|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:6-10 The apostle goes on to speak of the Old Testament services. Christ, having undertaken to be our High Priest, could not enter into heaven till he had shed his blood for us; and none of us can enter, either into God's gracious presence here, or his glorious presence hereafter, but by the blood of Jesus. Sins are errors, great errors, both in judgment and practice; and who can understand all his errors? They leave guilt upon the conscience, not to be washed away but by the blood of Christ. We must plead this blood on earth, while he is pleading it for us in heaven. A few believers, under the Divine teaching, saw something of the way of access to God, of communion with him, and of admission into heaven through the promised Redeemer, but the Israelites in general looked no further than the outward forms. These could not take away the defilement or dominion of sin. They could neither discharge the debts, nor resolve the doubts, of him who did the service. Gospel times are, and should be, times of reformation, of clearer light as to all things needful to be known, and of greater love, causing us to bear ill-will to none, but good-will to all. We have greater freedom, both of spirit and speech, in the gospel, and greater obligations to a more holy living.
Verse 9. - Which (ἥτις, with its usual force) is a parable for the time present (i.e. present as regarded from the standpoint of the old dispensation. The A.V., translating "then present," and using past tenses throughout, though departing from literalism, still gives, we conceive, the idea correctly); according to which (referring to "parable," if we adopt the best-supported reading, καθ ἥν. The Textus Receptus, followed by the A.V., has καθ ὅν, referring to "the time") are offered both gifts and sacrifices (cf. ver. 1), which cannot, as pertaining to the conscience, make him that doth the service (or, "the worshipper," the idea not being confined to the officiating priest; cf. Hebrews 10:2, where τοὺς λατρεύοντας is translated "the worshippers") perfect. The emphatic expression here is κατὰ συνείδησιν. The gifts and sacrifices of the Law availed in themselves only for external ceremonial purification; they did not reach, however typical, the sphere of man's inner consciousness; they could not bring about that sense of spiritual accord with God which is spoken of in Jeremiah 31. as marking the new covenant (see below, vers. 13, 14).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Which was a figure for the time then present,.... The tabernacle in general was a figure of Christ's human nature, Hebrews 8:2 and the most holy part of it was a figure of heaven itself, Hebrews 9:24 the whole service of it was typical and shadowy; but it was but a temporary figure; it was for that present time only; the things of it were suited to that dispensation, and are now abolished, and ought not to be revived, the ordinances of the Gospel being greatly preferable to them; and while it did continue, it was only a parable, as the word here used signifies; it was like a dark saying; it had much obscurity and darkness in it; or as the Vulgate Latin version renders it, it was a "figure of the present time"; that is, of the Gospel dispensation; it was a shadow of good things to come under that; it prefigured what is now accomplished; or rather it was a "figure unto, or until the present time"; till Christ came, when all figures, types, and shadows fled away, and were of no more real use and service:
in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices; that is, in which tabernacle, or at which then present time, or , "according to which figure or parable", as the Alexandrian copy and Vulgate Latin version read, gifts and sacrifices were offered by the priests; see Hebrews 5:1,
that could not make him that did the service perfect; neither the priest that offered them, nor the people whom he represented, and for whom he did the service; they could not make real and perfect expiation for sin, nor justify from it, nor cleanse and sanctify; the spiritual worshippers had their sins expiated by the sacrifice of Christ; and their persons were justified by his righteousness, and they were cleansed by his blood: the particular instance in which, legal sacrifices did not make perfect is, "pertaining to the conscience"; there is in every man a conscience, and when sin is charged home upon it, that is filled with a sense of divine wrath; nor can it be pacified with anything short of what will answer the law and justice of God, and which is only done by the blood and righteousness of Christ.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9. Which—"The which," namely, anterior tabernacle: "as being that which was" [Alford].
figure—Greek, "parable": a parabolic setting forth of the character of the Old Testament.
for—"in reference to the existing time." The time of the temple-worship really belonged to the Old Testament, but continued still in Paul's time and that of his Hebrew readers. "The time of reformation" (Heb 9:10) stands in contrast to this, "the existing time"; though, in reality, "the time of reformation," the New Testament time, was now present and existing. So "the age to come," is the phrase applied to the Gospel, because it was present only to believers, and its fulness even to them is still to come. Compare Heb 9:11, "good things to come."
in which—tabernacle, not time, according to the reading of the oldest manuscripts. Or translate, "according to which" parabolic representation, or figure.
could not—Greek, "cannot": are not able.
him that did the service—any worshipper. The Greek is "latreuein," serve God, which is all men's duty; not "leitourgein," to serve in a ministerial office.
make … perfect—perfectly remove the sense of guilt, and sanctify inwardly through love.
as pertaining to the conscience—"in respect to the (moral-religious) consciousness." They can only reach as far as the outward flesh (compare "carnal ordinances," Heb 9:10, 13, 14).
Hebrews 9:9 Parallel Commentaries
Hebrews 9:9 NIV
Hebrews 9:9 NLT
Hebrews 9:9 ESV
Hebrews 9:9 NASB
Hebrews 9:9 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible