8:1-6 The substance, or summary, of what had been declared was, that Christians had such a High Priest as they needed. He took upon himself human nature, appeared on earth, and there gave himself as a sacrifice to God for the sins of his people. We must not dare to approach God, or to present any thing to him, but in and through Christ, depending upon his merits and mediation; for we are accepted only in the Beloved. In all obedience and worship, we should keep close to God's word, which is the only and perfect standard. Christ is the substance and end of the law of righteousness. But the covenant here referred to, was that made with Israel as a nation, securing temporal benefits to them. The promises of all spiritual blessings, and of eternal life, revealed in the gospel, and made sure through Christ, are of infinitely greater value. Let us bless God that we have a High Priest that suits our helpless condition.
4. Implying that Christ's priestly office is exercised in heaven, not in earth; in the power of His resurrection life, not of His earthly life.
For—The oldest manuscripts read, "accordingly then."
if, &c.—"if He were on earth, He would not even (so the Greek) be a priest" (compare Heb 7:13, 14); therefore, certainly, He could not exercise the high priestly function in the earthly Holy of Holies.
seeing that, &c.—"since there are" already, and exist now (the temple service not yet being set aside, as it was on the destruction of Jerusalem), "those (the oldest manuscripts omit 'priests') who offer the (appointed) gifts according to (the) law." Therefore, His sacerdotal "ministry" must be "in the heavens," not on earth (Heb 8:1). "If His priesthood terminated on the earth, He would not even be a priest at all" [Bengel]. I conceive that the denial here of Christ's priesthood on earth does not extend to the sacrifice on the cross which He offered as a priest on earth; but applies only to the crowning work of His priesthood, the bringing of the blood into the Holy of Holies, which He could not have done in the earthly Holy of Holies, as not being an Aaronic priest. The place (the heavenly Holy of Holies) was as essential to the atonement being made as the oblation (the blood). The body was burnt without the gate; but the sanctification was effected by the presentation of the blood within the sanctuary by the high priest. If on earth, He would not be a priest in the sense of the law of Moses ("according to the law" is emphatic).