The apostle, having declared the Old-Testament dispensation antiquated
and vanishing away, proceeds to let the Hebrews see the correspondence
there was between the Old Testament and the New; and that whatever was
excellent in the Old was typical and representative of the New, which
therefore must as far excel the Old as the substance does the shadow.
The Old Testament was never intended to be rested in, but to prepare
for the institutions of the gospel. And here he treats,
I. Of the tabernacle, the place of worship,
II. Of the worship and services performed in the tabernacle,
III. He delivers the spiritual sense and the main design of all,
|The Furniture of the Tabernacle.
||A. D. 62.|
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 showbread; which is called
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
5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat;
of which we cannot now speak particularly.
6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went
always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of
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:
I. The apostle gives an account of the tabernacle, that place of
worship which God appointed to be pitched on earth; it is called a
worldly sanctuary, wholly of this world, as to the materials of
which it was built, and a building that must be taken down; it is
called a worldly sanctuary, because it was the court and palace
of the King of Israel. God was their King, and, as other kings, had his
court or place of residence, and attendants, furniture, and provision,
suitable thereto. This tabernacle (of which we have the model,
was a moving temple, shadowing forth the unsettled state of the church
militant, and the human nature of the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom the
fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily. Now of this tabernacle it is said
that it was divided into two parts, called a first and a second
tabernacle, an inner and an outer part, representing the two states of
the church militant and triumphant, and the two natures of Christ,
human and divine. We are also told what was placed in each part of the
1. In the outer part: and there were several things, of which you have
here a sort of schedule.
(1.) The candlestick; doubtless not an empty and unlighted one, but
where the lamps were always burning. And there was need of it, for
there were no windows in the sanctuary; and this was to convince the
Jews of the darkness and the mysterious nature of that dispensation.
Their light was only candle-light, in comparison of the fullness of
light which Christ, the Sun of righteousness, would bring along with
him, and communicate to his people; for all our light is derived from
him the fountain of light.
(2.) The table and the show-bread set upon it. This table was set
directly opposite to the candlestick, which shows that by light from
Christ we must have communion with him and with one another. We must
not come in the dark to his table, but by light from Christ must
discern the Lord's body. On this table were placed twelve loaves for
the twelve tribes of Israel, a loaf for a tribe, which stood from
sabbath to sabbath, and on that day were renewed. This show-bread may
be considered either as the provision of the palace (though the King of
Israel needed it not, yet, in resemblance of the palaces of earthly
kings, there must be this provision laid in weekly), or the provision
made in Christ for the souls of his people, suitable to the wants and
to the relief of their souls. He is the bread of life; in our Father's
house there is bread enough and to spare; we may have fresh supplies
from Christ, especially every Lord's day. This outer part is called
the sanctuary or holy, because erected to the worship of a holy
God, to represent a holy Jesus, and to entertain a holy people, for
their further improvement in holiness.
2. We have an account of what was in the inner part of the sanctuary,
which was within the second veil, and is called the holiest of
all. This second veil, which divided between the holy and the most
holy place, was a type of the body of Christ, by the rending whereof
not only a view, but a way, was opened for us into the holiest of all,
the type of heaven itself. Now in this part were,
(1.) The golden censer, which was to hold the incense, or the golden
altar set up to burn the incense upon; both the one and the other were
typical of Christ, of his pleasing and prevailing intercession which he
makes in heaven, grounded upon the merits and satisfaction of his
sacrifice, upon which we are to depend for acceptance and the blessing
(2.) The ark of the covenant overlaid round about with pure gold,
This typified Christ, his perfect obedience to the law and his
fulfilling of all righteousness for us. Now here we are told both what
was in this ark and what was over it.
