Explanation Of ΤΗΣ ΠΡΩΤΗΣ ΣΚΗΝΚΣ, Heb. 9:8 -- By: Daniel Ladd
BSac 14:53 (Jan 1857) p. 46
Explanation Of ΤΗΣ ΠΡΩΤΗΣ ΣΚΗΝΚΣ, Heb. 9:8
In order to understand the meaning of these words, it is necessary, first, to inquire what is the scope of the passage in which they are found; and to ascertain the meaning of the phrase preceding them: μήπω πεφανερῶσθαι τὴν τῶν ἁγίων ὁσόν.
It is plain that the writer, from the commencement of the fifth chapter to the eighteenth verse of the tenth, compares the priesthood of Christ with that of the Levitical priests, in order to show the superiority of the former. He makes the comparison in respect to several particulars; as, the manner of appointment, the duration of office, and others. At the commencement of chapter ninth, he comes to the last particular of his comparison, the most important one of all, the efficacy of the two priesthoods in restoring men to communion and favor with God; and the consideration of this subject extends to the eighteenth verse of the tenth chapter, including a statement and illustration of the efficacy of death in procuring pardon, in chapter ninth, verses 15–22.
As the efficacy of a priesthood is determined by the efficacy of the sacrifices offered by it; the writer compares, at some length, the sacrifice of Christ with those of the Levitical priests; but it is in order to set clearly before his readers the grand result effected by those priesthoods, in making men holy and fitting them for God’s service, that he compares them. This is the grand decisive point, to which all the others, previously considered, are subordinate. The quotation from Jeremiah, in the last part of chapter eighth, showing that a new covenant was promised, very naturally introduced this last particular of his comparison; for a new covenant implies a more perfect one.
In order to have a clear view of the meaning of this pas-
BSac 14:53 (Jan 1857) p. 47
sage, it is important to have a definite conception of the criterion to which the writer brings these two priesthoods in order to test their efficacy; for this is entirely what may be called a Jewish conception of holiness; that is, it is not holiness as manifested by a life of obedience and benevolence and devotedness to the service of God; but holiness as consisting in a state of pardon and acceptance with God, fitting its possessor to go, like the high-priest, into the immediate presence of God, and offer acceptable worship. Probably no Jew ever conceived of a person in a holier state, in this world, than the high-priest when he entered the holy-of-holies, on the great day of atonement, and received tokens of the Divine favor there; and...
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