RPM, Volume 19, Number 1, January 1 to January 7, 2017

Barnes' New Testament Notes

Notes on the New Testament
Explanatory and Practical
Part 87

By Albert Barnes




THIS chapter is a continuation of the argument which has been prosecuted in the previous chapters respecting the priesthood of Christ. The apostle had demonstrated that he was to be a priest, and that he was to be not of the Levitical order, but of the order of Melchizedek. As a consequence, he had proved that this involved a change of the law appointing a priesthood, and that, in respect to permanency, and happy moral influence, the priesthood of Christ far surpassed the Jewish. This thought he pursues in this chapter, and shows particularly that it involved a change in the nature of the covenant between God and his people. In the prosecution of this, he

(1.) states the sum or principal point of the whole matter under discussion—that the priesthood of Christ was real and permanent, while that of the Hebrew economy was typical, and was destined in its own nature to be temporary, Heb 8:1-3.

(2.) There was a fitness and propriety in his being removed to heaven to perform the functions of his office there—since if he had remained on earth he could not have officiated as priest, that duty being by the law of Moses entrusted to others pertaining to another tribe, Heb 8:4,5.

(3.) Christ had obtained a more exalted ministry than the Jewish priests held, because he was the Mediator in a better covenant—a covenant that related rather to the heart than to external observances, Heb 8:6-13. That new covenant excelled the old in the following respects:
(a) it was established on better promises, Heb 8:6.
(b) It was not a covenant requiring mainly external observances, but pertained to the soul, and the law of that covenant was written there, Heb 8:7-10.
(c) It was connected with the diffusion of the knowledge of the Lord among all classes, from the highest to the lowest, Heb 8:11.
(d) The evidence of forgiveness might be made more clear than it was under the old dispensation, and the way in which sins are pardoned be much better understood, Heb 8:12. These considerations involved the consequence also which is stated in Heb 8:13, that the old covenant was of necessity about to vanish away.

Verse 1. Now of the things which we have spoken. Or, "of the things of which we are speaking," (Stuart;) or, as we should say, of what is said. The Greek does not necessarily mean things that had been spoken, but may refer to all that he was saying, taking the whole subject into consideration.

This is the sum. Or, this is the principal thing; referring to what he was about to say, not what he had said. Our translators seem to have understood this as referring to a summing up, or recapitulation of what he had said—and there can be no doubt that the Greek would bear this interpretation. But another exposition has been proposed, adopted by Bloomfield, Stuart, Michaelis, and Storr, among the moderns, and found also in Sindas, Theodoret, Theophylact, and others, among the ancients. It is that which regards the word rendered sum kefalaion as meaning the principal thing; the chief matter; the most important point. The reason for this interpretation is, that the apostle in fact goes into no recapitulation of what he had said, but enters on a new topic relating to the priesthood of Christ. Instead of going over what he had demonstrated, he enters on a more important point, that the priesthood of Christ is performed in heaven, and that he has entered into the true tabernacle there. All which preceded was type and shadow, this was that which the former economy had adumbrated. In the previous chapters the apostle had shown that he who sustained this office was superior in rank to the Jewish priests; that they were frail and dying, and that the office in their hands was changing from one to another, but that that of Christ was permanent and abiding. He now comes to consider the real nature of the office itself; the sacrifice which was offered; the substance of which all in the former dispensation was the type. This was the principle thing kefalaion the head, the most important matter; and the consideration of this is pursued through chapters 8-10.

We have such an High Priest. That is settled; proved; indisputable. The Christian system is not destitute of that which was regarded as so essential to the old dispensation—the office of a high priest.

Who is set on the right hand of a throne, etc. He is exalted to honour and glory before God. The right hand was regarded as the place of principle honour; and when it is said that Christ is at the right hand of God, the meaning is, that he is exalted to the highest honour in the universe. See Barnes "Mr 16:19".

Of course the language is figurative—as God has no hands literally—but the language conveys an important meaning, that he is near to God, is high in his affection and love, and is raised to the most elevated situation in heaven. See Php 2:9; See Barnes "Eph 1:21, See Barnes "Eph 1:22".

{a} "who is set" Eph 1:20


Verse 2. A minister of the sanctuary. Marg. "or holy things." Gr. twn agiwn. The Greek may either mean the sanctuary—denoting the Holy of Holies—or holy things. The word sanctuary

kodesh—was given to the tabernacle or temple as a holy place, and the plural form which is here used— ta agia—was given to the most holy place by way of eminence —the full form of the name being—

kodesh kodushim, or, agia agiwn hagia hagion, (Jahn's Arche. & 328,) or, as it is here used, simply as ta agia. The connexion seems to require us to understand it of the most holy place, and not of holy things. The idea is, that the Lord Jesus, the great High Priest, has entered into the Holy of Holies in heaven, of which that in the tabernacle was an emblem. For a description of the most holy place in the temple, See Barnes "Mt 21:12".

And of the true tabernacle. The real tabernacle in heaven, of which that among the Hebrews was but this type. The word tabernacle skhnh means, properly, a booth, hut, or tent, and was applied to the tent which Moses was directed to build as the place for the worship of God. That tabernacle, as the temple was afterwards, was regarded as the peculiar abode of God on earth. Here the reference is to heaven, as the dwelling place of God, of which that tabernacle was the emblem or symbol. It is called the "true tabernacle," as it is the real dwelling of God, of which the one made by Moses was but the emblem. It is not moveable and perishable like that made by man, but is unchanging and eternal.

Which the Lord pitched, and not man. The word pitched is adapted to express the setting up of a tent. When it is said that "the Lord pitched the true tabernacle"—that is, the permanent dwelling in heaven—the meaning is, that heaven has been fitted up by God himself, and that whatever is necessary to constitute that an appropriate abode for the Divine majesty has been done by him. To that glorious dwelling the Redeemer has been received, and there he performs the office of High Priest in behalf of man. In what way he does this the apostle specifies in the remainder of this chapter, and in chapters 9 and 10.

{1} "of the sanctuary" "holy things" {b} "sanctuary" Heb 9:8,12,24


Verse 3. For every High Priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices. This is a general statement about the functions of the high priest. It was the peculiarity of the office; it constituted its essence, that some gift or sacrifice was to be presented. This was indisputable in regard to the Jewish high priest, and this is involved in the nature of the priestly office everywhere. A priest is one who offers sacrifice, mainly in behalf of others. The principles involved in the office are,
(1.) that there is need that some offering or atonement should be made for sin; and,
(2.) that there is a fitness or propriety that some one should be designated to do it. If this idea that a priest must offer sacrifice be correct, then it follows that the name priest should not be given to any one who is not appointed to offer sacrifice. It should not therefore be given to the ministers of the gospel, for it is no part of their work to offer sacrifice—the great sacrifice for sin having been once offered by the Lord Jesus, and not being again to be repeated. Accordingly, the writers in the New Testament are perfectly uniform and consistent on this point. The name priest is never once given to the ministers of the gospel there. They are called ministers, ambassadors, pastors, bishops, overseers, etc., but never priests. Nor should they be so called in the Christian church. The name priest, as applied to Christian ministers, has been derived from the papists. They hold that the priest does offer as a sacrifice the real body and blood of Christ in the mass, and holding this, the name priest is given to the minister who does it consistently. It is not indeed right or Scriptural—for the whole doctrine on which it is based is absurd and false—but while that doctrine is held the name is consistent. But with what show of consistency or propriety can the name be given to a Protestant minister of the gospel?

Wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. That the Lord Jesus should make an offering. That is, since he is declared to be a priest, and since it is; essential to the office that a priest should make an offering, it is indispensable that he should bring a sacrifice to God. He could not be a priest, on the acknowledged principles on which that office is held, unless he did it. What the offering was which the Lord Jesus made the apostle specifies more fully in Heb 9:11-14; Heb 9:25,26

{a} "offer" Eph 5:2; Heb 9:12


Verse 4. For if he were on earth, he should not be a Priest. He could not perform that office. The design of this is to show a reason why he was removed to heaven. The reason was, that on earth there were those who were set apart to that office, and that he, not being of the same tribe with them, could not officiate as priest, There was an order of men here on earth consecrated already to that office, and hence it was necessary that the Lord Jesus, in performing the functions of the office, should be removed to another sphere.

{1} "that there" "they"


Verse 5. Who serve unto the example. Who perform their service by the mere example and shadow of the heavenly things; or in a tabernacle, and in a mode, that is the mere emblem of the reality which exists in heaven. The reference is to the tabernacle, which was a mere example or copy of heaven. The word here rendered example upodeigma means a copy, likeness, or imitation. The tabernacle was made after a pattern which was shown to Moses; it was made so as to have some faint resemblance to the reality in heaven, and in that "copy," or "example," they were appointed to officiate. Their service, therefore, had some resemblance to that in heaven.

And shadow. That is, in the tabernacle where they served there was a mere shadow of that which was real and substantial. Compared with what is in heaven, it was what the shadow is compared with the substance. A shadow—as of a man, a house, a tree—will indicate the form, the outline, the size of the object; but it has no substance or reality. So it was with the rites of the Jewish religion. They were designed merely as a shadow of the substantial realities of the true religion, or to present the dim outlines of what is true and real in heaven. Compare See Barnes "Col 2:17". See Barnes "Heb 10:1".

The word shadow here skia is used in distinction from the body or reality swma—(Compare Col 2:17) See Barnes "Heb 10:1".

and also from eikwn— a perfect image or resemblance. See Heb 10:1.

Of heavenly things. Of the heavenly sanctuary; of what is real and substantial in heaven. That is, there exists in heaven a reality of which the service in the Jewish sanctuary was but the outline. The reference is, undoubtedly, to the service which the Lord Jesus performs there as the great High Priest of his people.

As Moses was admonished of God. As he was divinely instructed. The word here used—crhmatizw—means, properly, to give oracular responses; to make communications to men in a supernatural way—by dreams, by direct revelations, etc.
See Mt 2:12,22; Lu 2:26 Ac 10:22; Heb 11:7.
For, See, saith he. Ex 25:9,40; 26:30.

In Ex 40, it is also repeatedly said that Moses executed all the work of the tabernacle as he had been commanded. Great care was taken that an exact copy should be exhibited to him of all which he was to make, and that the work should be exactly like the pattern. The reason doubtless was, that as the Jewish service was to be typical, none but God could judge of the form in which the tabernacle should be made. It was not to be an edifice of architectural beauty, skill, or taste, but was designed to adumbrate important realities which were known only to God. Hence it was needful that the exact model of them should be given to Moses, and that it should be scrupulously followed.

That thou make all things. Not only the tabernacle itself, but the altars, the ark, the candlestick, etc. The form and materials for each were specified, and the exact pattern shown to Moses in the Mount.

According to the pattern. Gr. tupon—type; that is, figure, form. The word tupov type—means, properly, anything produced by the agency of blows, (from tuptw—to strike;) hence a mark, stamp, print, impression— as that made by driving nails in the hands, (Joh 20:25;) then a figure or form, as of an image or statue, (Ac 7:43;) the form of a doctrine or opinion, (Ro 6:17;) then an example to be imitated or followed, (1 Co 10:6,17; Php 3:17; 1 Th 1:7; 2 Th 3:9; ) and hence a pattern, or model, after which anything is to be made, Ac 7:44. This is the meaning here. The allusion is to a pattern such as an architect or sculptor uses; a drawing or figure made in wood or clay, after which the work is to be modelled. The idea is, that some such drawing or model was exhibited to Moses by God on Mount Sinai, so that he might have an exact idea of the tabernacle which was to be made. A similar drawing or model of the temple was given by David to Solomon, 1 Ch 28:11,12. We are not, indeed, to suppose that there was, in the case of the pattern shown to Moses, any miniature model of wood or stone actually created and exhibited; but that the form of the tabernacle was exhibited to Moses in vision, See Barnes "Isa 1:1, or was so vividly impressed on his mind that he would have a distinct view of the edifice which was to be reared.

In the Mount. In Mount Sinai; for it was while Moses was there, in the presence of God, that these communications were made.

{b} "of heavenly" Col 2:17; Heb 10:1 {c} "that thou" Ex 25:40; 26:30


Verse 6. But now hath he obtained. That is, Christ.

A more excellent ministry. A service of a higher order, or of a more exalted nature. It was the real and substantial service of which the other was but the emblem; it pertained to things in heaven, while that was concerned with the earthly tabernacle; it was enduring, while that was to vanish away. See Barnes "2 Co 3:6, seq.

By how much. By as much as the new covenant is more important than the old, by so much does his ministry exceed in dignity that under the ancient dispensation,

He is the Mediator. See Barnes "Ga 3:19, See Barnes "Ga 3:19, where the word Mediator is explained. It means here that Christ officiates between God and man according to the arrangements of the new covenant.

Of a better covenant. Marg. "Or testament." This word properly denotes a disposition, arrangement, or ordering of things; and, in the Scriptures, is employed to describe the arrangement which God has made to secure the maintenance of his worship on earth, and the salvation of men. It is uniformly used in the Septuagint and in the New Testament to denote the covenant which God makes with men. The word which properly denotes a covenant or compact sunyhkh—suntheke, is never used. The writers of the New Testament evidently derived its use from the Septuagint; but why the authors of that version employed it as denoting a will, rather than the proper one denoting a compact, is unknown. It has been supposed by some, and the conjecture is not wholly improbable, that it was because they were unwilling to represent God as making a compact or agreement with men, but chose rather to represent him as making a mere arrangement or ordering of things. Compare See Barnes "Heb 8:8, and Heb 9:16,17. This is a better covenant than the old, inasmuch as it relates mainly to the heart; to the pardon of sin; to a spiritual and holy religion. See Heb 8:10. The former related more to external rites and observances, and was destined to vanish away. See Heb 8:13.

Which was established upon better promises. The promises in the first covenant pertained mainly to the present life. They were promises of length of days; of increase of numbers; of seed-time and harvest; of national privileges; and of extraordinary peace, abundance, and prosperity. That there was also the promise of eternal life it would be wrong to doubt; but this was not the main thing. In the new covenant, however, the promise of spiritual blessings becomes the principal thing. The mind is directed to heaven; the heart is cheered with the hopes of immortal life; the favour of God and the anticipation of heaven are secured in the most ample and solemn manner.

{d} "excellent ministry" 2 Co 3:6-9; Heb 7:22 {2} "better covenant" "testament"


Verse 7. For if that first covenant had been faultless. See Barnes "Heb 7:11".

It is here implied that God had said that that covenant was not perfect or faultless. The meaning is not that that first covenant made under Hoses had any real faults, or inculcated that which was wrong, but that it did not contain the ample provision for the pardon of sin and the salvation of the soul which was desirable. It was merely preparatory to the gospel.

Then should no place have been sought for the second. There could not have been, inasmuch as in that case it would have been impossible to have bettered it, and any change would have been only for the worse.

{e} "if that first covenant" Heb 7:11


Verse 8. For finding fault with them. Or rather, "finding fault, he says is, with the Jewish people-for they had had nothing to do in giving the covenant, but with the covenant itself. "Stating its defects, he had said to them that he would give them one more perfect, and of which that was only preparatory. So Grottos, Stuart, Rosenmuller, and Erasmus understand it. Doddridge, Koppe, and many others understand it as it is in our translation, as implying that the fault was found with the people, and they refer to the passage quoted from Jeremiah for proof, where the complaint is of the people. The Greek may bear either construction; but may we not adopt a somewhat different interpretation still? May not this be the meaning? "For, using the language of complaint, or language that implied that there was defect or error, he speaks of another covenant." According to this, the idea would be, not that he found fault specifically either with the covenant or the people, but generally that he used language which implied that there was defect somewhere when he promised another and a better covenant. The word rendered "finding fault" properly means, to censure, or to blame. It is rendered in Mr 7:2 "they found fault," to wit, with those who ate with unwashed hands; in Ro 9:19, "why doth he yet find fault?" It occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It is language used where wrong has been done; where there is ground of complaint; where it is desirable that there should be a change. In the passage here quoted from Jeremiah, it is not expressly stated that God found fault either with the covenant or with the people, but that he promised that he would give another covenant, and that it should be different from that which he gave them when they came out of Egypt—implying that there was defect in that, or that it was not faultless. The whole meaning is, that there was a deficiency which the giving of a new covenant would remove.

He saith. In Jer 31:31-34. The apostle has not quoted the passage literally as it is in the Hebrew, but he has retained the substance, and the sense is not essentially varied. The quotation appears to have been made partly from the Septuagint, and partly from the memory. This often occurs in the New Testament.

Behold. This particle is designed to call attention to what was about to be said as important, or as having some special claim to notice. It is of very frequent occurrence in the Scriptures, being much more freely used by the sacred writers than it is in the classic authors.

The days come. The time is coming. This refers doubtless to the times of the Messiah. Phrases such as these, "in the last days," "in after times," and "the time is coming," are often used in the Old Testament to denote the last dispensation of the world —the dispensation when the affairs of the world would be wound up. See the phrase explained in the Notes, See Barnes "Heb 1:2, and See Barnes "Isa 2:2".

There can be no doubt that, as it is used by Jeremiah, it refers to the times of the gospel.

When I will make a new covenant. A covenant that shall contemplate somewhat different ends; that shall have different conditions, and that shall be more effective in restraining from sin. The word covenant here refers to the arrangement, plan, or dispensation into which he would enter in his dealings with men. On the meaning of the word, See Barnes "Ac 7:8, and See Barnes "Heb 9:16,17".

The word covenant with us commonly denotes a compact or agreement between two parties that are equal, and who are free to enter into the agreement or not. In this sense, of course, it cannot be used in relation to the arrangement which God makes with man. There is

(1) no equality between them, and

(2) man is not at liberty to reject any proposal which God shall make. The word, therefore, is used in a more general sense, and more in accordance with the original meaning of the Greek word. It has been above remarked, See Barnes "Heb 8:6, that the proper word to denote covenant, or compact— sunyhkh syntheke —is never used either in the Septuagint or in the New Testament; another word diayhkh — diathake—being carefully employed. Whether the reason there suggested for the adoption of this word in the Septuagint be the real one or not, the fact is indisputable. I may be allowed to suggest, as possible, here an additional reason why this so uniformly occurs in the New Testament. It is, that the writers of the New Testament never meant to represent the transactions between God and man as a compact or covenant, properly so called. They have studiously avoided it; and their uniform practice, in making this nice distinction between the two words, may show the real sense in which the Hebrew word rendered covenant

HEBREW, berith -is used in the Old Testament. The word which they employ— diayhkh -never means a compact or agreement as between equals. It remotely and secondarily means a will, or testament— and hence our word "New Testament." But this is not the sense in which it is used in the Bible—for God has never made a will in the sense of a testamentary disposition of what belongs to him. We are referred, therefore, in order to arrive at the true Scripture view of this whole matter, to the original meaning of the word— diatheke diyhkh —as denoting a disposition, arrangement, plan; then that which is ordered, a law, precept, promise, etc. Unhappily, we have no single word which expresses the idea, and hence a constant error has existed in the church—either keeping up the notion of a compact—as if God could make one with men; or the idea of a will—equally repugnant to truth. The word diayhkh is derived from a verb—diatiyhmi—meaning, to place apart, to set in order; and then to appoint, to make over, to make an arrangement with. Hence the word diayhkh diatheke—means, properly, the arrangement or disposition which God made with men in regard to salvation; the system of statutes, directions, laws, and promises, by which men are to become subject to him, and to be saved. The meaning here is, that he would make a new arrangement, contemplating, as a primary thing, that the law should be written in the heart; an arrangement which would be peculiarly spiritual in its character, and which would be attended with the diffusion of just views of the Lord.

With the house of Israel. The family, or race of Israel—for so the word house is often used in the Scriptures and elsewhere. The word "Israel" is used in the Scriptures in the following senses.

(1.) As a name given to Jacob, because he wrestled with the angel of God and prevailed as a prince, Ge 32:28.

(2.) As denoting all who were descended from him— called "the children of Israel"—or the Jewish nation.

(3.) As denoting the kingdom of the ten tribes—or the kingdom of Samaria, or Ephraim—that kingdom having taken the name Israel in contradistinction from the other kingdom, which was called Judah.

(4.) As denoting the people of God in general—his true and sincere friends—his church. See Barnes "Ro 2:28, See Barnes "Ro 2:29" See Barnes "Ro 9:6".

In this place, quoted from Jeremiah, it seems to be used to denote the kingdom of Israel in contradistinction from that of Judah, and together they denote the whole people of God, or the whole Hebrew nation, This arrangement was ratified and confirmed by the gift of the Messiah, and by implanting his laws in the heart. It is not necessary to understand this as refering to the whole of the Jews, or to the restoration of the ten tribes; but the words Israel and Judah are used to denote the people of God in general; and the idea is, that with the true Israel under the Messiah the laws of God would be written in the heart, rather than be mere external observances.

And with the house of Judah. The kingdom of Judah. This kingdom consisted of two tribes—Judah and Benjamin. The tribe of Benjamin was, however, small, and the name was lost in that of Judah.

{a} "Behold" Jer 31:31-34


Verse 9. Not according to the covenant, etc. An arrangement or dispensation relating mainly to outward observances, and to temporal blessings. The meaning is, that the new dispensation would be different from that which was made with them when they came out of Egypt. In what respects it would differ is specified in Heb 8:10-12.

Because they continued not in my covenant. In Jeremiah, in the Hebrew, this is, "while my covenant they brake." That is, they failed to comply with the conditions on which I promised to bestow blessings upon them. In Jeremiah this is stated as a simple fact; in the manner in which the apostle quotes it, it is given as a reason why he would give a new arrangement. The apostle has quoted it literally from the Septuagint, and the sense is not materially varied. The word rendered "because" oti may mean "since"—"since they did not obey that covenant, and it was ineffectual in keeping them from sin, showing that it was not perfect or complete in regard to what was needful to be done for man, a new arrangement shall be made that will be without defect." This accords with the reasoning of the apostle; and the idea is, simply, that an arrangement may be made for man, adapted to produce important ends in one state of society or one age of the world, which would not be well adapted to him in another, and which would not accomplish all which it would be desirable to accomplish for the race. So an arrangement may be made for teaching children which would not answer the purpose of instructing those of mature years, and which at that time of life may be-superseded by another. A system of measures may be adapted to the infancy of society, or to a comparatively rude period of the world, which would be ill adapted to a more advanced state of society. Such was the Hebrew system. It was well adapted to the Jewish community in their circumstances, and answered the end then in view. It served to keep them separate from other people; to preserve the knowledge and the worship of the true God, and to introduce the gospel dispensation.

And I regarded them not. In Jeremiah this is, "Although I was an husband unto them." The Septuagint is as it is quoted here by Paul. The Hebrew is,

—which may be rendered, "although I was their Lord;" or, as it is translated by Gesenius, "and I rejected them." The word

(1.) to be lord or master over anything, (Isa 26:13;)
(2.) to become the husband of any one, (De 21:13; 24:1;)
(3.) with

—to disdain, to reject. So Jer 3:14. It is very probable that this is the meaning here, for it is not only adopted by the Septuagint, but by the Syriac. So Abulwalid, Kimchi, and Rabbi Tanchum understood it. The Arabic word means, to reject, to loathe, to disdain. All that is necessary to observe here is, that it cannot be demonstrated that the apostle has not given the true sense of the prophet. The probability is, that the Septuagint translators would give the meaning which was commonly understood to be correct, and there is still more probability that the Syriac translator would adopt the true sense; for
(1) the Syriac and Hebrew languages strongly resemble each other; and
(2) the old Syriac version—the Peshito—is incomparably a better translation than the Septuagint. If this, therefore, be the correct translation, the meaning is, that since they did not regard and obey the laws which he gave them, God would reject them as his people, and give new laws better adapted to save men. Instead of regarding and treating them as his friends, he would punish them for their offences, and visit them with calamities.


Verse 10. For this is the covenant. This is the arrangement, or the dispensation, which shall succeed the old one.

With the house of Israel. With the true Israel; that is, with all those whom he will regard and treat as his friends.

After those days. This may either mean, "after those days I will put my laws in their hearts," or, "I will make this covenant with them after those days." This difference is merely in the punctuation, and the sense is not materially affected. It seems to me, however, that the meaning of the Hebrew in Jeremiah is, "in those after days" See Barnes "Isa 2:1, "I will put my laws into their mind;" that is, in that subsequent period, called in Scripture "the after times," "the last days;" "the ages to come," meaning the last dispensation of the world. Thus interpreted, the sense is, that this would be done in the times of the Messiah.

I will put my laws into their mind. Marg. Give. The word give in Hebrew is often used in the sense of put. The meaning here is, that they would not be mere external observances, but would affect the conscience and the heart. The laws of the Hebrews pertained mainly to external rites and ceremonies; the laws of the new dispensation would relate particularly to the inner man, and be designed to control the heart. The grand peculiarity of the Christian system is, that it regulates the conscience and the principles of the soul rather than external matters. It prescribes few external rites, and those are exceedingly simple, and are merely the proper expressions of the pious feelings supposed to be in the heart; and all attempts either to increase the number of these rites, or to make them imposing by their gorgeousness, have done just so much to mar the simplicity of the gospel, and to corrupt religion.

And write them in their hearts. Marg. Upon. Not on tables of stone or brass, but on the soul itself. That is, the obedience rendered will not be external. The law of the new system will have living power, and bind the faculties of the soul to obedience. The commandment there will be written in more lasting characters than if engraved on tables of stone.

And I will be to them a God. This is quoted literally from the Hebrew. The meaning is, that he would sustain to them the appropriate relation of a God; or, if the expression may be allowed, he would be to them what a God should be, or what it is desirable that men should find in a God. We speak of a father's acting in a manner appropriate to the character of a father; and the meaning here is, that he would be to his people all that is properly implied in the name of God. He would be their Lawgiver, their Counsellor, their Protector, their Redeemer, their Guide. He would provide for their wants, defend them in danger, pardon their sins, comfort them in trials, and save their souls, he would be a faithful friend, and would never leave them nor forsake them. It is one of the inestimable privileges of his people that JEHOVAH is their God. The living and ever-blessed Being who made the heavens sustains to them the relation of a Protector and a Friend, and they may look up to heaven feeling that he is all which they could desire in the character of a God.

And they shall be to me a people. This is not merely stated as a fact, but as a privilege. It is an inestimable blessing to be regarded as one of the people of God, and to feel that we belong to him—that we are associated with those whom he loves, and whom he treats as his friends.

{1} "put" "give" {2} "in" "upon" {a} "and I" Hos 2:23; Zec 8:8 {*} "God" "Be their God"


Verse 11. And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, etc. That is, no one shall be under a necessity of imparting instruction to another, or of exhorting him to become acquainted with the Lord. This is designed to set forth another of the advantages which would attend the new dispensation. In the previous verse it had been said that one advantage of that economy would be, that the law would be written on the heart, and that they who were thus blessed would be regarded as the people of God. Another advantage over the old arrangement or covenant is here stated. It is that the knowledge of the Lord and of the true religion, would be deeply engraved on the minds of all, and that there would be no necessity for mutual exhortation and counsel. "They shall have a much more certain and effectual teaching than they can derive from another." Doddridge. This passage does not refer to the fact that the true religion will be universally diffused, but that among those who are interested in the blessings of the new covenant there would be an accurate and just knowledge of the Lord. In some way they would be so taught respecting his character that they would not need the aid to be derived from others. All under that dispensation, or sustaining to him the relation of "a people," would, in fact, have a correct knowledge of the Lord. This could not be said of the old dispensation, for

(1.) their religion consisted much in outward observances.