[1.] What was in it. First, The golden pot that had manna,
which, when preserved by the Israelites in their own houses, contrary
to the command of God, presently putrefied; but now, being by God's
appointment deposited here in this house, was kept from putrefaction,
always pure and sweet; and this to teach us that it is only in Christ
that our persons, our graces, our performances are kept pure. It was
also a type of the bread of life we have in Christ, the true ambrosia
that gives immortality. This was also a memorial of God's miraculously
feeding his people in the wilderness, that they might never forget such
signal favour, nor distrust God for the time to come. Secondly,
Aaron's rod that budded, and thereby showed that God had chosen him
of the tribe of Levi to minister before him of all the tribes of
Israel, and so an end was put to the murmuring of the people, and to
their attempt to invade the priest's office,
This was that rod of God with which Moses and Aaron wrought such
wonders; and this was a type of Christ, who is styled the man, the
by whom God has wrought wonders for the spiritual deliverance, defence,
and supply of his people, and for the destruction of their enemies. It
was a type of divine justice, by which Christ the Rock was smitten, and
from whom the cool refreshing waters of life flow into our souls.
Thirdly, The tables of the covenant, in which the moral law was
written, signifying the regard God has to the preservation of his holy
law, and the care we all ought to have that we keep the law of
God--that this we can only do in and through Christ, by strength from
him nor can our obedience by accepted but through him.
[2.] What was over the ark
Over it the cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy-seat. First,
The mercy-seat, which was the covering of the ark; it was called the
propitiatory, and it was of pure gold, as long and as broad as the
ark in which the tables of the law were laid. It was an eminent type
of Christ, and of his perfect righteousness, ever adequate to the
dimensions of the law of God, and covering all our transgressions,
interposing between the Shechinah, or symbol of God's presence, and our
sinful failures, and covering them. Secondly, The cherubim of
glory shadowing the mercy-seat, representing the holy angels of
God, who take pleasure in looking into the great work of our redemption
by Christ, and are ready to perform every good office, under the
Redeemer, for those who are the heirs of salvation. The angels
attended Christ at his birth, in his temptation, under his agonies, at
his resurrection, and in his ascension, and will attend his second
coming. God manifest in the flesh was seen, observed, visited, by the
II. From the description of the place of worship in the Old-Testament
dispensation, the apostle proceeds to speak of the duties and services
performed in those places,
When the several parts and furniture of the tabernacle were thus
settled, then what was to be done there?
1. The ordinary priests went always into the first tabernacle, to
accomplish the service of God. Observe,
(1.) None but priests were to enter into the first part of the
tabernacle, and this to teach us all that persons not qualified, not
called of God, must not intrude into the office and work of the
(2.) The ordinary priests were only to enter into the first part of the
tabernacle, it would have been fatal presumption in them to have gone
into the holiest of all; and this teaches us that even ministers
themselves must know and keep in their proper stations, and not presume
to usurp the prerogative of Christ, by offering up incense of their
own, or adding their own inventions to the ordinances of Christ, or
lording it over men's consciences.
(3.) These ordinary priests were to enter into the first tabernacle
always; that is, they were to devote themselves and all their time to
the work of their office, and not alienate themselves at any time from
it; they were to be in an habitual readiness for the discharge of their
office, and at all stated appointed times were actually to attend to
(4.) The ordinary priests must enter into the first tabernacle, that
they might there accomplish the service of God. They must not do the
work of God partially or by halves, but stand complete in the whole of
his will and counsel; not only beginning well, but proceeding well, and
persevering to the end, fulfilling the ministry they had received.
2. Into the second, the interior part, went the high priest along,
This part was an emblem of heaven, and Christ's ascension thither.
(1.) None but the high priest must go into the holiest; so none but
Christ could enter into heaven in his own name, by his own right, and
by his own merits.
(2.) In entering into the holiest, the high priest must first go
through the outer sanctuary, and through the veil, signifying that
Christ went to heaven through a holy life and a violent death; the veil
of his flesh was rent asunder.
(3.) The high priest entered but once a year into the holiest, and in
this the antitype excels the type (as in every thing else), for he has
entered once for all, during the whole dispensation of the gospel.
(4.) The high priest must not enter without blood, signifying that
Christ, having undertaken to be our high priest, could not have been
admitted into heaven without shedding his blood for us, and that none
of us can enter either into God's gracious presence here or his
glorious presence hereafter, but by the blood of Jesus.
(5.) The high priest, under the law, entering into the holiest, offered
up that blood for himself and his own errors first, and then for the
errors of the people,
This teaches us that Christ is a more excellent person and high priest
than any under the law, for he has no errors of his own to offer for.
And it teaches us that ministers, when in the name of Christ they
intercede for others, must first apply the blood of Christ to
themselves for their pardon.
