibited with, as effected by, this High Priest at his first coming, but to be completed and perfected at his second, which is intimated, Hebrews 9:26,28.

By a greater and more perfect tabernacle; the anti-type of the Mesaical sanctuary and tabernacle, where there was the holy place, and the holy of holiest, correspondent to, and figured out by, these, was the more glorious sanctuary of this High Priest; he passeth through the tabernacle of his church on earth, of which he is the minister, as hath been cleared, Hebrews 9:10, and Hebrews 8:2, and so enters into the heaven of heavens, the holiest of all, Hebrews 9:24, where God sits on his throne of grace.

Tabernacle here cannot signify the body of Christ, for that is the sacrifice that answereth to the legal ones offered in the court, and without the gate, Hebrews 13:11-13, and with the blood of which he enters the holy of holiest as the high priest did, and he doth not pass through his flesh there, but carrieth it with him. The word eskhnwsen, John 1:14, may not only refer to the Godhead’s tabernacling in flesh, but that God the Son incarnate tabernacled in his church; those with whom Christ dwelt while on earth, for his human nature dwelt or had a tabernacle in this world as well as his Deity; and this is such a tabernacle where he in his whole person and his church may meet and communicate together. This tabernacle is greater than the Mosaical for quantity, as it refers to earth the place, even the whole world, where his church is dispersed, beyond all comparison larger than its type, which was a little limited and confined place; and more perfect than that, which was only made of boards, gold, silver, brass, silk, linen, skins, &c. This being a spiritual temple and tent, in which God will inhabit and dwell for ever, 1 Corinthians 3:9,16,17 2 Corinthians 6:16 Ephesians 2:12,20-22 1 Peter 2:5; it is far more glorious than that tabernacle, Haggai 2:7-9.

Not made with hands; what is hand wrought, or made by men, is at the best mouldering and decaying; but this was wrought by the Spirit of God himself, most excellent for the quality, permanency of the materials, and work, Ephesians 2:22. Man had neither power nor skill to form, polish, frame, or pitch this, Hebrews 8:2. Creation work is God’s work, as to the old and new creation. Hands may frame and pitch the other, and pluck it up; but he that worketh, frameth, raiseth, createth this, is God, 2 Corinthians 5:5 Ephesians 2:20.


Verse 12

From his office and sanctuary he proceeds to clear up his service.

Neither by the blood of goats and calves; it was not about weak, typical, vanishing sacrifices, the blood of goats or young bulls, that he was concerned, as the Aaronical priests were, Leviticus 16:14,15, opened before, Hebrews 9:7; and this annually on the expiatory day, Leviticus 16:29,34; which could not satisfy injured justice, nor expiate sin, nor purge nor quiet the conscience of the offender, Hebrews 10:1-5.

But by his own blood; but with his own pure, precious, and unspotted blood, 1 Peter 1:19. Not a drop or few drops must go for it; then what dropped from his body in his agony, from his head pierced by thorns, from his back when whipped, from his hands and feet when nailed on the cross, might have done; but it must be his own life-blood, the blood of the Second Adam dying by it for the first, Romans 5:8-20 Philippians 2:6,8. And as it is the blood of Adam, that it may have value enough and worth, it must be the blood of him who is God too, with his own blood, Acts 20:28. This price surmounts all treasures, John 6:51 10:11,15.

