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An Exposition Of the Epistles Of Saint Paul And Of The Catholic Epistles Volumes 1&2

Analysis

Having proved, in the preceding chapter, the abrogation of the Old Testament, and the substitution of a better one in its stead, the Apostle commences this, by enumerating the several ordinances of the Mosaic worship. This he does with a view to show that its abrogation was not owing to its being really bad, since it contained so many pledges of the divine protection. He first describes the tabernacle, its several parts and their contents, as well as the different functions performed in them (1–8). From the mystical signification of these parts of the tabernacle, and the functions performed in them, he argues in favour of the necessity of another form of worship to sanctify men, and open to them the gates of heaven (8–11).

He contrasts Christ with the Aaronic high priests, and shows how far he excelled them, both as to the tabernacle through which he passed, the blood he carried with him, and the redemption he accomplished (11, 12). He shows how much greater efficacy the blood of Christ possessed for cleansing from the guilt of sin, than the blood of the legal victims had for the removal of legal defilement (13, 14).

He next adduces several reasons to show the moral necessity of the death of Christ, which are explained in the Commentary. This point was a subject of scandal to the Jews, and the Apostle merely touched on it, in the second chapter of this Epistle (15–23).

Finally, he contrasts Christ with the Jewish high priest, as well in the unity of his death, as in the unity of his bloody oblation, which, as a redemptory sacrifice, could not bear repetition, one such offering having amply sufficed to atone for the sins of the entire world.

Paraphrase

1. Now, indeed, the former (testament) had its ordinances regulating the decent observance of divine worship, and its sanctuary of earthly materials (unlike that of the New Testament, whose origin and materials are celestial).

2. For, a tabernacle was constructed (divided into two parts)—the first part of which was called the sanctum or holy place, containing the seven-branched candlestick, and the table of the loaves of proposition or show bread;

3. And behind the second veil was the other part of the tabernacle, called the Holy of Holies, or most holy place,

4. Having a golden censer, and the ark of the covenant, covered about on every side with gold, alongside of which was a golden urn, that had manna, and the rod of Aaron that blossomed; in it were also the tables of the testament;

5. And over the ark were two cherubim reflecting the glory and majesty of God, covering with their wings the propitiatory, which served as a lid for the ark. Of the mystical meaning of all and each of these parts, it is not our intention at present to treat.

6. These things being thus ordered and arranged; into the first part of the tabernacle, the priests entered daily, accomplishing in turn the offices of sacrifices:

7. But into the latter part, or, the Holy of Holies, the high priest alone entered; and that, but once a year; carrying with him blood which he offered for his owns sins, and those of the people.

8. By confining to the high priest only the entrance into the Holy of Holies, and that so seldom, the Holy Ghost most plainly intimated; that whilst the Jewish economy, which the first portion of the tabernacle, viz., the sanctum or holy, represented, remained in vigour—heaven, which the Holy of Holies represented, was closed against mankind. This was clearly signified by the exclusion of all other men, except the high priest, from the Holy of Holies.

9. The allegorical instruction conveyed to us, in the exclusion of every one else, but the high priest, from the sanctum sanctorum is well suited to the entire term of the Mosaic law, up to the present time, when it has been abrogated; during which time, gifts and sacrifices were offered, which had not the effect of purifying interiorly the server or minister, who offered them, his service being confined to the choice of food and drink;

10. And to several legal ablutions and justifications of the flesh—conferring no real internal sanctification—imposed only for a time, until Christ would have corrected them by the institution of better rites. (This service, therefore, did not qualify him for entering the true holy of holies of heaven).

11. But Christ having come, or, having been constituted from his very birth, a high priest (not of present, as were the Jewish high priests, but) of future blessings, to be enjoyed in the life to come, by the better and more perfect tabernacle, not reared by human hands, that is to say, not of this earthly, but of heavenly construction;

12. Not carrying with him the the blood of goats or of calves, but his own most precious blood shed on the altar of the cross, has entered once for all, and not annually, into the true celestial sanctuary, after having obtained a redemption which is everlasting.