(6.) When the legal high priest had offered for himself, he must not
stop there, but must also offer for the errors of the people. Our high
priest, though he needs not to offer for himself, yet forgets not to
offer for his people; he pleads the merit of his sufferings for the
benefit of his people on earth. Observe,
[1.] Sins are errors, and great errors, both in judgment and practice.
We greatly err when we sin against God; and who can understand all his
[2.] They are such errors as leave guilt upon the conscience, not to be
washed away but by the blood of Christ; and the sinful errors of
priests and people must be all done away by the same means, the
application of the blood of Christ; we must plead this blood on earth,
while he is pleading it in heaven for us.
|The Priesthood of Christ.
||A. D. 62.|
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
11 But Christ being come a 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.
13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an
heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of
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?
In these verses the apostle undertakes to deliver to us the mind and
meaning of the Holy Ghost in all the ordinances of the tabernacle and
legal economy, comprehending both place and worship. The scriptures of
the Old Testament were given by inspiration of God; holy men of old
spoke and wrote as the Holy Ghost directed them. And these
Old-Testament records are of great use and significancy, not only to
those who first received them, but even to Christians, who ought not to
satisfy themselves with reading the institutes of the Levitical law,
but should learn what the Holy Ghost signifies and suggests to them
thereby. Now here are several things mentioned as the things that the
Holy Ghost signified and certified to his people hereby.
I. That the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest,
while the first tabernacle was standing,
This was one lesson the Holy Ghost would teach us by these types; the
way to heaven was not so clear and plain, nor so much frequented, under
the Old Testament as under the New. It is the honour of Christ and the
gospel, and the happiness of those who live under it, that now life and
immortality are brought to light. There was not that free access to God
then that there is now; God has now opened a wider door; and there is
room for more, yea, even for as many as are truly willing to return
unto him by Christ.
II. That the first tabernacle was only a figure for the time then
It was a dark dispensation, and but of short continuance, only designed
for awhile to typify the great things of Christ and the gospel, that
were in due time to shine forth in their own brightness, and thereby
cause all the shadows to flee away and disappear, as the stars before
the rising sun.
III. That none of the gifts and sacrifices there offered could make the
offerers perfect as pertaining to conscience
that is, they could not take away the desert, or defilement, or
dominion, of sin; they could not deliver conscience from a dread of the
wrath of God; they could neither discharge the debts, nor resolve the
doubts, of him who did the service. A man might run through them all in
their several orders and frequent returns, and continue to do so all
his days, and yet not find his conscience either pacified or purified
by them; he might thereby be saved from corporal and temporal
punishments that were threatened against the non-observers, but he
could not be saved by them from sin or hell, as all those are who
believe in Christ.
IV. The Holy Ghost hereby signifies that the Old-Testament institutions
were by external carnal ordinances imposed upon them until the time of
Their imperfection lay in three things:--
1. Their nature. They were but external and carnal meats and drinks,
and divers washings. All these were bodily exercises, which profit
little; they could only satisfy the flesh, or at best sanctify to the
purifying of the flesh.
2. They were not such as were left indifferent to them to use or
disuse, but they were imposed upon them by grievous corporal
punishments, and this was ordered on purpose to make them look more to
the promised Seed, and long more for him.
3. These were never designed for a perpetuity, but only to continue
till the time of reformation, till the better things provided for them
were actually bestowed upon them. Gospel times are and should be times
of reformation,--of clearer light as to all things necessary to be
known,--of greater love, inducing us to bear ill-will to none, but
good-will to all, and to have complacency in all that are like God,--of
greater liberty and freedom both of spirit and speech--and of a more
holy living according to the rule of the gospel. We have far greater
advantages under the gospel than they had under the law; and either we
must be better or we shall be worse. A conversation becoming the gospel
is an excellent way of living; nothing mean, foolish, vain, or servile
becomes the gospel.
V. The Holy Ghost signifies to us hereby that we never make the right
use of types but when we apply them to the antitype; and, whenever we
do so, it will be very evident that the antitype (as in reason it
should) greatly excels the type, which is the main drift and design of
all that is said. And, as he writes to those who believed that Christ
had come and that Jesus was the Christ, so he very justly infers that
he is infinitely above all legal high priests
and he illustrates it very fully. For,
1. Christ is a high priest of good things to come, by which may
(1.) All the good things that were to come during the Old Testament,
and now have come under the New. All the spiritual and eternal
blessings the Old-Testament saints had in their day and under their
dispensation were owing to the Messiah to come, on whom they believed.
