Hebrews 9:1
The third deduction from the fact that Christ, infinitely greater than Aaron, is High Priest at the right hand of God: The abolition of the Jewish types by their fulfillment in the Redeemer. This occupies Hebrews 9:1-10:18. Subject - Passing reference to the symbolism of the Jewish tabernacle. The importance of the tabernacle is obvious, since thirty-seven chapters are devoted to describe it and its services, and seven times it is said to have been made according to the heavenly pattern; so much so that when the writer of this Epistle has to refer to what was typical in the old economy, he does not speak of the temple, but of the original sanctuary. Moreover, but for the tabernacle and its services, much of what is most important in the New Testament would be unintelligible - the veil, mercy-seat, priest, atonement, Lamb of God, etc. The tabernacle standing in its sacred enclosure in the midst of the vast encampment, with the cloudy pillar resting upon it, was the dwelling-place of Israel's King. At Sinai God and Israel entered into solemn covenant. He was to be their King, and they a people peculiarly his own, and from that time he made his visible abode among them. But what was the purpose of the particular form this abode assumed? They were ignorant of him, and in so low a condition that abstract truth was insufficient for their teaching; they needed heavenly things in pictures. The tabernacle, therefore, was doubtless designed in its construction to meet this need. It would convey to them very plainly that God is real, one, theirs, holy, only approachable to man by sacrifice. But the New Testament throws additional light on this ancient sanctuary, by which its details are seen to be profoundly symbolic of New Testament truth, and Christians may better understand, because of it, their position in Christ. The Jewish tabernacle is the type of the Christian Church (1 Corinthians 3:16, 17; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:20-22). The Church, founded on "the atonement money" (Scripture name for the hundred silver sockets which were the foundation of the tabernacle); the Church, habitation of God through the Spirit; the Church, witness to the world of the reality, character, and grace of God.

I. THE SYMBOLISM. IN THE JEWISH TABERNACLE. The tabernacle consisted of two apartments separated by the veil, the inner one called "the holy of holies."

1. The relation of Jehovah to the Church, as seen in the holy of holies. Described in vers. 3-5. A symbol of heaven, as in Apocalypse: "The city lieth four square, and the length," etc.; "And the city had no need of the sun, for the," etc. Most glorious place, seat and throne of the King, where celestial beings bow in his presence! Most holy place, hidden from human gaze, inaccessible save through the atonement, inaccessible yet so near; only a veil between, which a breath might almost waft aside, and which the incense of prayer can penetrate! Most blessed place, for there our great High Priest ever carries on his work on our behalf! How well is the tabernacle a type of this! There was the ark of the covenant, and nothing more, save that the walls and ceiling were draped with curtains embroidered with cherubic figures. What did this typify? That

(1) God's dealings with his people are based on Law. The tables of stone, "tables of the covenant," were the essential contents of the ark (the pot of manna and the rod were not there originally, nor were they found there when the ark was placed in the temple). God's relation to man is that of Sovereign; from his throne issue the commands concerning what man should be and do; and at his feet lie ever the requirements he makes of man.

(2) Provision has been made for covering over the broken Law from the sight of the King. The mercy-scat on the ark, the golden slab on which was sprinkled the sacrificial blood on the Day of Atonement. "Mercy-seat;" literally, "an expiatory covering." Looking down on his Law, the King sees the Sacrifice, and where he used to hear a testimony of guilt, he now hears a plea for mercy.

(3) The result of this provision is the perfection of his people in his presence. The cherubim bowing before his glory with no fear but that of reverence. The cherubim set forth the highest creature perfection - head of man, body of lion, wings of eagle, feet of ox; representing perfect intelligence, strength, flight, obedience; picture of man perfected, fallen humanity in its restored condition, eternal fellowship with God with completed powers. "We have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" that is the broken Law. "Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus;" that is the mercy-seat. "Whom he justified, them he also glorified;" that is the cherubim.

2. The relation of the Church to Jehovah, as seen in the holy place. (Ver. 2.) The golden altar, candlestick, shewbread-table, occupied this apartment. (Note, no mention of the golden altar in the text, but in the fourth verse the word "censer" signifies anything that holds incense, and probably should be rendered "altar," as we read of no censer belonging to the holy of holies. It is not said in ver. 4 that this was within the holy of holies, but only that it belonged to it; it stood close to the veil, its incense passed through the veil, its work was within whilst its form was without.) These are also part of the type of the Church; the Church below, as the former the Church above. What do they teach about the Church on earth? Righteous mercy raising us to perfection with him. That is God's part of the covenant. What is ours?

(1) The altar, that is, the worship of the Church. Incense in Scripture a type of prayer. The altar sprinkled with atoning blood before incense could be offered; the incense rekindled daily by the holy fire; the fragrant odor passing to the mercy-seat, a sacrifice acceptable. What a type of prayer smoldering in the heart all through the day, kindled morning and evening, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

(2) The candlestick, that is, the work of the Church. "Ye are the light of the world." It is the world's night. God lights his lamps, that thereby the world may see what it would see of spiritual realities if it were not night. "Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord."

(3) The shewbread, that is, the consecration of the Church. Bread represents life. These twelve loaves, one for each tribe, set forth the Divine demand for the dedication to him of all his people. He redeems us that we may be his. "For to this end Christ both died, and rose," etc. "Truly our fellowship is with the Father;" that is the attar. "Ye were sometime darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord;" that is the candlestick. "I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye," etc.; that is the shewbread.