(2.) It was not to such an extent as the new system a dispensation of the Holy Spirit.

(3.) There were not as many means as now for learning the true character of God.

(4.) The fullest revelations had not been made to them of that character. That was reserved for the coming of the Saviour, and under him it was intended that there should be communicated the full knowledge of the character of God. Many Mss, and those among the best, here have polithn citizen—fellow-citizen, instead of plhsion, neighbour; and this is adopted by Griesbach, Tittman, Rosenmuller, Knapp, Stuart, and by many of the fathers. It is also in the version of the LXX. in the place quoted from Jeremiah. It is not easy to determine the true reading, but; the word neighbour better accords with the meaning of the Hebrew

-and there is strong authority from the MSS. and the versions for this reading.

And every man his brother. Another form of expression, meaning that there would be no necessity that one should teach another.

Saying, Know the Lord. That is, become acquainted with God; learn his character and his will. The idea is, that the true knowledge of Jehovah would prevail as a characteristic of those times.

For all shall know me. That is, all those referred to; all who are interested in the new covenant, and who are partakers of its blessings. It does not mean that all persons, in all lands, would then know the Lord—though the time will come when that will be true; but the expression is to be limited by the point under discussion. That point is not that the knowledge of the Lord will fill the whole world, but that all who are interested in the new dispensation will have a much more full and clear knowledge of God than was possessed under the old. Of the truth of this no one can doubt. Christians have a much more perfect knowledge of God and of his government than could have been learned merely from the revelations of the Old-Testament.

{b} "all shall know me" Isa 44:13


Verse 12. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, etc. That is the blessing of pardon will be much more richly enjoyed under the new dispensation than it was under the old. This is the fourth circumstance adduced in which the new covenant will surpass the old. That was comparatively severe in its inflictions, (see Heb 10:28;) marked every offence with strictness, and employed the language of mercy much less frequently than that of justice. It was a system where law and justice reigned; not where mercy was the crowning and prevalent attribute, it was true that it contemplated pardon, and made arrangements for it; but it is still true that this is much more prominent in the new dispensation than in the old. It is there the leading idea. It is that which separates it from all other systems. The entire arrangement is one for the pardon of sin in a manner consistent with the claims of law and justice, and it bestows the benefit of forgiveness in the most ample and perfect manner on all who are interested in the plan. In fact, the peculiarity by which the gospel is distinguished from all other systems, ancient and modern, philosophic and moral, pagan and deistical, is, that it is a system making provision for the forgiveness of sin, and actually bestowing pardon on the guilty. This is the centre, the crown, the glory of the new dispensation. God is merciful to the unrighteousness of men; and their sins are remembered no more.

Will I remember no more. This is evidently spoken after the manner of men, and in accordance with human apprehension. It cannot mean literally that God forgets that men are sinners, but it means that he treats them as if this were forgotten. Their sins are not charged upon them, and they are no more punished than if they had passed entirely out of the recollection. God treats them with just as much kindness, and regards them with as sincere affection, as if their sins ceased wholly to be remembered, or, which is the same thing, as if they had never sinned.


Verse 13. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. That is, the use of the word "new" implies that the one which it was to supersede was "old." New and old stand in contradistinction from each other. Thus we speak of a new and old house, a new and old garment, etc. The object of the apostle is to show that, by the very fact of the arrangement for a new dispensation differing so much from the old, it was implied of necessity that that was to be superseded, and would vanish away. This was one of the leading points at which he arrived.

Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. This is a general truth which would be undisputed, and which Paul applies to the ease under consideration. An old house, or garment; an ancient tree; an aged man—-all have indications that they are soon to disappear. They cannot be expected to remain long. The very fact of their growing old Is an indication that they will soon be gone. So Paul says it was with the dispensation that was represented as old. It had symptoms of decay. It had lost the rigour which it had when it was fresh and new; it had every mark of an antiquated and a declining system; and it had been expressly declared that a new and more perfect dispensation was to be given to the world. Paul concluded, therefore, that the Jewish system must soon disappear.


1. The fact that we have a High Priest is fitted to impart consolation to the pious mind, Heb 8:1-6. He ever lives, and is ever the same. He is a minister of the true sanctuary, and is ever before the mercy-seat. He enters there not once a year only, but has entered there to abide there for ever. We can never approach the throne of mercy without having a High Priest there—for he at all times, day and night, appears before God. The merits of his sacrifice are never exhausted, and God is never wearied with hearing his pleadings in behalf of his people. He is the same that he was when he gave himself on the cross. He has the same love and the same compassion which he had then; and that love which led him to make the atonement, will lead him always to regard with tenderness those for whom he died.

2. It is a privilege to live under the blessings of the Christian system, Heb 8:6. We have a better covenant than the old one was —one less expensive and less burdensome, and one that is established upon better premises. Now the sacrifice is made, and we do not have to renew it every day. It was made once for all, and need never be repeated. Having now a High Priest in heaven who has made the sacrifice, we may approach him in any part of the earth, and at all times, and feel that our offering will be acceptable to him. If there is any blessing for which we ought to be thankful, it is for the Christian religion; for we have only to look at any portion of the heathen world, or even to the condition of the people of God under the comparatively dark and obscure Jewish dispensation, to see abundant reasons for thanksgiving for what we enjoy.

3. Let us often contemplate the mercies of the new dispensation with which we are favoured—the favours of that religion whose smiles and sunshine we are permitted to enjoy, Heb 8:10-12. It contains all that we want, and is exactly adapted to our condition. It has that for which every man should be thankful; and has not one thing which should lead a man to reject it. It furnishes all the security which we could desire for our salvation; lays upon us no oppressive burdens or charges; and accomplishes all which we ought to desire in our souls. Let us contemplate a moment the arrangements of that "covenant," and see how fitted it is to make man blessed and happy.

First. It writes the laws of God on the mind and the heart, Heb 8:10. It not only reveals them, but it secures their observance, it has made arrangements for disposing men to keep the laws—a thing which has not been introduced into any other system. Legislators may enact good laws, but they cannot induce others to obey them; parents may utter good precepts, but they cannot engrave them on the hearts of their children; and sages may express sound maxims and just precepts in morals, but there is no security that they will be regarded. So in all the heathen world—there is no power to inscribe good maxims and rules of living on the heart. They may be written; recorded on tablets; hung up in temples; but stir men will not regard them. They will still give indulgence to evil passions, and lead wicked lives. But it is not so with the arrangement which God has made in the plan of salvation. One of the very first provisions of that plan is, that the laws shall be inscribed on the heart, and that there shall be a DISPOSITION to obey. Such a system is what man wants, and such a system he can nowhere else find.

Secondly. This new arrangement reveals to us a God such as we need, Heb 8:10. It contains the promise that he will be "our God." He will be to his people all that can be desired in God; all that man could wish. He is just such a God as the human mind, when it is pure, most loves; has all the attributes which it could be desired there should be in his character; has done all that we could desire a God to do; and is ready to do all that we could wish a God to perform. Man wants a God; a God in whom he can put confidence, and on whom he can rely. The ancient Greek philosopher wanted a God—and he would then have made a beautiful and efficient system of morals; the heathen want a God—to dwell in their empty temples, and in their corrupt hearts; the atheist wants a God to make him calm, contented, and happy in this life—for he has no God now; and man everywhere—wretched, sinful, suffering, dying—WANTS A God. Such a God is revealed in the Bible—one whose character we may contemplate with ever increasing admiration; one who has all the attributes which we can desire; one who will minister to us all the consolation which we need in this world; and one who will be to us the same God for ever and ever.

Thirdly. The new covenant contemplates the diffusion of knowledge, Heb 8:11. This, too, was what man needed—for everywhere else he has been ignorant of God and of the way of salvation. The whole heathen world is sunk in ignorance; and indeed all men, except as they are enlightened by the gospel, are in profound darkness on the great questions which most nearly pertain to their welfare. But it is not so with the new arrangement which God has made with his people. It is a fact that they know the Lord; and a dispensation which would produce that is just what man needed. There are two things hinted at in Heb 8:11 of this chapter which are worthy of more than a passing notice, illustrating the excellency of the Christian religion. The first is, that in the new dispensation all would know the Lord. The matter of fact is, that the obscurest and most unlettered Christian often has a knowledge of God which sages never had, and which is never obtained except by the teachings of the Spirit of God. However this may be accounted for; the fact cannot be denied. There is a clear and elevating view of God; a knowledge of him which exerts a practical influence on the heart, and which transforms the soul; and a correctness of apprehension in regard to what truth is, possessed by the humble Christian, though a peasant, which philosophy never imparted to its votaries. Many a sage would be instructed in the truths of religion if he would sit down and converse with the comparatively unlearned Christian, who has no book but his Bible. The other thing hinted at here is, that all would know the Lord from the least to the greatest. Children and youth, as well as age and experience, would have an acquaintance with God. This promise is remarkably verified under the new dispensation. One of the most striking things of the system is, the attention which it pays to the young; one of its most wonderful effects is the knowledge which it is the means of imparting to those in early life. Many a child in the Sabbath school has a knowledge of God which Grecian sages never had; many a youth in the Church has a more consistent acquaintance with God's real plan of governing and saving men, than all the teachings which philosophy could ever furnish.

Fourthly. The new dispensation contemplates the pardon of sin, and is, therefore, fitted to the condition of man, Heb 8:12. It is what man needs. The knowledge of some way of pardon is that which human nature has been sighing for ages; which has been sought in every system of religion, and by every bloody offering; but which has never elsewhere been found. The philosopher had no assurance that God would pardon; and indeed one of the chief aims of the philosopher has been to convince himself that he had no need of pardon. The heathen have had no assurance that their offerings have availed to put away the Divine anger, and to obtain forgiveness. The only assurance anywhere furnished that sin may be forgiven, is in the Bible. This is the great peculiarity of the system recorded there, and this it is which renders it so valuable above all the other systems. It furnishes the assurance that sins may be pardoned, and shows how it may be done. This is what we must have, or perish. And why, since Christianity reveals a way of forgiveness—a way honourable to God and not degrading to man—why should any man reject it? Why should not the guilty embrace a system which proclaims pardon to the guilty—and which assures all, that if they will embrace him who is the "Mediator of the new covenant," "God will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and will remember their iniquities no more?"

{a} "new covenant" 2 Co 5:17 {*} "vanish away" "nigh to dissolution"




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


Verse 2. For there was a tabernacle made. The word "tabernacle" properly means, a tent, a booth, or a hut, and was then given by way of eminence to the tent for public worship made by Moses m the wilderness. For a description of this, see Ex 25. In this place the word means the outer sanctuary or room in the tabernacle; that is, the first room which was entered—called here "the first." The same word—skhnh—is used in Heb 9:3 to denote the inner sanctuary, or holy of holies. The tabernacle, like the temple afterwards, was divided into two parts by the veil, Ex 26:31,32, one of which was called "the holy place," and the other the holy of holies." The exact size of the two rooms in the tabernacle is not specified in the Scriptures, but it is commonly supposed that the tabernacle was divided in the same manner as the temple was afterwards; that is, two-thirds of the interior constituted the holy place, and one-third the holy of holies. According to this, the holy place, or "first tabernacle" was twenty cubits long by ten broad, and the most holy place was ten cubits square. The whole length of the tabernacle was about fifty-five feet, the breadth eighteen, and the height eighteen. In the temple, the two rooms, though of the same relative proportions, were of course much larger. See a description of the temple See Barnes "Mt 21:12".

In both cases, the holy place was at the east, and the holy of holies at the west end of the sacred edifice. The following cut will furnish a good illustration of the tabernacle when set up, with the principal coverings removed.

The first. The first room on entering the sacred edifice, here called the "first tabernacle." The apostle proceeds now to enumerate the various articles of furniture which were in the two rooms of the tabernacle and temple. His object seems to be, not for information, for it could not be supposed that they to whom he was writing were ignorant on this point, but partly to show that it could not be said that he spoke of that of which he had no information, or that he undervalued it; and partly to show the real nature of the institution, and to prove that it was of an imperfect and typical character, and had a designed reference to something that was to come. It is remarkable that, though he maintains that the whole institution was a "figure" of what was to come, and though he specifies by name all the furniture of the tabernacle, he does not attempt to explain their particular typical character nor does he affirm that they had such a character. He does not say that the candlestick, and the table of shewbread, and the ark, and the cherubim, were designed to adumbrate some particular truth or fact of the future dispensation, or had a designed spiritual meaning. It would have been happy if all expositors had followed the example of Paul, and had been content, as he was, to state the facts about the tabernacle, and the general truth that the dispensation was intended to introduce a more perfect economy, without endeavouring to explain the typical import of every pin and pillar of the ancient place of worship. If those things had such a designed typical reference, it is remarkable that Paul did not go into an explanation of that fact in the epistle before us. Never could a better opportunity for doing it occur than was furnished here. Yet it was not done. Paul is silent where many expositors have found occasion for admiration. Where they have seen the profoundest wisdom, he saw none; where they have found spiritual instruction in the various implements of divine service in the sanctuary, he found none. Why should we be more wise than he was? Why attempt to hunt for types and shadows where he found none? And why should we not be limited to the views which he actually expressed in regard to the design and import of the ancient dispensation? Following an inspired example, we are on solid ground, and are not in danger. But the moment we leave that, and attempt to spiritualize everything in the ancient economy, we are in an open sea without compass or chart, and no one knows to what fairy lands he may be drifted. As there are frequent allusions in the New Testament to the different parts of the tabernacle furniture here specified, it may be a matter of interest and profit to furnish an illustration of the most material of them.

The candlestick. For an account of the candlestick, see Ex 25:31-37. It was made of pure gold, and had seven branches, that is, three on each side and one in the centre. These branches had on the extremities seven golden lamps, which were fed with pure olive oil, and which were lighted "to give light over against it" that is, they shed light on the altar of incense, the table of shew, bread, and generally on the furniture of the holy place. These branches were made with three "bowls," "knops,"and "flowers, occurring alternately on each one of the six branches; while on the centre or upright shaft, there were four "bowls," "knops," and "flowers" of this kind. These ornaments were probably taken from the almond, and represented the flower of that tree in various stages. The "bowls" on the branches of the candlestick probably meant the calyx or cup of that plant from which the flower springs. The "knops" probably referred to some ornament on the candlestick mingled with the "bowls" and the "flowers" perhaps designed as an imitation of the nut or fruit of the almond. The "flowers" were evidently ornaments resembling the flowers on the almond tree, wrought, as all the rest were, in pure gold. See Bush's Notes on Exod. xxv. The following beautiful cut, drawn on this supposition, will probably give a tolerably correct view of the ancient candelabrum or candlestick. I introduce this cut as being a fine illustration furnished by Professor Bush of the candlestick itself; with the views which he has expressed of its spiritual reference, however, I have no sympathy, The candlestick was undoubtedly designed to furnish light in the dark room of the tabernacle and temple; and, in accordance with the general plan of those edifices, was ornamented after the most chaste and pure views of ornamental architecture of those times—but there is no evidence that its branches, and bowls, and knops, and flowers, had each a peculiar typical significance. The sacred writers are wholly silent as to any such reference, and it is not well to attempt to be "wise above that which is written." An expositor of the Scripture cannot have a safer guide than the sacred writers themselves. How should any uninspired man know that these things had such a peculiar typical signification? The candlestick was placed on the south, or left hand side of the holy place as one entered, the row of lamps being probably parallel with the wall. It was at first placed in the tabernacle, and afterwards removed into the temple built by Solomon. Its subsequent history is unknown. Probably it was destroyed when the temple was taken by the Chaldeans. The form of the candlestick in the second temple, whose figure is preserved on the "Arch of Titus" in Rome, was of somewhat different construction. But it is to be remembered, that the articles taken away from the temple by Vespasian were not the same as those made by Moses; and Josephus says expressly that the candlestick was altered from its original form.

And the table. That is, the table on which the shewbread was placed. This table was made of shittim-wood, overlaid with gold. It was two cubits long, and one cubit broad, and a cubit and a half high; that is, about three feet and a half in length, one foot and nine inches wide, and two feet and a half in height. It was furnished with rings or staples, through which were passed staves, by which it was carried. These staves, we are informed by Josephus, were removed when the table was at rest, so that they might not be in the way of the priests at they officiated in the tabernacle. It stood lengthwise east and west, on the north side of the holy place.

And the shewbread. On the table just described. This bread consisted of twelve loaves, placed on the table every Sabbath. The Hebrews affirm that they were square loaves, having the four sides covered with leaves of gold. They were arranged in two piles, of course with six in a pile, Le 24:5-9. The number twelve was selected with reference to the twelve tribes of Israel. They were made without leaven; were renewed each Sabbath, when the old loaves were then taken away to be eaten by the priests only. The Hebrew phrase rendered "shewbread" means, properly, "bread of faces," or "bread of presence." The Seventy render it artouv enwpiouv foreplaced loaves. In the New Testament it is, h proyesiv twn artwn —the placing of bread; and, in Symmachus, "bread of proposition," or placing. Why it was called "bread of presence" has been a subject on which expositors have been much divided. Some have held that it was because it was before, or in the presence of the symbol of the Divine Presence in the tabernacle, though in another department; some, that it was because it was set there to be seen by men, rather than to be seen by God. Others that it had an emblematic design, looking forward to the Messiah as the food or nourishment of the soul, and was substantially the same as the table spread with the symbols of the Saviour's body and blood. See Bush, in loc. But of this last mentioned opinion, it may be asked, where is the proof? It is not found in the account of it in the Old Testament, and there is not the slightest intimation in the New Testament that it had any such design. The object for which it was placed there can be only a matter of conjecture, as it is not explained in the Bible; and it is more difficult to ascertain the use and design of the shewbread than of almost any other emblem of the Jewish economy. Calmet. Perhaps the true idea, after all that has been written and conjectured, is, that the table and the bread were for the sake of carrying out the idea that the tabernacle was the dwelling-place of God, and that there was a propriety that it should be fitted up with the usual appurtenances of a dwelling. Hence there was a candlestick and a table, because these were the common and ordinary furniture of a room; and the idea was to be kept up constantly that that was the dwelling-place of the Most High by lighting and trimming the lamps every day, and by renewing the bread on the table periodically. The most simple explanation of the phrase "bread of faces," or "bread of presence," is, that it was so called because it was set before the face, or in the presence of God in the tabernacle. The various forms which it has been supposed would represent the table of shewbread may be seen in Calmet's Large Dictionary. The preceding cut is the usual illustration of it. If the loaves were piled above one another, as they are represented in the cut, they were probably separated by thin plates of gold, or some other substance, to keep them from moulding. The Jews say that they were separated by plates of gold.

Which is called the sanctuary. Marg., "Or, holy." That is, the holy place. The name sanctuary was commonly given to the whole edifice, but with strict propriety appertained only to this first room.

{a} "tabernacle" Ex 26:1,35 {b} "table" Ex 11:4 {c} "shewbread" Ex 25:30 {1} "sanctuary" "holy"


Verse 3. And after the second veil. There were two veils to the tabernacle. The one which is described in Ex 26:36,37, was called "the hanging for the door of the tent," and was made of "blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine-twined linen," and was suspended on five pillars of shittim-wood, overlaid with gold. This answered for a door to the whole tabernacle. The second or inner veil, here referred to, divided the holy from the most holy place. This is described in Ex 26:31-33. It was made of the same materials as the other, though it would seem in a more costly manner, and with more embroidered work. On this veil the figures of the cherubim were curiously wrought. The design of this veil was to separate the holy from the most holy place; and in regard to its symbolical meaning we can be at no loss, for the apostle Paul has himself explained it in this chapter. See Barnes "Heb 9:8, seq.

The tabernacle. That is, the inner tabernacle; or that which was more properly called the tabernacle. The name was given to either of the two rooms into which it was divided, or to the whole structure.

Which is called the Holiest of all. It was called "the Most Holy Place;" "the Holy of Holies;" or "the Holiest of all." It was so called because the symbol of the Divine Presence—the Shekinah—dwelt there between the cherubim.

{a} "veil" Ex 26:31,31


Verse 4. Which had the golden censer. The censer was a fire-pan, made for the purpose of carrying fire, in order to burn incense on it in the place of worship. The forms of the censer were various; but the following cuts will represent those which are most common. Some difficulty has been felt respecting the statement of Paul here, that the "golden censer" was in the most holy place, from the fact that no such utensil is mentioned by Moses as pertaining to the tabernacle; nor in the description of Solomon's temple, which was modelled after the tabernacle, is there any account of it given. But the following considerations will probably remove the difficulty.

(1.) Paul was a Jew, and was familiar with what pertained to the temple, and gave such a description of it as would be in accordance with what actually existed in his time. The fact that Moses does not expressly mention it does not prove that, in fact, no such censer was laid up in the most holy place.

(2.) Aaron and his successors were expressly commanded to burn incense in a "censer" in the most holy place before the mercy-seat. This was to be done on the great day of atonement, and but once in a year, Le 16:12,13.

(3.) There is every probability that the censer that was used on such an occasion was made of gold. All the implements that were employed in the most holy place were made of gold, or overlaid with gold, and it is in the highest degree improbable that the high priest would use any other on so solemn an occasion. Comp. 1 Ki 7:50.

(4.) As the golden censer was to be used only once in a year, it would naturally be laid away in some secure situation—and none would so obviously occur as the most holy place. There it would be perfectly safe. No one was permitted to enter there but the high priest; and being preserved there it would be always ready for his use. The statement of Paul, therefore, has the highest probability, and undoubtedly accords with what actually occurred in the tabernacle and the temple. The object of the incense burned in worship was to produce an agreeable fragrance or smell. See Barnes "Lu 1:9".

And the ark of the covenant. This ark or chest was made of shittim-wood, was two cubits and a half long, a cubit and a half broad, and the same in height, Ex 25:10. It was completely covered with gold, and had a lid, which was called the "mercy-seat," on which rested the Shekinah, the symbol of the Divine Presence between the out. stretched wings of the cherubim. It was called "the ark of the covenant," because within it were the two tables of the covenant, or the law of God written on tables of stone. It was a simple chest, coffer, or box, with little ornament, though rich in its materials. A golden crown or moulding ran around the top, and it had rings and staves in its sides by which it might be borne, Ex 25:12-16. This ark was regarded as the most sacred of all the appendages of the tabernacle. Containing the law, and being the place where the symbol of the Divine Presence was manifested, it was regarded as peculiarly holy; and in the various wars and revolutions in the Hebrew commonwealth, it was guarded with peculiar care. After the passage over the Jordan it remained for some time at Gilgal, (Jos 4:19,) whence it was removed to Shiloh, 1 Sa 1:3. From hence the Israelites took it to their camp, apparently to animate them in battle, but it was taken by the Philistines, 1 Sa 4. The Philistines, however, oppressed by the hand of God, resolved to return it, and sent it to Kirjath-Jearim, 1 Sa 7:1. In the reign of Saul it was at Nob. David conveyed it to the house of Obed-Edom, and thence to his palace on Mount Zion. 2 Sa 6. At the dedication of the temple it was placed in the Holy of Holies by Solomon, where it remained for many years. Subsequently, it is said, the wicked kings of Judah, abandoning themselves to idolatry, established idols in the most holy place itself; and the priests removed the ark, and bore it from place to place to secure it from profanation. Calmet. When Josiah ascended the throne he commanded the priests to restore the ark to its place in the sanctuary, and forbade them to carry it about from one place to another as they had before done, 2 Ch 35:3. The subsequent history of the ark is unknown. It is probable that it was either destroyed when the city of Jerusalem was taken by Nebuchadnezzar, or that it was carried with other spoils to Babylon. There is no good reason to suppose that it was ever in the second temple; and it is generally admitted by the Jews that the ark of the covenant was one of the things that were wanting there. Abarbanel says, that the Jews flatter themselves that it will be restored by the Messiah.

Wherein, That is, in the ark for so the construction naturally requires. In 1 Ki 8:9, however, it is said that there was nothing in the ark, "save the two tables of stone which Moses put there at Horeb:" and it has been supposed by some that the pot of manna and the rod of Aaron were not in the ark, but that they were in capsules, or ledges made on its sides for their safe keeping, and that this should be rendered "by the ark." But the apostle uses the same language respecting the pot of manna and the rod of Aaron which he does about the two tables of stone; and as they were certainly in the ark, the fair construction here is that the pot of manna and the rod of Aaron were in it also. The account in Ex 16:32-34; Nu 17:10, is, that they were laid up in the most holy place, "before the testimony," and there is no improbability whatever in the supposition that they were in the ark, Indeed that would be the most safe place to keep them, as the tabernacle was often taken down, and removed from place to place. It is clear, from the passage in 1 Ki 8:9, that they were not in the ark in the temple, but there is no improbability in the supposition that before the temple was built they might have been removed from the ark and lost. When the ark was carried from place to place, or during its captivity by the Philistines, it is probable they were lost, as we never hear of them afterwards.

The golden pot. In Ex 16:33, it is simply a "pot," without specifying the material. In the Septuagint it is rendered "golden pot;" and as the other utensils of the sanctuary were of gold, it may be fairly presumed that this was also.

That had manna. A small quantity of manna which was to be preserved as a perpetual remembrance of the food which they had eaten in their long journey in the wilderness, and of the goodness of God in miraculously supplying their wants. As the manna, also, would not of itself keep, Ex 16:20, the fact that this was to be laid up to be preserved from age to age was a perpetual miracle in proof of the presence and faithfulness of God. On the subject of the manna, see Bush's Notes on Ex 16:15.

And Aaron's rod that budded. That budded and blossomed as a proof that God had chosen him to minister to him. The princes of the tribes were disposed to rebel, and to call in question the authority of Aaron. To settle the matter each one was required to take a rod or staff of office, and to bring it to Moses with the name of the tribe to which it appertained written on it. These were laid up by Moses in the tabernacle; and it was found, on the next day, that the rod marked with the name of Levi had budded and blossomed, and produced almonds. In perpetual remembrance of this miracle, the rod was preserved in the ark, Nu 17. Its subsequent history is unknown. It was not in the ark when the temple was built; nor is there any reason to suppose that it was preserved to that time.

And the tables of the covenant. The two tables of stone on which the ten commandments were written. They were expressly called "the words of the covenant" in Ex 34:28. On the word covenant, See Barnes "Ex 34:28".

See Barnes "Heb 9:6"

and See Barnes "Heb 9:17"

of this chapter. These two tables were in the ark at the time the temple was dedicated, 1 Ki 8:9. Their subsequent history is unknown. It is probable that they shared the fate of the ark, and were either carried to Babylon, or were destroyed when the city was taken by Nebuchadnezzar.

{b} "golden censer" Le 16:12 {c} "ark" Ex 25:10 {d} "golden pot" Ex 25:10 {e} "rod" Nu 17:10 {f} "tables" Ex 34:19; 40:20; De 10:2,5


Verse 5. And over it. That is, over the ark.