He entered in once into the holy place; with this blood of the covenant he entered, immediately upon the breathing out of his soul on the cross, (the veil of the temple being rent asunder, and room made for the great High Priest to fulfil his type), into the holy of holiest in heaven, where never angel came, nor any but himself, till his now piercing through, rending the veil, and laying it open, Hebrews 10:19; compare Isaiah 57:15; and came with it to God’s throne of justice there, and made the everlasting atonement for sin, and so turned it into a throne of grace, fulfilling his type, and as the high priest did before the sacrifice was burnt or consumed, Leviticus 16:1-34. For the expiation of sin was not deferred by Christ to his ascension, forty-five days after his death, but was immediately on his giving up the Ghost by him performed; and in this he fulfilled all righteousness, Matthew 3:15. This is the

once that he entered heaven for expiation, satisfying the injured justice of God by sin, fulfilled the law, and then publicly appeared at God’s throne, to show all was complete, Luke 23:43,45,46 Joh 19:30. This once he did that which the high priest did annually typify, but could never accomplish for so many hundred years together, Hebrews 9:26,28 10:10,12,14. By which it is evident that one, and once, refers to the shedding of his blood as a sacrifice, and presenting of it to the Father, as completing propitiation work at that once for ever.

Having obtained eternal redemption for us; when he with the incense of his merit and prayer to the just and merciful Judge, even God his Father, sued for, found, obtained, and fully received eternal redemption for sinners; i.e. deliverance of their guilty persons from eternal death, full remission of all their sins, Romans 3:25,26, full reconciliation to God, 2 Corinthians 5:18,19,21, with an instating them into all spiritual good. This work is styled

eternal, because its virtue is of perpetual continuance, which freeth the duly qualified subjects {Colossians 1:21,23} from the guilt and punishment of all sins for ever.


Verse 13

This service of Christ in his sanctuary exceeds the Aaronical, not only for reconciling souls to God, but purifying of them, as cleared in this and Hebrews 9:14.

For if the blood of bulls and of goats: the blood is the same as spoken of Hebrews 9:12.

Bulls, here put for calves, are but to distinguish the sex; and it is to be noted, where our translators read oxen, as to sacrifices in the Old Testament, as particularly Numbers 7:87, they mean bulls, for no oxen were by the law to be offered to God at all as sacrifices; see Leviticus 22:17-23; because they could not be true types of the true sacrifice, which was to perfect them. This blood was sprinkled on the mercy-seat and before it, and on the altar, Leviticus 16:14,19, &c., expiating sins, and taking away the guilt and legal punishment.

And the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean: the rite of preparing it, read in Numbers 19:1-10. A red heifer was by the people given to the priest; he was to bring her without the camp, and order her to be slain, and then take the blood with his finger, and sprinkle it towards the tabernacle seven times; after which she was to be wholly burnt in his sight, with cedar wood, hyssop, and scarlet, the ashes of which were reserved; when they used them, they took them in a vessel, and put running water to them, and then sprinkled them with a bunch of hyssop on persons legally unclean, Hebrews 9:18-20, and so they purified them from their ceremonial filth and pollution; but none of these could purify an unclean soul, that was left unholy and unclean still.

Sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh; these sprinklings did sanctify those who were legally unclean, and did procure a legal purity and acceptance of them the service of the sanctuary, from which else they were excluded; by this they were looked on as externally holy with the congregation, their flesh and outward man being made pure by it for their external worship.


Verse 14

How much more shall the blood of Christ? The question supposeth an unexpressible difference between Christ’s purifying and the legal sacrifices. The blood with which he pierced within the veil to the throne in the highest heavens, on which sat the just God, the proper, precious, powerful blood of God the Son incarnate.

Who through the eternal Spirit; who in his immortal soul obeying all God’s will in suffering, did, through his own eternal God-head, to which both body and soul were united, and which sanctified the body offered, as the altar the sacrifice, Matthew 23:19, which is called the spirit of holiness, Romans 1:4, and gave value and virtue to the sacrifice, offered up his body a sacrifice for sin, when he died on the cross. Not sheep, bulls, goats, turtles, pigeons, &c., not man, nor the life of angels, were his sacrifice; but himself, pure, holy, and unpolluted, an innocent, harmless person, 2 Corinthians 5:21. How much beyond his types for innocency and purity! Leviticus 22:20,21 Num 19:2.

