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Barnes' New Testament Notes
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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE HEBREWS - Chapter 9 - Verse 1

 

CHAPTER Nine.

 

ANALYSIS OF THE CHAPTER.

THE general design of this chapter is the same as the-two preceding, to show that Christ as High Priest is superior to the Jewish high priest. This the apostle had already shown to be true in regard to his rank, and to the dispensation of which he was the "Mediator." He proceeds now to show that this was also true in reference to the efficacy of the sacrifice which he made; and in order to this, he gives an account of the ancient Jewish sacrifices, and compares them with that made by the Redeemer. The essential point is, that the former dispensation was mere shadow, type, or figure, and that the latter was real and efficacious. The chapter comprises, in illustration of this general idea, the following points:

(1.) A description of the ancient tabernacle, and of the utensils that were in it, Heb 9:1-5.

(2.) A description of the services in it, particularly of that performed by the high priest once a year, Heb 9:6,7.

(3.) All this was typical and symbolical, and was a standing demonstration that the way into the most holy place in heaven was not yet fully revealed, Heb 9:8-10.

(4.) Christ was now come—the substance of which that was the shadow; the real sacrifice of which that was the emblem, Heb 9:11-14. He pertained, as a Priest, to a more perfect tabernacle, Heb 9:11 he offered not the blood of bulls and goats, but his own blood, Heb 9:12; with that blood he entered into the most holy place in heaven, Heb 9:12 and if the blood of bulls and goats was admitted to be efficacious in putting away external uncleanness, it must be admitted that the blood of Christ had an efficacy in cleansing the conscience, Heb 9:13,14.

(5.) His blood is efficacious not only in remitting present sins, but it extends in its efficacy even to past ages, and removes the sins of those who had worshipped God under the former covenant, Heb 9:15.

(6.) The apostle then proceeds to show that it was necessary that the Mediator of the new covenant should shed his own blood, and that the blood thus shed should be applied to purify those for whom the sacrifice was made, Heb 9:16-23. This he shows by the following considerations, viz. :

(a.) Hie argues it from the nature of a covenant or compact, showing that it was ratified only over dead sacrifices, and that of necessity the victim that was set apart to confirm or ratify it must be slain. See Barnes "Heb 9:16"; See Barnes "Heb 9:17".

 

(b.) The first covenant was confirmed or ratified by blood; and hence it was necessary that, since the "patterns" of the heavenly things were sprinkled with blood, the heavenly things themselves should be purified with better sacrifices, Heb 9:18-23.

(7.) The offering made by the Redeemer was to be made but once. This arose from the necessity of the case, since it could not be supposed that the Mediator would suffer often, as the high priest went once every year into the most holy place. He had come and died once in the last dispensation of things on earth, and then had entered into heaven, and could suffer no more, Heb 9:24-26.

(8.) In the close of the chapter the apostle adverts to the fact that there was a remarkable resemblance, in one respect, between the death of Christ and the death of all men. It was appointed to them to die once, and but once; and so Christ died but once. As a man, it was in accordance with the universal condition of things that he should die once; and in accordance with the same condition of things it was proper that he should die but once. In like manner there was a resemblance or fitness in regard to what would occur after death. Man was to appear at the judgment, he was not to cease to be, but would stand hereafter at the bar of God. In like manner, Christ would again appear. He did not cease to exist when he expired, but would appear again that he might save his people, Heb 9:27,28.

Verse 1. Then verily. Or, moreover. The object is to describe the tabernacle in which the service of God was celebrated under the former dispensation, and to show that it had a reference to what was future, and was only an imperfect representation of the reality. It was important to show this, as the Jews regarded the ordinances of the tabernacle and of the whole Levitical service as of Divine appointment, and of perpetual obligation. The object of Paul is to prove that they were to give place to a more perfect system, and hence it was necessary to discuss their real nature.

The first covenant. The word "covenant" is not in the Greek, but is not improperly supplied. The meaning is, that the former arrangement or dispensation had religious rites and services connected with it.

Had also ordinances. Marg. Ceremonies. The Greek word means, laws, precepts, ordinances; and the idea is, that there were laws regulating the worship of God. The Jewish institutions abounded with such laws.

And a worldly sanctuary. The word sanctuary means a holy place, and is applied to a house of worship, or a temple. Here it may refer either to the temple or to the tabernacle. As the temple was constructed after the same form as the tabernacle, and had the same furniture, the description of the apostle may be regarded as applicable to either of them, and it is difficult to determine which he had in his eye. The term "worldly," applied to "sanctuary," here means that it pertained to this world; it was contradistinguished from the heavenly sanctuary not made with hands, where Christ was now gone. Comp. Heb 9:11,24. It does not mean that it was worldly in the sense in which that word is now used, as denoting the opposite of spiritual, serious, religious; but worldly in the sense that it belonged to the earth rather than to heaven; it was made by human hands, not directly by the hands of God.

{1} "ordinances" "ceremonies" {a} "sanctuary" Ex 25:8

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