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Chapters: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
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1 Then verily the first [covenant] had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. 2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein [was] the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. Exod 26:1; Exod 36:1; Lev 24:5; 3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; 4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein [was] the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; Exod 25:10; Exod 16:33; Num 17:10; Exod 34:29; 1Kgs 8:9; 2Chr 5:10; 5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. Exod 25:22; 6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service [of God]. Num 28:3; 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: Heb 9:25; Exod 30:10; Lev 16:2; Lev 16:34;
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: John 14:6; 9 Which [was] a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 10 [Which stood] only in meats and drinks, Lev 10:9; 11:2-47; Num 19:7; Dt. 14:3-21; Ezek. 4:14; and divers washings, Exo_29:4; 30:18-21; 31:9; 35:16; 40:12; Lv. 14:8-9; 15:1-28; 16:4,24, 17:15-16; 22:6; Num. 19:2-21; Dt 21:6, 23:11; and carnal ordinances, Lv. 23:2-34; imposed [on them] until the time of reformation. Mk. 7:15,18-23; Acts 10:13-15; 1 Cor. 10:25-26; Col. 2:16-17; Rm. 14:15; Gal. 4:10; 1 Tim. 4:1-5; Heb. 13:4; 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; Heb 3:1; Heb 4:14; Heb 6:20; Heb 8:1; 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]. Acts 20:28; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14; Heb 10:10; 1Pet 1:19; Rev 1:5; Rev 5:9; 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: Lev 16:14; Num 19:4; Heb 10:4; 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? 1John 1:7; Rev 1:5; Gal 1:4; Eph 5:2; Titus 2:14; Luke 1:74; Rom 6:13; Gal 2:20; 1Pet 4:2;
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. Rom 5:6; 1Pet 3:18; 16 For where a testament [is], there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament [is] of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. Gal 3:15; 18 Whereupon neither the first [testament] was dedicated without blood. 19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, 20 Saying, This [is] the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Exod 24:8; Matt 26:28; Lk. 22:20; 21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. Exod 29:12, 20, Lv. 8:15,19; 9:8,9,18; 16:14-19; 2Chron. 29:22; Ezek. 43:18-26; 22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. Lv. 16:25; 17:11;
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. 24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, [which are] the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: 25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; Heb 9:7; Exod 30:10; Lev 16:2; Lev 16:34; 26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: Rm. 6:23; 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. Rom 5:6; Rom 5:8; 1Pet 3:18; TOC
Hebrews 9 - Of the first covenant, and its ordinances, Heb. 9:1. The tabernacle, candlestick, table, show-bread, veil, holy of holies, censer, ark, pot of manna, Aaron’s rod, tables of the covenant, cherubim of glory, and mercy seat, Heb. 9:2-5. How the priests served, Heb. 9:6, Heb. 9:7. What was signified by the service, Heb. 9:8-10. The superior excellency of Christ’s ministry and sacrifice, and the efficacy of his blood, vv. 11-26. As men must once die and be judged, so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many, and shall come without a sin-offering, a second time, to them that expect him, Heb. 9:27, Heb. 9:28. — Clarke
Hebrews 9 - The apostle, having declared the Old Testament dispensation antiquated and vanishing away, proceeds to let the Hebrews see the correspondence there was between the Old Testament and the New; and that whatever was excellent in the Old was typical and representative of the New, which therefore must as far excel the Old as the substance does the shadow. The Old Testament was never intended to be rested in, but to prepare for the institutions of the gospel. And here he treats, I. Of the tabernacle, the place of worship (Heb. 9:1-5). II. Of the worship and services performed in the tabernacle (Heb. 9:6, Heb. 9:7). III. He delivers the spiritual sense and the main design of all (Heb. 9:8 to the end). — Henry
Hebrews 9 - Analysis Of The Chapter
The general design of this chapter Heb. 9 is the same as the two preceding, to show that Christ as high priest is superior to the Jewish high priest. This the apostle had already shown to be true in regard to his rank, and to the dispensation of which he was the “mediator.” He proceeds now to show that this was also true in reference to the efficacy of the sacrifice which he made; and in order to this, he gives an account of the ancient Jewish sacrifices, and compares them with that made by the Redeemer. The essential point is, that the former dispensation was mere shadow, type, or figure, and that the latter was real and efficacious. The chapter comprises, in illustration of this general idea, the following points:
(1) A description of the ancient tabernacle, and of the utensils that were in it; Heb. 9:1-5.
(2) a description of the services in it, particularly of that performed by the high priest once a year; Heb. 9:6-7.
(3) all this was typical and symbolical, and was a standing demonstration that the way into the most holy place in heaven was not yet fully revealed; Heb. 9:8-10.
(4) Christ was now come - the substance of which that was the shadow; the real sacrifice of which that was the emblem; Heb. 9:11-14. He pertained as a priest to a more perfect tabernacle Heb. 9:11; he offered not the blood of bulls and goats, but his own blood Heb. 9:12; with that blood he entered into the most holy place in heaven Heb. 9:12; and if the blood of bulls and goats was admitted to be efficacious in putting away external uncleanness, it must be admitted that the blood of Christ had an efficacy in cleansing the conscience; Heb. 9:13-14.
(5) his blood is efficacious not only in remitting present sins, but it extends in its efficacy even to past ages, and removes the sins of those who had worshipped God under the former covenant; Heb. 9:15.
(6) the apostle then proceeds to show that it was necessary that the mediator of the new covenant should shed his own blood, and that the blood thus shed should be applied to purify those for whom the sacrifice was made; Heb. 9:16-23. This he shows by the following considerations, namely:
(a) He argues it from the nature of a covenant or compact, showing that it was ratified only over dead sacrifices, and that of necessity the victim that was set apart to confirm or ratify it must be slain; see notes on Heb. 9:16-17.
(b) The first covenant was confirmed or ratified by blood, and hence, it was necessary that, since the “patterns” of the heavenly things were sprinkled with blood, the heavenly things themselves should be purified with better sacrifices; Heb. 9:18-23.
(7) the offering made by the Redeemer was to be made but once. This arose from the necessity of the case, since it could not be supposed that the mediator would suffer often, as the high priest went once every year into the most holy place. He had come and died once in the last dispensation of things on earth, and then had entered into heaven and could suffer no more; Heb. 9:24-26.
(8) in the close of the chapter the apostle adverts to the fact that there was a remarkable resemblance, in one respect, between the death of Christ and the death of all people. It was appointed to them to die once, and but once, and so Christ died but once. As a man, it was in accordance with the universal condition of things that he should die once; and in accordance with the same condition of things it was proper that he should die but once. In like manner there was a resemblance or fitness in regard to what would occur after death. Man was to appear at the judgment. He was not to cease to be, but would stand hereafter at the bar of God. In like manner, Christ would again appear. He did not cease to exist when he expired, but would appear again that he might save his people; Heb. 9:27-28. — Barnes
The apostle shows to the Hebrews the typical reference of their ceremonies to Christ. The tabernacle was a movable temple, shadowing forth the unsettled state of the church upon earth, and the human nature of the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom the fulness of the Godhead dwelt bodily. The typical meaning of these things has been shown in former remarks, and the ordinances and articles of the Mosaic covenant point out Christ as our Light, and as the Bread of life to our souls; and remind us of his Divine Person, his holy priesthood, perfect righteousness, and all-prevailing intercession. Thus was the Lord Jesus Christ, all and in all, from the beginning. And as interpreted by the gospel, these things are a glorious representation of the wisdom of God, and confirm faith in Him who was prefigured by them.
The apostle goes on to speak of the Old Testament services. Christ, having undertaken to be our High Priest, could not enter into heaven till he had shed his blood for us; and none of us can enter, either into God's gracious presence here, or his glorious presence hereafter, but by the blood of Jesus. Sins are errors, great errors, both in judgment and practice; and who can understand all his errors? They leave guilt upon the conscience, not to be washed away but by the blood of Christ. We must plead this blood on earth, while he is pleading it for us in heaven. A few believers, under the Divine teaching, saw something of the way of access to God, of communion with him, and of admission into heaven through the promised Redeemer, but the Israelites in general looked no further than the outward forms. These could not take away the defilement or dominion of sin. They could neither discharge the debts, nor resolve the doubts, of him who did the service. Gospel times are, and should be, times of reformation, of clearer light as to all things needful to be known, and of greater love, causing us to bear ill-will to none, but good-will to all. We have greater freedom, both of spirit and speech, in the gospel, and greater obligations to a more holy living.
All good things past, present, and to come, were and are founded upon the priestly office of Christ, and come to us from thence. Our High Priest entered into heaven once for all, and has obtained eternal redemption. The Holy Ghost further signified and showed that the Old Testament sacrifices only freed the outward man from ceremonial uncleanness, and fitted him for some outward privileges. What gave such power to the blood of Christ? It was Christ's offering himself without any sinful stain in his nature or life. This cleanses the most guilty conscience from dead, or deadly, works to serve the living God; from sinful works, such as pollute the soul, as dead bodies did the persons of the Jews who touched them; while the grace that seals pardon, new-creates the polluted soul. Nothing more destroys the faith of the gospel, than by any means to weaken the direct power of the blood of Christ. The depth of the mystery of the sacrifice of Christ, we cannot dive into, the height we cannot comprehend. We cannot search out the greatness of it, or the wisdom, the love, the grace that is in it. But in considering the sacrifice of Christ, faith finds life, food, and refreshment.
The solemn transactions between God and man, are sometimes called a covenant, here a testament, which is a willing deed of a person, bestowing legacies on such persons as are described, and it only takes effect upon his death. Thus Christ died, not only to obtain the blessings of salvation for us, but to give power to the disposal of them. All, by sin, were become guilty before God, had forfeited every thing that is good; but God, willing to show the greatness of his mercy, proclaimed a covenant of grace. Nothing could be clean to a sinner, not even his religious duties; except as his guilt was done away by the death of a sacrifice, of value sufficient for that end, and unless he continually depended upon it. May we ascribe all real good works to the same all-procuring cause, and offer our spiritual sacrifices as sprinkled with Christ's blood, and so purified from their defilement.
It is evident that the sacrifices of Christ are infinitely better than those of the law, which could neither procure pardon for sin, nor impart power against it. Sin would still have been upon us, and have had dominion over us; but Jesus Christ, by one sacrifice, has destroyed the works of the devil, that believers may be made righteous, holy, and happy. As no wisdom, learning, virtue, wealth, or power, can keep one of the human race from death, so nothing can deliver a sinner from being condemned at the day of judgment, except the atoning sacrifice of Christ; nor will one be saved from eternal punishment who despises or neglects this great salvation. The believer knows that his Redeemer liveth, and that he shall see him. Here is the faith and patience of the church, of all sincere believers. Hence is their continual prayer as the fruit and expression of their faith, Even so come, Lord Jesus. — MHCC
Here, I. The apostle gives an account of the tabernacle, that place of worship which God appointed to be pitched on earth; it is called a worldly sanctuary, wholly of this world, as to the materials of which it was built, and a building that must be taken down; it is called a worldly sanctuary, because it was the court and palace of the King of Israel. God was their King, and, as other kings, had his court or place of residence, and attendants, furniture, and provision, suitable thereto. This tabernacle (of which we have the model, Ex. 25-27) was a moving temple, shadowing forth the unsettled state of the church militant, and the human nature of the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily. Now of this tabernacle it is said that it was divided into two parts, called a first and a second tabernacle, an inner and an outer part, representing the two states of the church militant and triumphant, and the two natures of Christ, human and divine. We are also told what was placed in each part of the tabernacle.
1. In the outer part: and there were several things, of which you have here a sort of schedule. (1.) The candlestick; doubtless not an empty and unlighted one, but where the lamps were always burning. And there was need of it, for there were no windows in the sanctuary; and this was to convince the Jews of the darkness and the mysterious nature of that dispensation. Their light was only candle-light, in comparison of the fullness of light which Christ, the Sun of righteousness, would bring along with him, and communicate to his people; for all our light is derived from him the fountain of light. (2.) The table and the show-bread set upon it. This table was set directly opposite to the candlestick, which shows that by light from Christ we must have communion with him and with one another. We must not come in the dark to his table, but by light from Christ must discern the Lord's body. On this table were placed twelve loaves for the twelve tribes of Israel, a loaf for a tribe, which stood from sabbath to sabbath, and on that day were renewed. This show-bread may be considered either as the provision of the palace (though the King of Israel needed it not, yet, in resemblance of the palaces of earthly kings, there must be this provision laid in weekly), or the provision made in Christ for the souls of his people, suitable to the wants and to the relief of their souls. He is the bread of life; in our Father's house there is bread enough and to spare; we may have fresh supplies from Christ, especially every Lord's day. This outer part is called the sanctuary or holy, because erected to the worship of a holy God, to represent a holy Jesus, and to entertain a holy people, for their further improvement in holiness.
2. We have an account of what was in the inner part of the sanctuary, which was within the second veil, and is called the holiest of all. This second veil, which divided between the holy and the most holy place, was a type of the body of Christ, by the rending whereof not only a view, but a way, was opened for us into the holiest of all, the type of heaven itself. Now in this part were, (1.) The golden censer, which was to hold the incense, or the golden altar set up to burn the incense upon; both the one and the other were typical of Christ, of his pleasing and prevailing intercession which he makes in heaven, grounded upon the merits and satisfaction of his sacrifice, upon which we are to depend for acceptance and the blessing from God. (2.) The ark of the covenant overlaid round about with pure gold, Heb. 9:4. This typified Christ, his perfect obedience to the law and his fulfilling of all righteousness for us. Now here we are told both what was in this ark and what was over it. [1.] What was in it. First, The golden pot that had manna, which, when preserved by the Israelites in their own houses, contrary to the command of God, presently putrefied; but now, being by God's appointment deposited here in this house, was kept from putrefaction, always pure and sweet; and this to teach us that it is only in Christ that our persons, our graces, our performances are kept pure. It was also a type of the bread of life we have in Christ, the true ambrosia that gives immortality. This was also a memorial of God's miraculously feeding his people in the wilderness, that they might never forget such signal favour, nor distrust God for the time to come. Secondly, Aaron's rod that budded, and thereby showed that God had chosen him of the tribe of Levi to minister before him of all the tribes of Israel, and so an end was put to the murmuring of the people, and to their attempt to invade the priest's office, Num. 17:1-13. This was that rod of God with which Moses and Aaron wrought such wonders; and this was a type of Christ, who is styled the man, the branch (Zec. 6:12), by whom God has wrought wonders for the spiritual deliverance, defence, and supply of his people, and for the destruction of their enemies. It was a type of divine justice, by which Christ the Rock was smitten, and from whom the cool refreshing waters of life flow into our souls. Thirdly, The tables of the covenant, in which the moral law was written, signifying the regard God has to the preservation of his holy law, and the care we all ought to have that we keep the law of God - that this we can only do in and through Christ, by strength from him nor can our obedience by accepted but through him. [2.] What was over the ark (Heb. 9:5): Over it the cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy-seat. First, The mercy-seat, which was the covering of the ark; it was called the propitiatory, and it was of pure gold, as long and as broad as the ark in which the tables of the law were laid. It was an eminent type of Christ, and of his perfect righteousness, ever adequate to the dimensions of the law of God, and covering all our transgressions, interposing between the Shechinah, or symbol of God's presence, and our sinful failures, and covering them. Secondly, The cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy-seat, representing the holy angels of God, who take pleasure in looking into the great work of our redemption by Christ, and are ready to perform every good office, under the Redeemer, for those who are the heirs of salvation. The angels attended Christ at his birth, in his temptation, under his agonies, at his resurrection, and in his ascension, and will attend his second coming. God manifest in the flesh was seen, observed, visited, by the angels.
II. From the description of the place of worship in the Old Testament dispensation, the apostle proceeds to speak of the duties and services performed in those places, Heb. 9:6. When the several parts and furniture of the tabernacle were thus settled, then what was to be done there?
1. The ordinary priests went always into the first tabernacle, to accomplish the service of God. Observe, (1.) None but priests were to enter into the first part of the tabernacle, and this to teach us all that persons not qualified, not called of God, must not intrude into the office and work of the ministry. (2.) The ordinary priests were only to enter into the first part of the tabernacle, it would have been fatal presumption in them to have gone into the holiest of all; and this teaches us that even ministers themselves must know and keep in their proper stations, and not presume to usurp the prerogative of Christ, by offering up incense of their own, or adding their own inventions to the ordinances of Christ, or lording it over men's consciences. (3.) These ordinary priests were to enter into the first tabernacle always; that is, they were to devote themselves and all their time to the work of their office, and not alienate themselves at any time from it; they were to be in an habitual readiness for the discharge of their office, and at all stated appointed times were actually to attend to their work. (4.) The ordinary priests must enter into the first tabernacle, that they might there accomplish the service of God. They must not do the work of God partially or by halves, but stand complete in the whole of his will and counsel; not only beginning well, but proceeding well, and persevering to the end, fulfilling the ministry they had received.
2. Into the second, the interior part, went the high priest along, Heb. 9:7. This part was an emblem of heaven, and Christ's ascension thither. Here observe, (1.) None but the high priest must go into the holiest; so none but Christ could enter into heaven in his own name, by his own right, and by his own merits. (2.) In entering into the holiest, the high priest must first go through the outer sanctuary, and through the veil, signifying that Christ went to heaven through a holy life and a violent death; the veil of his flesh was rent asunder. (3.) The high priest entered but once a year into the holiest, and in this the antitype excels the type (as in every thing else), for he has entered once for all, during the whole dispensation of the gospel. (4.) The high priest must not enter without blood, signifying that Christ, having undertaken to be our high priest, could not have been admitted into heaven without shedding his blood for us, and that none of us can enter either into God's gracious presence here or his glorious presence hereafter, but by the blood of Jesus. (5.) The high priest, under the law, entering into the holiest, offered up that blood for himself and his own errors first, and then for the errors of the people, Heb. 9:7. This teaches us that Christ is a more excellent person and high priest than any under the law, for he has no errors of his own to offer for. And it teaches us that ministers, when in the name of Christ they intercede for others, must first apply the blood of Christ to themselves for their pardon. (6.) When the legal high priest had offered for himself, he must not stop there, but must also offer for the errors of the people. Our high priest, though he needs not to offer for himself, yet forgets not to offer for his people; he pleads the merit of his sufferings for the benefit of his people on earth. Observe, [1.] Sins are errors, and great errors, both in judgment and practice. We greatly err when we sin against God; and who can understand all his errors? [2.] They are such errors as leave guilt upon the conscience, not to be washed away but by the blood of Christ; and the sinful errors of priests and people must be all done away by the same means, the application of the blood of Christ; we must plead this blood on earth, while he is pleading it in heaven for us.
In these verses the apostle undertakes to deliver to us the mind and meaning of the Holy Ghost in all the ordinances of the tabernacle and legal economy, comprehending both place and worship. The scriptures of the Old Testament were given by inspiration of God; holy men of old spoke and wrote as the Holy Ghost directed them. And these Old Testament records are of great use and significancy, not only to those who first received them, but even to Christians, who ought not to satisfy themselves with reading the institutes of the Levitical law, but should learn what the Holy Ghost signifies and suggests to them thereby. Now here are several things mentioned as the things that the Holy Ghost signified and certified to his people hereby.
I. That the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while the first tabernacle was standing, Heb. 9:8. This was one lesson the Holy Ghost would teach us by these types; the way to heaven was not so clear and plain, nor so much frequented, under the Old Testament as under the New. It is the honour of Christ and the gospel, and the happiness of those who live under it, that now life and immortality are brought to light. There was not that free access to God then that there is now; God has now opened a wider door; and there is room for more, yea, even for as many as are truly willing to return unto him by Christ.
II. That the first tabernacle was only a figure for the time then present, Heb. 9:9. It was a dark dispensation, and but of short continuance, only designed for awhile to typify the great things of Christ and the gospel, that were in due time to shine forth in their own brightness, and thereby cause all the shadows to flee away and disappear, as the stars before the rising sun.