13. (Surely the blood of Christ ought to contain greater efficacy for purifying our souls, than that of animals for the purification of the body). Now, if the blood of goats and of oxen, and the ashes of a heifer, or the red cow, mixed with water, and sprinkled on those legally defiled, had the effect of legally purifying the body:

14. How much more shall the divine blood of Christ—who, at the impulse of the Holy Ghost, offered himself to his Father, a victim without spot—have the effect of purifying our consciences from all sins, which cause spiritual death, and of thus enabling us to serve the living God, in a proper and becoming manner?

15. And it is on account of the efficacy of his blood in washing away sin, that he is constituted the mediator of the new testament, in order that by his death, having made atonement for those sins, committed under the old testament (and which were remitted solely in consideration of the retrospective moral efficacy of his future passion), those who are called would receive the promise of eternal inheritance; in other words, redeemed mankind would receive the eternal inheritance, to which they are called.

16. For, Christ was not only a mediator, but a testator, making a will. And for the firmness and ratification of a will the death of a testator is required;

17. Since, during the testator’s life he may change or annul it; and hence, while he lives, it is of no weight.

18. Wherefore, the old testament was not dedicated without blood.

19. For, after Moses had read every commandment of the law to all the people, he took and mixed the blood of goats and of calves with water, and having immersed therein scarlet wool with hyssop, he sprinkled both the book and the entire people,

20. Saying, this is the blood whereby the testament is solemnly dedicated, which God had enjoined unto you, and confirmed by my ministry.

21. The tabernacle also, and all the vessels of the ministry, he sprinkled with blood.—(Exodus, 40; Leviticus 8)

22. And almost all the legal defilements were, by the disposition of the Mosaic law, removed by bloody oblations; and without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.

23. It was, therefore, necessary, according to the commands of God, that the mere types of heavenly things should be cleansed and purified by blood offerings, such as we have mentioned; and hence it is fit, that the heavenly things typified, viz.: the Church militant and triumphant, should be cleansed with blood also, but blood of a more precious kind.

24. For, it is not into the earthly Holy of Holies, reared by mortal hands, after the fashion or form of the true original exhibited to Moses on the mount (chap. 8:5), that Jesus entered; but into heaven itself, that he may appear now in the presence of God as our advocate.

25. Nor yet was it for the purpose of offering himself frequently, like the Jewish high priest, who entered the Holy of Holies, every year with the blood of others.

26. For, if this one oblation of Christ were not of infinite value, he should have frequently suffered death even from the beginning of the world; because the repetition of his bloody oblation would be no lest necessary than that annually offered by the Jews is as present, to which reference is made. But, now, at the last period of time, he has made his appearance with his victim of propitiation, for the destruction of sin.

27. And, as by the decree of God it is appointed for men to die only once, and after that, comes judgment:

28. So also Christ, who was once offered up to take away and make atonement for the sins of many, will appear a second time, without bearing the imputability of sin, or the liability of again atoning for it; not to be judged (like other men); but to carry consolation and glory to those, who patiently expect his coming.

Commentary

1. “The former, indeed.” Some Greek copies have the former (tabernacle, σκηνη). The more probable opinion, however, is, that “former” refers to “testament,” of which mention was made in the foregoing chapter, and between which and the entire New Testament the comparison is instituted.

“And a worldly sanctuary” (το τε ἅγιον κοσμικον), that is, of earthly materials. The words mean the same as, “made with hands,” in verse 11, opposed to the sanctuary of heavenly origin and tendency.

