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Old and New Testament
Hebrews 9:8-10 Commentary
Updated January 17, 2014
this, that the
way into the
place has not
Amplified: By this the Holy Spirit points out that the way into
the [true Holy of] Holies is not yet thrown open as long as the former
[the outer portion of the] tabernacle remains a recognized institution
and is still standing,
Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: By this the Holy Spirit is showing that the way into the
Holy Place was not yet opened up so long as the first tabernacle
KJV: 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:
NLT: By these regulations the Holy Spirit revealed that the
Most Holy Place was not open to the people as long as the first room
and the entire system it represents were still in use. (NLT
- Tyndale House)
Phillips: By these things the Holy Spirit means us to
understand that the way to the holy of holies was not yet open, that
is, so long as the first tent and all that it stands for still exist.
Wuest: the Holy Spirit all the while making this plain, that
not yet was made actual the road into the Holiest while still the
first tent had standing [i.e., remained a recognized institution], (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: the Holy Spirit this evidencing that not yet
hath been manifested the way of the holy places, the first tabernacle
having yet a standing;
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS SIGNIFYING THIS: touto delountos (PAPNSG) tou pneumatos
tou hagiou: (Heb 3:7; 10:15; Isaiah 63:11; Acts 7:51,52; 28:25;
Galatians 3:8; 2Peter 1:21)
By this the Holy Spirit points out that the way into the [true Holy of]
Holies is not yet thrown open as long as the former [the outer portion of
the] tabernacle remains a recognized institution and is still standing (Amplified
Bible - Lockman)
The Holy Spirit was teaching...
1) Worship of God
limited - no direct access
2) OT sacrifices - imperfect cleansing of conscience
3) Old Covenant - Temporary
The Holy Spirit is signifying - Vine comments that...
the writer attributes to the Holy
Spirit the spiritual significance of the details of the tabernacle.
This makes clear that the Pentateuch narrative is not merely a
historical record; the history carried with it a spiritual teaching
which the Spirit of God unfolds in the New Testament. Again, the
heavenly sanctuary itself is not spoken of as the Holiest of all or
the Holy of Holies as if suggesting an inner shrine in contrast with
an outer. There could not be two parts in the heavenly tabernacle, for
the veil has been rent. Accordingly the writer, in referring to the
heavenly sanctuary, speaks simply of “the holy place” (r.v.).
(Collected writings of W. E. Vine)
Peter explains the Spirit's
role in the revelation of the Word of God to the human writers of
But know this first of all, that no
prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no
prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the
Holy Spirit spoke from God. (see notes
2 Peter 1:20;
2 Peter 1:21)
The writer refers to the Holy
Spirit also in the following passages...
Hebrews 3:7 (note)
Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, "TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS
Hebrews 10:15 (note)
And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying
"THIS IS THE COVENANT
THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT
MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART, AND UPON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM," He
Sadly Israel as
people for the most part resisted the Holy Spirit's teaching, Stephen
"You men (first century Jews) who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised
in heart (Lev 26:41 Dt 10:16, 30:6 Jer 4:4 9:26) and ears (Jer 6:10;
are always resisting (antipipto = rush against or upon in a hostile
manner, assault, resist by force and violence -
general practice!) the Holy Spirit; you (first century Jews) are doing
just as your fathers did. Which one of the prophets did your fathers
not persecute? And they killed those who had previously announced the
coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have
It is from this sentence that I am
sure that the Holy Ghost had a signification, a meaning, a teaching,
for every item of the ancient tabernacle and temple; and we are not
spinning fancies out of idle brains when we interpret these types, and
learn from them important gospel lessons.
The Holy Spirit is
signifying - It could be read "by this (by these things) the Holy Spirit
is continually pointing out". Observe Who the writer testifies was the
Author of the Old Testament Scriptures!
(deloo from delos
= manifest, evident) means to make plain by
words and thus to declare. To make manifest to the mind. Deloo is used of
indications which lead the mind to conclusions about the origin or character
of things. It means to make some matter known that was unknown or not
communicated previously. It means to show clearly, to signify, to make
manifest, visible, clear, or plain and to make known. When spoken of
things past it means to tell, relate or impart information (as in 1Cor 1:11;
Although deloo is used most often in reference to declarations through
articulate language, it is also used often (as in the present verse) of any
kind of indirect communication.
When spoken of things future or hidden,
deloo means to reveal, show or bring to light.
Deloo is used 28 times in the
(Exod. 6:3; 33:12; Deut. 33:10; Jos. 4:7; 1 Sam. 3:21; 1 Ki. 8:36; 2 Chr.
6:27; Est. 2:22; Ps. 25:14; 51:6; 147:20; Isa. 42:9; Jer. 16:21; Dan. 2:5f,
9, 11, 16, 23ff, 28ff, 47; 4:18; 7:16). Here are some uses in the
Exodus 6:3 and I appeared to
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, LORD, I did not
make Myself known (deloo) to them.
Exodus 33:12 Then Moses said to
the LORD, "See, Thou dost say to me, 'Bring up this people!' But Thou
Thyself hast not let me know (deloo) whom Thou wilt send with me.
Moreover, Thou hast said, 'I have known you by name, and you have also found
favor in My sight.'
Esther 2:22 But the plot became known
(deloo) to Mordecai, and he told Queen Esther, and Esther informed the king
in Mordecai's name.
Psalm 25:14 The secret of the LORD
is for those who fear Him, And He will make them know (deloo) His covenant.
Psalm 51:6 Behold, Thou dost
desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part Thou wilt
make me know (deloo) wisdom.
Psalm 147:20 He has not dealt thus
with any nation and as for His ordinances, they have not known
(deloo) them. Praise the LORD!
Isaiah 42:9 "Behold, the former
things have come to pass, Now I declare new things; Before they spring forth
I proclaim (Lxx = deloo = make them known) them to you."
Daniel 2:25 Then Arioch hurriedly
brought Daniel into the king's presence and spoke to him as follows: "I have
found a man among the exiles from Judah who can make the
interpretation known (deloo) to the king!"
Deloo is used 7 times in the NT...
1 Corinthians 1:11 For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe's people, that there are
quarrels among you.
1 Corinthians 3:13 each man's work
will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed
with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work.
Colossians 1:8 (note)
and he also informed us of
your love in the Spirit.
Hebrews 9:8 (note)
The Holy Spirit is
signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been
disclosed, while the outer tabernacle is still standing,
Hebrews 12:27 (note)
And this expression, "Yet once
more," denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as
of created things, in order that those things which cannot be shaken may
1 Peter 1:11 (note)
seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was
indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to
2 Peter 1:14 (note)
knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also
our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear (of something divinely
communicated) to me.
The writer states that the Holy Spirit is both the divine Author
of the Levitical system of worship and its interpreter. The point the writer
is making is that having the priest come in only once per year, that we have
not really seen God's way into His present & that it is closed up.
A few of the sons of Israel surely must have become believers, under the
illuminating ministry of the Holy Spirit, as they saw in these symbolic
shadows something of the Way of access to God, of communion with Him, and of
admission into heaven thru the promised Redeemer. Sadly though most of the
sons of Israel looked no further than the outward forms & shadows, failing
to unite the spiritual truths being pictured with saving faith ("good
news...but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not
united by faith in those who heard" Hebrews 4:2)
The outer tabernacle - Steven
Cole comments that...
Some understand “first tabernacle” to
refer to the entire tabernacle, but since the same phrase is used in 9:2 & 6
to refer to the holy place, others take it to refer to the outer or first
room of the tabernacle. The meaning then would be that the holy place
“was blocking the way into the sanctuary
of God’s presence for the mass of the people, for whom entry even into the
holy place was prohibited…. So long, then, as the holy place continued
standing they had no hope of immediate access to God” (Philip Hughes, A
Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews [Eerdmans], p. 322, 323). (Hebrews 9:1-14 God's Remedy for
THAT THE WAY INTO THE HOLY PLACE HAS NOT YET BEEN DISCLOSED: mepo pephanerosthai (RPN) ten ton
(Heb 9:3; 4:15,16; 10:19-22; John 10:7,9; 14:6; Ephesians 2:18)
The way - Not "a" way, but "the
way", the specific, exclusive, definitive way as emphasized by Jesus and
amplified by Paul...
Jesus therefore said to them again, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the
door of the sheep... 10:9 I am the door; if anyone enters
through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find
Jesus said to him, "I am the (specific, only) way, and the
(specific, only) truth, and the (specific, only) life; no one comes
to the Father, but through Me. (Cults twist this passage and
translate it to say "a way" the implication of course being that Jesus is
fine, but He is just one of many ways to God. Wrong!)
