Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.
Verse 1. - Then verily (or, now indeed) the first covenant also (or, even the first covenant) had ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary (rather its sanctuary of this world (τὸ ἅγιον κοσμεκόν). The definite article points to the well-known one of the Mosaic dispensation, which, unlike the true one, was in its bearings, as well as locally and materially, of this world only). This sanctuary itself is now first described in necessary preparation for an account of priestly ministrations in it.
For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.
Verses 2-5. - For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbead; which is called the holy place. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the holy of holies; having a golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid with gold, wherein was a golden pot having the manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; and over it the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy-seat; of which things we cannot now speak particularly. The tabernacle as a whole is first spoken of; and then its two divisions, called respectively "the first 'and "the second" tabernacle. The account of them is from the Pentateuch, and describes them as they originally were. In the then existing temple there were neither ark, mercy-seat, nor cherubim, though the ceremonies were continued as though they had been still there. The ark had been removed or destroyed in the sack by the Chaldeans, and was never replaced (for the Jewish tradition on the subject, see 2 Macc. 2:1-8). Josephus says ('Bell. Jud.,' 5:05. 5) that in the temple of his day there was nothing whatever behind the veil in the holy of holies; and Tacitus informs us ('Hist.,' v 9) that, when Pompey entered the temple, he found there "vacuam sedem et inania arcana." A stone basement is said by the rabbis to have occupied the ark's place, called "lapis fundationis." In the "first tabernacle," called "the holy place" (ἅγια probably, not ἁγία: i.e. a neuter plural, equivalent to "the holies"), the table of shewbread (with its twelve loaves in two rows, changed weekly) stood on the north side, i.e. the right as one approached the veil; and opposite to it, on the left, the seven-branched golden candlestick, or lamp-stand, carrying an oil-lamp on each branch (Exodus 25, 37, 40.). Between them, close to the veil stood the golden altar of incense (ibid.); which, nevertheless, is not mentioned here as part of the furniture of the "first tabernacle," being associated with the "second," for reasons which will be seen. The "second veil" was that between the holy place and the holy of holies (Exodus 36:35), the curtain at the entrance of the holy place (Exodus 36:37) being regarded as the first. The inner sanctuary behind this second veil is spoken of as having (ἔχουσα) in the first place "a golden censer," as the word θυμιατήριον is translated in the A.V. (so also in the Vulgate, thuribulum). But it assuredly means the" golden altar of incense," though this stood locally outside the veil. For
(1) otherwise there would be no mention at all of this altar, which was so important in the symbolism of the tabernacle, and so prominent in the Pentateuch, from which the whole description is taken.
(2) The alternative view of its being a censer reserved for the use of the high priest, when he entered behind the veil on the Day of Atonement, has no support from the Pentateuch, in which no such censer is mentioned as part of the standing furniture of the tabernacle, and none of gold is spoken of at all; nor, had it been so, would it have been placed, any more than the altar of incense, within the veil, since the high priest required it before he entered.
(3) Though the word itself, θυμιατήριον, certainly means" censer," and not "altar of incense," in the LXX., yet in the Hellenistic writers it is otherwise. Philo and Josephus, and also Clemens Alexandrinus and Origen, always call the altar of incense θυμιατήριον χρυσοῦν; and the language of the Epistle is Hellenistic.
(4) The wording does not of necessity imply that what is spoken of was locally within the veil: it is not said (as where the actual contents of the "first tabernacle" and of the ark are spoken of) wherein (ἐν η΅ι), but having (ἔχουσα), which need only mean having as belonging to it, as connected with its symbolism. It was an appendage to the holy of holies, though not actually inside it, in the same way (to use a homely illustration given by Delitzsch) as the sign-board of a shop belongs to the shop and not to the street. It is, indeed, so regarded in the Old Testament. See Exodus 40:5, "Thou shalt set the altar of gold for the incense before the ark of the testimony;" also Exodus 30:6, "Before the mercy-seat that is over the testimony;" and 1 Kings 6:22, "The altar which was by the oracle," or, "belonging to the oracle;" cf. also Isaiah 6:6 and Revelation 8:3, where, in the visions of the heavenly temple based upon the symbolism of the earthly, the altar of incense is associated with the Divine throne. And it was also so associated in the ceremonial of the tabernacle. The smoke of the incense daily offered on it was supposed to penetrate the veil to the holy of holies, representing the sweet savor of intercession before the mercy-seat itself; and on the Day of Atonement, not only was its incense taken by the high priest within the veil, but also it, as well as the mercy-seat, was sprinkled with the atoning blood. Of the rest of the things described as belonging to the holy of holies, it is to be observed that, though none of them were in it when the Epistle was written, yet all (except the pot of manna and Aaron's rod) were essential to its significance, as will be seen; and all, with these two exceptions, were in Solomon's temple as well as in the original tabernacle. An objection that has been raised to the accuracy of the description, on the ground that the pot and the rod are not said in the Pentateuch to have been placed inside the ark, is groundless. They were to be laid up "before the LORD" (Exodus 16:33); "before the testimony" (Numbers 17:10); and "the testimony" elsewhere means the tables of the Law (Exodus 25:16; Exodus 31:18; Exodus 40:20, etc.), which were within the ark. It was most likely that they would be kept for safe preservation in the same place with the" testimony," before which they were ever to be. Further, what is said (1 Kings 8:9 and 2 Chronicles 5:10) of there being nothing in the ark but the two tables of stone when it was moved into Solomon's temple, is no proof that nothing else had been originally there. It seems, indeed, rather to favor the idea that there had been, as implying that something more might have been expected to be found there. The mercy-seat, as is well known, was the cover of the ark, over which the wings of the two cherubim were spread. The expression, "cherubim of glory," probably has reference to the luminous cloud, significant of the Divine presence, which, occasionally at least (there is no sufficient ground for concluding it to have been a permanent manifestation), is said to have been seen above them. The cherubim, whatever their exact significance, are represented as accompaniments of the Divine glory (cf. Isaiah 6. and Ezekiel 1. and 10.).