2. He now describes the different parts of the material tabernacle. The tabernacle measured thirty cubits, two-thirds of which was taken up with the sanctum, and the remainder, with the Sanctum Sanctorum. “For there was a tabernacle made the first;” that is, the first part of the tabernacle (for it was composed of two compartments), or, the part into which one first entered, was simply called the “holy.” “Wherein were the candlesticks,” or the one candlestick with seven branches, equivalent to seven candlesticks. Hence, the word is used in the plural number (λυχνια), “candlesticks,” as being virtually many. “And the table, and the setting forth of loaves;” that is the table on which were laid the loaves of proposition, twelve in number, representing the twelve tribes of Israel. They were called, “the bread of the face;” because they were always placed before the face of the Lord, or, the throne of the Lord which was in the Holy of Holies—(Leviticus, 24:6).

3. “And after the second veil,” which divided the sanctum from the sanction sanctorum—for a first veil, of which the Apostle makes no mention, divided the sanctum from the rest of the temple—lay the part of the tabernacle in which was the Holy of Holies, in the Hebrew idiom, signifying, most holy.

4. “Having a golden censer.” In the construction of the Holy of Holies, there is no mention of any such censer. Hence, it is commonly supposed to refer to the altar of incense, which was concave, in the form of a large thurible or censer, so as to receive coals. In reality placed in the sanctum, it only opened into the sanctum sanctorum, so as to emit incense into it.

OBJECTION.—How could the Apostle say of the “golden censer,” or altar of incense, that it was in the sanctum sanctorum?

RESP.—The Apostle does not say the “golden censer” in question was in the sanctum sanctorum. He only says of it, “having a golden censer,” just as, of a town it may be said, that it has fortifications, without their being in it. The altar of incense was placed at the entrance of the sanctum sanctorum, so that it might be said to belong to it. It may also be said, that the Apostle speaks of the tabernacle, not as it was in the days of Solomon, but in the time of Moses.

“And the ark of the testament.” The ark was an oblong chest, two and a half cubits long, and a cubit and a half, in width and height, in which were contained “the (second) tables” of the law (for the first were broken to pieces by Moses), “of the testament,” because it contained the law, the conditions of the covenant. This ark, though made of setim wood, was overlaid with gold, both inside and outside. It was brought from the tabernacle to the temple of Solomon, and remained there until the Babylonish captivity. What became of it ultimately, cannot be fully ascertained; it was not in the temple of Jerusalem, in the time of Christ, as we are assured by Josephus. “In which was a golden pot,” &c.—(Numbers, 17).

In the 3rd Book of Kings (chap. 13), is it not said that there was nothing in the ark, except the tables of law?

Yes.—But the words of the Apostle do not contradict this; they may, and do really, mean, that alongside the ark, the things mentioned here were placed, and attached to it. The word “in,” according to scriptural usage, frequently bears the meaning of, near or, close by. The tables of the law alone were inside the ark.

5. What the form of these cherubim was, is quite uncertain; probably, they represented winged young men—the form of representing angels, approved of by the seventh General Council. With their outspread wings, they covered the propitiatory, or lid of the ark. By their wings stretched over the propitiatory, their faces turned to each other they formed a seat, which was the throne, on which God sat. Hence, the words, qui sedet supra cherubim; and from that seat, i.e., from over the propitiatory, God delivered his oracles. The Apostle is describing the furniture and constituent parts of the Mosaic tabernacle.

6. He explains one or two of the functions performed in both parts of the tabernacle. “The offices of sacrifices.” Not that sacrifices were offered in the sanctum, but the function of burning incense in the sanctum closed the sacrifices of the day. Moreover, the Greek word for “offices,” &c., λατρειας, only expresses priestly functions of what kind soever. “The priests always entered.” In Greek, εισιασιν δια παντος “always enter,” in the present tense.

7. “Ignorance” (in Greek, αγνοηματων, ignorances), is put for all kinds of sin, every sin being the effect of speculative or practical ignorance. The high priest sacrificed for his own sins, and those of his house, a calf, and for those of his people, a buck goat; he brought with him the blood of both, into the sanctum sanctorum, on the great day of expiation.—(Leviticus, 16:11).

