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Book 2


The Fulfillment Of Christ's Priestly Work  (8:1-10:18)

The description of the great features of Christ’s Priesthood which has been given in the last division of the Epistle is naturally followed by a view of the fulfillment of His office. This includes the final answer to the disappointments and doubts of the Hebrews. It has been shown that:

1. (Heb. 5:1-10) Christ possesses completely the characteristics of a High-priest for men.
2. (Heb. 5:11-6) That the full apprehension of the dignity of His Person and Work requires effort and patience.
3. (Heb. 7) That under the Levitical system there existed an impressive type of a higher order of Priesthood which He has satisfied.

The writer therefore goes on to indicate how He discharges the duties of this supreme and absolute Priesthood, and how it involves of necessity the abrogation of the Mosaic ritual.
To this end he first marks the scene and the conditions of:

(Heb. 8)
1. Christ’s Priestly work
2. The New Sanctuary of heaven and not of earth
3. A Covenant of grace and not of works

He then compares:

(Heb. 9)
1. The High-priestly service under the Old and New Covenants in its most august forms
2. The service of the Day of Atonement under the Levitical system
3. The Passion and Ascension of Christ

While he significantly suggests that we are still waiting for the Return of Christ from the Presence of God to announce the completion of His Work.

In conclusion he brings forward the consideration which is at once the foundation and the crown of his argument:

The Levitical sacrifices could not have any value in themselves.
The sacrifice of  loyal service  is that which God requires of men.

This has been rendered perfectly by the Incarnate Son of God; whose sacrifice of Himself in Life and Death avails for ever for that humanity which He has taken to Himself. Through His Work the Covenant of grace finds accomplishment  (Heb. 10:1-18).
These three sections:

1. (Heb. 8) A general view of the scene and the conditions of Christ’s High-priestly work
2. (Heb. 9) The Old Service and the New: the Atonement of the Law and the Atonement of Christ 
3. (Heb. 10:1-18) The Old Sacrifices and the New: the abiding efficacy of Christ’s one Sacrifice

Complete argument of the Epistle; and show that the Mosaic system, with its great memories and consoling institutions, has no value for the Christian.  

A General View Of The Scene And The Conditions Of Christ's High-Priestly Work  (8:1-13)

Before discussing in detail the High-priestly work of Christ,  the writer gives a general view of its character in relation to:

A. (8:1-6) The new Sanctuary
B. (8:7-13) The new Covenant

The General Significance Of The Tabernacle

It is characteristic of the Epistle that all the arguments from the divine worship of Judaism which it contains are drawn from the institutions of the Tabernacle.  These,  which are treated as the direct embodiment of the heavenly archetype,  are supposed to be still preserved in the later forms and to give force to them.  They were never superseded even when they were practically modified.  The Temple indeed no less than the Kingdom,  with which it corresponded,  was the sign of a spiritual declension.  Both were endeavors to give a fixed and permanent shape,  according to the conditions of earthly life,  to ideas which in their essential nature led the thoughts of men forward to the future and the unseen.  God was pleased to use,  in this as in other cases,  the changes which were brought about by the exigencies of national life for the fulfillment of His own counsel,  but the divine interpreter of the Old Testament necessarily looked,  beyond the splendors of the sacred buildings  (Matthew 24:1),  and the triumphs of the monarchy of David,  to the sacred tent of the pilgrim people and the heavenly sovereignty.

The only other references to the Tabernacle (earthly or heavenly) are found in:

Acts 7:44 The tabernacle of the testimony
Revelation 13:6 ...and his tabernacle

In the passage of the Acts Stephen appears to draw a contrast between the ‘tent’ and the ‘house’ (vv. 47);  and the language of the Revelation illustrates in several points the wider views of the Tabernacle which are open in the Epistle.

Temple The term  the Temple  with its courts and subordinate buildings is found outside the Gospels and Acts only in  I Corinthians 9:13,  where the reference to the Jewish Temple is fixed by  altar  (Heb. 10:18  an offering for sin).
Sanctuary The Sanctuary is used in a spiritual sense in John 2:21; I Cor. 3:16; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:21 (compare Revelation 21:22), and again literally in 2 Thess. 2:4. 
House The word  house is used of:
the material building in the Gospel and Acts, 
and of the human antitype in I Peter 4:17; I Tim. 3:15, as in Hebrews 3:2; 10:21 (from Numbers 12:7 in the LXX). 

Thus the actual reference to the Mosaic Tabernacle as a lesson in the divine revelation is peculiar to this Epistle. What then was its general teaching?

The Original Names Of The Tabernacle

The Dwelling 
The most common single name is that which expresses generally  ‘a habitation.  The Hebrew root word is used of ‘settling,’  ‘resting,’  ‘dwelling,’ and that both of man and beasts (so of the glory of God –the Shekinah in later language – Exodus 24:16).  The Hebrew word suggests nothing more than a ‘dwelling-place’ (of men,  Numbers 16:24,27; and of the Temple in Psalms),  and,  as it is expressed definitely,  ‘the dwelling-place of Jehovah
Lev. 17:4; Num. 16:9 etc.

The Tent
A second name  ‘tent,’  is more definite,  and describes the characteristic dwelling of the wilderness,  though it was used also in later times (Ps. 15:1; 27:4).  This name is used sometimes alone (Exodus 26:9,11,36; etc.),  but more frequently in combination with other words (‘the tent of meeting,’  ‘the tent of the witness’ [testimony]).  The ‘habitation’ (‘dwelling’)  and the ‘tent’ are clearly distinguished  (Ex. 26:7; 35:14 etc).

More commonly, however, the Tabernacle is described by a compound title. The simple terms ‘habitation’ and ‘tent’ are defined by the addition of some other word as  ‘witness’ (testimony)  or ‘meeting’; and these two designations express two distinct aspects of the Tabernacle. 

The Tabernacle was the place where God made Himself known (Exodus 25:8,22),  speaking to the representatives of the nation (Exodus 29:42; Numbers 17:4 [19]);  and it could not truly be said that the people were assembled in ‘the tent’  (yet see Matthew 23:38).  The  ‘tent of meeting’  was so completely identified with the revealed Presence of the Lord  that it is said to  ‘dwell with the people in the midst of their uncleanness’ (Lev. 16:16).
Taking then these general titles of the Tabernacle we see that the structure was held to represent provisionally in a sensible form three truths:

(a) the Presence of God with men
(b)  His righteousness
(c) His  ‘conversableness.’

It is scarcely necessary to add that the idea of a  ‘dwelling’  of the Lord in no way tended to confine His Presence to one spot: it simply gave a distinct reality to the fact of His Presence.

The Building And Fabric Of  The Tabernacle

If now we consider the account of the building and arrangement of the Tabernacle we shall recognize that it was fitted to convey most impressively the three lessons which it embodied:

1. It was held to be wholly of divine design.
2. It was held to be wholly of divine design.
3. It was reared after the pattern in which God prescribed the details of the way in which He should be approached (Ex. 25:9,40; Heb. 8:5). 

So the people confessed that if God is to be known, He must reveal Himself.

Again:  it was framed substantially out of free-will offerings (Ex. 25:2).  There was indeed ransom-money,  equal in amount for every one,  which was used in the structure (Ex. 38:25),   but this was employed for definite purposes; and the narrative emphasizes the willingness with which the people contributed to ‘the work of the tent, and all the service thereof’ (Ex. 35:20; 36:5). A revelation comes from God only,  but it is for man to embrace it from the heart and give form to it.

The Three-Fold Division  Of The Tabernacle

The general plan of the Tabernacle suggested,  even to the simplest worshipper,   the Majesty of God,  Who hides Himself even when He comes among men.  The three divisions of the whole:

the fabric,
the sacred enclosure
and the twofold Tabernacle, 
‘the Holy Place,’ and
‘the Holy of Holies’ 

marked stages in human approach to Him;  and the increasing richness of the material in the successive parts suggested thoughts of His immeasurable dignity. 

The chamber (Holy of Holies)- the perfect cube (compare Rev. 21:16)-which expressed His most immediate manifestation, was in itself wholly dark.  For man perfect darkness and perfect light (I Tim. 6:16) are in effect the same. We,  in our weakness, can see objects only when the two are mixed. Compare Psalms 18:11; I Kings 8:12.

So also the limitations in the right of entrance to each part showed that as yet God could not be fully known by men even with the knowledge to which they could attain.  The way to His presence was not yet open (Heb. 9:8).  

None but the members of the chosen race could enter the Court:
None but the members of the representative tribe could enter the Holy Place
None but the one representative of the priestly body could enter, and that only on one day in the year, to the innermost sanctuary where God showed His glory.

The Furniture Or The Tabernacle

The furniture of the different parts still further illustrated by intelligible symbols the conditions and the limits of the approach to God. 

The Court contained two objects which could not fail to speak to the hearts of the worshippers.
The first requirements for drawing near to God were seen to be:
Laver of Water - Purity 
Altar of Burnt-Offering - Sacrifice
Holy Place - there was fuller teaching exhibiting human service in a higher form:
Table of the Shewbread  - Food of God
Seven-branched Candlestick - Light of men
Altar of Incense - Prayer - placed against the inner veil, so as to be in face of the Art and in closest connection with the Holy of Holies.
Holy of Holies - So far the vessels of the Tabernacle represented the relations of man to God. The vessels of the most Holy Place represented: the relations of God to man:
His Holiness
His Grace
His Sovereignty
The Law  (tables of stone carved by God) - the ‘witness’ - was set as the foundation of all. 
Mercy Seat;  Over the Law was spread the Mercy Seat; out of which rose the two Cherubim-the representatives of creation-bending over it, as if eager to look into the mysteries of redeeming love, while between and above them was the sign of the Divine Presence on which man could look only through the atmosphere of adoring aspiration (Lev. 16:13)

If you take the location of each of the Tabernacle's furniture,  you will find that it forms a cross,  with the Ark at the top which speaks of God and at the foot, the blood of the sacrifice. This is a clear example of Jesus Christ on the cross for us.

The New Sanctuary  (Heb 8:1 - 6)

Next Section

(8:1,2) The eternal High-priest has a work to do corresponding with the spiritual dignity of His office in the heavenly sanctuary.
(8:3,4) This work could not be fulfilled on earth, for there is already an earthly system of service;
(8:5,6) but the earthly system is only a shadow of the divine archetype which is realized by Jesus Christ

The author's argument, it will be seen, meets indirectly difficulties which were felt as to:

The death of  Jesus Christ
It was necessary therefore that He should have ‘somewhat to offer,’ and that could be nothing less than Himself. 
His Death and His absence are consequently an essential part of the fulfillment of our hope.
The absence of Jesus Christ
The present work of Christ is the application of the virtue of His one Sacrifice of Himself. He is our High-priest who has entered into the Divine Presence, and we wait patiently for His Return
(Heb. 9:28).
It was necessary that He should be withdrawn from us that He might make atonement, and enter on His Royal Priesthood.
Heb 8:1-6
(1)   Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;
(2)   A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
(3)   For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.
(4)   For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:
(5)   Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.
(6)   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.

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(1) Now a summary of the things being spoken of [is], such we have a high priest, who sat down on [the] right hand of the throne of the greatness in the heavens;  (2)  of the Holies minister, and of the tabernacle true which pitched the Lord and not man. (3) For every high priest for to offer both gifts and sacrifices is constituted; whence [it is] necessary to have something also [for] this one which he may offer. (4) If indeed for he were on earth, not even would he be a priest, there being the priests who offer according to the law the gifts, (5) who [the] representation and shadow serve of the heavenly, according as was divinely instructed Moses being about to construct the tabernacle; for, see, says he, thou make all things according to the pattern which was shown thee in the mountain. (6) But now a more excellent he has obtained ministry by so much as also of a better he is covenant mediator, which upon better promises has been established.

8:1 & 2 -  A general statement of Christ’s High-priestly work, as He is King at once and Minister.


Now a summary of the things being spoken of
Now in the things which we are saying the chief point is….
The word  now a summary  or you could say  Summary sum  or  Chief point, main matter
The second sense  (chief point)  falls in best with the context. What follows is not so much a summary of the Apostle’s teaching, as an indication of the central thought by which it is inspired.  If this sense be taken the question still remains whether  now a summary  refers to any new subject,  as that of the spiritual sanctuary in which Christ fulfils His office, or to the whole sentence, in which the idea of the sanctuary is only one element in many.

The general construction of the sentence favors the latter view.
The thought of a High-priest who has taken His seat on the right hand of God, who is King as well as Priest, is clearly the prominent thought in the sentence. It has not found distinct expression before; and it is the main point in the whole discussion on Christ’s High-priestly work, from which the conviction of the efficacy of His one sacrifice follows. His session on the divine throne shows that He is sovereign of the Kingdom which He has established by His Death; and at the same time this fact explains what seems to men His delay in the Sanctuary (Heb. 10:13).

Of the things being spoken of
In the case of,  in the consideration of,  the things which are now being said,  in the argument which we are now conducting.
The reference is to the whole subject of Christ’s High-priesthood which is still under discussion, and not to what has been advanced before.

Such….who sat down
The pronoun  (such)  may be taken either as

Retrospective ‘we have such a High-priest as has been already described, and He sat down….’
Prospective ‘we have such a High-priest…as sat down….’

The parallel in Heb. 7:26 is not decisive either way.  The context however seems to require that Christ’s kingly dignity in the exercise of His priestly office should be specially emphasized, so that the second sense is to be preferred: ‘We have a High-priest who fulfils His office in royal dignity, not as priests on earth; and the scene of His ministry is heaven.

Who sat down
Compare Heb. 10:12; 12:2  (sat down).
The image is taken from Psalms 110.  The writer of the Epistle is at length able to repeat,  after gaining a full view of the significance of the statement,  what he had said at the beginning in Hebrews 1:3  sat down on right hand of the greatness on high.

The idea of  ‘taking the seat’ is distinct from that of  ‘sitting’.
In this connection the full meaning of passages like Revelation 3:21 becomes clear. Christ makes His people also kings and priests.

A striking illustration is quoted from the Hebrew Talmud Shemoth R. Pg. 8 (Wunsche. P. 74). 
‘A king of flesh and blood does not set his crown on another, but God (Blessed be He) will set His crown on King Messiah: Cant. V. 11; Psalms 21:3.’

On the right hand of the throne of the greatness
The power’  was a common Rabbinic name for God in His Majesty: ‘we heard it from the mouth of the Power.’ Compare Mark 14:62  at right hand of power.

The phrase  ‘the throne of the Divine Majesty’ is chosen with reference to the Glory which rested on the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies: Lev. 16:2; compare Ex. 25:22.

The patristic interpretation of  ‘the Majesty’  is uncertain but the Early Church Fathers carefully avoid all  humanization in their treatment of  ‘the right hand of God.'   This Session declares under a natural figure that the Son of man has entered on the full and permanent participation of the divine glory and power.’


Of the Holies minister
A minister of the sanctuary.  The phrase  of  the Holies  is unquestionably neuter: see Hebrews 9:8,12, etc.  It describes  ‘the Sanctuary,’   and specially what is elsewhere (Heb. 9:3) called 'the Holy of Holies.’

There is a significant contrast between the Session of Christ and His ‘serving’.

The two words in fact present the two complementary aspects of 
Christ’s Person and Work,
His divine Majesty and His infinite love.
Christ serves though He reigns
and reigns in serving. 
All that the High-priest did in figure
He does absolutely. 
He makes atonement for men with God: 
He makes God known to men..
Thus in both ways He fulfils their destiny.

Of the tabernacle true…..not man
The action of Christ’s Priesthood extends to all parts of the divine Dwelling.  Thus the more general word tabernacle is added,  but no local distinction can be pressed in regard to the heavenly antitype (archetype). Compare Revelation 15:5; (13:6).

Rev 15:5
After this I looked and in heaven the temple, that is, the tabernacle of the Testimony, was opened.   NIV
Rev 13:6
And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.  KJV

The general thought is that of

The immediate Presence of God
Christ in the High-priesthood of His glorified humanity represents man to God
And the scene of His manifestation to His worshippers.
In His divine Nature represents God to man.

This  ‘Tabernacle,’  which Christ serves and through which God is made known to men,
is the ideal ‘Tabernacle’ of which the earthly Tabernacle was only a symbol.

Ex 25:8-9
(8)  "Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. (9) Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.   NIV

The Lord
Compare v. 11  (Know the Lord)  and also  Jeremiah 31:34 from the LXX.  ‘And they shall no more teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother,  saying,  Know the Lord……’  
Elsewhere in the Epistle  ‘the Lord’ (Jehovah)  is always represented by Lord  (eleven times)  while the Lord is used of Jesus Christ.

8:3,4  -  The fact and the scene of Christ’s High-priestly work.


For every high priest
Compare Heb. 5:1
The fact that the Lord is High-priest- a minister of the sanctuary- involves of necessity and rests upon His performance of  High-priestly functions;  for every High-priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. He must therefore have both:

An offering
That in the virtue of the blood He might find entrance to the Presence of God, as the Aaronic High-priest on the Day of Atonement
A place of approach to God
Fulfilling the type of the Holy of Holies, not on earth (v. 4) and consequently in heaven.

Whence…..which he may offer
Whence it was necessary that this High-priest also should have something to offer.
This offering is described as made once for all  (he may offer  contrasted with  he should offer of Hebrews 9:25; compare also Hebrews 7:27  to offer up).   The one sufficient offering was made by Christ as the condition of entrance into the sanctuary through His own blood (Heb. 9:12).  On this His intercession is based. That intercession knows no end or interruption;  and therefore no second offering is required, as in the case of the Levitical High-priest, who made a fresh offering every year in order that he might again enter and repeat the intercession which had been made before.

The necessary condition of the entrance of our High-priest into the Presence of God throws light upon the difficulty which the Hebrews felt as to His death. Through no less an offering than that of Himself could He come before God for His people.

To have something
That is  ‘Himself’ (Heb. 7:27  to offer up;  Heb. 9:14,25 offered)  
or His ‘Body’ (Heb. 10:10 offering). 

It seems necessary to supply that object which is elsewhere used with  offered  in the same connection. Many have interpreted the 'something' of  ‘the Blood.’  But the Blood was not properly  ‘offered’ in the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement  (yet see Hebrews 9:7).

Heb 9:7
But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.   NIV

It was used as the means of entrance and purification. Even so Christ entered into the Divine Presence ‘through His own Blood’ (Heb. 9:12),  and by that purifies ‘the heavenly things’ (Heb. 9:23)  and the people (Heb. 13:12);  but we do not read that He ‘offered’ it.  The indefinite pronoun,  as contrasted with both gifts and sacrifices,  indicates the mysteriousness of the offering.


If indeed….not even would he be a priest
Now if He were still upon earth, He would not be a priest at all, and therefore still less High-priest
The argument is direct to show that, since Christ as High-priest must do characteristic service,  the scene of His service must be heaven and not earth.  The wish therefore which many entertained for some priestly work of Christ on earth was really fatal to their noblest faith.  It is assumed that there cannot be two divinely appointed orders of earthly priests.  The actual existence and service of one order therefore excludes the possibility of the coexistence of another.

There being….who offer
Seeing there are…. 
The tense of the principal verb fixes the translation of the participle to the present.  This offering is made ‘according to law,’  not  ‘according to the Law.’  The idea is that of the authoritative character of the institution generally, and not of the specific form of the institution.  Compare Hebrews 10:8 (according to the law).

The gifts
Not  ‘gifts’  in the abstract,  but ‘the gifts’  which God requires.  The simple term is here used to include offerings of all kinds  (Heb. 11:4; Matthew 5:23; 23:18.)

Matt 5:23
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you. NIV
Matt 23:18
You also say, `If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is bound by his oath.'   NIV

8:5,6  -  The earthly Levitical service points to that which corresponds with a better covenant.

The Covenant with Israel.
This took place at Sinai, when the people had intimated their acceptance of the words of the covenant as found in the Ten Commandments (Ex 34:28; 24:3) and promised to keep the same.