II. THE CHRISTIAN LESSONS IN THE SYMBOLISM.

1. That the Church is the dwelling-place of God. The symbolism is abolished; what is left? The Christian Church, the spiritual temple, which is to be in the world what the tabernacle was in Israel. As once God dwelt in a consecrated temple, now he dwells in consecrated lives; no more worshipped by sacred forms, but by devout hearts. Symbolism has given place to spirituality.

2. That the true Church is that which embodies the teaching of the holy and most holy places. Or, in other words, the true Christian. You believe in what is done for you within the veil, the Godward aspect of Christian life; but to that do you add the manward - worship, service, consecration?

3. That the way into the Church is symbolized in the types of the old sanctuary. Between the entrance to the tabernacle and the gate of the court, stood the brazen altar on which rite sacrifices were offered, and the brazen laver. No entrance to the Church but by Christ's work and the Spirit's - the atoning blood and the laver of regeneration. - C.N.







The first covenant had also ordinances.
The writer now proceeds to compare the old and the new covenants with reference to their respective provisions for religious communion between man and God, his purpose being to show the superiority of the priestly ministry of Christ over that of the Levitical priesthood. In the first five verses he gives an inventory of the furniture of the tabernacle pitched in the wilderness; in the next five he describes the religious services there carried on. "Now [our leading back to Hebrews 8:5] the first [covenant] had ordinances of Divine service and its mundane sanctuary." The epithet κοσμικόν here applied to the tabernacle evidently signifies belonging to this material world, in opposition to the heavenly sanctuary (ver, 11) not made with hands out of things visible and tangible. The purpose of the writer is to point out that the tabernacle belonged to this earth, and therefore possessed the attributes of all things earthly, materiality and perishableness. The materials might be fine and costly; still they were material, and as such were liable to wax old and vanish away. In vers. 2-5 is given a detailed description of the arrangements and furniture of this cosmic sanctuary. No valuator could be more careful to make an inventory of household furniture perfectly accurate than our author is to give an exhaustive list of the articles to be found in the Jewish tabernacle, whether in the holy place or in the most holy. Indeed, so careful is he to make the list complete, not only in his own judgment, but in the judgment of his readers, that he includes things which had no connection with religious worship, bat were merely put into the tabernacle for safe custody, as valuable mementos of incidents in Israel's history — e.g., the golden pot of manna, and Aaron's rod that budded. It is further to be noted in regard to these articles, that they are: represented as being within the ark of the covenant, though it is nowhere in the Old Testament said that they were, the direction given being merely that they should be placed before the testimony, and it being expressly stated in regard to the ark in Solomon's temple that there was nothing in it save the two tables on which the ten commandments were inscribed. Whether these things ever had been in the ark we do not know. The fact that they are here represented to have been does not settle the point. While his doctrine is that the ancient tabernacle was at best but a poor, shadowy affair, he takes pains to show that in his judgment it was as good as it was possible for a cosmic sanctuary to be. Its articles of furniture were of the best material; the ark of fine wood covered all over with gold, the altar of incense of similar materials, the pot with manna of pure gold. He feels he can afford to describe in generous terms the furniture of the tabernacle, because, after all, he will have no difficulty in showing the immeasurable superiority of the "true" tabernacle wherein Christ ministers. One single phrase settles the point — οὐ χειροποίητος (ver. 11). The old tabernacle and all its furniture were made by the hands of men out of perishable materials. The " gold, and silver, and brass," &c., were all liable to destruction by the devouring tooth of time, that spares nothing visible and tangible. This eulogistic style of describing the furniture of the cosmic tabernacle was not only generous, but politic. The more the furniture ,was praised, the more the religious service carried on in the tent. so furnished was in effect depreciated by the contrast inevitably suggested. The emphasis laid on the excellent quality of these really signifies the inferiority of the whole Levitical system. Looking now at the inventory distributively, let us note what articles are placed in either compartment of the tabernacle respectively. In the first are located the candlestick, the table, and the shewbread, which was arranged in two rows on the table; to the second are assigned what is called the θυμιατήριον, and the ark of the covenant, containing, as is said, the manna pot, Aaron's rod, and the tables of the covenant, and surmounted by the Cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy-seat, or lid of the ark. The only article of which there is any need to speak "particularly" is the θυμιατήριον, concerning which there are two questions to be considered: What is it? and with what propriety is it assigned to the most holy place? As to the former, the word θυμιατήριον may mean either "the altar of incense," as I have rendered it, or "the golden censer," as translated in the Authorised and Revised Versions. I do not suppose there would be any hesitation on the subject, were it not for the consideration, that by deciding that the altar of incense is intended we seem to make the writer guilty of an inaccuracy in assigning it to the inner shrine of the tabernacle. I have little doubt that this consideration had its own weight with our Revisers in leading them to retain the old rendering, "the golden censer"; and the fact detracts from the value of their judgment, as based, not on the merits of the question, but on the ground of theological prudence. A clearer insight into the mind of the writer would have shown them that this well-meant solicitude for his infallibility was uncalled for. This brings us to the question as to the propriety of placing the altar of incense among the things belonging to the most holy place. The fact is, that the altar of incense was a puzzle to one who was called on to state to which part of the tabernacle it belonged. Hence the peculiar manner in which the writer expresses himself in reference to the things assigned to the most holy place. He does not say, as in connection with the first division, "in which were" (ἐνῇ), but represents it as " having" (ἔχουσα) certain things. The phrase is chosen with special reference to the altar of incense. Of all the other articles it might have been said "in which were," but not of it. Nothing more could be said than that it belonged to the second division. The question is, whether even so much could be said, and why the writer preferred to say this rather than to say that the altar of incense stood outside the veil in the first division. Now as to the former part of the question, in so putting the matter cur author was only following an Old Testament precedent, the altar of incense being in 1 Kings 6:22 called the altar "that was by the oracle," or more correctly, as in the Revised Version, the altar "' that belonged to the oracle." Then the directions given for fixing its position, as recorded in Exodus 30:6, are very significant. The purport of this directory seems to be: outside the veil for daily use (for within it could not be used save once a year), but tending inwards, indicating by its very situation a wish to get in, standing there, so to speak, at the door of the most holy place, petitioning for admission. So the eloquent eulogist of the better ministry of the new covenant appears to have understood it. He thinks of the altar of incense as praying for admission into the inner shrine, and waiting for the removal of the envious veil which forbad entrance. And he so far sympathises with its silent prayer as to admit it within the veil before the time, or at least to acknowledge that, while materially without, it belonged in spirit and function to the most holy place. In stating the case as he does our author was not only following usage, but utilising the double relations of the altar of incense for the purpose of his apologetic. He wanted to make it felt that the position of that altar was difficult to define, that it was both without and within the veil, that you could not place it exclusively in either position without leaving out something that should be added to make the account complete. And he wished to press home the question, What was the cause of the difficulty? The radical evil, he would suggest, was the existence of the veil. It was the symbol of an imperfect religion, which denied men free access to God, and so was the parent of this anomaly, that the altar of incense had to be in two places at the same time: within the veil, as there were the mercy-seat and the Hearer of prayer; without the veil, because the incense of prayer must be offered daily, and yet no one might go within save the high priest, and he only once a year. How thankful, then, should we be that the veil is done away, so that the distinction of without and within no longer exists, and we may come daily to offer the incense of our prayers in the presence of God, without fear of evil, with perfect "assurance to be heard"! After the inventory of its furniture comes an account of the ministry carried on in the Jewish sanctuary (vers. 6-10); the description of which, coming after the former, has all the effect of an anticlimax. One can hardly fail to say to himself, What a fall is here! The furniture was precious, but the worship how poor f Every one capable of reflection feels that a religious system in which the vessels of the sanctuary are so much superior to the service cannot be the final and permanent form of man's communion with God, but only a type or parable for the time of better things to come, that could last only till the era of reformation arrived. This truth, however, the writer does not leave to be inferred, but expressly points out and proves. On two things he insists, as tending to show the insufficiency and therefore the transitiveness of the Levitical system, and all that pertained to it. First, he asserts that the mere division of the tabernacle into an accessible holy place and an inaccessible most holy place proved the imperfection of the worship there carried on; and, secondly, he points out the disproportion between the great end of religion and the means employed for reaching it under the Levitical system.

