Archibald McLean.

A paraphrase and commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews.. (Volume 2) online

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He observes, that the first, or Sinaitic covenant,
had indeed both ordinances of divine service and
a woildly holy place, ver. 1. — Gives a particular
account of the tabernacle, and of its outer and
inner apartments, of which he speaks as of two
tabernacles, enumerating the utensils pertaining to
each, ver. 2, 3,4, 5. — That the ordinary priests went
always into the first apartment, or holy place, to
perform the service, ver. 6. but into the second,
or holy of holies, none were permitted to enter
but the high priest alone, and he only on one day
in the year, and not without blood, which he of-
fered first for his own sins, and then for the errors
of the people, ver. 7. — That by this exclusion of
all others, both people and priests, from the inner
apartment where the divine presence resided, the
Holy Spirit signified, that the way into the hea-
venly holy place was not yet manifested, or laid
open, while the first tabernacle had a standing,
ver. 8. — That this tabernacle was but a parabolic
or figurative representation unto the present time,
in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered, which,
with respect to conscience, cannot perfect him who
worshippeth only with meat and drink-offerings,
and divers immersions, and ordinances respecting
the body, which were imposed on the Israelites
until the time of reformation, when these typical
institutions were to be laid aside, ver. 9, 10.

He next contrasts the ministry of Christ in
heaven with that of the Levitical high-priests in
the earthly tabernacle, and shews, That Christ


being- come, an Hio]]-priest of future pr-ooil tliins^.s,
through the service of a greater and more ])erfect
tabernacle, not made with hands like the Mosaic,
that is, not of this creation, nor by the blood of
goats and of calves, such as the legal high-priests
offered, but by his own Idood, he entered once for
all into the heavenly holy place, having obtained,
not an annual, but an eternal redemption for us,
ver. 11, 12. — And he argues that it is highly rea-
sonable to believe that the blood of Christ should
have such efficacy ; for if the blood of bulls and oi
goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the
unclean, had the effect, by virtue of divine appoint-
ment, to free the Israelites from temporal punish-
ments, to cleanse their bodies from ceremonial
defilements, and to fit them for approaching God
with acceptance in the tabernacle worship ; — how
much more must the blood of Christ, who throuirh
the eternal Spirit offered himself without fault to
God, be effectual, not only by divine appointment
but intrinsic worth, to cleanse the conscience of
sinners from the guilt of sin, and fit them for wor-
shipping the living God in spirit and in truth, ver.
13, 14.^ — That for this reason he is the mediator
of a new covenant, that his death being accom-
plished for the expiation of the transgressions com-
mitted under the first covenant, the faitliful of all
ages and nations may receive the promise of the
eternal inheritance, ver. 15.

To shew that it was necessary that \\\v new
covenant should be ratified bv the dealli of Christ,

n ^


he compares it in this respect to a testament, which
is of no force or validity till ratified by the death
of the testator, ver. 16, 17. Accordingly God's
covenants with sinfid men have ever since the fall,
been made and ratified by the death and blood of
sacrifice : and this, he particularly observes, was
the case with the first or Sinaitic covenant, which
was solemnly ratified and dedicated by slaying
sacrifices and sprinkling the blood on the book and
people, ver. 18, 19, 20. — That Moses afterwards
likewise sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle
and all the vessels of the ministry; nay, that
almost all things are according to the law, purified
with blood, and that without shedding of blood
there is no remission, ver. 21, 22. — That it was
indeed necessary that the representations of the
heavenly holy places should be purified, or made
accessible, by the blood of slain animals ; but this
only shewed that the heavenly holy places them-
selves required a better sacrifice to render them
accessible, namely, that of the Son of God, ver. 23.
Accordingly he observes, that Christ hath not
entered with his sacrifice into the holy places made
with hands, which were only the figures of the
true holy places; but into heaven itself, now to
appear in the presence of God on our account, ver.
24. — Nor was it necessary to this end that he
should offer himself often, as the high-priest en^
tereth into the earthly holy place with fresh blood
of animals every year ; for as his death on earth
would have been nccessarv to-cverv such offerino-


he must in that case have often suffered since the
foundation of the world : But now once, at the
conckision of the ages, he hath been manifested to
abolish all farther sin-offerings, by the one effec-
tual sacrifice of himself, ver. 25, 26. And as it is
appointed to men to die but once as the punish-
ment of Adam's sin, and after that to be judged
according to their personal conduct; so Christ was
offered but once to bear the sins of many ; and
having thereby obtained eternal redemption for
them (ver. 12.) he will appear a second time to
them who wait for him ; not to offer another sacri-
fice for sin, but to put them in possession of eternal
salvation, ver. 27. 28.