Their obedience to the commands of the law was to be rewarded by 

God's constant care of Israel,
temporal prosperity,
victory over enemies, 
and the pouring out of His Spirit (Ex 23:20-33). 

The seal of this covenant was to be circumcision and was called  "His covenant"  (Deut 4:13).
It was renewed at different periods of Jewish history (chap. 29; Josh; 2 Chron 15:1; 23; 29; 34; Ezra 10:1; Neh 9:1-10:39).
(Biblesoft - From The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (c) 1988.)   

Jer 31:31-34
(  "The time is coming," declares the LORD,
"when I will make a new covenant 
with the house of Israel 
and with the house of Judah. 
(32)  It will not be like the covenant 
I made with their forefathers 
when I took them by the hand 
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,"
declares the LORD. 
(33)  "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel 
after that time," declares the LORD.
"I will put my law in their minds 
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people. 
(34)  No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
or a man his brother, saying, `Know the LORD,'
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,"
declares the LORD.
"For I will forgive their wickedness 
and will remember their sins no more."      NIV


The qualitative relative  (compare Heb. 2:3; 8:6  which)  emphasizes the character of the Levitical priesthood: priests such as serve that which is a copy and shadow.

The Mosaic system was not complete in itself, original and independent:
It was a copy of an archetype
It had no spiritual substance
It was only a shadow
Compare John 1:17
John 1:17
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.    NIV

Like our word  ‘copy’  the word  representation  expresses 

not only the image which is made by imitation (as here and Heb. 9:23) 
but also the model which is offered for imitation. (Jn. 13:15; James 5:10; 2 Pet. 2:6)

Of the heavenly
Of the heavenly order.
The Tabernacle presented, in figures, the ideas of the Divine Presence and the realities of heaven.

The general idea of the phrase is that of  ‘the heavenly order,’  the scene of the spiritual life with the realities which belong to it.  The abstract term is used here and in Heb. 9:23 to guard (as it seems) against the danger of transferring to another world the local conditions which belong to the earthly tabernacle.

According as was divinely instructed Moses
Even as Moses is warned of God.
The verb  divinely  is used in the active tense of giving a formal answer to an inquirer (as by an oracle), and then of giving an authoritative (divine) direction generally: Jer. 26 (33:2); see Heb. 12:25;  so divine answer Rom. 11:4. Hence the passive is used of the person who receives such a direction: Matthew 2:12,22; Luke 2:26  divinely communicated; Acts 10:22; Heb. 11:7. 

Being about to construct
When he is about  (as destined by the divine counsel: Heb. 11:8)  to put into execution, to make (rather than to complete).  See Heb. 9:6; 2 Cor. 7:1; I Pet. 5:9.

For see, says he, thou make
For See, saith he (meaning God), thou shalt make…  Ex. 25:40 (compare 25:9;27:8). 
All had a prescribed character and  (it is implied)  a divine meaning.

The construction of  thou make  is uncertain.  
It may either go closely with :’See that thou make…’
Or it may be a distinct command:  ‘See, regard attentively, the pattern which is shown; thou shalt make’…as appears to be the sense of the original. 
The  see  belongs to the argument and not to the quotation.

According to the pattern
Compare Acts 7:44.   It is not to be supposed that even Moses saw ‘the heavenly things’ as they are.  He saw them as he had power to see them,  i.e. according to human apprehension.  So Paul heard the divine voice in ‘Hebrew’.  The heavenly things on which Moses was allowed to look took for him a shape,  under the divine guidance,  which could be reproduced on earth.


But now a more excellent
But now, as it is, as the case really stands, he hath obtained.
A covenant generally,  and obviously a covenant between God and man,  requires a mediator,  one who standing between the contracting parties shall bring them duly into fellowship.  

Of a better covenant describes the action of Christ at the establishment of the New Covenant, as surety  
(Heb. 7:22)  describes the position which He holds towards men by assuring them of its validity.
The use of the term suggests a point of superiority in Christ over the Aaronic High-priests.
(From my notes in Leviticus – Paul the learner.)

The Levitical priesthood  (generally)  was incapable of effecting that at which a priesthood aims,  the ‘perfecting’ of the worshipper;  an end which the Priesthood of Christ is fitted to secure.  This is established by the fact that the Levitical priesthood was:

1. Transitory
2. Temporal
1. A new Priesthood was promised (Lev. 7:11-14)
2. Contrasted with that which is eternal, universal. (Lev. 7:15-19)
3. IS Immutable
4. Confirmed by an oath (Lev. 7:20-22)
5. Uninterrupted
6. Embodied for ever in the One Priest (Lev. 7:23-25)

Moses was the ‘mediator’ of the Law  (Gal. 3:19)  but Christ who is the High-priest is also the Mediator of the new ‘Law.’  He combines the office of Moses and Aaron. Compare Heb. 3:1.

Matt 17:5
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!"         NIV

The limited office of  ‘the Mediator of a Covenant’  suggests the thought of the wider work of a Mediator,  which occupied the minds of early speculators on the relation of God to Creation.  Philo, for example, gives a noble picture of the Word standing between the creature and the Father of all,  the messenger of divine order and the inspirer of human hope: (ref. Quis rer. Div. Haer. Pg. 42 (i. 502 M.)

The most perfect example could be Numbers 16:48.

Num 16:48
He stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped.  NIV 

So Jesus now stands between the living (born again believers) and the dead (those who have not accepted his sacrifice), saying ‘come unto me all that are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest’.

Perhaps there is no finer view of the relation of the world to its Maker possible apart from the Incarnation.

Which…..has been established
The superiority of the New Covenant is shown by the superiority of the promises on which its conditions are founded  (‘such that it is,’  ‘seeing that it is,’).  A Covenant necessarily imposes conditions.  And a Covenant made by God is  ‘enacted.’  Thus the Gospel itself,  though in one sense opposed to the Law;  but in itself the ‘perfect Law’ (James 1:25).  Freedom is the absolute consummation of Law.

Acts 2:37-39
(37)  When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" 
(38)  Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 
(39)  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call." NIV

Upon better promises
Such as are contained in the divine description which follows of the spirituality and efficacy of the new relation of man to God, based upon complete forgiveness. 



The student of Scripture will find it of deep interest to trace through the Epistle the gradual unfolding of the thought of Christ’s two offices, concentrated in one Person, and to consider the view which is given of the twofold relation in which He is shown to stand to His people

as High-priest
and as King.

The double thought is indicated plainly in the Introduction: Heb. 1:3.

Heb 1:3
The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.   NIV

The completed Atonement is followed by the assumption of the Royal throne. The idea of priesthood and high-priesthood is then developed; and in Heb. 7:1.

Heb 7:1
This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him.    NIV

The type of Melchizedek is brought forward that which was realized in Abraham, and still more beyond that which was realized in the Levitical order.  This type of Melchizedek is declared to be fulfilled in the ascended Christ, Heb. 8:1. (Comp. 7:16,27).

And Christ as King, having offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, waits upon His throne for the complete establishment of the sovereignty which He has finally won (comp. John 16:33  have overcome):  Heb. 10:11-14.
In These passages the two offices are placed in the closest connection; and the Session of Christ on the right hand of God is,  with one exception (Heb. 1:13),  always connected with the fulfillment of priestly work (Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2).

Thus it is plainly shown that as High-priest Christ fulfilled two types; and we must therefore distinguish two aspects of His High-priestly work:

1. As the fulfillment of the Levitical High-priesthood.
Before His Session (as High-priest)
Fulfilling the type of Aaron
Christ ‘offered Himself’  (Heb. 7:27; 8:3; 9:14; 9:26; 10:10-12)
2. As the fulfillment of the royal High-priesthood of Melchizedek,
After His Session (as High-priest-King)
He entered into the Presence of God  (Heb. 4:14; 6:20; 8:12,16; 9:12,24; 9:23)

The whole discipline of earthly life was the preparation for the final High-priestly service.  When the word it has been finished  (John 19:30)  had declared the fulfillment of every condition, the Lord made the offering of Himself, and so entered into the Presence of God through His own Blood.  Thus He fulfilled the type of the Aaronic High-priesthood.

The passages which deal with Christ’s offering of Himself bring before us successively the fact of

(Heb. 7:27) His sacrifice
(Heb. 8:3) its necessity
(Heb. 9:14) its possibility 
(Heb. 9:25,26,28) its absolute efficacy
(Heb. 10:10) its fullness
(Heb. 10:12-14) its continuous personal validity

So again the passages which deal with Christ’s entrance into the Presence of God declare

(Heb. 4:14) the fact 
(Heb. 6:20) the purpose for man
(Heb. 8:1,2,6) the corresponding work
(Heb. 9:12) the single entrance made once for all
((Heb. 9:23) the purification of the Sanctuary of redeemed humanity

The ‘offering’ and the ‘entrance’ together present the accomplishment of the work typified in the Aaronic priesthood.  This was gathered up into the service of the great Day of Atonement, which was marked by two chief acts,  the double sacrifice,  and the restoration of the covenant fellowship between the people and God by the application of the blood (the life) of the sacrifice to the chosen place of God’s Presence.  So Christ offered Himself upon the Cross and humanity in Himself,  and entering before God,  through His own blood,  realized the abiding fellowship of man and God in His glorified humanity,  openly seen before the face of God  (Heb. 9:24).   By this appearance the ascended Lord perfectly fulfilled that which was typified by the bringing of the blood of the victim as a hallowing power to the Mercy-seat,  the crowning service of the Aaronic priest. In Him, Priest at once and people, the Life which was offered was present in a nobler and eternal form.

Assumption of the Royal High-priest-hood after the type of Melchizedek
Thereupon the Lord entered on the fullness of His work as High-priest-King; and the ideas connected with His Session gain their full interpretation in its connection with 

(Heb. 1:3) His one Divine-human Person 
(Heb. 8:1) His twofold office
(Heb. 10:12,13) The gathering the fruits of His victory
(Heb. 12:2) The efficacy of His present help

After His Session - if we may use words of time of that which is beyond time - He still fulfils his work as ‘High-priest after the order of Melchizedek,’ which we regard under two aspects

As the work of our King
As the work of our High-priest: 

Silence as to the Resurrection
The aspect under which the writer of the Epistle thus regards the work of the Risen Christ explains his silence as to the fact of the Resurrection.  He assumes the permanence of Christ’s perfect humanity through death of which the Resurrection is the pledge; and dwells on the continued activity of Christ in His glorified humanity;  but he refers to the Resurrection directly only once: Hebrews 13:20.

Heb 13:20
May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep.    NIV

He thinks,  so to speak,  as John in his Epistles,  not so much of Christ’s victory as of His triumph.
Yet more,  this treatment was necessarily suggested by the comparison of Christ’s priestly work with the typical service of the High-priest.  Christ occupied the place both of the victim and of the priest,  in regard both to the people and to God;  and in that symbolic service the death of the victim was subordinated to the unbroken ministry of the priest;  and there was nothing in the type which answered to the Resurrection.


The present work of the Glorified and Ascended Son of man for men is indicated to us in the Epistle, in accordance with what has been already said, under two aspects:
1. As the work of a High-priest.
As High-priest He represents man to God
2. As the work of a King.
As King He represents God to man

In the latter relation He is even now the Sovereign of the new Commonwealth, hereafter to be realized in its completeness. But in the present passage the thought is mainly of His High-priestly work. 

The type of the Levitical High-priest
To understand this we must recall the type. The sacrifices on the Day of Atonement provided the means of entrance to the Divine Presence.

The application of the blood removed every impurity which hindered the approach to God of him in whom the people were summed up. 
So cleansed, the representative of  Israel was able to sustain that awful fellowship for which man was made.
And simply standing before the Lord he fulfilled his work.
No words were spoken:  no uttered intercession was made. 
It was enough that man was there according to divine appointment,  to witness in the most emphatic manner to the continued preservation of the established relation of man to God.

The type fulfilled by Jesus Christ
Thus we read in a figure the High-priestly Work of Christ.

(Heb. 1:3) By His offering of Himself  he has made purification of sins 
(Heb. 9:23) He has applied the virtue of His Blood, to speak in earthly language, to the scene of the worship of redeemed humanity
(Revelation 22:3) He has taken His seat upon the throne
entering in His humanity upon the full enjoyment of every privilege won by His perfect fulfillment of the will of God.

Henceforth He applies for the benefit of men the fruits of the Atonement which He has completed.

In three forms
This work is shown to us in the Epistle in three distinct forms, and we have no authority to go beyond its teaching:

1. Christ intercedes for men as their present representative before God.
Heb. 7:25,27;9:24.
2. Christ brings the prayers and praises of His people to God, embodying their true spiritual desires, so that at each moment they become articulate through His Spirit and are brought through Him to the Throne.
Heb. 8:15.
3. Christ secures access for His people in their present state to ‘the holy place,’ where He Himself is, in His Blood—the virtue of His earthly life lived and offered.
Heb. 4:16; 10:19-22.

These three forms of Christ’s work show under the conditions of human experience what He does for humanity eternally.  Our fellowship with God will grow closer,  more perfect,  more conscious,  but still our approach to God,  our worship,  our spiritual harmony,  must always be ‘in Him’ in Whom we have been incorporated.

The modern conception of Christ pleading in heaven His Passion, ‘offering His blood,’ on behalf of men,  has no foundation in the Epistle.  His glorified humanity is the eternal pledge of the absolute efficacy of  His accomplished work. He pleads, as older writers truly expressed the thought,  by His Presence on the Father’s Throne.

Meanwhile men on earth in union with Him enjoy continually through His Blood what was before the privilege of one man on one day in the year.

So far the thought of the priestly work of the Ascended Christ is expressed under the images of the Levitical covenant,  as He works for ‘the people’;  but He has yet another work,  as ‘priest after the order of Melchizedek,’  for humanity.  Through the fulfillment of His work for the Church - the first fruits - that He moves towards the fulfillment of His work for the world.

 The New Covenant  (Heb 8:7 - 13)

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The Levitical system corresponded with a Covenant which was recognized by the prophets as imperfect and transitory, for they spoke of the divine purpose to establish ‘a new Covenant.’   The section consists of

(8:7,8a) A brief introduction
(8:8b-12) The prophetic word
(8:13) A general conclusion
Heb 8:7-13
(7)   For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
(8)   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:
(9)   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.
(10)  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
(11)  And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
(12)  For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
(13)  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.


Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(7)  Or if that first [one] were faultless, not for a second would be sought place.  (8)  For finding fault, to them he says, Lo, days are coming, saith [the] Lord, and I will ratify as regards the house of Israel and s regards the house of Juda a covenant new;  (9)  not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, in [the] day of my taking hold of their hand to lead them out of [the] land of Egypt; because they did not continue in my covenant, and I disregarded them saith [the] Lord.  (10)  Because this [is] the covenant which I will covenant with the house of Israel after those days, says [the] Lord, giving my laws into their mind, also upon hearts their I will inscribe them; and I will be to them for God, and they shall be to me for people.  (11)   And not at all shall they teach each neighbor his, and each his brother. Saying Know the Lord;   because all shall know me, from [the] little [one] of them to [the] great [one] of them. (12) Because merciful I will be to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawlessness in no wise will I remember more.  (13)   In the saying New, he has made old the first; but that which grows old and aged [is] near disappearing.


The teaching of the prophets  (Jer. 31:31) bears witness to the superiority of the New order over the Old which has been affirmed in the last verse, for if the first Covenant had completely fulfilled the purpose to which a Covenant between God and man is directed, then there would have been no room for another. The argument is parallel to that in Hebrews 7:11.

Heb 7:11
If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come-one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron?   NIV

For if…..were faultless
For if that first covenant had been faultless,  fulfilling perfectly the purpose to which it pointed.
Compare Heb. 7:18.

The Law itself is not blamed:  the fault lay with those who received it  (v. 8).  None the less the Covenant did fail,  so far as it brought no consummation of man’s true destiny.

The Covenant is called  first  in contrast with  for a second  by common Greek usage. 
Compare Heb. 9:6;10:9; Acts 1:1.   The addition of the pronoun (first) presents the Old Covenant as occupying the mind of the readers. Compare 2 Cor. 7:8; Matt. 18:32.

Not for a second would be sought place
A place would not have been sought for a second.
God made known His purpose to establish a second Covenant;  but for this,  in the order of His Providence,  fitting conditions were required.  Hence it was not the Covenant itself for which men sought,  but the place for it,  the circumstances under which it could be realized.  The feeling of dissatisfaction,  want,  prompted to a diligent inquiry; and to this the words addressed to Jeremiah - the prophet of the national overthrow and exile - bear witness.
The two imperfect  for were…not for a second  mark a continuous state.  While the first Covenant remained in force,  there was yet searching for something more.  This thought is expressed by:  ‘If the first were….would not be sought.’ Compare Heb. 11:15.


For finding fault, to them
The existence of failure -fault- is established by the language of the Lord to Jeremiah: for finding fault with them, he saith.  
The people were not yet prepared to receive the revelation which God designed to give. 
The Law had not had its perfect work with them. 
They had not lived up to that which they had received.
The reference  in them  (the Israelites)  is supplied from a knowledge of the circumstances.
Compare Heb. 4:8; 11:28.

He says
See also Jeremiah 31:31-34 (chapter 38).
The speaker is the Lord Himself,  not the prophet.  The quotation (Heb. 8:8-12)  is taken, with some variations, from the LXX.,  which,  in the main,  agrees with the Hebrew.  Philo in a remarkable passage places Jeremiah in connection with Moses  (ref. De Cher. Pg. 14; i. 148M.).

The context of the quotation gives it a special force. Jeremiah, at the crisis of national calamity,  pictures the final result of the discipline of the exile into which Judah was now going:

1. (Jer. 30:3) The united people ‘Israel and Judah’ are to return to their land 
2. (Jer. 31:9) Ephraim is again recognized as firstborn
3. (Jer. 31:15) The sorrows of Rachel are consoled
4. (Jer. 31:37) The counsel of divine love finds certain accomplishment

This issue is summed up in the establishment of a New Covenant, by which the fulfillment of the whole of God’s purpose is assured, when trial has done its work. Under this Covenant, grace not law is the foundation of fellowship. God comes to man as giving and not as requiring.

The whole situation is Messianic (the age of the Messiah),  no less than the special words.  The time of national humiliation is the time of ardent hope.  The fall of the Kingdom,  which was of man’s will,  is the occasion of a great promise.  And nowhere else in the Old Testament is the contrast between the Law and the Gospel so definitely traced back to its essential principle.

The promises of the New Covenant are developed in due order.

1. (8:8) The wide range of the Covenant: It includes all the Old Covenant people: Israel and Judah
2. (8:9, 10) Its character:
a. (8:9) Negatively: Not after the type of that on which the people was first established
b. (8:10) Positively: Internal
3. (8:11) Uniformly efficacious
4. (8:12) Resting on complete forgiveness

Lo days are coming
Behold days come - The phrase is singularly frequent in Jeremiah. Jer. 7:32;9:25;16:14;19:6;23:5,7;30:3;31:27etc. Compare Amos 8:11; 9:13; Isa. 39:6.

So Philo (Greek historian),  as has been already noticed,  dwells with special emphasis on the prophetic gifts of Jeremiah.

These ‘last days’ mark a period of trial and judgment.  At the close of them the Divine Covenant is established in its glory.

As regards the house of Israel and as regards the house of Juda
Once again the divided and exiled people shall be brought together (compare 8:10).  The schism which had brought ruin on the kingdom is to have no existence under the new order. See Ezekiel 37:15-23.

Ezek 37:15-23
(15)   The word of the LORD came to me:  (16)  "Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, `Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.  Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, `Ephraim's stick, belonging to Joseph and all the house of Israel associated with him.'  (17)  Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand. 
(18)  "When your countrymen ask you, `Won't you tell us what you mean by this?'  (19)  say to them, `This is what the Sovereign LORD says:  I am going to take the stick of Joseph-which is in Ephraim's hand-and of the Israelite tribes associated with him, and join it to Judah's stick, making them a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.'  (20)  Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on  (21)  and say to them, `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land.  (22)  I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel.  There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.  (23)  They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God.    NIV

To this issue the other great prophets point:  Isaiah xliii;  Ezekiel 16:60.