(A. B. Bruce, D. D.)

I. EVERY COVENANT OF GOD HAD ITS PROPER PRIVILEGES AND ADVANTAGES. Even the first covenant had so, and those such as were excellent in themselves, though not comparable with them of the new. For to make any covenant with men is an eminent fruit of grace and condescension in God, whereon He will annex such privileges thereunto as may evince it so to be.

II. THERE WAS NEVER ANY COVENANT BETWEEN GOD AND MAN BUT IT HAD SOME ORDINANCES, OR ARBITRARY INSTITUTIONS OF EXTERNAL DIVINE WORSHIP ANNEXED UNTO IT. The original covenant of works had the ordinances of the tree of life, and of the knowledge of good and evil, the laws whereof belonged not unto that of natural light and reason. The covenant of Sinai, whereof the apostle speaks, had a multiplication of them. Nor is the new covenant destitute of them or of their necessary observance. All public worship and the sacraments of the Church are of this nature.

III. IT IS A HARD AND RARE THING TO HAVE THE MINDS OF MEN KEPT UPRIGHT WITH GOD IN THE OBSERVANCE OF THE INSTITUTIONS OF DIVINE WORSHIP. By some they are neglected, by some corrupted, and by some they are exalted above their proper place and use, and are turning into an occasion of neglecting more important duties. And the reason of this difficulty is, because faith hath not that assistance from innate principles of reason, and sensible experience of this kind of obedience, as it hath in that which is moral, internal, and spiritual.

IV. THAT THESE ORDINANCES OF DIVINE WORSHIP MIGHT BE DULY OBSERVED AND RIGHTLY PERFORMED UNDER THE FIRST COVENANT, THERE WAS A PLACE APPOINTED OF GOD FOR THEIR SOLEMNISATION.

1. This tabernacle with what belonged thereunto was a visible pledge of the presence of God among the people, owning, blessing, and protecting them. And it was a pledge of God's own institution, in imitation whereof the superstitious heathens invented ways of obliging their idol-gods, to be present among them for the same ends.

2. It was the pledge and means of God's dwelling among them, which expresseth the peculiar manner of His presence mentioned in general before.