From the functions performed in the sanctum sanctorum, for the more perfect explanation of which, the Apostle contrasts them with those daily performed in the sanctum, is derived an allegorical instruction (vide Paraphrase). The sanctum, with the functions performed therein, represented the Jewish religion; the sanctum sanctorum, heaven. The allegorical instruction, then, is, that as long as the sanctum, i.e., the Jewish religion, remained in vigour, so long would the true sanctum sanctorum of heaven, be closed against men. This was well represented by the exclusion of all others, except the high priest, from the Jewish sanctum sanctorum.

9. The Greek reading of the Codex Vaticanus is, ἤτις παραβολη εις τον καιρον τον ενεστηκοτα καθʼ ἥν, which is a parable unto the present time, according to which (parable) gifts, &c. He says, the allegorical instruction conveyed in the exclusion of all others, except the high priest, from the sanctum sanctorum, is well suited to the entire term of the Jewish religion, from the time of Moses (when it commenced), to the present time (when it has been abrogated), because, during this entire time, the expiatory gifts offered had not the effect of purifying in conscience “the server,” i.e., the priest who offered them; nor by consequence, the people for whom they were offered; they did not, therefore, qualify men for heaven, into which nothing defiled can enter; this service, by which they prepared for the offering of these gifts, being as carnal as the gifts themselves, consisting merely in the choice of food and drinks. From all intoxicating drinks the ministering priest was obliged to abstain, when officiating in the temple.—(Leviticus, 10:9). Estius, in hunc locum.

10. Several corporal ablutions and justices of the flesh, i.e., legal justifications, which conferred no real sanctity (for, interior sanctity was not required as a necessary qualification for the ministrations of the Jewish religion), but only legal sanctity. “Laid on them,” i.e., imposed for a time, until Christ corrected them by the institution of better rites, substituted by him in their stead, conferring real, internal sanctity. The Jewish religion conferred no real sanctity, worked no true remission of sin, without which no one could enter heaven; hence, the necessity of another priesthood to justify man.

How, then, could the Jews be justified? By true repentance, joined to hope and faith, in the future or promised Messiah. The difference of reading in the Greek renders this passage rather complicated. The interpretation, which seems most probable, has been adopted in the Paraphrase. The ordinary Greek reading has been adopted in the first part of verse 9; and the words, “only in meats,” &c., have been connected with the words, “that serveth,” immediately preceding.

11. The Apostle now shows the superior excellence of Christ’s priesthood, by contrasting with the typical ministrations of the Jewish tabernacle, the great benefits which he procures for us, in the more perfect tabernacle into which he has entered. “But Christ being come,” παραγενομενὸς, i.e., having been by his very coming, and from his birth, constituted “an high priest of good things to come,” to be fully enjoyed only in the life to come. “Entered” (verse 12) “by a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hand,” &c. What this “more perfect tabernacle” refers to, is much disputed. Some, with St. Chrysostom, say, it refers to the body and flesh of Christ, in which the plenitude of the divinity dwelt corporally. This, however, would not perfectly correspond with many things in the Jewish and less perfect tabernacle; for, the high priest entering the sanctum sanctorum, did not carry with him the sanctum, as Christ has carried his body into the sanctum sanctorum of heaven; the type, therefore, and its antitype, would not well correspond in this interpretation. It, then, more probably refers to the Church militant, through which, for forty days after his resurrection, he passed into the Church triumphant, after having offered on the altar of the cross the sacrifice of expiation, which the Jewish high priest used to offer on the altar of holocausts.—A’Lapide. Others say, it refers to the visible portion of the heavens, through which Christ entered the empyrean heavens. It is hard, however, to see in this latter interpretation, how it could be said to be “not of this creation.”

12. “Neither by the blood of goats,” &c., unlike the Jewish high priest, he has entered the true Holy of Holies, not yearly, but “once;” not after obtaining a remission requiring annual repetition, but, after having brought about a redemption, which is everlasting, the value of his atonement being of such enduring infinite merit, as to render its repetition quite useless. Hence, the difference of effects between Christ’s entering the celestial sanctum sanctorum, “to appear in the presence of God for us” (verse 24), and the entrance of the Jewish high priest, into the earthly sanctum sanctorum.