Not according to the covenant
The Lord having fixed the breadth of His New Covenant, as embracing the whole people, goes on to describe its character, and first negatively (8:9). It is not  according to, after, the pattern  of that which was made at the Exodus. The Covenant was to be not only a second one,  but one of a different type (see Galatians Appendix 1).  For the use of according compare  I Pet. 1:15; Eph. 4:24.

Which I made with their fathers
The original phrase is the same as that rendered just above:  I will ratify as regards (8:8) - (compare 8:10  I will covenant with the house).  These different renderings bring out clearly the conception that the Covenant is a manifestation of the divine purpose of love.  He of His Goodness fixes the terms.

In day of my taking hold of 
The ‘day’ expresses vividly the period which marked the fitting season for the action of God. Compare 2 Cor. 6:2; Jud. 18:30 LXX.

To lead them out of land

The Old Covenant
Is connected with the first formation of the nation and with that sovereign display of God’s power by which he separated externally a people from the world.  This outward deliverance and establishment of the chosen nation stands in natural connection with the idea of the institution of a universal Church.
Compare Isa. 11:16; Hos. 12:9; 13:4.
The Covenant with Abraham
Still remained (Heb. 2:16 Book One of this study). The Law was a first step towards its fulfillment.

Did not continue in
The same original word is used of the Lord annulling His Covenant:  Jer. 14:21.  The LXX rendering expresses forcibly the idea of the constraining, disciplining, power of the Law: ‘Cursed be every man who will not persevere in all the words of this law, to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.’ Deuteronomy 27:26 LXX, (Gal. 3:10).


The positive characteristics of the New Covenant, ‘the better promises’ on which it rests, are to be found in:

(8:10) Its spirituality
(8:11) Its universal efficacy
(8:12) Its assurance of free forgiveness


Because this……I will inscribe them
Because this is the covenant that I will covenant with the house of Israel…..even putting my laws….and upon their heart will I write them

Under the Mosaic system the law was fixed and external - 
The new laws enter into the understanding as active principles to be realized and embodied by progressive thought.
The old law was written on tables of stone -
The new laws are written on the heart and become, so to speak, part of the personality of the believer.

The image is universal. Compare 2 Cor. 3:3.

Philo speaks of the revelation of God Himself as being the highest form of Divine Covenant (ref. De mut. Nom. Pg. 8; i. 587 M.).

The use of the simple dative (I will covenant with the house of Israel.) here as in 8:9 (I made with their fathers) presents God as the disposer, framer, of the Covenant.

The people of God is now again called by its one name ‘the house of Israel.’  The division of Israel and Judah (8:8) has ceased (1948 AD  when Israel again becomes a nation with one people serving one God). 
Compare Acts 2:36; Rom. 11:26; Gal. 6:16; Heb. 4:9; 13:12 note.

After those days
Those days’  from the point of view of the prophet correspond with what the writer of the Epistle has spoken of as ‘the end of these days’ (Heb. 1:2).  The phrase is used peculiarly to mark the period of conflict which immediately precedes the final triumph of Messiah (Comp. Matt. 24:9-14).

Matt 24:9-14
(9)  "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.  (10)  At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,  (11)  and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.  (12)  Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,  (13)  but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.  (14)  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.  NIV 

For more information see my study of Prophecy  ( Paul the Learner).

The participle giving may go with I will covenant:  ‘I will make a covenant even by putting…and I will…’.
Or it may be taken with also upon hearts their I will inscribe: “I will make a covenant even thus, putting my laws….I will also write them….’ 
On the whole the former construction is the more natural. For the transition from the participle to the finite verb compare Moulton-Winer page 717.

And shall be….people
The end of the New Covenant is the same as that of the old. In both cases the purpose of God was to form a people truly His own.   Exodus 6:7.

This end was accomplished externally and typically by the separation and training of the Jewish people; but more than this was required.  The type had to find its fulfillment.  To this fulfillment the prophets looked;  and the apostles proclaimed it:  Revelation 21:3 ; 2 Cor. 6:16.
Nothing is said directly in the prophets or in the Epistle of the admission of the Gentiles into ‘the Commonwealth of Israel.’  This fact is included in the recognition of the essential spirituality of the new Covenant.
Compare Hos. 1:9; 2:1; Isa. 61:9; Zech. 13:9; Heb. 2:17 (of the people)


A second characteristic of the new Covenant follows directly from the first. The people are brought into true fellowship with God, and this involves an immediate knowledge of Him.  No privileged class is interposed between the mass of men and God.  All are true scribes (John 6:45)  in virtue of the teaching within them (I John 2:20,27). All have immediate access to the divine Presence.
The description marks the absolute relation, but does not define how the universal privilege will be in fact realized.

Neighbor….his brother
The more general and the more special relations have their respective obligations.

know…shall know
The Lord will not be a stranger to be first recognized:  all will have an absolute,  inborn,  acquaintance with Him from the least to the greatest.  There will be no distinction of age or station or endowments in respect of this fundamental knowledge.


The third characteristic of the New Covenant is that which contains the pledge of its efficacy.
It rests upon forgiveness on the part of God,  not on performance on the part of man.
Its foundation is grace and not works (John 1:17).
In this lies the assurance against such failure as the Old Covenant brought to light. Compare Isaiah 59:2.

Isaiah 59:2
But your iniquities have separated 
you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
so that he will not hear.   

Because merciful I will be
The New Covenant will be efficacious,  for God Himself says I will be merciful. See Jeremiah 31:34.

Jeremiah 31:34
No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
or a man his brother, saying, `Know the
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,"
declares the
"For I will forgive their wickedness 
and will remember their sins no more

See God’s forgiveness of sin: I Kings 8:34; and of men: Num. 14:20; Jer. 5:1,7.

In connection with this promise of forgiveness the prophetic disparagement of sacrifices and ritual as spiritually inefficacious must be noticed. The development of this inward religion begins with I Sam. 15:22; compare Psalm 1:8; Hos. 6:4; Amos 5:21; Micah 6:6; Isa. 1:11.

In the writings of Jeremiah,  on the eye of the long exile,  when the sacrificial ritual became impossible,  it was natural in the order of divine Providence that the realities symbolized by sacrifices should be brought into prominence.  Compare Jer. 7:21-26.

Jer. 7:21-26
(21)  "`This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices and eat the meat yourselves!  (22)  For when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices,  (23)  but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you.  (24)  But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.  (25)  From the time your forefathers left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent you my servants the prophets.  (26)  But they did not listen to me or pay attention.  They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their forefathers.'  NIV

Sacrifice,  however,  had its place in restored Israel:  Jer. 33:11. Compare Isa. 56:7;66:20; Mal. 1:10.


The conclusion goes beyond that which the prophetic passage was quoted to establish.  The New Covenant is not only better,  and founded upon better promises than the Old;  but,  yet more,  it supersedes the Old.  The characteristics of the New Covenant,  and the very name which it bears,  point to the abrogation of that which has now become ‘the old.’

In the saying
In that he saith. Compare Heb. 2:8; 3:15.

He has made old
By the use of the term ‘new’ in reference to another Covenant God has necessarily placed the other Covenant in the position of ‘old’ relatively.  Even in the days of Jeremiah this sentence stands already written. (perfect). Compare v. 5  divinely instructed.

That which grows old and aged
The divine words spoken to the prophets were accomplished slowly on the scene of life.  The addition of  aged adds a new thought.  When that which is temporal has existed a long time it draws to its natural end.

Near disappearing
Nigh unto vanishing away.  For a time the continuance of the Temple services gave to the Old Order,  an outward semblance of enduring reality even after it was essentially abrogated by fulfillment.

Retrospective View  (9:1 - 5)

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The Old Service And The New
The Atonement Of The Law And The Atonement Of Christ
Hebrews 9

Having pointed out generally the new scene and the new conditions of Christ’s High-priestly work, the writer goes on to consider it in detail in comparison with that of the Levitical system. 

(Heb. 9:1-10) He describes with affectionate reverence the ordered arrangements of the Old Sanctuary and its furniture, and the limited privileges of the Old Priesthood 
(Heb. 9:11-28) He places in contrast with these the High-priestly Atonement of Jesus Christ resting upon a New Covenant (Jer. 31:31), of which the issue will yet be revealed in glory.

Heb. 9:1-10The Sanctuary and Priests under the Old Covenant
This section falls into three sub-divisions:

(Heb. 9:1-5) The Tabernacle - its parts and furniture
(Heb. 9:6,7) The priestly Service of the Tabernacle
(Heb. 9:8-10) The lesson of the restrictions of the service

Heb. 9:1-5

Heb 9:1-5
(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.
(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;
(5)  And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercy seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(1)   Had indeed therefore also the first tabernacle ordinances of service, and the sanctuary, a worldly [one]. (2)   For a tabernacle was prepared, the first, in which [were] both the lampstand and the table and the presentation of the loaves, which is called holy(3)  after but the second veil a tabernacle with [is] called holy of Holies(4)   a golden having censer, and the ark of the covenant, having been covered round in every part with gold, in which [was the] pot golden having the manna, and the rod of Aaron that sprouted, and the tablets of the covenant(5)   and above it [the] cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; concerning which it is not now [the time] to speak in detail.

The Tabernacle - its parts and furniture

The writer begins his account of the High-priestly service of Christ with a retrospective view of the Levitical Service; and in doing this he first describes the Tabernacle - the divinely appointed scene of its performance - and not the Temple,  with its parts and its characteristic furniture.  As he had spoken at the close of the last chapter of the imminent disappearance of the old system,  he now pauses for a moment to dwell upon the glories of that Old Covenant before he contrasts them with the supreme glory of the Christian order.  He seems indeed to linger over the sacred treasures of the past;  and there is a singular pathos in the passage, which is unique in the New Testament.  There was,  he says,   something majestic and attractive in the Mosaic ordinances of worship. Christians do not question the fact;  no rather,  when they acknowledge the beauty and meaning of the Law they can understand the Gospel better.

For a better understanding on the subject of both the Tabernacle and the work of the Priests of God during that time in history, please study on Exodus and Leviticus, which shows that Jesus in types is pictured not only in the cross in the arrangement of the furniture of the Tabernacle but also in each and every offering which points to Jesus who is our sacrifice.   (Paul the Learner)


Had indeed therefore also the first
Now even the first covenant had… The past tense  (had)  can be explained in different ways. 

The writer may regard the original institution of the Mosaic ritual (v. 2  was prepared);
Or he may regard the system as essentially abrogated by the fulfillment of Christ’s work. 

But it seems more likely that the writer is considering the Mosaic system in its divine constitution. 

The particles  indeed therefore  correspond with the things in verse 6.  There were divine and significant elements in the service which corresponded with the first Covenant,  but they were subject to particular limitations in use.  The Christian Order  (9:11  But Christ)  offers a contrast to both parts of this description:

its institutions are spiritual, 
and its blessings are for all. 

The combination does not occur again in the Epistle; and it is found in Paul’s writings in  I Cor. 9:25; Phil. 2:23.
It is frequent in the Acts (8:4,25 etc.).

If the  also  is retained  (also the first)  it emphasizes the parallel of the Covenants.  Though the first was destined to pass away,  it had,  no less than the second,  ordinances of divine institution.

Ordinances of service
The word righteous justification occurs again in a similar sense in v. 10 setting things right.  Righteous justification expresses the process (Rom. 4:25  our justification; 5:18  justification of life),  corresponding to righteous justification,  to make right  (righteous)  in the widest sense.  
Two main meanings at once arise as the object of the verb is:

A word  The righteous justification may be  ‘that which is declared right,’
An ordinance or a sentence pronounced by an authoritative power.
A deed that which is rightly done,’ 
Righteousness realized in act.

And the sanctuary, a worldly
And its sanctuary a sanctuary of this world
The peculiar form of expression is chosen in order to recognize the familiar and characteristic place of the Mosaic worship - the Holy place - and at the same time to distinguish it from its antitype (compare Heb. 7:24; I Pet. 4:8). The conjunction the is rarely used by itself in the Epistles: Heb. 1:3; 6:5; 12:2; Rom. 2:19; 16:26; I Cor. 4:21; Eph. 3:19.   It marks something which is not regarded as distinct from and coordinate with that with which it is connected,  but which serves to complete the fullness of one main idea.

The singular   and sanctuary  in the sense of  the sanctuary  is not found elsewhere in the New Testament.  Here it appears to give naturally the general notion of the sanctuary without regard to its different parts.

The Mosaic sanctuary was not only  ‘on earth’,  as opposed to  ‘in heaven’  (v. 23; 8:5;11:16),  but it partook of the nature of the world,  and was therefore essentially transitory.  There does not appear to be any reference to the familiar thought that the Tabernacle was a symbol of the world.  But in connection with this thought it is to be remarked that both Josephus and Philo speak of the Jewish service as having a universal, a ‘cosmically,’ destination.  Such an interpretation however belongs to the later development of Judaism and not prominently to its first institution,  though indeed it had from the first a universal element.


For a tabernacle….the first
For a tabernacle (tent) was prepared, the first
The  outermost  as approached by the worshipper.  The writer explains and justifies the general statement in v. 1. For this construction by which a noun first regarded indefinitely (‘a tabernacle’)  is afterwards defined (‘the first’), see Heb. 6:7;2 John 7; Acts 10:41; Phil. 3:6.

The two parts of the Tabernacle are regarded as two Tabernacles.

Was prepared
Compare Heb. 3:3
The tense points to the first construction of the Tabernacle.  Contrast v. 6  having been prepared.
Note if you will the pieces of furniture that is mentioned:

The Lampstand
Speaks of Jesus who is the ‘light of the world’
The Table of Shewbread
Speaks of Jesus who is the ‘the true bread of heaven’

For further information please study Exodus and Leviticus.  (Paul the Learner)

Which is called holy
Which is called the Holy place.
The qualitative relative  (which)  directs attention to the features of the place which determines its name as  ‘Holy.’ Perhaps it is chosen to fix attention on the character of the sanctuary, as in other cases.  The plural suggests the idea of the sanctuary with all its parts.

Philo interprets the three things in the Holy Place, the Candlestick, the Table and the Golden Altar of Incense, as symbolic of thanksgiving from all parts of creation - heavenly, human, elemental.


After but the second veil
And after the second veil
This is the only place in which  after  is used in this local sense in the New Testament.

A tabernacle which [is] called holy of Holies
A tabernacle (tent) was prepared which is called the Holies of Holies
This innermost sanctuary is also called simply  holy place  in Leviticus 16:2.  The Holy of Holies was a cube, like the New Jerusalem in the vision of the Revelation: Revelation 21:16.

Note: It is interesting that the curtain that covered both the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies could not touch the ground on either side but in the back it was made to touch the earth.  The reason is that during the 1,000 year reign of Jesus Christ,  the earth has been cleansed and is no longer corrupt.


A golden having censer
Having a golden alter of incense  -  The word  censer  has two distinct meanings:

1. Altar of incense
2. Censer

And from very early times each has been adopted here.

External evidence of Philo and Josephus makes this the Altar of incense and not just a censer.

According to Westcott: 

If now we turn to internal evidence it appears to be most unlikely that the ‘golden altar’ (Exodus 30:1; 37:25), one of the most conspicuous and significant of the contents of the Tabernacle, on which other writers dwell with particular emphasis, should be omitted from the enumeration here; and no less unlikely that a golden censer should be mentioned in its place, while no such vessel is mentioned in the Old Testament as part of the furniture of the Holy of Holies, or even in special connection with the service of the Day of Atonement. The mention in the Mishna (Hebrew Talmud) [Joma, 4.4] of the use of a golden censer on the Day of Atonement, instead of the silver censer used on other days, does not furnish sufficient explanation for the place which it would hold here in the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle. Nor indeed is there any evidence that the censer so used was in any sense part of the furniture of the Holy of Holies: on the contrary it was removed after the service [Joma,7.4).
At first sight however it is difficult to understand how the Altar of incense could be described as part of the furniture of the Holy of Holies; or, to speak more exactly, as properly belonging to it. But this phrase probably suggests the true explanation. The Altar of incense bore the same relation to the Holy of Holies as the Altar of burnt offering to the Holy place. (the Altar of burnt offerings was outside of the Holy place just like the Altar of incense is to the Holy of Holies). It furnished in some sense the means of approach to it. Indeed it points clearly to something different from just a mere position. The Ark and the Altar of incense typified the two innermost conceptions of the heavenly Sanctuary, see Revelation 8:3,4, the Manifestation of God and the spiritual worship of man.

Rev 8:3-4

(3)  And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
(4)  And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.

And thus they are placed in significant connection in the Pentateuch (5 books of Moses): Exodus 30:6; compare Leviticus 4:7; 16:12,18 (before the Lord).

In one passage indeed (I Kings 6:22) the Altar of incense is described in language closely resembling that which is used here as ‘belonging to the shrine

1 Kings 6:22

So he overlaid the whole interior with gold. He also overlaid with gold the altar that belonged to the inner sanctuary. 

On the whole therefore it appears that both the evidence of language and the evidence of the symbolism of the passage are in favor of the sense ’Altar of incense’.  This sense is given by the Old Testament.  The Syriac is ambiguous:  incense-vessel (lit. house of perfumes).
It may be added that in the service of the Day of Atonement the Golden Altar was treated in the same manner as the Holy of Holies by the sprinkling of blood: Exodus 30:7-10.

Ex 30:7-10

(7)  "Aaron must burn fragrant incense on the altar every morning when he tends the lamps.  (8)  He must burn incense again when he lights the lamps at twilight so incense will burn regularly before the LORD for the generations to come.  (9)  Do not offer on this altar any other incense or any burnt offering or grain offering, and do not pour a drink offering on it.  (10)  Once a year Aaron shall make atonement on its horns. This annual atonement must be made with the blood of the atoning sin offering for the generations to come.
It is most holy to the LORD."     NIV

In prophetic imagery also there is an altar in heaven (Isaiah 6:6; Revelation 8:3).  The type of heaven therefore could not be without its proper altar;  though it was not placed locally within it.

Isa 6:6

Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand,  which he had taken with tongs from the altar.    NIV

Rev 8:3

Another angel,  who had a golden censer,  came and stood at the altar.  He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints,  on the golden altar before the throne.    NIV

Perhaps it is worthy of notice that in the legend mentioned in 2 Macc. 2:5 (see Catholic Bible) Jeremiah hides the Ark and the Altar of incense in the cave.

The ark of the covenant
The writer of the Epistle,  as has been noticed before,  fixes attention on the Mosaic type,  the Tabernacle. The Ark,  which had belonged to the Tabernacle,  was placed in Solomon’s Temple (I Kings 8:1);  but in the later Temple the Holy of Holies was entirely empty  (see Josephus History).  The site which the Ark should have occupied was marked by  ‘the stone of foundation’  which was a raised platform on which,  according to a late tradition,  the sacred Tetragrammation  (YHWH – Special name of God spoken only on the Day of Atonement by the High Priest)  was inscribed. Compare Buxtorf, Lex. S.v.

Having been covered round in every part with gold
This clause is added predicatively: ‘the Ark of the covenant, an Ark overlaid all round about with gold,’

Exodus 16:32.  The epithet,  ‘a golden pot,’  is an addition to the Hebrew text which is found in the LXX.  (Exodus 16:33).  In the Pentateuch the pot of manna and Aaron’s rod are said to be laid up ‘before the Testimony’ (Exodus 16:34; Numbers 17:10; compare Exodus 25:16,21) and not definitely in the Ark.

The significance of the Manna is indicated in Revelation 2:17.

Rev 2:17

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. 

The solemn repetition of the word emphasizes the splendor of this typical sanctuary.  Gold was the characteristic metal of the Holy of Holies.  Compare I Kings 7:48.  It is remarkable that Ezekiel in describing the Temple of his vision makes no mention of the materials of which it was constructed.

The pot of manna and Aaron’s rod are not mentioned in Scripture except in the places of the Pentateuch referred to,  and here in Hebrews.  When the Ark was removed to the Temple of Solomon it contained only the Tables of the Law  (I Kings 8:9; compare Josephus Ant. 3.6,5).