And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;
Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;
And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.
Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.
Verse 6. - Now these things being thus ordained (A.V.; rather, arranged or constituted; it is the same word (κατασκευάζω) as was used in ver. 2, "there was a tabernacle made;" also in Hebrews 3:3, 4, of God's "house;" on which see supra), the priests go in continually into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the services. (Observe that here, where the ministrations are described, present tenses are used; perhaps because these ministrations were still going on when the Epistle was written.) The continual services in the "first tabernacle" were
(1) lighting the lamps every evening, and trimming them every morning (Exodus 27:21; Exodus 30:8; Leviticus 24:3);
(2) renewing the twelve loaves of shewbread every sabbath (Leviticus 24:5, etc.);
(3) burning incense on the golden altar twice daily, when the lamps were trimmed and lighted (Exodus 30:7, 8), at the time of the morning and evening sacrifice, the people meanwhile praying outside (Luke 1:10).
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:
Verses 7, 8. - But into the second the high priest alone, once in the year, not without blood, which he offereth for himself and for the errors (literally, ignorances; cf. ver. 2) of the people. For the ceremonies on the Day of Atonement, see Leviticus 16. They may be summarized, in their main characteristics, thus:
(1) The high priest brought to the door of the tabernacle a bullock as a sin offering for himself, and two goats as a sin offering for the people; also a ram as a burnt offering for himself, and a ram as a burnt offering for the people.
(2) After washing and arraying himself in white linen garments (not the ordinary official dress), he cast lots on the two goats which were for the people's sin offering - one lot being "for the LORD," the other "for Azazel;" that on which the former lot fell being for sacrifice, the other to be set free.
(3) He sacrificed his own sin offering, entered the holy place with the blood thereof, filled a censer with burning coals from the golden altar, went with it within the veil, sprinkling incense on the coals, "that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy-seat, that he die not;" took also the blood within the veil, and sprinkled the mercy-seat therewith.
(4) He returned outside the tabernacle, sacrificed the people's sin offering, i.e. the goat that was "for the LORD," entered the holy place with its blood, and proceeded as before; sprinkling also the altar of incense, as well as the mercy-seat, with the blood of both sacrifices, to "hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel."
(5) He again returned outside the tabernacle, laid his hands on the head of the goat "for Azazel," confessing over him "all the iniquities of the children of Israel, putting them on the head of the goat," and sent him away to the wilderness, where he was to be let go.
(6) He again entered the tabernacle, where he put off his linen garments, and left them there, and then, after washing again, and putting on his ordinary official dress, sacrificed his own and the people's burnt offering.
(7) The bodies of the two sin offerings (the bullock and the slain goat) were taken outside the camp, and there entirely consumed by fire. The points in this ceremonial here especially noted are:
(1) That the entrance within the veil was only "once in the year," i.e. on one only day in the year; for on that day the high priest entered more than once. The meaning is that ordinarily, except on that single day, approach to the innermost shrine was closed to all.
(2) That even on that day the high priest alone entered; neither the people, nor even the priesthood generally, ever had approach to the holiest of all.
(3) That even he could not enter "without blood;" neither the daily sacrifices nor all the ordinary ceremonial of the Law availed for his access: he must take with him the blood of special sin offerings, or he still could not enter and live.
(4) This blood he offered "for himself and for the ignorances of the people;" for himself, since he too was "compassed with infirmity," and required atonement (ver. 2), and also for the people's ignorances. There is a significance in this word. It was not the sins done with a high hand that had to be atoned for on that day; these were either visited by "cutting off," or atoned for in ways appointed for the purpose: it was the less definite and undetected sinfulness, infecting the whole community, and remaining after all ceremonial cleansing, so as to debar them from coming "boldly to the throne of grace," that was yearly kept in remembrance on the Day of Atonement. Hence before even the high priest could enter and not die, the mercy-seat over "the testimony" which was within the ark must be enveloped with the cloud of incense and sprinkled with the blood which "covereth sin" (the verb translated "make atonement for" means properly "cover"). The sin was still not taken away, only "covered" for the time; for the holy of holies after the ceremony remained closed as before, and the same rites had to be repeated at each yearly entrance. All that was expressed was an ever-recurring need of atonement, not yet effected truly, though symbolically prefigured. The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all (so the A.V., giving the idea correctly, though the expression is simply τῶν ἁγίων, which might denote only the holy place, as in ver. 2, if we there read ἅγια and not ἁγία, but is used for the holy of holies in vers. 24, 25, and for its heavenly antitype in ver. 13. This last, as typified in the earthly sanctuary, is what is intended here) hath not yet been made manifest, while as the first tabernacle is yet standing (or rather, has standing (ἐχούσης στάσιν); has a place in the symbolical representation). The "first tabernacle" here spoken of certainly does not mean the earthly one as opposed to the heavenly, but what the expression denotes throughout the chapter, the holy place in distinction from the holy of holies. How, then, is the continued existence of this a sign that the way to the heavenly holy of holies has not yet been made manifest? Obviously because it intervenes between the congregation and the holy of holies of the earthly tabernacle, debarring all approach to the latter, and even hiding it from their view. This debarring intervention signifies that there is no approach for them as yet to what the holy of holies symbolizes. Further, the ordinary ministry of the priests themselves did not extend beyond this "first tabernacle:" this alone was the sphere of the services which they accomplished daily; and so the very fact of its existing for this purpose expressed that even their mediation was not availing for access to the inner mercy-seat. And that this was so is intimated with peculiar significance by the direction that, when the high priest alone entered within the veil, none even of them should be in the holy place at all, so as to see beyond it: "And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place" (Leviticus 16:17).
