But Christ being come a high priest of good things - I think this and the succeeding verses not happily translated: indeed, the division of them has led to a wrong translation; therefore they must be taken together, thus: But the Christ, the high priest of those good things (or services) which were to come, through a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is, not of the same workmanship, entered once for all into the sanctuary; having obtained eternal redemption for us, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, Hebrews 9:13. For if the blood of Goats, and bulls, and calves, and a heifer's ashes, sprinkled on the unclean, sanctifieth to the cleansing of the flesh, ( Hebrews 9:14;), how much more shall the blood of Christ, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, cleanse your consciences from dead works, in order to worship (or that ye may worship) the living God?
In the above translation I have added, in Hebrews 9:13, τραγων, of goats, on the authority of ABDE, three others, the Syriac, the Arabic of Erpen, Coptic, Vulgate, two copies of the Itala, and Theodoret. And I have rendered εις το λατρευειν, ( Hebrews 9:14;), In Order to worship, or That Ye May worship; for this is the meaning of these particles εις το in many parts of the New Testament. I shall now make a few observations on some of the principal expressions.
High priest of good things - Or services, to come, των μελλοντων αγαθων . He is the High Priest of Christianity; he officiates in the behalf of all mankind; for by him are all the prayers, praises, and services of mankind offered to God; and he ever appears in the presence of God for us.
A greater and more perfect tabernacle - This appears to mean our Lord's human nature. That, in which dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, was fitly typified by the tabernacle and temple, in both of which the majesty of God dwelt.
Not made with hands - Though our Lord's body was a perfect human body, yet it did not come in the way of natural generation; his miraculous conception will sufficiently justify the expressions used here by the apostle.
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 Hebrews 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 favor; 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 - διὰ 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 Hebrews 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 prepared by God himself; see notes on 2 Corinthians 5:1. Not of this building - Greek “of this “creation” - κτίσεως ktiseōsThe meaning is, that the place where he officiates is not made by human power and art, but is the work of God. The object is to show that his ministry is altogether more perfect than what could be rendered by a Jewish priest, and performed in a temple which could not have been reared by human skill and power.
Not made with hands - A phrase that properly describes heaven as being prepared by God himself; see notes on 2 Corinthians 5:1.
Not of this building - Greek “of this “creation” - κτίσεως ktiseōsThe meaning is, that the place where he officiates is not made by human power and art, but is the work of God. The object is to show that his ministry is altogether more perfect than what could be rendered by a Jewish priest, and performed in a temple which could not have been reared by human skill and power.
4. Paul a Friend of the Erring—The apostle Paul found it necessary to reprove wrong in the church, but he did not lose his self-control in reproving error. He anxiously explains the reason of his action. How carefully he wrought so as to leave the impression that he was a friend of the erring! He made them understand that it cost him pain to give them pain. He left the impression upon their minds that his interest was identified with theirs [2 Corinthians 2:4 quoted] (Letter 16a, 1895). 6BC 1094.1
11 (Ephesians 6:12; see EGW on 2 Corinthians 4:3-6; 13:5). Give Satan No Advantage—In the conflict with satanic agencies there are decisive moments that determine the victory either on the side of God or on the side of the prince of this world. If those engaged in the warfare are not wide awake, earnest, vigilant, praying for wisdom, watching unto prayer, ... Satan comes off victor, when he might have been vanquished by the armies of the Lord.... God's faithful sentinels are to give the evil powers no advantage.... 6BC 1094.2
We have unseen foes to meet, evil men are agents for the powers of darkness to work through, and without spiritual discernment the soul will be ignorant of Satan's devices, and be ensnared and stumble and fall. He who would overcome must hold fast to Christ. He must not look back, but keep the eye ever upward. Mount up by the Mediator, keeping hold of the Mediator, reaching upward to one line of work after another, making no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof. 6BC 1094.3
There is no such thing as our entering the heavenly portals through indulgence and folly, amusement, selfishness, but only by constant watchfulness and unceasing prayer. Spiritual vigilance on our part individually is the price of safety. Swerve not to Satan's side a single inch, lest he gain advantage over you (Letter 47, 1893). 6BC 1094.4