1 Kings 8:9

There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt. 

 Josephus Antiquities of the Jews Book 3 Chap. 6 # 5 Page 73:

‘There was also an ark made,  sacred to God,  of wood that was naturally strong,  and could not be corrupted. This was called Eron, in our own language … In this ark he put the two tables whereon the ten commandments were written,  five upon each table,  and two and a half upon each side of them;  and this ark he placed in the most holy place.’ 

Chrysostom remarks that those memorials in the Ark were monuments of the rebellious spirit of Israel.


And above it
And above it, i.e. the Ark,  Cherubim of glory  (Exodus 25:18),  not simply ‘glorious Cherubim,’ as if the epithet characterized their nature,  but ‘Cherubim of glory’ ministering to the divine revelation.  The divine glory, the revelation of God’s majesty, was in a peculiar sense connected with them.  God revealed Himself  ‘from between them’: Ex. 25:22; Num. 7:89; I Sam. 4:4; 2 Sam. 6:2; 2 Kings. 19:15; Isa. 37:16.


The Cherubim are treated as living creatures (Revelation 4:6). Compare Exodus 25:20.
This rendering was taken from use made of the  ‘covering’   on the Day of Atonement when it was sprinkled with the atoning blood:  Leviticus 16:15.

Significant Limitations  (9:6 - 10)

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After speaking of the material arrangements of the Sanctuary,  the writer goes on to show the significant limitations which determined the use of it.  The priests entered day by day into the holy place: 

(vv. 6,7) The High-priest once in the year, with special ceremonies,  into the Holy of Holies
(vv. 8-10)  As yet,  under the Mosaic order,  it was clearly taught that there was no free access to God.

The people could only approach him through their representatives;  and these had only a partial right of drawing near to Him. 

Though there was an august array of typical instruments and means of service,  the access to the Divine Presence was not yet open.

The Holy Place
This part of the Sanctuary was open to the priests.
The Holy place was the scene of man’s worship,  and the way by which he approached God.
The Holy of Holies
This part to the High-priest only on a single day in each year.
The Holy of Holies symbolized the Divine Presence itself.

Thus the Tabernacle witnessed constantly to the aim of man and to the fact that he could not as yet attain it. He could not penetrate to that innermost sanctuary to which he necessarily looked,  and from which blessing flowed. The same institutions which brought forcibly to the soul of the Israelite the thought of Divine Communion made him feel that he could not yet enjoy it as it might be enjoyed.

Heb 9:6-10
(6)   Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.
(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:
(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:
(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, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
 (6)  Now these things thus having been prepared, into the first tabernacle at all times enter the priests, the services accomplishing;  (7)  but into the second once in the year alone the high priest, not apart from blood, which he offers for himself and the of the people sins of ignorance:   (8)  this signifying the Spirit the Holy, [that] not yet has been made manifest the of the Holies way, still the first tabernacle having a standing;  (9)  which [is] a simile for the time present, in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered, not being able as to conscience to prefect him who serves, [consisting(10)  only in meats and drinks and divers washings, and ordinances of flesh, until [the] time of setting things right imposed.

The priestly service of the Sanctuary


Now these things
But when these things have been thus prepared
The perfect tense in the Greek  having been  expresses that the historical foundations (v. 2  was prepared)  issued in an abiding system (compare 9:8  has been made manifest  and 9:18  has been inaugurated).

Into the first tabernacle…enter….accomplishing
Into the first  (v. 2) tabernacle,  the Holy place, the scene of spiritual,  symbolic worship,  the priests enter continually accomplishing the services….

The present  (accomplishing)  expresses the ideal fulfillment of the original Mosaic institution. The writer here deals only with the original conception realized in the Tabernacle,  though elsewhere (Heb. 8:4)  he recognizes the perpetuation of the Levitical ritual;  and the existing Temple system was naturally present to his mind as the representation of it. 

The services accomplishing
Accomplishing the divine services,  such as:

The placing and removal of the shewbread on the Sabbath  (Leviticus 24:5)
The offering of incense every morning and evening
The dressing of the lamps  (Exodus 30:7)

The Service Of  The Day Of Atonement

The ritual of the Day of atonement,  ‘the Day’  (Hebrew word is Joma),  is presented to the mind of the writer of Hebrews throughout this section of the Epistle,  and it will be convenient to set out the Levitical ordinances in a clear form,  that the relation of their typical teaching to the work of Christ may be distinctly seen  (Reference Leviticus 16; 23:26-32; compare Leviticus 25:9; Numbers 29:11; Ezekiel Xlvi. 18).
In the Hebrew Talmud, the Mishnaic treatise called Joma,  of which there is a convenient edition by Sheringham,  gives some additional details as to later usage;  and Delitzsch has given a translation of the full account of the service by Maimonides, Moses (1135-1204 AD).  Foremost medieval Jewish philosopher. To the edition of Sheringham’s Joma of 1696 is added a very elaborate comparison of the work of the High-priest with that of Christ by J. Rhenferd.

The Service of the Day summed up and interpreted the whole conception of Sacrifices, which were designed by divine appointment to gain for man access to God.

In the same way the High-priest summed up and interpreted the whole conception of consecration and religious service,  represented in different stages by the people,  the Levites, the priests.
The occasion of the institution of the Service illustrates its central thought.  It followed on the death of the eldest sons of Aaron,  Nadab and Abihu,  for  ‘offering strange fire’ (Leviticus 10:6; 16:1; compare Numbers 3:4; 26:61).  The way of access to God was not yet freely open:  even the most privileged servants could only draw near as God provided a way.

1. The day was the one Fast of the Law: Acts 27:9 (the fast).
2. All the ordinary priestly duties of the day were done by the High-priest in his  ‘golden robes,’  and according to custom he prepared for his work by a retirement of seven days.
3. On the day itself, after bathing,  the High-priest put on his [white] linen robes (Leviticus 16:4; compare Luke 9:29)  as representing the people before God,  while  ‘the golden robes’  were appropriate to the messenger of God to the people.
4. Then the victims for the congregation and for the High-priest were prepared and presented 
For Sin Offerings a bullock for the High-priest,
and two goats for the people
For Burnt-Offerings a ram for each: Leviticus 16:3,5,6), 
and one of the two goats was assigned by lot ‘to the Lord’ and the other ‘to Azazel’ (Lev. 16:8).
5. All being thus made ready,  the High-priest killed the bullock,  and made atonement  ‘for himself and for his house’ (the priesthood),  entering within the veil,  under cover of a cloud of incense that  ‘he might not die’ (Lev. 16:11; compare v. 2).
6. After this  (and according to the later ritual he returned meanwhile from the Holy of Holies and re-entered it with the blood)  he took of the blood and sprinkled it with his finger ‘upon the mercy seat eastward,’ and ‘before the mercy seat seven times’ (Lev. 16:14).
7. So the High-priest and the scene of the manifestation of God were duly atoned,  and the High-priest was able to act for the people.  He then killed the goat, the sin-offering for the people,  and dealt with its blood as with the blood of the bullock (Lev. 16:15).  As in the ordinary sacrifices the blood was applied in some cases to the altar of burnt-offering and in other cases to the altar of incense,  so now it was brought to the mercy seat.
8. Afterwards the High-priest  ‘made atonement
for the Holy place,  being there alone (Exodus 30:10),
and for the altar of burnt-offering (Lev. 16:16).
9. Atonement having been thus made for priests and people and the whole place of service  (the sanctuary in its three parts),  the High-priest ‘laid both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confessed over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel [with which the Law dealt]…putting them upon the head of the goat, and sent it away….into the wilderness’ (Lev. 16:20-22).  Special service was ended.
10. The High-priest put off  his linen garments in the Holy place,  washed himself,  put on his robes and offered the burnt-offerings for himself and the people,  ‘and made an atonement for himself and the people'  (Lev. 16:23).
11. Last of all the bodies of the sin-offerings were carried without the camp and wholly consumed (Lev. 16:27).

Thus in a figure year by year the people had access to the Presence of God in the person of the High-priest. The fellowship between God and the people,  established by the Covenant but married by sins against its conditions,  was restored.  By the virtue of an offered life communion became possible.
To this end there was a double sacrifice for the High-priest and for the people,  and a double representation of the people by the High-priest and by the sin-offering;  and till the atonement was made for the High-priest he could only enter the Holy of Holies under the cloud of incense.

It is needless to point out the general fulfillment of the type by Jesus Christ.  One point only,  which appears to have been left unnoticed,  may be suggested for consideration.  The High-priest entered  ‘the unseen’ twice,  once for himself,  once for the people.  May we not see in this a foreshadowing of the two entrances of Christ into  ‘the unseen’?  Once He entered,  and came back victorious over death, ready in His glorified humanity to fulfill His work for His people.  Again He entered the unseen  ‘to appear before the face of God for us,’ and hereafter returning thence  ‘He shall appear a second time to them that wait for Him.'
Lev 16:1-2

The sacrifices and purification’s enjoined thus far did not suffice to complete the reconciliation between the congregation of Israel,  which was called to be a holy nation,  but in its very nature was still altogether involved in sin and uncleanness,  and Jehovah the Holy One - that is to say, to restore the perfect reconciliation and true vital fellowship of the nation with its God,  in accordance with the idea and object of the old covenant - because,  even with the most scrupulous observance of these directions,  many sins and defilement’s would still remain unacknowledged,  and therefore without expiation,  and would necessarily produce in the congregation a feeling of separation from its God,  so that it would be unable to attain to the true joyousness of access to the throne of grace,  and to the place of reconciliation with God.  This want was met by the appointment of a yearly general and perfect expiation of all the sins and uncleanness which had remained unatoned for and uncleansed in the course of the year.  In this respect the laws of sacrifice and purification received their completion and finish in the institution of the festival of atonement,  which provided for the congregation of Israel the highest and most comprehensive expiation that was possible under the Old Testament.  Hence the law concerning the day of atonement formed a fitting close to the ordinances designed to place the Israelites in fellowship with their God,  and raise the promise of Jehovah,  "I will be your God,"  into a living truth.  This law is described in the present chapter, and contains

(1) (vv. 2-28) The instructions as to the performance of the general expiation for the year.
(2) (vv. 29-34) Directions for the celebration of this festival every year.

From the expiation effected upon this day it received the name of  "day of expiations," i.e., of the highest expiation (Lev 23:27).  The Rabbins call it briefly 'yowmaa', the day kat' exochee'n.
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Lev 16:1
In spite of all the sacrifices made during the year for the members of the congregation of Israel and for the priests themselves,  there still remained sins and uncleanness for which atonement had to be made if the right relationship between God and his people was to be maintained.  Hence a particular day was inaugurated upon which the ritual performed by the high priest would accomplish the reconciliation of the nation with its God.  Heb 9  gives the significance of the ceremony to the Christian in such a clear picture that Lev 16 may truly be designated the pinnacle of the Old Testament sacrificial system.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)


But into the second….high-priest
But into the second tabernacle,  the tabernacle beyond  ‘the second veil’ (v. 3),  the symbol of the immediate Divine Presence,  the High-priest alone,  once in the year,  that is, on one day in the year,  though on that day he entered twice  (Leviticus 16:12), or, according to the later tradition,  four times (Mishnah Joma v. 1,7,4).

The words,  once….alone the high-priest,  emphasize the restrictions with which the approach was beset.  There was only one occasion of entrance,  and the entrance was allowed to one representative of the people only.  And even he entered only in the power of another life  (compare Heb. 10:19  by the blood).

Not apart from blood……sins of ignorance
The High-priest first took the blood of the bullock, which was a sin-offering for himself, within the veil, and sprinkled it seven times before the Mercy seat (Lev. 16:11).

Lev 16:11

He was then to slay the bullock of the sin-offering,  and make atonement for himself and his house (or family, i.e.,  for the priests, v. 33).  But before bringing the blood of the sin-offering into the most holy place, he was to take "the filling of the censer (machtah, a coal-pan, Ex 25:38) with fire-coals," i.e., as many burning coals as the censer would hold,  from the altar of burnt-offering,  and "the filling of his hands," i.e., two hands full of  "fragrant incense" (Ex 30:34),  and go with this within the vail, i.e., into the most holy place,  and there place the incense upon the fire before Jehovah,  "that the cloud of (burning) incense might cover the capporeth above the testimony, and he might not die."  The design of these instructions was not that the holiest place,  the place of Jehovah's presence,  might be hidden by the cloud of incense from the gaze of the unholy eye of man,  and so he might separate himself reverentially from it,  that the person approaching might not be seized with destruction.
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

After this he offered the goat which was a sin-offering for the people,  and brought the blood of this within the veil, and did with it as with the blood of the bullock  (Lev. 16:15).

Lev 16:15

After this he was to slay the he-goat as a sin-offering for the nation, for which purpose, of course, he must necessarily come back to the court again, and then take the blood of the goat into the most holy place, and do just the same with it as he had already done with that of the ox.  A double sprinkling took place in both cases:
The First Sprinkling
Upon or against the capporeth, which was performed once only, was for the expiation of the sins, first of the high priest and his house, and then of the congregation of Israel (Lev 4:7, and 18)
The Second Sprinkling
Was repeated seven times, and was for the expiation of the sanctuary from the sins of the people. 

This is implied in the words of v. 16a,  "and so shall he make expiation for the most holy place, on account of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and on account of their transgressions with regard to all their sins,"  which refer to both the sacrifices;  since Aaron first of all expiated the sins of the priesthood,  and the uncleanness with which the priesthood had stained the sanctuary through their sin,  by the blood of the bullock of the sin-offering;  and then the sins of the nation,  and the uncleanness with which it had defiled the sanctuary, by the he-goat, which was also slain as a sin-offering.
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

This sprinkling of the blood is regarded in a wider sense as an  ‘offering’ (Lev. 1:5)  which he makes for himself and for the ignorance’s of the people.  The most general phrase is used in regard to the High-priest.

The lesson of the restrictions of the service

The restrictions which limited the approach of priests and High-priest to God contained an obvious lesson. There was no way to God opened by the Law. The Law had a symbolical, disciplinary, value and looked forward to a more perfect system.


This signifying the spirit the Holy
There is a divine meaning both in the words of Scripture and in the ordinances of worship. The spirit which inspired the teaching and fixed the ritual Himself discloses it, and this He does continuously as long as the veil rests over any part of the record.

Not yet has been made manifest
That the way into the Holy place hath not yet been made manifest while the first tabernacle hath still an appointed place.  It is evident that this phrase ‘the Holy place’ must include ‘the Holy of Holies,’ the symbolic Presence of God (v. 12; 24; 10:19), even if it does not mean this exclusively.  Perhaps however a general phrase is chosen by the Apostle to include both:

The scene of Worship 
The people had no way into the Holy place which was open to the priests only
The scene of the Divine Revelation
The priests had no way into the Holy of Holies which was open to the High-priest alone

The Pre-Christian Idea Of Sacrifice

Sacrifice Universal

There is no reason to think that Sacrifice was instituted in obedience to a direct revelation.
It is mentioned in Scripture at first as natural and known.
It was practically universal in pre-Christian times.
In due time the popular practice of Sacrifice was regulated by revelation as disciplinary, and also used as a vehicle for typical teaching.
Sacrifice,  in fact,  in the most general form,  belongs to the life of man,  and,  in the truest sense,  expresses the life of man.  It is essentially the response of love to love,  of the son to the Father,  the rendering to God in grateful use of that which has been received from Him.  Language cannot offer a more impressive example of moral degeneration in words,  than the popular connection of thoughts of loss and suffering with that which is a divine service.

In considering the Biblical teaching on Sacrifice we must take account of:

I.   Natural Conceptions
II.   Biblical Teaching
Natural Conceptions
Sacrifices as a tribute
The natural idea of sacrifices in each case is shaped by the view which is entertained by men of their relation to the unseen.
They recognize, to speak generally, a relation of dependence on unseen powers, conceived after their own likeness. Hence they bring a royal tribute, as to some earthly king, either:
Regular offerings, from a common sense of obligation.
Special offerings, in respect of particular occasions.
Biblical Teaching
(1) Primitive Sacrifice
Pre-Mosaic sacrifice is presented to us in two forms:
Genesis 4:4
No altar is mentioned.
Cain and Abel
Both offerings are called (gift: compare Gen. 32:14; Num. 16:15; I Sam.2:17; 26:19.
The narrative implies that: 
The material is indifferent. 
The spirit of the offerer is that to which God looks  
‘Abel and his offering,’
‘Cain and his….’          Compare Hebrews 11:4
Genesis 8:20
An Altar is now first mentioned.
The offerings are ‘of every clean beast and every clean fowl.’ 
Thus we have the widest offering: a universal consecration in worship of all that is for man’s support.
(2) Patriarchal Sacrifice
An Altar at Shechem Genesis 12:6,7,8; 13:4  (Joshua 24:1,26)
An altar at Hebron Genesis 13:18     (2 Samuel 15:7)
The Covenant offerings Genesis 15:9 
Animals allowed by the Levitical Law.
For the birds see Leviticus 1:14-17
At Moriah Genesis 22:1    The practice of sacrifice familiar  (v. 7)
The offering of Isaac is a critical point in the history of the Biblical teaching on Sacrifice. It is shown that the most absolute faith and devotion exists without the material exhibition of it. The human sacrifices of Canaan were most effectively condemned by the clear proof that the element of good to which they witnessed was wholly independent of their horrors.
It was plainly declared what God would and what He would not have.
Isaac, the child of promise, was a second time given to faith. Faith received him at his birth, as a divine gift, and again from death. He became the sign of God and of human self-surrender: Hebrews 11:19.
Under the Law the first-born were given representatively:  Exodus 22:29.
Beer-sheba  An altar  -  Genesis 26:25
(the altar first, then the tent)  Compare Genesis 21:33
Beth-el A ‘pillar’  -  Genesis 28:18      
Compare Gen. 31:45; 35:14; Ex. 24:4;  Isaiah 19:19: ‘pillars’ forbidden, Deut. 16:22. Compare Gen. 35:7 (an altar: El-beth-el).
Mizpah A sacrifice and feast  -  Genesis 31:54      
a ‘pillar’ and ‘heap’ set up. Compare Gen. 26:30;
Ex. 24:11; 2 Sam. 3:20
Shalem An altar  -  Genesis 33:20     
El-elohe-Israel   (comp. Gen. 35:7; Ex. 17:15)
Beth-el  An altar  -  Genesis 35:1,7      
(comp. Gen. 28:18).   A drink-offering first mentioned.
Beer-sheba Sacrifices  -  Genesis 46:1         (comp. Gen. 26:25)
The student of Scripture will notice the wide range of details in these incidents.
(3) Idea represented
On the other hand there is no trace of the idea of:
A. A vicarious substitution of the victim for the person offering it
(not Gen. 22:13; comp. Mic. 6:7)
B. Propitiation
The thoughts of (a) gratitude and (b) tribute are dominant.
There is no application of the blood before the Law.
The perfect ‘naturalness’ of the record is most impressive.
God is invited to share in the common feast: fellowship with God is realized by the worshipper
In Exodus 18:12 we have the transition to the new order. Here the primitive conception of sacrifice is fully recognized when it was about to be replaced by a more definite typical teaching. The sacrifice of Jethro bears the same relation to the Levitical Law of sacrifice as the appearance of Melchisedec to the Levitical Law of Priesthood.
The Covenant sacrifice
In Exodus 24:4-11 specific mention is made of ‘burnt-offerings,’ ‘peace-offerings,’ and of the sprinkling of the blood.
(4) The Levitical Sacrifices include the true ethnic thoughts
The Levitical Sacrifices were based upon existing customs (Lev. 17:1-7).
They were in some sense a concession to the spiritual immaturity of the people (Jeremiah 7:22); but at the same time the legislation by which they were regulated guarded them from superstitious excesses, and preserved the different true ideas to which natural sacrifice bore witness, and completed this instructive expression of devotion by fresh lessons corresponding with deeper knowledge of God and man.

