INFERIORITY OF THE
OLD TO THE
COVENANT IN THE
1. Then verily--Greek, "Accordingly then." Resuming the
In accordance with the command given to Moses, "the first covenant
had--not "has," for as a covenant it no longer existed,
though its rites were observed till the destruction of Jerusalem.
ordinances--of divine right and institution.
a worldly sanctuary--Greek, "its (literally,
'the') sanctuary worldly," mundane; consisting of the elements
of the visible world. Contrasted with the heavenly sanctuary.
Heb 9:11, 12,
"not of this building,"
Material, outward, perishing (however precious its materials were), and
also defective religiously. In
"the worldly sanctuary" is discussed; in
&c., the "ordinances of worship." The outer tabernacle the Jews
believed, signified this world; the Holy of Holies,
heaven. JOSEPHUS calls the outer, divided
into two parts, "a secular and common place," answering to "the earth
and sea"; and the inner holiest place, the third part, appropriated to
God and not accessible to men.
2. Defining "the worldly tabernacle."
a tabernacle--"the tabernacle."
made--built and furnished.
the first--the anterior tabernacle.
candlestick . . . table--typifying light and
The candlestick consisted of a shaft and six branches of gold, seven in
all, the bowls made like almonds, with a knop and a flower in one
branch. It was carried in Vespasian's triumph, and the figure is to be
seen on Titus' arch at Rome. The table of shittim wood, covered
with gold, was for the showbread
showbread--literally, "the setting forth of the loaves," that
is, the loaves set forth: "the show of the bread" [ALFORD]. In the outer holy place: so the Eucharist
continues until our entrance into the heavenly Holy of Holies
which, &c.--"which (tabernacle) is called the holy place," as
distinguished from "the Holy of Holies."
3. And--Greek, "But."
second veil--There were two veils or curtains, one before the
Holy of Holies (catapetasma), here alluded to, the other before
the tabernacle door (calumma).
called--as opposed to "the true."
4. golden censer--The Greek, must not be translated
"altar of incense," for it was not in "the holiest" place "after
the second veil," but in "the holy place"; but as in
and Eze 8:11,
"censer": so Vulgate and Syriac. This
GOLDEN censer was only used on the day of
atonement (other kinds of censers on other days), and is therefore
associated with the holiest place, as being taken into it on
that anniversary by the high priest. The expression "which had," does
not mean that the golden censer was deposited there, for in that case
the high priest would have had to go in and bring it out before burning
incense in it; but that the golden censer was one of the articles
belonging to, and used for, the yearly service in the holiest
place. He virtually supposes (without specifying) the existence of the
"altar of incense" in the anterior holy place, by mentioning the
golden censer filled with incense from it: the incense answers to
the prayers of the saints; and the altar though outside the
holiest place, is connected with it (standing close by the second
veil, directly before the ark of the covenant), even as we find an
antitypical altar in heaven. The rending of the veil by Christ has
brought the antitypes to the altar, candlestick, and showbread of the
anterior holy place into the holiest place, heaven. In
Hebrew, "the altar" is said to belong to the
oracle, or holiest place (compare
ark--of shittim wood, that is, acacia. Not in the second temple,
but in its stead was a stone basement (called "the stone of
foundation"), three fingers high.
pot--"golden," added in the Septuagint, and sanctioned by
manna--an omer, each man's daily portion. In
it is said there was nothing in the ark of Solomon's temple save the
two stone tables of the law put in by Moses. But the expression that
there was nothing THEN therein save the two
tables, leaves the inference to be drawn that formerly there were the
other things mentioned by the Rabbis and by Paul here, the pot of manna
(the memorial of God's providential care of Israel) and the rod of
Aaron, the memorial of the lawful priesthood
(Nu 17:3, 5, 7, 10).
The expressions "before the Lord"
and "before the testimony"
thus mean, "IN the ark." "In," however, may be
used here (as the corresponding Hebrew word) as to things
attached to the ark as appendages, as the book of the law was
put "in the side of the ark," and so the golden jewels
offered by the Philistines
tables of the covenant--
(De 9:9; 10:2).
5. over it--over "the ark of the covenant."
cherubim--representing the ruling powers by which God acts in
the moral and natural world. (See on
Hence sometimes they answer to the ministering angels; but mostly to
the elect redeemed, by whom God shall hereafter rule the world and set
forth His manifold wisdom: redeemed humanity, combining in, and with
itself, the highest forms of subordinate creaturely life; not angels.