The cherubim of glory. A Hebrew mode of expression, meaning the glorious cherubim. The word cherubim is the Hebrew form of the plural, of which cherub is the singular. The word glory, used here in connexion with "cherubim," refers to the splendour, or magnificence of the image, as being carved with great skill, and covered with gold. There were two cherubim on the ark, placed on the lid in such a manner that their faces looked inward towards each other, and downward toward the mercy-seat. They stretched out their wings "on high," and covered the mercy-seat, or the lid of the ark, Ex 25:18-20. Comp. 1 Ki 8:6,7; 1 Ch 28:18. In the temple, the cherubim were made of the olive-tree, and were ten cubits high. They were overlaid with gold, and were so placed that the wing of one touched the wall on one side of the holy of holies, and that of the other the other side, and their wings met together over the ark, 1 Ki 6:23-28. It is not probable. However, that this was the form used in the tabernacle, as wings thus expanded would have rendered it inconvenient to carry them from place to place. Of the form and design of the cherubim much has been written, and much that is the mere creation of fancy and the fruit of wild conjecture. Their design is not explained in the Bible, and silence in regard to it would have been wisdom. If they were intended to be symbolical as is certainly possible comp. Eze 10:20-22, it is impossible now to determine the object of the symbol. Who is authorized to explain it? Who can give to his speculations anything more than the authority of pious conjecture? And of what advantage, therefore, can speculation be, where the volume of inspiration says nothing? They who wish to examine this subject more fully, with the various opinions that have been formed on it, may consult the following works, viz.: Calmet's Dictionary, Fragment No, 152, with the numerous illustrations; Bush's Notes on Ex 25:18; and the Quarterly Christian Spectator, vol. viii. pp. 368—388. Drawings resembling the cherubim were not uncommon on ancient sculptures. The preceding winged figure, taken from the sculpture at Persepolis, may perhaps have been a rude image of the ancient cherub. The common representation of the ark and cherubim is something like the following, which may perhaps be as correct as it is possible now to furnish.

Shadowing. Stretching out its wings so as to cover the mercy-seat.

The mercy-seat. The cover of the ark, on which rested the cloud or visible symbol of the Divine Presence. It was called "mercy-seat," or propitiatory— ilasthrion—because it was this which was sprinkled over with the blood of atonements or propitiation, and because it was from this place, on which the symbol of the Deity rested, that God manifested himself as propitious to sinners. The blood of the atonement was that through or by means of which he declared his mercy to the guilty. Here God was supposed to be seated; and from this place he was supposed to dispense mercy to man when the blood of the atonement was sprinkled there. This was undoubtedly designed to be a symbol of his dispensing mercy to men, in virtue of the blood which the Saviour shed as the great sacrifice for guilt. See Heb 9:13,14.

Of which we cannot now speak particularly. That is, it is not my present design to speak particularly of these things. These matters were well understood by those to whom he wrote, and his object did not require him to go into a fuller explanation.

{a} "cherubim" Ex 25:18,22


Verse 6. When thee things were thus ordained. Thus arranged or appointed. Having shown what the tabernacle was, the apostle proceeds to show what was done in it.

The Priests went always into the first tabernacle. The outer tabernacle, called the holy place. They were not permitted to enter the holy of holies, that being entered only once in a year by the high priest. The holy place was entered every day to make the morning and evening oblation.

Accomplishing the service of God. Performing the acts of worship which God had appointed—burning incense, etc. Lu 1:9.

{b} "Priests" Nu 27:3


Verse 7. But into the second. The second apartment or room, called the most holy place, Heb 9:3.

Went the High priest alone once every year. On the great day of atonement, Ex 30:10. On that day he probably entered the holy of holies three or four times, first to burn incense, Le 16:12; then to sprinkle the blood of the bullock on the mercy-seat, Le 16:14; then he was to kill the goat of the sin-offering, and bring that blood within the veil, and sprinkle it also on the mercy-seat; and then, perhaps, he entered again to bring out the golden censer. The Jewish tradition is, that he entered the holy of holies four times on that day. After all, however, the number of times is not certain, nor is it material; the only important point being that he entered it only on one day of the year, while the holy place was entered every day.

Not without blood. That is, he bare with him blood to sprinkle on the mercy-seat. This was the blood of the bullock and of the goat—borne in at two different times.

Which he offered for himself. The blood of the bullock was offered for himself and for his house or family—thus keeping impressively before his own mind and the mind of the people the fact that the priests, even of the highest order, were sinners, and needed expiation like others, Le 16:11.

And for the errors of the people. The blood of the goat was offered for them, Le 16:15. The word rendered errors—agnohma —denotes, properly, ignorance, involuntary error; and then error or fault in general—the same as the Hebrew

HEBREW— to err. The object was to make expiation for all the error and sins of the people, and this occurred once in the year. The repetition of these sacrifices was a constant remembrance of sin; and the design was, that neither the priests nor the people should lose sight of the fact that they were violators of the law of God.

{c} "once" Ex 30:10; Le 16:2


Verse 8. The Holy Ghost. Who appointed all this. The whole arrangement in the service of the tabernacle is represented as having been under the direction of the Holy Ghost, or this was one of his methods of teaching the great truths of religion, and of keeping them before the minds of men. Sometimes that Spirit taught by direct revelation; sometimes by the written word; and sometimes by symbols. The tabernacle, with its different apartments, utensils, and services, was a permanent means of keeping important truths before the minds of the ancient people of God.

This signifying. That is, showing this truth, or making use of this arrangement to impress this truth on the minds of men, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest.

That the way into the holiest of all. Into heaven—of which the most holy place in the tabernacle was undoubtedly designed to be an emblem. It was the place where the visible symbol of God—the Shekinah—dwelt; where the blood of propitiation was sprinkled, and was, therefore, an appropriate emblem of that holy heaven where God dwells, and whence pardon is obtained by the blood of the atonement.

Was not yet made manifest. The way to heaven was not opened, or fully understood. It was not known how men could appear before God, or how they could come with the hope of pardon. That way has now been opened by the ascension of the Redeemer to heaven, and by the assurance that all who will may come in his name.

While as the first tabernacle was yet standing. As long as it stood, and the appointed services were held in it. The idea is, that until it was superseded by a more perfect system it was a proof that the way to heaven was not yet fully and freely opened, and that the Holy Ghost designed that it should be such a proof. The apostle does not specify in what the proof consisted, but it may have been in something like the following.

(1.) It was a mere symbol, and not the reality—showing that the true way was not yet fully understood.

(2.) It was entered but once a year—showing that there was not access at all times.

(3.) It was entered only by the high priest—showing that there was not free and full access to all the people.

(4.) It was accessible only by Jews—showing that the way in which all men might be saved was not then fully revealed. The sense is, that it was a system of types and shadows, in which there were many burdensome rites, and many things to prevent men from coming before the symbol of the Divinity, and was therefore an imperfect system. All these obstructions are now removed; the Saviour—the great High Priest of his people—has entered heaven, and "opened it to all true believers," and all of every nation may now have free access to God. See Heb 9:12; comp. Heb 10:19-22.

{b} "way" Joh 14:6


Verse 9. Which was a figure for the time then present. That is, as long as the tabernacle stood. The word rendered figure—parabolh— is not the same as type —tupov, (Ro 5:14; Act 7:43,44; John 20:25; 1 Co 10:6,11; Php 3:17, —but is the word commonly rendered parable, Mt 13:3,10,13,18,24,31,33-36,53; 15:15

et saepe, and means, properly, a placing side by side; then, a comparison, or similitude, Here it is used in the sense of image, or symbol—something to represent other things. The idea is, that the arrangements and services of the tabernacle were a representation of important realities, and of things which were more fully to be revealed at a future period. There can be no doubt that Paul meant to say that this service in general was symbolical or typical, though this will not authorize us to attempt to spiritualize every minute arrangement of it. Some of the things in which it was typical are specified by the apostle himself; and wisdom and safety in explaining the arrangements of the tabernacle and its services consist in adhering very closely to the explanations furnished by the inspired writers. An interpreter is on an open Sea, to be driven he knows not whither, when he takes leave of these safe pilots.

Both gifts. Thank-offerings.

And sacrifices. Bloody offerings. The idea as, that all kinds of offerings to God were made there.

That could not make him that did the service perfect. That could not take away sin, and remove the stains of guilt on the soul. See Barnes "Heb 7:11" comp. Heb 8:7; 7:27; 10:1,11.

As pertaining to the conscience. They related mainly to outward and ceremonial rites; and even when offerings were made for sin, the conscience was not relieved. They could not expiate guilt; they could not make the soul pure; they could not of themselves impart peace to the soul by reconciling it to God. They could not fully accomplish what the conscience needed to have done in order to give it peace. Nothing will do this but the blood of the Redeemer.

{c} "could not" Ps 40:6,7; Ga 3:21; Heb 10:1,11

{d} "conscience" Ps 51:16-19


Verse 10. Which stood only in meats and drinks. The idea is, that the ordinances of the Jews, in connexion with the services of religion, consisted much of laws pertaining to what was lawful to eat and drink, etc. A considerable part of those laws related to the distinction between clean and unclean beasts, and to such arrangements as were designed to keep them externally distinct from other nations. It is possible, also, that there may be a reference here to meat and drink offerings. On the grammatical difficulties of this verse, see Stuart on the Hebrews, in loc.

And divers washings. The various ablutions which were required in the service of the tabernacle and the temple—washing of the hands, of the victim that was to be offered, etc, It was for this purpose that the laver was erected in front of the tabernacle, Ex 30:18; 31:9 Ex 35:16, and that the brazen sea and the lavers were constructed in connexion with the temple of Solomon, 2 Ch 4:3-5; 1 Ki 7:26. The Greek word here is baptisms. On its meaning, See Barnes "Mt 3:6" See Barnes "Mr 7:4".

And carnal ordinances. Marg. "Or, rites or ceremonies." Or, "Ordinances of the flesh;" that is, which pertained to the flesh, or to external ceremonies. The object was rather to keep them externally pure than to cleanse the conscience and make them holy in heart.

Imposed on them. Laid on them—epikeimena. It does not mean that there was any oppression or injustice in regard to these ordinances, but that they were appointed for a temporary purpose.

Until the time of reformation. The word here rendered reformation —diorywsiv means, properly, emendation, improvement, reform. It refers to putting a thing in a right condition; making it better; or raising up and restoring that which is fallen down. Passow. Here the reference is undoubtedly to the gospel, as being a better system—a putting things where they ought to be. Comp. See Barnes "Ac 3:21".

The idea here is, that those ordinances were only temporary in their nature, and were designed to endure till a more perfect system should be introduced. They were of value to introduce that better system; they were not adapted to purify the conscience and remove the stains of guilt from the soul.

{e} "meats and drinks" Le 11:2 {f} "washings" Nu 19:7 {1} "ordinances" "rites or ceremonies" {g} "imposed" Eph 2:15


Verse 11. But Christ being come. Now that the Messiah has come, a more perfect system is introduced, by which the conscience may be made free from guilt.

An High Priest of good things to come. See Heb 10:1. The apostle having described the tabernacle, and shown wherein it was defective in regard to the real wants of sinners, proceeds now to describe the Christian system, and to show how that met the real condition of man, and especially how it was adapted to remove sin from the soul. The phrase, "high priest of good things to come," seems to refer to those "good things" which belonged to the dispensation that was to come; that is, the dispensation under the Messiah. The Jews anticipated great blessings in that time. They looked forward to better things than they enjoyed under the old dispensation. They expected more signal proofs of the Divine favour; a clearer knowledge of the way of pardon; and more eminent spiritual enjoyments. Of these, the apostle says that Christ, who had come, was now the high priest. It was he by whom they were procured; and the time had actually arrived when they might enjoy the long-anticipated good things under the Messiah.

By a greater and more perfect tabernacle. The meaning is, that Christ officiated as High Priest in a much more magnificent and perfect temple than either the tabernacle or the temple under the old dispensation. He performed the great functions of his priestly office—the sprinkling of the blood of the atonement—in heaven itself, of which the most holy place in the tabernacle was but the emblem. The Jewish high priest entered the sanctuary made with hands to minister before God; Christ entered into heaven itself. The word "by" here dia means, probably, through; and the idea is, that Christ passed through a more perfect tabernacle on his way to the mercy-seat in heaven than the Jewish high priest did when: he passed through the outer tabernacle, Heb 9:2, and through the veil into the most holy place. Probably the idea in the mind of the writer was that of the Saviour passing through the visible heavens above us, to which the veil, dividing the holy from the most holy place in the temple, bore some resemblance. Many, however, have understood the word "tabernacle" here as denoting the body of Christ, (see Grotius and Bloomfield, in loc.;) and according to this the idea is, that Christ, by means of his own body and blood offered as a sacrifice, entered into the Most Holy Place in heaven. But it seems to me that the whole scope of the passage requires us to understand it of the more perfect temple in heaven where Christ performs his ministry, and of which the tabernacle of the Hebrews was but the emblem. Christ did not belong to the tribe of Levi; he was not an high priest of the order of Aaron; he did not enter the holy place on earth, but he entered the heavens, and perfects the work of his ministry there.

Not made with hands. A phrase that properly, describes heaven as being fitted up by God himself. See Barnes "2 Co 5:1".

Not Of this building.

{h} "High Priest" Heb 3:1 {a} "good things" Heb 10:1


Verse 12. Neither by the blood of goats and calves. The Jewish sacrifice consisted of the shedding of the blood of animals. On the great day of attonement the high priest took with him into the most holy place

(1.) the blood of a young bullock, Le 16:3,11, which is here called the blood of a "calf," which he offered for his own sin; and

(2.) the blood of a goat, as a sin-offering for others, Le 16:9,15. It was by, or by means of dia blood thus sprinkled on the mercy-seat, that the high priest sought the forgiveness of his own sins and the sins of the people.

But by his own blood. That is, by his own blood shed for the remission of sins. The meaning is, that it was in virtue of his own blood, or by means of that, that, he sought the pardon of his people. That blood was not shed for himself—for he had no sin—and consequently there was a material difference between his offering and that of the Jewish high priest. The difference related to such points as these,

(1.) The offering which Christ made was wholly for others; that of the Jewish priest for himself as well as for them.

(2.) The blood offered by the Jewish priest was that of animals; that offered by the Saviour was his own.

(3.) That offered by the Jewish priest was only an emblem or type—for it could not take away sin; that offered by Christ had a real efficacy, and removes transgression from the soul.

He entered into the holy place. Heaven. The meaning is, that as the Jewish high priest bore the blood of the animal into the holy of holies, and sprinkled it there as the means of expiation, so the offering which Christ has to make in heaven, or the consideration on which he pleads for the pardon of his people, is the blood which he shed on Calvary. Having made the atonement, he now pleads the merit of it as a reasonsprinkled it on the mercy-seat there; but that that blood, having been shed for sin, is now the ground of his pleading and intercession for the pardon of sin—as the sprinkled blood of the Jewish sacrifice was the ground of the pleading of the Jewish high priest for the pardon of himself and the people.

Having obtained eternal redemption for us. That is, by the shedding of his blood. On the meaning of the word redemption, See Barnes "Ga 3:13".

The redemption which the Lord Jesus effected for his people is eternal. It will continue for ever. It is not a temporary deliverance leaving the redeemed in danger of falling into sin and ruin, but it makes salvation secure, and in its effects extends through eternity. Who can estimate the extent of that love which purchased for us such a redemption? Who can be sufficiently grateful that he is thus redeemed? The doctrine in this verse is, that the blood of Christ is the means of redemption, or atones for sin. In the following verses the apostle shows that it not only makes atonement for sin, but that it is the means of sanctifying or purifying the soul.

{c} "goats" Heb 10:4 {d} "own blood" Ac 8:2 {e} "holy place" Heb 10:19


Verse 13. For if the blood of bulls and of goats. Referring still to the great day of atonement, when the offering made was the sacrifice of a bullock and a goat.

And the ashes of an heifer. For an account of this, see Nu 19:2-10. In Heb 9:9 it is said that the ashes of the heifer, after it was burnt, should be kept "for a water of separation; it is a purification for sin." That is, the ashes were to be carefully preserved; and, being mixed with water, were sprinkled on those who were from any cause ceremonially impure. The reason for this appears to have been that the heifer was considered as a sacrifice whose blood has been offered, and the application of the ashes to which she had been burnt was regarded as an evidence of participation in that sacrifice. It was needful, where the laws were so numerous respecting eternal pollutions, or where the members of the Jewish community were regarded as so frequently "unclean" by contact with dead bodies, and in various other ways, that there should be some method in which they could be declared to be cleansed from their "uncleanness." The nature of these institutions also required that this should be in connexion with sacrifice; and in order to this it was arranged that there should be this permanent sacrifice—the ashes of the heifer that had been sacrificed —of which they could avail themselves at any time, without the expense and delay of making a bloody offering specifically for the occasion. It was, therefore, a provision of convenience; and at the same time was designed to keep up the idea that all purification was somehow connected with the shedding of blood.

Sprinkling the unclean. Mingled with water, and sprinkled on the unclean. The word unclean here refers to such as had been defiled by contact with dead bodies, or when one had died in the family, etc. See Nu 19:11-22.

Sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh. Makes holy so far as the flesh or body is concerned. The uncleanness here referred to related to the body only, and of course the means of cleansing extended only to that. It was not designed to give peace to the conscience, or to expiate moral offences. The offering thus made removed the obstructions to the worship of God, so far as to allow him who had been defiled to approach him in a regular manner. Thus much the apostle allows was accomplished by the Jewish rites. They had an efficacy in removing ceremonial uncleanness; and in rendering it proper that he who had been polluted should be permitted again to approach and worship God. The apostle goes on to argue that, if they had such an efficacy, it was fair to presume that the blood of Christ would have far greater efficacy, and would reach to the conscience itself and make that pure.

{f} "ashes" Nu 19:2-17


Verse 14. How much more shall the blood of Christ. As being infinitely more precious than the blood of an animal could possibly be. If the blood of an animal had any efficacy at all, even in removing ceremonial pollutions, how much more is it reasonable to suppose may be effected by the blood of the Son of God!

Who through the eternal Spirit. This expression is very difficult, and has given rise to a great variety of interpretation.—Some Mss., instead of eternal here, read holy, making it refer directly to the Holy Spirit. See Wetstein. These various readings, however, are not regarded as of sufficient authority to lead to a change in the text, and are of importance only as showing that it was an early opinion that the Holy Spirit is here referred to. The principal opinions which have been entertained respecting this phrase are the following.

(1.) That which regards it as referring to the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. This was the opinion of Owen, Doddridge, and Archbishop Tillotson.

(2.) That which refers it to the divine:nature of Christ. Among those who have maintained this opinion are Beza, Ernesti, Wolf, Vitriuga, Storr, and the late Dr. J.P. Wilson, MSS. Notes.

(3.) Others, as Grotius, Rosenmuller, Koppe, understand it as meaning endless or immortal life, in contradistinction from the Jewish sacrifices which were of a perishable nature, and which needed so often to be repeated.

(4.) Others regard it as referring to the glorified person of the Saviour, meaning that, in his exited or spiritual station in heaven, he presents the efficacy of blood,

(5.) Others suppose that it means Divine influence; and that the idea is, that Christ was actuated and filled with a Divine influence when he offered up himself as a sacrifice—an influence which was not of a temporal and fleeting nature, but which was eternal in its efficacy. This is the interpretation preferred by Prof. Stuart. For an examination of these various opinions, see his "Excursus xviii." on this epistle. It is difficult, if not impossible, to decide what is the true meaning of the passage amidst this diversity of opinion; but there are some reasons which seem to me to make it probable that the Holy Spirit is intended, and that the idea is, that Christ made his great sacrifice under the extraordinary influences of that Eternal Spirit. The reasons which lead me to this opinion are the following.

(1.) It is that which would occur to the great mass of the readers of the New Testament. It is presumed that the great body of sober, plain, and intelligent readers of the Bible, on perusing the passage, suppose that it refers to the Holy Ghost, the third person of the Trinity. There are few better and safer rules for the interpretation of a volume designed like the Bible for the mass of mankind, than to abide by the sense in which they understand it.

(2.) This interpretation is one which is most naturally conveyed by the language of the original. The phrase, the spirit to pneuma has so far a technical and established meaning in the New Testament as to denote the Holy Ghost, unless there is something in the connexion which renders such an application improper. In this case there is nothing certainly which necessarily forbids such an application. The high names and classical authority of those who have held this opinion are a sufficient guarantee of this.

(3.) This interpretation accords with the fact, that the Lord Jesus is represented as having been eminently endowed with the influences of the Holy Spirit. Comp. See Barnes "Joh 3:34".

Though he was Divine, yet he was also a man, and as such was under influences similar to those, of other pious men. The Holy Spirit is the source and sustainer of all piety in the soul; and it is not improper to suppose that the man Christ Jesus was, in a remarkable manner, influenced by the Holy Ghost in his readiness to obey God, and to suffer according to his will.

(4.) If there was ever an occasion on which we may suppose he was influenced by the Holy Ghost, that of his sufferings and death here referred to may be supposed eminently to have been such an one. It was expressive of the highest state of piety—of the purest love to God and man—which has ever existed in the human bosom; it was the most trying time of his own life; it was the period when there would be the most strong temptation to abandon his work; and, as the redemption of the whole world was dependent on that act, it is reasonable to suppose that the richest heavenly grace would be there imparted to him, and that he would then be eminently under the influence of that Spirit which was granted not "by measure unto him." See Barnes "Joh 3:34".

(5.) This representation is not inconsistent with the belief that the sufferings and death of the Redeemer were voluntary, and had all the merit which belongs to a voluntary transaction. Piety in the heart of a Christian now is not less voluntary because it is produced and cherished by the Holy Ghost, nor is there less excellence in it because the Holy Ghost imparts strong faith in the time of temptation and trial. It seems to me, therefore, that the meaning of this expression is, that the Lord Jesus was led by the strong influences of the Spirit of God to devote himself as a sacrifice for sin. It was not by any temporary influence—not by mere excitement; it was by the influence of the Eternal Spirit of God; and the sacrifice thus offered could, therefore, accomplish effects which would be eternal in their character. It was not like the offering made by the Jewish high priest, which was necessarily renewed every year, but it was under the influence of one who was eternal, and the effects of whose influence might be everlasting. It may be added, that if this is a correct exposition it follows that the Holy Ghost is eternal, and must therefore be Divine.

Offered himself. That is, as a sacrifice. He did not offer a bullock or a goat, but he offered himself. The sacrifice of one's self is the highest offering which he can make: in this case it was the highest which the universe had to make.

Without spot. Marg. "Or, fault." The animal that was offered in the Jewish sacrifices was to be without blemish. See Le 1:10; 22:19-22. It was not to be lame, or blind, or diseased. The word which is here used and rendered "without spot" amwmov—refers to this fact, that there was no defect or blemish. The idea is, that the Lord Jesus, the great Sacrifice, was perfect. See Heb 7:26.

Purge your conscience. That is, cleanse, purify, or sanctify your conscience. The idea is, that this offering would take away whatever rendered the conscience defiled or sinful. The offerings of the Jews related in the main to external purification, and were not adapted to give peace to a troubled conscience. They could render the worshipper externally pure, so that he might draw near to God, and not be excluded by any ceremonial pollution or defile. merit; but the mind, the heart, the conscience, they could not make pure. They could not remove that which troubles a man when he recollects that he has violated a holy law and has offended God, and when he looks forward to an awful judgment-bar. The word conscience here is not to be understood as a distinct and independent faculty of the soul, but as the soul or mind itself reflecting and pronouncing on its own acts. The whole expression refers to a mind alarmed by the recollection of guilt—for it is guilt only that disturbs a man s conscience. Guilt originates in the soul remorse and despair; guilt makes a man troubled when he thinks of death and the judgment; it is guilt only which alarms a man when he thinks of a holy God; and it is nothing but guilt that makes the entrance into another world terrible and awful. If man had no guilt he would never dread his Maker, nor would the presence of his God be ever painful to him, Ge 3:6-10; if a man had no guilt he would not fear to die—for what have the innocent to fear anywhere? The universe is under the government of a God of goodness and truth, and, under such a government, how can those who have done no wrong have anything to dread? The fear of death, the apprehension of the judgment to come, and the dread of God, are strong and irrefragable proofs that every man is a sinner. The only thing, therefore, which ever disturbs the conscience, and makes death dreadful, and God an object of aversion, and eternity awful, is GUILT. If that is removed, man is calm and peaceful; if not, he is the victim of wretchedness and despair.

From dead works. From works that are deadly in their nature, or that lead to death. Or it may mean from works that have no spirituality, and no life. By "works" here the apostle does not refer to their outward religious acts particularly, but to the conduct of the life—-to what men do; and the idea is, that their acts are not spiritual and saving, but such as lead to death. See See Barnes "Heb 6:1".

To serve the living God. Not in outward form, but in sincerity and in truth; to be his true friends and worshippers. The phrase, "the living God," is commonly used in tile Scriptures to describe the true God as distinguished from idols, which are represented as dead, or without life, Ps 115:4-7. The idea in this verse is, that it is only the sacrifice made by Christ which can remove the stain of guilt from the soul. It could not be done by the blood of bulls and of goats—for that did not furnish relief to a guilty conscience—but it could be done by the blood of Christ. The sacrifice which he made for sin was so pure and of such values that God can consistently pardon the offender, and restore him to his favour. That blood, too, can give peace—for Christ poured it out in behalf of the guilty. It is not that he took part with the sinner against God; it is not that he endeavours to convince him who has a troubled conscience that he is needlessly alarmed, or that sin is not as bad as it is represented to be, or that it does not expose the soul to danger. Christ never took the part of the sinner against God; he never taught that sin was a small matter, or that it did not expose to danger. He admitted all that is said of its evil. But he provides for giving peace to the guilty conscience by shedding his blood that it may be forgiven, and by revealing a God of mercy who is willing to receive the offender into favour, and to treat him as though he had never sinned. Thus the troubled conscience may find peace; and thus, though guilty, man may be delivered from the dread of the wrath to come.

{a} "who through" 1 Pe 3:18 {1} "spot" "fault" {b} "purge" Heb 10:22 {c} "serve" 1 Pe 4:2


Verse 15. And for this cause. With this view; that is, to make an effectual atonement for sin, and to provide a way by which the troubled conscience may have peace.

He is the Mediator. See Barnes "Ga 3:19,20".

He is the Mediator between God and man in respect to that new covenant which he has made, or the new dispensation by which men are to be saved. He stands between God and man—the parties at variance—and undertakes the work of mediation and reconciliation.

Of the new testament. Not testament—for a testament, or will, needs no mediator; but of the new covenant, or the new arrangement or disposition of things under which he proposes to pardon and save the guilty. See Barnes "Heb 9:16,17".

That by means of death. His own death as a sacrifice for sin. The old covenant or arrangement also contemplated death but it was the death of an animal. The purposes of this were to be effected by the death of the Mediator himself; or this covenant was to be ratified in his blood.

For the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament. The covenant or arrangement under Moses. The general idea here is, that these were offences for which no expiation could be made by the sacrifices under that dispensation, or from which the blood then shed could not redeem. This general idea may include two particulars.

(1.) That they who had committed transgressions under that covenant, and who could not be fully pardoned by the imperfect sacrifices then made, would receive a full forgiveness of all their sins in the great day of account through the blood of Christ. Though the blood of bulls and goats could not expiate, yet they offered that blood in faith; they relied on the promised mercy of God; they looked forward to a perfect sacrifice; and now the blood of the great atonement, offered as a full expiation for all their sins, would be the ground of their acquittal in the last day.

(2.) That the blood of Christ would now avail for the remission of all those sins which could not be expiated by the sacrifices offered under the law. It not only contemplated the remission of all the offences committed by the truly pious under that law, but would now avail to put away sin entirely. No sacrifice which men could offer would avail, but the blood of Christ would remove all that guilt.

That they which are called. Alike under the old covenant and the new.