III. That none of the gifts and sacrifices there offered could make the offerers perfect as pertaining to conscience (Heb. 9:9); that is, they could not take away the desert, or defilement, or dominion, of sin; they could not deliver conscience from a dread of the wrath of God; they could neither discharge the debts, nor resolve the doubts, of him who did the service. A man might run through them all in their several orders and frequent returns, and continue to do so all his days, and yet not find his conscience either pacified or purified by them; he might thereby be saved from corporal and temporal punishments that were threatened against the non-observers, but he could not be saved by them from sin or hell, as all those are who believe in Christ.
IV. The Holy Ghost hereby signifies that the Old Testament institutions were by external carnal ordinances imposed upon them until the time of reformation, Heb. 9:10. Their imperfection lay in three things: - 1. Their nature. They were but external and carnal meats and drinks, and divers washings. All these were bodily exercises, which profit little; they could only satisfy the flesh, or at best sanctify to the purifying of the flesh. 2. They were not such as were left indifferent to them to use or disuse, but they were imposed upon them by grievous corporal punishments, and this was ordered on purpose to make them look more to the promised Seed, and long more for him. 3. These were never designed for a perpetuity, but only to continue till the time of reformation, till the better things provided for them were actually bestowed upon them. Gospel times are and should be times of reformation, - of clearer light as to all things necessary to be known, - of greater love, inducing us to bear ill-will to none, but good-will to all, and to have complacency in all that are like God, - of greater liberty and freedom both of spirit and speech - and of a more holy living according to the rule of the gospel. We have far greater advantages under the gospel than they had under the law; and either we must be better or we shall be worse. A conversation becoming the gospel is an excellent way of living; nothing mean, foolish, vain, or servile becomes the gospel.
V. The Holy Ghost signifies to us hereby that we never make the right use of types but when we apply them to the antitype; and, whenever we do so, it will be very evident that the antitype (as in reason it should) greatly excels the type, which is the main drift and design of all that is said. And, as he writes to those who believed that Christ had come and that Jesus was the Christ, so he very justly infers that he is infinitely above all legal high priests (Heb. 9:11, Heb. 9:12), and he illustrates it very fully. For,
1. Christ is a high priest of good things to come, by which may be understood, (1.) All the good things that were to come during the Old Testament, and now have come under the New. All the spiritual and eternal blessings the Old Testament saints had in their day and under their dispensation were owing to the Messiah to come, on whom they believed. The Old Testament set forth in shadows what was to come; the New Testament is the accomplishment of the Old. (2.) All the good things yet to come and to be enjoyed in a gospel state, when the promises and prophecies made to the gospel church in the latter days shall be accomplished; all these depend upon Christ and his priesthood, and shall be fulfilled. (3.) Of all the good things to come in the heavenly state, which will perfect both the Testaments; as the state of glory will perfect the state of grace, this state will be in a much higher sense the perfection of the New Testament than the New Testament was the perfection of the Old. Observe, All things past, present, and to come, were, and are, founded upon, and flowing fRom. the priestly office of Christ.
2. Christ is a high priest by a greater and more perfect tabernacle (Heb. 9:11), a tabernacle not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building, but his own body, or rather human nature, conceived by the Holy Ghost overshadowing the blessed virgin. This was a new fabric, a new order of building, infinitely superior to all earthly structures, not excepting the tabernacle of the temple itself.
3. Christ, our high priest, has entered into heaven, not as their high priest entered into the holiest, with the blood of bulls and of goats, but by his own blood, typified by theirs, and infinitely more precious. And this,
4. Not for one year only, which showed the imperfection of that priesthood, that it did but typically obtain a year's reprieve or pardon. But our high priest entered into heaven once for all, and has obtained not a yearly respite, but eternal redemption, and so needs not to make an annual entrance. In each of the types there was something that showed it was a type, and resembled the antitype, and something that showed it was but a type, and fell short of the antitype, and therefore ought by no means to be set up in competition with the antitype.
5. The Holy Ghost further signified and showed what was the efficacy of the blood of the Old Testament sacrifices, and thence is inferred the much greater efficacy of the blood of Christ. (1.) The efficacy of the blood of the legal sacrifices extended to the purifying of the flesh (Heb. 9:13): it freed the outward man from ceremonial uncleanness and from temporal punishment, and entitled him to, and fitted him for, some external privileges. (2.) He infers very justly hence the far greater efficacy of the blood of Christ (Heb. 9:14): How much more shall the blood of Christ, etc. Here observe, [1.] What it was that gave such efficacy to the blood of Christ. First, It was his offering himself to God, the human nature upon the altar of his divine nature, he being priest, altar, and sacrifice, his divine nature serving for the two former, and his human nature for the last; now such a priest, altar, and sacrifice, could not but be propitiatory. Secondly, It was Christ's offering up himself to God through the eternal Spirit, not only as the divine nature supported the human, but the Holy Ghost, which he had without measure, helping him in all, and in this great act of obedience offering himself. Thirdly, It was Christ's offering himself to God without spot, without any sinful stain either in his nature or life; this was conformable to the law of sacrifices, which required them to be without blemish. Now further observe, [2.] What the efficacy of Christ's blood is; it is very great. For, First, It is sufficient to purge the conscience from dead works, it reaches to the very soul and conscience, the defiled soul, defiled with sin, which is a dead work, proceeds from spiritual death, and tends to death eternal. As the touching of a dead body gave a legal uncleanness, so meddling with sin gives a moral and real defilement, fixes it in the very soul; but the blood of Christ has efficacy to purge it out. Secondly, It is sufficient to enable us to serve the living God, not only by purging away that guilt which separates between God and sinners, but by sanctifying and renewing the soul through the gracious influences of the Holy Spirit, purchased by Christ for this purpose, that we might be enabled to serve the living God in a lively manner.
In these verses the apostle considers the gospel under the notion of a will or testament, the new or last will and testament of Christ, and shows the necessity and efficacy of the blood of Christ to make this testament valid and effectual.
I. The gospel is here considered as a testament, the new and last will and testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is observable that the solemn transactions that pass between God and man are sometimes called a covenant, here a testament. A covenant is an agreement between two or more parties about things that are in their own power, or may be so, and this either with or without a mediator; this agreement takes effect at such time and in such manner as therein declared. A testament is a voluntary act and deed of a single person, duly executed and witnessed, bestowing legacies on such legatees as are described and characterized by the testator, and which can only take effect upon his death. Now observe, Christ is the Mediator of a New Testament (Heb. 9:15); and he is so for several ends and purposes here mentioned. 1. To redeem persons from their transgressions committed against the law or first testament, which makes every transgression a forfeiture of liberty, and makes men debtors, and slaves or prisoners, who need to be redeemed. 2. To qualify all those that are effectually called to receive the promise of an eternal inheritance. These are the great legacies that Christ by his last will and testament has bequeathed to the truly characterized legatees.