Chap. IX. 1. Now the first covenant indeed
had both ordinances of worship, and a worldly
scuictnary or holy place.

2. For a tabernacle was prepared consisting of
two apartments, the first in which was the candle-
stick, and the table, and the shew-bread ; which.

first apartment is called The Holy j^^oce.

3. And behind the second vail there is the inner
tabernacle, which is called The Holy of Holies ;

4. Having the golden censer ow> which the high-
priest burned incense when he entered there, and the
ark of the covenant, covered every where without
and within with gold, in which inner tabernacle were.


ako the g"ol(leii pot having the iiiaiiiia, and the rod
of Aaron which budded, and within the ark the
tables of the covenant ;

5. And above it the Cherubim of glory, with
outstretched wings overshadowing the mercy-seat,
or cover of the ark, where the (j lory of tlie Lord rested
as on a throne ; concerning which things it is not
now mg design to speak particularly.

6. Now these things being thus prepared, the
ordinary priests go indeed at all times into the first
or oi^/er tabernacle, accomplishing the services:

7. But into the second, or inner tabernacle, the
high-priest alone goeth once every year, not with-
out blood, which he offereth for his own and the
people's sins of ignorance :

8. The Holy Spirit, hg excluding all others from
the inner tabernacle, signifying this, that the way
of the true holy place, represented bg that inner taber-
nacle, was not yet made manifest while the first
tabernacle had a standing.

9. Which was a parable, or figurative representa-
tion, unto the present time, in which both gifts and
sacrifices are offered, which cannot, with respect
to conscience, make perfect him who worshippeth

10. Only with offerings of meats and drinks,
and with divers immersions, and ordinances re-
specting the pnirifying of the flesh, imposed until the
time of reformation.

11. Eut Christ being come, an High-priest of
future good i\\\n^s, jyrocured through the services of


a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made
with hands, that is, not of this creation :

12. Neither by the blood of g-oats, and of calves,
bat by his own blood, he entered once into the
heavenly holy places, having- obtained eternal re-
demption ybr us,

13. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and
the ashes of an heifer sprinkling* the unclean, sanc-
tify to the purifying- of the i\ef^\v from ceremonial
defilements, and fit them for admission to the taber-
nacle worship,

14. How much more shall the blood of Christ,
who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself
without fault to God, cleanse your conscience
from the guilt of dead works to serve the living

15. And for this reasoji he is the mediator of the
new covenant, that death being undergone for the
redemption of the transgressions committed against
the first covenant, the called and fait/ ful may re-
ceive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

16. This n£w covenant which Jias the promise of
the eternal inheritance, may he compared to a lust will
or testament in respect of its ratif cation ; for where
a confirmed testament is, the death of the testator
must necessarily be brought in,

17. For a testament is firm over the dead ;
otherwise it hath not any force whilst the testator
iiveth : So neither was the new covenant confirmed
without the death or sacrifice of Christ.


18. Hence it is that the first or Sinaitic covenant
was not dedicated without blood.

19. For when Moses had spoken every precept,
according to the law, to all the people, taking the
blood of calves and of goats with water, and scar-
let wool, and hyssop, lie sprinkled both the book
of the law itself and all the people,

20. Saying, "This 2,9 the blood of the covenant
*' which God hath enjoined unto you,'* Exod.
xxiv. 7, 8.

21. Moreover, both the tabernacle, and all the
vessels of the divine service jvhich were afterwards
made and set in order, he in like manner sprinkled
with blood.