3. It was a fixed seat of all Divine worship, wherein the truth and purity of it was to be preserved.

4. It was principally the privilege and glory of the Church of Israel, in that it was a continual representation of the incarnation of the Son of God; a type of His coming in the flesh to dwell among us, and by the one sacrifice of Himself to make reconciliation with God, and atonement for sins. It was such an expression of the idea of the mind of God, .concerning the person and meditation of Christ, as in His wisdom and grace He thought meet to intrust the Church withal. Hence was that severe injunction, that all things concerning it should be made according unto the pattern shown in the Mount. For what could the wisdom of men do in the prefiguration of that mystery, of which they had no comprehension? But yet the sanctuary the apostle calls κοσμικον, "worldly."(1) The place of it was on the earth in this world, in opposition whereunto the sanctuary of the new covenant is in heaven (Hebrews 8:2).(2) Although the materials of it were as durable as anything in that kind could be procured, as gold and Shittim wood, yet were they worldly; that is, perishing things, as are all things of the world, God intimating thereby that they were not to have an everlasting continuance. Gold, and wood, and silk, and hair, however curiously wrought and carefully preserved, are but for a time.(3) All the services of it, all its sacrifices in themselves, separated from their typical representative use, were all worldly; and their efficacy extended only unto worldly things, as the apostle proves in this chapter.(4) On these accounts the apostle calls it "worldly"; yet not absolutely so, but in opposition unto that which is heavenly. All things in the ministration of the new covenant are heavenly. So is the priest, his sacrifice, tabernacle, and altar, as we shall see in the process of the apostle's discourse. And we may observe from the whole —

V. THAT DIVINE INSTITUTION ALONE IS THAT WHICH RENDERS ANYTHING ACCEPTABLE UNTO GOD. Although the things that belonged unto the sanctuary, and the sanctuary itself, were in themselves but worldly, yet being Divine ordinances, they had a glory in them, and were in their season accepted with God.

VI. GOD CAN ANIMATE OUTWARD CARNAL THINGS WITH A HIDDEN INVISIBLE SPRING OF GLORY AND EFFICACY. SO He did their sanctuary with its relation unto Christ; which was an object of faith which no eye of flesh could behold.

(John Owens, D. D.)

The language of sign or symbol enters very largely into all the affairs of life. The human spirit craves and finds embodiment for its impalpable, evanescent ideas and emotions, not merely in sounds that die away upon the ear, but in acts and observances that arrest the eye, and stamp themselves upon the memory, or in shapes and forms and symbols that possess a material and palpable continuity. The superiority of sign or symbol as a vehicle of thought is in some sort implied in the very fact that it is the language of nature, the first which man learns, or rather which, with instinctive and universal intelligence, he employs. There is something, again, in a visible and tangible sign, or in a significant or symbolic act, which, by its very nature, appeals more impressively to the mind than mere vocables that vibrate for a moment on the organ of hearing and then pass away. Embody thought in a material representation or memorial, and it stands before you with a distinct and palpable continuity; it can become the object of prolonged contemplation; it is permanently embalmed to the senses. Moreover, it deserves to be considered that the language of symbol lies nearer to thought than that of verbal expression. As no man can look into another's mind and have direct cognisance of another's thoughts, we can only convey to others what is passing in our own minds, by selecting and pointing out some object or phenomenon of the outward world that bears an analogy to the thought or feeling within our breasts. And if further proof of the utility and importance of symbol were wanting, it might he found in the fact that all nature is but one grand symbol by which God shadows forth His own invisible Being and character. The principle on which symbolic language depends being thus deeply seated in man's nature, it might be anticipated that its influence would be apparent in that religion which is so marvellously adapted to his sympathies and wants. But when we turn to that religious economy under which we live, by nothing are we so much struck as by the simplicity of its external worship — the scantiness, unobtrusiveness, and seeming poverty of its ritual observances. And this absence of symbol in the Christian worship becomes all the more singular when contrasted with the sensuous beauty and splendour of the heathen religions amidst which Christianity was developed, and with the imposing ceremonial, the elaborate symbolism, of that earlier dispensation from which it took its rise.

I. The simplicity of worship in the Christian Church is a sign of spiritual advancement, inasmuch as it arises, in some measure, from the fact THAT THE GOSPEL RITES ARE COMMEMORATIVE, WHILST THOSE OF THE FORMER DISPENSATION WERE ANTICIPATIVE. TO THE Hebrew in ancient times Christ was a Being of whose person and character and work he had but the most vague and undefined conceptions; to the Christian worshipper He is no shadowy dream of the future, no vague and visionary personage of a distant age, but the best beloved of friends, whose beautiful life stands forth before the mind with all the distinctness of history — whose glorious person and mission is the treasured and familiar contemplation of his secret thoughts. The former, accordingly, needed all the elaborate formality of type and ceremony, of temple and altar and sacrifice — of symbolic persons and objects and actions, to help out his idea of the Messiah and of His mighty work and mission. But to enable the latter to recall his Lord, no more is required than a few drops of water, a bit of broken bread, or a cup of wine. Around these simplest outward memorials, a host of thoughts, reflections, remembrances, are ready to gather. Deity incarnate, infinite self-sacrifice, reconciliation with God, pardon, purity, peace, eternal life through the blood of Jesus, union with Christ, and in Him with all good and holy beings, — these are some of the great Christian ideas already lodged in each devout worshipper's mind, and which awake at the suggestive touch of the sacramental symbols to invest them with a value altogether incommensurate with their outward worth. The very simplicity of these material symbols implies that the senses have less and the mind far more to do in the process of spiritual conception than in a system of more imposing and obtrusive materialism.