Might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. That is, the fulfilment of the promise; or that they might be made partakers of eternal blessings. That blood is effectual alike to save those under the ancient covenant and the new—so that they will be saved in the same manner, and unite in the same song of redeeming love.


Verse 16. For where a testament is. This is the same word diayhkh which, in Heb 8:6, is rendered covenant. For the general signification of the word, See Barnes "Heb 8:6".

There is so much depending, however, on the meaning of the word, not only in the interpretation of this passage, but also of other parts of the Bible, that it may be proper to explain it here more at length. The word diayhkh —occurs in the New Testament thirty-three times. It is translated covenant in the common version, in Lu 1:72; Ac 3:26; 7:8; Ro 9:4; 11:27; Ga 3:15,17; 4:24; Eph 2:12; Heb 8:6,8,9,10; Heb 9:4; 10:16; 12:24; 13:20.

In the remaining places it is rendered testament: Mt 26:28; Mr 14:24; Lu 22:20; 1 Co 11:25; 2 Co 3:6,14; Heb 7:22; 9:15-17,20; Re 11:19.

In four of those instances, Mt 26:28; Mr 14:24; Lu 22:20

and 1 Co 11:25, it is used with reference to the institution or celebration of the Lord's Supper. In the Septuagint it occurs not far from three hundred times; in considerably more than two hundred of which, it is the translation of the Hebrew word

Berith. In one instance, Zec 11:14, it is the translation of the word brotherhood; once, De 9:5, of

HEBREW—word; once, Jer 34:18, of "words of the covenant;" once, Le 26:11, of tabernacle; once, Ex 31:7, of testimony; it occurs once, Eze 16:8, where the reading of the Greek and Hebrew text is doubtful; and it occurs three times, 1 Sa 11:2; 20:8; 1 Ki 8:9, where there is no corresponding word in the Hebrew text. From this use of the word by the authors of the Septuagint, it is evident that they regarded it as the proper translation of the Hebrew

HEBREW- Berith, and as conveying the same sense which that word does. It cannot be reasonably doubted that the writers of the New Testament were led to the use of the word, in part at least, by. the fact that they found it occurring so frequently in the version m common use; but it cannot be doubted, also, that they regarded it as fairly conveying the sense of the word

HEBREW- Berith. On no principle can it be supposed that inspired and honest men would use a word, in referring to transactions in the Old Testament, which did not fairly convey the idea which the writers of the Old Testament meant to express. The use being thus regarded as settled, there are some facts in reference to it which are of great importance in interpreting the New Testament, and in understanding the nature of the "covenant" Which God makes with man. These facts are the following.

(1.) The word diayhkh diatheke—is not that which properly denotes compact, agreement, or covenant. That word is sunyhkh —syntheke— or, in other forms, sunyesiv and sunyesia; or if the word diatheke is used in that signification it is only remotely, and as a secondary meaning. See Passow; comp. the Septuagint in Isa 28:15; 30:1; Da 11:6, and Wisdom 1:16; 1 Mac. 10:26; 2 Mac. 13:25; xiv. 26. It is not the word which a Greek would have employed to denote a compact or covenant, He would have employed it to denote a disposition, ordering, or arrangement of things, whether of religious rites, civil customs, or property; or if used with reference to a compact, it would have been with the idea of an arrangement or ordering of matters, not with the primary notion of an agreement with another.

(2.) The word properly expressive of a covenant or compact sunyhkh is never used in the New Testament. In all the allusions to the transactions between God and man, this word never occurs. From some cause, the writers and speakers in the New Testament seem to here supposed that the word would leave an impression which.they did not wish to leave. Though it might have been supposed that, in speaking of the various transactions between God and man, they would have selected this word, yet with entire uniformity they have avoided it. No one of them—though the word diayhkh diatheke—has been used by no less than six of them—has been betrayed in a single instance into the use of the word sunyhkh syntheke, or has differed from the other writers in the language employed. This cannot be supposed to be the result of concert or collusion, but it must have been founded on some reason which operated equally on all their minds.

(2.) In like manner, and with like remarkable uniformity, the word sunyhkh syntheke—is never used in the Septuagint with reference to any arrangement or "covenant" between God and man. Once indeed in the Apocrypha, and but once, it is used in that sense. In the three only other instances in Which it occurs in the Septuagint, it is with reference to compacts between man and man, Isa 28:16; 30:1; Da 11:6.

This remarkable fact, that the authors of that version never use the word to denote any transaction between God and man, shows that there must have been some reason for it which acted on their minds with entire uniformity.

(3.) It is no less remarkable that neither in the Septuagint nor the New Testament is the word diayhkh—diatheke—ever used in the sense of will or testament, unless it be in the case before us. This is conceded on all hands, and is expressly admitted by Prof. Stuart, (Com Heb p. 439,) though he defends this use of the word in this passage.

A very important inquiry presents itself here which has never received a solution generally regarded as satisfactory. It is why the word diayhkh —diatheke—was selected by the writers of the New Testament to express the nature of the transaction between God and man in the plan of salvation. It might be said, indeed, that they found this word uniformly used in the Septuagint, and that they employed it as expressing the idea which they wished to convey, with sufficient accuracy. But this is only removing the difficulty one step farther back. Why did the Seventy adopt this word? Why did they not rather use the common and appropriate Greek word to express the notion of a covenant? A suggestion on this subject has already been made in the See Barnes "Heb 8:6".

Comp. Bib. Repository, vol. xx. p. 55. Another reason may, however, be suggested for this remarkable fact which is liable to no objection. It is, that in the apprehension of the authors of the Septuagint, and of the writers of the New Testament, the word diayhkh diatheke—in its original and proper signification, fairly conveyed the sense of the Hebrew word

HEBREW- Berith, and that the word sunyhkh syntheke—or compact, agreement, would not express that; and that they never meant to be understood as conveying the idea, either that God entered into a COMPACT or COVENANT with man, or that he made a WILL. They meant to represent him as making an arrangement, a disposition, an ordering of things, by which his service might be kept up among his people, and by which men might be saved; but they were equally remote from representing him as making a compact, or a will. In support of this there may be alleged

(1.) the remarkable uniformity in which the word diayhkh diatheke— is used, showing that there was some settled principle from which they never departed; and

(2.) used mainly the meaning of the word itself. Prof. Stuart has, undoubtedly, given the accurate original sense of the word. "The real, genuine, and original meaning of diayhkh diatheke—is, arrangement, disposition, or disposal of a thing," p. 440. The word from which it is derived— diatiyhmi means, to place apart or asunder; and then to set, arrange, dispose in a certain order. Passow. From this original signification is derived the use which the word has, with singular uniformity, in the Scriptures. It denotes the arrangement, disposition, or ordering of things which God made in relation to mankind, by which he designed to keep up his worship on earth, and to save the soul. It means neither covenant nor will; neither compact nor legacy; neither agreement nor testament. It is an arrangement of an entirely different order from either of them, and the sacred writers, with an uniformity which could have been secured only by the presiding influence of the One Eternal Spirit, have avoided the suggestion that God made with man either a compact or a will. We have no word which precisely expresses this idea; and hence our conceptions are constantly floating between a compact and a will, and the views which we have are as unsettled as they are unscriptural. The simple idea is, that God has made an arrangement by which his worship may be celebrated and souls saved. Under the Jewish economy this arrangement assumed one form; under the Christian another. In neither was it a compact or covenant between two parties in such a sense that one party would be at liberty to reject the terms proposed; in neither was it a testament or will, as if God had left a legacy to man; but in both there were some things in regard to the arrangement such as are found in a covenant or compact. One of those things—equally appropriate to a compact between man and man, and to this arrangement the apostle refers to here, that it implied in all cases the death of the victim. If these remarks are well founded, they should be allowed materially to shape our views in the interpretation of the Bible. Whole treatises of divinity have been written on a mistaken view of the meaning of this word—understood as meaning covenant. Volumes of angry controversy have been published on the nature of the "covenant" with Adam, and on its influence on his posterity. The only literal, "covenant" which can be supposed in the plan of redemption is that between the Father and the Son—though even the existence of such a covenant is rather the result of devout and learned imagining than of any distinct statement in the volume of inspiration. The simple statement there is, that God has made an arrangement for salvation, the execution of which he has entrusted to his Son, and has proposed it to man to be accepted as the only arrangement by which man can be saved, and which he is not at liberty to disregard.

There has been much difference of opinion in reference to the meaning of the passage here, and to the design of the illustration introduced. If the word used—diayhkh—means testament, in the sense of a will, then the sense of that passage is, that "a will is of force only when he who made it dies, for it relates to a disposition of his property after his death." The force of the remark of the apostle then would be, that the fact that the Lord Jesus made or expressed his will to mankind, implied that he would die to confirm it; or that since in the ordinary mode of making a will it was of force only when he who made it was dead, therefore it was necessary that the Redeemer should die, in order to confirm and ratify that which he made. But the objections to this, which appears to have been the view of our translators, seem to me to be insuperable. They are these.

(1.) The word diayhkh —diatheke—is not used in this sense in the New Testament elsewhere. See the remarks above.

(2.) The Lord Jesus made no such will. He had no property, and the commandments and instructions which he gave to is disciples were not of the nature of a will or testament.

(3.) Such an illustration would not be pertinent to the design of the apostle, or in keeping with his argument. He is comparing the Jewish and Christian dispensations, and the point of comparison in this chapter relates to the question about the efficacy of sacrifice in the two arrangements, he showed that the arrangement for blood-shedding by sacrifice entered into both; that the high priest of both offered blood as an expiation; that the holy place was entered with blood, and that consequently there was death in both the arrangements or dispensations. The former arrangement or dispensation was ratified with blood, and it was equally proper that the new arrangement should be also. The point of comparison is not that Moses made a will or testament which could be of force only when he died, and that the same thing was required in the new dispensation, but it is that the former covenant was ratified by blood, or by the death of a victim, and that it might be expected that the new dispensation would be confirmed, and that it was, in fact, confirmed in the same manner. In this view of the argument what pertinency would there be in introducing an illustration respecting a will and the manner in which it became efficient. See Barnes "Heb 9:18".

It seems clear, therefore, to me, that the word rendered testament here is to be taken in the sense in which it is ordinarily used in the New Testament. The opinion that the word here means such a Divine arrangement as is commonly denoted a "covenant," and not testament, is sanctioned by not a few names of eminence in criticism, such as Pierce, Doddridge, Michaelis, Steadel, and the late Dr. J.P. Wilson. Bloomfield says that the connexion here demands this. The principal objections to this view are,

(1.) that it is not proved that no covenants or compacts were valid, except such as were made by the intervention of sacrifices.

(2.) That the word rendered testator diayemenov —cannot refer to the death of an animal slain for the purpose of ratifying a covenant, but must mean either a testator or a contractor, i.e. one of two contracting parties.

(3.) That the word rendered dead Heb 9:17— nekroiv—means only dead men, and never is applied to the dead bodies of animals. See Stuart on the Heb. p. 442. These objections to the supposition that the passage refers to a covenant or compact, Prof. Stuart says are, in his view, insuperable, and they are certainly entitled to grave consideration. Whether the view above presented is one which can be sustained, we may be better able to determine after an examination of the words and phrases which the apostle uses. Those objections which depend wholly on the philological argument derived from the words used will be considered, of course, in such an examination. It is to be remembered at the outset,

(1.) that the word diayhkh —diatheke—is never used in the New Testament in the sense of testament or will, unless in this place;

(2.) that it is never used in this sense in the Septuagint; and

(3.) that the Hebrew word

HEBREW—Berith—never has this signification. This is admitted. See Stuart on the Heb. pp. 439, 440. It must require very strong reasons to prove that it has this meaning here, and that Paul has employed the word in a sense differing from its uniform signification elsewhere in the Bible. Compare, however, the remarks of Prof, Stuart ia Biblical Repository, vol. xx. p. 364.

There must also of necessity be. Anagkh—That is, it is necessary in order to confirm the covenant, or it would not be binding in cases where this did not occur. The necessity in the case is simply to make it valid or obligatory. So we say now, there must "necessarily" be a seal, or a deed would not be valid. The fair interpretation of this is, that this was the common and established custom in making a "covenant" with God, or confirming the arrangement with him in regard to salvation. To this it is objected, (see the first objection above,) that "it is yet to be made out that no covenants were valid except those by the intervention of sacrifices." In reply to this, we may observe,

(1.) that the point to be made out is not that this was a custom in compacts between man and man, but between man and his Maker. There is no evidence, as it seems to me, that the apostle alludes to a compact between man and man. The mistake on this subject has arisen partly from the use of the word "testament" by our translators, in the sense of will—supposing that it must refer to some transaction relating to man only; and partly from the insertion of the word "men" in Heb 9:17, in the translation of the phrase—epi nekroiv upon the dead," or "over the dead."- But it is not necessary to suppose that there is a reference here to any transaction between man and man at all, as the whole force of the illustration introduced by the apostle will be retained if we suppose him speaking only of a covenant between man and God. Then his assertion will be simply that, in the arrangement between God and man, there was a necessity of the death of something, or of the shedding of blood in order to ratify it. This view will save the necessity of proof that the custom of ratifying compacts between man and man by sacrifice prevailed. Whether that can be made out or not, the assertion of the apostle may be true, that in the arrangement which God makes with man, sacrifice was necessary in order to confirm or ratify it.

(2.) The point to be made out is, not that such a custom is or was universal among all nations, but that it was the known and regular opinion among the Hebrews that a sacrifice was necessary in a "covenant "with God, in the same way as if we should say that a deed was not valid without a seal, it would not be necessary to show this in regard to all nations, but only that it is the law or the custom in the nation where the writer lived, and at the time when he lived. Other nations may have very different modes or confirming or ratifying a deed and the same nation may have different methods at various times. The fact or custom to which I suppose there is allusion here, is that of sacrificing an animal to ratify the arrangement between man and his Maker, commonly called a "covenant;" In regard to the existence of such a custom, particularly among the Hebrews? we may make the following observations. It was the common mode of ratifying the "covenant" between God and man. That was done over a sacrifice, or by the shedding of blood. So the covenant with Abraham was ratified by slaying an heifer, a she-goat, a ram, a turtle-dove, and a young pigeon. The animals were divided and a burning lamp passed between them, Ge 15:9,18. So the covenant made with the Hebrews in the wilderness was ratified in the same manner, Ex 24:6, seq. Thus, in Jer 34:18, God speaks of the "men that had transgressed his covenant which they had made before him when they cut the calf in twain and passed between the parts thereof." See also Zec 9:11. Indeed, all the Jewish sacrifices were regarded as a ratification of the covenant. It was never supposed that it was ratified or confirmed in a proper manner without such a sacrifice. Instances occur, indeed, in which there was no sacrifice offered when a covenant was made between man and man, see Ge 23:16; 24:9; De 25:7,9; Ru 4:7; but these cases do not establish the point that the custom did not prevail of ratifying a covenant with God by the blood of sacrifice. Further; the terms used in the Hebrew in regard to making a covenant with God, prove that it was understood to be ratified by sacrifice, or that the death of a victim was necessary.

HEBREW. Berith "to cut a covenant"—the word

HEBREW. karath meaning to cut; to cut off; to cut down; and the allusion being to the victims offered in sacrifice, and cut in pieces on occasion of entering into a covenant. See Ge 15:10; Jer 34:18,19.

The same idea is expressed in the Greek phrases orkia temnein, temnein spondav, and in the Latin icere faedus. Comp. Virgil, AEn, viii. 641.

Et caesa jungebant faedera porca

These considerations show that it was the common sentiment, alike among the Hebrews and the heathen, that a covenant with God was to be ratified or sanctioned by sacrifice; and the statement of Paul here is, that the death of a sacrificial victim was needful to confirm or ratify such a covenant with God. It was not secure, or confirmed, until blood was thus shed. This was well understood among the Hebrews, that all their covenant transactions with God were to be ratified by a sacrifice; and Paul says that the same principle must apply to any arrangement between God and men. Hence he goes on to show that it was necessary that a sacrificial victim should die in the new Covenant which God established by man through the Mediator. See Heb 9:23. This I understand to be the sum of the argument here. It is not that every contract made between man and man was to be ratified or confirmed by a sacrifice—for the apostle is not discussing that point; but it is that every similar transaction with God must be based on such a sacrifice, and that no covenant with him could be complete without such a sacrifice. This was provided for in the ancient dispensation by the sacrifices which were constantly offered in their worship; in the new, by the one great Sacrifice offered on the cross. Hence all our approaches to God are based on the supposition of such a sacrifice, and are, as it were, ratified over it. We ratify or confirm such a covenant arrangement, not by offering the sacrifice anew, but by recalling it in a proper manner when we celebrate the death of Christ, and when, in view of his cross, we solemnly pledge ourselves to be the Lord's.

The death of the testator. According to our common version, the death of him who makes a will. But if the views above expressed are correct, this should be rendered the covenanter, or "the victim set apart to be slain." The Greek will admit of the translation of the word diayemenov —diathemenos —by the word covenanter, if the word diayhkh diatheke—is rendered covenant. To such a translation here as would make the word refer to a victim slain in order to ratify a covenant, it is objected that "the word has no such meaning anywhere else. It must either mean a testator, or a contractor, i. e. one of two covenanting parties. But where is the death of a person covenanting made necessary in order to confirm the covenant? Prof. Stuart, in loc. To this objection I remark respectfully,

(1.) that the word is never used in the sense of testator, either in the New Testament or the Old, unless it be here. It is admitted of the word diayhkh, diatheke—by Prof. Smart himself, that it never means will, or testament, unless it be here, and it is equally true of the word used here that it never means one who makes a will. If, therefore, it should be that a meaning quite uncommon, or wholly unknown in the usage of the Scriptures, is to be assigned to the use of the word here, why should it be assumed that that unusual meaning should be that of making a will, and not that of confirming a covenant?

(2.) If the apostle used the word diayhkh— diatheke —in the sense of a covenant in this passage, nothing is more natural than that he should use the corresponding word diayemenov— diathemenos—in the sense of that by which a covenant was ratified. He wished to express the idea that the covenant was always ratified by the death of a victim—a sacrifice of an animal under the law, and the sacrifice of the Redeemer under the gospel— and no word would so naturally convey that idea as the one from which the word covenant was derived. It is to be remembered, also, that there was no word to express that thought. Neither the Hebrew nor the Greek furnished such a word; nor have we now any word to express that thought, but are obliged to use circumlocution to convey the idea. The word covenanter would not do it; nor the words victim or sacrifice. We can express the idea only by some phrase like this—" the victim set apart to be slain to ratify the covenant." But it was not an unusual thing for the apostle Paul to make use of a word in a sense quite peculiar to himself. Comp. 2 Co 4:17.

(3.) The word diatiyhmi diatithemi—properly means, to place apart, to set in order, to arrange. It is rendered appoint in Lu 22:29; made and make, with reference to a covenant, Act 3:25; Heb 8:10; 10:16.

It occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, except in the passage before us. The idea of placing, laying, disposing, arranging, etc, enters into the word—as to place wares or merchandize for sale, to arrange a contract, etc. See Passow. The fair meaning of the word here may be, whatever goes to arrange, dispose, or settle the covenant, or to make the covenant secure and firm. If the reference be to a compact, it cannot relate to one of the contracting parties, because the death of neither is necessary to confirm it. But it may refer to that which was well known as an established opinion, that a covenant with God was ratified only by a sacrifice. Still, it must be admitted that this use of the word is not elsewhere found, and the only material question is, whether it is to be presumed that the apostle would employ a word in a single instance, in a peculiar signification, where the connexion would not render it difficult to be understood. This must be admitted, that he might, whichever view is taken of the meaning of this passage; for, on the supposition that he refers here to a will, it is conceded that he uses the word in a sense which does not once occur elsewhere either in the Old Testament or the New. It seems to me, therefore, that the word here may, without impropriety, be regarded as referring to the victim that was slain in order to ratify a covenant with God; and that the meaning is, that such a covenant was not regarded as confirmed until the victim was slain. It may be added that the authority of Michaelis, Macknight, Doddridge, Bloomfield, and Dr. J.P. Wilson, is a proof that such an interpretation cannot be a very serious departure from the proper use of a Greek word.

{1} "be" "be brought in"


Verse 17. For a testament. Such an arrangement as God enters into with man. See the remarks on Heb 9:16.

Is of force. Is ratified, or confirmed—in the same way as a deed or compact is confirmed by affixing a seal.

After men are dead. epi nekroiv. "Over the dead." That is, in accordance with the view given above, after the animal is dead; or over the body of the animal slain for sacrifice, and to confirm the covenant. "For a covenant is completed or confirmed over dead sacrifices, seeing it is never of force as long as the victim set apart for its ratification is still living." MSS. Notes of Dr. J. P. Wilson. To this interpretation it is objected, that "nekroiv—nekrois—means only dead men; but men surely were not sacrificed by the Jews, as a mediating sacrifice in order to confirm a covenant." Prof. Stuart, in loc. In regard to this objection, and to the proper meaning of the passage, we may remark,

(1,) that the word "men" is not in the Greek, nor is it necessarily implied, unless it be in the use of the Greek word rendered dead. The proper translation is, "upon, or over the dead." The use of the word "men" here by our translators would seem to limit it to the making of a will.

(2.) It is to be presumed, unless there is positive proof to the contrary, that the Greeks and Hebrews used the word dead as it is used by other people, and that it might refer to deceased animals, or vegetables, as well as to men. A sacrifice that had been offered was dead; a tree that had fallen was dead; an animal that had been torn by other wild animals was dead. It is possible that a people might have one word to refer to dead men, and another to dead animals, and another to dead vegetables; but what is the evidence that the Hebrews or the Greeks had such words?

(3.) What is the meaning of this very word—nekrov nekros-, in Heb 6:1; 9:14, of this very epistle, when it is applied to works—"dead works"—if it never refer to anything but men? Comp. Jas 2:17,20,26; Eph 2:1,5; Re 3:1.

In Ec 9:4, it is applied to a dead lion. I suppose, therefore, that the Greek phrase here will admit of the interpretation which the "exigency of the place" seems to demand, and that the idea is, that a covenant with God was ratified over the animals slain ill sacrifice, and was not considered as confirmed until the sacrifice was killed.

Otherwise. Since—epei. That is, unless this takes place it will be of no force.

It is of no strength. It is not strong—iscuei—it is not confirmed or ratified.

While the testator liveth. Or while the animal selected to confirm the covenant is alive. It can be confirmed only by its being slain. A full examination of the meaning of this passage (Heb 9:16,17) may be found in an article in the Biblical Repository, vol. xx. pp. 51—71, and in Prof. Stuart's reply to that article. Bib. Repos. xx. pp. 356—381.

{*} "testament" "covenant" {+} "testator" "He that made it"


Verse 18. Whereupon. oyen—Whence. Or since this is a settled principle, or an indisputable fact, it occurred in accordance with this, that the first covenant was confirmed by the shedding of blood. The admitted principle which the apostle had stated, that the death of the victim was necessary to confirm the covenant, was the reason why the first covenant was ratified with blood. If there were any doubt about the correctness of the interpretation given above, that Heb 9:16,17 refer to a covenant, and not a will, this verse would seem to be enough to remove it. For how could the fact, that a will is not binding until he who makes it is dead, be a reason why a covenant should be confirmed by blood? What bearing would such a fact have on the question, whether it ought or ought, not to be confirmed in this manner. Or how could that fact, though it is universal, be given as a reason to account for the fact that the covenant made by the instrumentality of Moses was ratified by blood? No possible connexion can be seen in such reasoning. But admit that Paul had stated, Heb 9:16, Heb 9:17, a general principle that in all covenant transactions with God the death of a victim was necessary, and everything is plain. We then see why he offered the sacrifice and sprinkled the blood. It was not on the basis of such reasoning as this: "The death of a man who makes a will is indispensable before the will is of binding force, THEREFORE it was that Moses confirmed the covenant made with our fathers by the blood of a sacrifice; "but by such reasoning as this: "It is a great principle that in order to ratify a covenant between God and his people a victim should be slain, therefore it was that Moses ratified the old covenant in this manner, and therefore it was also that the death of a victim was necessary under the new dispensation." Here the reasoning of Paul is clear and explicit; but who could see the force of the former? Prof. Stuart indeed connects this verse with Heb 9:15, and says that the course of thought is, "The new covenant of redemption from sin was sanctioned by the death of Jesus; consequently, or wherefore, oyen, the old covenant, which is a type of the new, was sanctioned by the blood of victims." But is this the reasoning of Paul? Does he say that because the blood of a Mediator was to be shed under the new dispensation, and because the old was a type of this, that THEREFORE the old was confirmed by blood? Is he not rather accounting for the shedding of blood at all, and showing that it was necessary that the blood of the Mediator should be shed, rather than assuming that, and from that arguing that a typical shedding of blood was needful? Besides, on this supposition, why is the statement in Heb 9:16,17 introduced? What bearing have these verses in the train of thought? What are they but an inexplicable obstruction?

The first testament. Or rather covenant— the word testament being supplied by the translators.

Was dedicated. Marg. Purified. The word used to ratify, to confirm, to consecrate, to sanction. Literally, to renew.

Without blood. It was ratified by the blood of the animals that were slain in sacrifice. The blood was then sprinkled on the principal objects that were regarded as holy under that dispensation.

{1} "dedicated" "He that made it"


Verse 19. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people. When he had recited all the law, and had given all the commandments entrusted Him to deliver, Ex 24:8

He took the blood of calves and of goats. This passage has given great perplexity to commentators from the fact that Moses, in his account of the transactions connected with the ratification of the covenant with the people, Ex 24:3 mentions only a part of the circumstances here referred to. He says nothing of the blood of calves and of goats; nothing of water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop; nothing of sprinkling the book, the tabernacle, or the vessels of the ministry. It has been made a question, therefore, whence Paul obtained a knowledge of these circumstances? Since the account is not contained in the Old Testament, it must have been either by tradition or by direct inspiration. The latter supposition is hardly probable, for

(1.)the information here can hardly be regarded as of sufficient importance to have required an original revelation; for the illustration would have had sufficient force to sustain his conclusion if the literal account in Exodus only had been given, that Moses sprinkled the people; but

(2.) such an original act of inspiration here would not have been consistent with the object of the apostle. In that argument it was essential that he should state only the facts about the ancient dispensation which were admitted by the Hebrews themselves. Any statement of his own about things which they did not concede to be true, or which was not well understood as a custom, might have been called in question, and would have done much to invalidate the entire force of the argument. It is to be presumed, therefore, that the facts here referred to had been preserved by tradition; and in regard to this, and the authority due to such a tradition, we may remark,

(1.) that it was well known that the Jews had a great number of traditions which they carefully preserved;

(2.) that there is no improbability in the supposition that many events in their history would be preserved in this manner, since in the small compass of a volume like the Old Testament it cannot be presumed that all the events of their nation had been recorded;

(3.) though they had many traditions of a trifling nature, and many which were false, (comp. See Barnes "Mt 15:2,) yet they doubtless had many that were true;

(4.) in referring to those traditions, there is no impropriety in supposing that Paul may have been guided by the Spirit of inspiration in selecting only those which were true; and

(5.) nothing is more probable than what is here stated. If Moses sprinkled "the people;" if he read "the book of the law" then, (Ex 24:7;) and if this was regarded as a solemn act of ratifying a covenant with God, nothing would be more natural than that he should sprinkle the book of the covenant, and even the tabernacle and its various sacred utensils. We are to remember, also, that it was common among the Hebrews to sprinkle blood for the purpose of consecrating, or as an emblem of purifying. Thus Aaron and his sons and their garments were sprinkled with blood when they were consecrated to the office of priests, Ex 29:19-21; the blood of sacrifices was sprinkled on the altar, Le 1:5,11; 3:2,13; and blood was sprinkled before the veil of the sanctuary, Le 4:16,17; comp. Le 6:27; 7:14. So Josephus speaks of the garments of Aaron and of his sons being sprinkled with "the blood of the slain beasts, and with spring water." "Having consecrated them and their garments," he says, "for seven days together, he did the same to the tabernacle, and the vessels thereto belonging, both with oil and with the blood of bulls and of rams," Ant. B. iii. chap. viii. & 6. These circumstances show the strong probability of the truth of what is here affirmed by Paul, while it is impossible to prove that Moses did not sprinkle the book and the tabernacle in the manner stated. The mere omission by Moses cannot demonstrate that it was not done. On the phrase "the blood of calves and of goats," See Barnes "Heb 9:12".

