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faithful that promised).” The principles stated are these :First, “We have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus ;” and secondly, We have a great “ High Priest over the house of God." The duties enjoined are,—“ drawing near,” and“ holding fast the profession of our faith,” or rather, hope.
The first principle which the Apostle takes for granted as having been sufficiently proved, is thus expressed in our version :
“ Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us through the vail, that is to say, His flesh.”
It is not often that there is reason to complain of our translation, that it is not sufficiently literal. It is often so literal as to be obscure, if not unintelligible. But in the passage before us there is ground for such a charge. The words, literally rendered, run thus :-“ Having therefore, brethren, boldness, or confidence, in reference to the entrance into the holiest, by the blood of Jesus—or by blood, of Jesus,—by which entrance. He has opened, or consecrated, for us a new and living way,— through the vail, that is, of His flesh.”?
The first question which here suggests itself is, What are we to understand by the entrance of the holiest? whose entrance is it that is referred to ? and what is the nature of this entrance? It has been common to consider the entrance into the holiest here as the entrance of believers; and that entrance has been explained of the thoughts, affections, and devotions of Christians being fixed on and addressed to a reconciled Divinity, by which they have all that intercourse of mind with God which is compatible with a state in which the capacities of the soul are confined by its union to an earthly body. But to this mode of interpretation there are very strong objections. Throughout the whole of this Epistle, the true holy of holies is heaven; and to enter into this true holy of holies, is just to go to heaven. Besides, it is plain that the principle which the Apostle states here is one which he had already illustrated. Now, what the Apostle has been illustrating, is neither that Christians have a present spiritual access to God in heaven, nor that they shall have a future real, bodily entrance into heaven; but that Christ, as our High Priest, has really and bodily gone into heaven, the antitype of the holy of holies. I cannot doubt, then, that the entrance here mentioned is the entrance of Jesus Christ, and that the true meaning of the whole phrase is, “the entrance of Jesus into the holiest by His own blood.'
1 y may be=xal mu.
2 Most justly has Valcknaer remarked, “ Hic locus paucis videtur intellectus." Eis is expressive of a direction of mind towards an object; napproic eis, 'boldness in reference to :' Matt. xxvi. 10; Acts ii. 25; Rom. iv. 20, xvi. 19, etc., etc. Παρρησία and παρρησιάζεσθαι are generally construed with the same prepositions as πίστις and πιστεύειν. .
A few additional remarks on the construction of the passage are necessary, to open the way to our distinct and satisfactory apprehension of its meaning. The words,“ by a new and living way, which He hath opened for us,” are, literally, “ by which entrance He has opened, or consecrated, for us a new and living way,”—and are, I apprehend, parenthetical. The phrase, “ through the vail,” connects with “the entrance into the holiest through the blood of Jesus ;” —it is a further description of this entrance. The entrance of Jesus by His own blood into the holiest through the vail, is just what is described, chap. ix. 11, 12.
The concluding explicatory clause, “ that is, His flesh,” has commonly been supposed to refer to the words which immediately precede it—" the vail ;” and has been considered as teaching that Christ's body was the antitype of the vail which divided the holy from the most holy place, and that the rending of that vail was emblematical of His death. To this mode of interpretation there are, however, great objections. Throughout this Epistle, as the holy of holies is evidently the heaven of heavens, so the holy place—the tabernacle and its vails—seems as plainly to be the visible heavens, through which our High Priest entered into the heaven of heavens. Besides, though the rending of the vail, taken by itself, and its consequence, the laying open of the holy of holies, may be considered as a fit emblem of the death of Christ, yet the figure does not hold in the point referred to: the high priest left the vail behind when he entered,—Christ carried “ His flesh,” His human nature, along with Him to heaven.
I am disposed to consider the words, “ that is, of His flesh," as referring to the entrance of our Lord into the holy place,the word entrance' being understood, thus : “ that is, the entrance of His flesh;" just as the word “tabernacle' is understood in the parallel passage,—“ a greater and more perfect tabernacle, that is, not the tabernacle of this building.” The passage without the parenthesis would read thus :“ Having then, brethren, boldness in reference to the entrance of Jesus by His own blood into the holiest of all, through the vail, that is, the entrance of His flesh.”
1 The oùy refers back to what immediately precedes, but especially to chap. ix., where it was shown that Christ has entered into the true holy of holies.-THOLUCK.
Having thus endeavoured to ascertain the true construction of this somewhat involved and difficult passage, let us shortly illustrate the glorious truths which it unfolds :-Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, has entered into the holiest; He has done so by His own blood ; He has done so through the vail ; He has done so bodily; and He has consecrated this entrance for us, a new and a living way. You will observe that these are just the great truths which the Apostle had been stating and illustrating in the preceding section.