Ephesians 2:18 (note)
for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.
Romans 5:2 (note)
through Whom (Jesus)
also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we
stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
The holy place - In the context,
this phrase refers to the innermost room of the sanctuary, otherwise known
as the holy of holies.
Since therefore, brethren, we have
confidence to enter the holy place (holy of holies) by the blood of
Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the
veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house
of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith,
having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies
washed with pure water. (see notes
= manifest, visible, conspicuous from
phaino = give light; become visible from phos = light) indicates an external
manifestation to the senses which is thus open to all. It means to make
visible that which has been hidden. The primary reference is to what is
visible to sensory perception and thus which is made to appear, caused to be
seen or uncovered, laid bare or revealed.
To be manifested, in
the Scriptural sense is more than just to appear. For example, a person may
appear in a false guise or without a disclosure of what he truly is. Thus in
this context, phaneroo conveys the sense of to be manifested or to be
revealed in one's true character (this is meaning in Jn 3:21, 1Cor 4:5, 2Cor
5:10,11, Eph 5:13-note)
Worship of God was limited and common folk had no immediate
access to God. The people could come only so close. The whole thing was
meant to prove that without a Redeemer, without a Messiah, without a Savior,
there is no access to God. The Holy Spirit was teaching the impossibility of
access to God without a perfect priest, a perfect sacrifice, and a perfect
covenant. By allowing the people to go no farther than the outer court, He
was illustrating that through Judaism there was no access to Him, only a
symbol of access.
As long as that part of the Levitical institution was still in effect,
Israel was to understand that the way into the presence of God had not yet
been opened. The division of the tabernacle into the Holy Place and the Holy
of Holies showed the limitations of the Levitical system, and kept the
people from coming directly to God. The Holy Place barred both priests and
people from the Holy of Holies.
At the time Hebrews was written
(before the destruction of the Temple in 70AD), the worship of God was
limited and the "lay" Jews had no immediate access to God. The writer
of Hebrews is portraying the picture that
without a Redeemer, without a Messiah, without a Savior, there was no
access (see "the way" above) to God. The Holy Spirit in
fact was teaching the impossibility of
access to God without a perfect priest, a perfect sacrifice, and a
perfect covenant. By allowing the people to go no farther than the
outer court, the Holy Spirit was illustrating that through Judaism there was no
true access to God, only symbolic access.
How can a sinner now enter into the
presence of a Holy God (Hebrews 10:19-20, cf
This is what the writer is building toward, and which he will explain
later -- it is by entering through the Veil = Jesus' Flesh. The veil that hung
in the temple represented the Lamb of God, the Covenant Sacrifice
slain, laid out, divided in two for you and for me! A New & Living
Spurgeon writes that...
It was necessary that you should take away the sacred tent, the
tabernacle, ay, and take away the temple, too, before you could learn
the spiritual meaning of them. You must break the shell to get at the
kernel. So God had ordained. Hence, there is now no tabernacle, no
temple, no holy court, no inner shrine, the holy of holies. The
material worship is done away with, in order that we may render the
spiritual worship of which the material was but the type.
WHILE THE OUTER TABERNACLE IS STILL STANDING: eti tes protes skenes
echouses (PAPFSG) stasin:
Outer tabernacle - From the context this is not a reference to the
outer room or to the wall surrounding the Tabernacle complex, but clearly
refers to the
Tabernacle per se, and its "furnishings" including the Menorah, Incense Altar
and Showbread table.
When the new order of things was brought into being by the death of Messiah
on the Cross, thus fulfilling the typical sacrifices (see topic
Typology), God rent the inner
veil of the temple which separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies,
making of the two rooms one. There was, therefore, no more “within the
veil.” This was God’s picture book lesson to the Jews and the Jewish priests,
illustrating that the Jewish priestly
ministry was now over, because a new Priest
had arisen after the order of Melchisedec. (see notes
7:17) But, Israel in its
stubbornness, resisted the Holy Spirit, "repaired" the veil and kept on offering sacrifices until
70AD when God in His wrath sent
Rome to destroy the city of Jerusalem and scatter His chosen people
throughout the Roman empire.
- The Temple was apparently still standing. The old had to pass away before
God’s new way could be revealed.
F B Meyer comments that...
THE VEILED WAY INTO THE HOLIEST IS
CONTRASTED WITH OUR FREEDOM TO ENTER THE PRESENCE OF GOD. We have the
positive assurance of these words that the Holy Spirit meant to
signify direct spiritual truth in the construction of the Jewish
Tabernacle (ver. 8). He who revealed divine truth by inspired
prophets, revealed it so in the structure of the material edifice. The
methods of instruction might vary; the teacher was the same. Indeed,
the whole ritual was a parable for the present time (ver. 9).
Every well-taught child is aware of the distinction between the holy
place, with its candlesticks, incense-table, and shew-bread, and the
holy of holies, with its ark, and cloud of glory. The first tabernacle
was separated from the second by heavy curtains, which were never
drawn aside except by the high-priest, and by him only once a year,
and then in connection with an unusually solemn ritual. Surely the
dullest Israelite must have understood the meaning of that expressive
figure; and have felt that, even though his race might claim to be
nearer to God than all mankind beside, yet there was a depth of
intimacy from which his foot was checked by the prohibition of God
himself. "The way into the holiest was not yet made manifest."
For us, however, the veil is rent. Jesus entered once into the holy
place, and as he passed the heavy folds were rent in twain from the
top to the bottom. Surely no priest that witnessed it could ever
forget the moment, when, as the earth trembled beneath the temple
floor, the thickly woven veil split and fell back, and disclosed the
solemnities on which no eyes but those of the high-priest dared to
gaze. Surely the most obtuse can read the meaning signified herein by
the Holy Ghost. There is no veil between us and God but that which we
weave by our own sin or ignorance. We may go into the very secrets of
his love. We may stand unabashed where angels worship with veiled
faces. We may behold mysteries hidden from before the foundation of
the world. The love of God has no secrets for us whom he calls
Oh, why are we so content with the superficial and the transient, with
the ephemeral gossip and literature of our times, with the outer
courts in which the formalists and worldly Christians around us are
contented to remain? when there are such heights and depths, such
lengths and breadths, to be explored in the very nature of God. Why do
men in our time bring back that veil, though they call it "a screen"?
Alas, they are blind leaders of the blind.
Hebrews 9:9 which
symbol for the
Amplified: Seeing that that first [outer portion of the]
tabernacle was a parable (a visible symbol or type or picture of the
present age). In it gifts and sacrifices are offered, and yet are
incapable of perfecting the conscience or of cleansing and renewing
the inner man of the worshiper.
Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: Now the first tabernacle stands for this present age, and
according to its services sacrifices are offered which cannot perfect
the conscience of the worshipper. (Westminster
KJV: 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;
NLT: This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For
the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to
cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. (NLT
- Tyndale House)
Phillips: For in this outer tent we see a picture of the
present time, in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered and yet
are incapable of cleansing the soul of the worshipper. (Phillips:
Wuest: which [tent] was of such a nature as to be an
explanation for the ensuing time, according to which both gifts and
sacrifices are being offered which are not able to make complete the
one who offers them so far as the conscience is concerned; (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: which is a simile in regard to the present
time, in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered, which are not
able, in regard to conscience, to make perfect him who is serving
WHICH IS A SYMBOL FOR THE PRESENT TIME: hetis parabole eis ton kairon:
(Heb 9:24; 11:19; Romans 5:14; 1Peter 3:21) (Heb 7:11; 11:39,40;
Which is a
symbol - Which is a "parable", a parabolic setting forth of the
character of the Old Testament. In other words the "old" is set beside
the "new" for purposes of comparison. As MacArthur says "the
old was only a "parable," an object lesson, for Israel. The old
sacrifices were never meant to cleanse from sin, but only to symbolize
such cleansing (Ed: Therefore in a sense pointing toward the blood of
Jesus shed on the Cross for the remission of sins). The conscience of
the person sacrificing was never freed from the feeling of guilt
because the guilt itself was never removed. The cleansing was entirely
external. Consequently, he could never have a clear conscience, a
deep, abiding sense of forgiveness." (MacArthur,
John: Hebrews. Moody Press).