The Levitical offerings express the main thoughts which are expressed by the Gentile offerings though they express much more. They are in a true sense a tribute brought by a people to its Sovereign (Ex. 23:15; 34:20; Deut. 16:16); and they represent what man, in human fashion, conceives of as ‘the bread – the food – of God’ (Lev. 3:11,16; 21:6,8,17,21; 22:25; Num. 28:2,24; Ezek. 44:7).

This conception was embodied specially in ‘the Shew-bread’; and in those sacrifices which are described as ‘of a sweet savour’ (Lev. 1:9,13,17 etc).

The idea is naturally connected with idolatrous services (Deut. 32:38’ Isa. 45:11; Jer. 7:18; Ezekiel 16:19; 23:41); but it admits of a true spiritual interpretation. In this sense it has been most justly remarked that God says to us, ‘Give Me my daily bread’ (Hengstenberg); and under one aspect the Jewish sacrifices were a type of this ‘reasonable service’. 

Josephus says (Josephus Book 3 Chapter 9 Pages 78,79)

(1)  I will now, however, make mention of a few of our laws which belong to purification’s, and the like sacred offices, since I am accidentally come to this matter of sacrifices. These sacrifices were of two sorts; of those sorts one was offered for private persons, and the other for the people in general; and they are done in two different ways:
A. In the one case, what is slain is burnt, as a whole burnt-offering, whence that name is given to it.
B. The other is a thank-offering, and is designed for feasting those that sacrifice.

I will speak of the former. Suppose a private man offer a burnt-offering, he must slay either a bull, a lamb, or a kid of the goats, and the two latter of the first year, though of bulls he is permitted to sacrifice those of a greater age; but all burnt-offerings are to be of males. When they are slain, the priests sprinkle the blood round about the altar: they then cleanse the bodies, and divide them into parts, and salt them with salt, and lay them upon the altar, while the pieces of wood are piled one upon another, and the fire is burning; they next cleanse the feet of the sacrifices and the inwards in an accurate manner, and so lay them to the rest to be purged by the fire, while the priests receive the hides. This is the way of offering a burnt-offering.

(2)  But those that offer thank-offerings do indeed sacrifice the same creatures, but such as are unblemished, and above a year old; however, they may take either males or females. They also sprinkle the altar with their blood: but they lay upon the altar the kidneys and the caul, and all the fat, and the lobe of the liver, together with the rump of the lamb; then, giving the breast and the right shoulder to the priests, they offer feast upon the remainder of the flesh for two days; and what remains they burn.

(3)  The sacrifices for sins are offered in the same manner as is the thank-offering. But those who are unable to purchase complete sacrifices, offer two pigeons, or turtle-doves;  the one of which is made a burnt-offering to God, the other they give as food to the priests. But if a person fall into sin by ignorance, he offers a ewe lamb, or a female kid of the goats, of the same age; and the priests sprinkle the blood at the altar, not after the former manner, but at the corners of it. They also bring the kidneys and the rest of the fat, together with the lobe of the liver, to the altar, while the priests bear away the hides and the flesh, and spend it in the holy place, on the same day (See Lev. 7:15 that the eating of the sacrifice the same day it was offered, seems to mean only before the morning of the next, although the latter part, i.e, the night, be in strictness part of the next day, according to the Jewish reckoning, that’s way Josephus differs here); for the law does not permit them to leave of it until the morning.

(4)  Now the law requires, both in private and public sacrifices that the finest flour be also brought; for a lamb the measure of one-tenth deal, - for a ram two, - and for a bull three. This they consecrate upon the altar, when it is mingled with oil; for oil is also brought by those that sacrifice; for a bull the half of a hin, and for a ram the third part of the same measure, and one quarter of it for a lamb. They bring the same quantity of oil which they do of wine, and they pour the wine about the altar; but if any one does not offer a complete sacrifice of animals, but bring fine flour only for a vow, he throws a handful upon the altar as its first fruits, while the priest take the rest for their food, either boiled or mingled with oil, but made into cakes of bread. But whatsoever it be that a priest himself offers, it must of necessity be all burnt.’

At the same time while God is represented as accepting these gifts from men, it is carefully laid down that He does not need them ( Isaiah 40:15-17; Isaiah 1:11; Jeremiah 6:20).

Isa 40:15-17

(15)  Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
they are regarded as dust on the scales;
he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. 
(16)  Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires,
nor its animals enough for burnt offerings. 
(17)  Before him all the nations are as nothing;
they are regarded by him as worthless 
and less than nothing.   

Isa 1:11

To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.    KJV

Jer 6:20

To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me.    KJV

But all these thoughts of homage, service, fellowship, were shown to rest, as men are, upon the thought of a foregoing atonement, cleansing, consecration. This thought was brought out into fullest relief in the Levitical ritual by the characteristic use which was made of the blood – the virtue of the offered life.

(5) The Law of Sacrifices founded in the Covenant Sacrifice
The foundation of the Levitical law of sacrifice is laid in the Covenant Sacrifice (Exodus 24:8).

Exodus 24:8

Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, "This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words." 

Young men of the children of Israel’ – the representatives of the people in the fullness of their vigor – ‘offered burnt-offerings and sacrificed peace-offerings of oxen unto the Lord’ (Ex. 24:5). 
Such was the spontaneous expression of human worship.  But it was not enough. ‘Moses took half of the blood and put it in basons, and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar’ (Ex. 24:6). 
Then followed the pledge of obedience; ‘and Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you…’ (Ex. 24:8). 
‘Then went up Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; ands they saw the God of Israel…they saw God and did eat and drink’ (Ex. 24:9). 
So the human desire was justified and fulfilled.  The blood of the Covenant,  the power of a new life made available for the people of God, enabled men to hold communion with God (Ex. 24:11  upon the nobles of the children of Israel He laid not His hand: ( contrast Exodus 19:20-22)). The lessons of sacrifice were completed: 


Ex 19:20-22

(20)  The LORD descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain.  So Moses went up  (21)  and the LORD said to him, "Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the LORD and many of them perish.   (22)  Even the priests,  who approach the LORD,  must consecrate themselves,  or the LORD will break out against them."     NIV


Which a simile….present
Which is (seeing it is) a parable,  a figure,  and nothing more,  for the season now present,  ‘the present age,’  that period of preparation which will be followed by  ‘the age to come’  for which we look.  The sense of  for the time present  is established beyond all doubt. 
In technical language all time was divided into ‘the past, the present and the future’.

It may therefore be reasonably laid down that  for the season now present  must be taken in connection with that which the writer of the Epistle speaks of as ‘future’:

‘the future world’  (Heb. 2:5)
‘the future age’ (Heb. 6:5)
‘the future blessings’ (Heb. 10:1)

If then, as is beyond doubt, ‘the future,’ in the vision of the writer, is that which is characteristic of the Christian order, ‘the present’ must be that which is characteristic of the preparatory order, not yet outwardly abolished (compare Galatians 1:4), that which is commonly called in other writings, ‘this age,’ or ‘the present age’; and in the present context stands in opposition to  time of setting things (9:10),  and parallel with ‘these days’ in Heb. 1:1.
Thus ‘the present season’ must be carefully distinguished from the fullness of the Christian time,  though in one sense the blessings of Christianity were already realized essentially. 

The Levitical system then,  represented by  ‘the first Tabernacle,’  is described here as a parable ‘to serve for’ or,  perhaps  ‘to last as long as’  for present season.  It conveyed its lessons while the preparatory age continued up to the time of change.  It did indeed foreshadow that which is offered in the Gospel,  but that is not the aspect of it which is here brought forward.  As a parable (Heb. 11:19) it is regarded not so much in relation to a definite future which is directly prefigured (‘type’) as in regard to its own power of teaching.

The Parable suggests thoughts
The Type points to a direct fulfillment

Not being able….him who serves
For the idea of  perfect  ‘a bringing to perfection’  according to some assumed standard, see Heb. 7:11.
Here that standard is said to be ‘according to’  ‘as touching the conscience.’  The Levitical offerings were able to secure an outward perfecting,  the admission of each worshipper to a full participation in the privileges of the ancient commonwealth of God, which depended on the satisfaction of ceremonial conditions. But they could not bring a spiritual perfecting.  They could not,  to notice one aspect  ‘cleanse the conscience from dead works to serve a living God’ (9:14).

The Idea Of Conscience

The conception of  ‘the conscience’ which is not developed in the Old Testament (compare Ecclus 10:20).

Ecclesiastes 10:20

Do not revile the king even in your thoughts, 
or curse the rich in your bedroom, 
because a bird of the air may carry your words, 
and a bird on the wing may report what you say.   

This comes into clear prominence in the New Testament.

It presents man as his own judge.
Man does not stand alone.
He has direct knowledge of a law – a law of God – which claims his obedience.
He has direct knowledge also of his own conduct. 
He cannot then but compare them and give sentence.

Rom 2:14-15

(14)  Indeed , when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law,  they are a law for themselves,  even though they do not have the law,  (15)  since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts,  their consciences also bearing witness,  and their thoughts now accusing,  now even defending them.     NIV

His  ‘conscience,’  as the power directing this process,  is regarded apart from himself  (Rom. 9:1; 2:15).  The conscience may be imperfectly disciplined and informed  (I Cor. 10:25; 8:7;   contrast Acts 23:1; I Tim. 3:9; 2 Tim. 1:3; I Pet. 3:16,21).

It may again be modified (I Cor. 8:10,12)
And it may be defiled (Titus 1:15)
And finally it may be seared and become insensible (I Tim. 4:2)

The man is responsible for the character which his conscience assumes.

The absolute use of the word conscience presents various functions which the conscience fulfils:

1. It is a Witness (2 Cor. 1:12; Rom. 2:15)
2. A Judge (2 Cor. 4:2;5:11)
3. A Motive (I Pet. 2:19; I Cor. 10:25; Rom. 13:5)
4. It is turned to God (Acts 23:1; 24:16)
5. It becomes an object of consideration to men (I Cor. 10:28)

In one passage the conscience is placed in a most significant relation with  ‘the heart’  and  ‘faith’  (I Tim. 1:5).  The end of the Apostolic charge is love  ‘out of a pure heart,  and a good conscience,  and faith unfeigned.’  Purity of personal character,  rectitude of moral judgment,  sincerity of trust in the unseen,  form the triple foundation of active Christian work.


In accordance with which (and after this parable, or teaching by figure) gifts and sacrifices are offered such as cannot make the worshipper perfect as touching the conscience (in conscience), being only ordinances of flesh, resting upon meats and drinks and divers washings, imposed until a season of reformation

Two things are stated of the Levitical sacrifices:

‘that they cannot bring perfection, as resting only on meats’
and ‘that they are ordinances of flesh'

Three points in this complicated sentence require consideration:

The weakness of the Levitical offerings.
The ground of their weakness.
The purpose of their enactment.


Only in meats….divers washings
These offerings were unable to satisfy man’s destiny  being only ordinances of flesh -
Combined with,  resting upon meats and drinks and divers washings
They serve to limit and explain the character of the Mosaic institutions. These institutions were only ordinances of flesh, ordinances which dealt with that which is external  (compare Heb. 7:16);  and the accompaniments of the sacrifices, the personal requirements with which they were connected, indicated their purely outward significance.
The mention of  ‘drinks’  has caused difficulty,  for the Law gave no universal directions in this respect. 
Theophylact suggests that the reference may be to the conditions of the Nazarite vow (Num. 6:3), or to the injunctions laid upon the ministering priests (Lev. 10:9). Compare Col. 2:16.

Until [the] time of setting things right imposed
The provisional character of the Levitical institutions illustrates their enactment.  They were imposed until a season of reformation.  The word  setting things right  is not found elsewhere in biblical Greek. It is used in late Greek writers for the reformation of laws, institutions, states. Compare Acts 24:3.

Acts 24:3

Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude.     NIV

The verb is used in the LXX of  ‘amending ways’: Jeremiah 7:3,5.  
And also of ‘setting up,’ ‘establishing’: Isaiah 16:5. 
The thought of ‘making straight, erect’ passes naturally into that of ‘making stable.’
Under different aspects this  ‘reformation’  is spoken of as a  ‘restitution’  (Acts 3:21 of restoration ), and a ‘regeneration’  (Matthew 19:28  regeneration ).
The anarthrous form of the phrase (time of setting things right ) marks the character of the coming change. 
The very nature of the Law showed that it was indeed transitory,  if it did not show the definite issue to which it led.

Once For All  (9:11 - 12)

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The High-priestly Atonement under the New Covenant   (9:11-28)

The work of the Jewish High-priest has been indicated as the climax of the old system (9:7);  and the High-priestly work of Christ is now considered in contrast with it. The comparison is instituted in respect of that which was the unique and supreme privilege of the Levitical High-priest,  the access to God on the Day of Atonement. Thus two main points come into consideration:

1. The entrance of the High-priest into the Divine Presence.
2. The fact that the entrance was through blood.

Under this aspect the work of Christ is:

1. 9:11,12 Described generally
2. 9:13-22 The truths suggested by the shedding of the Blood of Jesus
3. 9:23-28 His entrance into the Presence of God from whence He has not yet returned

A summary description of Christ’s High-priestly work 9:11,12

1. (9:11) The work of Christ as High-priest of the new order (Jer. 31:31), now established stands in sovereign superiority over that of the Levitical type in regard to scene, and offering, and efficacy. The Tabernacle through which He ministered was not of this creation but heavenly.
2. (9:12) The blood through which He entered before God was not that of sacrificed animals but His own.
3. (9:12) The redemption which He obtained was not for a brief season but for ever.

Question: How do I know that the blood of Jesus was accepted?
Answer: Three ways.

1. John 20:17
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.  
2. John 20:27-28
(27)  Then saith he to Thomas, reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
(28)  And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.  
3. Rev 19:13-16
(13)  He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. (14)  The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.  (15)  Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.  (16)  On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: 
Heb 9:11-12
(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;
(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.

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(11)  But Christ being come high priest of the coming good things, by the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made by hand. (that is,) not of this creation. (12)  nor by blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, entered once for all into the Holies, eternal redemption having found.

In contrast (But Christ)  with the repeated entrance of the Jewish High-priest into the Holy of Holies through the blood of appointed victims Christ once for all entered into the true Sanctuary, the actual Presence of God, through His own blood, and obtained not a temporary but an eternal deliverance. Thus the contrast extends to the system, the place and mode of the Atonement. In all these three points the ‘parable’ finds fulfillment.


But Christ
But Christ having come a High-priest of good things realized…see v. 23-26; 3:6.

Heb 9:23-26

(23)  It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.  (24)  For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence.  (25)  Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own.  (26)  Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.    NIV

Heb 3:6

But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.     NIV

Being come
Christ has not only become High-priest as one of an appointed line,  He has made His presence as High-priest felt among His people as sent from another realm to fulfill the office in part on earth.

Rev 3:14

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;     NIV

John 17:5

And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.      NIV

John 1:1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.     NIV

John 1:14

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us     NIV

High priest of the coming good things
The title of Christ at once marks His absolute supremacy.

He is a High-priest whose work deals with blessings which have been gained and which do not exist only in hope and prophecy.
He is High-priest of the good things which are already realized by the fulfillment of the divine conditions, and which are not promised only and future.

The same blessings can be spoken of as

realized’  in respect of Christ’s work,
future in respect of the preparatory discipline of the Law   
or the actual position of Christians
(Heb. 10:1)
(compare Heb. 13:14)

In this place it seems natural that  ‘the good things’  should be spoken of as realized from the divine side.
Even if men have not entered upon their inheritance,  it is already gained.


The Majesty of Christ’s title  (‘High-priest of the good things realized’)  is justified by a description of His Work. In the circumstances and the effects of His High-priestly service He offers the heavenly counterpart of that which was exhibited under an earthly figure in the Mosaic system. This is shown first in respect of the Tabernacle ‘through which’ Christ fulfils His work.

By the greater……nor by blood…..but by
Though the greater…nor yet through blood….but through his own
It seems to be best to take the preposition in each case in the same general sense and to join both  by the greater and more perfect tabernacle  and  but by his own blood  with entered.  Christ employed in the fulfillment of His office  ‘the greater Tabernacle’  and  ‘His own Blood’  (compare the corresponding though not parallel use of  but  in I John 5:6).

1 John 5:6

This is the one who came by water and blood-Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood.      NIV

The local sense which has been given to  but  in the first clause  (‘passing through the greater….tabernacle into the Presence of God’)  does not give a very clear thought.  It is true indeed that the High-priest passed through ‘the first tabernacle’ (the Holy Place) to the Holy of Holies,  but no such stress is laid on this ‘passage through’ as to make it the one thing noticeable in the Sanctuary.

The outer Sanctuary was not merely a portal to the Holy of Holies but the appointed place of priestly service. And on the other hand the idea conveyed by this limited (local) sense of ‘through’ is included in the wider (instrumental) sense of ‘through’ which describes that which Christ used in His work.  In this work it must be observed that Christ is said to make use not of  ‘a greater tabernacle,’  but of  ‘the greater tabernacle,’  ‘the true, ideal, tabernacle’ (Heb. 8:2).

The thought of the reader is thus carried back to the heavenly pattern which Moses followed  (Heb. 8:5; Exodus 25:9).  The earthly Tabernacle witnessed not only to some nobler revelation of God’s Presence,  but definitely to the archetype after which it was fashioned.

What then is this heavenly Tabernacle?  Some preparation will be made for the answer if we call to mind the two main purposes of the transitory Tabernacle:

1. It was designed on the one hand to symbolize the Presence of God among His people.
2. On the other hand to afford under certain restrictions a means of approach to Him.

The heavenly Tabernacle must then satisfy these two ends in the highest possible degree. 

It must represent the Presence of God
It must offer a way of approach to God

Being in both respects eternal, spiritual, ideal  (true Heb. 8:2).

In seeking for some conception which shall satisfy these conditions it is obvious that all images of local circumscription must be laid aside, or, at least, used only by way of accommodation. The spiritual Tabernacle must not be defined by the limitations which belong to ‘this creation’.   We may then at once set aside all such interpretations as those which suppose that the lower heavens, through which Christ passed, or the supra-mundane realm,  or the like,  are ‘the greater tabernacle.’ We must look for some spiritual antitype to the local sanctuary.

And here we are brought to the patristic interpretation which it requires some effort to grasp. The Fathers both Greek and Latin commonly understood the greater Tabernacle to be the Lord’s ‘flesh,’ or ‘humanity.’
In this connection Chrysostom and Theophylact notice how the Lord’s  ‘Body’ and ‘heaven’ are each spoken of as  ‘a veil’ and as  ‘a tabernacle.’  As far as the Lord’s historical work on earth is concerned this interpretation is adequate. He was the perfect revelation of the Father and the way to Him. But in considering the ideal antitype, or rather archetype, of the Tabernacle we must take account of the Lord’s ministry in heaven. In this (Heb. 8:1) the heavenly High-priest and the heavenly Tabernacle are in some sense distinguished; and the Lord acts as High-priest in His human Nature (compare Heb. 4:14).

Bearing this in mind we may perhaps extend the patristic conception so as to meet the difficulty, though, with our present powers of conceiving of divine things we must speak with the most reverent reserve. In this relation then it may be said that ‘the greater and more perfect Tabernacle’ of which Christ is minister, and in which the Saints worship, gathers up the various means under which God reveals Himself in the spiritual order, and through which men approach to Him.

The Heavenly character of Christ's work
The union of the redeemed and perfected hosts made one in Christ

Under one aspect these are represented by the union of the redeemed and perfected hosts made one in Christ as His Body. Through this glorified Church answering to the complete humanity which Christ assumed, God is made known, and in and through this each believer comes nigh to God.  In this Body, as a spiritual Temple, Christ ministers. As members in this Body believers severally enjoy the Divine Presence. Though fails us under the bondage of local limitations, and still we can dimly apprehend how we have opened to us in this vision the prospect of a spiritual reality corresponding to that which was material and earthly in the old ordinances of worship.