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:
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;
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).
Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
Verse 10. - Rendered in A.V.," Which stood only in (μόνον ἐπὶ) meats and drinks and divers washings, and carnal ordinances [καὶ δικαιώμασι σαρκὸς, Textus Receptus], imposed on them (ἐπικείμενα) until the time of reformation." This is a satisfactory rendering of the Textus Receptus, ἐπὶ before "meats," etc., being taken in the sense of dependence, and ἐπικείμενα necessarily as agreeing with "gifts and sacrifices" (δῶρα τε καὶ θυσίαι) in ver. 9. But there are other readings, though none, any more than that of the Textus Receptus, to be decidedly preferred on the mere ground of manuscript authority. The best sense seems to be given by that of δικαιΩ´ματα instead of καὶ δικαιώματι, so that we may render (ἐπὶ being taken in the sense of addition), Being only (with meats and drinks and divers washings) carnal ordinances, imposed until the time of reformation. We thus have an obvious neuter plural (δικαιώματα) for ἐπικείμενα to agree with, and we avoid the assertion that the "gifts and sacrifices" of the Law "stood only" in "meats," etc. This was not so; their essential part was blood-shedding (αἱματεκχύσια ver. 22) the other things here mentioned were but accompaniments and appendages. The "meats and drinks" spoken of may refer mainly to the distinctions between clean and unclean viands, which we know were made such a point of by the Jews of the apostolic ago (cf. Colossians 2:16-23; Romans 14; 1 Corinthians 8; also Mark 7:15). The "diverse washings" (βαπτισμοῖς) may be taken to include both the ablutions of the priests before sacrifice, and those enjoined on the people in many parts of the Law after ceremonial defile-merit, which kind of washings had been further multiplied variously in the traditional law (cf. Mark 7:3, 4, 8).
But Christ being come an high 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;
Verses 11, 12. - But Christ having come (παραγενόμενος, cf. Matthew 3:1; Luke 12:51) a High Priest (or, as High Priest) of the good things to come, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation (κτίσεως), nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, entered in once for all (ἐφάπαξ) into the holy place, having obtained (εὑράμενος, not necessarily antecedent to εἰσῆλθεν) eternal redemption. On the futurity expressed (here and Hebrews 10:1) by "the good things to come" (the reading μελλόντων being preferred to γενομένων), see under Hebrews 1:1 (ἐπ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων) and Hebrews 2:5 (τὴν οἰκουμένεν τὴς μέλλουσαν). Here, certainly, the period of the earthly tabernacle having been the temporal standpoint in all the preceding verses, futurity with regard to it may, without difficulty, be understood; and hence "the good things" may still be regarded as such as have already come in Christ. On the other hand, there is no difficulty in regarding them as still future. For the full and final result of even Christ's perfected high priesthood is not yet come. But what is "the greater and more perfect tabernacle," through which he entered the heavenly holy of holies? It seems evidently, in the first place, to be connected with εἰσῆλθεν, being regarded as the antitype of that "first tabernacle" through which the high priests on earth had passed in order to enter within the veil; διὰ having here a local, not an instrumental, sense. The instrumental sense of the same preposition in the next clause (διὰ τοῦ ἰδίου αἵματος) is not against this view. In English, "through his own blood he entered through the tabernacle" presents no difficulty, though "through" is used in two different senses. But what is exactly meant by the tabernacle through which Christ has passed? Bearing in mind what was said under Hebrews 8:2 of the prophetic visions of a heavenly temple - corresponding to the earthly one - and that the epithet ἀχειροποίητος is applied also (ver. 24) by implication to the counterpart of the holy of holies, and also the expression (Hebrews 4:14), "having passed through the heavens (διεληλυθόντα τοὺς οὑρανοὺς)," we may regard it as denoting the heavenly region beyond this visible sphere of things (οὐ ταύτης τῆς ᾿τίσεως), intervening between the latter and the immediate presence, or "face," of God. Thus "through the greater and more perfect tabernacle" of this verse answers to "having passed through the heavens" of Hebrews 4:14; and "entered once for all into the holy place" of ver. 12 to "entered into heaven itself" (the very heaven) of ver. 24. Thus also the symbolical acts of the Day of Atonement are successively, and in due order, fulfilled. As the high priest first sacrificed the sin offering outside the tabernacle, and then passed through the holy to the holy of holies, so Christ first offered himself in this mundane sphere of things, and then passed through the heavens to the heaven of heavens. Delitzsch, taking this view, offers a still more definite explanation; thus: "The former (τὰ ἅγια) is that eternal heaven of God himself (αὐτὸς ὁ οὐρανὸς) which is his own self-manifested eternal glory (John 17:5), and existed before all worlds; the latter (ἡ σκηνή) is the heaven of the blessed, in which he shines upon his creatures in 'the light of love' - 'the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven' of Revelation 15:5, which the apocalyptic seer beheld filled with incense-smoke from 'the glory of God, and from his power.'" There are other views of what is meant by "the greater and more perfect tabernacle." The most notable, as being that of Chrysostom and the Fathers generally, is that it means Christ's human nature, which he assumed before passing to the throne of the Majesty on high. This view is suggested by his having himself spoken of the temple of his body (John 2:21), and calling it, if the "false witnesses" at his trial reported him truly, ἀχειροποίητον (Mark 14:58); by the expression (John 1:14), "The Word was made flesh, and tabernacled (ἐσκήνωσεν) among us;" by St. Paul's speaking of the human body as a tabernacle (2 Corinthians 5:1, 4); and by Hebrews 10:19, 20, where the "veil" through which we have "a new and living way into the holy place through the blood of Jesus" is said to be his flesh. There is thus abundant ground for thinking of Christ's body as signified by a tabernacle; and the expression in Hebrews 10:19, 20 goes some way to countenance such an interpretation here. The objection to it is that it seems neither suggested by the context nor conformable to the type of the high priest on the Day of Atonement. For, if the human body of Christ assumed at his birth is meant, he entered into that before, not after, his atoning sacrifice; and if, with Hofmann, we think rather of his glorified body, in what sense in accordance with the type can it be said that he entered through it? We should rather say that he ascended with it to the right hand of God. The further points of contrast between Christ's entrance and that of the earthly high priests are:
(1) The instrumental medium was not the blood of goats and calves (specified here as having been the sin offerings on the Day of Atonement), but his own blood; he was both Priest and Victim.
