Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Hebrews 8:2

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

A minister of the sanctuary - Των ἁγιων λειτουργος· A public minister of the holy things or places. The word λειτουργος, from λειτος, public, and εργον, a work or office, means a person who officiated for the public, a public officer; in whom, and his work, all the people had a common right: hence our word liturgy, the public work of prayer and praise, designed for the people at large; all having a right to attend it, and each having an equal interest in it. Properly speaking, the Jewish priest was the servant of the public; he transacted the business of the people with God. Jesus Christ is also the same kind of public officer; both as Priest and Mediator he transacts the business of the whole human race with God. He performs the holy things or acts in the true tabernacle, Heaven, of which the Jewish tabernacle was the type. The tabernacle was the place among the Jews where God, by the symbol of his presence, dwelt. This could only typify heaven, where God, in his essential glory, dwells, and is manifest to angels and glorified saints; and hence heaven is called here the true tabernacle, to distinguish it from the type.

Which the Lord pitched - The Jewish tabernacle was man's work, though made by God's direction; the heavens, this true tabernacle, the work of God alone, and infinitely more glorious than that of the Jews. The tabernacle was also a type of the human nature of Christ, John 1:14; : And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, και εσκηνωσεν εν ἡμιν and tabernacled among us; for, as the Divine presence dwelt in the tabernacle, so the fullness of the Godhead, bodily, dwelt in the man Christ Jesus. And this human body was the peculiar work of God, as it came not in the way of natural generation.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

A minister of the sanctuary - Margin, “or holy things.” Greek τῶν ἁγίων tōn hagiōnThe Greek may either mean “the sanctuary” - denoting the Holy of Holies; or “holy things.” The word “sanctuary” - קדשׁ qodesh- was given to the tabernacle or temple as a “holy place,” and the plural form which is used here - τὰ ἅγια ta hagia- was given to the most holy place by way of eminence - the full form of the name being - קדשׁ qodeshקדשׁ קדּשׁים qodesh qodâshiymor, ἅγια ἅγιων hagia hagiōn- “hagia hagion,” (Jahn‘s Arche. section 328), or as it is used here simply as τὰ ἅγια ta hagiaThe connection 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 the notes on Matthew 21:12.

And of the true tabernacle - The “real” tabernacle in heaven, of which that among the Hebrews was but the type. The word “tabernacle” - σκηνὴ skēnē- 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 afterward, was regarded as the special 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 prepared 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 Hebrews 910:

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The substance, or summary, of what had been declared was, that Christians had such a High Priest as they needed. He took upon himself human nature, appeared on earth, and there gave himself as a sacrifice to God for the sins of his people. We must not dare to approach God, or to present any thing to him, but in and through Christ, depending upon his merits and mediation; for we are accepted only in the Beloved. In all obedience and worship, we should keep close to God's word, which is the only and perfect standard. Christ is the substance and end of the law of righteousness. But the covenant here referred to, was that made with Israel as a nation, securing temporal benefits to them. The promises of all spiritual blessings, and of eternal life, revealed in the gospel, and made sure through Christ, are of infinitely greater value. Let us bless God that we have a High Priest that suits our helpless condition.
Ellen G. White
The Faith I Live By, 202.1

Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. Hebrews 8:1, 2. FLB 202.1

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Ellen G. White
Gospel Workers 1915, 22

Isaiah's humiliation was genuine. As the contrast between humanity and the divine character was made plain to him, he felt altogether inefficient and unworthy. How could he speak to the people the holy requirements of Jehovah? GW 22.1

“Then flew one of the seraphim unto me,” he writes, “having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: and he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.” GW 22.2

Then Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” and strengthened by the thought of the divine touch, he answered, “Here am I; send me.” GW 22.3

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Ellen G. White
Gospel Workers 1915, 34

If our ministers realized how soon the inhabitants of the world are to be arraigned before the judgment-seat of God, they would work more earnestly to lead men and women to Christ. Soon the last test is to come to all. Only a little longer will the voice of mercy be heard; only a little longer can the gracious invitation be given, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink.” [John 7:37.] God sends the gospel invitation to people everywhere. Let the messengers He sends work so harmoniously, so untiringly, that all will take knowledge of them that they have been with Jesus, and learned of Him. GW 34.1

Of Aaron, the high priest of Israel, it is written, He “shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually.” [Exodus 28:29.] What a beautiful and expressive figure this is of the unchanging love of Christ for His church! Our great High Priest, of whom Aaron was a type, bears His people upon His heart. And should not His earthly ministers share His love and sympathy and solicitude? GW 34.2

Divine power alone will melt the sinner's heart and bring him, a penitent, to Christ. No great reformer or teacher, not Luther, Melanchthon, Wesley, or Whitefield, could of himself have gained access to hearts, or have accomplished the results that these men achieved. But God spoke through them. Men felt the influence of a superior power, and involuntarily yielded to it. Today those who forget self and rely on God for success in the work of soul-saving, will have the divine co-operation, and their efforts will tell gloriously in the salvation of souls. GW 34.3

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Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 413

Turning again to the book of Hebrews, the seekers for truth found that the existence of a second, or new-covenant sanctuary, was implied in the words of Paul already quoted: “Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.” And the use of the word “also” intimates that Paul has before made mention of this sanctuary. Turning back to the beginning of the previous chapter, they read: “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a Minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” Hebrews 8:1, 2. GC 413.1

Here is revealed the sanctuary of the new covenant. The sanctuary of the first covenant was pitched by man, built by Moses; this is pitched by the Lord, not by man. In that sanctuary the earthly priests performed their service; in this, Christ, our great High Priest, ministers at God's right hand. One sanctuary was on earth, the other is in heaven. GC 413.2

Further, the tabernacle built by Moses was made after a pattern. The Lord directed him: “According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.” And again the charge was given, “Look that thou make them after their pattern, which was showed thee in the mount.” Exodus 25:9, 40. And Paul says that the first tabernacle “was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices;” that its holy places were “patterns of things in the heavens;” that the priests who offered gifts according to the law served “unto the example and shadow of heavenly things,” and that “Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” Hebrews 9:9, 23; 8:5; 9:24. GC 413.3

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