It enables us to connect redeemed humanity with the glorified human Nature of the Lord, and to consider how it is that humanity, the summing-up of Creation, may become in Him the highest manifestation of God to finite being, and in its fullness that through which each part is brought near to God. This heavenly Tabernacle is spoken of as greater and more perfect (Vulgate has amplius et perfectius),  greater in comparison with the narrow limits of the earthly Tabernacle,  more perfect as answering to the complete development of the Divine plan. And in its essential character it is not made by hands,  that is,  not of this creation.  Human skill had nothing to do with its structure,  for man’s work finds its expression in the visible order of earth, to which this does not belong.

The nature of His offering
A second point which marks the heavenly character of Christ’s work is seen in the nature of His offering.  He made not a twofold offering but one only.  He entered into the Holy place through His own Blood, and that once for all.


Nor by blood of goats and calves
Nor yet through blood of goats and bulls
The  Nor  seems to be due to the preceding  not made by hand.

(Lev. 16:15) The goat was the offering for the people
(Lev. 16:11) The bullock for the High-priest himself 

The plural generalizes the thought. 

But by his own blood…the Holies
But through His own blood (He) entered once for all into the Holy place, the immediate Presence of God in heaven (see v. 8 note).

The use of  but  as marking the means, but not defining the mode,  is significant when taken in connection with
9:7 ( not apart from).  The earthly High-priest took with him the material blood: Christ ‘through His own blood’ entered into the Presence of God.

Once for all
See Heb. 7:27 note.  Christ did not need (like the Jewish High-priest) a double entrance, even as He did not need to repeat His entrance.  One entrance left the way open for ever. The ‘veil was rent’ (Matthew 27:51).

Matt 27:51

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.      NIV

Note: It was torn from top to bottom  (from God to man).
There was no longer any obstacle interposed between the worshipper  –  for all are now priests (Revelation 1:6) – and the Object of his worship.

A third element in the absolute supremacy of Christ’s High-priesthood lies in the abiding efficacy of His One priestly act.  He obtained an eternal Redemption in contrast with the limited, recurrent, redemption of the yearly Atonement.

Eternal redemption having found
Having obtained eternal redemption
Christ entered ……therein obtaining’  or  ‘Christ entered….having already obtained.’
The choice between these senses will be decided by the meaning given to  ‘redemption.’  If  ‘redemption’  is the initial work,  the conquest of death (Heb. 2:14),  then this was completed in the Passion and Resurrection; but it seems more natural to find the fullness of the word satisfied in the Triumph of the Ascension.

The Idea Of Redemption

The General Idea Of The Image
The conception of  ‘redemption’  lies in the history of Israel.
The deliverance from Egypt furnished the imagery of hope.  To this the work of Christ offered the perfect spiritual antitype.  This parallel is of importance,  for it will be obvious from the usage of the LXX that the idea of a ransom received by the power from which the captive is delivered is practically lost in the word redemption.  It cannot be said that God paid to the Egyptian oppressor any price for the redemption of His people. 
On the other hand the idea of the exertion of a mighty force, the idea that the ‘redemption’ costs much, is everywhere present. The force may be represented by Divine might, or love, or self-sacrifice, which become finally identical. But there is no thought of any power which can claim from God what is not according to the original ordinance of His righteous compassion.
No Thought Of The Power Which Receives The Ransom
It follows that the discussions which have been raised on the question  ‘To whom was the ransom for man’s redemption paid?’ are apt to be misleading. The deliverance of man from the debt, the captivity, the bondage of sin – however we express the image – could only be through the satisfaction of the claims of a violated law. 
These claims regarded under the light of punishment present a twofold aspect:
1. To him who rebels against the divine law, they are simply pain.
This includes the truth which was expressed by the patristic conception that Christ paid the ransom of man to the devil.
2. To him who humbly submits himself to it, they are a salutary discipline.
This includes the truth expressed by the later view that the ransom was paid to God.
The Idea Of  ‘Redemption’  Completed By The Idea Of  ‘Purchase
The idea of   ‘redemption,’  ‘deliverance,’  in the spiritual order requires to be supplemented by the idea of  ‘purchase.’  Man has no power of standing by himself.  His freedom lies in his complete acceptance of the will of God.  When therefore he is  ‘redeemed’  from the power of evil he is also ‘purchased,’  so as to become wholly in the hands of God.  The idea of  ‘purchased,’  though of less frequent occurrence in the New Testament than the idea of   ‘redemption,’  is more widely spread.  It occurs in Paul’s writings and in 2 Peter and also in Revelation. See I Cor. 6:20; 7:22; I Pet. 2:1; Rev. 5:9; 14:3.

The following Scriptures also show the thought of redemption with that of purchase. Gal. 3:13 & 4:4.

The Christian is bought at the price of Christ’s Blood for God.
The Christian is Christ’s bond-servant
The Christian is God’s son by adoption

They that have been purchased have a work for others:  they are first-fruits to God and the Lamb.

The idea of redemption in the Old Testament takes its start from the thought of property
(Lev 25:26; Ruth 4:4 ff). 
Money is paid according to law to buy back something which must be delivered or rescued (Num 3:51; Neh 5:8). 
From this start the word  "redemption"  throughout the Old Testament is used in the general sense of deliverance. 
God is the Redeemer of Israel in the sense that He is the Deliverer of Israel (Deut 9:26; 2 Sam 7:23; 1 Chron 17:21; Isa 52:3). The idea of deliverance includes deliverance from all forms of evil:

from national misfortune (Isa 52:9; 63:9; compare Luke 2:38)
from plague (Ps 78:35,52)
from calamity of any sort (Gen 48:16; Num 25:4,9)

Of course, the general thought of the relation of Israel to God was that God had both

a claim upon Israel (Deut 15:15)
and an obligation toward Israel  (1 Chron 17:21; Ps 25:22)

Israel belonged to Him, and it was by His own right that He could move into the life of Israel so as to redeem Israel. On the other hand, obligation was upon Him to redeem Israel.

The Answer  (9:13 - 14)

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9:13-22    The truths taught by the shedding of Christ’s Blood

The thoughts springing out of the fulfillment of Christ’s High-priestly work which have found a summary expression in vv. 11,12 are developed in the remainder of the chapter. The efficacy of Christ’s Blood is:

(9:13,14) Contrasted with that of the Jewish victims as a purifying power
A new thought is introduced, which arises from the extension of the virtue of Christ’s Blood to His people. 
(9:15-22) The ratification of a new Covenant
As comprehensive in its application as the blood ‘of the calves and the goats’ by which the Old Covenant was ratified. 
Heb 9:13-14
(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:
(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?

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(13)  For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and ashes of a heifer sprinkling the defiled, sanctifies for the of the flesh purify(14)   how much rather the blood of the Christ who through [the] Spirit eternal himself offered spotless of God, shall purify conscience your from dead works for to serve God [the] living

A sense of difficulty might arise at the prospect of the vast claim which has been made for Christ’s work. How, it might be asked, can it avail for ever?  The Mosaic institutions furnish the answer.

The ritual purification of the Jewish system had a limited validity.
It was directed to that which was outward. 
In this respect it removed outward defilement, and gave outward cleanness.
Much more the blood of Christ will avail within its proper sphere - which is spiritual.

The conclusion rests upon the comparison of a twofold relation:

The relation of the blood of Christ to the blood of animals.
The relation of the inward sphere of religion to the outward.


Two typical examples of the purificatory Levitical sacrifices are taken in illustration: 

(Lev. 16) The yearly sacrifices ‘of goats and bulls’ on the day of Atonement
Regarded the impurity contracted from daily action
(Num. 19) The occasional sacrifice of the red heifer 
Regarded the impurity contracted from contact with death

Of bulls and of goats
Compare v. 12 note. In this case the blood of the sacrifice was also burnt: Numbers 19:5.

Sprinkling the defiled, sanctifies
Sprinkling them that have been defiled, who by a definite act have contracted some stain, sanctifieth unto the cleanness of the flesh.
The idea is that of the ceremonial purity which enabled the Jew to enjoy the full privileges of his covenant worship and fellowship with the external Church of God. 
The force of the words speak of - 

moral external
ideal personal


How much rather
The superior efficacy of Christ’s Blood is based generally on the considerations that His Sacrifice was:

Voluntary not by constraint as in the case of the animal sacrifices of the Law
Rational not animal
Spontaneous not in obedience to a direct commandment
Moral an offering of Himself by the action of the highest power in Himself, whereby He stood in connection with God, and not a mere mechanical performance of a prescribed rite Compare John 10:14-18

John 10:14-18

(14)  "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me-  (15)  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father-and I lay down my life for the sheep.  (16)  I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. (17)  The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life-only to take it up again.  (18)   No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."     NIV

The blood of the Christ
The blood of Christ stands parallel both to the blood of goats and bulls and to the ashes of the heifer, as the means:

Of atonement for sins.
Of purification from contact with death: of access to God and of life in His Church.

It will be observed that it is not the death of the victim as suffering, but the use of the Blood (that is, the Life) which is presented here as the source of purification.
The efficacy of Blood – the life, Lev. 17:11 – is regarded in different aspects in this passage. Now one aspect predominates and now another. It is a means of atonement, and it is a means of purification: it has a power retrospectively and prospectively. Death again, which makes the blood available, is the seal of the validity of a covenant. But no one view exhausts the meaning of that which is the fullness of a life made available for others. 
See I John 1:7.

Who…..himself offered spotless to God
Who through His eternal spirit offered Himself without blemish to God
The sacrifice upon the altar of the Cross preceded the presentation of the blood. The phrase  himself offered  clearly fixes the reference to this initial act of Christ’s High-priestly sacrifice through Spirit eternal.  
In virtue of His inseparable and unchangeable Divine Nature:

Christ was Priest 
while He was also the victim.
He offered Himself
living through death and in death.

The absence of the article [the] from  spirit eternal  marks the spirit here as a power possessed by Christ,  His ‘Spirit.’  It could not be said of any man absolutely that his spirit is eternal;  but Christ’s Spirit is,  in virtue of His Divine Personality, eternal.  By this, while truly man, He remained in unbroken connection with God. Though this He had ‘the power of an indissoluble life’ (compare Hebrew 7:16).
The truth will become clearer if we go yet a step further. In men the ‘spirit’ is that by which they are capable of connection with God.  But in Christ, who did not cease to be God by becoming man, the ‘spirit’ is to be regarded as the seat of His Divine Personality in His human Nature.
A good example of this is found in Matthew 17:1-3.

Matt 17:1-3

(1)  After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.  (2)  There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.  (3)  Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.    NIV

This ‘eternal spirit’ obtained complete sovereignty at the Resurrection (I Cor. 15:45);  and it is probably by reference to this fact that the difficult passage of  2 Cor. 3:17 is to be explained. See also I Pet. 3:18.

Another more obvious thought lies in the phrase.
Other sacrifices were wrought by the hand, being outward acts of flesh, but this was wrought by that which is highest in man’s nature whereby he holds fellowship with God, being a truly spiritual act.
The epithet  spotless  describes Christ as a perfect victim. That which was required outwardly in the Levitical victims was satisfied absolutely by Christ.  The connection in which it stands shows that it refers here to the conditions and issue of the Lord’s earthly life.

Shall purify…..God living
(Shall) cleanse our (your) conscience from dead works to the end that we (ye) may serve a living God.
The action of the blood of Christ is not to work any outward change but to communicate a vital force. It removes the defilement and the defiling power of  ‘dead works,’  works which are done apart from Him who is ‘the life’ (compare Hebrew 6:1 note).
These stain the conscience and communicate that pollution of death which outwardly  ‘the water of separation’ was designed to remove. The Levitical ritual contemplated a death external to the man himself - here the effects of a death within him are taken away.

For to serve God living!
Purity is not the end but the means of the new life.  The end of the restored fellowship is energetic service to Him Who alone lives and gives life. The thought of performing certain actions is replaced by that of fulfilling a personal relation.

A New Covenant  (9:15 - 22)

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Heb 15-22

From the thought of the efficacy of Christ’s Blood as the means through which He entered into the Divine Presence and cleanses the individual conscience the writer of the Epistle goes on to show that through the shedding of His Blood came the inauguration of a new Covenant.

(9:15-17) The idea of death gives validity to the compact which it seals.
(9:18-22) The communication of the blood of the victim to those which whom God forms a covenant unites them to Him with a power of life, a principle which was recognized in the ritual ordinances of the Mosaic system.
Heb 9:15-22
(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.
(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.
(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.
(21)   Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.
(22)   And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
( 15)   And for this reason of a covenant new mediator he is, so that, death having taken place for redemption of the under the first covenant transgressions, the promise might receive (he or who) have been called of the eternal inheritance( 16)   (For where [there is] a testament, [for the] death [it is] necessary to come in of the testator.   ( 17) For a testament in the case of [the] dead [is] affirmed, since in no way it is of force when is living the testator.)  ( 18) Whence neither the first apart from blood has been inaugurated( 19)   Having been spoken for every commandment according to law by Moses to all the people, having taken the blood of calves and of goats, with water and wool scarlet and sysop, both itself the book and all the people he sprinkled( 20)   saying, This [is] the blood of the covenant which enjoined to you God( 21)   And the tabernacle too and all the vessels of the ministration with blood in like manner he sprinkled( 22)   and almost with blood all things are purified according to the law, and apart from blood-shedding there is no remission.


And for this reason…..mediator he is
And for this reason,  even that the Blood of Christ purifies the soul with a view to a divine service,  He is mediator of a new covenant … The transition from the thought of the one all-efficacious atonement to that of the corresponding covenant is natural.  The new internal and spiritual relation of man to God established by Christ involved of necessity a New Covenant  (see Jer. 31:31).  The Blood – the Life – of Christ, which was the source and support of the life,  was the seal of the Covenant.

The words  of a covenant…mediator  go back to the prophetic promise found in Hebrews 8:8 (which is taken from Jeremiah 31:31),  which found its fulfillment in Christ.  The emphasis lies on the phrase  new covenant
It is of interest to notice the variation of emphasis found in 2 Cor. 3:6.

2 Cor 3:6

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant-not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.   NIV

So that death having taken place…..the promise might receive
That a death having taken place for redemption from the transgressions that were under the first covenant they that have been called may receive
The Old covenant had been proved incapable of bringing men to perfection. God therefore provided them with fresh and more powerful help. At the same time He opened to them a nobler view of their end.  In place of a material inheritance He showed them an eternal inheritance. And the aim of the New Covenant was the attainment of the spiritual realities shadowed forth in the temporal blessings of Israel.

Jer 31:34

For I will forgive their wickedness 
and will remember their sins no more.  

But the establishment of a New Covenant, a new and permanent relation between God and man, required as its preliminary condition the discharge of man’s existing obligations.

The sins which the Law had set in a clear light could not be ignored. 
The atonements provided for sin under the Law could not but be felt to be inadequate.
They were limited in their application and arbitrary.

Christ at last offered the sacrifice, perfect in efficacy and moral value, to which they only pointed.
This sacrifice was the characteristic basis of the New Covenant  (see Hebrews 8:12).

Thus the death of Christ appears under a twofold aspect:

His Blood is the means of atonement 
His Blood is the ratification of the Covenant which followed upon it

The phrase  for the redemption of the transgressions  is remarkable: for redemption from the transgressions….from their consequences and their power. 
The genitive in the Greek expresses in a wide sense the object on which the redemption is exercised  (‘redemption in the matter of the transgressions,’  ‘transgression-redemption’).  So it is that elsewhere the genitive is used for that which is delivered: See Rom. 8:23  the redemption of our body.  Eph. 1:14  to the redemption of the acquired possession.

The transgressions are spoken of as ‘the transgressions that were under the first covenant.’
The phrase is general in its application. 

It includes all transgressions committed on the basis of Law.
It includes all transgressions against the revealed will of God made known as Law.

Under’ expresses the conditions,  the accompanying circumstances, under which anything takes place. See v. 10.
In this connection the covenant with Abraham (Acts 3:25) does not come into consideration. It was of the nature of a universal promise.

The ‘First Covenant’ was that between God and the Jewish people represented by Moses
The ‘New Covenant’ was that between God and men represented by Jesus Christ.

When the necessary condition has been satisfied then scope is given for the positive fulfillment of the Covenant, that they that have been called may receive in fact what had been promised before. 
Compare Heb. 6:12;15;10:36;11:13,39; Gal. 3:14.

The blessing is no longer limited to a particular people.  It is for all to whom the invitation has been sent (Acts 2:39; compare Heb. 3:1).

The promise…..of the eternal inheritance
The position of the genitive in the Greek is dependent on the promise and is due to the fact that it is added as a further definition of the promise (compare Heb. 12:11).  The sentence stands essentially complete without it: that they that have been called may receive the promise (compare Heb. 6:15).  But the explanation is naturally suggested by the thought of the contrast of the Old and the New. Moses secured to the people an ‘inheritance,’ which was however only a figure of that which was prepared (compare Exodus 32:13).

Ex 32:13

Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: `I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.'"   


The mention of a ‘new covenant’ and of ‘death’ in close connection suggests a fresh thought. 
The Death of Christ fulfilled two distinct purposes:

1. It provided an atonement for past sins
2. It provided an absolute ratification of the Covenant with which it was connected
The Death set man free
The Covenant gave him the support which he required
The Death removed the burden of the past
The Covenant provided for the service of the future

In any case a covenant is ratified by the death of a representative victim. But here Christ died in His own Person; and by thus dying He gave absolute validity to the covenant which He mediated: the preceding thought of the atonement shows how such a covenant was possible.

The Death of Christ was the chief difficulty of the Hebrews, and therefore the writer presents it under different aspects in order to show its full significance in the Christian dispensation.

The Meaning Of  "Covenant"

In a divine ‘covenant’ the parties do not stand in the remotest degree as equal contractors. God in His good pleasure makes the arrangement which man receives, though he is not passive ( 2 Kings 11:17).

2 Kings 11:17

Jehoiada then made a covenant between the LORD and the king and people that they would be the LORD's people. He also made a covenant between the king and the people.    NIV
Such a covenant is a  'disposition,'  an  'ordainment,'  an  'expression'  of the divine will which they to whom it is made reverently welcome.
1. In classical writers, on the other hand, from the time of Plato, covenant generally means 
‘a testament,’
‘a will,’
‘a disposition’ (of property, etc.)

to take effect after death;  though the more general sense of  ‘arrangement,’ ‘agreement,’ is also found (reference Arist. Av. 440).

2. Philo (reference de nom. Mut 6ff; i. 586 f.M.) refers to a treatise of his on ‘Covenants’ which has unfortunately been lost.  But in the same context he states the general idea which he attached to a Divine Covenant.  "Covenants"  he says "are written for the benefit of those who are worthy of bounty"
So a Covenant is a symbol of grace, which God sets between Himself,  Who extends the boon, and man who receives it.  And directly after he presents God Himself as ‘the highest kind of Covenant, the beginning and source of all graces.’  In another phrase of the passage he shows how easy it was to pass from the sense of  ‘covenant’  to  ‘will’:  ‘[God] acknowledges that He will leave to the sinless and blameless an inheritance by terms of a covenant, which it is fitting for God to give and for a wise man to receive. For He says: I will place My Covenant between Me and thee' (Gen. 17:2).
3.  Josephus uses the word several times for ‘will’ (Josephus Ant. 17 3,2; 9,7; B.J. 2.2,3).
4. In the New Testament the sense of  ‘covenant’  is unquestionable, except in two passages: Gal. 3:15;  and the passage under consideration (Heb. 9:15). 
5. The Biblical evidence then,  so far as it is clear,  is wholly in favor of the sense of  ‘covenant,’ with the necessary limitation of the sense of the word in connection with a Divine covenant.
6. The mention of the  ‘inheritance’  in v. 15 does not appear to furnish any adequate explanation of a transition from the idea of  'Covenant'  to that of  ‘Testament.’  It is true that Christ has obtained an inheritance (Heb. 1:4); and it is also true that He entered on the possession of it through death; but it cannot be said that He ‘bequeathed’ it to His people. He ‘made a disposition’ in favor of His people (Luke 22:29).  By union with Him they enjoy together with Him what is His.  But He does not give them anything apart from Himself.
7 Again there can be no question that in v. 15  Christ is spoken of as ‘the mediator of a new covenant’ (compare Heb. 7:22  surety).  Now the conceptions of Christ as the ‘Mediator of a Covenant’ and as a ‘Testator,’ the ‘framer of a will,’ are essentially distinct. 
A Covenant is a disposition of things determined by God for man and brought about through Christ:
A Testament would be the expression of Christ’s own will as to what should be after His death.