II. To make this New Testament effectual, it was necessary that Christ should die; the legacies accrue by means of death. This he proves by two arguments: - 1. From the general nature of every will or testamentary disposition, Heb. 9:16. Where a testament is, where it acts and operates, there must of necessity by the death of the testator; till then the property is still in the testator's hand, and he has power to revoke, cancel, or alter, his will as he pleases; so that no estate, no right, is conveyed by will, till the testator's death has made it unalterable and effectual. 2. From the particular method that was taken by Moses in the ratification of the first testament, which was not done without blood, Heb. 9:18, Heb. 9:19, etc. All men by sin had become guilty before God, had forfeited their inheritance, their liberties, and their very lives, into the hands of divine justice; but God, being willing to show the greatness of his mercy, proclaimed a covenant of grace, and ordered it to be typically administered under the Old Testament, but not without the blood and life of the creature; and God accepted the blood of bulls and goats, as typifying the blood of Christ; and by these means the covenant of grace was ratified under the former dispensation. The method taken by Moses, according to the direction he had received from God, is here particularly related (1.) Moses spoke every precept to all the people, according to the law, Heb. 9:19. He published to them the tenour of the covenant, the duties required, the rewards promised to those who did their duty, and the punishment threatened against the transgressors, and he called for their consent to the terms of the covenant; and this in an express manner. (2.) Then he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and applied this blood by sprinkling it. This blood and water signified the blood and water that came out of our Saviour's pierced side, for justification and sanctification, and also shadowed forth the two sacraments of the New Testament, baptism and the Lord's supper, with scarlet wool, signifying the righteousness of Christ with which we must be clothed, the hyssop signifying that faith by which we must apply all. Now with these Moses sprinkled, [1.] The book of the law and covenant, to show that the covenant of grace is confirmed by the blood of Christ and made effectual to our good. [2.] The people, intimating that the shedding of the blood of Christ will be no advantage to us if it be not applied to us. And the sprinkling of both the book and the people signified the mutual consent of both parties, God and man, and their mutual engagements to each other in this covenant through Christ, Moses at the same time using these words, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. This blood, typifying the blood of Christ, is the ratification of the covenant of grace to all true believers. [3.] He sprinkled the tabernacle and all the utensils of it, intimating that all the sacrifices offered up and services performed there were accepted only through the blood of Christ, which procures the remission of that iniquity that cleaves to our holy things, which could not have been remitted but by that atoning blood.
In this last part of the chapter, the apostle goes on to tell us what the Holy Ghost has signified to us by the legal purifications of the patterns of the things in heaven, inferring thence the necessity of better sacrifices to consecrate the heavenly things themselves.
I. The necessity of purifying the patterns of the things in heaven, Heb. 9:23. This necessity arises both from the divine appointment, which must always be obeyed, and from the reason of that appointment, which was to preserve a proper resemblance between the things typifying and the things typified. It is observable here that the sanctuary of God on earth is a pattern of heaven, and communion with God in his sanctuary is to his people a heaven upon earth.
II. The necessity that the heavenly things themselves should be purified with better sacrifices than of bulls and goats; the things themselves are better than the patterns, and must therefore be consecrated with better sacrifices. These heavenly things are the privileges of the gospel state, begun in grace, perfected in glory. These must be ratified by a suitable sanction or consecration; and this was the blood of Christ. Now it is very evident that the sacrifice of Christ is infinitely better than those of the law. 1. From the places in which the sacrifices under the law, and that under the gospel, were offered. Those under the law were the holy places made with hands, which are but figures of the true sanctuary, Heb. 9:24. Christ's sacrifice, though offered upon earth, was by himself carried up into heaven, and is there presented in a way of daily intercession; for he appears in the presence of God for us. He has gone to heaven, not only to enjoy the rest and receive the honour due to him, but to appear in the presence of God for us, to present our persons and our performances, to answer and rebuke our adversary and accuser, to secure our interest, to perfect all our affairs, and to prepare a place for us. 2. From the sacrifices themselves, Heb. 9:26. Those under the law were the lives and blood of other creatures of a different nature from the offerers - the blood of beasts, a thing of small value, and which would have been of none at all in this matter had it not had a typical respect to the blood of Christ; but the sacrifice of Christ was the oblation of himself; he offered his own blood, truly called, by virtue of the hypostatical union, the blood of God; and therefore of infinite value. 3. From the frequent repetition of the legal sacrifices. This showed the imperfection of that law; but it is the honour and perfection of Christ's sacrifice that, being once offered, it was sufficient to all the ends of it; and indeed the contrary would have been absurd, for then he must have been still dying and rising again, and ascending and then again descending and dying; and the great work had been always in fieri - always doing, and always to do, but never finished, which would be as contrary to reason as it is to revelation, and to the dignity of his person: But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. The gospel is the last dispensation of the grace of God to men. 4. From the inefficacy of the legal sacrifices, and the efficacy of Christ's sacrifice. The legal sacrifices could not of themselves put away sin, neither procure pardon for it now power against it. Sin would still have lain upon us, and had dominion over us; but Jesus Christ by one sacrifice has made an end of sin, he has destroyed the works of the devil.
III. The apostle illustrates the argument from the appointment of God concerning men (Heb. 9:27, Heb. 9:28), and observes something like it in the appointment of God concerning Christ.
1. The appointment of God concerning men contains in it two things: - (1.) That they must once die, or, at least, undergo a change equivalent to death. It is an awful thing to die, to have the vital knot loosed or cut asunder, all relations here dropped at once, an end put to our probation and preparation state, and to enter into another world. It is a great work, and it is a work that can be but once done, and therefore had need to be well done. This is matter of comfort to the godly, that they shall die well and die but once; but it is matter of terror to the wicked, who die in their sins, that they cannot return again to do that great work better. (2.) It is appointed to men that after death they shall come to judgment, to a particular judgment immediately after death; for the soul returns to God as to its judge, to be determined to its eternal state; and men shall be brought to the general judgment, at the end of the world. This is the unalterable decree of God concerning men - they must die, and they must be judged. It is appointed for them, and it is to be believed and seriously considered by them.
