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.
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).