II. The simple and unimposing character of the Christian ritual is an indication of spiritual advancement again, inasmuch as it arises from the fact, THAT WHILST THE RIGHTS OF JUDAISM WERE .MAINLY DISCIPLINARY, THOSE OF CHRISTIANITY ARE SPONTANEOUS AND EXPRESSIVE. The Jew could not eat or drink, or dress, or sow or reap, or buy or sell, arrange his household, hold intercourse with neighbour or friend, perform any one function of individual or social life, without being met by restrictions, forms, observances, which forced religious impression upon him, and, in combination with the more solemn ceremonial of the temple, left a constant deposit of spiritual thought upon the mind, and drilled the worshipper into religious habits. In a more spiritual and reflective age, on the other hand, in which the spiritual perceptions have become developed, and the mind has become receptive of direct religious instruction, such sensible helps to the formation of thought are no longer necessary. The mind in which truth has become an intuition needs no longer to spell out its conviction by the aid of a picture-book. The avenue of spirit thrown open to the worshipper, he no more requires to climb slowly up to the presence-chamber of the king by the circuitous route of sense. But if ritual may in such an age be dispensed with in great measure as a means of instruction, it still performs an important function as a means of expression. No longer necessary as a mould for the shaping of thought, it has still its use as a form in which religious thought and feeling may find vent. If the necessity for a visible temple and sanctuary to symbolise God's residence with man has ceased, now that He who is "the brightness of the Father's glory and the express image of His person" has dwelt amongst us-if to prompt our minds in conceiving of sin and sacrifice, no scenic show of victims slain and life's blood drenching earthly altars be needed, now that the stainless, sinless, all-holy One hath once for all offered up the sacrifice of a perfect life to God — still there is in the Christian heart the demand for outward forms and rites to embody the reverence, the gratitude, the devotion, the love of which it is inwardly conscious. The soul, in its relation to an unseen Father, still craves for some outer medium of expression that shall give form to feeling — that shall tell forth its devotion to the heavenly Friend as the smile, the look, the grasp of the hand, the meeting at the festive board, the gifts and tokens of affection, externalise and express our sentiments towards those we love on earth. And the conclusion to which, from this argument, we are led is obviously this, that the glory of our Christian ritual lies in its very simplicity. For the manifestation of our common life in God, and of our common faith in Christ, the mind craves some outward badge or symbol; and so, in gracious condescension to our needs, our Lord has instituted the two sacramental rites; but even these He has prescribed but in outline, leaving all accessories to be filled in, as the varied needs of His people, in different times and places and circumstances, should dictate. And in this lies the very grandeur of its worship, that in the "chartered freedom" of our Christian ritual, each nation and community, each separate society and church and individual, lifting up its own note of adoration, all axe found to blend in the one accordant anthem, the one manifold yet harmonious tribute of the universal Church's praise. I conclude with the remark, that the simplicity of the Christian rites serves as a safeguard against those obvious dangers which are incident to all ritual worship.

1. The chief of these is the tendency in the unspiritual mind to stop short at the symbol — in other words, to transfer to the visible sign feelings appropriate only to the things signified, or to rest content with the performance of outward ceremonial acts, apart from the exercise of those devout feelings which lend to such acts any real value. A religion in which ritual holds a prominent place is notoriously liable to degenerate into formalism. The true way to avoid this error is, obviously, to remove as much as possible its cause. Let there be no arbitrary and needless intervention between the soul of the worshipper and the Divine object of its homage. Let the eye of faith gaze on the Invisible through the simplest and purest medium-Deprive it of all excuse to trifle curiously with the telescope, instead of using it in order to see. And forasmuch as, to earthly worship, formal aids are indispensable, let it ever be remembered that that form is the best which least diverts attention to itself, and best helps the soul to hold fellowship with God.

2. Moreover, the danger thus incident to an elaborate ceremonial, of substituting ritual for religion, is increased by the too common tendency to mistake aesthetic emotion for religious feeling. Awe, reverence, rapt contemplation, the kindling of heart and swelling of soul, which the grand objects of faith are adapted to excite, may, in a man of sensitive mind or delicate organisation, find a close imitation in the feelings called forth by a tasteful and splendid ceremonial. The soul that is devoid of true reverence towards God may be rapt into a spurious elation, while in rich and solemn tones the loud-voiced organ peals forth His praise. The heart that never felt one throb of love to Christ may thrill with an ecstasy of sentimental tenderness, whilst soft voices, now blending, now dividing, in combined or responsive strains, celebrate the glories of redeeming love. It is easy to admire the sheen of the sapphire throne, while we leave its glorious Occupant unreverenced and unrecognised. Banish from the service of God all coarseness and rudeness — all that would distract by offending the taste of the worshipper, just as much as all that would disturb by subjecting him to bodily discomfort, and you leave the spirit free for its own pure and glorious exercise. But too studiously adorn the sanctuary and its services; obtrude an artificial beauty on the eye and sense of the worshipper, and you will surely lead to formalism and self-deception.

(J. Caird, D. D.)

