Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Hebrews 9:6 - 9:10

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Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Hebrews 9:6 - 9:10

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

The ministry of the Old Testament priests imperfect:

v. 6. Now, when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.

v. 7. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the errors of the people;

v. 8. the Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest while as the first tabernacle was yet standing;

v. 9. which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;

v. 10. which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

The sacred writer now refers to the form of worship in these two parts of the Tabernacle: These matters having been thus arranged, into the fore tent, indeed, the priests enter continually, accomplishing their ministrations, but into the inner the high priest alone once a year, not without blood. When the Tabernacle had been constructed according to God's directions and all the equipment put into place as He had ordered, the priests took up their work, performing all the acts of their ministerial office as the Law prescribed. Their work took them into the outer tent every day, regularly, since the offering of incense had to be done both morning and evening, Exo_30:7-9. The lamp also, with its everlasting light, had to be trimmed with the same regularity. But so far as the inner tabernacle was concerned, the daily use and entrance of the Most Holy Place was forbidden. Only once every year, on the tenth day of the seventh month, the high priest, and he alone, entered into this shrine, performing the special work which was laid upon him by the precepts of the Day of Atonement. At least three times he put aside the heavy curtain which veiled the Most Holy Place, taking with him first the incense, then the blood of the bullock, which atoned for his own sins and those of his house, and finally the blood of the goat for the sins of the people. The offering of blood, therefore, the sprinkling of blood against the mercy-seat, was the essential part of the high priest's ministry on that day. See Lev_16:1-34. That was the divine rule for the performance of the priestly functions in the Tabernacle and, to some extent, in the Temple.

But all this was typical and prophetical for the time of the New Testament: The Holy Spirit signifying this, that the way into the Holiest was not yet manifest as long as the first tent still was in place. While the worship of the Jews was still being carried on in Tabernacle and Temple, in a so-called Most Holy Place, while the veil still separated even the priests from the shrine, the inner sanctuary, during the entire time of the Old Testament, in fact, the Holy Spirit intimated that the true access to God had not yet been furnished, that the restoration of perfect fellowship between God and man had not yet taken place. "The very object of the division of the Tabernacle into two rooms, an outer and an inner, was to impress men with the fact that the way of access had not actually been disclosed. " (Dods.) Now that the veil has been rent, matters have reached a different stage, Mat_27:50-51. There is no more need of a Levitical priesthood; we have unhindered access to the Throne of Grace.

But so far as the Tabernacle and its appointments were concerned, the writer again emphasizes: Which is a figure for the time present, according to which are offered both gifts and sacrifices that cannot possibly make him that renders the service perfect as pertaining to conscience, relating only to food and drink and a variety of washings, ordinances of the flesh imposed until the time of correction. The fact that there was a first part of the Tabernacle distinct from the Most Holy Place was a continual lesson for the time being, for the time and the people of the Old Testament; whenever they looked at the double tent and remembered its significance, they were to think of the more perfect way of salvation which was to be revealed in the Messianic period. It was in accordance with the purpose of the Tabernacle that men brought gifts and sacrifices; these offerings were required of them at that time. But all these sacrifices in themselves could not possibly render the conscience of any worshiper perfect and clean. They were of no real value in themselves, but only inasmuch as they were types of the perfect offering to be made by Christ. These gifts and sacrifices were connected only with matters of food and drink, Lev_11:1-47; Num_6:2-4; Lev_10:8-11; Lev_11:34, with various washings, religious ablutions for the purpose of ceremonial purification, Exo_29:4; Lev_11:1-47; Lev_14:2-9; Lev_15:5-13; Lev_16:4; Lev_16:24-28; Num_8:7; Num_19:17-21. All these were merely external ordinances pertaining to the flesh, to the consecration of the body, and they were supposed to remain in force only until the time of emendation, or correction, until the better covenant would be inaugurated and be in force. Thus it was evident that the entire Old Testament was imperfect and could not produce perfection, could put no man into such a state as would make him acceptable before God.