Page images
PDF
EPUB

Christ superior to]

HEBREWS.

18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.

19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

20 And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made Priest:

21 (For those Priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec :)

22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

23 And they truly were many Priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:

[the Jewish priests,

24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

26 For such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

27 Who needeth not daily, as those High Priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

28 For the law maketh men High Priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore. (G)

CHAP. VII.

EXPOSITION.

(G) Ver. 1-28. The priesthood of Christ, according to the order of Melchisedec.-The history of this Melchisedec, so far as regards the Old Testament, will be found in our Exposition of, and Notes on Gen. xiv., latter part, of which we shall repeat as little as possible. His name is here interpreted as meaning "King of righteous ness," and his regal title as implying that he was "King of Peace." He was, however, a real character, and possessed a real domain-he was King of Salem, including the site of that city which was afterwards the metropolis of Judea, namely, Jerusalem, or the Holy Salem. In both these respects he strikingly typified him who was at once the Son of David and the King of Israel. But Melchisedec was also a priest of the most high God; and in that respect also typified Christ, as being, like him, of an order peculiar to himself, and not of the Levitical priesthood, nor of the house of Aaron. It was in this respect that he was without parentage and without pedigree, though perhaps the expression may

only mean, that his descent is unrecorded and unknown.

After stating the pre-eminent character of Melchisedec, St. Paul calls upon the Hebrews to reflect how great this man must have been, to whom Abraham gave the tenth of his spoils, undoubtedly thereby acknowledging him as his superior, and, consequently, as superior to all the priests who descended from him. But who was this Melchisedec of whom the apostle speaks so highly, and that undoubtedly with a view to magnify that Jesus whom he typified? We have mentioned (en Gen. xiv. 17-24) the ancient Jewish tradition, that he was the Patriarch Shem This seems the most general opinion among expositors, and was defended with great ability by Mr. Granville Sharpe, above referred to, though this opinion is by no means essential to the apostle's ar gument.

On comparing our great High Priest with the sons of Aaron, the apostle remarks, That the sons of Aaron were made priests without an oath, and so their

NOTES-Chap. VII. Con.

Ver. 18. Disannulling.-Doddr. "Abolition." Ver. 19. But the bringing in, &c.-Marg. " But it was the bringing in of a better hope"-i. e. the hope of the gospel.

Ver. 21. By him that said.-See Psalm cx. 4. Ver. 22. A better testament-Rather, "covenant." So Doddridge, Macknight, &c. The Greek com.

[blocks in formation]

And mediator of]

CHAP. VIII.

CHAP. VIII.

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;

2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

3 For every High Priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.

4 For if he were on earth, he should

[a better covenant.

not be a Priest, seeing that there are Priests that offer gifts according to the law:

5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

7 For if that first covenant had

EXPOSITION.

priesthood was liable to be changed or repealed; whereas Jesus was made a priest with a solemn and irrevocable oath, by him that said unto him, "The Lord sware, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever," &c.-which was a declaration that his priesthood was to be unchangeable; and by so much was he made the surety of a better covenant than that of which the Aaronical high priests were sureties. That the sons of Aaron were made priests" according to the law of a carnal commandment, accommodated to weak mortal men, whereby that office went by descent and succession from father to son; [and] hence there were many priests [in succession], because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death." But Jesus being raised from the dead, was, by the oath, made a priest in his own person for ever, according to the power of an endless life; and because he continueth for ever, he hath an unsuccessive priesthood, and so is able to save for ever them that come to God through him, as he is always living to make intercession for them. That, in respect of character and qualifications, he is such an High Priest as is perfectly suited to our exigencies, being holy, harmless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and sta

tioned not on earth, but made higher than the heavens. That he needed not, from time to time, like Aaronical high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first, for his own sins (for he had none), and then for the sins of the people; for this he did effectually at once, when he offered up himself. For the law constitutes men high priests who have sinful infirmity, and therefore needed to offer for their own sins; but the word of the oath, which was since the law was given, constitutes the Son an High Priest who is consecrated for ever more."(M'Lean.)

To these observations we add a general remark from Dr. John Owen:-" The design of the apostle, in this chapter, is not

to declare the nature or the exercise of the

priesthood of Christ. To the nature of it, he had spoken, chap. v.; and of its use, he treats at large in chap. ix. But it is of its excellency and dignity he here treats, and that not absolutely neither, but in comparison with the Levitical priesthood. This was conducive to his main end with the Hebrews; and this he proves upon principles received by themselves, the faith and principles of the ancient church

of Israel."

NOTES.

CHAP. VIII. Ver. 1. This is the sum.-Doddr. Mackn., &c. " the chief." So Chrysostom and Theophylact, the Syriac and Vulgate. Ver. 2. A minister of the sanctuary.-Marg. " of holy things." So Doddridge; but Macknight reads, "holy places."

Ver. 3. That this man.-The word "man" is a supplement; and, instead of it, both Mackn, and M'Lean supply the term High Priest, from the pre

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will

[new covenant.

put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people :

11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no

more.