The Old Testament set forth in shadows what was to come; the New
Testament is the accomplishment of the Old.
(2.) All the good things yet to come and to be enjoyed in a gospel
state, when the promises and prophecies made to the gospel church in
the latter days shall be accomplished; all these depend upon Christ and
his priesthood, and shall be fulfilled.
(3.) Of all the good things to come in the heavenly state, which will
perfect both the Testaments; as the state of glory will perfect the
state of grace, this state will be in a much higher sense the
perfection of the New Testament than the New Testament was the
perfection of the Old. Observe, All things past, present, and to come,
were, and are, founded upon, and flowing from, the priestly office of
2. Christ is a high priest by a greater and more perfect tabernacle
a tabernacle not made with hands, that is to say, not of this
building, but his own body, or rather human nature, conceived by
the Holy Ghost overshadowing the blessed virgin. This was a new fabric,
a new order of building, infinitely superior to all earthly structures,
not excepting the tabernacle of the temple itself.
3. Christ, our high priest, has entered into heaven, not as their high
priest entered into the holiest, with the blood of bulls and of goats,
but by his own blood, typified by theirs, and infinitely more precious.
4. Not for one year only, which showed the imperfection of that
priesthood, that it did but typically obtain a year's reprieve or
pardon. But our high priest entered into heaven once for all,
and has obtained not a yearly respite, but eternal redemption, and so
needs not to make an annual entrance. In each of the types there was
something that showed it was a type, and resembled the antitype, and
something that showed it was but a type, and fell short of the
antitype, and therefore ought by no means to be set up in competition
with the antitype.
5. The Holy Ghost further signified and showed what was the efficacy of
the blood of the Old-Testament sacrifices, and thence is inferred the
much greater efficacy of the blood of Christ.
(1.) The efficacy of the blood of the legal sacrifices extended to the
purifying of the flesh
it freed the outward man from ceremonial uncleanness and from temporal
punishment, and entitled him to, and fitted him for, some external
(2.) He infers very justly hence the far greater efficacy of the blood
How much more shall the blood of Christ, &c. Here observe,
[1.] What it was that gave such efficacy to the blood of Christ.
First, It was his offering himself to God, the human nature upon
the altar of his divine nature, he being priest, altar, and sacrifice,
his divine nature serving for the two former, and his human nature for
the last; now such a priest, altar, and sacrifice, could not but be
propitiatory. Secondly, It was Christ's offering up himself to
God through the eternal Spirit, not only as the divine nature supported
the human, but the Holy Ghost, which he had without measure, helping
him in all, and in this great act of obedience offering himself.
Thirdly, It was Christ's offering himself to God without spot,
without any sinful stain either in his nature or life; this was
conformable to the law of sacrifices, which required them to be without
blemish. Now further observe,
[2.] What the efficacy of Christ's blood is; it is very great. For,
First, It is sufficient to purge the conscience from dead works,
it reaches to the very soul and conscience, the defiled soul, defiled
with sin, which is a dead work, proceeds from spiritual death, and
tends to death eternal. As the touching of a dead body gave a legal
uncleanness, so meddling with sin gives a moral and real defilement,
fixes it in the very soul; but the blood of Christ has efficacy to
purge it out. Secondly, It is sufficient to enable us to serve
the living God, not only by purging away that guilt which separates
between God and sinners, but by sanctifying and renewing the soul
through the gracious influences of the Holy Spirit, purchased by Christ
for this purpose, that we might be enabled to serve the living God in a
|The Priesthood of Christ.
||A. D. 62.|
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
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.
In these verses the apostle considers the gospel under the notion of a
will or testament, the new or last will and testament of Christ, and
shows the necessity and efficacy of the blood of Christ to make this
testament valid and effectual.