The thoughts are wholly different; and the idea of death is unable in itself to combine them. The Covenant might include the necessity of the Mediator’s Death, but the admission of that necessity does not convert the Covenant into a Testament, or place the Mediator in a position of a Testator. He who fulfils the Covenant may indeed by the Covenant secure rights which He can communicate to others after death, but such a communication is not a testamentary disposition.

Is it possible then to give an intelligible meaning to the passage if the sense ‘covenant’ is retained throughout? To meet this question fairly it is necessary to recall what has been already said by the Apostle.

In Heb. 9:15 the two notions of a ‘covenant’ and a ‘death’ have been introduced. The death, as it is first presented,  is presented as a means for redemption from past obligations.  But when it has once been brought forward the question arises:  Had it no further meaning in this connection?  The answer is found in a reference to the rites by which covenants were solemnly ratified. A sacrifice was a constituent part of the ratification; and it must be remembered that the sacrifices of the Old Covenant included not only death but also the sprinkling of blood,  already touched on in the reference to the Sacrifice of the New Covenant.  The early phrases used for making a covenant show that the idea of death actually entered into the conception of a covenant.
In some way or other the victim which was slain and, in some cases at least, divided (Gen. 15:10; compare v. 18; Jer. 34:18), represented the parties to the covenant.

For here fresh considerations offer themselves. The Covenant to which the writer looks is:

not one between man and man, who meet as equal parties, 
but between man and God.

The death of the covenant-victim therefore assumes a new character.

It figures not only the unchangeableness of death
but also the self-surrender of death.

The arrangement was final and unchangeable. 

In ordinary covenants the death of the persons who made the covenant was represented of necessity in symbol only, and both parties were alike liable to change. 

In the Covenant of the Gospel, Christ, being Himself truly man, represented humanity, as the victims represented the Jewish people at the founding of the Mosaic Covenant; and by His death He fulfilled the Covenant for men eternally, and satisfied the conditions on which forgiveness rests. He showed that the promise of God was inviolable, and He showed also how man could avail himself of its provisions. The redemption which was accomplished was the pledge of the fulfillment of the promise in the Covenant still to be realized.

The system, the dispensation, established by Christ corresponds in the truest sense to a New Covenant: 

1. A Covenant indeed requires for absolute validity the ratification by death, as is conspicuously illustrated by the fundamental covenant-sacrifice in Gen. 15 and by the Covenant with Israel.
2. This condition was satisfied by Christ. He was Himself the Covenant-Victim. In this aspect He attested the inviolable force of the Covenant which He established.
3. Not in a figure only, but in reality, He showed how the Covenant was valid and must be valid. 
4. He made the new relation of man to God possible and sure. 
5. His Death was an atonement for sin, and it was a perfect ratification of the Covenant which He made ‘in His blood,’ in His life offered and communicated.
6. In Him humanity fulfilled its part.
7. This Christ has done once for all for men, and in Him, in virtue of His Life, all men can draw nigh to God

Hence the ceremonies connected with the inauguration of the Old Covenant become fully intelligible. In that case also the life offered was imparted to the people in a symbol. The Blood of the victims whose death marked the ratification of the Covenant was sprinkled on the people and on the sanctuary.


For where…..testator
For where there is a covenant the death of him that made it must needs be presented
The circumstances under which the New Covenant was made implies death. He who makes the covenant ‘must die,’ and that his death must be ‘brought forward,’ ‘presented,’ ‘introduced upon the scene,’ ‘set in evidence.’ 

He who makes the covenant (the testator) is, for the purpose of the covenant, identified with the victim by whose representative death the covenant is ordinarily ratified. In the death of the victim his death is presented symbolically.
In the case of the New Covenant Christ in His Divine-human Person:

Represented God who reveals through and in Him the unfailing greatness of the divine love
At the same time He represented the complete self-surrender of humanity

A Covenant so made could not fail

The weakness and instability of men had no longer any place.
The thought expressed by the representative victim had become an eternal fact.


For a testament……testator
For a covenant is sure where there hath been death, since it doth not ever have force when he that made it liveth.  The statement which has been made is supported by an explanation which is borrowed from ancient usage and language.

A solemn covenant was made upon the basis of a sacrifice. 
The death of the victim was supposed to give validity to it.

The idea which is involved in the symbolic act is intelligible and important.

The unchangeableness of a covenant is seen in the fact that he who has made it has deprived himself of all further power of movement in this respect:
while the ratification by death is still incomplete,
while the victim, the representative of him who makes it, still lives,
while he who makes it still possesses the full power of action and freedom to change the covenant is not of force.

John 3:18

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.   NIV

John 7:26

Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Christ?   NIV


The great, inaugurating, sacrifice of the Old Covenant embodied the same thought that death marks the immutability of the terms laid down (Exodus 24.); and yet more: 

This death also was employed
to convey the thought of atonement
to convey the thought of life surrendered that it may be given back

The blood was sprinkled 

on the altar 
and on the people

Thus the law which was enacted for the yearly access of the High-priest to the Divine Presence  (v. 7 not apart from blood)  was observed when the people entered into the Divine Covenant.

In relation to this thought it is important to observe that it is not said of the first covenant that it was inaugurated ‘not without death’  but  ‘not without blood.’  By the use of the words ‘not without blood’ the writer of the Epistle suggests the two ideas of  atonement  and  quickening  (by imparting new life)  which have been already connected with Christ’s work (vv. 14,15).


Whence….has been inaugurated
Since every absolute, inviolable, covenant is based upon a death, and, further, since every covenant of God with man requires complete self-surrender on the part of man, not even hath the first covenant, though it failed in its issue, been inaugurated without blood.


Having been spoken for
The ceremonies connected with the establishment of the Law-Covenant emphasize the ideas already seen to be involved in ‘blood’;  for when every commandment had been spoken according to the Law by Moses … taking the blood… 

The terms of the divine covenant were declared fully to the people (Exodus 24:3)
The people expressed their acceptance of them
Then an altar was built  ‘and twelve pillars.’
Burnt-offerings were offered
Peace-offerings were sacrificed (vv. 4,5)
Half the blood was sprinkled upon the altar
Half was sprinkled over the people (vv. 6,8)

These sacrifices were offered by young men of the children of Israel, representatives of the fullness of the people’s life (Exodus 24:5).  The ordinances of the Levitical priesthood were not yet given (Exodus 28);  though some form of priesthood still remained (Exodus 19:22). Compare Exodus 19:6.

It is of interest to notice that ‘sprinkling of persons with blood’ is noticed in the Old Testament only on one other occasion- the consecration of Aaron  (Exodus 19:21).

The words  according to the law  go with  spoken.  Every commandment was spoken by Moses  ‘according to the tenor of the Law’ in which they were included.  The Law represented the sum of the whole revelation made to Moses.  The separate fundamental commandments which preceded the conclusion of the covenant were fashioned after its scope.

Having taken the blood of calves and of goats
Goats are not directly spoken of in the Mosaic narrative (Exodus 24:5).
The addition is the more remarkable because the offering of a goat is never prescribed in the Law except as a sin-offering;  while the sacrifices in Exodus 24 are described as ‘burnt-offerings’ and ‘peace-offerings.’ 
Yet see Numbers 7:17,23,29,35.
These sacrifices were not made according to the Mosaic ritual. They were initiatory sacrifices offered not by priests but by the ‘young men,’ representing the people, and so partook of the patriarchal type. Under this aspect it is noticeable that in the record of the original covenant-sacrifice of Abraham ‘a heifer of three years old and a she goat of three years old’ are specially mentioned (Genesis 15:9).

The blood
He used half the blood for the sprinkling: Exodus 24:6.

With water…and hyssop
These details are not given in Exodus. Water is mentioned in connection with blood Leviticus 14:5 (compare Numbers 19:9) in the purification of the leper, when also a sprinkler of  ‘cedar wood and scarlet and hyssop’ was used (Leviticus 14:4: compare Numbers 19:18).

The significance of blood and water is marked  in I John 5:6; John 19:34.

1 John 5:6

This is the one who came by water and blood-Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.   NIV

Both itself the book
The Book of the Covenant (Exodus 24:7). 
This detail also is an addition to the Mosaic narrative. Though ‘the Book’ was the record of the words of God, it was outwardly the work of man, and so required the application of the purifying, vivifying, blood. Thus in a figure the ‘letter’ received a power of life.  Ex 24:6-8

The blood was divided into two parts:

One half  was swung by Moses upon the altar (zaaraq (OT:2236) to swing, shake, or pour out of the vessel, in distinction from hizaah to sprinkle)
The other half  he put into basins, and after he had read the book of the covenant to the people, and they had promised to do and follow all the words of Jehovah, he sprinkled it upon the people with these words: "Behold the blood of the covenant, which Jehovah has made with you over all these words." 

As several animals were slaughtered, and all of them young oxen, there must have been a considerable quantity of blood obtained, so that the one half would fill several basins, and many persons might be sprinkled with it as it was being swung about.  

The division of the blood had reference to the two parties to the covenant, who were to be brought by the covenant into a living unity; but it had no connection whatever with the heathen customs adduced by Bähr and Knobel, in which the parties to a treaty mixed their own blood together.

For this was not a mixture of different kinds of blood, but it was a division of one blood, and that sacrificial blood, in which animal life was offered instead of human life, making expiation as a pure life for sinful man, and by virtue of this expiation restoring the fellowship between God and man which had been destroyed by sin. But the sacrificial blood itself only acquired this signification through the sprinkling or swinging upon the altar, by virtue of which the human soul was received, in the soul of the animal sacrificed for man, into the fellowship of the divine grace manifested upon the altar, in order that, through the power of this sin-forgiving and sin-destroying grace,  it might be sanctified to a new and holy life.  In this way the sacrificial blood acquired the signification of a vital principle endued with the power of divine grace;  and this was communicated to the people by means of the sprinkling of the blood.

As the only reason for dividing the sacrificial blood into two parts, was that the blood sprinkled upon the altar could not be taken off again and sprinkled upon the people; the two halves of the blood are to be regarded as one blood, which was first of all sprinkled upon the altar, and then upon the people.

On the Altar In the blood sprinkled upon the altar, the natural life of the people was given up to God, as a life that had passed through death, to be pervaded by His grace.
On the People Through the sprinkling upon the people it was restored to them again, as a life renewed by the grace of God. 

In this way the blood not only became a bond of union between Jehovah and His people, but as the blood of the covenant, it became a vital power, holy and divine, uniting Israel and its God; and the sprinkling of the people with this blood was an actual renewal of life, a transposition of Israel into the kingdom of God, in which it was filled with the powers of God's spirit of grace, and sanctified into a kingdom of priests, a holy nation of Jehovah (Ex 19:6). 

And this covenant was made "upon all the words" which Jehovah had spoken, and the people had promised to observe.  Consequently it had for its foundation the divine law and right, as the rule of life for Israel.
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)


This the blood of the covenant
It is possible that the corresponding phrase at the institution of the New Covenant (Matthew 26:28) may have influenced the quotation.

Matt 26:28

This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.   NIV

The force of the words is: ‘This Blood shed, offered, sprinkled upon you, shows the validity and the power of the purpose of God.’

Enjoined to you
Commanded to you-ward … to be brought to you;  you were the people to whom the Lord looked in the commandments which He gave me. See The Acts 3:25.

Acts 3:25

Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.   NIV

The sprinkling of the Tabernacle and its vessels took place at a later time. They were not yet made when the Sacrifice of the Covenant was offered.  Moreover it is not recorded in the Pentateuch that the Tabernacle was sprinkled with blood,  though it ‘and all that was therein’ was anointed with oil   (Exodus 40:9. But Josephus, like the writer of the Epistle,  regards the Tabernacle as having been consecrated with blood. (Josephus Antt. 3. 8,6).


With blood
With the blood.
The definite form is used to bring out the thought that this was not the ordinary blood of purification, but the blood of the covenant, the blood of inauguration.


And almost with blood all things
The position of  almost,  separated from  all things  by  with blood,  shows that it qualifies the whole of the following clause: And , I may almost say, it is in blood all things… 
The position of  with blood is significant.  Blood was the characteristic means for cleansing,  though fire and water were also used.  It is the power of a pure life which purifies.  Under this aspect the Blood becomes the enveloping medium in which (with),  and not simply the means of instrument  through  or  by which,  the complete purification is effected.

The main reference is naturally to the service of the Day of Atonement.
The word almost occurs again in the New Testament in Acts 13:44; 19:26. 

All things
Things and men alike.  The reference is probably to the dress of the priests,  the attendants of the Temple,  the offers of sacrifice.

According to the law…  which was itself thus inaugurated by blood.

Apart from blood-shedding there is no remission
And apart from outpouring of blood there cometh no remission
The former statement was general (almost): this is universal  (yet there is an exception found in Leviticus 5:11).

Keil & Delitzsch on Lev 5:11-13

But if any one could not afford even two pigeons, he was to offer the tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a sin-offering. 

yaadow tasiyg for yaadow tagiya` (v. 7):  his hand reaches to anything, is able to raise it, or with an accusative, obtains, gets anything (used in the same sense in Lev 14:30 31), or else absolutely, acquires, or gets rich (ch. 25:26,47).  But it was to be offered without oil and incense,  because it was a sin-offering, that is to say,  "because it was not to have the character of a minchah" (Oehler). But the reason why it was not to have this character was, that only those who were in a state of grace could offer a minchah, and not a man who had fallen from grace through sin. As such a man could not offer to the Lord the fruits of the Spirit of God and of prayer,  he was not allowed to add oil and incense, as symbols of the Spirit and praise of God,  to the sacrifice with which he sought the forgiveness of sin.  The priest was to take a handful of the meal offered,  and burn it upon the altar as a memorial,  and thus make atonement for the sinner on account of his sin.

The principle which is here affirmed belongs to the Law; and finds expression in the Pentateuch (Lev 17:11)

Keil & Delitzsch on Lev 17:8-16

"To set one's face against:" i.e., to judge. 

The reason for the command in v. 11, "For the soul of the flesh (the soul which gives life to the flesh) is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar, to make an atonement for your souls,"  is not a double one, 

(1) because the blood contained the soul of the animal, and
(2) because God had set apart the blood, as the medium of expiation for the human soul, for the altar, i.e., to be sprinkled upon the altar.

The first reason simply forms the foundation for the second: God appointed the blood for the altar, as containing the soul of the animal, to be the medium of expiation for the souls of men, and therefore prohibited its being used as food.  "For the blood it expiates by virtue of the soul,"  not  "the soul" itself. (Lev 6:23; 16:17,27; also 7:7; 29:33; 5:8).  Accordingly,  it was not the blood as such,  but the blood as the vehicle of the soul,  which possessed expiatory virtue;  because the animal soul was offered to God upon the altar as a substitute for the human soul.  Hence every bleeding sacrifice had an expiatory force,  though without being an expiatory sacrifice in the strict sense of the word.

(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

The ‘outpouring’ of blood may be understood in two ways:

1. Either of the actual slaughter of the victim.
2. Or of the pouring out of the blood upon the altar.

Neither idea is in itself complete.  The provision of the blood and the application of the blood are both necessary. Maimonides, in speaking of the Passover,  lays down that ‘the sprinkling of the blood is the main point in sacrifice’ (de Sacr. I.2, 6).

The absolute use of  remission  is remarkable.  Elsewhere in the New Testament, except Luke 4:18,  the word is always used with a genitive in the Greek.  The absence of further definition here (contrast Heb. 10:18)  leaves it with the broad sense of  ‘release,’  ‘deliverance,’  not so much from special sins as from the bondage of which wrong-doing is a result.  In this sense ‘cleansing’  is to a certain degree opposed to ‘release.’  The one marks the removal of the stain, the other the enabling for action.

Blood  (9:23 - 28)

Previous Section

The writer of the Epistle goes back now to the consideration of the fulfillment of the work of Christ. 
The exposition of the full meaning of  ‘blood’  as the means of atonement and ratification came in as a necessary parenthesis.  The last illustration - the use of the blood in cleansing all human means of approach to God under the Old Covenant - supplies the transition to: 

(9:23) Christ’s cleansing the heavenly sanctuary ‘through His own Blood
(9:24-26) He entered once for all into heaven itself to fulfill His atoning work 
(9:27) That single entrance suggests the thought of a corresponding return

The paragraph offers an additional feature in the preeminence of the new order over the old

(9:12) The sacrifice on which it rest is better
(9:15-22) The covenant in which it is embodied is better 
(9:23-28) The service also  (one sovereign and all-sufficing act)  is better

The truths taught by Christ’s Entrance into the Presence of God

(9:23) The Blood of Christ by which the New Covenant was inaugurated was available also for the cleansing of the heavenly archetype of the earthly sanctuary.
(9:24-26) For Christ has entered once for all into the Presence of God for us, having overcome sin for ever. 
(9:27, 28) And men now await the Return of the great High-priest to announce the accomplishment of His work .
Heb 9:23-28
(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;
(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:
(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.

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(23)  [It was] necessary then [for] the representations of the things in the heavens with these to be purified, but themselves the heavenly with better sacrifices than these.  ( 24)   For not into made by hands Holies entered the Christ, figures of the true [ones], but into itself heaven, now to appear before the face of God for us( 25)   nor that often he should offer himself, even as the high priest enters into the Holies year by year with blood another’s  ( 26)  since it was necessary for him often to have suffered from [the] foundation of [the] world. But now once in [the] consummation of the ages, for [the] putting away of sin by his sacrifice he has been manifested  ( 27)  And for as much as it is apportioned to men once to die, after and this, judgment( 28)   thus the Christ, once having been offered for of many to bear [the] sins, a second time apart from sin shall appear to those that him await for salvation.


This verse serves for the return from the line of thought in vv. 13-22  to that indicated generally in vv. 11,12. 
The consideration of the use of blood for cleansing and for remission under the Law throws light upon the significance of Christ’s Blood in connection with His heavenly ministry. 

That which was done in symbol on earth
Required to be done truly in the spiritual order
In regard to the individual conscience, 
the Blood of Christ has absolute eternal validity (9:14)
In regard to the scene of the future service of the Church, 
the Living Christ fulfils that which was represented by the blood of victims.

Necessary then
It was necessary therefore,  since blood is the means of purification for all that is connected with man’s service of God,  that the typical sanctuary,  the copies of the things in the heavens,  should be cleansed with these,  but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.  The fact that such a mode of purifying by blood was enjoined for the material instruments of worship carried with it the inevitable consequence that some analogous and therefore some nobler purification should be provided for the divine archetypes.

In an external system the purification might be external, but in the spiritual order it was requisite that the purification should be of corresponding efficacy, spiritual and not material only.

The whole structure of the sentence requires that ‘cleansed’ should be supplied in the second clause from the first, and not any more general term as ‘inaugurated.’  In what sense then can it be said that  ‘the heavenly things’ needed cleansing?

The necessity for the purification of the earthly sanctuary and its vessels came from the fact that they were to be used by man and shared in his impurity (compare Leviticus 16:16).

Keil & Delitzsch on Lev 16b,17

"And so shall he do to the tabernacle of the congregation that dwelleth among them." (i.e., has its place among them, Josh 22:19)  "in the midst of their uncleanness."  The holy things were rendered unclean, not only by the sins of those who touched them,  but by the uncleanness, i.e.,  the bodily manifestations of the sin of the nation;  so that they also required a yearly expiation and cleansing through the expiatory blood of sacrifice.  By ohel moed, "the tabernacle of the congregation," in vv. 16 and 17, as well as vv. 20 and 33, we are to understand the holy place of the tabernacle,  to which the name of the whole is applied on account of its occupying the principal space in the dwelling,  and in distinction from kodesh (the holy), which is used in this chapter to designate the most holy place, or the space at the back of the dwelling.  It follows still further from this,  that by the altar in v. 18, and also in v. 20 and 33,  which is mentioned here as the third portion of the entire sanctuary,  we are to understand the altar of burnt-offering in the court,  and not the altar of incense, as the Rabbins and most of the commentators assume.

