The Old and New Testament.
The Significance of Its Service.
The Greater Tabernacle and Its High Priest.
The Two Testaments.
When the New Testament Came into Force.
The Dedication of the First Testament.
This a Pattern of Heavenly Things.
Christ, Our High Priest, Hath Entered the Perfect Tabernacle.
1-5. The first covenant had also ordinances of divine service.
The two covenants, the Mosaic and the Christian, have been named in
Here they are contrasted. The first, or Mosaic, had its ordinances, and
sanctuary, or tabernacle of worship, in this world.
2. For there was a tabernacle made. The tabernacle prepared at
Exod. chapter 26.
The first. The first room, or division, called the holy place.
Wherein was the candlestick. See
It was made of gold and had seven lamps for burning olive oil. Our
space will not allow a discussion of the symbolical meaning of the
furniture. Also in the holy place was a table on which were kept
twelve loaves of bread, called shew bread. This table was overlaid with
3. After the second vail. The first vail was over the door into
the holy place. The second vail separated the holy place from the Most
Holy Place, with the innermost recess, the Holiest Place in the worship
4. Which had the golden
censer. The critics are divided whether the
censer refers to the golden censer or to the altar of incense.
Both our versions have adopted censer, which is probably correct. In
the golden censer was burned incense in the Most Holy Place, when the
High Priest entered it once a year
The altar of incense stood against the vail of the Most Holy Place.
The ark of the covenant. See
This chest, made of acacia wood and overlaid with gold, was the most
sacred thing in the tabernacle.
Wherein was the gold pot that had manna
The tables of the covenant
The two stone tables of the law. All these but the tables had been
removed before the temple was built
(1 Kings 8:9).
Many hold that they were by the ark, not in it. See
Deut. 31:26; Num. 17:10.
The ark itself disappeared when the temple was destroyed by
5. And over it the cherubim. These symbolic figures, made of
gold, hovered over the lid of the ark, called the mercy seat.
Cannot now speak particularly. Cannot discuss the significance of
each of these objects. The cherubim were angels. See
6-10. The priests go in continually. The present tense used in
the Greek as in the Revision. The temple, which was a copy of the
tabernacle, was still standing when the Epistle was written.
Into the first tabernacle. Into the holy place. The priests went
in every day in the service.
7. But into the second. Into the second part, the Most Holy
Place, none entered but the high priest alone, he only once a year at
the feast of the atonement, and then carrying the blood of the
atonement, which he offered for his own sins as well as those of the
Lev. 16:11-15; Exod. 30:10-25.
The errors of the people. Their sins of ignorance and mistakes.
High handed, open defiance of God's law was not atoned for.
8. The Holy Ghost this signifying. The divine arrangement, which
suffered only the high priest to enter into the Holiest of all,
signified that the way into the Holy of Holies above had not yet been
made manifest or revealed to men. It required the Gospel to open the
way. The vail was yet over the mystery of redemption.
While as the first tabernacle was yet standing. So long as the
first tabernacle or temple worship stood as the divine service, the
true and living way opened up through Christ was not made manifest.
Even the high priest himself could go to the "mercy seat" only once a
9. Which was a figure. The Jewish rites were not the true and
complete divine service but only figures, types.
Both gifts and sacrifices were symbols. Nor could they make the
perfect. They could not cleanse him from all sin, deliver him
from all fear, and make his conscience clear. They were not perfect
sacrifices but pointed to the perfect sacrifice. The Jewish sacrifices
only removed ceremonial impurities and sins of ignorance.
10. Being only. See the Revision, which is much clearer. They
pertained to the flesh, were outward, did not renew the spirit, and
were temporal, imposed
until the time of reformation. That is, until the new covenant
was ushered in.
Divers washings. "Baptisms" in the Greek. Immersions of the whole
often required in the Jewish service. For examples see
Exod. 29:4; Lev. 16:4;
Num. 19:7; Lev. 17:15,
etc. These washings were all carnal ordinances for ceremonial
11-14. But Christ being come. The tabernacle service having been
described, Christ's work is now placed in contrast.
Through a greater and more perfect tabernacle. The high priest
below passed through the first tabernacle to the Holy of Holies;
Christ, our high priest, through a greater one not made with hands, not
a material building. What is meant? Various answers have been given,
none of which are entirely satisfactory. It seems impossible to limit
the meaning to his body, or to the church, or to the world, as some
have done. Rather the reference is to the rites of the true and great
tabernacle service by which "good things," heavenly blessings are
secured, in contrast with those of the earthly tabernacle. The earthly
high priest, by complying with its rites, which were only a figure,
entered into the Holiest of all; Christ by his sacrifice, the rites of
the greater tabernacle service, entered into the true Holiest of all of
which the earthly most holy place was only a symbol. It is shown in the
that the reference is to the sacrifice by which he entered.