With water. Agreeably to the declaration of Josephus that "spring water was used." In Le 14:49-51, it is expressly mentioned that the blood of the bird that was killed to cleanse a house from the plague of leprosy should be shed over running water, and that the blood and the water should be sprinkled on the walls. It has been suggested also, (see Bloomfield,) that the use of water was necessary in order to prevent the blood from coagulating, or so as to: make it possible to sprinkle it.

And scarlet wool. Marg, Purple. The word here used denotes crimson, or deep scarlet. The colour was obtained from a small insect which was found adhering to the shoots of a species of oak in Spain and in Western Asia, of about the size of a pea. It was regarded as the most valuable of the colours for dyeing, and was very expensive. Why the wool used by Moses was of this colour is not known unless it be because it was the most expensive of colours, and thus accorded with everything employed in the construction of the tabernacle and its utensils. Wool appears to have been used in order to absorb and retain the blood.

And hyssop. That is, a bunch of hyssop intermingled with the wool, or so connected with it as to constitute a convenient instrument for sprinkling. Comp. Le 14:51. Hyssop is a low shrub, regarded as one of the smallest of the plants, and her me put in contrast with the cedar of Lebanon. It sprung out of the rocks or walls, 1 Ki 4:33, and was used for purposes of purification. The term seems to have comprised not only the common hyssop, but also lavender and other aromatic plants. Its fragrance, as well as its size, may have suggested the idea of using it in the sacred services of the tabernacle. The appearance of the hyssop is represented by the foregoing engraving.

And sprinkled both the book, This circumstance is not mentioned by Moses, but it has been shown above not to be improbable. Some expositors, however, in order to avoid the difficulty in the passage, have taken this in connexion with the word labwn -rendered, "he took" "—meaning, "taking the blood, and the book itself;" but the more natural and proper construction is, that the book was sprinkled with the blood.

And all the people. Moses says, "and sprinkled it on the people," Ex 24:8. We are not to suppose that either Moses or Paul designs to say that the blood was actually sprinkled on each one of the three millions of people in the wilderness; but the meaning doubtless is, that the blood was sprinkled over the people, though in fact it might have fallen on a few. So a man now standing on an elevated place, and surrounded by a large assembly, if he should sprinkle water over them from the place where he stood, might be said to sprinkle it on the people, though in fact but few might have been touched by it. The act would be equally significant whether the emblem fell on few or many.

{a} "blood" Mt 26:28


Verse 21. He sprinkled—both the tabernacle. This circumstance is not stated by Moses. On the probability that this was done, See Barnes "Heb 9:19".

The account of setting up the tabernacle occurs in Ex 40. In that account it is said that Moses anointed the tabernacle with the holy anointing oil, Heb 9:9-11. Josephus (Ant. B. III. ch. viii. & 6) says that he consecrated it, and the vessels thereto belonging, with the blood of bulls and of rams. This was undoubtedly the tradition in the time of Paul, and no one can prove that it is not correct.

And all the vessels of the ministry. Employed in the service of God. The altar, the laver, (Ex 40:10,11,) the censers, dishes, bowls, etc., which were used in the tabernacle.

{b} "Moreover" Ex 29:12,36


Verse 22. And almost all things. It is a general custom to purify everything by blood. This rule was not universal, for some things were purified by fire and water, (Nu 31:22,23,) and some by water only, Nu 31:24; Le 16:26,28.

But the exceptions to the general rule were few. Almost everything in the tabernacle and temple service was consecrated or purified by blood.

And without shedding of blood is no remission. Remission or forgiveness of sins. That is, though some things were purified by fire and water, yet when the matter pertained to the forgiveness of sins, it was universally true that no sins were pardoned except by the shedding of blood. Some impurities might be removed by water and fire, but the stain of sin could be removed only by blood. This declaration referred, in its primary meaning, to the Jewish rites; and the sense is, that under that dispensation it was universally true that in order to the forgiveness of sin blood must be shed. But it contains a truth of higher order and importance still. It is universally true that sin never has been, and never will be forgiven, except in connexion with and in virtue of the shedding of blood. It is on this principle that the plan of salvation by the atonement is based, and on this that God in fact bestows pardon on men. There is not the slightest evidence that any man has ever been pardoned except through the blood shed for the remission of sins. The infidel who rejects the atonement has no evidence that his sins are pardoned; the man who lives in the neglect of the gospel, though he has abundant evidence that he is a sinner, furnishes none that his sins are forgiven; and the Mohamadin and the heathen can point to no proof that their sins are blotted out. It remains to be demonstrated that one single member of the human family has ever had the slightest evidence of pardoned sin, except through the blood of expiation. In the Divine arrangement there is no principle better established than this, that all sin which is forgiven is remitted through the blood of the atonement; a principle which has never been departed from hitherto, and which never will be. It follows, therefore,

(1.) that no sinner can hope for forgiveness except through the blood of Christ;

(2.) that if men are ever saved they must be willing to rely on the merits of that blood;

(3.) that all men are on a level in regard to salvation, since all are to be saved in the same way; and

(4.) that there will be one and the same song in heaven—the song of redeeming love.

{c} "blood" Le 17:11


Verse 23. The patterns of things in the heavens. The tabernacle and its various utensils. See Barnes "Heb 8:5".

Be purified with these.
With water and blood, and by these ceremonies.

But the heavenly things themselves.

The heavenly tabernacle or sanctuary into which Christ has entered, and where he performs the functions of his ministry. The use of the word purified here applied to heaven, does not imply that heaven was before unholy, but it denotes that it is now made accessible to sinners; or that they may come and worship there in an acceptable manner. The ancient tabernacle was purified or consecrated by the blood of the victims slain, so that men might approach with acceptance and worship; the heavens by purer blood are rendered accessible to the guilty. The necessity for "better sacrifices" in regard to the latter was, that it was designed to make the conscience pure, and because the service in heaven is more holy than any rendered on earth.

With better sacrifices than these.

To wit, the sacrifice made by the offering of the Lord Jesus on the cross. This infinitely surpassed in value all that had been offered under the Jewish dispensation.


Verse 24. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands. Into the temple or tabernacle. The Jewish high priest alone entered into the most holy place; and the other priests into the holy place. Jesus, being of the tribe of Judah, and not of Levi, never entered the temple proper. He had access only to the courts of the temple, in the same way as any other Jew had. See Barnes "Mt 21:12".

He has entered into the true temple—heaven of which the earthly tabernacle was the type.

Which are the figures of the true. Literally, the antitypes antitupa. The word properly means that which is formed after a model, pattern, or type; and then that which corresponds to something, or answers to, it. The idea here is, that the type or fashion—the true figure or form—was shown to Moses in the Mount, and then the tabernacle was made after that model, or corresponded to it. The true original figure is heaven itself; the tabernacle was an antitype of that—or was so formed as in some sense to correspond to it. That is, it corresponded in regard to the matters under consideration—the most holy place denoted heaven; the mercy-seat and the shekinah were symbols of the presence of God, and of the fact that he shows mercy in heaven; the entrance of the high priest was emblematical of the entrance of the Redeemer into heaven; the sprinkling of the blood there was a type of what the Redeemer would do in heaven.

Now to appear in the presence of God for us. As the Jewish high priest appeared before the shekinah, the symbol of the Divine Presence in the tabernacle, so Christ appears before God himself in our behalf in heaven. He has gone to plead for our salvation; to present the merits of his blood as a permanent reason why we should be saved, See Barnes "Ro 8:34" See Barnes "Heb 7:25".

{a} "appear" Ro 8:34


Verse 25. Nor yet that he should offer himself often. The Jewish high priest entered the most holy place with blood once every year. In this respect the offering made by Christ, and the work which he performed, differed from that of the Jewish high priest. It was not needful that he should enter the holy place but once. Having entered there, he permanently remains there.

With the blood of others. That is, with the blood of calves and goats. This is a second point in which the work of Christ differs from that of the Jewish high priest. Christ entered there with his own blood. See Barnes "Heb 9:12".


Verse 26. For then must he often have suffered. That is, if his blood had no more efficacy than that which the Jewish high priest offered, and which was so often repeated, it would have been necessary that Christ should have often died.

But now once. Once for all; once in the sense that it is not to be repeated again—apax.

In the end of the world. In the last dispensation or economy; that under which the affairs of the world will be wound up. See the phrase fully explained

See Heb 1:2; See Barnes "Ac 2:17" See Barnes "1 Co 10:11, See Barnes "Isa 2:2".

Hath he appeared. He has been manifested in human form.

To put away sin.

(1.) To remove the punishment due to sin, or to provide a way of pardon; and

(2.) to remove the stain of sin from the soul. See Barnes "Heb 9:2".

By the sacrifice of himself. See Barnes "Heb 1:3" See Barnes "Heb 2:14" See Barnes "Heb 7:27".


Verse 27. And as it is appointed unto men once to die. Or, "since it is appointed unto men to die once only." The object of this is to illustrate the fact that Christ died but once for sin, and that is done by showing that the most important events pertaining to man occur but once. Thus it is with death. That does not, and cannot occur many times. It is the great law of our being, that men die but once, and hence the same thing was to be expected to occur in regard to him who made the atonement. It could not be supposed that this great law pertaining to man would be departed from in the case of him who died to make the atonement, and that he would repeatedly undergo the pains of death. The same thing was true in regard to the judgment. Man is to be judged once, and but once. The decision is to be final, and is not to be repeated. In like manner, there was a fitness that the great redeemer should die but once, and that his death should, without being repeated, determine the destiny of man. There was a remarkable oneness in the great events which most affected men; and neither death, the judgment, nor the atonement could be repeated. In regard to the declaration here, that "it is appointed unto men once to die," we may observe,

(1,) that death is the result of appointment, Ge 3:19, It is not the effect of chance, or hap-hazard. It is not a "debt of nature." It is not the condition to which man was subject by the laws of his creation. It is not to be accounted for by the mere principles of physiology. God could as well have made the heart to play for ever as for fifty years. Death is no more the regular result of physical laws than the guillotine and the gallows are. It is, in all cases, the result of intelligent appointment, and for an adequate cause.

(2.) That cause, or the reason of that appointment, is sin. See Barnes "Ro 6:23".

This is the adequate cause; this explains the whole of it. Holy beings do not die. There is not the slightest proof that an angel in heaven has died, or that any perfectly holy being has ever died, except the Lord Jesus. In every death, then, we have a demonstration that the race is guilty; in each case of mortality we have an affecting memento that we are individually transgressors.

(3.) Death occurs but once in this world. It cannot be repeated, if we should desire to have it repeated. Whatever truths or facts, then, pertain to death; whatever lessons it is calculated to convey, pertain to it as an event which is not to occur again. That which is to occur but once in an eternity of existence acquires, from that very fact, if there were no other circumstances, an immense importance. What is to be done but once, we should wish to be done well. We should make all proper preparation for it; we should regard it with singular interest. If preparation is to be made for it, we should make all which we expect ever to make. A man who is to cross the ocean but once—to go away from his home never to return—should make the right kind of preparation. He cannot come back to take that which he has forgotten; to arrange that which he has neglected; to give counsel which he has failed to do; to ask forgiveness for offences for which he has neglected to seek pardon. And so of death. A man who dies, dies but once. He cannot come back again to make preparation, if he has neglected it; to repair the evils which he has caused by a wicked life; or to implore pardon for sins for which he had failed to ask forgiveness. Whatever is to be done with reference to death, is to be done once for all before he dies.

(4.) Death occurs to all. "It is appointed unto men"—to the race. It is not an appointment for one, but for all. No one is appointed by name to die; and not an individual is designated as one who shall escape. No exception is made in favour of youth, beauty, or blood; no rank or station is exempt; no merit, no virtue, no patriotism, no talent, can purchase freedom from it. In every other sentence which goes out against men, there may be some hope of reprieve. Here there is none. We cannot meet an individual who is not under sentence of death. It is not only the poor wretch in the dungeon, doomed to the gallows, who is to die —it is the rich man in his palace; the gay trifler in the assembly room; the friend that we embrace and love; and she whom we meet in the crowded saloon of fashion, with all the graces of accomplishment and adorning. Each one of these is just as much under sentence of death as the poor wretch in the cell, and the execution on any one of them may occur before his. It is, too, for substantially the same cause, and is as really deserved. It is for sin that all are doomed to death; and the fact that we must die should be a constant remembrance of our guilt.

(5.) As death is to occur to us but once, there is a cheering interest in the reflection that when it is passed it is passed for ever. The dying pang, the chill, the cold sweat, are not to be repeated. Death is not to approach us often—he is to be allowed to come to us but once. When we have once passed through the dark valley, we shall have the assurance that we shall never tread its gloomy way again. Once, then, let us be willing to die—since we can die but once; and let us rejoice in the assurance which the gospel furnishes, that they who die in the Lord leave the world to go where death in any form is unknown.

But after this the judgment. The apostle does not say how long after death this will be, nor is it possible for us to know, Ac 1:7; Mt 24:36. We may suppose, however, that there will be two periods in which there will be an act of judgment passed on those who die.

(1.) Immediately after death, when they pass into the eternal world, when their destiny will be made known to them. This seems to be necessarily implied in the supposition that they will continue to live, and to be happy or miserable after death. This act of judgment may not be formal and public, but will be such as to show them what must be the issues of the final day; and as the result of that interview with God, they will be made happy or miserable until the final doom shall be pronounced.

(2.) The more public and formal act of judgment, when the whole world will be assembled at the bar of Christ, Mt 25. The decision of that day will not change or reverse the former; but the trial will be of such a nature as to bring out all the deeds done on earth, and the sentence which will be pronounced will be in view of the universe, and will fix the everlasting doom. Then the body will have been raised; the affairs of the world will be wound up; the elect will all be gathered in, and the state of retribution will commence, to continue for ever. The main thought of the apostle here may be, that after death will commence a state of retribution which can never change. Hence there was a propriety that Christ should die but once. In that future world he would not die to make atonement, for there all will be fixed and final. If men, therefore, neglect to avail themselves of the benefits of the atonement here, the opportunity will be lost for ever. In that changeless state, which constitutes the eternal judgment, no sacrifice will be again offered for sin; there will be no opportunity to embrace that Saviour who was rejected here on earth.

{b} "appointed" Ge 3:19 {c} "after this" Ex 12:14


Verse 28. So Christ was once offered. As men are to die but once, and as all beyond the grave is fixed by the judgment, so that his death there would make no change in the destiny, there was a propriety that he should die but once for sin. The argument is, there is one probation only, and therefore there was need of but one sacrifice, or of his dying but once. If death were to occur frequently in the existence of each individual, and if each intermediate period were a state of probation, then there might be a propriety that an atonement should be made with reference to each state. Or if beyond the grave there were a state of probation still, then also there might be a propriety that an atoning sacrifice should be offered there. But since neither of these things is true, there was a fitness that the great Victim should die but once.

To bear the sins of many. To suffer and die on account of their sins. See Barnes "Isa 53:6, See Barnes "Isa 53:11" See Barnes "Ga 3:13.

The phrase does not mean

(1.) that Christ was a sinner—for that was in no sense true. See Heb 7:26. Nor

(2.) that he literally bore the penalty due to transgression—for that is equally untrue. The penalty of the law for sin is all which the law when executed inflicts on the offender for his transgress loud and includes, in fact, remorse of conscience, overwhelming despair, and eternal punishment. But Christ did not suffer for ever, nor did he experience remorse of conscience, nor did he endure utter despair. Nor

(3.) does it mean that he was literally punished for our sins. Punishment pertains only to the guilty. An innocent being may suffer for what another does, but there is no propriety in saying that he is punished for it. A father suffers much from the misconduct of a son, but we do not say that he is punished for it; a child suffers much from the intemperance of a parent, but no one would say that it was a punishment on the child. Men always connect the idea of criminality with punishment; and when we say that a man is punished, we suppose at once that there is guilt. The phrase here means simply, that Christ endured sufferings in his own person which, if they had been inflicted on us, would have been the proper punishment of sin. He who was innocent interposed, and received on himself what was descending to meet us, and consented to be treated as he would have deserved if he had been a sinner. Thus he bore what was due to us; and this in Scripture phrase is what is meant by bearing our iniquities. See Barnes "Isa 53:4".

And unto them that look for him. To his people. It is one of the characteristics of Christians that they look for the return of their Lord, 1 Ti 2:13; 2 Pe 3:12; comp. See Barnes "1 Th 1:10".

They fully believe that he will come. They earnestly desire that he will come, 2 Ti 4:8; Re 22:20. They are waiting for his appearing, 1 Th 1:10. He left the world and ascended to heaven, but he will again return to the earth, and his people are looking for that time as the period when they shall be raised up from their graves; when they shall be publicly acknowledged to be his, and when they shall be admitted to heaven. See Barnes "Joh 14:3".

Shall he appear the second time. He first appeared as the Man of sorrows to make atonement for sin. His second appearance will be as the Lord of his people, and the Judge of the quick and the dead, Mt 25:31; see See Barnes "Ac 1:11".

The apostle does not say when this would be, nor is any intimation given in the Scriptures when it will occur. It is, on the contrary, everywhere declared that this is concealed from men, (Ac 1:7; Mt 24:36;) and all that is known respecting the time is, that it will be suddenly, and at an unexpected moment, Mt 24:42,44,50.

Without sin. That is, when he comes again he will not make himself a sin-offering; or will not come in order to make atonement for sin. It is not implied that when he came the first time he was in any sense a sinner, but that he came then with reference to sin, or that the main object of his incarnation was to "put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" When he comes the second time, it will be with reference to another object.

Unto salvation. That is, to receive his friends and followers to eternal salvation. He will come to save them from all their sins and temptation; to raise them from their graves; to place them at his right hand in glory, and to confirm them in the everlasting inheritance which he has promised to all who truly love him, and who wait for his appearing.

In view of this anticipated return of the Redeemer, we may remark—-

(1.) There is a propriety that the Lord Jesus should thus return. He came once to be humbled, despised, and put to death; and there is a fitness that he should come to be honoured in his own world.

(2.) Every person on earth is interested in the fact that he will return, for "every eye shall see him," Re 1:7. All who are now in their graves, and all who now live, and all who will hereafter live, will behold the Redeemer in his glory.

(3.) It will not be merely to gaze upon him, and to admire his magnificence that they will see him. It will be for greater and more momentous purposes—with reference to an eternal doom.

(4.) The great mass of men are not prepared to meet him. They do not believe that he will return; they do not desire that he should appear; they are not ready for the solemn interview which they will have with him. His appearing now would overwhelm them with surprise and horror. There is nothing in the future which they less expect and desire than the second coming of the Son of God; and in the present state of the world his appearance would produce almost universal consternation and despair. It would be like the coming of the flood of waters on the old world; like the sheets of fire on the cities of the plain, or as death now comes to the great mass of those who die.

(5.) Christians are prepared for his coming. They believe in it; they desire it; they are expecting it. In this they are distinguished from all the world besides; and they would be ready to hail his coming as that of a friend, and to rejoice in his appearance as that of their Saviour.

(6.) Let us, then, live in habitual preparation for his advent. To each one of us he will come soon; to all he will come suddenly. Whether he come to remove us by death, or whether in the clouds of heaven to judge the world, the period is not far distant when we shall see him. Yes, our eyes shall behold the Son of God in his glory! That which we have long desired—a sight of our Saviour, who died for us—shall soon, very soon, be granted unto us. No Christian begins a week or a day in which there is not a possibility that before its close he may have seen the Son of God in his glory; none lies down upon his bed at night who may not, when the morning dawns upon this world, be gazing with infinite delight on the glories of the great Redeemer in the heavens.

{a} "Christ" 1 Pe 2:24; 3:18; 1 Jo 3:5

{b} "many" Isa 53:12; Mt 26:28 {c} "look" Tit 2:13; 2 Pe 3:12 {d} "appear" Ac 1:11 {e} "unto salvation" Isa 25:9




THE general subject of this chapter is the sacrifice which Christ has made for sin, and the consequences which flow from the fact that he has made a sufficient atonement. In chapter 9 the apostle had shown that the Jewish rites were designed to be temporary and typical, and that the offerings which were made under that dispensation could never remove sin. In this chapter he shows that the true sacrifice had been made by which sin could be pardoned, and that certain very important consequences followed from that fact. The subject of sacrifice was the most important part of the Jewish economy, and was also the essential thing in the Christian dispensation; and hence it is that the apostle dwells upon it at so great length. The chapter embraces the following topics.

I. The apostle repeats what he had said before about the inefficacy of the sacrifices made under the law, Heb 10:1-4. The law was a mere shadow of good things to come, and the sacrifices which were made under it could never render those who offered them perfect. This was conclusively proved by the fact that they continued constantly to be offered.

II. Since this was the fact in regard to those sacrifices, a better offering had been provided in the gospel by the Redeemer, Heb 10:5-10. A body had been prepared him for this work; and when God had said that he had no pleasure in the offerings under the law, Christ had come and offered his body once for all in order that an effectual atonement might be made for sin.

III. This sentiment the apostle further illustrates by showing how this one great Offering was connected with the forgiveness of sins, Heb 10:11-18. Under the Jewish dispensation sacrifices were repeated every day; but under the Christian economy, when the sacrifice was once made, he who had offered it sat down for ever on the right hand of God—for his great work was done. Having done this, he looked forward to the time when his work would have full effect, and when his enemies would be made his footstool. That this was to be the effect of the offering made by the Messiah the apostle then shows from the Scriptures themselves, where it is said, (Jer 31:33,34,) that under the gospel the laws of God would be written on the heart, and sin would be remembered no more. There must then be, the apostle inferred, some way by which this was to be secured, and this was by the great Sacrifice on the cross, which had the effect of perfecting for ever those who were sanctified.

IV. Since it was a fact that such an atonement had been made —that one great offering for sin had been presented to God, which was never to be repeated—there were certain consequences which followed from that, which the apostle proceeds to state, Heb 10:19-25. They were these:

(a.) the privilege of drawing near to God with full assurance of faith, Heb 10:22;

(b.) the duty of holding fast the profession of faith without wavering, Heb 10:23;

(c.) the duty of exhorting one another to fidelity and to good works, Heb 10:24;

(d.) the duty of assembling for public worship, since they had a High Priest in heaven, and might now draw near to God, Heb 10:25.

V. As a reason for fidelity in the divine life, and for embracing the offer of mercy now made through the one Sacrifice on the cross, the apostle urges the consequence which must follow from the rejection of that atonement, and especially after having been made acquainted with the truth, Heb 10:26-31. The result, he says, must be certain destruction. If that was rejected, there could remain nothing but a fearful looking for of judgment, for there was no other way of salvation. In support of this, the apostle refers to what was the effect, under the law of Moses, of disobedience, and says that under the greater light of the gospel much more fearful results must follow.

VI. The chapter closes (Heb 10:32-39) with an exhortation to fidelity and perseverance. The apostle reminds those to whom he wrote of what they had already endured; encourages them by the commendation of what they had already done, and especially by the kindness which they had shown to him; says that they had need only of patience, and that the time of their deliverance from all trial was not far off, for that he who was to come would come; says that it was their duty to live by faith, but that if any one drew back, God could have no pleasure in him. Having thus, in the close of the chapter alluded to the subject of faith, he proceeds in the following chapter to illustrate its value at length. The object of the whole is to encourage Christians to make strenuous efforts for salvation; to guard them against the danger of apostasy; and to exhort them to bear their trials with patience and with submission to the will of God.

Verse 1. For the law, having a shadow. That is, the whole of the Mosaic economy was a shadow; for so the word law is often used. The word shadow here refers to a rough outline of anything, a mere sketch, such as a carpenter draws with a piece of chalk, or such as an artist delineates when he is about to make a picture. He sketches an outline of the object which he designs to draw, which has some resemblance to it, but is not "the very image;" for it is not yet complete. The words rendered "the very image" refer to a painting or statue which is finished, where every part is an exact copy of the original. The "good things to come" here refer to the future blessings which would be conferred on man by the gospel. The idea is, that under the ancient sacrifices there was an imperfect representation; a dim outline of the blessings which the gospel would impart to men. They were a typical representation; they were not such that it could be pretended that they would answer the purpose of the things themselves Which they were to represent, and would make those who offered them perfect. Such a rude outline —such a mere sketch, or imperfect delineation—could no more answer the purpose of saving the soul than the rough sketch which an architect makes would answer the purpose of a house, or than the first outline which a painter draws would answer the purpose of a perfect and finished portrait. All that could be done by either would be to convey some distant and obscure idea of what the house or the picture might be, and this was all that was done by the law of Moses.

Can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually. The sacrifices here particularly referred to were those which were offered on the great day of atonement. These were regarded as the most sacred and efficacious of all; and yet the apostle says that the very fact that they were offered every year showed that there must be some deficiency about them, or they would have ceased to be offered.

Make the comers there unto perfect. They could not free them from the stains of guilt; they could not give ease to a troubled conscience; there was in them no efficacy by which sin could be put away. Comp. See Barnes "Heb 7:11,

See Barnes "9:9".

{a} "shadow" Col 2:17 {*} "image" "reality" chap. vii. 11; ix. 9.


Verse 2. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Marg. "Or they would have." The sense is the same. The idea is, that the very fact that they were repeated showed that there was some deficiency in them as to the matter of cleansing the soul from sin. If they had answered all the purposes of a sacrifice in putting away guilt, there would have been no need of repeating them in this manner. They were, in this respect, like medicine. If that which is given to a patient heals him, there is no need of repeating it; but if it is repeated often it shows that there was some deficiency in it, and if taken periodically through a man's life, and the disease should still remain, it would show that it was not sufficient to effect his cure. So it was with the offerings made by the Jews. They were offered every year, and indeed every day, and still the disease of sin remained. The conscience was not satisfied; and the guilty felt that it was necessary that the sacrifice should be repeated again and again.