22. And almost all things are, according to the
law, cleansed with sacrificial blood; and without
shedding of blood there is no remission of sins,

23. It was therefore necessary indeed that the
typical representations of things in the heavens,
such as tlie tabernacle and all its sacred utensils, should
be cleansed by these sacrifices ; but the heavenly
things themselves, which they typified, by better sa-
crifices than these.

24. For Christ hath not entered 7vith his sacrifice
into the holy places made with hands, which are only
figures [Gr. antitypes] of the true holy j^hces ;
but into heaven itself, now to appear in the itmnedi-
diate presence of God on our account.

25. Nor did he enter there that he misfht offer
himself often, as the high-priest entereth into the


holy places every year with other blood than his


26. For then he must often have suffered death
since the foundation of the world ; but now once,
at the conclusion of the ages, he hath been mani-
fested to abolish all farther sin-offering by the sa-
crifice of himself.

27. And like as it is appointed to men to die
hilt once, on account of the sin of the first man, and
after that the judgment takes place ;

28. Even so the Christ having been offered once
to bear away the sins of many, will, to them that
wait for him, appear a second time without a sin-
offering unto their complete salvation.


Ver. 1, Then verily the first covenant-] Many co-
pies read ^ zj^cSIn axnvn, the first tabernacle, and others of
good authority have only ^ Tr^cuh, the first, without the
substantive, which some think should be tabernacle, and
others covenant. Those of the former opinion go back to
ver. 5. of the preceding chapter for the connection, wlierc
the tabernacle and its service is mentioned, and consider
all that follows respecting the two covenants, from that
to this, as included in a parentliesis. But it is more
natural, and suits the apostle's argument at least equally
well, to understand by the first here, the Sinaitic covenant,
which is twice termed the first in the foregoing chapter,
ver. 7, 13, and also twice expressly montionc<l, ver. iK
Besides, tabernacle here would make a tautoloo y in tjiis


witli the beginning of vcr. 2. For these reasons I think
our English translators have very properly supplied the
word covenant in this place. The apostle observes, that
the first or Sinaitic covenant

— had also ordinances of divine service — ] It had a va-
riety of ceremonial and typical ordinances of religious
worship pertaining to it, and which were to be performed
by the priests in behalf of the people, exactly according
to the manner prescribed.

— and a zcorldly sanctuary^^ Two things belonged to
the first covenant. It had both ordinances of divine ser-
vice, and a holy place fitted up for, and appropriated to
the celebration of these divine ordinances. As the word
sanctuary is commonly used to signify a place of refuge,
safety, and protection, and not of divine service, I think
that ayiov here should have been translated holy place, as
it literally signifies. It is sometimes used to distinguish
the outer apartment of the tabernacle, from the inner or
most holy place, as in Exod. xxvi. 33. Heb. ix. 2. At
other times, it is used more largely, and comprehends the
whole of that sacred edifice or tent which Moses erected
in the wilderness, and is most frequently termed the taber-
nacle, as in chap. viii. 5. and in this sense I understand the
^vord ayjov to be used here.

It is termed ayiov xoafxiKov a worldly sanctuary, or holy
place, not to distinguish it from the inner apartment
of the tabernacle, or holy of holies, which was a figure
of heaven, nor because it was a representation of the
world, or universe, as some have imagined ; but it is so
called because it was placed on earth, made of worldly
matedals, and with human hands, which things appjy to
the whole of the Mosaic tabernacle ; and it is also termed
worldly, by way of opposition to stth^ocviov or heavenly,
chap. viii. 5. namely, heaven itself, where Christ has
entered to exercise his ministry, see chap. ix. II, 12,24.
and of which that worldly holy place was only a figure.
The apostle now proceeds to describe this worldly holy


place or tabernacle, and its outer and inner apartments,
with their respective utensils.

