Which was a figure for the time then present
The tabernacle in general was a figure of Christ's human nature, ( Hebrews 8:2 ) and the most holy part of it was a figure of heaven itself, ( Hebrews 9:24 ) the whole service of it was typical and shadowy; but it was but a temporary figure; it was for that present time only; the things of it were suited to that dispensation, and are now abolished, and ought not to be revived, the ordinances of the Gospel being greatly preferable to them; and while it did continue, it was only a parable, as the word here used signifies; it was like a dark saying; it had much obscurity and darkness in it; or as the Vulgate Latin version renders it, it was a "figure of the present time"; that is, of the Gospel dispensation; it was a shadow of good things to come under that; it prefigured what is now accomplished; or rather it was a "figure unto, or until the present time"; till Christ came, when all figures, types, and shadows fled away, and were of no more real use and service:
in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices;
that is, in which tabernacle, or at which then present time, or (kay' hn) , "according to which figure or parable", as the Alexandrian copy and Vulgate Latin version read, gifts and sacrifices were offered by the priests; see ( Hebrews 5:1 ) ( 8:3 ) ,
that could not make him that did the service perfect;
neither the priest that offered them, nor the people whom he represented, and for whom he did the service; they could not make real and perfect expiation for sin, nor justify from it, nor cleanse and sanctify; the spiritual worshippers had their sins expiated by the sacrifice of Christ; and their persons were justified by his righteousness, and they were cleansed by his blood: the particular instance in which, legal sacrifices did not make perfect is, "pertaining to the conscience"; there is in every man a conscience, and when sin is charged home upon it, that is filled with a sense of divine wrath; nor can it be pacified with anything short of what will answer the law and justice of God, and which is only done by the blood and righteousness of Christ.