The Priesthood of Christ. A. D. 62.
11 But Christ being come a high priest of good things to come, by
a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to
say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves,
but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained
eternal redemption for us. 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and
the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying
of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the
eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience
from dead works to serve the living God?
In these verses the apostle undertakes to deliver to us the mind and
meaning of the Holy Ghost in all the ordinances of the tabernacle and legal
economy, comprehending both place and worship. The scriptures of the Old
Testament were given by inspiration of God; holy men of old spoke and wrote
as the Holy Ghost directed them. And these Old-Testament records are of
great use and significancy, not only to those who first received them,
but even to Christians, who ought not to satisfy themselves with reading
the institutes of the Levitical law, but should learn what the Holy Ghost
signifies and suggests to them thereby. Now here are several things mentioned
as the things that the Holy Ghost signified and certified to his people
V. The Holy Ghost signifies to us hereby that we never make the right
use of types but when we apply them to the antitype; and, whenever we do
so, it will be very evident that the antitype (as in reason it should)
greatly excels the type, which is the main drift and design of all that
is said. And, as he writes to those who believed that Christ had come and
that Jesus was the Christ, so he very justly infers that he is infinitely
above all legal high priests (v. 11, 12), and he illustrates it very fully.
1. Christ is a high priest of good things to come, by which may be understood,
(1.) All the good things that were to come during the Old Testament, and
now have come under the New. All the spiritual and eternal blessings the
Old-Testament saints had in their day and under their dispensation were
owing to the Messiah to come, on whom they believed. The Old Testament
set forth in shadows what was to come; the New Testament is the accomplishment
of the Old. (2.) All the good things yet to come and to be enjoyed in a
gospel state, when the promises and prophecies made to the gospel church
in the latter days shall be accomplished; all these depend upon Christ
and his priesthood, and shall be fulfilled. (3.) Of all the good things
to come in the heavenly state, which will perfect both the Testaments;
as the state of glory will perfect the state of grace, this state will
be in a much higher sense the perfection of the New Testament than the
New Testament was the perfection of the Old. Observe, All things past,
present, and to come, were, and are, founded upon, and flowing from, the
priestly office of Christ.
2. Christ is a high priest by a greater and more perfect tabernacle
(v. 11), a tabernacle not made with hands, that is to say, not of this
building, but his own body, or rather human nature, conceived by the Holy
Ghost overshadowing the blessed virgin. This was a new fabric, a new order
of building, infinitely superior to all earthly structures, not excepting
the tabernacle of the temple itself.
3. Christ, our high priest, has entered into heaven, not as their high
priest entered into the holiest, with the blood of bulls and of goats,
but by his own blood, typified by theirs, and infinitely more precious.
4. Not for one year only, which showed the imperfection of that priesthood,
that it did but typically obtain a year's reprieve or pardon. But our high
priest entered into heaven once for all, and has obtained not a yearly
respite, but eternal redemption, and so needs not to make an annual entrance.
In each of the types there was something that showed it was a type, and
resembled the antitype, and something that showed it was but a type, and
fell short of the antitype, and therefore ought by no means to be set up
in competition with the antitype.
5. The Holy Ghost further signified and showed what was the efficacy
of the blood of the Old-Testament sacrifices, and thence is inferred the
much greater efficacy of the blood of Christ. (1.) The efficacy of the
blood of the legal sacrifices extended to the purifying of the flesh (v.
13): it freed the outward man from ceremonial uncleanness and from temporal
punishment, and entitled him to, and fitted him for, some external privileges.
(2.) He infers very justly hence the far greater efficacy of the blood
of Christ (v. 14): How much more shall the blood of Christ, &c. Here
observe, [1.] What it was that gave such efficacy to the blood of Christ.
First, It was his offering himself to God, the human nature upon the altar
of his divine nature, he being priest, altar, and sacrifice, his divine
nature serving for the two former, and his human nature for the last; now
such a priest, altar, and sacrifice, could not but be propitiatory. Secondly,
It was Christ's offering up himself to God through the eternal Spirit,
not only as the divine nature supported the human, but the Holy Ghost,
which he had without measure, helping him in all, and in this great act
of obedience offering himself. Thirdly, It was Christ's offering himself
to God without spot, without any sinful stain either in his nature or life;
this was conformable to the law of sacrifices, which required them to be
without blemish. Now further observe, [2.] What the efficacy of Christ's
blood is; it is very great. For, First, It is sufficient to purge the conscience
from dead works, it reaches to the very soul and conscience, the defiled
soul, defiled with sin, which is a dead work, proceeds from spiritual death,
and tends to death eternal. As the touching of a dead body gave a legal
uncleanness, so meddling with sin gives a moral and real defilement, fixes
it in the very soul; but the blood of Christ has efficacy to purge it out.
Secondly, It is sufficient to enable us to serve the living God, not only
by purging away that guilt which separates between God and sinners, but
by sanctifying and renewing the soul through the gracious influences of
the Holy Spirit, purchased by Christ for this purpose, that we might be
enabled to serve the living God in a lively manner.
The Priesthood of Christ. A. D. 62.
15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that
by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under
the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of
In these verses the apostle considers the gospel under the notion of
a will or testament, the new or last will and testament of Christ, and
shows the necessity and efficacy of the blood of Christ to make this testament
valid and effectual.
I. The gospel is here considered as a testament, the new and last will
and testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is observable that
the solemn transactions that pass between God and man are sometimes called
a covenant, here a testament. A covenant is an agreement between two or
more parties about things that are in their own power, or may be so, and
this either with or without a mediator; this agreement takes effect at
such time and in such manner as therein declared. A testament is a voluntary
act and deed of a single person, duly executed and witnessed, bestowing
legacies on such legatees as are described and characterized by the testator,
and which can only take effect upon his death. Now observe, Christ is the
Mediator of a New Testament (v. 15); and he is so for several ends and
purposes here mentioned. 1. To redeem persons from their transgressions
committed against the law or first testament, which makes every transgression
a forfeiture of liberty, and makes men debtors, and slaves or prisoners,
who need to be redeemed. 2. To qualify all those that are effectually called
to receive the promise of an eternal inheritance. These are the great legacies
that Christ by his last will and testament has bequeathed to the truly