(2) He entered, not yearly, but once for all; there was no need of continual repetition. And the conclusion is drawn flint the redemption he thus wrought is consequently complete and eternal. The first of these contrasts is enlarged on from ver. 13 to ver. 24; the second (denoted by ἐφάπαξ) is taken up at ver. 25. On the word "redemption" (λύτρωσις: in some other passages ἀπολύτρωσις) it is to be observed that it means, according to its etymology, release obtained by payment of a ransom (λύτρον), and thus in itself involves the doctrine of atonement according to the orthodox view. It is true that in many Scripture passages it is used (as also λυτρούσθαι and λυτρωτή`) in a more general sense to express deliverance only, but never where the redemption of mankind by Christ is spoken cf. In such cases the λύτρον is often distinctly specified, as in Matthew 20:28 and Mark 10:45, "his life;" in 1 Timothy 2:6 and Titus 2:14, "himself;" in Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; 1 Peter 1:19, "his blood;" cf. also infra, ver. 14. As to how the availing power of the atonement is to be understood, more will be said under the verses that follow.
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.
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:
Verse 13. - For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling those that have been defiled (κεκοινωμένους, cf. Matthew 15:11, etc.; Acts 21:28), sancfifieth to the purifying (literally, unto the purity, καθαρότητα) of the flesh. In addition to the sin offerings of the Day of Atonement, mention is here made of the red heifer, whose ashes were to be mixed with water for the purification of such as had been ceremonially defiled by contact with dead bodies (for account of which see Numbers 19.). They are classed together because both were general sin offerings for the whole congregation, representing the idea of continual and unavoidable defilements notwithstanding all the daily sacrifices; the difference between them being that the ashes were reserved for use in known cases of constantly recurring defilement, the sin offerings on the Day of Atonement were for general sin and defilement, known or unknown. But neither, in themselves, could from their very nature avail for more than outward ceremonial cleansing - " the purity of the flesh." This, however, they did avail for; and, if so, what -must the cleansing power of Christ's offering be? Its deeper efficacy shall appear from consideration of what it was.
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?
Verse 14. - How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purify your (al. our) conscience from dead works to serve the living God? As in vers. 11, 12 Christ's entrance was contrasted with that of the high priest, so here is the sacrifice itself, in virtue of which he entered, similarly contrasted. The points of contrast to which attention is drawn are these:
(1) It was the blood, not of beasts that perish, but of Christ himself - the Christ, the Hope of Israel, whose Divine prerogatives have been set forth in the preceding chapters.
(2) He offered himself. His offering was a voluntary self-oblation, not the blood-shedding of passive victims.
(3) His offering was realty "spotless" (ἄμωμος) in the sense of sinless - the only sense that can satisfy Divine justice - symbolized only by the absence of material blemish in the ancient sacrifices.
(4) And this he did "through the eternal Spirit." This expression, which comes first in order, has an important bearing on the meaning of the whole passage, and calls for especial consideration. Be it observed, first, that the words are "the eternal Spirit," not "the Holy Spirit." It is not the usual designation of the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. (The reading ἅγιου for αἰωνίου has not much authority in its favor, and is, besides, much more likely to have been substituted than the other.) What, then, is meant by "the eternal Spirit," through which Christ offered himself spotless? There are three notable texts in which the Spirit in Christ is opposed to the flesh: Romans 1:3, Τοῦ γενομένου ἐκ σπέρματος Δαβὶδ κατὰ σάρκα τοῦ ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ Θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει κατὰ Πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν 1 Timothy 3:16, Ἐφανερώθη ἐκ σαρκὶ ἐδεκαιώωθη ἐν πνεύματι: 1 Peter 3:18, Θανατωθεὶς μὲν σαρκὶ ζωοποιηθεὶς δὲ τῷ πνεύματι. In all these passages the Spirit is that Divine element of life in Christ, distinct from the human nature which he assumed of the seed of David, in virtue of which he rose from the dead. In us men, too, according to St. Paul, there is the πνεύμα, as well as σάρξ and ψυχή (sometimes πνεύμα and σάρξ alone are spoken of) - the higher principle of life within us, in virtue of which we can have communion with God and be influenced by his Holy Spirit. Any act of acceptable sell oblation that we might be capable of would be done through the spirit that is in us, to which the flesh is subdued. Corresponding to this in Christ was "the eternal Spirit" - a truly Divine spiritual Personality, conjoined with his assumed humanity. Through this he overcame death, it being impossible that he should be holden of it; through this, too he offered himself a willing sacrifice, submitting to the full penalty of human sin in obedience to the Father's will. Thus is prominently brought to view the spiritual aspect of the atonement. Its especial virtue is said to lie, not in the mere suffering or the mere physical blood-shedding and death upon the cross, but in its being a voluntary act of perfect obedience on the part of him who was the Representative of man, and in whom "the eternal Spirit" triumphed over the weakness of humanity. The agony in the garden (see under ver. 7, etc.) is illustrative of this view of the virtue of the atonement. There we perceive "the eternal Spirit" in the Savior completely victorious over natural human shrinking. The same view appears in the reference to Psalm 40 in Hebrews 10, where "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God" expresses the essential principle of the availing sacrifice (see below on Hebrews 10:5, etc.). Hence follows what is said next of the effect of such a sacrifice as this was - to purify, not the flesh, but the conscience (συνειδησιν), meaning "man's inner consciousness" with regard to God and our relations to him. It belonged essentially to the spiritual sphere of things, and in that sphere (as was not the case with the old sacrifices) must be, and is felt to be, its availing power. It was, in fact, just such a sacrifice as man's conscience, if enlightened, feels to be due to God. Man, as he is now, cannot make it; but in the "Son of man" he sees it made, and thus finds at last the idea of a true atonement fulfilled. In the expression, "dead works," there may be an intended allusion to the dead bodies from the pollution of which especially the "ashes of an heifer" purified; and in "to serve" (εἰς τὸ λατρεύειν) there is an evident reference to the legal type. As the legal sin offering purified the flesh from the contamination of contact with the dead, so that the Israelites, thus cleansed, might offer acceptable worship, so Christ's offering of himself fulfils what was thus typified; it purifies the "conscience" from the contamination of "dead works," so that we may offer our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our λογικὴ λατρεία (Romans 12:1). On νεκρῶν ἔργων, see under Hebrews 6:1. Here, the idea of general pollution pervading the whole congregation having been prominent in what precedes, we may, perhaps, take the expression as denoting all human works whatever "done before the grace of Christ and the inspiration of his Spirit," all being regarded as tainted with sin, and so dead for the purpose of justification. The purification from them which is spoken of involves (be it further observed) both justification through atonement and sanctification through grace: the first, since, otherwise, the very meaning of the old sin offerings would not be fulfilled; the second, as denoted by the concluding clause, "to serve," etc. The second is the necessary sequence of the first. Believers are not only "cleansed from their former sins," but also put into a position for offering an acceptable service. In the life of Christ in whom they live, and who ever liveth to make intercession for them, they can henceforth "serve the living God." There is involved, in fact (to return to the account of the new covenant in Jeremiah 31.), both oblivion of past sins and a writing of the Law upon the heart.
And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
Verses 15-17. - And for this cause he is the Mediator of a new testament, that by means of death (literally, death having taken place), for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. Here the view of the gospel as a new διαθήκη (introduced first in Hebrews 7:22, and enlarged on in Hebrews 8:6-13) is again brought in. For the word is still διαθήκη, though here, for reasons that will appear, rendered "testament" in the A.V. The connecting thought here is - It is because of Christ's sacrifice having been such as has been described, that he is the Mediator of that new and better covenant; it qualified him for being so. A sacrifice, a death, was required for giving it validity (vers. 16-23), and the character of his sacrifice implies a better covenant than the old, even such a one as Jeremiah foretold. Further, the purpose of his death is said to be "for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant." For in the passage of Jeremiah the defect of the first covenant was based on the transgression of its conditions by man, while under the new one, such transgressions were to be no more remembered. But this could not be without atonement for them; the whole ceremonial of the Law signified this; and also that such atonement could not be except by death. The death of Christ satisfied this requirement; and so the new covenant could come in. So far the course of thought is clear. Nor is there difficulty in understanding the purport of ver. 18, etc., taken by itself, where the "blood-shedding" that inaugurated the first covenant is regarded as typical of that of Christ in the inauguration of the new one. But there is a difficulty about the intervening verses (16, 17), arising from the apparent use of the word διαθήκη in a new sense, not otherwise suggested - that of testament rather than covenant. The verses are, as given in the A.V., For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be (φέρεσθαι. a word of which the exact meaning is not clear; some interpret "be brought in, or proved," some "be understood, implied ") the death of the testator (τοῦ διαθεμένου, equivalent to "him that made it"). For a testament is of force after men are dead (ἐπὶ νεκροῖς): otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth (or, for doth it ever avail while he theft made it liveth? ἐπεὶ μήποτε: cf. Hebrews 10:2; Romans 3:6; 1 Corinthians 14:16; John 7:26; Luke 3:15). Now, the word διαθήκη itself undoubtedly may bear the sense of "testament." Its general meaning is " disposition," or "settlement;" and it may denote either compact between living persons, or a will to take effect after the testator's death. In the verses before us it appears to be used specifically in the latter sense. For they express general propositions, which are not true of all covenants, but are true (according to their most obvious sense) of all testaments. Further, this sense is distinctly applicable to the new διαθήκη, regarded as the dying Christ's bequest to his Church. Hence, but for the context, we should naturally so understand it in these verses. The difficulties attending this sense are:
(1) The word is not used in this specific sense before or afterwards in this Epistle or in Jeremiah 31, which is the basis of the whole argument, or elsewhere, apparently, either in the Old Testament or the New.
(2) The sense does not suit the case of the old διαθήκη, which was a covenant between the living God and his people; and there is no intimation of two senses being intended in the two cases: indeed, in the passage before us, the same sense seems to be distinctly implied, since the blood-shedding which inaugurated the old is at once (in ver. 17) spoken of as answering to the death which inaugurated the new, as though death inaugurated both in the same sense.
(3) The word, in the sense of covenant (equivalent to the Hebrew berith), is common in the LXX., expressing an idea familiar to Jews and Jewish Christians, while testamentary dispositions were, as far as we know, unfamiliar to the Hebrews; and, though the Roman testamentary law may have come into use when the Epistle was written, it is thought unlikely that the writer, addressing Hebrews, would have referred to it in illustration of a Divine dispensation, or, if he had, have used a word so well known to them in its traditional sense.