13 In that he saith, A new cove nant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. (H)

CHAP. VIII.

EXPOSITION.

(H) Ver. 1-13. The Levitical Priesthood superseded by that of Christ; and the Old Covenant by the New.-The apostle here pursues his comparison between Christ, who is our great High Priest, and the Priests of the House of Aaron; in all things giving due pre-eminence to him, whom all the inspired writers" delight to honour."

1. Speaking of Christ as our High Priest, we are told he is set (down) on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven;" a very different situation from that of the Jewish High Priest, who stood and bowed before the divine presence.-2. He is called "a Minister of the Sanctuary," or of the Holies; that is, of the "Holy of Holies," or "holiest of all," as it is called in chap. ix. 3. So Drs. Owen and Guise. Aud" of the true tabernacle," meaning, as it is generally understood, heaven itself; a tabernacle "which the Lord pitched, and not man ;" which in the next chapter (ver. 11) is called "a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands," as was the Mosaic tabernacle; but "which the Lord hath pitched (or erected), and not man."-3. Since every High Priest

among men is ordained" to offer gifts and sacrifices," it was necessary that our great High Priest should also have somewhat to offer; and what so precious as his own blood? What so acceptable as his transcendent merits? As, therefore, the Jewish High Priest went once a year into the most Holy Place with the blood of sacrifices slain, so Christ, upon his ascension, once for all, presented the merits of his righteousness and atonement before God, and ever lives to intercede on the behall of those for whom he died.-4. Another circumstance of pre-eminence enjoyed by our Lord, is, that "he is the Mediator of a better covenant than that of Sinai, to which the Levitical priesthood was at tached.

This being a better covenant, argues defect in the former. "Although the Sinale covenant (says Dr. Marknight) was well calculated to preserve the Jews from idolatry, and to give them the knowledge of their duty, it was faulty or imperfect in the following respects:-1. The rites of worship it enjoined, sanctified only to "the purifying of the flesh;" but not the con science of the worshippers.-2. These rites could be performed no where but in the

NOTES-Chap. VIII. Con.

Ver. 8. For finding fault with them-That is, according to Doddr., with the Jews. But Grotius, Hammond, and many others, render it, "finding fault, he saith unto them."

Ver. 9. And I regarded them not.-" Doddr. "I disregarded them." Mackn. "I neglected them." This is the Septuagint translation of Jer. xxxi. 32, which in our translation reads, "Although I was an husband unto them" certainly a widely

different translation, and differently accounted for. Some suppose a false letter in the Hebrew copy used by the lxx., which makes all the difference. Bet, then, how shall we account for St. Paul's following them? Dr. Pococke thinks the original will bear both senses.

Ver. 10. I will put—Margin, " give,”—Fritt them in-Marg," upon."

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

tabernacle, or in the temple; consequently they could not be the religion of mankind. 3. This covenant had no real sacrifice for sin; therefore it could grant no pardon to any sinner.-4. Its promises were all of a temporal kind.-5. It required an unsinning obedience, which, in our present state, no one can give, and threatened death for every offence."

It has been doubted, whether the finding fault, mentioned in verse 8, refers to the Covenant there spoken of, or to the people there addressed. (See our Note.) "Both, I think (says Mr. M'Lean), are intended in the context. In the foregoing verse, the old covenant is not supposed to be faultless, but the contrary, because it left room for another, and this verse comes in as a proof of it. In the next verse, the people are also blamed, because they coutinued not in God's covenant: but then, it must be observed, that the people are so blamed, as to insinuate that the covenant itself was defective; for the Lord promises to set it aside, and make a new one, which should better suit their need."

To this New Covenant we have had repeated occasions to advert in the writings of the prophets, and the passage, verses 8

66

to 13, will be found, literally copied from Jer. xxxi. 31-34, with only one remarkable variation, mentioned in our Note on verses 8 & 9. In our Exposition of the above passage, we have intimated our opinion (which we believe is a general one), of the promise having a reference to the future calling of the Jews to a more extensive reception of the gospel dispensation, which we consider as the new covenant here referred to: not that there is any thing new with reference to God, for all his counsels are from everlasting; but he is continually making new discoveries of his grace and mercy to mankind.

One other remark shall close what we have to offer on this chapter. When it is said, "They shall not teach every man his neighbour, saying, Know the Lord; for all shall know me (saith the Lord), from the least to the greatest;" we must take it with some latitude, for while children are born into the world, they will need instruction, and, as sinners, the means of conversion yet, possibly, the time may come, when missions and missionaries shall be no more needed; but when "the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth even as the waters do the sea."

NOTES.