Symbol (3850) (parabole
from para = beside, near + ballo = throw, cast; English "parable")
is literally a throwing beside or placing of one thing by the side of
another (juxtaposition as of ships in battle in classic Greek). The
metaphorical meaning is to place or lay something besides something
else for the purpose of comparison. (Mt 24:32, Mk 13:28, Mk
3:23, Lk 14:7). An illustration (Mt 13:3). In Hebrews 9:9 the idea is
of something (OT Tabernacle) that serves as a model or example
pointing beyond itself for later realization and thus a type or a
figure. A T Robertson says parabole in Hebrews 9:9 is
"applied to the old dispensation as a symbol pointing to Christ and
Christianity." In Luke 4:23 Jesus uses it in the sense of a proverb.
Abraham's believed that God was able to raise men from the dead and so
figuratively speaking (NIV) he did receive Isaac back from the dead.
In the Lxx in Nu 23:7 parabole refers to a poem or figurative
discourse. In Micah 2:4 it refers to a taunt or mocking speech.
MacArthur says parabole is "A spiritual or moral truth
would often be expressed by laying it alongside, so to speak, a
physical example that could be more easily understood. A common,
observable object or practice was used to illustrate a subjective
truth or principle. That which was well known was laid alongside that
which was not known or understood in order to explain it. The known
elucidated the unknown. The parable was a common form of Jewish
teaching....Teaching through parables and other figurative means is
effective because it helps make abstract truth more concrete, more
interesting, easier to remember, and easier to apply to life. When a
truth is externalized in the figures of a parable, the internalizing
of moral and spiritual meaning is much easier. In the series of
parables in chapter 13, Jesus uses such familiar figures as soil,
seed, birds, thorns, rocks, sun, wheat, tares, mustard seed, leaven,
hidden treasure, and a pearl. But in these particular parables
themselves the truth is not made clear, because the basic story tells
nothing but the literal account, without presenting the moral or
spiritual truth. It was only to His disciples that Jesus explained
what the soil, the seed, the thorns, and the other figures represent.
And an unexplained parable was nothing but an impossible riddle, whose
meaning could only be guessed at." (Matthew: The MacArthur NT
notes parable "is an illustration thrown in alongside of a
truth to make the latter easier to understand....The Greek word means
“that which is thrown alongside of something else” to explain it.
Thus, the tabernacle was an object lesson used to explain spiritual
truth. As long as it remained an object lesson, thus a recognized
institution, it was clear that the actual tabernacle to which it
pointed was not yet in use. The tabernacle in Israel, and later, the
temple, remained that object lesson during the history of Israel,
until the veil of the temple was rent." (Hebrews
Commentary - Pdf Online)
the use of parabole in Heb 11:19, W E Vine says
"Parabole means a laying alongside, and signifies, not a figure, but
something that resembles or corresponds to another. Thus the giving
back of the offering to the offerer without the slaying, was in
parabolic act a resurrection."
Bible Dictionary - (Gr. parabole), a placing beside; a comparison;
equivalent to the Heb. mashal, a similitude. In the Old Testament this
is used to denote (1) a proverb (1 Sam. 10:12; 24:13; 2Chr. 7:20), (2)
a prophetic utterance (Num. 23:7; Ezek. 20:49), (3) an enigmatic
saying (Ps. 78:2; Prov. 1:6). In the New Testament, (1) a proverb
(Mark 7:17; Luke 4:23), (2) a typical emblem (Heb. 9:9; 11:19), (3) a
similitude or allegory (Matt. 15:15; 24:32; Mark 3:23; Luke 5:36;
14:7); (4) ordinarily, in a more restricted sense, a comparison of
earthly with heavenly things, "an earthly story with a heavenly
meaning," as in the parables of our Lord. Instruction by parables has
been in use from the earliest times. A large portion of our Lord's
public teaching consisted of parables. He himself explains his reasons
for this in his answer to the inquiry of the disciples, "Why speakest
thou to them in parables?" (Matt. 13:13-15; Mark 4:11, 12; Luke 8:9,
10). He followed in so doing the rule of the divine procedures, as
recorded in Matt. 13:13. The parables uttered by our Lord are all
recorded in the synoptical (i.e., the first three) Gospels. The fourth
Gospel contains no parable properly so called, although the
illustration of the good shepherd (John 10:1-16) has all the essential
features of a parable.
Most of the uses
of parable in the NT refer to the stories of Jesus which had a
symbolic content and a profound spiritual application.
Parable (Baker's Evangelical
Dictionary of Biblical Theology)
the classic or Secular Greek meaning - 1. This word has
the following senses: “setting beside,” “standing beside,”
“aberration,” and “division.” In rhetoric it means “similitude,”
“parable.” 2. Rhetoric distinguishes between the comparison, the
metaphor, the metaphor which has passed into common use, the simile,
the allegory, and the parable. The latter compares two things from
different fields in order to elucidate the unfamiliar by means of the
familiar. 3. Epic poetry makes great use of similitudes because of
their illustrative power and evocative content. Gnomic poetry likes
them, and so does Plato, who draws on human life or myth for
illustrations. The Stoic-Cynic diatribe also uses illustrations, often
in answer to objections. Aristotle thinks examples from history are
more valuable than parables, but points out that the latter, as
distinct from fables, take their material from real life. The
effectiveness of comparisons, he says, rests on the ability to see
analogy, and it is better that discerning minds should grasp the point
of comparison independently. Parable and allegory often merge into one
that - In the LXX parabole is mostly a rendering of mashal, which
indicates likeness. At first the mashal is a proverb (1 Sam. 10:12);
we find it in the phrase "to become a proverb or byword" (Is. 14:4).
In Wisdom writings it is the wise saying and comprises examples from
life, rules of prudence and courtesy, vocational advice, moral
admonitions, and religious directions. Many proverbs use the
comparative "as" (Pr 25:11ff.; 26:18-19). Comparison is also made by
juxtaposition (Pr 15:16; 16:8). But parallelism is predominant. Since
sages love veiled expressions, parabole and ainigma ("riddle") are
often synonymous. In Ps. 78:2 the mashal is a didactic poem that seeks
to solve the riddle of the people's history. Another form of mashal is
the developed comparison or similitude (cf. 2Sa 12:1ff.; Jdg 9:8ff.).
The prophets find parables helpful, either constructing them (Is.
28:23ff.) or receiving them in visions (Amos 7:8). The best known is
the parable of the vineyard in Isa 5. The OT parable in this sense is
a complete story whose meaning is hidden and may be either discerned
independently or disclosed by the prophet. In Ezekiel the mashal is a
word of divine revelation (Ezek. 17:2; 24:3); another word is needed
to interpret it (Ezek 17:11ff.; 24:6ff.). In Ps. 49:4 the psalmist
speaks as a prophet who has received from God a word that explains the
strange prosperity of the wicked. Parabolic actions are also performed
by the prophets. As a rendering of mashal, parabole takes on a richer
content that carries over into the NT.
parabole is "a narrative or saying of varying length, designed
to illustrate a truth especially through comparison or simile... in
the synoptics the word refers to a variety of illustrative
formulations in the teaching of Jesus"
- Parable - 1. juxtaposition, comparison, Plat. 2. a
comparison, illustration, analogy, Aristotle 3. a parable, i.e.
a fictitious narrative by which some religious or moral lesson is
conveyed, NT. 4. a by-word, proverb.
- 50x in 48v - Usage: parable(31), parables(16), proverb(1),
symbol(1), type(1). Most referring to parables in the Gospels. - Matt
13:3, 10, 13, 18, 24, 31, 33ff, 53; 15:15; 21:33, 45; 22:1; 24:32;
Mark 3:23; 4:2, 10f, 13, 30, 33f; 7:17; 12:1, 12; 13:28; Luke 4:23;
5:36; 6:39; 8:4, 9ff; 12:16, 41; 13:6; 14:7; 15:3; 18:1, 9; 19:11;
20:9, 19; 21:29; Heb 9:9; 11:19
- 33v in non-apocryphal Septuagint - Num 23:7, 18; 24:3, 15, 20f, 23;
Dt 28:37; 1Sa 10:12; 24:13; 2 Sam 23:3; 1Kgs 4:32; 2Chr 7:20; Ps
44:14; 49:4; 69:11; 78:2; Pr 1:6; Eccl 1:17; 12:9; Jer 24:9; Ezek
12:22f; 16:44; 17:2; 18:2f; 19:14; 20:49; 24:3; Dan 12:8; Mic 2:4; Hab
earlier, he uses the old covenant tabernacle and sacrifices (plural)
object lesson to illustrate the better sacrifice (singular) of
Christ. Think of the Old Covenant as analogous to a children's book which
especially with young children is filled with pictures to help teach
the child truths. In the same way, the structure and rigid rituals of
the Old Covenant were God's inspired "picture book" by which He sought
to tutor Israel and thereby to lead them to comet to know and receive
writes that that it was...