Offered himself without spot to God: the offended, injured Creator and Judge of sinners, who constituted him to this whole work; and was by this most perfect sacrifice propitiated; his justice was satisfied, his law obeyed, and himself set fully free to pardon and forgive sinners without injustice; and to be just, as well as gracious and merciful, in doing of it, Romans 3:25,26; and they might be put in possession of his favour, presence, and person again, as their own God, 1 Peter 3:18.

Purge your conscience; though the sacrifice be over, the virtue and excellent causality of it doth abide, purging now as ever, not only justifying and absolving of a penitent believing sinner, but purifying and sanctifying the soul, procuring the Holy Spirit to renew it, and take away inherent corruption and infuse holiness into it, Ephesians 4:24, and making willing in the beauties of it, Psalms 110:3 1 Corinthians 6:11 Titus 3:5,6; making body, soul, and spirit one frame of holiness to God, 1 Thessalonians 5:23. So as the most quick, lively, and sensible part of the immortal soul, conscious of sin, is freed from the guilt, filth, and fears of sin that did cleave to it; this thus purged, no consciousness of guilt remains, nor fear of punishment, but it is filled, from the interest it hath in this blood, and the work on it of this Spirit, full of joy and peace and righteousness by believing, Romans 5:1,2,5,11.

From dead works; all operations of sin, which come from spiritually dead souls, and work eternal death, Ephesians 2:1, of which they are as insensible as dead men; all sorts of sin which do taint, pollute, and defile the soul, much more contagious, pestilent, and polluting the soul, than any of those things forbidden to be touched by Moses’s law could the flesh, Numbers 19:18: they are as offensive to God, and more, than carcasses are to us, and pestilential things, though themselves keeping souls from any communion with him.

To serve the living God; as under the law there was no coming to the congregation of the tabernacle without legal purifying, Numbers 19:13,20; so by this purifying correspondent to the type, souls are quickened, have boldness and confidence God-ward in point of duty, present themselves living sacrifices, Romans 12:1, aim at him through their whole life; that he delights to keep up communion with them proportioned to himself, till he fit them for their complete serving and enjoying of him in the holy of holiest in heaven.


Verse 15

And for this cause he is the Mediator of the new testament: as Christ’s priesthood and service, his sacrifice and purifying, so the testamental covenant, and his administration of it, did incomparably exceed all those of Aaron’s; so that for what was spoken, Hebrews 9:14, even the effects of his sacrifice, the justification and sanctification of sinners, is he the great gospel High Priest, the mediating person between God and sinners, confirming and making effectual by his death God’s testamental covenant to them, which is for the administration of it the very best and last, in which God bequeatheth pardon, reconciliation, righteousness, holiness, adoption, and heirship to an eternal inheritance to penitent, believing sinners.

That by means of death; the death of Christ himself, God-man, the most excellent sacrifice, without which there could be no remission, Hebrews 9:22, nor the testament of God about it put in force; for which cause he was the Mediator of it, that they should value him so much the more for his death, fulfilling therein all his types, and reach that which was unattainable by these, both for their fathers and themselves.

For the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament; for the satisfying the justice of God for the wrong their sins had done it, paying that price without which they could not be expiated, by which they were remissible, and to the duty qualified, actually forgiven, even the sins of those who were under the Mosaical administration of the covenant. Aaron, Samuel, David, and the saints, believers in that time, had their transgressions pardoned by virtue of the death of Christ to come, shadowed by these sacrifices typifying him and his death in their own times. What the death of beasts or birds could do for them, his did, delivering them from the guilt and punishment of their transgressions, under which otherwise they must have perished for ever: this Peter publisheth, Acts 15:11. This virtue of Christ’s death is not mentioned exclusive of New Testament sins being remitted by it; but if it did expiate those old ones, reaching so much backward, even to Aaron, it will much more expiate those under the New Testament to penitent, believing, praying sinners for it, as those Old Testament transgressors were.