I. THE ERECTION OF THE WORLDLY SANCTUARY. In contemplating the character of their "worldly sanctuary" whether in the wilderness or on Mount Zion — we behold God dealing with men in a manner accordant with the character of the covenant under which He saw fit to place them. For whether we review the history of our world at large, or the history of God's dealings with His Church, we find it to be a law of the Divine Procedure, that, in civilisation and scientific discovery, and in the attainments of knowledge and of arts, no less than in matters directly spiritual, He allows period of lengthened infancy and childhood. In no respect does He allow men to attain at once to maturity. Thus, in mere secular things, how old was our world ere printing was invented, ere the powers of steam were discovered! Railways and electric telegraphs are but of yesterday, it is with the world at large and with individual nations, intellectually and socially, as with the individual man physically. We are born, not men and women, but babes; we speak, and think, and understand as children; we attain manhood slowly. It has been so with human society: it has been so with our own favoured land, where once savages swarmed, and Druids offered their bloody rites. The history of man in every country had been different had not this principle pervaded God's designs and government — intellectual and social infancy — growth from infancy to childhood — from childhood to manhood — the manhood of intellect, and science and art, and civilisation; from the Rome of Romulus and Numa to the Rome of Augustus from the Gauls of Caesar's day to the French of the nineteenth century; from the England of Roman conquest and Saxon rule and Norman triumph to the England of our birth. Apply this principle to the subject before us. Israel, long familiarised with material temples and carnal rites in Egypt, was spiritually a nation of children: their worship was wisely and mercifully adapted to their spiritual age and attainment. For the simple worship of the more spiritual dispensation they were wholly unprepared. Form and ceremony — material and sensuous splendour — were needful. To have elevated and simplified their minds and tastes for our simpler worship would have been, in fact, to have forstalled the. progress of ages, and changed the whole course of God's procedure with His Church and with our world.

II. THE CONTRAST BETWEEN THE WORLDLY SANCTUARY AND THE SPIRITUAL WORSHIP OF THE GOSPEL DISPENSATION. The blessed truth, that He who was at once the sacrificial Victim and the sacrificing Priest, by His one offering of Himself, hath made an end of sacrifice, and for ever perfected His people, as touching their justification — these truths discerned, experienced, bring with them true spirituality of mind and heart and life. The believer, while he rejoices in Christ Jesus, and has "no confidence in the flesh," exhibits also the other feature of the apostle's portraiture — he worships "God in the Spirit." The temple with which his eye and heart are filled is the spiritual temple, in which himself is a lively stone — the Chinch of the Father's election, of the Spirit's sanctifying. The glory of Christianity is not in tabernacles or temples, in carnal ordinances. The glory of Christianity is Christ; the glory of the gospel, its message, "God is love!" And in accordance with the spirit of simplicity which characterises its doctrines should be the spirit of its worship.

(J. C. Miller, M. A.)

The candlestick.
I. A type of the CHURCH (Revelation 1:20).

1. The end and use of the Church is to give light, and to hold forth the truth (Philippians 2:15; 1 Timothy 3:15).

2. The matter of the Church. As the candlestick was of gold, so the matter of the Church is saints.

3. The discipline of the Church as the golden snuffers (Exodus 25:38) did cut off the snuff of the candle, so discipline and censures cut off corruption and corrupt members.

4. The union and distinction of Churches. Several branches and seven lamps — therefore distinct; but all growing on one shaft — therefore one.

II. A type of the MINISTRY. As the candlestick supports the lamp and the light., so does the Church the ministry; and as the lamp or candle shines in the candlestick, so does the ministry in the Church.

III. A type of the WORD (Psalm 119:105; Psalm 19:10; 2 Peter 1:19).

IV. A type of the SPIRIT (Revelation 4:5).

1. The lamps of the candlestick did shine and give light. So the Holy Spirit is a Spirit of light and illumination (Ephesians 1:19).

2. The lamps were fed with off (Exodus 27:20). Now this oil is the Spirit (Isaiah 61:1; Acts 10:38). Of a softening and healing nature.

3. The sacred lamps were ever burning, and never went out (Exodus 27:20; Leviticus 24:3). So it is with the Spirit of God in the hearts of His people. The true believer cannot fall away totally and finally.

4. The dressing and trimming of the lamps signified the revivings of the work of the Spirit, in the hearts of His people, when it begins, or is in danger to decline. This teaches us both the Lord's goodness and our duty (Matthew 12:20; 2 Timothy 1:6). Also Church discipline and mortification are taught us hereby (Matthew 25:7).Lessons:

1. Learn to prize and see the worth and excellency of Church society.

2. Prize the ministry.

3. Prize the Word.

4. Labour to find the Spirit burning and working in your hearts.

(1)Get fresh supplies of oil (Psalm 92:10). Jesus Christ is the Fountain, and the Holy Ghost the immediate Dispenser of it (Zechariah 4:12).

(2)Stir up that which you have (2 Timothy 1:6; Revelation 3:2).

(3)Snuff the wick (James 1:23).

(S. Mather.)

If the priests had had any duties to discharge at night in the holy place, I should have felt no necessity to make any inquiry at all about the significance of the seven lights; the impossibility of performing the sacred functions in total darkness would have been an adequate explanation. But there was no midnight ritual; why then, when the curtain, which was thrown aside during the day to admit the light of heaven, was closed for the night, was not the holy place left in darkness? There seems to me to be a perfectly obvious and natural answer. The holy place was in the thoughts of every devout Jew when he longed for the mercy of God to forgive his sin, or cried to Him for consolation in time of trouble. It was there that, day by day, the priest offered the incense, which was the visible symbol of all supplication and worship. That was the chamber in which the Lord received the prayers and homage of the nation, as the most holy place was His secret shine. And would not the lamps that burnt there during the darkness, and filled it with light, seem to say to every troubled soul, that God never slumbered nor slept; that the darkness and light are both alike to Him, and that at all times He is waiting to listen to the prayers of His people?