Only a figure, and only meant for
“the time then present.” It was the childhood of the Lord’s people;
it was a time when, as yet, the light had not fully broken in upon
spiritual eyes, so they must be taught by picture-books. They must
have a kind of Kindergarten for the little children, that they might
learn the elements of the faith by the symbols, types, and
representations of a material worship. When we come into the true
gospel light, all that is done away with; it was only “a figure for
the time then present.”
All these rites could only give a
fleshly purity, but they could not touch the conscience. If men saw
what was meant by the outward type, then the conscience was appeased;
but by the outward sign itself the conscience was never comforted, if
it was a living and lowly conscience.
- the tabernacle in all its parts,
and the whole economy of it, was parabole, which signifies the
translation of a word or thing from its own natural signification to
signify another, which thing so signified by it is commonly more
excellent than itself, as the substance exceeds the shadow; equivalent
it is to those terms of types, examples, figures of things to come:
such are the tabernacle and its services, representations of things
spiritual and Divine, and very imperfect shadows of them, serving only
for that infant state of the church: and when its nonage was to expire
by the coming of the truths themselves, then were they to expire too.
The only time when the tabernacle administration was present, and no
In simple terms,
the Old Testament tabernacle was an object lesson used to
explain spiritual truth. The tabernacle itself and all that the Old
Covenant represented were suggestive of deeper truths, parables
as it were of the New Covenant.
present time - The time of the temple-worship which had continued
still in the day of the Hebrew readers (Temple not yet destroyed).
- The “present time” may mean “the time then present,” that is, “in
the Old Testament days the way to God was not yet revealed.” Or, it
may mean “the time now present,” indicating that “the real meaning of
the tabernacle can only now be understood, in the light of the work of
ACCORDINGLY BOTH GIFTS AND SACRIFICES ARE OFFERED
WHICH CANNOT MAKE THE WORSHIPPER PERFECT IN CONSCIENCE: kath en dora te kai
thusiai prospherontai (3PPPI) me dunamenai (PPPFPN) kata suneidesin teleiosai (AAN) ton
latreuonta: (Hebrews 5:1) (Heb 9:13,14; 7:18,19; 10:1-4,11; Psalms
40:6,7; Galatians 3:21) (Psalms 51:16-19)
Which (tabernacle) was of such a nature as to be an explanation for
the ensuing time, according to which both gifts and sacrifices are
being offered which are not able to make complete the one who offers
them, so far as the conscience is concerned.
Gifts - These probably
correspond to the presentation of the offering (of animal, bird, grain,
drink) the worshiper brought for the sacrifice.
For every high priest taken from
among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God,
in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins (see note
(prosphero from pros = to, toward + phero =
bring, bear) means literally to bring or bear toward and in this
context refers to the presentation of an offering. Notice that
prosphero is in the
which signifies that the Levitical priests offered continually,
day in, day out, morning and evening, year after year.
This is the Greek phrase "me" (not) and the verb
(able) in the
which literally reads
continually not able. The Old Covenant gifts and sacrifices
lacked the inherent ability to give a perfectly clean conscience. It
should be understood that inability to provide a clean conscience was
not the only way the Old Covenant was ineffective, but singling out
this subject served the writer's purpose to emphasize his point.
contrasting effect of the better sacrifice of the New Covenant...
how much more
will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered
Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead
works to serve the living God? (see note
let us draw near
with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts
sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with
pure water. (see note
Pray for us, for
we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct
ourselves honorably in all things. (see note
-All these sacrifices and
ceremonies, although full of instruction, were not in themselves able
to give peace to the conscience of men. The new and better covenant
does give rest to the heart by the real and actual taking away of
guilt, but this the first covenant could not do. It is astonishing
that there should be any who want to go back to the “beggarly
elements” of the old Jewish law, and again to have priests, and an
elaborate ritual, and I know not what besides. These things were
faulty and fell short of what was needed even when God instituted
them, for they were never intended to produce perfection, or to give
rest to the troubled conscience; so of what use can those ceremonies
be which are of man’s own invention, and which are not according to
the new covenant at all?
worshipper perfect - He is not saying make the worshipper
"sinless," which is not possible in this lifetime. The idea is
finished or complete, needing nothing to make it what it should be.
Wuest goes on to explain " The Levitical ritual as such did not touch
the conscience. No ritual in itself ever does. There was nothing in it
that could deal with conscience. Only the working of the Holy Spirit
through the Word of God and the efficacy of the blood of the Messiah
could do that. The Holy Spirit did in Old Testament times deal as He
does today with the consciences of men, but the salvation which He
applied under the Levitical system found its source in the New
Testament Sacrifice, the Lord Jesus. Therefore, while operating under
the jurisdiction of the First Testament, God was giving salvation to
the First Testament believer by virtue of that which was accomplished
through the New Testament. Since the First Testament could not do that
which the New Testament did, it was set aside in favor of the New
Testament. And this is the argument of the Book of Hebrews." (Hebrews
Commentary - Pdf Online)
teleios from telos = an end, a
purpose, an aim, a goal, consummate soundness, idea of being whole) means to
accomplish or bring to an end or to the intended goal (telos). It means to
be complete, mature, fully developed, full grown, brought to its end,
finished, wanting nothing necessary to completeness or in good working
order. It does not mean simply to terminate something but to carry it out to
the full finish which is picked up in the translation "perfected". Teleioo signifies the attainment of consummate soundness
and includes the idea of being made whole. Interestingly the Gnostics used
teleios of one fully initiated into their mysteries and that may
have been why Paul used teleios in this epistle.
repeatedly by the writer in Hebrews to emphasize the importance of perfection...
(which should cause any Jew who is contemplating the worth of Christ and the
New Covenant to realize his utter hopelessness to every attain perfection
under the Old Covenant). The Levitical ritual could not give a clean conscience, which is
the goal of sacrifices for sins.
Hebrews 2:10 For it was fitting
for Him, for Whom are all things, and through Whom are all things, in
bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation
Hebrews 5:9 And having
been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the
source of eternal salvation,
Hebrews 7:19 (for the Law made
nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better
hope, through which we draw near to God....28 For the Law appoints men as
high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the
Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.
Hebrews 9:9 which is a symbol for
the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which
cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience,
Hebrews 10:1 For the Law, since it
has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of
things, can never by the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer
continually, make perfect those who draw near....14 For by one
offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
Hebrews 11:40 because God had
provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be
Hebrews 12:23 (But you have
come...) to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are
enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of
righteous men made perfect,
It is interesting and doubtless no
mere coincidence that in the
teleioo is translated numerous times as consecrated or
consecration, especially speaking of consecration of the priests (cf Jesus
our "great High Priest")
Not All the Blood of Beasts
Not all the blood of
On Jewish altars slain
Could give the guilty conscience peace
Or wash away the stain.
But Christ, the heav’nly Lamb,
Takes all our sins away;
A sacrifice of nobler name
And richer blood than they.
My faith would lay her hand
On that dear head of Thine,
While, like a penitent, I stand,
And there confess my sin.
My soul looks back to see
The burdens Thou didst bear
When hanging on the cursčd tree,
And hopes her guilt was there.
Believing, we rejoice
To see the curse remove;
We bless the Lamb with cheerful voice,
And sing His bleeding love.
conscience - The point is not that an OT saint (a genuine believer, one
declared righteous by faith) could never have a clear conscience but just
that such a conscience could never be obtained by the OT sacrifices, no
matter how many sacrifices one made. The writer explains that...
if the blood of goats and bulls and the
ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the
cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through
the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your
conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (see notes
from sun = with + eido = know) literally means a "knowing
with", a co-knowledge with oneself or a being of one's own witness in the
sense that one's own conscience "takes the stand" as the chief witness,
testifying either to one's innocence or guilt. It describes the witness
borne to one's conduct by that faculty by which we apprehend the will of
here for more notes on on this website on conscience)
key word in the epistle to the Hebrews...
which (the outer tabernacle) is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly
both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper
perfect in conscience,
Hebrews 9:14 (note)
how much more will the blood of Christ,
who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God,
cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Hebrews 10:22 (note)
let us draw near with a sincere heart in
full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil
conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Hebrews 13:18 (note)
Pray for us, for we are sure that
we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in
For the first time in
their lives as Jews who worshiped Jehovah the guilt was completely gone, and
their conscience could rest easy. This refers to the positional truth
because of the cleansing provided by the blood of Christ. But there is also
a practical (daily practice or sanctification) aspect to the conscience for
I thank God, whom I
tense = continually)
with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly
remember you in my prayers night and day, (see note
2 Timothy 1:3)
defines "conscience" as the sense or consciousness of the moral
goodness or blameworthiness of one’s own conduct, intentions, or
character together with a feeling of obligation to do right or be
The Greek noun
suneidesis is the exact counterpart of the Latin con-science,
“a knowing with,” a shared or joint knowledge. It is our awareness of
ourselves in all the relationships of life, especially ethical
relationships. We have ideas of right and wrong; and when we perceive
their truth and claims on us, and will not obey, our souls are at war
with themselves and with the law of God
is that process of thought which distinguishes what it considers
morally good or bad, commending the good, condemning the bad, and so
prompting to do the former and avoid the latter.