Ver. 2. For there zvas a tabernacle made — ] Its whole
structure, and all that pertained to it, was prepared and
fitted up exactly according to the model which God shewed
to Moses on the mount, chap. viii. 5. We may observe
here, that the apostle's reasoning in this epistle respecting
the place of \vorship, and the priestly services, is founded
on the original institution of the tabernacle and its ser-
vices by Moses, and not on the temple and its services as
appointed by David and Solomon, though these also were
under divine direction. As to the dimensions and form
of the Mosaic tabernacle, it was thirty cubits, or forty-five
feet in length, ten cubits, or fifteen feet in breadth, and
the same in height, so that it formed an oblong square.
It was divided into two parts, which are spoken of as
tabernacles ;

—the first— ] Namely, tabernacle, meaning the first di-
vision of it, or that part of it which presented itself first in
entering from without. This was that sacred apartment
—wherein was the candlestick—] The candlestick was
placed towards the south, it weighed a talent of beaten
gold and was all of one piece ; from its shaft proceedetl
six branches, three on each side, and a seventh in the
middle, with a lamp on the top of each of them, con-
taining pure olive oil and a wick for burning. These were
trimmed and recruited by the ofiiciating priest every
morning and evening, See Exod. xxv. 31 — 39. chap.
xxvii.20. Who would have thought that a late learned
and judicious commentator should not only imagine, that
'* the outward tabernacle was a representation of the
" mundane system," but also suppose, with Josephus,
'' that the seven lamps of the candlestick were emlilems of
'' the seven planets, whereby our world is enliglitcned !"
—and the table— ~\ This table was made of Sl.itlim
wood, and was placed towards the noidi; it was two
cubits, or three feet in length, and one cubil, or a foot and


a half in breadth, and a cubit and a half, or two feet three
inches in height, and was covered over with pure gold.
See Exod. xxv. 23—26.

— n?id the shezc-hread; — ] The Hebrew literally is the
bread of the face, or, of the presence; the Greek here
is r) TT^oOsais rm a{iuv, and imports the loaves or cakes
which were set before the face of the Lord in the holy
place. These loaves were twelve in number, according
to the number of the tribes of Israel, and they were
placed on the golden table before mentioned, in two
rows or piles, six in a pile one above another. They
were of a considerable size, as each of them contained
two tenth deals of fine flour, which some reckon about
six wine pints. Every Sabbath day fresh loaves were
placed on the table, and the stale ones removed, which
none were permitted to eat but the family of Aaron, and
that in the holy place. See Lev. xxiv. 3 — 9. Mat. xii. 4.
The commentator above alluded to, considers the twelve
loaves of the shew-bread as ** a representation of the pro-
<* ductions of the earth, by which the lives of men and
« beasts are sustained." So that, according to him, all the
things hitherto mentioned represented nothing of a spirit-
ual, but only of a worldly and material nature. But it
is plain that the whole tabernacle, with its furniture and
priestly services, were shadowy representations of hea-
venly things, chap. viii. 5. though the apostle's design in
this verse is not to explain the mystical meaning of the
particulars mentioned, but to shew that they belonged to
that part of the tabernacle

— which is called the sanctuary^] That is, the first
apartment of the tabernacle, called ayioc, Holy or Holies ;
for, as Peirce observes, ** It is doubtful whether we
" are to take ayta, to be plural, and so to render it the
'< sanctuary, or whether we should read it in the singu-
" lar ayia, and so turn the place with our margin. Which
" [first tabernacle] is called holy.*' The sense, however,
is the same.


Ver. 3. And after the second vail, the tabernacle tvhich
is called the holiest of all/] A first vail is Iiore implied,
and it was that which covered the entry into the first apart-
ment or holy place, of which we read, Exod. xxvi. 30,-37.
chap, xxxvi. 37. The second vail was that which sepa-
rated the inner from the outer apartment of the tabernacle
Exod. xxvi. 31 — 33. xxxi. 35. It was a large curtain of
various colours, and of very curious workmanship. See
Exod. xxvi. 31 — 35. After, or behind this second vail
there was the tabernacle, or that inner part of the taber-
nacle which is called the Holiest of all, <xyia. acyiuv literally
the Holy of Holies, it being as it were the presence cham-
ber of the God of Israel, where he fixed his dwellinir and
throne among them, and manifested himself in the most
illustrious emblems of majesty and glory ; and to Him as
dwelling there, all their religious worship was directed,
it being a representation of heaven. It was this glorious