(4) Christ is called (here as well as in Hebrews 12:24 and Hebrews 13:20) the Mediator (μεσίτης) of the new διαθήκη: but a testament does not require a Mediator, nor, if it has one, can the same person be both mediator and testator. If, however, the sense of testament should seem inevitable here, we may explain as follows. Though the word has been used so far in a general sense, yet the writer, on the suggestion of θανάτου γενομένου in ver. 15, passes in thought at ver. 16 to the specific sense of testament, as suiting the case of Christ, the language he uses being sufficient for carrying his readers with him in the transition. Further, though the old διαθήκη was not in itself a testament, yet it was typical of that which was; its whole ceremonial foreshadowed the future Testator's death, and so, in a typical sense, it might also itself be called one. Consequently, in ver. 18, the inaugurating sacrifices of the old dispensation are regarded as representing the death of the testator; for they prefigured Christ, through whose death the "eternal inheritance" is bequeathed to man. (In accordance with this view, the Vulgate renders διαθήκη testamentum throughout the Epistle, even when the old dispensation is referred to.) As to ὁ διαθέμενος (translated "the testator"), it is, according to this view, ultimately God the Father in the new διαθήκη, as well as in the old, though, of course, the Godhead could not die. But the Father having placed the whole inheritance destined for mankind in the hands of Christ as Mediator, in his human death the testator died. And thus one of the difficulties above mentioned may be met, viz. that of Christ being regarded both as Testator and Mediator. Christ was, in fact, both - Testator, in that, being one with God, he bequeathed through his death the kingdom appointed unto hint by the Father; Mediator, in that it was through his incarnation only that the "eternal inheritance" willed to us by the Father could be transmitted in the way of testament. So in effect Chrysostom explains. Apposite to this view of the subject are his own words (Luke 22:29), "And I appoint (διατίθεμαι) unto you a kingdom, as my Father appointed (διέθετο) unto me." Here we have the same verb (διατίθεμαι) as is used in the Epistle. And though, in the passage from St. Luke, the idea of a testamentary appointment is not necessarily implied, yet it is naturally suggested where Christ is speaking on the eve of, and with reference to, his death. There is, however, another view taken (decidedly by Whitby, Ebrard, and in the recent 'Speaker's Commentary'), according to which the idea of a testament does not come in at all, the word διαθήκη retaining here, as elsewhere, its usual sense of covenant. The position is that, though the propositions of vers. 16, 17 are not true of all covenants, yet there is a sense in which they are true of any covenant between God and man; which is the only kind of covenant that the writer has in view, or that his readers would be led to think of by the previous reference to Jeremiah 31, or by the associations of the word διαθήκη as used in the Old Testament. The sense in which the propositions are true of such a covenant is thus expressed by Ebrard: "Whenever sinful man will enter into a covenant with the holy God, the man must first die - must first atone for his guilt by death (or must put in a substitute for himself)." This principle is expressed (it is alleged), not only by the sacrifices that inaugurated this covenant of the Law, but also wherever a covenant between God and man is spoken of in the Old Testament; e.g. in the covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15:8, etc., and Genesis 22.). In the case of covenants between man and man (as between Abraham and Abimelech, and between Jacob and Laban) there was no need of slain victims, whoso life had to be given for that of one of the contracting parties; but there is always expressed such need in the case of a covenant between God and man. Further, the expression, διαθήκη ἐπὶ νεκροῖς βεβαία, is, according to this view, illustrated by Psalm 50:5, where the LXX. has τοὺς διατιθεμένους τὴν διαθήκην αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ θυσίαις (in the Vulgate, qui ordinant testamentum ejus super sacrificiis). The same preposition ἐπὶ is used in both passages, and ἐπὶ θοσίαις is supposed to express the same idea as ἐπὶ νεκροῖς. This passage from the psalm is certainly much to the point in support of the view before us, serving moreover to meet in some degree one principal objection to it, viz. that it requires ὁ διαθέμενος to be understood of the human party to the covenant, and not of its Divine Author. Such is not the most obvious application of the word, nor the one sanctioned by the quotation from Jeremiah, or by other references to the Divine covenant (see supra, Hebrews 8:10, and also Genesis 15:18; Deuteronomy 5:2, 3; Luke 12:29; Acts 3:25; as well as Exodus 24:8, quoted below (ver. 20), where διέθετο, not ἐνετείλατο, is the word in the LXX. But such is the application in Psalm 50:5, and may be considered, therefore, not untenable. The writer may, indeed, have had the expression in the psalm in his mind when he wrote the verses before us. It appears from what has been said that difficulties attend both the views that have been above explained. It is not here attempted to decide between them.
For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.
Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.
Verse 18. - Wherefore neither hath the first (testament, A.V.; or, covenant) been dedicated without blood. Here the blood of slain victims, which had been essential for the first inauguration of the old διαθήκη, is referred to as expressing the principle of vers. 16, 17, viz. that there must be death for a διαθήκη (in whatever sense the word may be intended, whether as a testament or as a covenant between God and man) to take effect. Whichever view we take of the intended import of the word, the reference is equally apposite in support of the introductory proposition of ver. 15; which is to the effect that Christ's death (θανάτου γενμένου), fulfilling the symbolism of the old inaugurating sacrifices, qualified him as Mediator of a new διαθήκη.
For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,
Verses 19, 20. - For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the covenant (A.V. testament) which God enjoined unto you (strictly, to you-ward; i.e. enjoined to me for you). The reference is to Exodus 24:3-9, where the account is given of the inauguration of the covenant between God and the Israelites through Moses. He "came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do." And then he wrote all the words of the LORD in a book, and builded an altar under the mount, and sacrifices were offered, and half of the blood was sprinkled on the altar, and the words were read from the book, and again the people undertook to observe them, and the other half of the blood was sprinkled on the people, and so the covenant was ratified. The essential part of the whole ceremony being the "blood-shedding," it is of no importance for the general argument that the account in Exodus is not exactly followed. The variations from it are these:
(1) The mention of goats as well as calves or bullocks - of water - of the scarlet wool and hyssop - and of the sprinkling of the book, instead of the altar, as in Exodus.