I. The gospel is here considered as a testament, the new and last will
and testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is observable
that the solemn transactions that pass between God and man are
sometimes called a covenant, here a testament. A covenant is an
agreement between two or more parties about things that are in their
own power, or may be so, and this either with or without a mediator;
this agreement takes effect at such time and in such manner as therein
declared. A testament is a voluntary act and deed of a single person,
duly executed and witnessed, bestowing legacies on such legatees as are
described and characterized by the testator, and which can only take
effect upon his death. Now observe, Christ is the Mediator of a New
and he is so for several ends and purposes here mentioned.
1. To redeem persons from their transgressions committed against the
law or first testament, which makes every transgression a forfeiture of
liberty, and makes men debtors, and slaves or prisoners, who need to be
2. To qualify all those that are effectually called to receive the
promise of an eternal inheritance. These are the great legacies that
Christ by his last will and testament has bequeathed to the truly
II. To make this New Testament effectual, it was necessary that Christ
should die; the legacies accrue by means of death. This he proves by
1. From the general nature of every will or testamentary disposition,
Where a testament is, where it acts and operates, there must of
necessity by the death of the testator; till then the property is still
in the testator's hand, and he has power to revoke, cancel, or alter,
his will as he pleases; so that no estate, no right, is conveyed by
will, till the testator's death has made it unalterable and effectual.
2. From the particular method that was taken by Moses in the
ratification of the first testament, which was not done without blood,
&c. All men by sin had become guilty before God, had forfeited their
inheritance, their liberties, and their very lives, into the hands of
divine justice; but God, being willing to show the greatness of his
mercy, proclaimed a covenant of grace, and ordered it to be typically
administered under the Old Testament, but not without the blood and
life of the creature; and God accepted the blood of bulls and goats, as
typifying the blood of Christ; and by these means the covenant of grace
was ratified under the former dispensation. The method taken by Moses,
according to the direction he had received from God, is here
(1.) Moses spoke every precept to all the people, according to the law,
He published to them the tenour of the covenant, the duties required,
the rewards promised to those who did their duty, and the punishment
threatened against the transgressors, and he called for their consent
to the terms of the covenant; and this in an express manner.
(2.) Then he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and
scarlet wool, and hyssop, and applied this blood by sprinkling it.
This blood and water signified the blood and water that came out of our
Saviour's pierced side, for justification and sanctification, and also
shadowed forth the two sacraments of the New Testament, baptism and the
Lord's supper, with scarlet wool, signifying the righteousness of
Christ with which we must be clothed, the hyssop signifying that faith
by which we must apply all. Now with these Moses sprinkled,
[1.] The book of the law and covenant, to show that the covenant of
grace is confirmed by the blood of Christ and made effectual to our
[2.] The people, intimating that the shedding of the blood of Christ
will be no advantage to us if it be not applied to us. And the
sprinkling of both the book and the people signified the mutual consent
of both parties, God and man, and their mutual engagements to each
other in this covenant through Christ, Moses at the same time using
these words, This is the blood of the testament which God hath
enjoined unto you. This blood, typifying the blood of Christ, is
the ratification of the covenant of grace to all true believers.
[3.] He sprinkled the tabernacle and all the utensils of it, intimating
that all the sacrifices offered up and services performed there were
accepted only through the blood of Christ, which procures the remission
of that iniquity that cleaves to our holy things, which could not have
been remitted but by that atoning blood.
|The Priesthood of Christ; The Second Coming of Christ.
||A. D. 62.|
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
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
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.
In this last part of the chapter, the apostle goes on to tell us what
the Holy Ghost has signified to us by the legal purifications of the
patterns of the things in heaven, inferring thence the necessity of
better sacrifices to consecrate the heavenly things themselves.
I. The necessity of purifying the patterns of the things in heaven,
This necessity arises both from the divine appointment, which must
always be obeyed, and from the reason of that appointment, which was to
preserve a proper resemblance between the things typifying and the
things typified. It is observable here that the sanctuary of God on
earth is a pattern of heaven, and communion with God in his sanctuary
is to his people a heaven upon earth.
II. The necessity that the heavenly things themselves should be
purified with better sacrifices than of bulls and goats; the things
themselves are better than the patterns, and must therefore be
consecrated with better sacrifices. These heavenly things are the
privileges of the gospel state, begun in grace, perfected in glory.