Ver. 4. Which had the golden censer, — ] The censer
was a kind of vessel in which live coals were put for burn-
ing incense, and its use on the day of the yearly atone-
ment is thus described, «* And he," viz. the high-priest,
'* shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from ofi^the
" altar before the Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense
" beaten small, and bring it within the vail : And he shall
" put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the
*' cloud of incense may cover the mercy-seat that is unon
•'• the testimony, that he die not." Lev. xvi. 12, 13.
Some suppose that the golden altar is here meant and not
the golden censer, and that though it was not situated
within the holy of holies, yet it may be said to have had it
in respect of use ; but I know of no reading that favours
this opinion: The holy of holies had the golden censer
even as it had the ark ; for the word e^H^ic e((iially refers
to both, and imports that they were contained in it, which
the golden altar never was. I therefore understand the
apostle to mean the golden censer as is here expressed.


and vvliioli JoRcpluis filso testifies was kept in the lioly of
holies, Lih, it. contra Appion. But as the liigh priest durst
not enter tlic holy of holies at all without carrying with
him the censer with the burning- coals and incense, a ques-
tion occurs how he could come by the censer if it was kept
there ? To this it is answered, that it might be placed there
just within the vail, and within reach of his hand, so that
he could take it hence without entering into it himself.
— and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about zoith
gold, — ^] The yciQcJlos, or ark, was a chest three feet nine
inches in length, two feet three inches in breadth, and
the same in height. See Exod. xxxvii. 1. It is termed,
the ark of the covenant, hGC'Hw.^e it contained the two tables
of the covenant, as they are afterwards called. It was a
rich and most beautiful piece of workmanship, being- over-
laid round about with gold. We are told that Bezaleel
" over-laid it with pure gold within and without, and made
'' a crown of gold to it round about." Exod. xxxvii. 2.
This crown of gold seems to have been a border round the
top of it, both for ornament, and for fixing the lid or
mercy-seat more firmly upon it.

— wherein was the golden pot that had manna, — ] As it
is expressly said " There was nothing in the ark, save
" the two tables of stone which Moses put there at Horeb,
1 Kings viii. 9. and 2 Chron. v. 10. it is thought that the
words ev vi ivhereiri or in which, refer to (Dto^vo} the tabernacle,
called the holiest of all, and that the sense is, '' in which
** tabernacle was the golden pot," &c. Or, if the pronoun
r) refers to the ark, which is more likely, it may be ex-
plained by what Moses commanded respecting the book
of the law which he had written, probably the whole penta-
teuch ; " Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of
the ark," Deut. xxxi.2(),thatis, in a repository fixed to the
sideoftheark (SeeAiNswoRTiiandPATRTcK on thatplace).
In like manner, the golden pot and Aaron's rod might be
deposited in or by the side of the ark, for they were not
put within it. In this golden pot was put an omer, or


about six pinfs of tlie manna wliorcwith God fed t!io chil-
dren of Israel forty years in the wilderness, and it was
laid up before the Lord to be kept as a memorial for their
generations. See Exod. xvi. 33, 34.
— and Aaron^s rod that budded, — ] This rod of Aaron
though but a dry stick, yet the Lord caused it not only to
bud, but to blossom and bear almonds, to shew that he had
chosen the house of Aaron to the priesthood in preference
to all others ; therefore it was laid up before the testimony
in the holy of holies, as a token and memorial of this*
See Num. xvii.2 — IL

— and the tables of the covenant : — ] Namely, the two
tables of stone containing" the Ten Commandments, which
were written by the finger of God, Exod. xxxiv. L These
were called, the tables of the covenant, J) exit, ix. 0, 11, 15.
because they contained the words of the covenant made
with Israel, and also called the tables of the testimony or
witness, Exod. xxxi. 18. xxxii. 15. because they were
a standing- witness of that covenant, and testified both what
God required of them, and the obedience they had pro-
mised: And as these tables were deposited within the ark,
hence the ark itself was termed the ark of the testimonih
Exod. XXV. 22. chap. xxix. 35.

Ver. 5. And over it the cherubim of glory, shadowinfy

Online LibraryArchibald McLeanA paraphrase and commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews.. (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 24)