Hebrews 9:1-10

The Earthly Holy Place

1 Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and 1an earthly place of holiness.
2 For 2a tent[a] was prepared, the first section, in which were 3the lampstand and 4the table and 5the bread of the Presence.[b] It is called the Holy Place.
3 Behind 6the second curtain was a second section[c] called the Most Holy Place,
4 having the golden 7altar of incense and 8the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was 9a golden urn holding the manna, and 10Aaron's staff that budded, and 11the tablets of the covenant.
5 Above it were 12the cherubim of glory overshadowing 13the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
6 These preparations having thus been made, 14the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties,
7 but into the second only 15the high priest goes, and he but 16once a year, and not without taking blood, 17which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people.
8 By this the Holy Spirit indicates that 18the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing
9 (which is symbolic for the present age).[d] According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered 19that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper,
10 but deal only with 20food and drink and 21various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.

Hebrews 9:1-10 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO HEBREWS 9

The apostle having, in the former chapter, taken notice of the first covenant, in this proceeds to show what belonged to it, that it had service performed under it, and a place in which it was performed, Heb 9:1 and he begins with the latter, which he distinguishes into two parts, and shows what was in each of them; in the first, which was the holy place, were a candlestick, table, and shewbread; in the second, which was the holiest of all, were a golden censer, the ark of the covenant, the golden pot of manna, Aaron's rod, the tables of the covenant, and the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat, Heb 9:2-5. And next he speaks of the service performed in these places; in the first, the holy place, the common priests entered every day, doing service, as offering sacrifice Heb 9:6 and in the second, the holy of holies, only the high priest entered into, and that but once a year, with blood of slain beasts, which he offered for his own sins, and the sins of the people, Heb 9:7 and this being shut up, and entered into but once a year, was an indication from the Holy Ghost, that the way into the holiest of all, which this was then a figure of, was not yet made manifest, while the tabernacle or temple was standing, in which sacrifices were offered, which could not perfect the offerer of them, or remove guilt from his conscience, Heb 9:8,9 which shows the imperfection of that priesthood, it consisting of meats, drinks, baptisms, and carnal ordinances imposed on the Jewish nation until the times of the Messiah, Heb 9:10 which are now come, and in which there is an accomplishment of all those types and figures; Christ was typified by the high priest; and he is come as such, and the good things, the law was a shadow of, are come by him; who came into the world by the assumption of human nature, a more perfect tabernacle than the type of it was; and now having obtained eternal redemption for his people, he is gone into heaven, the most holy place, not as the high priest, with the blood of slain beasts, but with his own blood, Heb 9:11,12 the efficacy of which blood is argued from the lesser to the greater, that if the blood of beasts, and water of separation, sanctified and purified externally, then much more must the blood of Christ purge the conscience from sin, that it may serve God, since Christ offered himself to God without spot, through the eternal Spirit, Heb 9:13,14. The necessity of Christ's shedding his blood, or of his death, is proved from his being the Mediator of the new covenant, which required the redemption of transgressions under the first testament, that called ones might have the promise of the eternal inheritance, Heb 9:15. And this is reasoned from the nature of testaments or wills among men, which make the death of the testator necessary, they being of no force while he lives, only after his death, Heb 9:16,17. And this is further illustrated by the first testament being dedicated by blood, and everything belonging to it purged by it, the book, the people, the tabernacle, and all the vessels of it; nor is there any remission of sin, whether typical or real, without shedding of blood, Heb 9:18-22 wherefore, as it was necessary that the patterns and types of heavenly things should be purified in this manner; it must be more so, that the antitypes should be purified with better sacrifices, even with the sacrifice of Christ, Heb 9:23 and accordingly Christ is entered into heaven itself, of which the holy places in the tabernacle were figures, there to present and plead his sacrifice on account of his people, Heb 9:24 not that it was necessary that he should offer up himself again, or often, as the high priest, his type, went every year into the holy place with the blood of others; for then he must have often suffered since the world began, of which there was no need, since his appearing once in the end of the world, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, is sufficient, Heb 9:25,26 for as it is the appointment of God, that men should die but once, and then come to judgment, so it was only necessary that Christ should be offered once to bear the sins of all his people, and then appear a second time without any sin at all upon him, to the salvation of those that look for him, Heb 9:27,28.

Hebrews 9:1-10 In-Context

1 Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness.
2 For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence. It is called the Holy Place.
3 Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place,
4 having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron's staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant.
5 Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
6 These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties,
7 but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people.
8 By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing
9 (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper,
10 but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation)
12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.
13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh,
14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

Cross References 21

  • 1. Exodus 25:8
  • 2. Exodus 26:1
  • 3. Exodus 25:31-39; Exodus 26:35; Exodus 40:4
  • 4. Exodus 25:23-29
  • 5. Exodus 25:30; Leviticus 24:5-8
  • 6. Exodus 26:31-33; Exodus 40:3, 21
  • 7. Leviticus 16:12, 13
  • 8. Exodus 25:10; Exodus 26:33; Exodus 40:3, 21; Revelation 11:19
  • 9. Exodus 16:33, 34
  • 10. Numbers 17:10
  • 11. Exodus 25:16; Exodus 40:20; Deuteronomy 10:2, 5; 1 Kings 8:9, 21; 2 Chronicles 5:10
  • 12. Exodus 25:18-22; [1 Kings 8:6, 7]
  • 13. Leviticus 16:2
  • 14. [Numbers 28:3]
  • 15. Leviticus 16:15, 34; [Hebrews 10:3; Exodus 30:10]
  • 16. Leviticus 16:15, 34; [Hebrews 10:3; Exodus 30:10]
  • 17. See Hebrews 5:3
  • 18. Hebrews 10:20; [John 14:6]
  • 19. See Hebrews 7:19
  • 20. See Leviticus 11:2
  • 21. Mark 7:4, 8; See Leviticus 11:25

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. Or tabernacle; also verses 11, 21
  • [b]. Greek the presentation of the loaves
  • [c]. Greek tent; also verses 6, 8
  • [d]. Or which is symbolic for the age then present
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.