Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Hebrews 9:15

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

And for this cause - Some translate δια τουτο, on account of this (blood.) Perhaps it means no more than a mere inference, such as therefore, or wherefore.

He is the Mediator of the new testament - There was no proper reason why our translators should render διαθηκη by testament here, when in almost every other case they render it covenant, which is its proper ecclesiastical meaning, as answering to the Hebrew ברית berith, which see largely explained, Genesis 15:10, and in other places of the Pentateuch.

Very few persons are satisfied with the translation of the following verses to the 20th, particularly the 16th and 17th; at all events the word covenant must be retained. He - Jesus Christ, is Mediator; the μεσιτης, or mediator, was the person who witnessed the contract made between the two contracting parties, slew the victim, and sprinkled each with its blood.

Of the new testament - The new contract betwixt God and the whole human race, by Christ Jesus the Mediator, distinguished here from the old covenant between God and the Israelites, in which Moses was the mediator.

That by means of death - His own death upon the cross.

For the redemption of the transgressions - To make atonement for the transgressions which were committed under the old covenant, which the blood of bulls and calves could not do; so the death of Jesus had respect to all the time antecedent to it, as well as to all the time afterward till the conclusion of the world.

They which are called - The Gentiles, might receive the promise - might, by being brought into a covenant with God, have an equal right with the Jews, not merely to an inheritance such as the promised land, but to an eternal inheritance, and consequently infinitely superior to that of the Jews, inasmuch as the new covenant is superior in every point of view to the old.

How frequently the Gentiles are termed οἱ κλητοι and οἱ κεκλημενοι, the called, all St. Paul's writings show. And they were thus termed because they were called and elected in the place of the Jews, the ancient called and elect, who were now divorced and reprobated because of their disobedience.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And for this cause - With this view; that is, to make an effectual atonement for sin, and to provide a way by which the troubled conscience may have peace.

He is the Mediator - see notes on Galatians 3:19-20. He is the Mediator between God and man in respect to that new covenant which he has made, or that new dispensation by which people are to be saved. He stands between God and man - the parties at variance - and undertakes the work of mediation and reconciliation.

Of the New Testament - Not “testament” - for a “testament,” or “will,” needs no mediator; but of the “new covenant,” or the new “arrangement” or “disposition” of things under which he proposes to pardon and save the guilty; see notes on Hebrews 9:16-17.

That by means of death - His own death as a sacrifice for sin. The “old” covenant or arrangement also contemplated “death” - but it was the death of an “animal.” The purposes of this were to be effected by the death of the Mediator himself; or this covenant was to be ratified in his blood.

For the redemption of the transgression that were “under the first testament - The covenant or arrangement under Moses. The general idea here is, that these were offences for which no expiation could be made by the sacrifices under that dispensation, or from which the blood then shed could not redeem. This general idea may include two particulars.

(1) that they who had committed transgressions under that covenant, and who could not be fully pardoned by the imperfect sacrifices then made, would receive a full forgiveness of all their sins in the great day of account through the blood of Christ. Though the blood of bulls and goats could not expiate, yet they offered that blood in faith; they relied on the promised mercy of God; they looked forward to a perfect sacrifice - and now the blood of the great atonement offered as a “full” expiation for all their sins, would be the ground of their acquittal in the last day.

(2) that the blood of Christ would now avail for the remission of all those sins which could not be expiated by the sacrifices offered under the Law. It not only contemplated the remission of all the offences committed by the truly pious under that Law, but would now avail to put away sin entirely. No sacrifice which people could offer would avail, but the blood of Christ would remove all that guilt.

That they which are called - Alike under the old covenant and the new.

Might receive the promise of eternal inheritance - That is, the fulfillment of the promise; or that they might be made partakers of eternal blessings. That blood is effectual alike to save those under the ancient covenant and the new - so that they will be saved in the same manner, and unite in the same song of redeeming love.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The solemn transactions between God and man, are sometimes called a covenant, here a testament, which is a willing deed of a person, bestowing legacies on such persons as are described, and it only takes effect upon his death. Thus Christ died, not only to obtain the blessings of salvation for us, but to give power to the disposal of them. All, by sin, were become guilty before God, had forfeited every thing that is good; but God, willing to show the greatness of his mercy, proclaimed a covenant of grace. Nothing could be clean to a sinner, not even his religious duties; except as his guilt was done away by the death of a sacrifice, of value sufficient for that end, and unless he continually depended upon it. May we ascribe all real good works to the same all-procuring cause, and offer our spiritual sacrifices as sprinkled with Christ's blood, and so purified from their defilement.
Ellen G. White
The Upward Look, 74.5