Agreeable with this view it may be said that even ‘heavenly things,’ so far as they embody the conditions of man’s future life, contracted by the Fall something which required cleansing (compare I timothy 4:4,5 goodsanctified). Man is, according to the revelation in Scripture, so bound up with the whole finite order that the consequences of his actions extend through creation in some way which we are unable to define (compare Genesis 3:17; Isa. 24:5,6; Jer.; 23:10; Rom. 8:18).  And conversely the effect of Christ’s work extends throughout creation with reconciling, harmonizing power: Eph. 1:10; Col. 1:20.

The reference is definite,  to the purification of the earthly sanctuary on the one hand by the High-priest, and of the heavenly sanctuary by Christ. 

With these to be purified
With these ceremonial observances,  that is,  the blood of bulls and goats,  applied according to the directions of the Law.  The Mosaic system was external:  the means of purification were external also.

But themselves the heavenly
This phrase,  as distinguished from the  in the heavens,  expresses those things,  answering to the sanctuary with all its furniture,  which have their proper sphere in the heavenly order (compare Heb. 3:1;8:5 and John 3:12), and not simply those things which are there.

With better sacrifices
The plural is used for the expression of the general idea.  And in point of fact the single sacrifice of Christ fulfilled perfectly the ideas presented by the different forms of the Levitical sacrifices:

The Sacrifice of Service (Burnt-offering and Peace-offering)
The Sacrifice for Atonement  (Sin-offering and Trespass-offering)


The writer shows that Christ has satisfied the requirement which he has described in v. 23. 

(v. 24) He has entered heaven itself to make ready a place for us
(vv. 25,26) and that not by providing for the accomplishment of a recurrent atonement
(v. 26) but by vanquishing sin for ever


For not into made by hands
The clause justifies the reference to the purification of the heavenly things.  If we consider what was needed for the due preparation of that spiritual Tabernacle for man’s service and God’s revelation of Himself we shall feel the greatness of the requirements.  For it was  no Holy place made by hands  Christ entered,  and entered once for all, but heaven itself.  He has fulfilled therefore,  necessarily fulfilled,  all those requirements to which the symbols pointed.

Now to appear before the face
Now to appear openly before the face of God.
The open evident appearance of Christ before the face of God is contrasted with the appearance of the High-priest in the dark sanctuary veiled by the cloud of incense (Leviticus 16:12).

So too the ‘face of God’ suggests the idea of a vision direct and absolute,  not like that of  ‘the glory of the Lord’ (Exodus 40:34), or even that granted to Moses (Exodus 33:18).

In this connection it appears strange at first that Christ should be said to have entered the heavenly sanctuary  ‘to appear openly’ before the face of God:  that he should be described as the object of the vision of God and not that God should be spoken of as seen perfectly by Him.  The explanation of the form of thought seems to lie in this,  that everything finally must be referred to God:  that which bears His regard is accepted by Him. Compare Gal. 4:9.

Gal 4:9

But now that you know God-or rather are known by God-how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?   NIV

This combination appears to:

Affirm two complementary truths
One act at once
A present act for the believer
Exclude two opposite errors
No succession in the fulfillment of His work
It cannot in any sense grow old

The manifestation of Christ before God is ‘on our behalf’. 
In Him humanity obtains its true harmony with God, and in Him it can bear the full light of God. 
He can be therefore,  in virtue of His perfect manhood, our Advocate (I John 2:2 Jesus Christ righteous). And each Christian in Christ, as well as through Him,  has access to God: Eph. 3:12 compare Heb. 7:25.


The writer of the Epistle goes on to meet another difficulty of his Jewish readers while he unfolds the absolute uniqueness of Christ’s Death. 

They found it hard to understand how Christ should die, and how one death could have never-ending virtue.

It is shown from the very nature of the case that He could only die once, and that by this Death He satisfied completely the wants of humanity.

Nor that
Nor yet did He enter in order that He may again often offer Himself, and so enter afresh as the High-priest from time to time. 
The main idea of the writer seems to be:  ‘Christ did not enter in order to secure an access to God which might be available on repeated occasions.’  Then for such a phrase as  ‘in order to repeat His entrance’ he substitutes ‘in order to offer Himself,’ and thus by bringing into preeminence the preliminary condition of entrance he shows the impossibility of repetition.

The parallel is between Christ’s offering and entrance and the High-priest’s offering and entrance as a whole repeated year by year.   The ceremony of the Day of Atonement is treated as one great act.  The thought of the High-priest’s offering for himself is necessarily excluded in the case of Christ (Heb. 7:27).

He should offer himself
Two different interpretations of this offering have been proposed. It has been supposed to correspond with the bringing of the blood into the Holy of Holies, and again with the offering of the victim upon the altar. The general usage of the writer, apart from other considerations,  is decisive in favor of the second view.   It is unreasonable to give a different sense to the words from that which they bear in v. 14 (compare v. 28),  where the reference is to the Passion of Christ.  See also Heb. 11:17;7:27;8:3.
It was only by the offering upon the Cross that the Blood  ‘through which’  the divine High-priest entered into the heavenly sanctuary was made available.
The High-priest was, as it were, surrounded, enveloped, in the life sacrificed and symbolically communicated.  Christ Himself living through death came before God. 


If the one offering of Christ is (as has been shown from its nature) sufficient to atone for the sins of the whole world, then it is evident that its efficacy reaches through all time past and future.  If it had not been sufficient,  then it must have been repeated.  It is assumed that it is God’s will that complete atonement should be made for sin;  and if He had willed that this should be made in detail and by successive acts,  occasion must have arisen in earlier ages for Christ’s sufferings,  a thought in itself inconceivable.  The virtue of Christ’s work for the past in the eternal counsel of God is taken for granted

Since it was
Since in that case, else. See Heb. 9:17; 10:2; Rom. 3:6; I Cor. 5:10.

From foundation of world
A prospect is opened beyond the beginning of the Mosaic system. The divine counsel had a universal scope.

But now
As things actually are,  once for allat the close of the ages,  hath He been manifested to disannul (set at naught) sin by the sacrifice of Himself.  Each element in this sentence brings out some contrast between the work of Christ and that of the Levitical High-priests. 

Their Sacrifices His Sacrifice
Repeated year by year during a long period of preparation. His sacrifice was offered once for all at the close of the succession of ages.
They by their action called sins to mind (Heb. 10:3). His annulled sin.
They provided typical (shadow) atonement through the blood of victims. He provided an absolute atonement by 
the sacrifice of Himself.
With them the most impressive fact was the entrance into the darkness in which the Divine Presence was shrouded. With Him the manifestation on earth, still realized as an abiding reality, brought the Divine Presence near to men.

Generally it is made plain that Christ accomplished all that the Levitical Service pointed to.

The absolute oneness of Christ’s offering has been touched upon before, 9:12;7:27.  In proportion as this truth was felt,  the weakness of the Levitical offerings,  shown by their repetition, became evident.

The Death of the Lord, including His Resurrection and Ascension, is essentially the beginning of a new development in the life of man and in the life of the world. It was needful, as we speak, that the ‘natural’ development of man should have had fullest scope before Christ came.

The word consummation occurs in the New Testament only in the passages which have been quoted.  It occurs frequently in the LXX.  A characteristic use is found in Exodus  23:16 ‘Thou shalt also keep the festival of the Ingathering of the first fruits of thy labours employed in sowing thy field; and the festival of completion at the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours from the field.’ LXX Ex. 23:16 

Consummation expresses an end involving many parts. Compare Luke 4:2; Acts 21:27; Heb. 8:8; Luke 4:13.
The whole discipline and growth of creation in time is made up of manifold periods of discipline, each having its proper unity and completeness.

For putting away of sin
This thought goes beyond  ‘the redemption from transgressions’  (9:15).
It is literally ‘for the disannulling of sin’ (Heb. 7:18  A putting away for there is of the going before commandment).  Sin is vanquished,  shown in its weakness,  ‘set at naught’ (Mark 7:9; Gal. 3:15).

Mark 7:9

And he said to them: "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!   NIV

Gal 3:15

Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case.   NIV

Elsewhere in the Epistle the work of Christ is regarded in its action on the many actual sins in which sin shows itself.
In the connection different phrases are used which present different aspects of its efficacy:

A. Heb. 1:3 The Son sat down on the right hand of the Majesty
B. Heb. 2:17 He is a merciful and faithful High-priest 
C. Heb. 10:4 The ‘blood of bulls and goats is unable to take away sin

So "sins" are presented as a defilement which clings to man,  a force which separates him from God,  a burden which he bears,  a robe of custom in which he is arrayed.  And only the sacrifice of Jesus Christ can save him from it.

By his sacrifice
The phrase, referring as it does to  with blood another’s 9:25,  cannot mean anything less that  ‘the sacrifice of Himself.’   The word  his sacrifice  is used again of Christ in Heb. 10:12;  and in connection with an offering in 
Eph. 5:2.

He has been manifested
He,  who is our High-priest,  hath been manifested,  hath entered the visible life of men as man.  On the scene of earth,  before the eyes of men,  He has overcome death  (compare I Corinthians 15:54-57).  And more than this: the fact of the Incarnation is regarded in its abiding consequences.  The manifestation of Christ continues in its effects.

1 Cor 15:54-57

(54)  When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable,  and the mortal with immortality,  then the saying that is written will come true:  "Death has been swallowed up in victory." 
(55)  "Where,  O death, is your victory? 
Where,  O death, is your sting?" 
(56)  The sting of death is sin,  and the power of sin is the law.  (57)  But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.    NIV

In this relation the  ‘manifestation’  of Christ offers a contrast to the veiling of the High-priest in darkness when he was engaged in fulfilling his atoning service. Christ is withdrawn and yet present: hidden and yet seen.


The fulfillment of the work of the Levitical High-priest suggests another thought.  When the atonement was completed the High-priest came again among the people (Leviticus 16:24).  So too Christ shall return.  He shall in this respect also satisfy the conditions of humanity.  His Death shall be followed by the manifestation of His righteousness in the judgment of God.


The conditions of human life are regarded as furnishing a measure,  by analogy,  of the conditions of Christ’s work as man.  He fulfilled the part of man perfectly in fact and not in figure (as by the Mosaic sacrifices).  For Him therefore Death must be followed by a Divine Judgment.

It is apportioned
Death lies stored in the future, ‘laid up’ for each man:  2 Tim. 4:8; Col. 1:5.

After and this
And after this cometh judgment,  not in immediate sequence of time,  but in the development of personal being. The writer appears to connect the Judgment with the Return of Christ on ‘the Day’: Compare Hebrews 10:25,37.
For the distinction of the act  ( the process)  of judgment,  from the issue of judgment  ( the sentence)  compare Heb. 6:2 with 10:27;  see also John 9:39; I John 4:17.

Thus the
Death finally closes man’s earthly work, and is followed by the judgment which reveals its issue. So too Christ,  as man,  died once only;  and that which answers to judgment in His case is the revelation of His glory. 
The revelation of Himself as He is.


Once having been offered
The passive form  (contrast v. 25)  completes the conception of the Lord’s offering.  It is on the one side voluntary and on the other side it is the result of outward force.  How this outward force was exerted and by whom is not made known.  It cannot be said directly that Christ was  ‘offered up’  by men;  nor would such a form be used to express the offering of Christ by Himself.  There is a divine law which men unconsciously and even involuntarily fulfill.  This embodies the divine will of love and right.  The Jews were instruments in carrying it out.

For many to bear sins
To carry the sins of many.  This most remarkable phrase appears to be taken from Isaiah 53:6 LXX. ‘We all like sheep had strayed; every man wandered in his way: and the Lord delivered him up for our sins:’ and Isaiah 53:12 LXX  ‘therefore he shall inherit much and divide the spoils of the strong.’

Where the sense is  ‘to take upon himself and bear the burden of sin.’  Hence comes the sense of  ‘offering,’  ‘carrying up to the altar’ (Heb. 7:27;13:15; James 2:21);  and it is difficult to suppose that this idea is not present in the phrase here.  Christ  ‘carried to the cross’  and there did away with sin and sins.

In any case it is essential to the understanding of the passage to keep strictly to the literal statement.  The burden which Christ took upon Him and bore to the cross was  ‘the sins of many,’  not,  primarily or separately from the sins,  the punishment of sins.   ‘Punishment’ may be a blessing to the child conscious of his sonship.

The word ‘many’  does not  imply ‘many out of the whole number of men’;  but  ‘many’  is simply contrasted with Christ’s single person,  and His single entrance.  Compare Heb. 2:10; Matthew 20:28;26:28

Matt 20:28  -  The greatest exemplar of this principle is the Son of man. The supreme display occurred at Calvary, where he gave his life as a ransom to God, against whom men have sinned and were subject to penalty. For many. Christ's death here is clearly substitutionary, "in the stead of" (anti) many. (See A. T. Robertson, Grammar of the Greek New Testament, pp. 572-574). Many does not seem intended to be restrictive here, but is in contrast to the one who died. However, the choice was a happy one in view of the clear teaching elsewhere that not all would avail themselves of the proffered salvation.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

Matt 26:28  -  Drink ye all of it, i.e., all of you.  The new testament or covenant was put in force by the death of Christ.  The old covenant given by God to Israel required continual sacrifices for sin.  But Christ’s death provided a perfect sacrifice,  and made possible both justification and regeneration (Heb 8:6-13). Shed for many
(Cf. Matt 20:28).  Christ's death,  while sufficient in itself to care for the remission of sins for every person,  is here regarded as actually effective only for believers
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

A second time…salvation
The  ‘appearance’  of Christ corresponds in the parallel to the judgment of men.  In this case the complete acceptance of Christ’s work by the Father,  testified by the Return in glory,  is the correlative to the sentence given on human life.  He rises above judgment, and yet His absolute righteousness receives this testimony.  For Him what is judgment in the case of men is seen in the Return to bear the final message of salvation.
The fullness of this thought finds more complete expression by the description of Christ’s Return as a return  ‘for salvation’ and not  (under another aspect)  as a return ‘for judgment,’  which might have seemed superficially more natural.

Salvation emphasizes the actual efficacy of His work
Judgment declares its present partial failure (speaking of those who don't believe and accept His sacrifice)

Nothing indeed is said of the effect of Christ’s Return upon the unbelieving.  This aspect of its working does not fall within the scope of the writer;  and it is characteristic of the Epistle that judgment is not directly referred to Christ, whom the writer regards peculiarly as the Royal High-priest.

Apart from sin
Heb. 4:15.  
At His first manifestation Christ took on Him the sins of humanity,  and,  through Himself sinless, endured the consequences of sin.  
At His second coming this burden will exist no longer. Sin then will have no place.
By the use of the word  shall appear  the Return of Christ is presented as a historical fact (compare Acts 1:10). But it is to be noticed that the writer does not use the Greek word that is used in Matthew, 2 Peter, James, Paul or John. 
This revelation will be the completion of the transitory revelations after the Resurrection (I Cor. 15:5).  But,  like those,  it will be for such as wait for Him,  even as the people of Israel waited for the return of the High-priest from the Holy of Holies after the atonement had been made.

For salvation
To accomplish,  consummate salvation,  which includes not only the removal of sin but also the attainment of the ideal of humanity.

The Divine Names in the Epistle

The Names by which the Lord is spoken of in the Epistle throw light upon its characteristic teaching. Speaking generally we may say that:

Jesus directs our thoughts to His human Nature
Christ directs our thoughts to His Work as the Fulfiller of the old Dispensation
Son directs our thoughts to His divine Nature
Lord directs our thoughts to His sovereignty over the Church


Of these Names that which is distinctive of the Epistle is the human Name, Jesus. This occurs nine times, and in every case it furnishes the key to the argument of the passage where it is found:
Heb 2:9 Although humanity has not yet attained its end we see that the Son of Man—true man—has fulfilled through suffering the destiny of the race.
Heb 3:1 In His manhood, our Lawgiver and Priest is seen to rise immeasurably above Moses and Aaron, who occupied severally the same offices under the Old Covenant.
Heb 6:20 Our High-priest, even when He enters into the immediate presence of God, to take His seat at God’s right hand, preserves no less a true humanity than the Jewish High-priest who entered into the typical sanctuary.
Heb 7:22 The eternal priesthood, answering to the better Covenant, is still the priesthood of One who is true man.
Heb 10:19 The virtue of the offered life of Him Who shares our nature is that wherein we can draw near to God.  Contrast Heb. 9:14.
Heb 12:2 Our strength in Christian effort is to fix our eyes upon Him Who in His Manhood won for us the perfect victory of faith.
Heb 12:24 The mediator of the New Covenant     Compare Heb. 7:22
Heb 13:12 Is the Perfect Sacrifice - sanctifies the people with His own blood.
Heb 13:20 This single reference in the Epistle to the Resurrection, combined with the declaration of the twofold office of Christ as Shepherd and Lord, is pointed by the use of His human Name.
It will be noticed that in every case but 13:12, which is a simple historic statement, the name ‘Jesus’ occupies an emphatic position at the end of the clause.

Christ  or  The Christ

The Name of Christ  (the Christ)  occurs just as many times as Jesus. It is desirable to notice separately the two forms in which it is used.  
The definite form ‘the Christ; (the Christos) appears always to retain more or less distinctly the idea of the office as the crown of the old Covenant
The anarthrous form ‘Christ” (Christos) is rather a proper name
The Christ
Heb 3:14 We have become partakers in Him Who has fulfilled the hope of the fathers.
Heb 5:5  Through the High-priesthood might have seemed to be necessarily included in the office to which He was sent.
Heb 6:1 The elementary exposition of the Gospel as the true accomplishment of all that was promised to Israel.
Heb 9:14 The blood of Him to Whom every sacrificial ordinance of the Levitical ritual pointed. Contrast Heb. 10:19.
Heb 9:28 That which seemed to be disappointment in the Death of Him to Whom the people had looked shall hereafter be turned to glory. 
Heb 11:26 Each hero of faith realized a little of that which is the part of the Messenger of God.
Heb 3:6 Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we are
Heb 9:11 Christ being come an high priest of good things to come
Heb 9:24 Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself
The force of this Name will be felt if the student of Scripture substitutes for it the human Name. Throughout Hebrews 9 the thought is of the typical teaching of the Law.

Sonthe Son

The title Son is with one exception (Heb. 1:8) always anarthrous (proper name). The writer, that is, fixes the attention of his readers upon the nature implied by it:
Heb 1:2 Who did it?   In son 1:1
Heb 1:5 Son my art thou.
Heb 3:6 As Son.
Heb 5:8 Being a Son. And therefore having personally right of access to the Father.
Heb 7:28 A Son for ever.

The Lord

The Title  Lord  is comparatively rare.
Heb 2:3 By the Lord.
Heb 7:14 The title here is perhaps suggested by the royal tribe. Compare also Heb. 1:10;12:14; 13:20.

Jesus Christ

Of compound Names that which is elsewhere most common  (more than thirty times in the Epistle to the Romans,  eleven times in I Peter),  Jesus Christ,  is comparatively very rare.
Heb 10:10 We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ 
Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Heb 13:21 The force of the full Name,  which is an implicit Creed,  will be obvious in each place.
The characteristic Pauline Name Christ Jesus does not occur in the Epistle (not until Heb. 3:1)

The Son of God

The title  the Son of God  speaks for itself in the place where it is used:
Heb 6:6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
Heb 7:3 The Incarnate Son was the archetype of Melchizedek.
Heb 10:29  Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God

Jesus the Son of God

The complete affirmation of the divine and human natures of our High-priest is found in the phrase which occurs only once, Jesus, the Son of God.
Heb 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
Compare also the descriptive titles: Heb. 2:10;3:1;12:2;13:20.

Sometimes the Lord,  though unnamed,  is assumed as the subject of the teaching of the prophets:  Heb. 2:14;10:5,37.

(End of Lesson Six)


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