(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)

: — The tabernacle, of course, was a type. What did it typify? Some say that it typified Christ, and, particularly, that it typified His incarnation (John 1:14). Others hold that the tabernacle represented the Christian Church. Yet a third opinion is that the tabernacle signified heaven. Which of these opinions shall we choose? We shall not choose any one of them to the exclusion of the others. We incline to adopt all three, and to hold that the tabernacle was a type of Christ, and of the Church, and of heaven. The Man Christ Jesus is God's tabernacle; so is the Church; so is heaven. God dwells most wondrously in Christ: He dwells most graciously in the Church; and He dwells most gloriously in heaven. Christ is God's tabernacle to the eye of the Church; the Church is God's tabernacle before the world; heaven is, and, with the gathered company of the redeemed set round the throne for ever will be God's tabernacle before the universe.

(Andrew Gray.)

The golden censer.
You will have noticed the peculiarity of the expression at the commencement of the ver. 4; "which" — i.e., the Holiest of all, "had the golden censer," or rather, "the golden altar of incense." Of the holy place it is said, in ver. 2, "Wherein was the candlestick and the table," &c. The change of expression is significant. The writer does not mean to say that the altar of incense was within the holy of holies, but that the altar of incense belonged to it. The altar actually stood in the holy place, but more truly belonged to the holy of holies itself. It is very wonderful that any man who had read this Epistle intelligently could imagine for a moment that it was possible for the writer to have been so ill-informed as to have believed that the altar was actually within the most sacred inclosure. Apart altogether from inspiration, the intimate and profound knowledge of the Jewish system which the whole of the Epistle indicates, renders it absurd to suppose that on such a simple matter as the.position of the altar of incense the writer could have blundered. It would, to my mind, be just as reasonable to infer from some peculiarity of expression in Lord Macaulay, that the great historian had erroneously imagined that the Spanish Armada came against this country in the reign of Charles I., or to infer on similar grounds that Dr. Livingstone was under the impression that the island of Madagascar formed part of the African continent.

(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)

The ark of the covenant.
I. THE ARK TYPIFIED THE DIGNITY AND PURITY OF CHRIST'S PERSON. It was made of incorruptible wood; was overlaid with pure gold; and had crowns of gold wrought round about it. Here is distinctly pointed out to us —

1. The holiness and incorruptibility of Christ's human nature.

2. The divinity of Jesus.

3. The regal glory of Jesus.

II. THE CONTENTS OF THE ARK TYPIFIED THE FULNESS AND WORK OF CHRIST.

1. In it were the two tables of the law. In Jesus these laws were embodied. He had them in His heart. He exemplified them in their fullest extent.

2. In it was the golden pot of manna. So in Jesus is the bread of life. "His flesh is meat indeed." He is the soul's satisfying portion.

3. In it was Aaron's rod that budded. Typifying Christ's exalted and abiding priesthood.

III. THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE ARK TYPIFIED THE VICTORIES OF CHRIST.

1. The ark opened a passage through Jordan to the promised land. So by Christ a way has been opened through the grave to the heavenly Canaan.

2. By the ark's compassing the walls of Jericho they were thrown down. So Jesus by His Divine power spoiled the powers of darkness, and He shall finally overthrow all the bulwarks of Satan's empire.

3. The presence of the ark broke the idol Dagon to pieces. So shall the Saviour cast down all the idols of the heathen.

IV. THE MOVEMENTS OF THE ARK TYPIFIED THE PROGRESS AND CONSUMMATION OF CHRIST'S KINGDOM. The ark was possessed by the Israelites, then it was in the hands of the Philistines, and finally it was laid up in Solomon's temple. Thus Christ was first preached to the Jews, the gospel kingdom was first set up among them, afterwards it was extended to the Gentiles; and when consummated, it shall consist of all nations in the heavenly temple, there to be permanently glourious for ever and ever. Application: Learn —

1. The privilege you possess in having Christ the true ark with you. In it you have treasured up a fulness of all spiritual blessings.

2. With believing reverence draw near to it, and receive mercy, enjoy fellowship with God, and obtain grace to help you in every time of need.

3. Despisers of Christ must inevitably perish.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

What was the lesson taught by this wonderful article of tabernacle furniture? Are we not to look upon it as a picture of Jesus?

I. Let us consider the OUTSIDE. What do we see? a chest most likely about three feet long, by eighteen inches wide, and eighteen inches deep. It is a box made of common wood, but covered with fine gold; and is not our Jesus both human and Divine? Both are there, and you cannot separate them; just as the ark was not perfect, though the right shape and size, till it was covered with fine gold, so Christ could not be Jesus without the gold of divinity. Still we do not overlook the wood, though it is covered with gold. It is sweet to know that Christ shares our nature. He passed over the cedar of angelic life, and took the common shittim, the tree of the wilderness. When we think of our sins, we are thankful that our Saviour was Divine, and therefore able to save to the uttermost; but when we think of our future, we are glad that we are to spend our eternity with the Man Christ Jesus. He is one of ourselves. Do you notice that at each corner there is a ring of gold? What are these rings for? To receive the staves which are passed through the rings. By these gold-covered staves the Levites carried the ark on their shoulders. The holy thing was portable; it went before, and led the people on their march. They were sure to be safe if they went where the ark led them. It would be a blessed thing if" the Church of God would be persuaded to go only where Christ would have gone. But what are these figures which stand at each end of the ark — winged creatures, whose faces are looking with such earnestness at the gold oh the top of the ark? These are the cherubim, the representatives of the angelic world. They gaze with interest upon the mercy-seat. Is it not Jesus who links heaven to earth? Upon what are the cherubim gazing so intently? Follow the direction of their eyes, and what see you? There is a spot of blood! Blood? Yes, blood. Blood on the pure gold? Yes, this ark is the meeting-place between God and man — the only place where the Holy God can be approached by Him who represents sinners.