(2) The words spoken by Moses are differently given, τοῦτο being substituted for ἰδοὺ ὁ Θεός for Κύριος. and ἐνετείλατο for διέθετο. On these variations we may observe that the mention of goats may have been suggested to the writer's mind by the ceremonies of the Day of Atonement, previously alluded to; and it is not inconsistent with the account in Exodus, where the victims used for the "burnt offerings" are not specified, only the bullocks for "peace offerings." Nor is there inconsistency in the other additions to the ceremonial. The scarlet wool and hyssop were the usual instruments of aspersion (a bunch of the latter being apparently bound by the former to a stick of cedar; cf. Exodus 12:22; Leviticus 14:50; Numbers 19:6, 18). It may have been usual to mix water with the blood used for aspersion, if only to prevent coagulation (see Lightfoot on John 19:34), though in some cases certainly also with a symbolical meaning (cf. Leviticus 14:5, 50); and, if the book was, as it was likely to be, on the altar when the latter was sprinkled (Exodus 24:6, 7), it would itself partake of this sprinkling, and, being thus consecrated, would be then taken from the altar to be read from to the people and to receive their assent, previously to the sprinkling of themselves with the moiety of the blood reserved. Probably the whole account, as here given, was the traditional one at the time of writing (see below, on ver. 21). With regard to the slightly altered form of the words spoken by Moses, it is an interesting suggestion that the writer may have had in his mind our Lord's corresponding words in the institution of the Eucharist, beginning in all the accounts with τοῦτο, and being thus worded: in St. Luke, Τοῦτο τὸ ποτήριον ἡ καινὴ διαθηκη ἐν τῷ αἱματί μου τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν ἐκχυνομενον: and in St. Matthew and St. Mark, Τοῦτο ἐστι τὸ αἱμά μου τὸ τῆς καινῆς διαθήκης τὸ περὶ πολλῶν ἐκχυνόμενον, St. Matthew adding εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν. That Christ in these words referred to those of Moses is obvious, speaking of his own outpoured blood as the antitype of that wherewith the old διαθήκη was dedicated; and it is likely that the writer of the Epistle would have Christ's words in his mind.
Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.
Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.
Verse 21. - Moreover the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry be sprinkled in like manner with the blood. This refers to a subsequent occasion, the tabernacle not having been constructed at the time of the inauguration of the covenant, - probably to the dedication of the tabernacle, enjoined Exodus 40, and described Leviticus 8. It is true that no sprinkling of the tabernacle or its furniture with blood is mentioned in the Pentateuch; only the anointing of them with oil (Leviticus 8:10). But the garments of Aaron and his sons are said on that occasion to have been sprinkled with the blood as well as with the anointing oil (Hebrews 8:30), and Josephus ('Ant.,' 3:08. 6) says that this blood-sprinkling was extended also to the tabernacle and its vessels (τήν τε σκηνὴν καὶ τὰ περὶ αὐτὴν σκεύη). Here, as well as in ver. 19, our writer may be supposed to follow the traditional account, with which there is still nothing in the Pentateuch inconsistent. Be it observed again that the force of the argument does not depend on these added details, but on the general principle, abundantly expressed in the original record, which is assorted in the following verse.
And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
Verse 22. - And almost (rather, eve may almost say that) all things are according to the Law purified with blood; and without shedding of blood there is no remission. The essentiality of blood, which is "the life of all flesh," for atonement and consequent remission, is emphatically asserted in Leviticus 17:11, which expresses the principle of the whole sacrificial ritual. The idea seems to be that the life of man is forfeit to Divine justice (cf. Genesis 2:17), and so blood, representing life, must be offered instead of his life for atonement.
It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
Verse 23. - It was therefore necessary (i.e. in accordance with the principle above expressed) that the patterns (rather, copies, see Hebrews 8:5, supra) of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. According to the view taken under Hebrews 8:2 and Hebrews 9:11, "the heavenly things" here must be taken to denote the corresponding realities in the heavenly sphere of things to which Christ has gone. But how can they themselves be said to require purification or cleansing? The mundane tabernacle did, being itself conceived as polluted by human sin; but how so of the unpolluted heavenly tabernacle? The answer may be that the expressions, chosen to suit the case of the earthly type, need not be pressed in all their details as applying to the heavenly sanctuary. With regard to the latter, they may he meant only to express that, though it be itself pure, yet man requires purification for access to it, and that for this purpose "better sacrifices" are required. "In hac apodosi verbum καθαρίζεσθαι, mundari, subauditum, facit hypallagem: nam exleslia per se sunt pura, sed nos purificandi fuimus, ut ilia possemus capessere" (Bengel). The general meaning is obvious enough. Commentators sometimes raise needless difficulties, and may sometimes even miss the essential purport of a passage by the too constant application of the critical microscope. If, however, it be thought necessary to find a sense in which the heavenly sanctuary may be said to need purification, the idea may be the appeasing of Divine wrath which bars the entrance of mankind.