They which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance: such as on God’s call repent and believe on the Lord Jesus, that Angel of the covenant then revealed to them, and enter into covenant with him, Exodus 23:20-23; compare 1 Corinthians 10:3,4,9 Joh 5:45-47; such as by it have sins expiated, consciences purged, so as to have a title to and fitness by the work of the Spirit for the heavenly Canaan, Romans 4:16,24,25; may be put into the possession of that eternal inheritance made over to them by promise, and which the Spirit gave them an earnest of here, Hebrews 12:10,14,16; compare Ephesians 1:13,14 1 Peter 1:3,4. All this is confirmed to these by Christ’s death.


Verse 16

For where a testament is: for gives the reason of the Mediator’s death, even the putting the called into the possession of the bequeathed inheritance, demonstrated by a common, natural law in all nations of the testament’s effect on the testator’s death; a testament being a disposition by will nuncupative, or written, of either goods or lands, which are the person’s own, to be the right and possession of others after his death, whom he nominateth in it: such in proportion is the new covenant, where God gives freely all spiritual good things with a heavenly inheritance, as legacies to all his called ones in Christ, by this last and best will and testament of his, written in his Scripture instrument, witnessed by the prophets and apostles, sealed by the two sacraments, especially the Lord’s supper, Luke 22:20.

There must also of necessity be the death of the testator; he who maketh a testament by the law of nature, as of nations, must die before the legatees have any profit by the will; the son and heir inherits not but on the father’s death; then is the testament firm and valid, the time being come for the heir’s inheriting, and for the will’s execution, it being now unalterable; the necessity of which is cleared, Hebrews 9:17.


Verse 17

For a testament is of force after men are dead: the testator being by death disseised of his goods and lands, the right takes place of the legatees, and the time of their challenging it; such a sacred tie there is upon the surviving, that none can of right add to it, alter, or disannul it.

Otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth; it is of no force while the maker of it liveth, because they have need of the things bequeathed; they can alter and change it, and by the will itself it is declared none shall have any right to the things bequeathed in it till the testator be dead. The consequent of all this is, that the Testator of the new testament must put it in force by death; and his death is of greater force to confirm his testament than that of men, because his will can never be violated, it being a Divine constitution, but the human testament may. Christ, God-man, after dieth, as Testator, and puts the testament in force; and by breaking the bonds of death, doth gloriously effect that the legatees perform the conditions required in the will, to fit them for receiving their legacies; and then faithfully distributeth them to them by his grand executor the Holy Spirit, who applieth the virtue of it to the legatees under the Old Testament, as well as these under the New; he being the Testator, as well as the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world.


Verse 18

Forasmuch as all testaments are put in force by the death of the testator, and all covenants are most strongly confirmed by death and blood in God’s own judgment, thence it is that the Mosaical covenant was confirmed by them.

Dedicated; egkekainistai, strictly taken, signifieth made new, or renewed. It is not used in the New Testament but in this place, and Hebrews 10:20: the Syriac translate it here confirmed, or ratified. In the Old Testament the Septuagint use it to express the Hebrew wknh Deuteronomy 20:5. In which law, for a man who had built a house, and was called out to the wars, to return and dedicate it, was to take possession of it, and secure it from the claim of another. Here it is properly used to make sure, firm, and inviolable; and that by blood, typical of Christ’s, which is the highest and most solemn ratification. So were the covenants before ratified, but especially under the law, and the Mosaical covenant itself, as appears by instance, Genesis 15:9,10,17,18 31:44,54; compare Exodus 24:5,7,8.


Verse 19

For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law: that the Old Testament was ratified by blood the Spirit proveth by instance, Moses as mediator having spoken every command, promise, and article of the covenant to all Israel, who came out of Egypt, according to God’s charge, reading all to them out of the book, wherein by God’s order he had written it; and the people declaring their assent and consent unto this covenant, as Exodus 24:3,4,7, as God covenanted and bound himself to his part of it.