To have a "clear
conscience" does not
mean that we have never sinned or do not commit acts of sin. Rather,
it means that the underlying direction and motive of life is to obey
and please God, so that acts of sin are habitually recognized as such
and faced before God (1Jn
Someone has said that many people have only their
bad memory to thank for their clear conscience!
conscience" consists in
being able to say that there is no one (God or man) whom I have
knowingly offended and not tried to make it right (either by asking
forgiveness or restoration or both). Paul wanted Timothy to have no
doubt that he endured his present physical afflictions, as he had
countless others, because of his unswerving faithfulness to the Lord,
not as a consequence of unfaithful, ungodly living. So as Paul neared
his death, he could testify that his conscience did not accuse or
condemn him. His guilt was forgiven, and his devotion was undivided.
To continually reject God’s truth causes the conscience to become
progressively less sensitive to sin, as if covered with layers of
unspiritual scar tissue. Paul’s conscience was clear, sensitive, &
responsive to its convicting voice. Click on the books below to study
the NT picture of conscience.
Charles Colson in his book Who Speaks for
God (pp 76,77) tells the following story...
Albert Speer was once interviewed about his book on ABC’s “Good
Morning America”. Speer was the Hitler confidant whose technological
genius was credited with keeping Nazi factories humming throughout
World War II. In another era he might have been one of the world’s
industrial giants. He was only one of 24 war criminals tried in
Nuremburg who admitted his guilt. Speer spent 20 years in Spandau
interviewer referred to a passage in one of Speer’s earlier writings:
said the guilt can never be forgiven, or shouldn’t be. Do you still
feel that way?
look of pathos on Speer’s face was wrenching as he responded,
a sentence of 20 yrs, and I could say, ‘I’m a free man, my conscience
has been cleared by serving the whole time as punishment.’ But I can’t
do that. I still carry the burden of what happened to millions of
people during Hitler’s lifetime, and I can’t get rid of it. This new
book is part of my atoning, of clearing my conscience.
interviewer pressed the point.
really don’t think you’ll be able to clear it totally?
shook his head.
think it will be possible.
35 yrs Speer had accepted complete responsibility for his crime. His
writings were filled with contrition and warnings to others to avoid
his moral sin. He desperately sought expiation. All to no avail.
once said "Man is the only animal that blushes,
the only animal that needs to."
Osbeck writes that...
The conscience has been
described as the “rudder of the soul” or the believer’s “principle
within.” One of the prime responsibilities of Christian living is to
keep the conscience clear as to the things of God so that we might
live worthy lives before our fellowmen. But the conscience must be
continually enlightened and developed by an exposure to God’s Word if
it is to serve as a reliable guide for our lives. A conscience that is
allowed to become hardened and insensitive to sin will ultimately lead
to spiritual and moral disaster. We must allow God to develop our
consciences and then our consciences are able to develop us. (Osbeck,
K. W. Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions.
I Want a Principle Within
by Charles Wesley
I want a principle within of watchful, Godly fear,
A sensibility of sin, a pain to feel it near.
Help me the first approach to feel of pride or wrong desire,
To catch the wand’ring of my will and quench the Spirit’s fire.
From Thee that I no more may stray, no more Thy goodness grieve,
Grant me the filial awe, I pray, the tender conscience give.
Quick as the apple of an eye, O God, my conscience make!
Awake my soul when sin is nigh and keep it still awake.
Almighty God of truth and love, to me Thy pow’r impart;
The burden from my soul remove, the hardness from my heart.
O may the least omission pain my reawakened soul,
And drive me to that grace again which makes the wounded whole.
is the judgment which we pronounce on our own conduct by putting
ourselves in the place of a bystander. (Adam Smith.)
is a dainty, delicate creature, a rare piece of workmanship of the
Maker. Keep it whole without a crack, for if there be but one hole so
that it break, it will with difficulty mend again. (S. Rutherford.)
can never find a “more faithful adviser, a more active accuser, a
severer witness, a more impartial judge, a sweeter comforter, or a
more inexorable enemy.” (Bp. Sanderson.)
in everything: — Trust that man in nothing who has not a conscience in
makes cowards of us; but conscience makes saints and heroes too. (J.
is a marvelous gift from God, the window that lets in the light of His
truth. If we sin against Him deliberately, that window becomes dirty,
and not as much truth can filter through. Eventually, the window
becomes so dirty that it no longer lets in the light. The Bible calls
this a defiled, seared conscience...Do you keep a clean conscience? It
is a part of your inner being that responds to God's truth. When you
sin, the window of your conscience becomes dirty and filters out
truth. Avoid sin in your life and live with a clean conscience. Every
day feed yourself truth from the Word of God. (Wiersbe, W: Prayer,
Praise and Promises: Ps 51:3-6)
Hurt not your
conscience with any known sin. (S. Rutherford.)
is that faculty in me which attaches itself to the highest that I
know, and tells me what the highest I know demands that I do."
“When there is
any debate, quit. There is no debate possible when conscience
Once we assuage
our conscience by calling something a “necessary evil,” it
begins to look more and more necessary and less and less evil. -
Sidney J. Harris
As someone else has said, "She won't listen to her
conscience. She doesn't want to take advice from a total stranger."
The antagonism between life and conscience may be
removed in two ways: By a change of life or by a change of conscience.
The trouble with the advice, "Follow your
conscience" is that most people follow it like someone following a
wheelbarrow--they direct it wherever they want it to go, and then
Did you know that ever since 1811 (when someone who
had defrauded the government anonymously sent $5 to Washington D.C.)
the U.S. Treasury has operated a Conscience Fund? Since that time
almost $3.5 million has been received from guilt-ridden citizens.
(Chuck Swindoll, The Quest For Character)
is God’s spy and man’s overseer. (John Trapp)
conscience and a good confidence go together. (Thomas Brooks)
Jones wrote that
"Conscience is a small,
still voice that makes minority reports."
"Conscience is also what
makes a boy tell his mother before his sister does."
C. Trumbull wrote that...
Conscience tells us that
we ought to do right, but it does not tell us what right is--that we
are taught by God's
Morley said about conscience
Pop used to say about the
Presbyterians, 'It don't prevent them committing all the sins there
are, but it keeps them from getting any fun but of it.'
General Omar Bradley was more serious in commenting on conscience
"The world has achieved brilliance
without conscience," he conceded. "Ours is a world of nuclear giants
and ethical infants."
On the subject
of conscience Martin Luther declared before the court of the
Roman Empire at Worms in 1521
"My conscience is captive to the
Word of God. ... I am more afraid of my own heart than of the pope and
all his cardinals. I have within me the great pope, Self."
When a person
comes to faith in Christ, his conscience becomes acutely sensitive to
sin. No longer as a Christian can he sin with impunity. The story is
told about an old Indian chief who was converted. Later a missionary
"Chief, how are you doing
spiritually? Are you experiencing victory over the devil?"
"It's like this," the chief replied. "I have two dogs inside me: a
good dog and a bad dog. They are constantly fighting with each other."
"Which dog wins?" asked the puzzled missionary.
"Whichever one I feed the most," retorted the wise old man. His
conscience was being shaped by the Scriptures.
set out the importance of a clear conscience
"To have a guilty conscience is a
feeling. Psychologists may define it as a guilt complex, and may seek
to rationalize away the sense of guilt, but once it has been awakened
through the application of the law of God, no explanation will quiet
the insistent voice of conscience."