For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
Verse 24. - For not into holy places made with hands did Christ enter, which are figures (ἀντίτυπα, antitypes) of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of (literally, before the face of) God for us. This verse confirms the view that "the heavenly things" of ver. 23 denoted the heavenly regions into which Christ is entered. Ἅγια at the beginning of the verse may be better translated "holy place" (as at vers. 12 and 25) rather than "places," since here the heavenly counterpart of the holy of holies, as distinguished from the" first tabernacle," appears to be in view, viz. "heaven itself," the heaven of heavens, the immediate presence or "face" of God, the "throne of the Majesty on high," to which Christ passed through the intermediate heavens. There he now (the perpetual now of the new era of accomplished redemption), in his humanity, in behalf of and representing all humanity, beholds for ever the very face of the eternal God, which Moses could not see and live, and of which the typical high priest saw from year to year but the emblem, in transitory glimpses, through intervening clouds of incense. The word ἀντίπυπα, like ὑποδείγματα in ver. 23, expresses the idea of the earthly sanctuary being a visible representation answering to a heavenly reality. The original τύπος (type) was shown to Moses in the mount (Hebrews 8:5); what was constructed by him on the earth below was the antitype to it. The words τύπος and ἀντίτυπος are elsewhere used to express respectively a prophetic figure of a fulfillment to come and the fulfillment itself (as in Romans 5:14 and 1 Peter 3:21, baptism in the latter text being regarded as the ἀντίτυπον of the Deluge), but still with the same idea of the type being prior to the antitype, the latter answering to the former.
Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
Verses 25, 26. - Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others (i.e. blood not his own, ἀλλοτρίῳ); for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now (probably νυνί, not νῦν, meaning "as it is ") once at the end of the ages hath he appeared (rather, been manifested, πεφανέρωται) to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Here (as above noted) the idea of ἐφάπαξ in ver. 12 is taken up. That Christ's offering of himself is once for all, needing no repetition, follows from the view of it already given, viz. that it is a perpetual presentation of himself, after fully availing sacrifice of himself, before the very face of God. That this is of necessity once for all is now further shown by the consideration that repeated offerings of himself would involve the impossible condition of repeated deaths. Observe that "offer himself" in ver. 25 does not refer to the death upon the cross, but to the intercession before the eternal mercy-seat after accomplished atonement, answering to the high priest's entrance, with the blood of previous sacrifice, within the veil. The death itself is denoted in ver. 26 by παθεῖν ("suffered"). The argument rests on the principle, already established as being signified by the whole of the ancient ritual, that, for acceptable intercession in behalf of man, previous death or blood-shedding is in every case required. But why add "since the foundation of the world"? We must supply the thought of the retrospective efficacy of Christ's atonement. Ever since sin entered, man needed atonement, signified, but not effected, by the ancient sacrifices. Christ's one offering of himself has supplied this primeval need, availing, not only for the present and future, but also for all past ages. This view was definitely expressed, with reference to "transgressions which were under the first covenant," in ver. 15, and, though not repeated here, is prominent in the writer's mind (cf. Romans 3:25, where God's righteousness is said to have been shown in Christ with regard to "the passing over of sins done aforetime, in the forbearance of God," as well as to justification of believers now; also Romans 5, where the effect of Christ's obedience is declared to be coextensive with that of Adam's transgression). This view accounts for "since the foundation of the world," the idea being that, the transgressions requiring atonement having been since then, repeated deaths since then would have been needed had not Christ's one offering of himself availed for all time, just as repeated sacrifices were needed for the high priest's symbolical yearly intercessions. The question is not asked, nor is any reason given, why this one all-sufficient offering was deferred till so long after the need began. It is enough to know that such has been, in fact, the Divine will, viz. that not till the fullness of time was come - not till the end (or consummation) of the long preceding sinful ages - should the Redeemer once for all be manifested for atonement. The phrase, ἐπὶ συντελείᾳ τῶν αἰώνων, seems certainly to imply the idea, otherwise known to have been prevalent in the apostolic age, of the end of all things being close at hand; and this expectation further accounts for the reference to the past rather than the future in the expression, "since the foundation of the world." For, with regard to the future, the second coming of Christ was the one great idea present to the minds of Christians, the intervening time being regarded by them as but the dawn of coming day (see, on this head, what was said under Hebrews 1:2). The strong expression, εἰς ἀθέτησιν ἁμαρτίας (for the sense of ἀθέτησις, cf. Hebrews 7:18, where it means "abrogation"), used as it here is with reference to all the transgressions of the ages past, though not to be pressed so as to invalidate what is elsewhere said of the future penal consequences of all willful and unrepented sin, may still be cited among the texts supporting the view of those who "trust the larger hope."
For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
Verses 27, 28. - And inasmuch as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this judgment: so the Christ also, once offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, without sin, to them that look for him, unto salvation. The Divine ordinance concerning mankind in general has its analogy in the truth concerning Christ, who was made like unto us in all things, and who represents humanity. As human life, with all its works, comes to an end in death, and only judgment fellows, so Christ's death once for all completed his ministerial work, and nothing remains for him to do but to return as Judge in glory - he judicaturus, men judicandi. "To bear the sins of many" is taken from Isaiah 53:12. For similar use of the word ἀναφέρειν, el. Numbers 14:33, LXX.; and especially 1 Peter 2:24, Τὰς ἁμαρτίᾶς ἡμῶν αὐτὸς ἀνήνεγκεν ἐν τῷ σώματι αὑτοῦ ἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον, which expresses the idea of Christ's taking our sins upon himself and bearing them up to the cross, and so removing them. The ideas of bearing and of taking away may thus be both implied. In contrast with this is the χωρίς ἁμαρτίας ("without, or apart from, sin") when he shall appear again. For then he will have been, as he is now, removed from it altogether - from its burden and its surroundings; it is in glory only that he will then appear. And so also "to them that look for him" his appearing will be "unto salvation" only. They, too, will have done with sin. The insertion of the words, "to them that look for him," precludes the conclusion that it will be so to all. The many passages that express the doom of those who shall be set on the left hand, whatever they imply, retain their awful meaning (cf. especially infra, Hebrews 10:27).
So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.