He took the blood of calves, &c.: the Mediator then took, according to the common rite in such ratifying acts, a sprinkling bush made of scarlet wool, cedar wood, and hyssop, Leviticus 14:4,6 Num 19:6,18; to which David alludeth, Psalms 51:7; and with this bunch sprinkles the blood and water (which he had received into basons from the sacrifices, killed by the first-born, for burnt-offerings and peace-offerings, and there mixed, Exodus 24:5,6 Le 9:3,4 14:51) on the altar, book of the covenant, and all Israel, Exodus 24:6-8, confirming and ratifying the covenant on God’s part and theirs, as the words annexed, Hebrews 9:20, and Exodus 24:8, affirm: Behold the blood by which this covenant is made firm and inviolable. All this is but a shadow and type of the ratification of the new covenant with sinners by the death of Christ; he is the Mediator that brings God’s testamental covenant to them; he dieth and puts it in force; by his blood ratifieth it on God’s part and theirs, by his Spirit applying it to them, and sprinkling it on them; he brings home the testamental blessings to them, Hebrews 10:22 11:28 12:24 Isaiah 52:15 Ezekiel 36:25 1 Peter 1:2.


Verse 20

Moses, after his sprinkling the altar, book of the covenant, and all Israel, taught them the meaning of it; saying: This that is the blood wherewith I have sprinkled you, is a sign or a seal of the testament, the blood by which it is ratified and confirmed. The blood typified and represented by it, was that of Christ the Testator, by which all the new testament is ratified to all penitent, believing sinners that look to it, without which it could never have been made good. The blood of Christ is the immovable foundation of this testament, Exodus 24:8; compare 1 Corinthians 11:25; even the testamental covenant which Jehovah had made with them, and which he enjoined them by such a rite as this to ratify and confirm.


Verse 21

Moses did not only sprinkle the book of the covenant with blood, but the tabernacle itself, yearly, on the atonement day, as is charged, Leviticus 16:14,16,17. For as the altar and persons were to be atoned for, so was the tabernacle itself, Hebrews 9:18,20. First they were sprinkled, and then anointed, Leviticus 8:10,11, as the gospel tabernacle was in the truth of it, 1 Corinthians 6:11. All the garments and vessels of that priesthood were thus to be purified, typifying how unclean all the persons ministering with them, and atoned for in and by them, were; and how polluting all things, and polluted by them, till they were purified by the blood of Christ.


Verse 22

And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; all such things as are capable of purifying, and which were not to be so by the water of separation, or by fire, as Leviticus 16:28 Numbers 31:23, were ceremonially purged by blood.

And without shedding of blood is no remission; and without the death of some living creature as a sacrifice, and the blood of it not only shed, but sprinkled, there could be neither legal pardon of guilt, nor purging of ceremonial filth. By this God signified to Israel, that without the blood of Christ his Son, and the Testator of his testament, shed as a sacrifice, to purchase and procure both remission and the Spirit, there could be neither pardon of the guilt of sin, and removal of the punishment, nor purging the filth, or renewing the nature of the sinner, his blood being the inestimable price purchasing both for them.


Verse 23

It was therefore necessary: this conclusion the Spirit draweth from the antecedent, Hebrews 9:18, proved in the following verses, therefore is it here rehearsed. The illative particle therefore, is but to sum up the use of blood about the first tabernacle, and that Testament dispensation. It is positively necessary by the will of God, expressively enjoining them, to point out better, and that there might be an agreement of the type with the truth.

That the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these: the tabernacles in all their parts, the book of the covenant, vessels, services, &c., being types, signs, examples, shadows of things in heaven, must be ceremonially purged and separated from common use to Divine, by those external, ritual sprinklings and lustrations, especially with beasts’ blood, mystically representing better blood and purifications of persons and things than these.