They stand on the mercy seat, and on that ground become the
habitation of God, from which His glory is to shine upon the world.
They expressly say,
"Thou hast redeemed us." They are there distinguished from
the angels, and associated with the elders. They were of one piece
with the mercy seat, even as the Church is one with Christ: their sole
standing is on the blood-sprinkled mercy seat; they gaze down at it as
the redeemed shall for ever; they are "the habitation of God through
of glory--The cherubim were bearers of the divine
glory, whence, perhaps, they derive their name. The Shekinah, or
cloud of glory, in which Jehovah appeared between the cherubim
over the mercy seat, the lid of the ark, is doubtless the reference.
THOLUCK thinks the twelve loaves of the showbread
represent the twelve tribes of the nation, presented as a
community before God consecrated to Him (just as in the Lord's
Supper believers, the spiritual Israel, all partaking of the one bread,
and becoming one bread and one body, present themselves before the Lord
as consecrated to Him,
1Co 10:16, 17);
the oil and light, the pure knowledge of the Lord, in which the
covenant people are to shine (the seven (lights), implying
perfection); the ark of the covenant, the symbol of God's kingdom in
the old covenant, and representing God dwelling among His own; the ten
commandments in the ark, the law as the basis of union between God and
man; the mercy seat covering the law and sprinkled with the blood of
atonement for the collective sin of the people, God's mercy [in Christ]
stronger than the law; the cherubim, the personified [redeemed]
creation, looking down on the mercy seat, where God's mercy, and God's
law, are set forth as the basis of creation.
mercy seat--Greek, "the propitiatory": the golden cover
of the ark, on which was sprinkled the blood of the propitiatory
sacrifice on the day of atonement; the footstool of Jehovah, the
meeting place of Him and His people.
we cannot--conveniently: besides what met the eye in the
sanctuary, there were spiritual realities symbolized which it would
take too long to discuss in detail, our chief subject at present being
the priesthood and the sacrifices. "Which" refers not
merely to the cherubim, but to all the contents of the sanctuary
6. The use made of the sanctuary so furnished by the high priest
on the anniversary of atonement.
always--twice at the least every day, for the morning and
evening care of the lamps, and offering of incense
(Ex 30:7, 8).
went--Greek, "enter": present tense.
7. once every year--the tenth day of the seventh month. He
entered within the veil on that day twice at least. Thus "once"
means here on the one occasion only. The two, or possibly more,
entrances on that one day were regarded as parts of the one whole.
not without blood--
errors--Greek, "ignorances": "inadvertent errors." They
might have known, as the law was clearly promulged, and they were bound
to study it; so that their ignorance was culpable (compare
Though one's ignorance may mitigate one's punishment
it does not wholly exempt from punishment.
8. The Holy Ghost--Moses himself did not comprehend the typical
(1Pe 1:11, 12).
signifying--by the typical exclusion of all from the holiest,
save the high priest once a year.
the holiest of all--heaven, the antitype.
the first tabernacle--the anterior tabernacle, representative of
the whole Levitical system. While it (the first tabernacle, and
that which represents the Levitical system) as yet "has a
standing" (so the Greek, that is, "has continuance":
"lasts"), the way to heaven (the antitypical "holiest place")
is not yet made manifest (compare
Heb 10:19, 20).
The Old Testament economy is represented by the holy place, the New
Testament economy by the Holy of Holies. Redemption, by Christ, has
opened the Holy of Holies (access to heaven by faith now,
Heb 4:16; 7:19, 25; 10:19, 22;
by sight hereafter,
Re 11:19; 21:2, 3)
to all mankind. The Greek for "not yet" (me po) refers to
the mind of the Spirit: the Spirit intimating that men should not
think the way was yet opened [TITTMANN]. The
Greek negative, "ou po," would deny the fact
objectively; "me po" denies the thing subjectively.
9. Which--"The which," namely, anterior tabernacle:
"as being that which was" [ALFORD].
figure--Greek, "parable": a parabolic setting forth of
the character of the Old Testament.
for--"in reference to the existing time." The time of
the temple-worship really belonged to the Old Testament, but
continued still in Paul's time and that of his Hebrew readers.
"The time of reformation"
stands in contrast to this, "the existing time"; though, in reality,
"the time of reformation," the New Testament time, was now
present and existing. So "the age to come," is the phrase
applied to the Gospel, because it was present only to believers,
and its fulness even to them is still to come. Compare
"good things to come."
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