2. The appointment of God concerning Christ, bearing some resemblance to the other. (1.) He must be once offered, to bear the sins of many, of all the Father had given to him, of all who should believe in his name. He was not offered for any sin of his own; he was wounded for our transgressions. God laid on him the iniquity of all his people; and these are many, though not so many as the rest of mankind; yet, when they are all gathered to him, he will be the first-born among many brethren. (2.) It is appointed that Christ shall appear the second time without sin, to the salvation of those who look for him. [1.] He will then appear without sin; at his first appearance, though he had no sin of his own, yet he stood charged with the sins of many; he was the Lamb of God that bore upon him the sins of the world, and then he appeared in the form of sinful flesh; but his second appearance will be without any such charge upon him, he having fully discharged it before, and then his visage shall not be marred, but shall be exceedingly glorious. [2.] This will be to the salvation of all who look for him; he will then perfect their holiness, their happiness; their number shall then be accomplished, and their salvation completed. Observe, It is the distinguishing character of true believers that they are looking for Christ; they look to him by faith; they look for him by hope and holy desires. They look for him in every duty, in every ordinance, in every providence now; and they expect his second coming, and are preparing for it; and though it will be sudden destruction to the rest of the world, who scoff at the report of it, it will be eternal salvation to those who look for it. — Henry
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 (Lev. 16:6, Lev. 16:15), year by year, whence the plural is used, 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 goat, namely, the scapegoat; over it he confessed the people’s sins, putting them on the head of the goat, which was sent as the sin-bearer into the wilderness out of sight, implying that the atonement effected by the goat sin offering (of which the ceremony of the scapegoat is a part, and not distinct from the 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 the case of the slain goat, but employed in the case of the goat sent away, proved the two goats were regarded as one offering [Archbishop Magee]. Christ’s death is symbolized by the slain goat; His resurrection to life by the living goat sent away. Modern Jews substitute in some places a cock for the goat as an expiation, the sins of the offerers being transferred to the entrails, and exposed on the housetop for the birds to carry out of sight, as the scapegoat did; the Hebrew for “man” and “cock” being similar, gebher [Buxtorf].
by — “through,” as the means of His entrance; the key unlocking the heavenly Holy of Holies to Him. The Greek is forcible, “through THE blood of His own” (compare Heb. 9:23).
once — “once for all.”
having obtained — having thereby obtained; literally, “found for Himself,” as a thing of insuperable difficulty to all save Divine Omnipotence, self-devoting zeal, and love, to find. The access of Christ to the Father was arduous (Heb. 5:7). None before had trodden the path.
eternal — The entrance of our Redeemer, once for all, into the heavenly holiest place, secures eternal redemption to us; whereas the Jewish high priest’s entrance was repeated year by year, and the effect temporary and partial, “On redemption,” compare Mat. 20:28; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; 1Ti. 2:5; Tit. 2:14; 1Pe. 1:19. — JFB
► Heb. 9:10: [Which stood] only in meats and drinks, Lev 10:9; 11:2-47; Num 19:7; Dt. 14:3-21; Ezek. 4:14; and divers washings, Exo_29:4; 30:18-21; 31:9; 35:16; 40:12; Lv. 14:8-9; 15:1-28; 16:4,24, 17:15-16; 22:6; Num. 19:2-21; Dt 21:6, 23:11; and carnal ordinances, Lv. 23:2-34; imposed [on them] until the time of reformation. Mk. 7:15,18-23; Acts 10:13-15; 1 Cor. 10:25-26; Col. 2:16-17; Rm. 14:15; Gal. 4:10; 1 Tim. 4:1-5; Heb. 13:4;
The context here is that of contrast between Law and Grace, and thus between the representative “shadows” under the Law versus Christ and His work as manifest under the New and “better” covenant which He instituted by His death. “For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.” (Hebrews 9:16) But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord...” (Hebrews 8:7-9; cf. Jer. 31:31-34) “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” (Hebrews 8:13)
The holy places of the Old Testament temple was a representative counterpart, “figures” (“antitupon”) of the Heavenly reality: “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.” (Heb 9:24) “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.“ (v. 9) Likewise representative was the temple itself and its ceremonial/ritual ordinances and those which flowed from it: For “verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.” (Hebrews 9:1) “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.” (Heb. 10:1) Which stood only in “meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.” (Heb. 9:10) “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days; Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” (Colossians 2:16-17) (More on verse below.)
“Carnal ordinances' refers to rites and ceremonies pertaining merely to the body, yet which did not actually make one moral or not, but were preparatory figures of Christ and New Covenant realities (see further on) Many such laws were given which pertained to all Israelites, not simply requiring literal circumcision and literal sacrifices being made for them, but the literal observance of many liturgical feasts and days, including the 7th day Sabbath, and many physical washings, and a highly regulated diet (“unclean” foods), but which typological (“shadows”) these manner of ordinances are set in contrast to Christ as being “the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death...” (Heb. 9:15) “He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:9-10).
The primary fulfillment and abrogation of ordinances under this promised New Covenant is that of offering literal expiatory sacrifices for sin, for under the Old, "every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;" (Hebrews 10:11-12) Christ was the sacrificial “Lamp of God which taketh away the sins of the world,” (Jn. 1:29) “purifying their hearts through faith,” (Acts 15:9) as He fulfilled the OT sacrifices and abrogated the requirement of literal observance of these. As souls justified by faith, the believer gains the essential accepted status with God that he otherwise could only have by complete obedience under the Law, “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them,” (Galatians 3:10) but which all fall short of.
This refers to the Law as a means of salvation, and thus rather than striving to gain acceptance with God based upon the level of holiness one has, instead through faith in the risen Lord Jesus to save the guilty damned and destitute sinner, the contrite believer (Ps. 34:18) is “washed,” “sanctified,” and “justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God,” (1 Corinthians 6:11) being already “accepted in the Beloved,” and “made to sit in heavenly places” (Eph. 1:6; 2:6) with Christ, with the believers faith being “counted for righteousness,” and the believer being regenerated “without the deeds of the law” or “works of righteousness which we have done.” (Rm. 3:28; 4:1-7ff; Titus 3:5) For as seen in conversion, "to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." (Romans 4:5) [The reason “works of the Law” is usually mentioned in contrasting salvation by works versus grace is because ”if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law." (Galatians 3:21) Thus the exclusion of “works of the Law” covers all systems of salvation by moral merit as actually appropriating a right standing before God, though works of faith “justify” one as being a believer, and which works God rewards believers for under His covenantal grace, (Heb. 6:9; 10:34) but who actually deserve damnation apart from Christ and His work. (Rm. 6:23)]
In addition to the need for literal offerings for sin being abrogated, were many other typological ceremonial/ritual laws pertaining merely to the body. Under the ceremonial law married couples were unclean until the evening every time they had conjugal relations, (Leviticus 15:16-18) and the Law is termed "a yoke,” but those who take the “yoke” of Christ under the yoke New Covenant have rest, (Mt. 11:28,29) and it can be declared, "this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and his commandments are not grievous" (1Jn.5:3). Therefore, rather than requiring literal obedience of these ceremonial laws, then as Peter said in response to those who required redeemed Gentiles to be circumcised and thus obey these representative laws, “why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. ” (Acts 15:10,11)
Likewise in combating those who required the keeping of the representative ordinances along with philosophies based on them, the Holy Spirit says to baptized believers that they “were circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ...having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days; Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” (Colossians 2:13-17)
While this also covers rabbinical kabbalistic-type additions to the Law, it is obvious that it was not these themselves that were a shadow of things to come, but OT ritual laws and ceremonies with their various washings, dietary laws and liturgical calendar which did not actually make one moral or not, but which spoke of Christ and His work, and are realized in Him and under the New Covenant. See below on “sabbath” in Col. 2:16.