Because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. That is, if their sacrifices had so availed as to remove their past sins, and to procure forgiveness, they would have had no more trouble of conscience on account of them. They would not have felt that it was necessary to make these sacrifices over and over again in order to find peace. When a man has full evidence that an atonement has been-made which will meet all the demands of the law, and which secures the remission of sin, he feels that it is enough. It is all that the case demands, and his conscience may have peace. But when he does not feel this, or has not evidence that his sins are all forgiven, those sins will rise to remembrance, and he will be alarmed. He may be punished for them after all. Thence it follows, that if a man wants peace he should have good evidence that his sins are forgiven through the blood of the atonement. No temporary expedient; no attempt to cover them up; no effort to forget them will answer the purpose. They must be blotted out if he will have peace—and that can be only through a perfect sacrifice. By the use of the word rendered "conscience" here, it is not meant that he who was pardoned would have no consciousness that he was a sinner, or that he would forget it, but that he would have no trouble of conscience; he would have no apprehension of future wrath. The pardon of sin does not cause it to cease to be remembered. He who is forgiven may have a deeper conviction of its evil than he had ever had before. But he will not be troubled or distressed by it as if it were to expose him to the wrath of God. The remembrance of it will humble him; it will serve to exalt his conceptions of the mercy of God and the glory of the atonement, but it will no longer overwhelm the mind with the dread of hell. This effect, the apostle says, was not produced on the minds of those who offered sacrifices every year. The very fact that they did it showed that the conscience was not at peace.

{1} "then" "they would have"


Verse 3. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. The reference here is to the sacrifices made on the great day of atonement. This occurred once in a year. Of course, as often as a sacrifice was offered, it was an acknowledgment of guilt on the part of those for whom it was made. As these sacrifices continued to be offered every year, they who made the offering were reminded of their guilt and their desert of punishment. All the efficacy which could be pretended to belong to those sacrifices, was that they made expiation for the past year. Their efficacy did not extend into the future, nor did it embrace any but those who were engaged in offering them. These sacrifices, therefore, could not make the atonement which man needed. They could not make the conscience easy; they could not be regarded as a sufficient expiation for the time to come, so that the sinner at any time could plead an offering which was already made as a ground of pardon, and they could not meet the wants of all men in all lands and at all times. These things are to be found only in that great sacrifice made by the Redeemer on the cross.

{a} "year" Le 16:34


Verse 4. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. The reference here is to the sacrifices which were made on the great day of the atonement, for on that day the blood of bulls and of goats alone was offered. See Barnes "Heb 9:7".

Paul here means to say, doubtless, that it was not possible that the blood of those animals should make a complete expiation so as to purify the conscience, and so as to save the sinner from deserved wrath. According to the Divine arrangement, expiation was made by those sacrifices for offences of various kinds against the ritual law of Moses, and pardon for such offences was thus obtained. But the meaning here is, that there was no efficacy in the blood of a mere animal to wash away a moral offence. It could not repair the law; it could not do anything to maintain the justice of God; it had no efficacy to make the heart pure. The mere shedding of the blood of an animal never could make the soul pure. This the apostle states as a truth which must be admitted at once as indisputable; and yet it is probable that many of the Jews had imbibed the opinion that there was such efficacy in blood shed according to the Divine direction, as to remove all stains of guilt from the soul. See Barnes "Heb 9:9,10".

{b} "sins" Mt 12:31,32


Verse 5. Wherefore. This word shows that the apostle means to sustain what he had said by a reference to the Old Testament itself. Nothing could be more opposite to the prevailing Jewish opinions about the efficacy of sacrifice than what he had just said. It was, therefore, of the highest importance to defend the position which he had laid down by authority which they would not presume to call in question, and he therefore makes his appeal to their own Scriptures.

When he cometh into the world. When the Messiah came, for the passage evidently referred to him. The Greek is, "Wherefore coming into the world, he saith." It has been made a question when this is to be understood as spoken—whether when he was born, or when he entered on the work of his ministry. Grotius understands it of the latter. But it is not material to a proper understanding of the passage to determine this. The simple idea is, that since it was impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sin, Christ coming into the world made arrangements for a better sacrifice.

He saith. That is, this is the language denoted by his great undertaking; this is what his coming to make an atonement implies. We are not to suppose that Christ formally used these words on any occasion—for we have no record that he did—but this language is that which appropriately expresses the nature of his work. Perhaps also the apostle means to say, that it was originally employed in the Psalm from which it is quoted in reference to him, or was indited by him with reference to his future advent.

Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not. This is quoted from Ps 40:6,8. There has been much perplexity felt by expositors in reference to this quotation; and, after all which has been written, it is not entirely removed. The difficulty relates to these points.

(1.) To the question whether the Psalm originally had any reference to the Messiah. The Psalm appears to have pertained merely to David, and it would probably occur to no one on reading it to suppose that it referred to the Messiah, unless it had been so applied by the apostle in this place.

(2.) There are many parts of the Psalm, it has been said, which cannot, without a very forced interpretation, be applied to Christ. See Heb 10:2,12,14-16.

(3.) The argument of the apostle in the expression, "a body hast thou prepared me," seems to be based on a false translation of the principles he has done it.—It is not the design of these Notes to go rate an extended examination of questions of this nature. Such examination must be sought in more extended commentaries, and in treatises expressly relating to points of this kind. On the design of Ps 40, and its applicability to the Messiah, the reader may consult Prof. Stuart on the Hebrews, Excursus xx., and Kuinoel, in loc. After the most attentive examination which I can give of the Psalm, it seems to me probable that it is one of the Psalms which had an original and exclusive reference to the Messiah, and that the apostle has quoted it just as it was meant to be understood by the Holy Spirit, as applicable to him. The reasons for this opinion are briefly these.

(1.) There are such Psalms, as is admitted by all. The Messiah was the hope of the Jewish people; he was made the subject of their most sublime prophecies; and nothing was more natural than that he should be the subject of the songs of their sacred bards. By the spirit of inspiration they saw him in the distant future in the various circumstances in which he would be placed, and they dwelt with delight upon the vision. Comp. Intro. to Isaiah, & 7. iii.

(2.) The fact that it is here applied to the Messiah is a strong circumstance to demonstrate that it had an original applicability to him. This proof is of two kinds. First, that it is so applied by an inspired apostle, which with all who admit his inspiration seems decisive of the question. Second, the fact that he so applied it shows that this was an ancient and admitted interpretation. The apostle was writing to those who had been Jews, and whom he was desirous to convince of the truth of what he was alleging in regard to the nature of the Hebrew sacrifices. For this purpose it was necessary to appeal to the Scriptures of the Old Testament; but it cannot be supposed that he would adduce a passage for proof whose relevancy would not be admitted. The presumption is that the passage was in fact commonly applied as here.

(3.) The whole of the Psalm may be referred to the Messiah without anything forced or unnatural. The Psalm throughout seems to be made up of expressions used by a suffering person, who had indeed been delivered from some evils, but who was expecting many more. The principal difficulties in the way of such an interpretation, relate to the following points.

(a.) In Heb 10:2, the speaker in the Psalm says, "He brought me up out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock," and on the ground of this he gives thanks to God. But there is no real difficulty in supposing that this may refer to the Messiah. His enemies often potted against his life; laid snares for him, and endeavoured to destroy him; and it may be that he refers to some deliverance from such machinations. If it is objected to this that it is spoken of as having been uttered "when he came into the world," it may be replied, that that phrase does not necessarily refer to the time of his birth, but that he uttered this sentiment some time during the period of his incarnation. "He, coming into the world for the purpose of redemption, made use of this language." In a similar manner we would say of Lafayette, that "he, coming to the United States to aid in the cause of liberty, suffered a wound in battle." That is, during the period in which he was engaged in. this cause, he suffered in this manner.

(b.) The next objection or difficulty relates to the application of Heb 10:12 to the Messiah, "Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of my head; therefore my heart faileth me." To meet this, some have suggested that he refers to the sins of men which he took upon himself, and which he here speaks of as his own. But it is not true that the Lord Jesus so took upon himself the sins of others that they could be called his. They were not his, for he was in every sense" holy, harmless, and undefiled." The true solution of this difficulty probably is, that the word rendered iniquity

HEBREW - means, calamity, misfortune, trouble. See Ps 31:10; 1 Sa 28:10; 2 Ki 7:9; Ps 38:6; comp. Ps 49:6. The proper idea in the word is that of turning away, curving, making crooked; and it is thus applied to anything which is perverted or turned from the right way; as when one is turned from the path of rectitude: or commits sin; when one is turned from the way of prosperity or happiness, or is exposed to calamity. This seems to be the idea demanded by the scope of the Psalm, for it is not a penitential Psalm, in which the speaker is recounting his sins, but one in which he is enumerating his sorrows; praising God in the first part of the Psalm for some deliverance already experienced, and supplicating his interposition in view of calamities that he saw to be corning upon him. This interpretation also seems to be demanded in Ps 49:12 of the Psalm by the parallelism. In the former part of the verse, the word to which "iniquity" corresponds is not sin, but evil, i.e. calamity.

"For innumerable evils have compassed me about; Mine iniquities [calamities] hard taken hold upon me."

If the word, therefore, be used here as it often is, and as the scope of the Psalm and the connexion seem to demand, there is no solid objection against applying this verse to the Messiah.

(c.) A third objection to this application of the Psalm to the Messiah is, that it cannot be supposed that he would utter such imprecations on his enemies as are found in Heb 10:14,15: "Let them be ashamed and confounded; let them be driven backward; let them be desolate." To this it may be replied, that such imprecations are as proper in the mouth of the Messiah as of David; but particularly, it may be said also, that they are improper in the mouth of neither.

Both David and the Messiah did, in fact, utter denunciations against the enemies of piety and of God. God does the same thing in his word and by his Providence. There is no evidence of any malignant feeling in this; nor is it inconsistent with the highest benevolence. The lawgiver who says that the murderer shall die, may have a heart full of benevolence; the judge who sentences him to death, may do it with eyes filled with tears. The objections, then, are not of such a nature that it is improper to regard this Psalm: as wholly applicable to the Messiah.

(4.) The Psalm cannot be applied with propriety to David, nor do we know of any one to whom it can be but to the Messiah. When was it true of David that he said that he "had come to do the will of God in view of the fact that God did not require sacrifice and offerings? In what "volume of a book" was it written of him before his birth, that he "delighted to do the will of God?" When was it true, that he had "preached righteousness in the great congregation?" These expressions are such as can be applied properly only to the Messiah, as Paul does here; and taking all these circumstances together, it will probably be regarded as the most proper interpretation to refer the whole Psalm at once to the Redeemer, and to suppose that Paul has used it in strict accordance with its original design. The other difficulties referred to will be considered in the exposition of the passage. The difference between sacrifice and offering is, that the former refers to bloody sacrifices; the latter, to any oblation made to God—as a thank-offering; an offering of flour, oil, etc. See Barnes "Isa 1:11".

When it is said, "Sacrifice and, offering thou wouldest not," the meaning is not that such oblations were in no sense acceptable to God—for as his appointment, and when offered with a sincere heart, they doubtless were; but that they were not as acceptable to him as obedience, and especially as the expression is used here, that they could not avail to secure the forgiveness of sins. They were not in their own nature such as was demanded to make an expiation for sin, and hence a body was prepared for the Messiah by which a more perfect sacrifice could be made. The sentiment here expressed occurs more than once in the Old Testament. Thus, 1 Sa 15:22, "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams." Hos 6:6, "For I desired mercy and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt-offerings." Comp. Ps 51:16,17, "For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt-offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit." This was an indisputable principle of the Old Testament, though it was much obscured and forgotten in the common estimation among the Jews. In accordance with this principle, the Messiah came to render obedience of the highest order, even to such all extent that he was willing to lay down his own life.

But a body hast thou prepared me. This is one of the passages which has caused a difficulty in understanding this quotation from the Psalm. The difficulty is, that it differs from the Hebrew, and that the apostle builds an argument upon it. It is not unusual indeed in the New Testament, to make use of the language of the Septuagint, even where it varies somewhat from the Hebrew; and where no argument is based on such a passage, there can be no difficulty in such a usage, since it is not uncommon to make use of the language of others to express our own thoughts. But the apostle does not appear to have made such a use of the passage here, but to have applied it in the way of argument. The argument, indeed, does not rest wholly, perhaps not principally, on the fact that a "body had been prepared" for the Messiah; but still this was evidently, in the view of the apostle, an important consideration, and this is the passage on which the proof of this is based. The Hebrew (Ps 40:6) is, "Mine ears hast thou opened;" or, as it is in the margin, "digged." The idea there is, that the ear had been, as it were, excavated, or dug out, so as to be made to hear distinctly; that is, certain truths had been clearly revealed to the speaker; or perhaps it may mean that he had been made "readily and attentively obedient" Stuart. Comp. Is 1:5, "The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious." In the Psalm, the proper connexion would seem to be, that the speaker had been made obedient, or had been so led that he was disposed to do the will of God. This may be expressed by the fact that the ear had been opened so as to be quick to hear, since an indisposition to obey is often expressed by the fact that the ears are stopped. There is manifestly no allusion here, as has been sometimes supposed, to the custom of boring through the ear of a servant with an awl, as a sign that he was willing to remain and serve his master, Ex 21:6; De 15:17. In that ease, the outer circle, or rim of the ear, was bored through with an awl; here the idea is that of hollowing out, digging, or excavating —a process to make the passage clear, not to pierce the outward ear. The Hebrew in the Psalm the Septuagint translates, "a body hast thou prepared me," and this rendering has been adopted by the apostle, various ways have been resorted to of explaining the fact that the translators of the Septuagint rendered it in this manner, none of which are entirely free from difficulty. Some critics, as Cappell, Ernesti, and others, have endeavoured to show that it is probable that the Septuagint reading in Ps 40:6, was— wtion kathrtisw moi "my ear thou hast prepared;" that is, for obedience. But of this there is no proof, and indeed it is evident that the apostle quoted it as if it were swma, body. See Heb 5:10. It is probably altogether impossible now to explain the reason why the translators of the Septuagint rendered the phrase as they did; and this remark may be extended to many other places of their version. It is to be admitted here, beyond all doubt, whatever consequences may follow,

(1.) that their version does not accord with the Hebrew;

(2.) that the apostle has quoted their version as it stood, without attempting to correct it;

(3.) that his use of the passage is designed, to some extent at least, as proof of what he was demonstrating. The leading idea, the important and essential point in the argument, is, indeed, not that a body was prepared, but that He came to do the will of God; but still it is clear that the apostle meant to lay some stress on the fact that a body had been prepared for the Redeemer. Sacrifice and offering, by the bodies of lambs and goats, were not what was required; but, instead of that, the Messiah came to do the will of God by offering a more perfect sacrifice, and in accomplishing that it was necessary that he should be endowed with a body. But on what principle the apostle has quoted a passage to prove this which differs from the Hebrew, I confess I cannot see, nor do any of the explanations offered commend themselves as satisfactory. The only circumstances which seem to furnish any relief to the difficulty are these two—

(1.) that the main point in the argument of the apostle was not that "a body had been prepared," but that the Messiah came to do the "will of God," and that the preparation of a body for that was rather an incidental circumstance; and

(2) that the translation by the Septuagint was not a material departure from the scope of the whole Hebrew passage. The main thought—that of doing the will of God in the place of offering sacrifice—was still retained; the opening of the ears, i.e., rendering the person attentive and disposed to obey, and the preparing of a body in order to obedience, were not circumstances so unlike as to make it necessary for the apostle to re-translate the whole passage in order to the main end which he had in view. Still, I admit that these considerations do not seem to me to be wholly satisfactory. Those who are disposed to examine the various opinions which have been entertained of this passage may find them in Kuinoel, in loc., Rosenmuller, Stuart on the Hebrews, Excursus xx., and Kennicott on Ps 40:7. Kennicott supposes that there has been a change in the Hebrew text, and that instead of the present reading

HEBREW - oznaim, ears, the reading was HEBREW oz, guph—then a body; and that these words became united by the error of transcribers, and by a slight change then became as the present copies of the Hebrew text stands. This conjecture is ingenious; and if it were ever allowable to follow a mere conjecture, I should be disposed to do it here. But there is no authority from mss. for any change, nor do any of the old versions justify it, or agree with this, except the Arabic.

{c} "Sacrifice" Ps 40:6-8 {2} "prepared" "thou hast fitted"


Verse 6. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. This is not quoted literally from the Psalm, but the sense is retained. The reading there is, "burnt-offering and sin-offering hast thou not required." The quotation by the apostle is taken from the Septuagint, with the change of a single word, which does not materially affect the sense—the word ouk eudokhsav ouk eudokesas-" thou hast no pleasure," instead of ouk hyelhsav ouk ethelesas "thou dost not will." The idea is, that God had no pleasure in them as compared with obedience. He preferred the latter, and they could not be made to come in the place of it, or to answer the same purpose. When they were performed with a pure heart, he was doubtless pleased with the offering. As used here in reference to the Messiah, the meaning is, that they would not be what was required of him. Such offerings would not answer the end for which he was sent into the world, for that end was to be accomplished only by his being "obedient unto death."


Verse 7. Then said I. I the Messiah. Paul applies this directly to Christ, showing that he regarded the passage in the Psalm as referring to him as the speaker. Lo, I come. Come into the world, Heb 10:6. It is not easy to see how this could be applied to David in any circumstance of his life. There was no situation in which he could say that, since sacrifices and offerings were not what was demanded, he came to do the will of God in the place or stead of them. The time here referred to by the word "then" is, when it was manifest that sacrifices and offerings for sin would not answer all the purposes desirable, or when in view of that fact the purpose of the Redeemer is conceived as formed to enter upon a work which would effect what they could not.

In the volume of the book it is written of me. The word here rendered "volume"—kefaliv— means, properly, a little head; and then a knob, and here refers, doubtless, to the head or knob of the rod on which the Hebrew manuscripts were rolled. Books were usually so written as to be rolled up; and when they were read they were unrolled at one end of the manuscript, and rolled up at the other as fast as they were read. See Barnes "Lu 4:17".

The rods on which they were rolled had small heads, either for the purpose of holding them or for ornament; and hence the name head came metaphorically to be given to the roll or volume. But what volume is here intended? And where is that written which is here referred to if David was the author of the Psalm from which this is quoted, (Ps 40) then the book or volume which was then in existence must have been principally, if not entirely, the five books of Moses, and perhaps the books of Job, Joshua, and Judges, with probably a few of the Psalms. It is most natural to understand this of the Pentateuch, or the five books of Moses, as the word "volume," at that time, would undoubtedly have most naturally suggested that. But plainly, this could not refer to David himself, for in what part of the law of Moses, or in any of the volumes then extant, can a reference of this kind be found to David? There is no promise, no intimation that he would come "to do the will of God" with a view to effect that which could not be done by the sacrifices prescribed by the Jewish law. The reference of the language, therefore, must be to the Messiah—to some place where it is represented that he would come to effect by his obedience what could not be done by the sacrifices and offerings under the law. But still, in the books of Moses, this language is not literally found, and the meaning must be, that this was the language which was there implied respecting the Messiah; or this was the substance of the description given of him, that he would come to take the place of those sacrifices, and by his obedience unto death would accomplish what they could not do. They had a reference to him; and it was contemplated, in their appointment, that their inefficiency would be such that there should be felt a necessity for a higher sacrifice, and when he should come they would all be done away. The whole language of the institution of sacrifices, and of the Mosaic economy, was, that a Saviour would hereafter come to do the will of God in making an atonement for the sin of the world. That there are places in the books of Moses which refer to the Saviour is expressly affirmed by Christ himself, (Joh 5:46) 46,) and by the apostles, (comp. Ac 26:23,) and that the general spirit of the institutions of Moses had reference to him is abundantly demonstrated in this epistle. The meaning here is, "I come to do thy will in making an atonement, for no other offering would expiate sin. That I would do this is the language of the Scriptures which predict my coming, and of the whole spirit and design of the ancient dispensation"

To do thy will, God. This expresses the amount of all that the Redeemer came to do. He came to do the will of God

(1) by perfect obedience to his law, and

(2) by making an atonement for sin—becoming "obedient unto death," Php 2:8. The latter is the principal thought here, for the apostle is showing that sacrifice and offering such as were made under the law would not put away sin, and that Christ came, in contradistinction from them, to make a sacrifice that would be efficacious. Everywhere in the Scriptures it is held out as being the "will of God" that such an atonement should be made. There was salvation in no other way, nor was it possible that the race should be saved unless the Redeemer drank that cup of bitter sorrows. See Mt 26:39. We are not to suppose, however, that it was by mere arbitrary will that those sufferings were demanded. There were good reasons for all that the Saviour was to endure, though those reasons are not all made known to us.


Verse 8. Above, when he said. That is, the Messiah. The word "above" refers here to the former part of he quotation. That is, "having in the former part of what was quoted said that God did not require sacrifices, in the latter part he says that he came to do the will of God in the place of them."

Sacrifice and offering and burnt, offerings, etc. These words are not all used in the Psalm from which the apostle quotes, but the idea is, that the specification there included all kinds of offerings. The apostle dwells upon it because it was important to show that the same remark applied to all the sacrifices which could be offered by man. When the Redeemer made the observation about the inefficacy of sacrifices, he meant that there was none of them which would be sufficient to take away sin.


Verse 9. Then said he. In another part of the passage quoted. When he had said that no offering which man could make would avail, then he said that he would come himself.

He taketh away the first. The word "first" here refers to sacrifices and offerings, he takes them away; that is, he shows that they are of no value in removing sin. He states their inefficacy, and declares his purpose to abolish them.

That he may establish the second. To wit, the doing of the will of God. The two stand in contrast with each other; and he shows the inefficacy of the former, in order that the necessity for his coming to do the will of God may be fully seen. If they had been efficacious, there would have been no need of his coming to make an atonement.


Verse 10. By the which will. That is, by his obeying God in the manner specified. It is in virtue of his obedience that we are sanctified. The apostle immediately specifies what he means, and furnishes the key to his whole argument, when he says that it was through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ. It was not merely his doing the will of God in general, but it was the specific thing of offering his body in the place of the Jewish sacrifices. Comp. Php 2:8. Whatever part his personal obedience had in our salvation, yet the particular thing here specified is, that it was his doing the will of God by offering himself as a sacrifice for sin that was the means of our sanctification.

We are sanctified. We are made holy. The word here is not confined to the specific work which is commonly called sanctification—or the process of making the soul holy after it is renewed, but it includes everything by which we are made holy in the sight of God. It embraces, therefore, justification and regeneration as well as what is commonly known as sanctification. The idea is, that whatever there is in our hearts which is holy, or whatever influences are brought to bear upon us to make us holy, is all to be traced to the fact that the Redeemer became obedient unto death, and was willing to offer his body as a sacrifice for sin.

Through the offering of the body. As a sacrifice. A body just adapted to such a purpose had been prepared for him, Heb 10:5. It was perfectly holy; it was so organized as to be keenly sensitive to suffering; it was the dwelling-place of the incarnate Deity.

Once for all. In the sense that it is not to be offered again. See Barnes "Heb 9:28".

This idea is repeated here because it was very important to be clearly understood, in order to show the contrast between the offering made by Christ, and those made under the law. The object of the apostle is to exalt the sacrifice made by him above those made by the Jewish high priests. This he does by showing that such was the efficacy of the atonement made by him that it did not need to be repeated; the sacrifices made by them, however, were to be renewed every year.

{b} "offering" Heb 9:12


Verse 11. And every Priest standeth daily ministering. That is, this is done every day. It does not mean literally that every priest was daily concerned in offering sacrifices, for they took turns according to their courses, (See Barnes "Lu 1:5,) but that this was done each day, and that every priest was to take his regular place in doing it, Nu 28:3. The object of the apostle is to prove, that under the Jewish economy sacrifices were repeated constantly, showing their imperfection, but that under the Christian economy the great Sacrifice had been offered once, which was sufficient for all.

And offering oftentimes the same sacrifices. The same sacrifices were offered morning and evening every day.

Which can never take away sins. See Barnes "Heb 9:9" See Barnes "Heb 10:1".

{c} "daily" Nu 28:3 {d} "never take away" Ps 50:8-13; Is 1:11


Verse 12. But this Man. The Lord Jesus. The word man is not in the original here. The Greek is literally "but this;" to wit, this priest. The apostle does not state here whether he was a man, or a being of a higher order, he merely mentions him as a priest, in contradistinction from the Jewish priests.

After he had offered one sacrifice for sins. By dying on the cross. This he did but once; this could not be repeated; and need not be repeated, for it was sufficient for the sins of the world.

For ever sat down. That is, he sat down then to return no more for the purpose of offering sacrifice for sin. He will no more submit himself to scenes of suffering and death to expiate human guilt.

On the right hand of God. See Barnes "Mr 16:19".

Comp. See Barnes "Eph 1:20, and following.

{e} "sat down" Col 3:1


Verse 13. From henceforth expecting. Or, waiting. He waits there until this shall be accomplished according to the promise made to him that all things shall be subdued under him. See Barnes "1 Co 15:25" and following.

Till his enemies. There is an allusion here to Ps 110:1, where it is said, "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool." The enemies of the Redeemer are Satan, the wicked of the earth, and all the evil passions of the heart. The idea is, that all things are yet to be made subject to his will —either by a cheerful and cordial submission to his authority, or by being crushed beneath his power. The Redeemer, having performed his great work of redemption by giving himself as a sacrifice on the cross, is represented now as calmly waiting until this glorious triumph is achieved, and this promise is fulfilled. We are not to suppose that he is inactive, or that he takes no share in the agency by which this is to be done, but the meaning is, that he looks to the certain fulfilment of the promise.

His footstool That is, they shall be thoroughly and completely subdued. The same idea is expressed in 1 Co 15:25, by saying that all his enemies shall be put under his feet. The language arose from the custom of conquerors in putting their feet on the necks of their enemies, as a symbol of subjection. See Jos 10:24; See Barnes "Isa 26:5, See Barnes "Isa 26:6".

{e} "enemies" Col 3:1


Verse 14. For by one offering. By offering himself once on the cross. The Jewish priest offered his sacrifices often, and still they did not avail to put away sin; the Saviour made one sacrifice, and it was sufficient for the sins of the world.

He hath perfected for ever, He hath laid the foundation of the eternal perfection. The offering is of such a character that it secures their final freedom from sin, and wilt make them for ever holy. It cannot mean that those for whom he died are made at once perfectly holy, for that is not true; but the idea is, that the offering was complete, and did not need to be repeated; and that it was of such a nature as entirely to remove the penalty due to sin, and to lay the foundation for their final eternal holiness. The offerings made under the Jewish law were so defective that there was a necessity for repeating them every day; the offering made by the Saviour was so perfect that it needed not to be repeated, and that it secured the complete and final salvation of those who avail themselves of it.

Them that are sanctified. Those who are made holy by that offering. It does not mean that they are as yet wholly sanctified, but that they have been brought under the influence of that gospel which sanctifies and saves. Heb 2:11; 9:13. The doctrine taught in this verse is, that all those who are, in any measure; sanctified, will be perfected for ever. It is not a temporary work which has been begun in their souls, but one which is designed to be carried forward to perfection. In the atonement made by the Redeemer there is the foundation laid for their eternal perfection, and it was with reference to that, that it was offered. Respecting this work and the consequences of it, we may remark, that there is

(1.) perfection in its nature, it being of such a character that it needs not to be repeated;

(2.) there is perfection in regard to the pardon of sin—all past sins being forgiven to those who embrace it, and being for ever forgiven; and

(3.) there is to be absolute perfection, for them for ever. They will be made perfect at some future period, and when that shall take place it will be to continue for ever and ever.

{g} "perfected "Heb 10:9"


Verses 15-17. Whereof the Holy Ghost is a witness to us. That is, the Holy Ghost is a proof of the truth of the position here laid down —that the one atonement made by the Redeemer lays the foundation for the eternal perfection of all who are sanctified. The witness of the Holy Ghost here referred to is that which is furnished in the Scriptures, and not any witness in ourselves. Paul immediately makes his appeal to a passage of the Old Testament, and he thus shows his firm conviction that the Scriptures were inspired by the Holy Ghost.

