New Defender's Study Bible Notes
9:2 tabernacle. The design of the tabernacle in the wilderness, with its appurtenances, is described specifically in Exodus 25–27. Many of these details, as well as the worship services specified for the tabernacle, were models of the heavenly tabernacle and types of the spiritual ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest (note Hebrews 9:9,23-24).
9:3 Holiest of all. Also called “the most holy place” (Exodus 26:34). In extra-Biblical writings, it has been called “the Holy of holies.” This chamber could only be entered once a year on the great Day of Atonement, and then only by the high priest, to present sacrificial blood for all the people (Hebrews 9:25; see Leviticus 16).
9:4 golden censer. The golden censer was only brought into the holiest place on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:12-15), burning incense with coals from the altar, so the cloud of incense would cover the mercy seat where the sacrificial blood was to be sprinkled.
9:4 golden pot. See Exodus 16:33.
9:4 rod that budded. See Numbers 17:10.
9:4 tables of the covenant. These were the two tables of the law, containing God’s ten commandments (Deuteronomy 10:2-5).
9:5 cherubims of glory. The carved figures of the cherubims overshadowed the mercy seat (Exodus 25:18-20), guarding access to God, just as the true cherubims guarded the entrance to Eden after the expulsion of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:24).
9:5 mercyseat. “Mercy seat” is a translation of the same Greek word translated “propitiation” in Romans 3:25. It was the place where the high priest offered the blood of the propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of the people.
9:9 figure. “Figure” is from the Greek parabole, from which we get “parable.” The wilderness tabernacle with its various services was a sort of parable or picture of Christ’s ministry in the heavenly tabernacle.
9:15 new testament. This is the same Greek word (diatheke) translated “covenant” elsewhere (Hebrews 8:7-8, etc.). The reference here is not to the Old and New Testaments as the two divisions of the Bible, but rather to the contrast between God’s old covenant with Israel under the Mosaic law and the new covenant with both Jewish and Gentile believers as sealed by the blood of Christ (Hebrews 9:12).
9:16 death. Although not all covenants require death on the part of one making the covenant before they come into force, the particular type of covenant involved in a will does, and this is the type of covenant in view here. The first covenant made by God with man (at least the first actually called a covenant) was the unconditional covenant made with Noah after the Flood (Genesis 9:9,11-13,15-17), following the sacrifice of clean animals when they came out of the ark (Genesis 8:20). Similarly, His unconditional covenant with Abraham followed a sacrifice of five animals (Genesis 15:9-10,17-18). When God gave the law to Israel on Mount Sinai, He made a covenant with them (Exodus 19:5-6) conditioned on their obedience, and this was accompanied by burnt offerings and peace offerings and the sprinkling of “the blood of the covenant” (Exodus 24:5-8). However, all of these offerings of animals were only temporal and typical, prefiguring and prophesying the eternal offering of the blood of Christ and the making of the new covenant. Thus, in the case of these particular covenants made by God with man, death was required to bring them into operation, so that the Mosaic covenant and Christian covenant in effect become “testaments” or wills. The translators appropriately used this word under these circumstances, and it is altogether fitting that the two divisions of the Bible, centering on the covenants of law and grace respectively, became known as the Old Testament and New Testament.
9:16 testator. The word translated “testator” (Greek diatithemai) means simply “the one who made it (i.e., the covenant).” Not all covenants require the death of one or both of the covenanters, but the particular covenants being discussed in this section of Hebrews do involve death. The men with whom God was making the covenants all were under the judgment of death because of sin, but God Himself covenanted to die in their place, although they may not have understood its full implications at the time. In prophetic symbolism, both man’s merited death and God’s future substitutionary death were pictured by the animal sacrifices of the earlier covenants, then finally fulfilled by the once-for-all death of God in Christ. All of these were sealed, as it were, by the “shedding of blood” (Hebrews 9:22) and their terms appropriated and effectuated by the faith of the men who received them in the covenant promises of God.
9:20 Saying. Compare the words of Christ concerning the blood of the new covenant (Matthew 26:28) with those of Moses concerning the blood of the old covenant (Exodus 24:8).
9:22 without shedding of blood. Many liberal theologians (and a growing number of evangelicals) argue that references to “the shedding of blood” are merely metaphorical, the essential point being that a sacrificial death has occurred. Thus, they say, it was Christ’s death for our sins that was the redemption price for our salvation, not His blood—which, after all, was just a fluid, no different after being shed than before. The fact is, however, that there are many ways a man (or a sacrificial animal) may die, but mere death is not enough. “The life of the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11) and “without shedding of blood is no remission.” No other type of death could purchase our salvation. Therefore, “we have redemption through His blood” (Ephesians 1:7), He “made peace through the blood” (Colossians 1:20), He “washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Revelation 1:5), and we are now justified “through faith in His blood” (Romans 3:25).
9:22 is no remission. Thus, without the shedding of Christ’s blood, there can be no salvation. It is conceivable that He could have died in other ways, but remission of our sins required not just His death, but death through the shedding of His precious blood (I Peter 1:19).
9:24 figures of the true. Thus the wilderness tabernacle and the temple in Jerusalem were only “figures of the true” tabernacle. The latter is not only a structure in heaven, but in a sense is “heaven itself.”
9:24 now to appear. There are three different “appearings” of Christ mentioned in this chapter, using three different Greek words. Hebrews 9:26 speaks of the past appearing, when “He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Hebrews 9:28 speaks of His future appearing, when He shall “appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” His present appearance, however, is in “heaven itself,” where He “ever liveth to make intercession for us” (Hebrews 7:25).
9:27 once to die. Enoch and Elijah seem to have been exceptions to this principle (Genesis 5:24; II Kings 2:11), but they will probably return to the earth in the last days, and then die (see notes on Revelation 11:3-12). There will be one great exception, of course, for the saints living on earth when Christ returns (I Corinthians 15:51-53), but all (even those who will be living at that time) must prepare for death, for no one can be sure he will not die before Christ comes.
9:28 bear. “Bear” here is the same word as “offer up” in Hebrews 7:27. Christ not only bore the penalty of our sins on the cross, but also offered up His sacrificial blood to the Father as proof thereof (contrast Hebrews 9:24-25). Israel’s high priest offered up the blood of animals as an atonement for sins. Our High Priest offered up Himself!
9:28 look for him. To “look for Him” means to “expectantly wait for Him,” knowing that He might come at any time. There is nothing in the whole scope of prophesied events in the last days that must be fulfilled before He comes. Many of these events could happen before His return, but none must happen. We should “look for Him” every day and “love His appearing” (II Timothy 4:8).