Therefore, while the moral law is upheld, so that such things as as “evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness...defile the man,” (Mk. 7:21-23) yet such ordinances as regards eating certain foods or failing to wash do not, and therefore — despite such being perpetual statutes — no where in the New Testament under the New Covenant do we see the church corporate ever commanded to:
• 1. Build and go to the physical tabernacle with its ark in order to meet with God, (Ex. 25:8,22) as while believers are to congregate, (Heb. 10:25) individual believers and the corporate body of Christ is the temple. "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular." (1 Corinthians 12:27) "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16) "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house...” (1 Peter 2:5) “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." (Ephesians 2:20-22) And have “boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus," (Hebrews 10:19)
• 2. Ordain a distinctive class of men titled “priests” to minister in the temple, (Num.18:23; Dt.18:5) with distinctive garments, (Ex.29:9; 40:15) though such were perpetual statutes, for all believers are “priests” in this temple, “an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 2:5) And thus nowhere does the Holy Spirit ever title NT pastors “priests” (hiereus): see here.
• 3. Offer continual sacrifices (Ex.29:42;) to obtain forgiveness of sins, for Christ is the Lamb of God (Jn. 1:29,36; 1Pt. 1:19) who fulfilled the Law in providing that, who “offered one sacrifice for sins for ever,” (Heb. 10:12) being slain for our sins, and thus by faith in Him we have “redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:14; cf. Heb., 1:10) — thanks be to God.
• 4. Literally keep the light burning in Tabernacle, though this was a statute forever. (Ex.27:20,21; Lv.24:3) For this represented Christ: "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." (John 9:5) "And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof." (Revelation 21:23) And now it is the believers: "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid." (Matthew 5:14) "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Corinthians 4:6)
• 5. Be circumcised, for even though this was an everlasting covenant, (Gn. 17:2,9-14) yet “in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” (Galatians 5:6) “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.” (Colossians 2:11) Therefore, "Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised." (1 Corinthians 7:18) “neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.” (Galatians 2:3)
Circumcision has a limited correspondence to baptism.
• 6. Keep the 7th day Sabbath, even though this also was an everlasting covenant, (Ex.31:14-17) and even though the other 9 of the 10 commandments are reiterated under the New Covenant. (1Cor. 8:5,6; Rv. 22:9: 1Jn. 5:21; 1Cor. 6:9; 10:7,14; Eph. 5:5: 1Tim. 6:1: Eph. 6:2-3: Rom. 13:9; Gal. 5:19-21; James 2:10-12: Rom. 13:9; 1 Cor. 6:9; 10:8; Eph. 5:5; Gal. 5:19-21; James 3:10-12: Rom. 13:9; Eph. 4:28: Rom. 13:9; Col. 3:9; Eph. 4:25: Rom. 7:7; 13:9; Eph. 5:3, 5)
Nowhere is this command even mentioned,and texts such as Lk. 4:16; Acts 13:14, 42, 44; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4 do not show 7th day Sabbath–keeping commanded or the church perpetuating it, but Paul, as a Jew, did go to 7th day meetings to preach to the Jews and their proselytes. The only specific day that only Christians are recorded as meeting was the first day of the week, (Acts 20:7; 1Cor.16:2) with a day beginning at sundown in Jewish reckoning, and on which day the Lord met with believers many times, (Mt. 28:8-10; Mk.16:9-18; Jn. 20:11-23, 26-29; Lk 24:13-44) More on this can be seen here, and here by the grace of God.
For the Sabbath rest is realized in Christ, as “the sabbath days...are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” (Colossians 2:16-17) The Sabbath represents the rest the Lord Jesus provided, as it is not the sabbath that Christ calls souls to find rest by, but Him, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28), And in whom one rests from seeking to gain justification by the merit of one's own works, and this justification by faith leads to the the sabbath rest from the labor a true believer does to please his Lord, which rest is realized when the believer dies or the Lord returns: “For we which have believed do enter into rest.” “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” (Hebrews 4:3,11; Rv. 14:13) Rather than being reminded to keep the sabbath, Paul states, "One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind." (Romans 14:5)
Attempts are made by Sabbathtarians to disallow Col. 2:16 from referring to the weekly sabbath, in response to which Rick Griffith, PhD, writes in The Sabbath in Colosse,
Further evidence that the weekly Sabbath is in view stems from the New Testament usage of the word sabba,twn. This word is used sixty times in the New Testament in both the singular and plural, always referring to the seventh-day Sabbath.1 While Adventists themselves admit that fifty-nine times it refers to the weekly Sabbath, they still insist based upon "context" that Colossians 2:16 remains the only use of the word for ceremonial sabbaths.2 Such alleged contextual evidence is lacking. It appears that the normal meaning for sabba,twn has been abandoned to maintain a moral/ceremonial dichotomy within the Law. Bruce adds, "When the sabbath is mentioned in the OT or the NT with no contextual qualification, the weekly sabbath in intended."3
Finally, the use of the plural also does not argue for the ceremonial Sabbaths in that it is simply a Hebraism.4 As such the plural is commonly used in Scripture with a singular sense in reference to the weekly Sabbath.1 The translators of the Septuagint also felt free to employ the exact plural form (sabba,twn) in their translation of the singular tB;V'h' in the Decalogue itself (Exod. 20:8; Deut. 5:12), as well as in many other passages where the singular weekly Sabbath is in view.2 (Richard J. Griffith, “The Eschatological Significance of he Sabbath,” ThD diss., Dallas Seminary, 1990, pp. 164-171)
• 7. Keep the many feasts Israel was commanded to keep, for these speak of things which Christ is the fulfillment of, past or future, and thus the believers are to look to Him, not the “shadows” made by His “body,” representing the reality. Thus as “leaven” represented sin, the passover represented Christ: Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:7-8)
Leaven represents the morally unclean, and feasting/eating represents the fellowship of the church with each other and Christ, and is most clearly shown by the Lord's supper, which fellowship is to be a continual feast, but which the impenitent immoral are to be excluded from. (1Cor. 5:9-13)
• 8. Keep the many dietary laws, which are never seen, and instead Peter was told to eat unclean foods, (Acts 10:10-15) and Paul states, “I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.” (Romans 14:14) And also, "For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving." (1 Timothy 4:4) For as the Lord taught, "There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man." (Mark 7:15) The unclean animals represented unclean people in Acts 10, but whom are made clean and saved the exact same way the Jews must be, "giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith." (Acts 15:8-9)
• 9. Engage in the many ritual washings enjoined upon Israelites, for as the Lord stated in the context of washings based on such, “there is nothing from without a man, (Mk. 7:21,22) that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.” (Mark 7:15) And Christ has spiritually “washed us [who believe] from our sins in his own blood,” (Rv. 1:5) and, “if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son [continually] cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)
Note that a believe may engage in such purification rituals, as Paul respectively could, as in, “unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law.” (1 Corinthians 9:20) Yet presenting Paul — who taught salvation by grace in contrast to the souls James was seeking to have him appease in Acts 21, and who taught, among other things, that uncircumcised converts were not to be circumcised (1Cor. 7:18) — as one that literally “kept the Law” in its entirety almost got Paul killed, (Acts 21:17ff) because Jews were not to fellowship with uncircumcised Gentile believers, as Paul did, nor could they enter the Temple itself, past “the middle wall of separation,” (Eph. 2:14) and which the Jews surmised Paul violated since he was with a Gentile in the city, and which they used to justify their charges of heresy against him.