><> ><> ><>
C H Spurgeon
spoke frequently about conscience as seen in the following
quite pithy quotations...beloved if you are contemplating sinning as
you read this or are caught in the web of some sin, may the Holy
Spirit of the Living God convict you of sin, righteousness and the
judgment to come, not only for your sake of your Christian life but
even more so for the sake of His name...
Conscience may tell me that
something is wrong, but how wrong it is conscience itself does not
know. Did any man's conscience, unenlightened by the Spirit, ever tell
him that his sins deserved damnation? Did it ever lead any man to feel
an abhorrence of sin as sin? Did conscience ever bring a man to such
self-renunciation that he totally abhorred himself and all his works
and came to Christ?
A man sees his enemy before him. By
the light of his candle, he marks the insidious approach. His enemy is
seeking his life. The man puts out the candle and then exclaims, "I am
now quite at peace." That is what you do. Conscience is the candle of
the Lord. It shows you your enemy. You try to put it out by saying,
"Peace, peace! Put the enemy out!" God give you grace to thrust sin
Conscience is like a magnetic
needle, which, if once turned aside from its pole, will never cease
trembling. You can never make it still until it is permitted to return
to its proper place.
I recollect the time when I thought that if I had to live on bread and
water all my life and be chained in a dungeon, I would cheerfully
submit to that if I might but get rid of my sins. When sin haunted and
burdened my spirit, I am sure I would have counted the martyr's death
preferable to a life under the lash of a guilty conscience
O believe me, guilt upon the
conscience is worse than the body on the rack. Even the flames of the
stake may be cheerfully endured, but the burnings of a conscience
tormented by God are beyond all measure unendurable.
This side of hell, what can be
worse than the tortures of an awakened conscience?
He was a fool who killed the
watchdog because it alarmed him when thieves were breaking into his
house. If conscience upbraids you, feel its upbraiding and heed its
rebuke. It is your best friend.
Give me into the power of a roaring lion, but never let me come under
the power of an awakened, guilty conscience. Shut me up in a dark
dungeon, among all manner of loathsome creatures—snakes and reptiles
of all kinds—but, oh, give me not over to my own thoughts when I am
consciously guilty before God!
Fire such as martyrs felt at the stake were but a plaything compared
with the flames of a burning conscience. Thunderbolts and tornadoes
are nothing in force compared with the charges of a guilty conscience.
When a swarm of bees gets about a man, they are above, beneath,
around, everywhere stinging, every one stinging, until he seems to be
stung in every part of his body. So, when conscience wakes up the
whole hive of our sins, we find ourselves compassed about with
innumerable evils: sins at the board and sins on the bed, sins at the
task and sins in the pew, sins in the street and sins in the shop,
sins on the land and sins at sea, sins of body, soul, and spirit, sins
of eye, of lip, of hand, of foot, sins everywhere. It is a horrible
discovery when it seems to a man as if sin had become as omnipresent
with him as God is.
The conscience of man, when he is really quickened and awakened by the
Holy Spirit, speaks the truth. It rings the great alarm bell. And if
he turns over in his bed, that great alarm bell rings out again and
again, "The wrath to come! The wrath to come! The wrath to come! "
Nothing can be more horrible, out of hell, than to have an awakened
conscience but not a reconciled God—to see sin, yet not see the
Savior—to behold the deadly disease in all its loathsomeness, but not
trust the good Physician, and so to have no hope of ever being healed
of our malady.
I would bear any affliction rather than be burdened with a guilty
It is a blessed thing to have a conscience that will shiver when the
very ghost of a sin goes by—a conscience that is not like our great
steamships at sea that do not yield to every wave, but, like a cork on
the water, goes up and down with every ripple, sensitive in a moment
to the very approach of sin. May God the Holy Spirit make us so! This
sensitiveness the Christian endeavors to have, for he knows that if he
has it not, he will never be purified from his sin.
There are thousands of people in this country who would be greatly
troubled in their minds if they did not go to church twice on Sundays.
And they get comfort in this because their conscience is dead. If
their conscience were really awakened, they would understand that
there is no connection between conscience and outward forms.
><> ><> ><>
When Sgt. Ray Baarz
of the Midvale, Utah, police department opened his wallet, he noticed his
driver's license had expired. Embarrassed at having caught himself
red-handed, he had no alternative. He calmly and deliberately pulled out his
ticket book and wrote himself a citation. Then Baarz took the ticket to the
city judge who fined him five dollars. "How could I give a ticket to anyone
else for an expired license in the future if I didn't cite myself?" Baarz
><> ><> ><>
In a number of languages it would be entirely misleading to speak of `a
guilty conscience,' for this would seem to imply that there is something
sinful about the conscience itself. In reality, it is the conscience that
says that a person is guilty, and therefore it may be necessary to translate
Heb10:22 as `with hearts that have been purified from a condition in which
their conscience has said that they are guilty.
There is a
treasure you can own
That's greater than a crown or throne;
This treasure is a conscience clear
That brings the sweetest peace and cheer.
See 1Pe 3:19 where Peter is encouraging the believers who are suffering (or
will soon go thru a fiery trial) with the doctrinal truth that "baptism now
saves you" and he equates this "baptism" not with water baptism of
Christianity or ritual Jewish baptismal washing for "purification" but with
the obtaining of a "good conscience". And in these verses in Hebrews we see
the only way one can obtain a clean conscience is by having one's heart
sprinkled (with the blood of Jesus) (1Pe1:2) representing the blood of the
New Covenant in which the unregenerate person is born from above and
receives a new heart (with a new conscience).
><> ><> ><>
In 1971 he killed a man. Even
though he was the prime suspect in the murder, no one could prove it
and the case was abandoned. So, he got away with it. Or did he?
Nearly three decades later, in failing health and living in a nursing
home, he confessed to the crime. A detective who headed the original
investigation said, "He was looking over his shoulder for the last 26
years, not only for the law, but for his Maker. I think he wants to
clear his conscience before he meets his Maker--or try to at least."
How's your conscience today?
Clear or clouded? What would it take to be ready to meet your Maker?
How can you be made clean? It may seem strange to speak of blood as a
cleansing agent, but that's how the Bible connects the death of Jesus
on the cross to our standing before God (Hebrews 10:19-note). Christ shed His
blood so that we might be forgiven and made clean inside. Because of
what He has done, we can have a clear conscience and "draw near with a
true heart in full assurance of faith" (Hebrews 10:22-note). No matter who you are
or what you've done, Jesus Christ can give you a clear conscience. Why
not confess your sin and make things right with your Maker today. --D C
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Now in His mercy He waits to
Peace to the conscience and joy to the heart,
Waits to be gracious, to pardon and heal
All who their guilt and their sinfulness feel.
A clear conscience is a soft
><> ><> ><>
The 50-Year Desire
-- Years ago I was standing by the deathbed of an old minister down in Alabama.
The old man had been a preacher for fifty years. I saw his son, who also was
a minister, kneel by his father’s bed.
“Father, you have preached for fifty years, and have done more good than any
man I know.”
The old man, with feeble but distinct voice, said:
“Don’t tell me about that, son. Tell me about the blood of Jesus. Nothing
but the blood of Jesus will do for a dying man.”
If a man who had preached for fifty years and who had lived a pure, straight
life, in his dying hour had to rely upon the blood of Jesus Christ, don’t
you ever think there is any hope for you aside from this atoning blood?
><> ><> ><>
Example of conscience that cannot be cleansed: Albert Speer was once interviewed about his last book on ABC’s “Good
Morning, America.” Speer was the Hitler confidant whose technological genius
was credited with keeping Nazi factories humming throughout World War II. In
another era he might have been one of the world’s industrial giants. He was
the only one of twenty-four war criminals tried in Nuremburg who admitted
his guilt. Speer spent twenty years in Spandau prison. The interviewer
referred to a passage in one of Speer’s earlier writings: “You have said the
guilt can never be forgiven, or shouldn’t be. Do you still feel that way?”
The look of pathos on Speer’s face was wrenching as he responded, “I served
a sentence of twenty years, and I could say, ‘I’m a free man, my conscience
has been cleared by serving the whole time as punishment.’ But I can’t do
that. I still carry the burden of what happened to millions of people during
Hitler’s lifetime, and I can’t get rid of it. This new book is part of my
atoning, of clearing my conscience.” The interviewer pressed the point. “You
really don’t think you’ll be able to clear it totally?” Speer shook his
head. “I don’t think it will be possible.” For thirty-five years Speer had
accepted complete responsibility for his crime. His writings were filled
with contrition and warnings to others to avoid his moral sin. He
desperately sought expiation. All to no avail.