These must be ratified by a suitable sanction or consecration; and this
was the blood of Christ. Now it is very evident that the sacrifice of
Christ is infinitely better than those of the law.
1. From the places in which the sacrifices under the law, and that
under the gospel, were offered. Those under the law were the holy
places made with hands, which are but figures of the true sanctuary,
Christ's sacrifice, though offered upon earth, was by himself carried
up into heaven, and is there presented in a way of daily intercession;
for he appears in the presence of God for us. He has gone to heaven,
not only to enjoy the rest and receive the honour due to him, but to
appear in the presence of God for us, to present our persons and our
performances, to answer and rebuke our adversary and accuser, to secure
our interest, to perfect all our affairs, and to prepare a place for
2. From the sacrifices themselves,
Those under the law were the lives and blood of other creatures of a
different nature from the offerers--the blood of beasts, a thing of
small value, and which would have been of none at all in this matter
had it not had a typical respect to the blood of Christ; but the
sacrifice of Christ was the oblation of himself; he offered his own
blood, truly called, by virtue of the hypostatical union, the blood
of God; and therefore of infinite value.
3. From the frequent repetition of the legal sacrifices. This showed
the imperfection of that law; but it is the honour and perfection of
Christ's sacrifice that, being once offered, it was sufficient to all
the ends of it; and indeed the contrary would have been absurd, for
then he must have been still dying and rising again, and ascending and
then again descending and dying; and the great work had been always
in fieri--always doing, and always to do, but never finished,
which would be as contrary to reason as it is to revelation, and to the
dignity of his person: But now once in the end of the world hath he
appeared, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. The gospel
is the last dispensation of the grace of God to men.
4. From the inefficacy of the legal sacrifices, and the efficacy of
Christ's sacrifice. The legal sacrifices could not of themselves put
away sin, neither procure pardon for it now power against it. Sin would
still have lain upon us, and had dominion over us; but Jesus Christ by
one sacrifice has made an end of sin, he has destroyed the works of the
III. The apostle illustrates the argument from the appointment of God
and observes something like it in the appointment of God concerning
1. The appointment of God concerning men contains in it two
(1.) That they must once die, or, at least, undergo a change equivalent
to death. It is an awful thing to die, to have the vital knot loosed or
cut asunder, all relations here dropped at once, an end put to our
probation and preparation state, and to enter into another world. It is
a great work, and it is a work that can be but once done, and therefore
had need to be well done. This is matter of comfort to the godly, that
they shall die well and die but once; but it is matter of terror to the
wicked, who die in their sins, that they cannot return again to do that
great work better.
(2.) It is appointed to men that after death they shall come to
judgment, to a particular judgment immediately after death; for the
soul returns to God as to its judge, to be determined to its eternal
state; and men shall be brought to the general judgment, at the end of
the world. This is the unalterable decree of God concerning men--they
must die, and they must be judged. It is appointed for them, and it is
to be believed and seriously considered by them.
2. The appointment of God concerning Christ, bearing some resemblance
to the other.
(1.) He must be once offered, to bear the sins of many, of all the
Father had given to him, of all who should believe in his name. He was
not offered for any sin of his own; he was wounded for our
transgressions. God laid on him the iniquity of all his people; and
these are many, though not so many as the rest of mankind; yet, when
they are all gathered to him, he will be the first-born among many
(2.) It is appointed that Christ shall appear the second time without
sin, to the salvation of those who look for him.
[1.] He will then appear without sin; at his first appearance, though
he had no sin of his own, yet he stood charged with the sins of many;
he was the Lamb of God that bore upon him the sins of the world, and
then he appeared in the form of sinful flesh; but his second appearance
will be without any such charge upon him, he having fully discharged it
before, and then his visage shall not be marred, but shall be
[2.] This will be to the salvation of all who look for him; he will
then perfect their holiness, their happiness; their number shall then
be accomplished, and their salvation completed. Observe, It is the
distinguishing character of true believers that they are looking for
Christ; they look to him by faith; they look for him by hope and holy
desires. They look for him in every duty, in every ordinance, in every
providence now; and they expect his second coming, and are preparing
for it; and though it will be sudden destruction to the rest of the
world, who scoff at the report of it, it will be eternal salvation to
those who look for it.