But the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these; but things more excellent and glorious than earthly ones, the gospel tabernacle in its parts, testament, and services, about which Christ ministereth, which are heavenly for their descent, agreeableness with, and tendency to it; they are spiritual and incorruptible, Hebrews 9:11,12 Heb 9:8:2 12:22 Galatians 4:26 Revelation 21:1-27; are to be dedicated, set apart, put in force, and sanctified to God by the one sacrifice of Christ, of more value, worth, and virtue than all the legal sacrifices together. It is expressed plurally, to answer the opposite term, and to set out its excellency, being far above all others; the blood of it being that of God by personal union, and which is only efficacious for eternal good, and available with him; so ought it to be esteemed as it was in truth, and not quarrelled with by these Hebrews.


Verse 24

For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands: for shows this to be a rational proof of the transcendency of Christ’s death and sacrifice; and this he demonstrates from the place of his ministry, far exceeding that of his type. The gospel High Priest did not, like Aaron, enter with his blood into the holy of holiest of an earthly tabernacle, frail and movable, and appear before the mercy-seat on the ark there, Hebrews 9:9.

Which are the figures of the true; all these were but like and correspondent figures and resemblances of the true, holy, and glorious place of God’s residence.

But into heaven itself; but he, as our High Priest, did enter with his atoning blood, after the sacrificing of himself on the cross, into the heaven of heavens, and approached the throne of justice, and propitiated it, making it a mercy-seat and true throne of grace unto penitent, believing sinners; and then perfected the work of propitiation and redemption: afterwards at his triumphant ascension, he entered in his whole person immortal, and laid open a way for our entering there.

Now to appear in the presence of God for us; where he now appears as our advocating Mediator, pleading his merit for the remission of our sins, and rendering of God’s face smiling on and favouring his clients, which was terrifying and affrighting to guilty Adam before: see Hebrews 7:25 10:19 Romans 8:34 1 John 2:1,2 Kings 5:6. Here he represents our persons to God’s face, fitting in the mean while us beneath for our seeing him face to face, and being blessed in the enjoyment of that prospect for ever.


Verse 25

The excellency of Christ’s sacrifice beyond the Aaronical is argued here from its singularity; it needs no repetition, as their multiplied sacrifices did.

Nor; oude, introducing it, is but inferring this excellency of Christ’s sacrifice, by denying in it that weakness which was annexed to the legal ones; there was no need that he should die yearly, to fulfil the type of the often yearly sacrifices of the legal high priest, who entered with the blood of bulls and goats, strange blood to him, and not his own, into the holy of holiest in the tabernacle, and entered so every year once, to show the virtue of his sacrifice to be only signal, typical, and passing, to make room for a better, that single, individual one of Christ, in respect of sacrifice and oblation.


Verse 26

For then must he often have suffered; epei the consequent is drawn ab impossibili; if he had often offered himself, he must have often suffered, but he could not suffer often. For where there was offering, there must be a sacrifice, and so suffering. Now that Christ should do so in his own person, was impossible and absurd, for God to have put his Son on suffering so cruel a death so often.

Since the foundation of the world; from the fall of Adam at the beginning of the world, ever since sin needed a sacrifice: but his once suffering as a sacrifice for it was of eternal virtue in God’s purpose, answering and satisfying God’s justice; one death of the Second Adam for the sin said penalty of the first, in the efficacy and virtue of his death, which was everlasting. The often and annual sacrificing of the Aaronical priests, and entering of the holy of holiest with the blood of beasts, was to show the Jews their weakness, and to instruct them in, and lead them to, this one sacrifice once to be offered, of eternal avail, as is subjoined.

But now: but Christ the gospel High Priest was not only God-man, manifested to be so, and exhibited as such an officer by his work, but was manifested to be such by promise, and in types and figures from Adam’s fall; but now showed it clearly in his suffering work, 1 Timothy 3:16.

Once in the end of the world; the days of Christ’s ministry on earth under the fourth monarchy, called the last time, 1 John 2:18, the ends of the world, 1 Corinthians 10:11, the fulness of the time, Galatians 4:4, God’s set and best time for his appearance; and it was but once that he appeared in these days, performing this work.

Hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself; then he sacrificed himself, offered up his blood to God within the veil, taking away by his own blood, which God required, the guilt, stain, and power of all sin, justifying believers from any condemnation by it, by what he did and suffered in their stead for their good, who fly from it for refuge to him, Isaiah 53:1-12 Daniel 9:24 Romans 7:24,25 1 John 3:5.


Verse 27

And as it is appointed unto men once to die: the proof of the necessity of Christ’s suffering death but once, is introduced in this verse by the conjunction And. It was according to God’s decreed and published statute of men’s but once dying; for God the Supreme Lord, Governor, and Judge of them, set, constituted, and appointed by an unalterable and irrevocable decree, as Lawgiver, and sentence, as Judge, to all of the sinful human race, the corrupt seed of apostate Adam, their grand representative, whom God threatened with this penalty upon his sinning and transgressing his law, Genesis 2:17; which sentence was denounced upon him, Genesis 3:19; compare Romans 5:12,14 Ro 6:23. This sentence was but

once to be undergone by himself and all his sinful offspring, and by their Surety, and no more; so that the Second Adam needed but once to die by this statute. No man can keep himself from this, it being the general rule of God’s proceeding with all persons. The Supreme Legislator may make what exceptions and provisos to his law he pleaseth. Those that were translated by him, did suffer a change proportionable to death, as Enoch, Hebrews 11:5 Genesis 5:24, and Elijah, 2 Kings 2:11,12; and those that shall be changed at Christ’s coming must undergo the like, as 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Those that were raised from death by Christ, Peter and Paul, &c., God might glorify his name by reiterating it; but whether they did die again, is not certain. This is to be the general settled law and rule of God.

But after this the judgment: in order, after souls by death are separated from their bodies, they come to judgment: and thus every particular one is handed over by death to the bar of God, the great Judge, and so is despatched by his sentence to its particular state and place with its respective people, Romans 14:12. At the great and general assize, the day of judgment, shall the general and universal one take place, Acts 17:31, when all sinners in their entire persons, bodies and souls united, shall be adjudged to their final, unalterable, and eternal state, Romans 14:10 2 Corinthians 5:10 Jude 1:6 Revelation 20:11-15.


Verse 28

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many: outwv kai is an illative connection between the antecedent Hebrews 9:27, and this consequent; As it was appointed to men once to die, so it was appointed to Christ once to offer himself. God’s statute determineth both of these; Christ the High Priest, opposed to men, Hebrews 9:27, having died once as a sacrifice for sins, and offered his blood to God to expiate them, bearing their punishment which God laid on him, Isaiah 53:6; and so took away sins, guilt, filth, power and condemnation from many, whom the Father gave to him, and he undertook for, in it, Matthew 20:28 26:28 John 10:15,16.

And unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin; and to his believing, penitent expectants, such as long for his coming, Philippians 3:20 Titus 2:13, stretching out their heads, as the mother of Sisera, Jude 5:28, with a holy impatience of seeing him, such as by faith and prayer are hastening it, Romans 8:23 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 1 Peter 1:3-9, shall he once more visibly appear to them and the world, Acts 1:11 Revelation 1:7, gloriously, without need to suffer or die again for them, having at his departure after his first coming, carried all their sins into the land of forgetfulness.

Unto salvation; and to their persons will he bring entire and complete salvation, raising and uniting bodies and souls together, Philippians 3:21; and then take them as assistants to himself in the judgment-work on men and angels in the air; and having despatched that work, return with them to the holy of holiest in heaven, there to be completely blessed, in praising, serving, glorifying, and enjoying God in Christ, and the blessedness that attends that state, for ever and ever, as 1 Corinthians 6:2,3 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

 


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Bibliography Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Hebrews 9:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/hebrews-9.html. 1685.

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