><> ><> ><>
Charles Simeon, one of the greatest preachers of the Church of England,
explained his coming to Christ like this: As I was reading Bishop Wilson on
the Lord’s supper, I met with an expression to this effect—“That the Jews
knew what they did, when they transferred their sin to the head of their
offering.” The thought came into my mind, “What, may I transfer all my guilt
to another? Has God provided an Offering for me, that I may lay my sins on
His head? Then, God willing, I will not bear them on my own soul one moment
longer.” Accordingly I sought to lay my sins upon the sacred head of Jesus.
F B Meyer comments that...
THE RITES OF JUDAISM ARE CONTRASTED
WITH CONSCIENCE-CLEANSING ORDINANCES OF THE GOSPEL. They stood in
meats and drinks and divers washings, which at the best were carnal
ordinances imposed until a time of reformation; and though they
rendered the worshiper ceremonially clean, they left his conscience
A great many of the offenses which required to be put away in those
olden days arose from the breach of ceremonial laws. A man who touched
the dead or the unclean became ceremonially defiled. For any such
thing he must undergo the appointed rites of cleansing, ere he could
enter the courts of the Lord's house. The ceremonial laws were quite
competent to deal with delinquencies like these; but they failed in
providing atonement or in securing pardon for acts of sin. "They could
not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the
The unsatisfactory nature of sacrifices was even patent on the great
day of atonement, which is here evidently referred to. Laying aside
the gorgeous robes in which he was usually arrayed, the high-priest
clothed himself in simple linen. The animals to be offered during the
day were next presented at the door of the Tabernacle; and lots were
cast as to which of the two bullocks was to be for himself, and which
of the two goats was to be slain. Then for the first time he entered
the most holy place amid the fumes of fragrant incense, and sprinkled
the blood of the bullock to make an atonement for the sins of himself
and his house. A second time he entered with the blood of the goat, to
make an atonement for the sins of the people, who, meanwhile, stood
without in penitential grief. And when all was over, the nation's sins
were confessed over the head of the living goat, which was sent into
the land of forgetfulness. Still, no one could suppose that the
slaying of the one goat or the sending of the other into the
wilderness actually expiated the offense of the whole people. There
was a remembrance of sins made once a year; but not necessarily entire
remission for all who stood in that vast silent crowd. And many must
have turned away in doubt and misgiving. David expressed their feeling
when he sang the Fifty-first Psalm beneath the impression of his own
sinnership (see also Micah vi. 6).
But how different is all this now! Our consciences are purged (ver.
14). We have no more conscience of sins. We feel that the death of our
Lord Jesus is an adequate expiation for them all, and that he has so
fully taken them from us and put them away that they cannot be found;
they are as though they had never been; they have ceased from the very
memory of God. True, there are works which are constantly rendering
our conscience unclean, as of old the flesh of the Israelite was
rendered unclean by the touch of death. But the blood of Jesus does
for our conscience what the ashes of the heifer did for the flesh of
the ceremonially unclean. "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth
us from all sin." We have therefore no longer an evil conscience
resulting from unexpiated sin.
Hebrews 9:10 since
Amplified: For [the ceremonies] deal only with clean and
unclean meats and drinks and different washings, [mere] external rules
and regulations for the body imposed to tide the worshipers over until
the time of setting things straight [of reformation, of the complete
new order when Christ, the Messiah, shall establish the reality of
what these things foreshadow—a better covenant].
Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: but which, since they are based on food and drink and
various kinds of washings, are human regulations, laid down until the
time of the new order should come. (Westminster
KJV: Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings,
and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
NLT: For that old system deals only with food and drink and
ritual washing—external regulations that are in effect only until
their limitations can be corrected. (NLT
- Tyndale House)
Phillips: The ceremonies are concerned with food and
drink, various washings and rules for bodily conduct, and were only
intended to be valid until the time when Christ should establish the
Wuest: which [the Levitical system] had its basis only in food
and drink and various ceremonial ablutions, ordinances befitting human
beings, enjoined until the season of bringing matters to a
satisfactory state. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: only in victuals, and drinks, and different
baptisms, and fleshly ordinances -- till the time of reformation
imposed upon them.
SINCE THEY RELATE ONLY TO FOOD AND DRINK
AND VARIOUS WASHINGS REGULATIONS FOR THE BODY: monon epi bromasin kai pomasin
kai diaphorois baptismois dikaiomata sarkos mechri:
(Heb 13:9; Leviticus 11:2-47; Deuteronomy 14:3-21; Ezekiel 4:14; Acts
10:13-15; Colossians 2:16) (Heb 6:2; 10:22; Exodus 29:4; 30:19-21; 40:12;
Leviticus 14:8,9; 16:4,24; 17:15,16; 22:6; Numbers 19:7-21; Deuteronomy
21:6; 23:11) (Heb 9:1; 7:16; Galatians 4:3,9; Ephesians 2:15; Colossians
2:20-22) (Heb 2:5; 6:5; Galatians 4:4; Ephesians 1:10)
Since they relate
- The writer is explaining how the OT sacrifices could not produce a clear
conscience. First, he says that they were external regulations with the
implication being that they could not deal adequately with the conscience.
Second, he says they were temporary imposed until the time of Christ. The
very fact that the sacrifices had to be repeated over and over points to
their lack of efficacy to bring about complete, perfect forgiveness of sin.
They could only "cover" the sins and put off guilt until for example the
next Day of Atonement. The point is that the OT sacrificial system was never
meant to be God's complete and final provision for sins but that it always
pointed to the coming of the Messiah Who would inaugurate the New Covenant.
the point that...
These ordinances were only laid upon the
Jews-not upon any other people-and only laid upon them until the better and
brighter days of reformation and fuller illumination.
The appearance of the substance and the
putting away of the shadows, was a reformation, or emendation. Is it not
wonderful (in the sense of amazing!) that any should wish to undo this
reformation, and go back to the beggarly elements of the law?
(monon) alone or uniquely. This adverb helps emphasize that this old
order was temporary. The old order was limited, imperfect and temporary. He
is exhorting his Jewish readers to move on!
Do not be carried away
+ negative - A command meaning in essence "Stop being carried away..."
implying this was happening to some of the readers) by varied and strange
teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by
foods, through which those who were thus occupied were not benefited. (see
(broma) (meats in KJV) refers literally to that which is chewed such
as meat or vegetables in opposition to milk which is liquid
The English word meat meant just that in
1611 AD., when the King James Version was translated. Today the word is confined
almost entirely to the meaning of edible animal flesh. In regard to drinks,
the Levitical law laid down no prescriptions except as to abstinence in the
case of a Nazarite vow, and of the priests when they were to officiate.
Alford says that the writer had in mind both the legal and the Talmudic
conditions imposed upon the worshippers.
caught up in the "food" issue in Acts...
Acts 10:13-15 And a voice came to
him, "Arise, Peter, kill and eat!" 14 But Peter said, "By no means, Lord,
for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean." 15 And again a voice
came to him a second time, "What God has cleansed, no longer consider
The OT had numerous instances of
"washings" for various purposes all relating to ritual cleansing
from some type of contamination. The writer had previously alluded to
washing in his exhortation in Hebrews 6...
Therefore leaving the elementary teaching
about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation
of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about
washings, and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead, and
eternal judgment. (see notes
Later the writer spoke
of the true "washing" that was available for those who entered the
let us draw near with a sincere heart in
full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil
conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (see note
There are a number of
Dictionary Articles) mentioned
in the Old Testament...
Ex 29:4 — "Then you shall bring
Aaron and his sons to the doorway of the tent of meeting, and wash them
Ex 30:19-21 — "And Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands
and their feet from it; 20 when they enter the tent of meeting, they shall
wash with water, that they may not die; or when they approach the
altar to minister, by offering up in smoke a fire sacrifice to the LORD. 21
"So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they may not
die; and it shall be a perpetual statute for them, for Aaron and his
descendants throughout their generations."
Ex 40:12 — "Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the doorway of
the tent of meeting and wash them with water.
Lev 14:8 — "The one to be cleansed shall then wash his clothes
and shave off all his hair, and bathe in water and be clean. Now
afterward, he may enter the camp, but he shall stay outside his tent for
Lev 14:9 — "And it will be on the seventh day that he shall shave off
all his hair: he shall shave his head and his beard and his eyebrows, even
all his hair. He shall then wash his clothes and bathe his body in water
and be clean.