Jesus has “ entered into the holiest," i.e., into heaven. He is “ a great High Priest passed into the heavens,”—a “ High Priest set on the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens," — “ He is entered in into the holy place,”—“ not the holy places made with hands, but into heaven itself.”1
He has entered in “ with blood," with His own blood; i.e., His entrance into heaven as our High Priest is the result of the all-perfect expiation of our sins, which He effected by the shedding of His own blood. “ When He had by Himself purged our sins, He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” “ For the suffering of death, He was crowned with glory and honour.” “ As the Captain of salvation, He was made perfect through suffering.” “Having been made perfect through the things which He suffered, He is become the Author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him." “ He is entered in, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood.” “ After He had offered one sacrifice for sins, He for ever sat down on the right hand of God.”?
He has entered “ through the vail ;” that is, through the visible heavens, of which the tabernacle and its vails, as concealing the holy of holies from general inspection, as necessary
1 Heb. iv. 14, viii. 1, ix 12, 24. Heb. i. 3, ii. 9, 10, v. 9, ix. 12, 1. 12.
to be gone through in order to enter it, were emblematical. Our “great High Priest is passed through the heavens.” “He is entered into the holy place, through a greater and more perfect tabernacle than the tabernacle of this building.”
He has entered bodily into heaven. His entrance is the entrance of His “flesh,” or body, i.e., of Him as embodied ; just as to“ present our bodies living sacrifices," means, present ourselves as embodied beings.' Our Lord's entrance is not a metaphorical entrance; it is as real as that of the high priest, which was its emblem. The same God-man Jesus who died on the cross, ascended up through these heavens, far above them, into the heaven of heavens; and there, in human nature, as the representative of His people, He appears in the immediate presence of God.
The only other principle contained in these words is that expressed in the parenthetical clause. This bodily entrance into the holiest by His own blood, through the visible heavens, “ He has consecrated for us, a new and living way." The word 6 consecrate” literally means, opened up;' and it matters very little whether you understand it in its primary or secondary sense. The idea which the Apostle here expresses is the same as that brought forward in the 20th verse of the 6th chapter, where Jesus is represented as entering as our “Forerunner”? within the vail. The general meaning is plainly this :- By His bodily entrance through these visible heavens into the heaven of heavens, on the ground of His atoning sacrifice, He has secured that in due time all of us who are His people shall also, through that blood, bodily pass through these heavens into the heaven of heavens.' When He went away He said to His disciples, “ In My Father's house are many mansions : if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself ; that where I am, there ye may be also.”3 He is gone to glory through His own blood, that through that blood He may bring the whole company of the
many sons to glory.” Through the power of His atonement it is secured that they shall all, like Him, be raised from the dead, and, like Him, be taken up to heaven. These “ vile bodies” being changed, “ and made like unto His glorious body," 1 Heb. iv. 14, ix. 11, 12. 1 Πρόδρομος. .
3 John xiv. 2, 8.
they “shall be caught up to meet Him in the air,” and go
with Him to the heaven of heavens.
This mode of entering heaven, which Christ has opened for us, is “a new and a living way." His entrance to heaven is our way of entering it; and it is a new way—a way totally different from that in which innocent man would have entered heaven—a way belonging to the New Covenant, in which all things are new—a way which man could never have opened up, and newly proclaimed in the doctrine of Christianity. “A living way" seems equivalent to 'a life-giving way—the way of life to life,' in all the extent of meaning which belongs to that peculiarly eniphatic term. To have followed the Jewish high priest into the holy place would have been death.
Now, concerning this “entrance of our Lord Jesus into the holiest,” we have “boldness.” This is the same word which in chap. iii. 6 is termed “confidence," and chap. iv. 16,“ boldness.” It properly signifies freedom of speech, but often is used for that state of firm belief and assured confidence which leads to freedom of speech and determination of action. Here it is, I apprehend, expressive of that state of mental confidence which naturally springs from the knowledge and faith of the truths here referred to. "Having confidence of mind in reference to our spiritual interests; knowing and being sure, as we are, that Christ as our High Priest has gone bodily to heaven, and that in due time, through His death and exaltation, we shall be taken bodily to heaven also. This, then, is the first principle which the Apostle takes for granted as having been already abundantly established.
The second is, that we have a great Priest over the house of God.” The word “having” is very properly repeated here to make out the sense. Perhaps the whole phrase, “having boldness,” or confidence, should have been repeated. “The house of God” may signify either the family of God, or the temple of God. It is plainly used in the first sense in the beginning of the 3d chapter. Though I cannot speak with perfect conviction on the subject, I think it probable that it here means the temple of God—the celestial temple. We
1 Eph. iii. 12; Heb. iii. 6, iv. 16; 1 John ii. 28, iii. 21, iv. 17, v. 14.
Comp. x. 19, viii. 1, 2, ix. 24, vii. 25, iv. 16. évi used as ch. iii. 6.