14-17. The Boldness of a Sanctified Conscience—[2 Corinthians 2:14-17 quoted.] These words of Paul do not denote a spiritual pride, but a deep knowledge of Christ. As one of God's messengers sent to confirm the truth of the Word, he knew what was truth; and with the boldness of a sanctified conscience he gloried in that knowledge. He knew that he was called of God to preach the gospel with all the assurance which his confidence in the message gave him. He was called to be God's ambassador to the people, and he preached the gospel as one who was called (Manuscript 43, 1907). 6BC 1094.5Read in context »
These lessons were taught to the chosen people of God thousands of years ago, and repeated in various symbols and figures, that the work of truth might be riveted in every heart, that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. The great lesson embodied in the sacrifice of every bleeding victim, impressed in every ceremony, inculcated by God Himself, was that through the blood of Christ alone is forgiveness of sins; yet how many carry the galling yoke and how few feel the force of this truth and act upon it personally, and derive the blessings they might receive through a perfect faith in the blood of the Lamb of God.... 7BC 913.1
Justice demanded the sufferings of man; but Christ rendered the sufferings of a God. He needed no atonement of suffering for Himself; all His sufferings were for us; all His merits and holiness were open to fallen man, presented as a gift (Letter 12, 1892). 7BC 913.2
(Matthew 11:27; John 14:9; 17:19-26; 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4; Hebrews 8:1; 9:11-14, 24; Hebrews 13:12; 1 John 2:1.) Christ the One True Mediator—Our great High Priest completed the sacrificial offering of Himself when He suffered without the gate. Then a perfect atonement was made for the sins of the people. Jesus is our Advocate, our High Priest, our Intercessor. Our present position therefore is like that of the Israelites, standing in the outer court, waiting and looking for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.... Type met antitype in the death of Christ, the Lamb slain for the sins of the world. The great High Priest has made the only sacrifice that will be of any value. 7BC 913.3Read in context »
In the typical service only those who had come before God with confession and repentance, and whose sins, through the blood of the sin offering, were transferred to the sanctuary, had a part in the service of the Day of Atonement. So in the great day of final atonement and investigative judgment the only cases considered are those of the professed people of God. The judgment of the wicked is a distinct and separate work, and takes place at a later period. “Judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel?” 1 Peter 4:17. GC 480.1
The books of record in heaven, in which the names and the deeds of men are registered, are to determine the decisions of the judgment. Says the prophet Daniel: “The judgment was set, and the books were opened.” The revelator, describing the same scene, adds: “Another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” Revelation 20:12. GC 480.2
The book of life contains the names of all who have ever entered the service of God. Jesus bade His disciples: “Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20. Paul speaks of his faithful fellow workers, “whose names are in the book of life.” Philippians 4:3. Daniel, looking down to “a time of trouble, such as never was,” declares that God's people shall be delivered, “everyone that shall be found written in the book.” And the revelator says that those only shall enter the city of God whose names “are written in the Lamb's book of life.” Daniel 12:1; Revelation 21:27. GC 480.3Read in context »
6, 7 (chs. 7:22; 10:19, 20; 13:20; Matthew 27:51; Luke 10:27, 28; 2 Corinthians 3:6-9). Terms of God's Covenant—God's people are justified through the administration of the “better covenant,” through Christ's righteousness. A covenant is an agreement by which parties bind themselves and each other to the fulfillment of certain conditions. Thus the human agent enters into agreement with God to comply with the conditions specified in His Word. His conduct shows whether or not he respects these conditions. 7BC 932.1
Man gains everything by obeying the covenant-keeping God. God's attributes are imparted to man, enabling him to exercise mercy and compassion. God's covenant assures us of His unchangeable character. Why, then, are those who claim to believe in God changeable, fickle, untrustworthy? Why do they not do service heartily, as under obligation to please and glorify God? It is not enough for us to have a general idea of God's requirements. We must know for ourselves what His requirements and our obligations are. The terms of God's covenant are, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” These are the conditions of life. “This do,” Christ said, “and thou shalt live.” 7BC 932.2
Christ's death and resurrection completed His covenant. Before this time, it was revealed through types and shadows, which pointed to the great offering to be made by the world's Redeemer, offered in promise for the sins of the world. Anciently believers were saved by the same Saviour as now, but it was a God veiled. They saw God's mercy in figures. The promise given to Adam and Eve in Eden was the gospel to a fallen race. The promise was made that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head, and it should bruise His heel. Christ's sacrifice is the glorious fulfillment of the whole Jewish economy. The Sun of Righteousness has risen. Christ our righteousness is shining in brightness upon us. 7BC 932.3Read in context »