12. By his own blood. The high priest always carried into the
Most Holy Place the blood of the atonement, but Christ carried his own
blood when he entered the Holy of Holies above.
Obtained eternal redemption. By his offering. His ransom was
complete, and for all time.
13. For if the blood of bulls and goats. This was shed for the
purification of the people on the day of atonement.
The ashes of an heifer. See
The red heifer was burned, the ashes were put in water, and this water
sprinkled on the people for their ceremonial purification.
14. How much more shall the blood of Christ. If the blood of
animals had any efficacy to purify, how much more the blood of Christ?
Through the eternal Spirit. Led by the Divine Spirit. He was
dragged to the sacrifice like the victims, but laid down his own life
to take it up again.
This he did as God's Anointed, anointed with the Spirit, acting by its
Your conscience from dead works. Cleanse it from the guilt of
works which deserve death.
To serve the living God? If the sacrifices of the tabernacle
cleansed from ceremonial pollution so that men could engage in its
service, will not the blood of Christ cleanse you so that you can join
in the acceptable service of the living God?
15. For this cause he is the mediator of the new covenant.
Covenant here rather than testament. Diatheekee means
both "covenant" and "testament," but here "mediator" shows that
covenant is referred to.
That by means of death. His own death.
Transgressions that were under the first covenant. None under
the old covenant could have complete redemption except by the death of
Christ. Those who served God under it offered sacrifices which were
types of Christ's sacrifices, but they
could not be made efficacious without Christ. It is by his death that
they which are called, of every dispensation, have the
promise of eternal inheritance.
16-17. For where a testament is. An inheritance has just been
That suggests a last will and testament, one meaning of the Greek word
diatheekee used in
A testament has no force until the testator
17. Is of force after men are dead. As soon as a man dies, his
last will and testament comes into force, but has no force whatever
while he lives. The application of this is that Christ's testament, the
new covenant, came into force when he died. The old covenant was in
force to the cross; it was then "nailed to the cross,"
and Christ having died, the New Testament came into force. It has been
urged against this view that the making of wills was not a custom of
Israel. It was, however the custom of the whole Roman Empire, and Judea
was now a Roman province. The Roman customs had made provinces of the
empire familiar with the use of wills.
18-22. Neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.
The death and shedding of the blood of Christ was necessary to the
inauguration of the New Testament, as has just been shown. Even when
the First was inaugurated, Christ died in type and blood was shed. I
believe that the apostle means to say that even in the inauguration of
the Old Testament death was necessary, the death of a victim, which
pointed to Christ's death.
19. For when Moses. For the events alluded to, see
All that God had proclaimed in the ten commandments and the
was written in the book of the covenant. This was read to the people,
and they promised obedience. Then the book and all the people were
sprinkled with blood.
20. This is the blood of the testament. The covenant had been
dedicated by blood. It is well to note that this covenant embraced the
Decalogue, yet it was the covenant done away to make room for the
covenant of Christ. The tabernacle worship had not yet been set up.
21. Moreover he sprinkled with blood. Afterwards, about a year
later, when the tabernacle was ready, both it and its furniture were
(Exod. 40:9-15; Lev. 8:24).
22. Almost all things. See
Lev. 16:16, 19, 33.
Under the law almost every thing was purified by blood, lest it had
Without shedding of blood is no remission. Every sin under the
law required atonement, and no atonement could be made without blood.
23-26. The patterns of things in the heavens. See
The tabernacle and all its service were shadows. These were purified,
as we have just seen, by blood.
The heavenly things with better sacrifices. By the heavenly
things are meant all of which the tabernacle was typical. The holy
place was a type of the church, which is cleansed with the blood of
Christ. Perhaps, too, there is a reference to the redeemed church
above, in the heavens, which eternally praises him who cleansed it with
24. The holy places made with hands. The tabernacle on earth.
Figures of the true. Pictures, copies.
Into heaven itself. The true Holy of Holies. There, in the
presence of God, Christ intercedes for us, as the high priest below
interceded before the Shekinah.
25. Nor yet, etc. The high priest entered once a year with the
blood of a victim. Not so Christ, our High Priest.
26. For then. In that case he must have suffered many times.
But now once. Only once did he offer sacrifice, viz., himself.
In the end of the world. At the end of the Jewish dispensation;
literally, "the end of the ages," the end of the antediluvian,
patriarchal and Jewish ages.
27, 28. As it is appointed unto men once to die, etc. The fixed
order for all men is to die once only, and to be judged after death.
When they die, finality is stamped, on their life work.
28. So Christ was once offered. Died once as a sin offering. But
judgment followed, and he was justified and vindicated by his
resurrection. He died once, and after it was the judgment, that made him
the King of glory. His work of redemption was done once for all.
So unto them that look for him. All the saints who desire his
appearing; to them he shall appear a second time, at his second advent,
sinless and the mighty Savior. He becomes a sin offering but once, and
appears the second time without a sin offering, because he hath done
the work once and forever.