Lev 16:4 — "He shall put on the holy linen tunic, and the linen
undergarments shall be next to his body, and he shall be girded with the
linen sash, and attired with the linen turban (these are holy garments).
Then he shall bathe his body in water and put them on.
Lev 16:24 — "And he shall bathe his body with water in a holy
place and put on his clothes, and come forth and offer his burnt offering
and the burnt offering of the people, and make atonement for himself and for
Lev 17:15 — "And when any person eats an animal which dies, or is
torn by beasts, whether he is a native or an alien, he shall wash his
clothes and bathe in water, and remain unclean until evening;
then he will become clean.
Lev 17:16 — "But if he does not wash them or bathe his
body, then he shall bear his guilt."
Lev 22:6 — a person who touches any such shall be unclean until
evening, and shall not eat of the holy gifts, unless he has bathed his
body in water.
Nu 19:7-12 — 'The priest shall
then wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward come
into the camp, but the priest shall be unclean until evening. 8 'The one who
burns it shall also wash his clothes in water and bathe his body in
water, and shall be unclean until evening. 9 'Now a man who is clean shall
gather up the ashes of the heifer (see
and deposit them outside the camp in a clean place, and the congregation of
the sons of Israel shall keep it as water to remove impurity; it is
purification from sin. 10 'And the one who gathers the ashes of the heifer
shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening; and it shall be
a perpetual statute to the sons of Israel and to the alien who sojourns
among them. 11 'The one who touches the corpse of any person shall be
unclean for seven days. 12 'That one shall purify himself from uncleanness
with the water on the third day and on the seventh day, and then he
shall be clean; but if he does not purify himself on the third day and on
the seventh day, he shall not be clean.
Dt 21:6 — "And all the elders of
that city which is nearest to the slain man shall wash their hands over the
heifer whose neck was broken in the valley;
Dt 23:11 — "But it shall be when evening approaches, he shall bathe
himself with water, and at sundown he may reenter the camp.
from díkaios = just, righteous) conveys 3 distinct
meanings and seems best described comprehensively as “a concrete expression
of righteousness” or a declaration that a person or thing is righteous. In
this context it represents an ordinance or what God declared to be right.
It refers specifically
to the OT ordinances for the
flesh. The cleansing, like the covenant as a whole, not only was limited
and imperfect but temporary. It related only to food and drink and various
washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation. This
system was never intended to last forever. It was not intended even to last
through human history. It was instituted thousands of years after human
history began and ended thousands of years before human history will end. As
of now, it has been nearly two thousand years since the last sacrifice was
made in the Temple.
(sarx) refers here to humanity. The ordinances were such as had to do
with human conditions of life, food, drink, cleanliness. These were imposed
upon Israel until the time of reformation.
a similar attraction that had apparently been introduced by teachers into
the body of believers at Colossae, commanding them...
let no one act as your judge
negative - A command meaning in essence "Stop letting others judge your
Christianity..." implying this was happening to some of Paul's readers) in
regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a
Sabbath day (see note
Paul went on to
address this tendency of our fleshly tendency to gravitate toward legalism
(even believers! You know exactly what I mean, don't you!) instead of
resting by grace through faith in the law of liberty...
Let no one keep defrauding you of your
negative - A command meaning in essence "Stop letting others steal your
prize" implying this was happening to some of Paul's readers - How was this
happening?) by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels,
taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his
fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head (the "antidote" to
legalistic, mystical false teachings), from Whom the entire body, being
supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth
which is from God.
If (Since - assumes you have been born
again) you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world,
why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees,
such as, 21 "Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!" 22 (which all refer
to things destined to perish with the using)—in accordance with the
commandments and teachings of men? 23 These are matters which have, to be
sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and
severe treatment of the body, but are of (absolutely) no value against
fleshly indulgence (in fact they actually "stimulate" or arouse the old
fallen nature! - see note
IMPOSED UNTIL A TIME OF REFORMATION: mechri kairou diorthoseos epikeimena (PMPNPN):
(epikeimai from epí = upon + keímai = to lie on) means
to lie upon, to be placed on, to lie on (literally of the stone against
Jesus' tomb - Jn 21:9, of fish on the fire of coals - Jn 21:9). Metaphorically as used here
in Hebrews 9, epikeimai means imposed upon and has the force of
obligation, thus speaking speaks of
meaning is to be insistent (pictures one keeping putting pressure on so to
speak) in Lk 23:23. The idea is to act upon through force or pressure. The
people were in a sense piling evidence on top of Pilate (so to speak),
nearly burying him with reasons he need to sentence Jesus to crucifixion (cf
Pilate's efforts in Jn 19:12) A T Robertson adds that epikeimai
was "an old verb for the rush and swirl of a tempest...Pilate was
overwhelmed by this tornado."
In Acts 27:20
epikeimai conveys the metaphorical sense of assailing, picturing the
storm "pressing upon" their boat.
Epikeimai - 7x
in 7v - Usage: am under(1), assailing(1), imposed(1), insistent(1),
lying(1), placed(1), pressing around(1). Lxx Uses = Ex 39:31 (fasten); Job
19:3 (wrong me ~ "lie upon me" so to speak), Job 21:27.
Luke 5:1 Now it happened that
while the crowd was pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He
was standing by the lake of Gennesaret;
Luke 23:23 But they were insistent, with loud voices asking that He be
crucified. And their voices began to prevail.
John 11:38 So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the
tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it.
John 21:9 So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire
already laid and fish placed on it, and bread.
Acts 27:20 Since neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no
small storm was assailing us, from then on all hope of our being saved was
1 Corinthians 9:16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast
of, for I am under compulsion (literally the idea is "necessity is
laid upon me"); for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.
Hebrews 9:10 since they relate only to food and drink and various
washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.
Comment: The legal ordinances are
pictured as being placed upon the people of Israel during the dispensation
of the old covenant (the Law).
(diorthosis from diorthoo = correct, amend from dia =
through, marker of instrument by which something is accomplished + orthos
= straight, erect, upright) means to make straight, to straighten
thoroughly, to correct, to reform. Diorthosis in its physical sense
means the making straight, the restoring of something to
its natural and normal condition, especially something which in some way protrudes or
has gotten out of line, as for instance broken or misshapen limbs. In short,
to set things right.
the present context (the only NT use) means “to bring matters to a satisfactory state”
referring to the introduction of the New Covenant which displaces the Old
Covenant. The Old never was satisfactory, so far as offering a sacrifice
that could pay for sin was concerned and thus could not give salvation.
the related verb
diorthoo, was used of mending one’s ways (Jeremiah 7:3,5 - Jeremiah 7:5 For
if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly practice
justice between a man and his neighbor), and of setting up or establishing
(Isaiah 16:5 - A throne will even be established in lovingkindness).
Wuest - The
word translated “reformation” is interesting and important. It is
diorthosis, from the verb diorthoo. The word means in its physical sense the
making straight, the restoring to its natural and normal condition,
something which in some way protrudes or has gotten out of line, as for
instance broken or misshapen limbs. It means “to set things to rights.” In
the LXX it is used of mending one’s ways (Jer 7:3, 5), and of setting up or
establishing (Isa 16:5). The word in its context here means “to bring
matters to a satisfactory state.” It refers to the introduction of the New
Testament which latter displaces the First Testament. The First Testament
never was satisfactory, so far as offering a sacrifice that could pay for
sin was concerned. It could not actually in itself save the believer. (Hebrews
W E Vine - The
word translated “reformation” literally denotes “a making straight.”
The time of reformation was the time when what was inadequate and imperfect
would give place to that which was effectual and perfect, when the substance
and the reality would supersede the shadow and the copy, when the
unsuccessful endeavors to fulfill the requirements of God’s law would be
followed by the enjoyment of His grace, under the unconditional terms of the
new covenant. The time of reformation would be brought in upon the ground of
the sacrifice of Christ and under His High-Priestly ministry in the
sanctuary. (Collected writings of W. E. Vine)
Until is a time
word which marks sequence. The writer's point is that in the new order of
the New Covenant, Christ "corrects" what the Old Covenant could never
"correct". Christ is the substance of which the Old Covenant of rituals,
symbols and forms were but a pale shadow. It was beyond the capability of the Old Covenant
bring about reformation and make things right between holy God and sinful
man. The Old Covenant was like a signpost, pointing to the satisfactory sacrifice
The writer is not
deprecating the Old Covenant, as if it had no meaning or purpose. His point
is simply that the Old was temporary and incomplete, and that it all the
while served as a picture of Christ's better, perfect work on