13. The Apostle proves, that Christ has purchased for us an eternal redemption, by an argument, a fortiori. “The blood of goats and of oxen.” In some Greek copies, the order is inverted—it is, the blood of oxen and of goats. But the Vulgate is supported by the most ancient manuscripts, and the Syriac interpreters; “and the ashes of a heifer,” or the red cow (Numbers, 19:2, &c.), when mixed with water and sprinkled on the legally defiled, had the effect of producing legal purification of the body.

14. Therefore, a fortiori, the divine blood of Christ should purify the soul. “Who by the Holy Ghost.” In Greek, δια πνευματος αιωνιου, by the eternal spirit, which is more probably understood of the “Holy Ghost,” at whose impulse, Christ offered himself a victim without spot, to give satisfaction to God the Father. “Our conscience.” In Greek, συνειδησιν ύμων, your conscience. “From dead works,” i.e., from sins, which being, as it were, fetid before God, pollute the soul, as contact with a dead carcase pollutes the body; moreover, they deprive the soul of spiritual life, and have for stipend, death. Stipendium peccati, mors.—(Rom. 11:23).

15. The Apostle, having made allusion to the bloody offering of Christ, proceeds to point out the necessity of his death—a subject of great scandal to the Jews. The first reason is grounded on the nature of the character which he had assumed, viz., that of mediator. He is mediator of the New Testament, the middle person between God and man, promising on the part of God the blessings marked out for man, together with the aids of divine grace, necessary for complying with the part required of him; and, on the part of man, a faithful correspondence aided by divine grace, with the beneficent designs of God, in the observance of the commandments. “That by means of his death,” &c., according to the decree of God, the sins of those who lived formerly under the old testament were remitted, solely in consideration of Christ’s future death; hence, to redeem this moral pledge, and to secure a continuance of this remission, and the consequent enjoyment of the promise by future ages, it was fit he should die. “Called,” may affect either the men called, or the inheritance to which they are invited (as in Paraphrase).

16. A second reason, why Christ should die, is founded on the nature of the new alliance, which is that of a testament, Christ being testator; hence, for the ratification of the new testament, he should die. It may be asked, how can the reasoning of the Apostle, grounded on the nature of a testament, be of any weight; for the Hebrew word, Berith, the word used to express the new covenant, does not mean a testamentary more than any other description of covenant. Hence, the Apostle could not argue from the word Berith, regarding the peculiar requirements of a testament? The answer to this is, that the seventy two, or, Septuagint Interpreters translated, Berith by διαθηκη, which commonly means, a testament. Moreover, St. Paul, as an inspired writer, gives the word in reference to the new alliance, a particular meaning, which serves as an authentic interpretation of it; for, it is the same Holy Ghost that dictates in both cases. And St. Paul, addressing the Jews, might argue from their own admissions; for, they admitted that the new alliance was a testament—an argument, though, humanly speaking, a mere argumentum suasorium, when used by an inspired penman, quite certain.

18. The next reason is founded on the dedication of the old testament, in which blood was shed, and death, intervened. It may be objected, that in the case of the old testament, God, the testator, did not die. Therefore, for a testament, the death of the testator is not always required. The reply to which is, that the old testament was only a typical testament; hence, the blood shed should be blood of a typical character, figurative of the blood of Christ, who should, therefore, die, to correspond with his type.