For after that he had said before. The apostle here appeals to a passage which he had before quoted, Jer 31:33,34. See it explained in See Barnes "Heb 8:8" Heb 8:9-12.

The object of the quotation in both cases is, to show that the new covenant contemplated the formation of a holy character or a holy people. It was not to set apart a people who should be externally holy only, or be distinguished for conformity to external rites and ceremonies, but who should be holy in heart and in life. There has been some difficulty felt by expositors in ascertaining what corresponds to the expression "after that he had said before," and some have supposed that the phrase "then he saith" should be understood before Heb 10:17. But probably the apostle means to refer to two distinct parts of the quotation from Jeremiah, the former Of which expresses the fact that God meant to make a new covenant with his people, and the latter expresses the nature of that covenant, and it is particularly to the latter that he refers. This is seen more distinctly in the passage in Jeremiah than it is in our translation of the quotation in this epistle. The meaning is this, "The Holy Ghost first said, this is the covenant that I will make with them:" and having said this, he then added, "After those days, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." The first part of it expresses the purpose to form such a covenant; the latter states what that covenant would be. The quotation is not, indeed, literally made, but the sense is retained. Comp. See Barnes "Heb 8:8-12".

Still, it may be asked how this quotation proves the point for which it is adduced that the design of the atonement of Christ was "to perfect for ever them that are sanctified?" In regard to this, we may observe,

(1.) that it was declared that those who were interested in it would be holy, for the law would be in their hearts and written on their minds; and,

(2.) that this would be entire and perpetual. Their sins would be wholly forgiven; they would never be remembered again—and thus they would be "perfected for ever."


No Barnes text on this verse.

{a} "this is the covenant" Jer 31:33,34


Verse 17. See Barnes on "Heb 10:15".

{1} "Their sins" "Some copies have Then he said, And Their


Verse 18. Now where remission of these is. Remission or forgiveness of sins; that is, of the sins mentioned in the previous verse.

There is no more offering for sin. If those sins are wholly blotted out, there is no more need of sacrifice to atone for them, any more than there is need to pay a debt again which has been once paid. The idea of Paul is, that in the Jewish dispensation there was a constant repeating of the remembrance of sins by the sacrifices which were offered, but that in reference to the dispensation under the Messiah sin would be entirely cancelled. There would be one great and all-sufficient sacrifice; and when there was faith in that offering, sin would be absolutely forgiven. If that was the case, there would be no occasion for any further sacrifice for it, and the offering need not be repeated. This circumstance, on which the apostle insists so much, made a very important difference between the new covenant and the old. In the one, sacrifices were offered every day; in the other, the sacrifice once made was final and complete: in the one case, there was no such forgiveness, but that the offender was constantly reminded of his sins by the necessity of the repetition of sacrifice; in the other, the pardon was so complete that all dread of wrath was taken away, and the sinner might look up to God as calmly and joyfully as if he had never been guilty of transgression.


Verse 19. Having therefore, brethren. The apostle, in this verse, enters on the hortatory part of his epistle, which continues to the end of it. He had gone into an extensive examination of the Jewish and Christian systems; he had compared the Founders of the two—Moses and the Son of God—and shown how far superior the latter was to the former; he had compared the Christian great High Priest with the Jewish high priest, and shown his superiority; he had compared the sacrifices under the two dispensations, and showed that in all respects the Christian sacrifice was superior to the Jewish —that it was an offering that cleansed from sin; that it was sufficient when once offered, without being repeated, while the Jewish offerings were only typical, and were unable to put away sin; and he had shown that the great High Priest of the Christian profession had opened a way to the mercy-seat in heaven, and was himself now seated there; and having shown this, he now exhorts Christians to avail themselves fully of all their advantages, and to enjoy, to the widest extent, all the privileges now conferred on them. One of the first of these benefits was, that they had now free access to the mercy-seat.

Boldness to enter into the holiest. Marg. liberty. The word rendered boldness— parrhsian— properly means, boldness of speech, or freedom, where one speaks all that he thinks, See Barnes "Ac 4:13" and then it means boldness in general, license, authority, pardon. Here the idea is, that before Christ died and entered into heaven, there was no such access to the throne of grace as man needed. Man had no offering which he could bring that would make him acceptable to God. But now the way was open. Access was free for all, and all might come with the utmost freedom. The word holiest here is taken from the holy of holies in the temple, See Barnes "Heb 9:3, and is there applied to heaven, of which that was the emblem. The entrance into the most holy place was forbidden to all but the high priest; but now access to the real "holy of holies" was granted to all, in the name of the great High Priest of the Christian profession.

By the blood of Jesus. The blood of Jesus is the means by which this access to heaven is procured. The Jewish high priest entered the holy of holies with the blood of bullocks and of rams, See Barnes "Heb 9:7" but the Saviour offered his own blood, and that became the means by which we may have access to God.

{2} "boldness" "liberty" {b} "holiest" Heb 9:8,12


Verse 20. By a new and living way. By a new method or manner. It was a mode of access that was till then unknown. No doubt many were saved before the Redeemer came, but the method by which they approached God was imperfect and difficult. The word which is here rendered new —prosfaton— occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It properly means slain, or killed thereto; i.e. newly killed, just dead; and then fresh, recent. Passow. It does not so much convey the idea that it is new in the sense that it had never existed before, as new in the sense that it is recent, or fresh. It was a way which was recently disclosed, and which had an the freshness of novelty. It is called a "living way," because it is a method that imparts life, or because it leads to life and happiness. Doddridge renders it "ever living way," and supposes, in accordance with the opinion of Dr. Owen, that the allusion is to the fact that under the old dispensation the blood was to be offered as soon as it was shed, and that it could not be offered when it was cold and coagulated. The way by Christ was, however, always open. His blood was, as it were, always warm, and as if it had been recently shed. This interpretation seems to derive some support from the word which is rendered "new." See above. The word living, also, has often the sense of perennial, or perpetual, as when applied to a fountain always running, in opposition to a pool that dries up, See Barnes "Joh 4:10, and the new way to heaven may be called living in all these respects. It is a way that conducts to life. It is ever-living—as if the blood which was shed always retained the freshness of that which is flowing from tho vein. And it is perpetual and constant—-like a fountain that always flows—for it is by a sacrifice whose power is perpetual and unchanging.

Which he hath consecrated for us. Marg. "or, new made." The word here used means, properly, to renew, and then to initiate, to consecrate, to sanction. The idea is, that he has dedicated this way for our use; as if a temple or house were set apart for our service. It is a path consecrated by him for the service and salvation of man; a way of access to the eternal sanctuary for the sinner which has been set apart by the Redeemer for this service alone.

Through the veil, that is to say, his flesh. The Jewish high priest entered into the most holy place through the veil that divided the holy from the most holy place. That entrance was made by his drawing the veil aside, and thus the interior sanctuary was laid open. But there has been much difficulty felt in regard to the sense of the expression here used. The plain meaning of the expression is, that the way to heaven was opened by means or through the veil that is, of his body or through the medium of the flesh of Jesus; sacrificed for sin, as the most holy place in the temple was entered by means or through the medium of the veil. We are not to suppose, however, that the apostle meant to say there was, in all respects, a resemblance between the veil and the flesh of Jesus, nor that the veil was in any manner typical of his body, but there was a resemblance in the respect under considerations—-to wit, in the fact that the holy place was rendered accessible by withdrawing the veil, and that heaven was rendered accessible through the slain body of Jesus. The idea is, that there is by means both of the veil of the temple, and of the body of Jesus, a medium of access to God. God dwelt in the most holy place in the temple behind the veil by visible symbols, and was to be approached by removing the veil; and God dwells in heaven, in the most holy place there, and is to be approached only through the offering of the body of Christ. Prof. Stuart supposes that the point of the comparison may be, that the veil of the temple operated as a screen to hide the visible symbol of the presence of God from human view, and that in like manner the body of Jesus might be regarded as a "kind of temporary, tabernacle, or veil of the Divine nature which dwelt within him," and that "as the veil of the tabernacle concealed the glory of Jehovah in the holy of belies, from the view of men, so Christ's flesh or body screened or concealed the higher nature from our view, which dwelt within this veil, as God did within the veil of the temple." See this and other views explained at length in the larger commentaries. It does not seem to me to be necessary to attempt to carry out the point of the comparison in all respects. The simple idea which seems to have been in the mind of the apostle was, that the veil of the temple and the body of Jesus were alike in this respect, that they were the medium of access to God. It is by the offering of the body of Jesus; by the fact that he was clothed with flesh, and that in his body he made all atonement for sin, and that with his body raised up from the dead he has ascended to heaven, that we have access now to the throne of mercy.

{e} "living way" Joh 14:6 {3} "consecrated" "new made"


Verse 21. And having an High Priest over the house of God. Over the spiritual house of God; that is, the church. Comp. See Barnes "Heb 3:1-6".

Under the Jewish dispensation there was a great high priest, and the same is true under the Christian dispensation, This the apostle had shown at length in the previous part of the epistle. The idea here is, that as under the former dispensation it was regarded as a privilege that the people of God might have access to the mercy-seat by means of the high priest, so it is true, in a much higher sense, that we may now have access to God through our greater and more glorious High Priest.

{a} "High Priest" Heb 4:14-16


Verse 22. Let us draw near with a true heart. In prayer and praise; in every act of confidence and of worship. A sincere heart was required under the ancient dispensation; it is always demanded of men when they draw near to God to worship him. See Joh 4:23,24. Every form of religion which God has revealed requires the worshippers to come with pure and holy hearts.

In full assurance of faith. See the word here used explained in the See Barnes "Heb 6:11".

The "full assurance of faith" means unwavering confidence; a fullness of faith in God which leaves no room for doubt. Christians are permitted to come thus because God has revealed himself through the Redeemer as in every way deserving their fullest confidence. No one approaches God in an acceptable manner who does not come to him in this manner. What parent would feel that a child came with any right feelings to ask a favour of him who had not the fullest confidence in him?

Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience. By the blood of Jesus. This was fitted to make the conscience pure. The Jewish cleansing or sprinkling with blood related only to that which was external, and could not make the conscience perfect, Heb 9:9; but the Sacrifice offered by the Saviour was designed to give peace to the troubled mind, and to make it pure and holy. An "evil conscience" is a consciousness of evil, or a conscience oppressed with sin; that is, a conscience that accuses of guilt. We are made free from such a conscience through the atonement of Jesus, not because we become convinced that we have not committed sin, and not because we are led to suppose that our sins are less than we had otherwise supposed—for the reverse of both these is true—but because our sins are forgiven, and since they are freely pardoned they no longer produce remorse and the fear of future wrath. A child that has been forgiven may feel that he has done very wrong, but still he will not be then overpowered with distress in view of his guilt, or with the apprehension of punishment.

And our bodies washed with pure water. It was common for the Jews to wash themselves, or to perform various ablutions in their services. See Ex 29:4; 30:19-21; 40:12; Le 6:27; 13:54,58; 14:8,9; 15:16; 16:4,24; Le 22:6. Comp. See Barnes "Mr 7:3".

The same thing was also true among the heathen. There was usually, at the entrance of their temples, a vessel placed with consecrated water, in which, as Pliny says, (Hist. Nat. Lib. xv. c. 30,) there was a branch of laurel placed with which the priests sprinkled all who approached for worship. It was necessary that this water should be pure, and it was drawn fresh from wells or fountains for the purpose. Water from pools and ponds was regarded as unsuitable, as was also even the purest water of the fountain, if it had stood long. AEneas sprinkled himself in this manner, as he was about to enter the invisible world, (2En. vi. 635,) with fresh water. Porphyry says that the Essenes were accustomed to clean so themselves with the purest water. Thus Ezekiel also says, "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean." Sea-water was usually regarded as best adapted to this purpose, as the salt was supposed to have a cleansing property. The Jews who dwelt near the sea were thence accustomed, as Aristides says, to wash their hands every morning, on this account, in the sea-water. Potter's Gr. Archae. i. 222. Rosenmuller, Alte and Neue Morgenland, in loc. It was from the heathen custom of placing a vessel with consecrated water at the entrance of their temples, that the Roman Catholic custom is derived in their churches of placing "holy water" near the door, that those who worship there may "cross themselves." In accordance with the Jewish custom, the apostle says, that it was proper that under the Christian dispensation we should approach God having performed an act emblematic of purity by the application of water to the body. That there is an allusion to baptism is clear. The apostle is comparing the two dispensations, and his aim is to show that in the Christian dispensation there was everything which was regarded as valuable and important in the old. So he had shown it to have been in regard to the fact that there was a Lawgiver; that there was a great High Priest; and that there were sacrifices and ordinances of religion in the Christian dispensation as well as the Jewish. In regard to each of these, he had shown that they existed in the Christian religion in a much more valuable and important sense than under the ancient dispensation. In like manner was true, that as they were required to come to the service of God, having performed various ablutions to keep the body pure, so it was with Christians. Water was applied to the Jews as emblematic of purity, and Christians came, having had it applied to them also in baptism, as a symbol of holiness. It is not necessary, in order to see the force of this, to suppose that water had been applied to the whole of the body, or that they had been completely immersed, for all the force of the reasoning is retained by the supposition that it was a mere symbol or emblem of purification. The whole stress of the argument here turns, not on the fact that the body had been washed all over, but that the worshipper had been qualified for the spiritual service of the Most High in connexion with an appropriate emblematic ceremony. The quantity of water used for this is not a material point, any more than the quantity of oil was in the ceremony of inaugurating kings and priests. This was not done in the Christian dispensation by washing the body frequently, as in the ancient, system, nor even necessarily by washing the whole body—which would no more contribute to the purity of the heart than by application of water to any part of the body; but by the fact that water had been used as emblematic of the purifying of the soul. The passage before us proves, undoubtedly,

(1.) that water should be applied under the new dispensation as an ordinance of religion; and

(2) that pure water should be used— for that only is a proper emblem of the purity of the heart.

{b} "full assurance" Eph 3:12 {c} "sprinkled" Eze 36:25


Verse 23. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering. To secure this was one of the leading designs of this epistle, and hence the apostle adverts to it so frequently. It is evident that those to whom he wrote were suffering persecution, Heb 12 and that there was great danger that they would apostatize. As these persecutions came probably from the Jews, and as the aim was to induce them to return to their former opinions, the object of the apostle is to show that there was in the Christian scheme every advantage of which the Jews could boast; everything pertaining to the dignity of the great Founder of the system, the character of the High Priest, and the nature and value of the sacrifices offered; and that all this was possessed far more abundantly in the permanent Christian system than in that which was typical in its character, and which were designed soon to vanish away. In view of all this, therefore, the apostle adds that they should hold fast the profession of their faith, without being shaken by their trials, or by the arguments of their enemies. We have the same inducement to hold fast the profession of our faith—for it is the same religion still; we have the same Saviour, and there is held out to us still the same prospect of heaven.

For he is faithful that promised. To induce them to hold fast their profession, the apostle adds this additional consideration. God, who had promised eternal life to them, was faithful to all that he had said. he arrangement here is,

(1.) That since God is so faithful to us, we ought to be faithful to him.

(2.) The fact that he is faithful is an encouragement to us. We are dependent on him for grace to hold fast our profession. If he were to prove unfaithful, we should have no strength to do it. But this he never does; and we may be assured that all that he has promised he will perform. To the service of such a God, therefore, we should adhere without wavering. Comp. See Barnes "1 Co 10:13".

{a} "he is faithful" 1 Th 5:24


Verse 24. And let us consider one another. Let us so regard the welfare of others as to endeavour to excite them to persevere in the Christian life. The idea is, that much might be done in securing perseverance and fidelity by mutual, kind exhortation. They were not to be selfish; they were not to regard their own interests only, (See Barnes "Php 2:4") they were to have a kind sympathy in the concerns of each other. They had, as Christians have now, the Same duties to perform, and the same trials to meet, and they should strengthen each other in their trials, and encourage them in their work.

To provoke unto love. We use the word provoke now in a somewhat different sense, as meaning to offend, to irritate, to incense; but its original meaning is, to arouse, to excite, to call into action, and it is used in this sense here. The Greek is, literally, "unto a paroxysm of love" eiv paroxusmon; the word paroxysm meaning excitement or impulse; and the idea is, that they were to endeavour to arouse or excite each other to the manifestation of love. The word is that which properly expresses excitement, and means that Christians should endeavour to excite each other. Men are sometimes afraid of excitement in religion. But there is no danger that Christians will ever be excited to love each other too much, or to perform too many good works.


Verse 25. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. That is, for purposes of public worship. Some expositors have understood the word here rendered assembling—episunagwghn—as meaning the society of Christians, or the church; and they have supposed that the object of the apostle here is, to exhort them not to apostatize from the church. The arguments for this opinion may be seen at length in Kuinoel, in loc. But the more obvious interpretation is that which is commonly adopted, that it refers to public worship. The Greek word (the noun) is used nowhere else in the New Testament, except in 2 Th 2:1, where it is rendered gathering together. The verb is used in Mt 23:3 Mt 24:31; Mr 1:33; 13:27; Lu 12:1; 13:34, in all which places it is rendered gathered together. It properly means an act of assembling, or a gathering together,, and is nowhere used in the New Testament in the sense of an assembly, or the church. The command, then, here is, to meet together for the worship of God, and it is enjoined on Christians as an important duty to do it. It is implied, also, that there is blame or fault where this is "neglected."

As the manner of some is. Why those here referred to neglected public worship is not specified. It may have been from such causes as the following:

(1.) Some may have been deterred by the fear of persecution, as those who were thus assembled would be more exposed to danger than others.

(2.) Some may have neglected the duty because they felt no interest in it—as professing Christians now sometimes do.

(3.) It is possible that some may have had doubts about the necessity and propriety of this duty, and on that account may have neglected it.

(4.) Or it may perhaps have been, though we can hardly suppose that this reason existed, that some may have neglected it from a cause which now sometimes operates—from dissatisfaction with a preacher, or with some member or members of the church, or with some measure in the church. Whatever were the reasons, the apostle says that they should not be allowed to operate, but that Christians should regard it as a sacred duty to meet together for the worship of God. None of the causes above suggested should deter men from this duty. With all who bear the Christian name—with all who expect to make advances in piety and religious knowledge, it should be regarded as a sacred duty to assemble together for public worship. Religion is social; and our graces are to be strengthened and invigorated by waiting together on the Lord. There is an obvious propriety that men should assemble together for the worship of the Most High, and no Christian can hope that his graces will grow, or that he can perform his duty to his Maker, without uniting thus with those who love the service of God.

But exhorting one another. That is, in our assembling together—a direction which proves that it is proper for Christians to exhort one another when they are gathered together for public worship. Indeed, there is reason to believe that the preaching in the early Christian assemblies partook much of the character of mutual exhortation.

And so much the more as ye see the day approaching. The term "day" here refers to some event which was certainly anticipated, and which was so well understood by them that no particular explanation was necessary. It was also some event that was expected soon to occur, and in relation to which there were indications then of its speedily arriving. If it had not been something which was expected soon to happen, the apostle would have gone into a more full explanation of it, and would have stated at length what these indications were. There has been some diversity of opinion about what is here referred to, many commentators supposing that the reference is to the anticipated second coming of the Lord Jesus to set up a visible kingdom on the earth; and others to the fact-that the period was approaching when Jerusalem was to be destroyed, and when the services of the temple were to cease. So far as the language is concerned, the reference might be to either event, for the word a "day" is applied to both in the New Testament. The word would properly be understood as referring to an expected period, when something remarkable was to happen, which ought to have an important influence on their character and conduct. In support of the opinion that it refers to the approaching destruction of Jerusalem, and not to the coming of the Lord Jesus to set up a visible kingdom, we may adduce the following considerations:

(1.) The term used-"day"—will as properly refer to that event as to any other. It is a word which would be likely to suggest the idea of distress, calamity, or judgment of some kind, for so it is often used in the Scriptures. Comp. Ps 37:13; 1 Sa 26:10; Jer 30:7; Eze 21:15; See Barnes "Isa 2:12".

(2.) Such a period was distinctly predicted by the Saviour, and the indications which would precede it were clearly pointed out, see Mt 24. That event was then so near, that the Saviour said that "that generation would not pass" until the prediction had been fulfilled, Mt 24:34.

(3.) The destruction of Jerusalem was an event of great importance to the Hebrews, and to the Hebrew Christians to whom this epistle was directed; and it might be reasonable to suppose that the apostle Paul would refer to it.

(4.) It is not improbable that, at the time of writing this epistle, there were indications that that day was approaching. Those indications were of so marked a character, that when the time approached they could not well be mistaken, (see Mt 24:6-12,24,26) , and it is probable that they had already begun to appear.

(5.) There were no such indications that the Lord Jesus was about to appear to set up a visible kingdom. It was not a fact that that was about to occur, as the result has shown; nor is there any positive proof that the mass of Christians were expecting it, and no reason to believe that the apostle Paul had any such expectation. See 2 Th 2:1-5.

(6.) The expectation that the destruction of Jerusalem was referred to, and was about to occur, was just that which might be expected to produce the effect on the minds of the Hebrew Christians which the apostle here refers to. It was to be a solemn and fearful event. It would be a remarkable manifestation of God. It would break up the civil and ecclesiastical polity of the nation, and would scatter them abroad. It would require all the exercise of their patience and faith in passing through these scenes. It might be expected to be a time when many would be tempted to apostatize; and it was proper, therefore, to exhort them to meet together, and to strengthen and encourage each other as they saw that that event was drawing near. The argument, then, would be this: The danger against which the apostle desired to guard those to whom he was writing was that of apostasy from Christianity to Judaism. To preserve them from this, he urges the fact that the downfall of Judaism was near, and that every indication which they saw of its approach ought to be allowed to influence them, and to guard them from that danger. It is for reasons such as these that I suppose the reference here is not to the "second advent" of the Redeemer, but to the approaching destruction of Jerusalem. At the same time, it is not improper to use this passage as an exhortation to Christians to fidelity when they shall see that the end of the world draws nigh, and when they shall perceive indications that the Lord Jesus is about to come. And so of death. We should be the more diligent when we see the indications that the great Messenger is about to come to summon us into the presence of our final Judge. And who does not know that he is approaching him with silent and steady footsteps, and that even now he may Be very near? Who can fail to see himself indications that the time approaches when he must lie down and die? Every pang that we suffer should remind us of this, and when the hair changes its hue, and time makes furrows in the cheek, and the limbs become feeble, we should regard them as premonitions that he is coming, and should be more diligent as we see that he is drawing near.

{b} "ye see the day" Ro 13:11


Verse 26. For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth. If, after we are converted and become true Christians, we should apostatize, it would be impossible to be recovered again, for there would be no other sacrifice for sin; no way by which we could be saved. This passage, however, like Heb 6:4-6, has given rise to much difference of opinion. But that the above is the correct interpretation seems evident to me from the following considerations:

(1.) It is the natural and obvious interpretation, such as would occur probably to ninety nine readers in a hundred, if there were no theory to support, and no fear that it would conflict with some other doctrine.

(2.) It accords with the scope of the epistle, which is to keep those whom the apostle addressed from returning again to the Jewish religion, under the trials to which they were subjected.

(3.) It is in accordance with the fair meaning of the language—the words, "after that we have received the knowledge of the truth," referring more naturally to true conversion than to any other state of mind.

(4.) The sentiment would not be correct if it referred to any but real Christians. It would not be true that one who had been somewhat enlightened, and who then sinned "wilfully," must look on fearfully to the judgment, without a possibility of being saved. There are multitudes of cases where such persons are saved. They willfully resist the Holy Spirit; they strive against him; they for a long time refuse to yield, but they are brought again to reflection, and are led to give their hearts to God.

(5.) It is true, and always will be true, that if a sincere Christian should apostatize, he could never be converted again. See Barnes "Heb 6:4-6".

The reasons are obvious. He would have tried the only plan of salvation, and it would have failed. He would have embraced the Saviour, and there would not have been efficacy enough in his blood to keep him, and there would be no more powerful Saviour, and no more efficacious blood of atonement. He would have renounced the Holy Spirit, and would have shown that his influences were not effectual to keep him, and there would be no other agent of greater power to renew and save him after he had apostatized. For these reasons it seems clear to me that this passage refers to true Christians, and that the doctrine here taught is, that if such an one should apostatize, he must look forward only to the terrors of the judgment, and to final condemnation. Whether this, in fact, ever occurs, is quite another question. In regard to that inquiry, see See Barnes "Heb 6:4, and following. If this view be correct, we may add, that the passage should not be regarded as applying to what is commonly known as the "sin against the Holy Ghost," or "the unpardonable sin." The word rendered "wilfully"—ekousiwv — occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, except in 1 Pe 5:2, where it is rendered willingly—" taking the oversight thereof [of the church] not by constraint, but willingly". It properly means, willingly, voluntarily, of our own accord, and applies to cases where no constraint is used. It is not to be construed here strictly, or metaphysically, for all sin is voluntary, or is committed willingly, but must refer to a deliberate act, where a man MEANS to abandon his religion, and to turn away from God. If it were to be taken with metaphysical exactness, it would demonstrate that every Christian who ever does anything wrong, no matter how small, would be lost. But this cannot, from the nature of the case, be the meaning. The apostle well knew that Christians do commit such sins, (see See Barnes "Ro 7:1") and following and his object here is not to set forth the danger of such sins, but to guard Christians against apostasy from their religion. In the Jewish law, as is indeed the case everywhere, a distinction is made between sins of oversight, inadvertence, or ignorance, (Le 4:2,13,22,27; 5:15; Nu 15:24,27-29.

Comp. Ac 3:17; 17:30,) and sins of presumption; sins that are deliberately and intentionally committed. See Ex 21:14; Nu 15:30; De 17:12; Ps 19:13.

The apostle here has reference, evidently, to such a distinction, and means to speak of a decided and deliberate purpose to break away from the restraints and obligations of the Christian religion.

There remaineth no more sacrifice for sins. Should a man do this, there is no sacrifice for sins which could save him. He would have rejected deliberately the only atonement made for sin, and there will be no other made. It is as if a man should reject the only medicine that could heal him, or push away the only boat that could save him when shipwrecked. See See Barnes "Heb 6:6".

The sacrifice made for sin by the Redeemer is never to be repeated, and if that is deliberately rejected, the soul must be lost.

{a} "if we sin willfully" Nu 15:30; Heb 6:4


Verse 27. But a certain fearful looking for of judgment. The word "certain" here does not mean fixed, sure, inevitable, as our translation would seem to imply. The Greek is the same as "a tiv fearful expectation," etc. So it is rendered by Tindall. The idea is, that if there was voluntary apostasy after having embraced the Christian religion, there could be nothing but an expectation of the judgment to come. There could be no other hope but that through the gospel, and as this would have been renounced, it would follow that the soul must perish. The "fearful apprehension" or expectation here does not refer so much to what would be in the mind itself, or what would be experienced, as to what must follow. It might be that the person referred to would have no realizing sense of all this, and still his situation be that of one who had nothing to expect but the terrors of the judgment to come.

And fiery indignation. Fire is often used in the Scriptures as an emblem of fierce punishment. The idea is, that the person referred to could expect nothing but the wrath of God.

Which shall devour the adversaries. All who become the adversaries or enemies of the Lord. Fire is often said to devour, or consume, and the meaning here is, that those who should thus become the enemies of the Lord must perish.