II. We will now lift the lid of the ark and look INSIDE. What do we see? "The golden pot." A vessel of gold filled with manna! Does not this teach that in Christ we have spiritual food? Just as the manna fell all the time the children of Israel were in the wilderness, so Jesus is the bread of life to us, all the time we are on this side Jordan. Have another peep inside, and what meets your gaze? "The rod that budded" (Numbers 17.). What does this teach us? That in Christ is the true, God-chosen, God-honoured, God-prevalent priesthood. Look again. What see you now? "The tables of the covenant." The stones upon which God wrote the law. Not the first tables: they were broken. Moses did not pick up the fragments and patch them together and put them in the ark. No, it was the new, unbroken tables which were put in the ark. And is not Christ Jesus our righteousness? Do we not glory in the fact that our Substitute was sinless? We have no righteousness to plead, but we have a perfect Saviour. Our efforts at reformation are but a clumsy piecing of the broken tables, but in Christ we have a perfect law.

(T. Champness.)

The golden pot.
I. THE MANNA (Exodus 16:11).

II. THE GOLDEN POT IN WHICH IT WAS CONTAINED may be applied —

1. To the Divine Word; which is more precious than gold, and which is the "Word of Christ," every part of which is full of Him.

2. To the holy ordinances; where He is so strikingly exhibited.

3. To the preached gospel; where Christ is the Alpha and Omega.

4. To the believer's heart.

5. To the holiest place; where He ever dwells in all His glory, as the infinite source of all the blessedness of the heavenly world. Application:

(1)Be thankful for this heavenly bread.

(2)Receive it with all cordiality and joy.

(3)Constantly seek it in those means where His presence and blessing are promised.

(4)Despisers of Christ must starve and die.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

: —

I. We are taught by this sacred symbol, an ark thus constructed and accompanied, that THERE IS NOW, UNDER THE EVANGELICAL DISPENSATION, A RELATION BETWIXT LAW AND GRACE.

1. The law was there because it is eternal, and must therefore harmonise with every dispensation of religion to man.

2. The tables of the law are there in the ark, and connected with evangelical symbols representing the dispensation of mercy to mankind, because it was the violation of the law by which the dispensation of mercy was rendered necessary.

3. But we see the tables of the law thus connected with evangelical symbols, to intimate to us another truth, that the grand end of the administration of grace to man is the re-establishment of the law's dominion over him.

4. This connection between the law and the mercy-seat indicates, finally, that the administration of grace is in every part consistent with law.

II. There was not only a connection between the tables of the law and the mercy-seat, but over this mercy-seat the cherubims of glory were placed. We are therefore instructed in the fact, that THERE IS AN HARMONIOUS RELATION BETWIXT THE DISPENSATION OF GRACE TO MAN AND THE HEAVENLY WORLD.

1. We may, therefore, observe, with respect to the angelic powers, of whom the cherubim were the emblems, that "they have an intellectual interest in this great subject.

2. We may go farther, and say, that we have evidence from Scripture that the connection of the angelic world with the Christian system is not one of mere intellectual curiosity and gratification, but likewise of large and important moral benefit.

3. There is another view in which we may regard the connection between the angelic world and the Church: they are angels and ministers; ministers to the Church, and ministers to individuals.

III. THERE WAS THE PRESENCE OF GOD CROWNING THE WHOLE. In the sanctuary you have not only the ark of the covenant, the tables of the law, the mercy-seat, and the cherubim shadowing it, but the visible symbol of the Divine presence. God was there. And thus are we shown that all things are of Him, and by Him, and for Him. The tables of the law declared His will; the covenant sprang from His everlasting wisdom and love; the mercy-seat was His throne; the cherubim were His servants; the holiest of all was His "resting-place" (2 Chronicles 6:41). The people came to worship Him, and were dismissed with His blessing. As creation itself is from the will of God, so is redemption. All is the result of His benevolence. The whole plan of mercy sprang from the depths of His eternal love, and all its arrangements were fixed according to the treasures of His own knowledge and wisdom. This indicates, too, the necessity of Divine agency. As He originated .the whole scheme of redemption, so must He be present with it to give it power and efficacy.

(R. Watson.)

Of which we cannot now speak particularly.
Sundry other things there were about the tabernacle, the narration whereof might have delighted the reader. But St. Paul here is a moderator to himself: you are desirous to hear more, but it is expedient to cut them off. Wherein he may be a precedent to all teachers. Though the discussing of curious and intricate questions would more delight the auditory, yet we must not feed their humour that way. Let us give them but a taste of them, and a whole mouthful of sound and wholesome food. Some, peradventure, in this place would have said, Oh, Paul, why dost thou so slightly handle the things belonging to the tabernacle? Repeat, I pray thee, every particular to us; it doth us good to hear of them. Yet he doth not satisfy their itching ears in that. St. Paul hath more necessary matter. Let us especially be desirous to hear of Christ our High Priest and Bishop of our souls, of repentance, of faith in Him, of making our calling sure by good works, of the true sanctuary of heaven, than of those earthly things: these are more profitable for us. The Spirit of God passeth over sundry other things about the tabernacle, because He had more substantial points in hand tending to our salvation by Christ.

(W. Jones, D. D.)

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