19. The Greek reading is, λαληθεισης γαρ πασης ευτολης κατα τον νομον, for, when the entire law, according to command, was spoken, &c. The meaning is, however, more probably that conveyed in the Vulgate reading, viz., when all the commandments which were contained in the law were read or recited by Moses. “He took the blood of calves and goats, with water,” mixing it with water in a vessel; he also took some scarlet wool, and attaching it to a bunch of hyssop, which served as an aspersory, dipping it in the vessel of blood and water, he sprinkled “the book,” i.e., the commandment shaped in the form of a book. In the account given in the 24th chapter of Exodus, Moses omits all mention of “the blood of goats,” “of water,” “of scarlet wool,” “of the hyssop,” “and of the sprinkling the book of the law.” These circumstances the Apostle most probably had learned from ancient tradition, or, perhaps, from revelation; and he refers to these, as things well known to his readers. As on similar occasions, the same ceremonies were used (Leviticus, 14), there can be little doubt, that they were not omitted in the present instance. The water and hyssop were necessary for sprinkling the blood; it was usual to have water mixed with blood (Leviticus, 14:49, 51), and as for the sprinkling of the book, it is very likely that it was sprinkled, together with the altar on which it was placed.

20. This is the blood in which is solemnly ratified the testament, &c.

21. The dedication of the tabernacle here referred to, did not occur at the time of the dedication of the new testament; for, the tabernacle was not then made; the same is to be said of “all the vessels of the ministry,” though, no doubt, such of them as were made at the time of the reading of the law, were sprinkled, together with the sacerdotal vestments. The dedication of the tabernacle referred to in this verse, is narrated (Exod., 40:8, &c.; Leviticus, 8:10, &c.)—the sprinkling of it, “with blood” is omitted by Moses; mention is, however, made of it by Josephus (lib. 3 de Antiq., cap. 9), who, as a Levitical priest, must have had it from ancient tradition, the source from which the Apostle could have received it. The knowledge of it might have also been received by the Apostle, from revelation.

22. An additional reason, why Christ, in purifying and remitting our sins, should shed his blood. All these bloody oblations were types and figures of Christ’s death remitting sin, and of redemption by him; hence he should die, in order that the object typified should correspond with its type. He says, “and almost all things,” because some things were purified by water only; others, by fire (Exodus, 19:10; Leviticus, 16:28; Numbers, 31:23).

“And without,” &c. The legal remission of sins among the Jews, as explained, verse 10, was effected by the blood of victims.

23. From the forgoing, the Apostle draws this inference, “therefore it is necessary;” according to the command of God, it was necessary “that the patterns” (in Greek, ὑποδειγματα, the figures or “types,”) “of heavenly things” should be purified by blood offerings, such as have been mentioned; “but the heavenly things themselves,” the things typified, should be cleansed by blood of a more excellent kind; for, the types were cleansed with blood, for the purpose of shadowing forth the others. But what “the heavenly things themselves” refer to, is not so easy to be seen. From the following verse, they would appear to refer to heaven itself; for, the Apostle proves that as the sanctum sanctorum, into which the Jewish high priest entered, was purified, so should the sanctuary into which Christ entered.

24. “For Jesus is not entered,” &c. The Greek is, “Christ is not entered,” &c. In these words, the Apostle explains what he means by “heavenly things,” in the preceding verse. The sanctum sanctorum, into which Christ has entered, is heaven itself. The question then, is, how could heaven be “cleansed?” The supporters of this opinion say, it is “cleansed” in a manner analogous to the way in which its type, the Mosaic tabernacle, was purified; now, the Mosaic tabernacle, was not really cleansed or purified; but it was said to be purified in this sense, that certain legal defilements or irregularities, on the part of men, excluding them from it, were removed; so, in like manner, heaven is cleansed: because, the way or access to it is free and open for men, by the removal from men, through the merits of Christ’s bloody oblation, of the guilt of sin, which kept heaven closed, and prevented them from entering. Others say, that “heavenly things” (verse 23) refer to the Church militant, which can be easily understood to be cleansed by more excellent victims, than those offered in the Old Law; and the Church is called “heavenly,” on account of its founder, doctrine, sacrifice, and the end of its institution on earth; finally, because heaven is its term and final resting-place. The advocates of this interpretation say, that the words of this verse 24, are adduced merely for the purpose of proving that the Church should be properly designated by the appellation “heavenly,” as it is the sanctum, through which Christ passed into the sanctum sanctorum of heaven; and the sanctum and sanctum sanctorum should both be of the same nature, both belonging to the same tabernacle. Those who understand the words, “heavenly things,” of heaven, also say, that heaven was purified from the sins of the angels, who sinned there. “That he may appear now in the presence of God for us.” The Greek word for “appear,” αμφανισθηναι, is a legal term, applied to a witness or advocate; in the latter sense, it is applied here to Christ. “Patterns of the true,” as appears from the Greek, αντιτυπα, convey the idea, that the Jewish Holy of Holies was a representation of the model, to which “true” refers, pointed out to Moses on the Mount. Hence, “true,” does not mean Heaven, of which the Jewish Holy of Holies was a mere type; but, the true model shown to Moses, according to which the Tabernacle was framed. With it, as well as with the Tabernacle of Moses, Heaven is here contrasted. Hence, although the Tabernacle built by Moses may be called the antitype (αντιτυπα) of the model shown on the Mount; still, both may be regarded, as being themselves mere types of the celestial Tabernacle, in which Christ ministers.