Remember that Christ is our only hope, our only refuge. He “bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24). “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:13-15).—Manuscript 3, March 1, 1903, “To Every Man His Work.” UL 74.5

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Ellen G. White
The Story of Redemption, 155

The priest in the holy place, directing his prayer by faith to the mercy seat, which he could not see, represents the people of God directing their prayers to Christ before the mercy seat in the heavenly sanctuary. They cannot behold their Mediator with the natural eye, but with the eye of faith they see Christ before the mercy seat and direct their prayers to Him, and with assurance claim the benefits of His mediation. SR 155.1

These sacred apartments had no windows to admit light. The candlestick was made of purest gold and was kept burning night and day, and gave light to both apartments. The light of the lamps upon the candlestick reflected upon the boards plated with gold, at the sides of the building, and upon the sacred furniture and upon the curtains of beautiful colors with cherubim wrought with threads of gold and silver, which appearance was glorious beyond description. No language can describe the beauty and loveliness and sacred glory which these apartments presented. The gold in the sanctuary reflected the colors of the curtains, which appeared like the different colors of the rainbow. SR 155.2

Only once a year could the high priest enter into the most holy place, after the most careful and solemn preparation. No mortal eye but that of the high priest could look upon the sacred grandeur of that apartment, because it was the especial dwelling place of God's visible glory. The high priest always entered it with trembling, while the people waited his return with solemn silence. Their earnest desires were to God for His blessing. Before the mercy seat God conversed with the high priest. If he remained an unusual time in the most holy, the people were often terrified, fearing that because of their sins or some sin of the priest, the glory of the Lord had slain him. But when the sound of the tinkling of the bells upon his garments was heard, they were greatly relieved. He then came forth and blessed the people. SR 155.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 395

After the theory of truth has been presented, then comes the laborious part of the work. The people should not be left without instruction in the practical truths which relate to their everyday life. They must see and feel that they are sinners and need to be converted to God. What Christ said, what He did, and what He taught should be brought before them in the most impressive manner. 4T 395.1

The work of the minister is but commenced when the truth is opened to the understanding of the people. Christ is our Mediator and officiating High Priest in the presence of the Father. He was shown to John as a Lamb that had been slain, as in the very act of pouring out His blood in the sinner's behalf. When the law of God is set before the sinner, showing him the depth of his sins, he should then be pointed to the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. He should be taught repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus will the labor of Christ's representative be in harmony with His work in the heavenly sanctuary. 4T 395.2

Ministers would reach many more hearts if they would dwell more upon practical godliness. Frequently, when efforts are made to introduce the truth into new fields, the labor is almost entirely theoretical. The people are unsettled. They see the force of truth and are anxious to obtain a sure foundation. When their feelings are softened is the time, above all others, to urge the religion of Christ home upon the conscience; but too often the course of lectures has been allowed to close without that work being done for the people which they needed. That effort was too much like the offering of Cain; it had not the sacrificial blood to make it acceptable to God. Cain was right in making an offering, but he left out all that made it of any value—the blood of the atonement. 4T 395.3

It is a sad fact that the reason why many dwell so much on theory and so little on practical godliness is that Christ is not abiding in their hearts. They do not have a living connection with God. Many souls decide in favor of the truth from the weight of evidence, without being converted. Practical discourses were not given in connection with the doctrinal, that as the hearers should see the beautiful chain of truth they might fall in love with its Author and be sanctified through obedience. The minister's work is not done until he has urged home upon his hearers the necessity of a change of character in accordance with the pure principles of the truth which they have received. 4T 395.4

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 152.5

He who looks at earthly things as the chief good, he who spends his life in an effort to gain worldly riches, is indeed making a poor investment. Too late he will see that in which he has trusted crumbling into dust. It is only through self-denial, through the sacrifice of earthly riches, that the eternal riches can be obtained. It is through much tribulation that the Christian enters the kingdom of heaven. Constantly he is to war the good warfare, not laying down his weapons until Christ bids him rest. Only by giving all to Christ can he secure the inheritance that will endure through all eternity.—Letter 90, May 23, 1902, to Brother Johnson, a layman. TDG 152.5

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