• 10. Keep the laws regarding touching unclean things and persons, which rendered one unclean until ritually purified, or in the case of lepers, made them unclean till death. Therefore, rather than being unclean until the evening every time a couple engaged in marital relations, under the New Covenant "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge." (Hebrews 13:4)
This verse illustrates the abrogation of the literal observance of the ceremonial/ritual Law (but not their intent) enjoined upon Israel under Moses, while upholding the basic moral laws which apply to all at all times. And as regards the latter, while under the Law a fuller application of the Law can be seen, so that circumcision is also to be that of the heart, (Dt. 10:16; 30:6; cf. Jer. 4:4) yet Christ goes beyond this in scope.
For the New Covenant does not mean the believer is law-less, but that believers are to look Christ who fulfilled the Law as the supreme standard, and in obedience to Him under the New Covenant then the intent of the ceremonial/ritual Law is realized. For while the Law in its totality is “holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good,” (Romans 7:12) yet “it was weak through the flesh.” But “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3-4)
In conversion, the soul is recognizing and exalting God as the holy, pure and almighty Judge, and humbling, abasing himself as a sinner in desperate need of salvation, on God/Christ's expense and righteousness. And which thus is received by faith, yet the grateful response is that of seeking to please God: "Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted [“euarestos”=wellpleasing) of Him." "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again." (2 Corinthians 5:9,14-15)
And in so doing, the meaning of this “fulfilling” of the “righteousness of the law” “after the Spirit” is two-fold:” one being that as the believer is already accepted in the Beloved on His account, then he is both rightly motivated (to please God) and enabled (through the Holy Spirit of Christ) to live according to the full intent of the moral Law, not merely the letter of it, expanding upon what its spirituality and morality entails, while the believer fulfills the righteousness of laws that dealt with circumcision and similar typological ceremonial ordinances by recognizing Christ and His work which these ordinances represented, and obeying Him under the New Covenant which He instituted with His own sinless shed blood, and in which we see types of laws distinguished.
Thus in fulfilling the righteousness of the law as per Rm. 8:4, the believer is to go beyond what the letter of the moral laws requires, so that (among other things) love is enjoined not only for brethren (Lv. 19:18) but expanded to require love even for enemies, (Mt. 5:43,44) and an “eye for an eye” or the law of retaliation (Ex. 21:24) is expanded to forbid seeking any retaliation against man, (Mt. 5:39; Rm. 12:19) and restrictive provisions for swearing oaths (Lv. 19:12; Num. 30:2; Dt. 23:21) is expanded to forbid swearing by anything. (Matt. 5:33-37) And as love for God and each other has no limit, giving is not fulfilled by tithing but by complete surrender of themselves and all they have, that being the fitting, reasonable response to so great salvation by the great God and our Savior. (Lk. 14:33; Rm. 12:1)
Meanwhile, as regards the representative ritual laws, in obeying the Lord Jesus under the New Covenant the believer is to look offer oneself as a living sacrifice in service to the Lord who bought him, and be continually cleansed from sin by walking in fellowship in the Light, etc.
Heb. 9:19: “Sprinkled both the book..” There is nothing actually said in Exodus 24:4-8 about sprinkling the book (scroll) of the covenant, though it does not exclude it either, and easily conflates with the principle of sanctification by blood. And since Moses sprinkled the altar (which sanctifies the gift), and if the scroll was upon it, then it is easy to see how this would occur. Barnes comments here,
As Barnes states, We are to remember also, that it was common among the Hebrews to sprinkle blood for the purpose of consecrating, or as an emblem of purifying. Thus, Aaron and his sons and their garments were sprinkled with blood when they were consecrated to the office of priests, Exo. 29:19-21; the blood of sacrifices was sprinkled on the altar, Lev. 1:5, Lev. 1:11; Lev. 3:2, Lev. 3:13; and blood was sprinkled before the veil of the sanctuary, Lev. 4:10, Lev. 4:17; compare Lev. 6:27; Lev. 7:14. So Josephus speaks of the garments of Aaron and of his sons being sprinkled with “the blood of the slain beasts, and with spring water.” “Having consecrated them and their garments,” he says, “for seven days together, he did the same to the tabernacle, and the vessels thereto belonging, both with oil and with the blood of bulls and of rams.” Ant. book iii, chapter 8, section 6. — Barnes (abridged)
Heb. 9:22; cf. Lv. 17:11: While atonement by other means than blood was allowed, (Lv. 5:11-13) and even without any material sacrifice, (Ps. 51:15-17; Mic. 6:6-8 — the latter emphasizing by hyperbole the most essential aspect needed for forgiveness) and while the Lord forgave souls their sins prior to Jesus atonement, (Mk. 2:5) it is understood that all such before Christ was enabled by the yearly blood atonement, “to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year,” of Lv. 16, which was an everlasting statute, (Lv. 16:34) that “ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD,” (Lv. 16:30) yet which atonement could not take away sins, "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. " (Heb. 10:4) but was a precursor and temporary means of forgiveness until the Son of God would become the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world, (Jn. 1:29) who would offer Himself for the sins of the people, (Heb. 7:27; 9:14) Thus any forgiveness of sins prior to Christ's death was in lieu of the final atonement which would enable the putting away of sins. And Jesus' resurrection attested to the perfect nature of His sacrifice. (Acts 2:23-36; 17:31; Rm. 1:4) To God be the glory.
And additional aspect is that impenitent, rebellious, willful, continuance of known sin after one is redeemed is a denial of faith, and what it procured, and can render a soul unable to repent to God, (Heb. 6:-8; 10:26) and thus an object of the just wrath of almighty God, which difficult issue is (inadequately) commented on by me in the next chapter.
Chapters: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
See New Testament Table of Contents, and please read the Introductory Notes here