CHAP. IX. Ver. 1. The first covenant.-It seems vident, that the Greek copy used by our translators mitted the substantive in this place, as do many thers; and that they supplied the word "coveant" from the preceding chapter. On the other and, there are many Greek copies, both MS. and rinted, which read (skene) tabernacle;" which ading is supported by Whitby, Doddridge, and her respectable commentators, who seem surised that it is not universally adopted. But it is so true, that the word" tabernacle" is omitted in any MSS, and editions, ancient as well as mo m; and that translators generally supply the word covenant" in preference to tabernacle," which y suppose to be the gloss of some injudicious coist. This reading is supported by those ancient rsions, the Syriac and Vulgate, by Chrysostom, other Greek Fathers. So among the commenors, it is preferred by Beza and Grotius; by Owen, the Assembly's Annotators; by Hammond, Macght, Guise, M'Lean, &c.; and we have therefore pted it in our Exposition.

bid. Also ordinances.-Margin, " ceremonies;" rites or forms of worship.

er. 2. A tabernacle made.-Doddr." prepared." ckn." set in order," i. e. for public worship.

The first, wherein-i. e. within the first or outer apartment of which was the candlestick, and the table of shew bread, &c. of which see Exod. xl. 22-25. Which is called the sanctuary.-Marg. "Holy." Mackn. transposes the words thus:"For the first [or outward] tabernacle, which is called Holy, was set in order, in which was both the candlestick, and the table, and the shew-bread."

Ver. 3. And after the second veil.-A first veil is here implied, which closed the entrance of the tabernacle. Exod. xxxvi. 37. After this-the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all-or, as the Hebrew literally is, "the Holy of Holies."

Ver. 4. Which had the golden censer.-Of the use of this instrument, which was a small pan for burning incense, see Levit. xvi. 12, 13. But as the High Priest might not enter the Most Holy without it, a question arises, how he could come at it for use if it was kept there? "To this it is answered, that it might be kept just within the veil, and within the reach of his hand, so that he could take it thence without entering himself." M'Lean. And the ark of the covenant; see Exod. xxxvii. 1, 2.——— Wherein was-i. e. perhaps in the Most Holy; not the ark.The golden pot.-See Exod. xvi. 33, 34. Compare Note 1 Kings viii.9.

The rites and]

HEBREWS.

about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;

5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercy-seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.

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

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:

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: 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;

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

11 But Christ being come an High

[sacrifices of the law Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;

12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

13 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 :

14 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?

15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redempti of the transgressions that were unde: the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of

the testator.

17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of na strength at all while the testator liveth.

NOTES-Chap. IX. Con.

Ver. 5. The cherubims of glory-i. e. the glorious cherubim; and so called for two reasons-1. Because they were themselves glorious, as being covered with gold, and, 2. Because they represented, as we conceive, a glorious order of angelic beings, who wait before the throne of God. Ezek. i. 4, &c. Rev. iv, 6, &c.

Ver. 6. The priests went always into the first tabernacle-or rather, as Mr. M'Lean explains it, into the first or outer apartment of the tabernacle, where the common priests had a daily service to perform.

Ver. 7. But into the second-compartment of the tabernacle, namely, "The Holy of Holies "went the high priest alone once (i. e. on one day in) every year-See Exod. xxx. 10; Levit. xvi. 2, &c.

Ver. 9. Which was a figure.-Gr. Parable. See chap. xi. 19.

Ver. 10. Carnal ordinances -Marg. "Rites or ceremonies." Doddr. and Mackn. "Ordinances concerning the flesh."

Ver. 11. Not made with hands, &c.-Many judicions divines (as Calvin, Owen, &c.) refer this to the body of Christ (as they do also chap. viii. 2); but we rather think, with M'Lean, that heaven itself" is intended, and so it is expressed ver. 24.

Ver. 14. Through the eternal Spirit.-The Vulgate, and many Greek MSS. read," The Holy Spirit;" and to him we are inclined to ascribe it. Bp. Fell mentions "Christ's being conceived, proclaimed, anointed, dying, and rising, by the aid of God's Holy

Spirit." See 1 Peter iii. 18. So Owen, Doddridge, Macknight, &c.

Ver. 15. Mediator.-See Note on Gal. ii. "The Mediator of a Testament," says Dad dridge," is a very improper expression:" be there fore translates the word (diatheke) Covenant, as in almost all other places. So Marknight, and szed other modern commentators. But Dr. John Owen, Professor Witsins, and Dr. Campbell, retain the Testament.

Ver. 16, 17. For where a testament is, &c.-D4dridge, agreeable to the preceding remark, renders this verse," For where a covenant (is), it necessa rily imports the death of that by which the corent is confirmed;" alluding to the general custom of offering sacrifices on those occasions.For eirstament is of force after men are dead, &c.-Dodir. "A covenant (is) confirmed over the dead, so that t doth not avail, while he by whom it is confid liveth." Macknight translates the passage thus: "For where a corenant (is), there is a necessity that the death of the appointed (sacrifice) be brought in." (Comp our Bible Margin.) "For a covent is firm over dead sacritices, seeing it never hath fores while the appointed sacrifice liveth."

Our readers will perceive, that all these alterstions are rendered necessary by a rigid adherence to the word covenant. Into the ground and reasons of them, or, on the other hand, the objections gast them, we cannot here eater particularly. The for

« PreviousContinue »