25. He points out the dissimilarity between the entrance of Christ into heaven and that of the high priest into the Holy of Holies. The high priest entered with the “blood of others.” i.e., of the victims slain; Christ with his own. The high priest entered not once, but repeated, each successive year, his ingress and egress; Christ but once entered heaven; not to leave it, or repeat again the same bloody oblation of himself, his one offering being of infinite value; and hence, its repetition as a redemptory sacrifice, would be quite useless.

26. If the one bloody oblation of himself by Christ were not of infinite value, and did not suffice for the remission of all sin, an absurdity would follow, viz., that Christ should suffer frequently, and for every generation from the beginning of the world: because as no sin could be remitted, except by the sacrifice of Christ, which is inseparable from his death, and as sin existed from the beginning of the world, he should, therefore, die to remit the sins of every single generation, in preceding ages.

“But now once at the end of ages, he hath appeared for the destruction of sin, by the sacrifice of himself,” i.e., he has died but once, and that “at the end of ages.” The period of the Christian religion is frequently called “the end of ages,” the last hour; because it is the last system of religion, that will be established on earth. “He hath appeared by the sacrifice of himself.” Some make this refer to heaven, as if he appeared there exhibiting his wounds to his heavenly Father. The Greek for “appeared,” πεφανερωται, which means, he has been manifested, would render it more probable that it refers to his appearance on earth in the bloody oblation he made of himself on the cross; and the allusion to the expediency of his dying often, which should happen on earth, makes this latter interpretation still more probable. The Apostle here only excludes the repetition of bloody and redemptory oblations of Christ—he by no means refers to unbloody offerings, applicatory of the merits and atonement achieved in the one Redemptory Sacrifice. Hence, no argument against the Adorable Sacrifice of the Mass. He only says if the bloody and redemptory sacrifice of Christ did not suffice for the ransom of the sins of all ages, he should again suffer and pour out his blood for their redemption, which “now,” that he “appeared once,” &c., or, in the present order of things, would be an absurdity, considering the infinite value of his Sacrifice.

27. Another argument in proof of the unity of Christ’s death, is derived from the decree of God fixing on one death only, for mankind, to which decree Christ is supposed to conform.

28. “So also Christ was offered once.” The word “was” is superfluous; it is not in the Greek, nor is it necessary for the sense of the passage. Christ will again appear not as before, “bearing the iniquities of us all,” as to imputability; but “without sin,” without the liability of being again offered up in Sacrifice to atone for sin. He will appear glorious and immortal, not to be judged like the rest of men, but to judge the world, to carry consolation to those who, submitting to privations for his sake, patiently expect his coming—a very appropriate exhortation for the Hebrews, who were suffering for the faith. Christ died once for the sins of “many” his satisfaction was offered for the sins of all, and all are “many.” The infinite value of Christ’s death excluded the necessity of its repetition—one death answered all the ends of universal redemption; the Jewish oblation had only a limited effect, toties quoties.








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