{b} "fiery indignation" Zep 1:18; 3:18


Verse 28. He that despised Moses' law. That is, the apostate from the religion of Moses. It does not mean that in all cases the offender against the law of Moses died without mercy, but only where offences were punishable with death, and probably the apostle had in his eye particularly the case of apostasy from the Jewish religion. The subject of apostasy from the Christian religion is particularly under discussion here and it was natural to illustrate this by a reference to a similar case under the law of Moses. The law in regard to apostates from the Jewish religion was positive. There was no reprieve, De 13:6-10.

Died without mercy. That is, there was no provision for pardon.

Under two or three witnesses. It was the settled law among the Hebrews, that in all cases involving capital punishment, two or three witnesses should be necessary. That is, no one was to be executed unless two persons certainly bore testimony, and it was regarded as important, if possible, that three witnesses should concur in the statement. The object was the security of the accused person if innocent. The principle in the law was, that it was to be presumed that two or three persons would be much less likely to conspire to render a false testimony than one would be, and that two or three would not be likely to be deceived in regard to a fact which they had observed.

{c} "that despised" De 17:2-13


Verse 29. Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy. That is, he who renounces Christianity ought to be regarded as deserving a much severer punishment than the man who apostatized from the Jewish religion, and if he ought to be so regarded he will be—for God will treat every man as he ought to be treated. This must refer to future punishment, for the severest punishment was inflicted on the apostate from the Jewish religion which can be in this world—death; and yet the apostle here says that a severer punishment than that would be deserved by him who should apostatize from the Christian faith. The reasons why so much severer punishment would be deserved are such as these: The Author of the Christian system was far more exalted than Moses, the founder of the Jewish system; he had revealed more important truths; he had increased and confirmed the motives to holiness; he had furnished more means for leading a holy life; he had given himself as a sacrifice to redeem the soul from death; and he had revealed with far greater clearness the truth that there is a heaven of glory and of holiness. He who should apostatize from the Christian faith, the apostle goes on to say, would also be guilty of the most aggravated crime of which man could be guilty —the crime of trampling under foot the Son of God, of showing contempt for his holy blood, and despising the Spirit of grace.

Who hath trodden under foot the Son of God. This language is taken either from the custom of ancient conquerors who were accustomed to tread on the necks of their enemies in token of their being subdued, or from the fact that men tread on that which they despise and contemn. The idea is, that he who should apostatize from the Christian faith would act as if he should indignantly and contemptuously trample on God's only Son. What crime could be more aggravated than this?

And hath counted the blood of the covenant. The blood of Jesus by which the new covenant between God and man was ratified. See Barnes "Mt 9:16-20".

Comp. See Barnes "Mt 26:28".

Wherewith he was sanctified. Made holy, or set apart to the service of God. The word sanctify is used in both these senses. Prof. Stuart renders it, "by which expiation is made;" and many others, in accordance with this view, have supposed that it refers to the Lord Jesus. But it seems to me that it refers to the person who is here supposed to renounce the Christian religion, or to apostatize from it. The reasons for this are such as these.

(1.) It is the natural and proper meaning of the word here rendered sanctified. This word is commonly applied to Christians in the sense that they are made holy. See Ac 20:32; 26:18; 1 Co 1:2; Jude 1:1.

Comp. Joh 10:36; 17:17.

(2.) It is unusual to apply this word to the Saviour. It is true, indeed, that he says, (Joh 17:19,) "for their sakes I sanctify myself," but there is no instance in which he says that he was sanctified by his own blood. And where is there an instance in which the word is used as meaning "to make expiation?"

(3.) The supposition that it refers to one who is here spoken of as in danger of apostasy, and not of the Lord Jesus, agrees with the scope of the argument. The apostle is showing the great guilt, and the certain destruction, of one who should apostatize from the Christian religion. In doing this, it was natural to speak of the dishonour which would thus be done to the means which had been used for his sanctification—the blood of the Redeemer. It would be treating it as if it were a common thing, or as if it might be disregarded, like anything else which was of no value.

An unholy thing. Gr. common; often used in the sense of unholy. The word is so used because that which was holy was separated from a common to a sacred use. What was not thus consecrated was free to all, or was for common use, and hence also the word is used to denote that which is unholy.

And hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace. The Holy Spirit, called the "Spirit of grace," because he confers favour or grace on men. The meaning of the phrase "done despite unto"— enubrisav —is, "having reproached, or treated with malignity or contempt?" The idea is, that if they were thus to apostatize, they would by such an act treat the Spirit of God with disdain and contempt. It was by him that they had been renewed; by him that they had been brought to embrace the Saviour, and to love God; by him that they had any holy feelings or pure desires; and if they now apostatized from religion, such an act would be, in fact, treating the Holy Spirit with the highest indignity. It would be saying that all his influences were valueless, and that they needed no help from him. From such considerations, the apostle shows that if a true Christian were to apostatize nothing would remain for him but the terrific prospect of eternal condemnation. He would have rejected the only Saviour; he would have, in fact, treated him with the highest indignity; he would have considered his sacred blood, shed to sanctify men, as a common thing, and would have shown the highest disregard for the only agent who can save the soul—the Spirit of God. How could such an one afterwards be saved? The apostle does not indeed say that any one ever would thus apostatize from the true religion, nor is there any reason to believe that such a case ever has occurred; but if it should occur the doom would be inevitable. How dangerous, then, is every step which would lead to such a precipice! And how strange and unscriptural the opinion held by so many that sincere Christians may "fall away," and be renewed again and again!

{a} "Of how much" Heb 2:3 {b} "Spirit of Grace" Mt 12:31,32


Verse 30. For we know him that hath said. We know who has said this—God. They knew this because it was recorded in their own sacred books.

Vengeance belongeth unto me, etc. This is found in De 32:35. See it explained in See Barnes "Ro 12:19".

It is there quoted to show that we should not avenge ourselves; it is here quoted to show that God will certainly inflict punishment on those who deserve it. If any should apostatize in the manner here referred to by the apostle, they would, says he, be guilty of great and unparalleled wickedness, and would have the certainty that they must meet the wrath of God.

And again, The Lord shall judge his people. This is quoted from De 32:35. That is, he will judge them when they deserve it, and punish them if they ought to be punished. The mere fact that they are his people will not save them from punishment if they deserve it, any more than the fact that one is a beloved child will save him from correction when he does wrong. This truth was abundantly illustrated in the history of the Israelites; and the same great principle would be applied should any sincere Christian apostatize from his religion. He would have before him the certainty of the most fearful and severe of all punishments.

{c} "Vengeance belongeth" De 32:35,36 {d} "again" Ps 135:14


Verse 31. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. There may be an allusion here to the request of David to "fall into the hands of the Lord, and not into the hands of men," when it was submitted to him for the sin of numbering the people, whether he would choose seven years of famine, or flee three months before his enemies, or have three days of pestilence, 2 Sa 24. He preferred "to fall into the hands of the Lord," and God smote seventy thousand men by the pestilence. The idea here is, that to fall into the hands of the Lord, after having despised his mercy and rejected his salvation, would be terrific; and the fear of this should deter from the commission of the dreadful crime. The phrase "living God" is used in the Scripture in opposition to idols. God always lives; his power is Capable of being always exerted. He is not like the idols of wood or stone which have no life, and which are not to be dreaded, but he always lives. It is the more fearful to fall into his hands because he will live for ever. A man who inflicts punishment will die, and the punishment will come to an end; but God will never cease to exist, and the punishment which he is capable of inflicting to-day he will be capable of inflicting for ever and ever. To fall into his hands, therefore, for the purpose of punishment—which is the idea here—is fearful,

(1.) because he has all power, and can inflict just what punishment he pleases;

(2) because he is strictly just, and will inflict the punishment which ought to be inflicted;

(3) because he lives for ever, and can carry on his purpose of punishment to eternal ages; and

(4) because the actual inflictions of punishment which have occurred show what is to be dreaded. So it was on the old world; on the cities of the plain; on Babylon, Idumea, Capernaum, and Jerusalem; and so it is in the world of woe—the eternal abodes of despair, where the worm never dies. All men must, in one sense, fall into his hands. They must appear before him. They must be brought to his bar when they die. How unspeakably important it is, then, now to to embrace his offers of salvation, that we may not fall into his hands as a righteous avenging Judge, and sink beneath his uplifted arm for ever!


Verse 32. But call to remembrance the former days. It would seem from this, that at the time when the apostle wrote this epistle they were suffering some severe trials, in which they were in great danger of apostatizing from their religion. It is also manifest that they had on some former occasion endured a similar trial, and had been enabled to bear it with a Christian spirit, and with resignation. The object of the apostle now is to remind them that they were sustained under those trials, and he would encourage them now to similar patience by the recollection of the grace then conferred on them. What was the nature of their former trials, or of that which they were then experiencing, is not certainly known. It would seem probable, however, that the reference in both instances is to some form of persecution by their own countrymen. The meaning is, that when we have been enabled to pass through trials once, we are to make the remembrance of the grace then bestowed on us a means of supporting and encouraging us in future trials.

After ye were illuminated. After you became Christians, or were enlightened to see the truth. This phrase, referring here undoubtedly to the fact that they were Christians, may serve to explain the disputed phrase in Heb 6:4. See Barnes "Heb 6:4".

A great fight of afflictions. The language here seems to be taken from the Grecian Games. The word "fight" means, properly, contention, combat, such as occurred in the public games. Here the idea is, that in the trials referred to they had a great struggle; that is, a struggle to maintain their faith without wavering, or against those who would have led them to apostatize from their religion. Some of the circumstances attending this conflict are alluded to in the following verses.

{*} "illuminated" "enlightened"


Verse 33. Partly. That is, your affliction consisted partly in this. The Greek is, "this"—specifying one kind of affliction that they were called to endure.

Whilst ye were made a gazing-stock. yeatrizomenoi, —you were made a public spectacle, as if in a theatre; you were held up to public view, or exposed to public scorn when this was done, or in precisely what manner, we are not told. It was not an uncommon thing, however, for the early Christians to be held up to reproach and scorn, and probably this refers to some time when it was done by rulers or magistrates. It was a common custom among the Greeks and Romans to lead criminals, before they were put to death, through the theatre, and thus to expose them to the insults and reproaches of the multitude. See the proofs of this adduced by Kuinoel on this passage. The language here seems to have been taken from this custom, though there is no evidence that the Christians to whom Paul refers had been treated in this manner.

By reproaches. Reproached as being the followers of Jesus of Nazareth; probably as weak and fanatical.

And afflictions. Various sufferings inflicted on them. They were not merely reviled in words, but they were made to endure positive sufferings of various kinds.

And partly, while ye became companions of them that were so used. That is, even when they had not themselves been subjected to these trials, they had sympathized with those who were. They doubtless imparted to them of their property, sent to them relief, and identified themselves with them. It is not known to what particular occasion the apostle here refers. In the next verse he mentions one instance in which they had done this, in aiding him when he was a prisoner.

{+} "gazing-stock" "spectacle" {a} "companions" 1 Th 2:14 {++} "used" "treated"


Verse 34. For ye had compassion of me in my bonds You sympathized with me when a prisoner, and sent to my relief. It is not known to what particular instance of imprisonment the apostle here refers. It is probable, however, that it was on some occasion when he was a prisoner in Judea, for the persons to whom this epistle was sent most probably resided there. Paul was at one time a prisoner more than two years at Cesarea, (Ac 24:27,) and during this time he was kept-in the charge of a centurion, and his friends had free access to him, Ac 24:23. It would seem not improbable that this was the occasion to which he here refers.

And took joyfully the spoiling of your goods. The plunder of your property. It was not an uncommon thing for the early Christians to be plundered. This was doubtless a part of the "afflictions" to which the apostle refers in this case. The meaning is, that they yielded their property not only without resistance, but with joy. They, in common with all the early Christians, counted it a privilege and honour to suffer in the cause of their Master. See Barnes "Php 3:10, See Barnes "Php 4:13".

Men may be brought to such a state of mind as to part with their property with joy. It is not usually the case; but religion will enable a man to do it.

Knowing in yourselves. Marg., "or, that ye have in yourselves; or, for yourselves." The true rendering is, "knowing that ye have for yourselves." It does not refer to any internal knowledge which they had of this, but to the fact that they were assured that they had laid up for themselves a better inheritance in heaven.

That ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Better than any earthly possession, and more permanent. It is

(1.) better—it is worth more —it gives more comfort—it makes a man really richer. The treasure laid up in heaven is worth more to a man than all the wealth of Croesus. It will give him more solid peace and comfort; will better serve his turn in the various situations in which he may be placed in life, and will do more on the whole to make him happy, is not said here that property is worth nothing to a man—which is not true, if he uses it well—but that the treasures of heaven are worth more.

(2.) It is more enduring. Property here soon vanishes. Riches take to themselves wings and fly away, or at any rate all that we possess must soon be left. But in heaven all is permanent and secure. No calamity of war, pestilence or famine; no change of times; no commercial embarrassment; no failure of a crop, or a bank; no fraud of sharpers and swindlers, and no act of a pick-pocket or highwayman can take it away; nor does death ever come there to remove the inhabitants of heaven from their "mansions." With this hope, therefore, Christians may cheerfully see their earthly wealth vanish, for they can look forward to their enduring and their better inheritance.

{1} "knowing" "that ye have in yourselves; or, for yourselves" {b} "heaven" Lu 12:33


Verse 35. Cast not away therefore your confidence. Gr. "your boldness;" referring to their confident hope in God. They were not to cast this away, and to become timid, disheartened, and discouraged. They were to bear up manfully under all their trials, and to maintain a steadfast adherence to God and to his cause. The command is not to "cast this away." Nothing could take it from them if they trusted in God, and it could be lost only by their own neglect or imprudence. Rosenmuller supposes (Alte und Neue Morgenland, in loc.) that there may be an allusion here to the disgrace which was attached to the act of a warrior if he cast away his shield, Among the Greeks this was a crime which was punishable with death. Alexander ab Alexand. Gen. Dier. L. ii. c. 13. Among the ancient Germans, Tacitus says, that to lose the shield in battle was regarded as the deepest dishonour, and that those who were guilty of it were not allowed to be present at the sacrifices or in the assembly of the people. Many, says he, who had suffered this calamity, closed their own lives with the halter under the loss of honour. Tac. Germ. c. 6. A similar disgrace would attend the Christian soldier if he should cast away his shield of faith. Comp. See Barnes "Eph 6:16".

Which hath great recompence of reward. It will furnish a reward by the peace of mind which it gives here, and will be connected with the rewards of heaven.

{c} "great recompense" Mt 5:12


Verse 36. For ye have need of patience. They were then suffering, and in all trials we have need of patience. We have need of it because there is in us so much disposition to murmur and repine; because our nature is liable to sink under sufferings; and because our trials are often protracted. All that Christians can do in such cases is to be patient—to lie calmly in the hands of God, and submit to his will day by day, and year by year. See Jas 1:3,4; See Barnes "Ro 5:4".

That after ye have done the will of God. That is, in bearing trials, for the reference here is particularly to afflictions.

Ye might receive the promise. The promised inheritance or reward—in heaven. It is implied here that this promise will not be received unless we are patient in our trials, and the prospect of this reward should encourage us to endure them.

{a} "patience" Lu 21:19


Verse 37. For yet a little while. There seems to be an allusion here to what the Saviour himself said, "A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me," Joh 16:16. Or more probably, it may be to Hab 2:3: "For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry." The idea which the apostle means to convey evidently is, that the time of their deliverance from their trials was not far remote.

And he that shall come will come. The reference here is, doubtless, to the Messiah. But what "coming" of his is referred to is more uncertain. Most probably the idea is, that the Messiah, who was coming to destroy Jerusalem, and to overthrow the Jewish power, (Mt 25,) would soon do this. In this way he would put a period to their persecutions and trials, as the power of the Jewish people to afflict them would be at an end. A similar idea occurs in Lu 21:28, "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." See Barnes "Lu 21:8".

The Christians in Palestine were oppressed, reviled, and persecuted by the Jews. The destruction of the city and the temple would put an end to that power, and would be, in fact, the time of deliverance for those who had been persecuted. In the passage before us, Paul intimates that that period was not far distant. Perhaps there were already "signs" of his coming, or indications that he was about to appear; and he therefore urges them patiently to persevere in their fidelity to him during the little time of trial that remained. The same encouragement and consolation may be employed still. To all the afflicted it may be said, that "he that shall come will come" soon. The time of affliction is not long. Soon the Redeemer will appear to deliver his afflicted people from all their sorrows; to remove them from a world of pain and tears; and to raise their bodies from the dust, and to receive them to mansions where trials are for ever unknown. See Barnes "Joh 14:3 1 Th 4:13-18.

{b} "yet a little while" Hab 2:3,4 {*} "come" "is to come" {+} "tarry" "delay" iv. 13—18.


Verse 38. Now the just shall live by faith. This is a part of the quotation from Habakkuk, Hab 2:3,4, which was probably commenced in the previous verse. See the passage fully explained See Barnes "Rom 1:7".

The meaning in the connexion in which it stands here, in accordance with the sense in which it was used by Habakkuk, is, that the righteous should live by continued confidence in God. They should pass their lives, not in doubt, and fear, and trembling apprehension, but in the exercise of a calm trust in God. In this sense it accords with the scope of what the apostle is here saying, he is exhorting the Christians whom he addressed to perseverance in their religion, even in the midst of many persecutions. To encourage this he says, that it was a great principle that the just—that is, all the pious—ought to live in the constant exercise of faith in God. They should not confide in their own merits, works, or strength. They should exercise constant reliance on their Maker, and he would keep them even unto eternal life. The sense is, that a persevering confidence or belief in the Lord will preserve us amidst all the trials and calamities to which we are exposed.

But if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. This also is a quotation from Hab 2:4, but from the Septuagint, not from the Hebrew. Why the authors of the Septuagint thus translated the passage it is impossible now to say. The Hebrew is rendered, in the common version, "Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him;" or more literally, "Behold the scornful; his mind shall not be happy," (Stuart;) or, as Gesenius renders it, "See, he whose soul is unbelieving shall, on this account, be unhappy." The sentiment there is, that the scorner or unbeliever in that day would be unhappy, or would not prosper—, HEBREW.

The apostle has retained the general sense of the passage; and the idea which he expresses is, that the unbeliever, or he who renounces his religion, will incur the Divine displeasure. He will be a man exposed to the Divine wrath; a man on whom God cannot look but with disapprobation. By this solemn consideration, therefore, the apostle urges on them the importance of perseverance, and the guilt and danger of apostasy from the Christian faith. If such a case should occur, no matter what might have been the former condition, and no matter what love or zeal might have been evinced, yet such an apostasy would expose the individual to the certain wrath of God. His former love could not save him, any more than the former obedience of the angels saved them from the horrors of eternal chains and darkness, or than the holiness in which Adam was created saved him and his posterity from the calamities which his apostasy incurred.


Verse 39. But we are not of them, etc. We who are true Christians do not belong to such a class. In this the apostle expresses the fullest conviction that none of those to whom he wrote would apostatize. The case which he had been describing was only a supposable case, not one which he believed would occur. He had only been stating what must happen if a sincere Christian should apostatize. But he did not mean to say that this would occur in regard to them, or in any case. He made a statement of a general principle under the Divine administration, and he designed that this should be a means of keeping them in the path to life. What could be a more effectual means than the assurance that if a Christian should apostatize he must inevitably perish for ever? See the sentiment in this verse illustrated at length in the See Barnes "Heb 6:4"

and following.

{c} "draw back" Heb 10:26 {++} "perdition" "Destruction" {&} "believe" "have faith"


(1.) It is a subject of rejoicing that we are brought under a more perfect system than the ancient people of God were. We have not merely a rude outline—a dim and shadowy sketch of religion, as they had. We are not now required to go before a bloody altar every day, and lead up a victim to be slain. We may come to the altar of God feeling that the great sacrifice has been made, and that the last drop of blood to make atonement has been shed. A pure, glorious, holy body was prepared for the Great Victim, and in that body he did the will of God, and died for our sins, Heb 10:1-10.

(2.) Like that Great Redeemer, let us do the will of God. It may lead us through sufferings, and we may be called to meet trials strongly resembling his. But the will of God is to be done alike in bearing trials, and in prayer and praise. Obedience is the great thing which he demands—which he has always sought. When his ancient people led up, in faith, a lamb to the altar, still he preferred obedience to sacrifice; and when his Son came into the world to teach us how to live, and how to die, still the great thing was obedience. He came to illustrate the nature of perfect conformity to the will of God, and he did that by a most holy life, and by the most patient submission to all the trials appointed him in his purpose to make atonement far the sins of the world. Our model, alike in holy living and holy dying, is to be the Saviour; and like him we are required to exercise simple submission to the will of God, Heb 10:1-10.

(3.) The Redeemer looks calmly forward to the time when all his foes will be brought ill submission to his feet, Heb 10:11,12. He is at the right hand of God. His great work on earth is done. He is to suffer no more. He is exalted beyond the possibility of pain and, sorrow; and he is seated now on high, looking to the period when all his foes shall be subdued, and he will be acknowledged as universal Lord.

(4.) The Christian has exalted advantages. He has access to the mercy-seat of God. He may enter by faith into the "holiest" —the very heavens where God dwells. Christ, his great High Priest, has entered there; has sprinkled over the mercy-seat with his blood, and ever lives there to plead his cause. There is no privilege granted to men like that of a near and constant access to the mercy-seat. This is the privilege not of a few; and not to be enjoyed but once in a year, or at distant intervals, but which the most humble Christian possesses, and which may be enjoyed at all times, and in all places. There is not a Christian so obscure, so poor, so ignorant, that he may not come and speak to God; and there is not a situation of poverty, want, or woe, where he may not make his wants known, with the assurance that his prayers will be heard through faith in the great Redeemer, Heb 10:19,20.

(5.) When we come before God, let our hearts be pure, Heb 10:22. The body has been washed with pure water in baptism, emblematic of the purifying influences of the Holy Spirit. Let the conscience be also pure. Let us lay aside every unholy thought. Our worship will not be acceptable; our prayers will not be heard, if it is not so. "If we regard iniquity in our hearts the Lord will not hear us." No matter though there be a great High Priest; no matter though he have offered a perfect sacrifice for sin; and no matter though the throne of God be accessible to men; yet, if there is in the heart the love of sin—if the conscience is not pure, our prayers will not be heard. Is this not one great reason why our worship is so barren and unprofitable?

(6.) It is the duty of Christians to exhort one another to mutual fidelity, Heb 10:24. We should so far regard the interests of each other as to strive to promote our mutual advance in piety. The church is one. All true Christians are brethren. Each one has an interest in the spiritual welfare of every one who loves the Lord Jesus, and should strive to increase his spiritual joy and usefulness. A Christian brother often goes astray, and needs kind admonition to reclaim him; or he becomes disheartened, and needs encouragement to cheer him on his Christian way.

(7.) Christians should not neglect to assemble together for the worship of God, Heb 10:25. It is a duty which they owe to God to acknowledge him publicly, and their own growth in piety is essentially connected with public worship. It is impossible for a man to secure the advancement of religion in his soul who habitually neglects public worship; and religion will not flourish in any community where this duty is not performed. There are great benefits growing out of the worship of God, which can be secured in no other way, God has made us social beings and he intends that the social principle shall be called into exercise in religion, as well as in other things. We have common wants, and it is proper to present them together before the mercy-seat. We have received common blessings in our creation, in the Providence of God, and in redemption; and it is proper that we should assemble together, and render united praise to our Maker for his goodness. Besides, in any community, the public worship of God does more to promote intelligence, order, peace, harmony, friendship, neatness of apparel, and purity and propriety of intercourse between neighbours, than anything else can, and for which nothing else can be a compensation. Every Christian, and every other man, therefore, is bound to lend his influence in thus keeping up the worship of God, and should always be in his place in the sanctuary. The particular thing in the exhortation of the apostle is, that this should be done even in the face of persecution. The early Christians felt so much the importance of this, that we are told they were accustomed to assemble at night, forbidden to meet in public houses of worship, they met in caves, and even when threatened with death they continued to maintain the worship of God. It may be added, that so important is this, that it should be preserved even when the preaching of the gospel is not enjoyed. Let Christians assemble together. Let them pray, and offer praise. Let them read the word of God, and an appropriate sermon. Even this will exert an influence of them and on the community of incalculable importance, and will serve to keep the flame of piety burning on the altar of their own hearts, and in the community around them.

(8.) We may see the danger of indulging in any sin, Heb 10:26,27. None can tell to what it may lead. No matter how small and unimportant it may appear at the time, yet if indulged in it will prove that there is no true religion, and will lead on to those greater offences which make shipwreck of the Christian name, and ruin the soul. He that "wilfully" and deliberately sins "after he professes to have received the knowledge of the truth," shows that his religion is but a name, and that he has never known anything of its power.

(9.) We should guard with sacred vigilance against everything which might lead to apostasy, Heb 10:26-29. If a sincere Christian should apostatize from God, he could never be renewed and saved. There would remain no more sacrifice for sins; there is no other Saviour to be provided; there is no other Holy Spirit to be sent down to recover the apostate. Since, therefore, so fearful a punishment would follow apostasy from the true religion, we may see the guilt of everything which has a tendency to it. That guilt is to be measured by the fearful consequences which would ensue if it were followed out; and the Christian should, therefore, tremble when he is on the verge of committing any sin whose legitimate tendency would be such a result.

(10.) We may learn, from the views presented in this chapter, (Heb 10:26-29,) the error of those who suppose that a true Christian may fall away and be renewed again and saved. If there is any principle clearly settled in the New Testament, it is, that if a sincere Christian should apostatize, he must perish. There would be no possibility of renewing him, He would have tried the only religion which saves men, and it would in his case have failed; he would have applied to the only blood which purifies the soul, and it would have been found inefficacious; he would have been brought under the only influence which renews the soul, and that would not have been sufficient to save him. What hope could there be? What would then save him if these would not To what would he apply—to what Saviour, to what blood of atonement, to what renewing and sanctifying agent, if the gospel, and the Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit had all been tried in vain? There are few errors in the community more directly at variance with the express teachings of the Bible than the belief that a Christian may fall away and be again renewed.

(11.) Christians, in their conflicts, their trials, and their temptations, should be strengthened by what is past, Heb 10:32-35. They should remember the days when they were afflicted, and God sustained them; when they were persecuted, and he brought them relief. It is proper also to remember, for their own encouragement now, the spirit of patience and submission which they were enabled to manifest in those times of trial, and the sacrifices which they were enabled to make. They may find in such things evidence that they are the children of God; and they should find, in their past experience, proof that he who has borne them through past trials is able to keep them unto his everlasting kingdom.

(12.) We need patience—but it is only for a little time, Heb 10:36-39. Soon all our conflicts will be over. "He that shall come will come, and will not tarry." He will come to deliver his suffering people from all their trials. He will come to rescue the persecuted from the persecutor; the oppressed from the oppressor; the down-trodden from the tyrant; and the sorrowful and sad from their woes. The coming of the Saviour to each one of the afflicted is the signal of release from sorrow; and his advent at the end of the world will be proof that all the trials of the bleeding and persecuted church are at an end. The time, too, is short before he will appear. In each individual case it is to be but a brief period before he will come to relieve the sufferer from his woes; and, in the case of the church at large, the time is not far remote when the Great Deliverer shall appear to receive "the bride," the church redeemed, to the "mansions" which he has gone to prepare.

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