Hebrews 9:3 MEANING

Hebrews 9:3
(3) The tabernacle.--Rather, a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies. This literal translation of a Hebrew expression for "most holy" does not occur in the Bible, but has become familiar through the Latin sanctum sanctorum. The inner chamber of the Tabernacle is in a few passages only mentioned separately in the Pentateuch as the "Most Holy Place"

(Exodus 26:33-34), or "the Holy Place" (Leviticus 16:2, et al.). In the description of the Temple a different word is employed, always rendered "oracle" (1 Kings 6:16, et al.). The veil separating the two divisions (described in Exodus 26:31; Exodus 36:35) is here called the second veil, by way of distinction from the "hanging for the door" of the Tabernacle (Exodus 26:36; Exodus 36:37).

9:1-5 The apostle shows to the Hebrews the typical reference of their ceremonies to Christ. The tabernacle was a movable temple, shadowing forth the unsettled state of the church upon earth, and the human nature of the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom the fulness of the Godhead dwelt bodily. The typical meaning of these things has been shown in former remarks, and the ordinances and articles of the Mosaic covenant point out Christ as our Light, and as the Bread of life to our souls; and remind us of his Divine Person, his holy priesthood, perfect righteousness, and all-prevailing intercession. Thus was the Lord Jesus Christ, all and in all, from the beginning. And as interpreted by the gospel, these things are a glorious representation of the wisdom of God, and confirm faith in Him who was prefigured by them.And after the second vail,.... Were there more vails than one? the Scripture speaks but of one, Exodus 26:31 there was indeed an hanging for the door of the tent, but that is not called a vail; nor was there more than one vail in the tabernacle, nor in the temple of Solomon; but in the second temple, under which the apostle lived, there were two vails, which divided between the holy place, and the holy of holies; and the innermost of these the apostle means: and so the Jewish writers (r) constantly affirm, that there were two vails between the said places, and that two new ones were made every year (s). So on the day of atonement, when the high priest went into the most holy place, with the incense, it is said (t), that

"he walked in the temple till he came between , "the two vails", which divide between the holy, and holy of holies, and there was the space of a cubit between them.''

The reason of these two vails may be seen in the account Maimonides gives of this matter (u):

"in the first temple there was a wall which divided between the holy, and holy of holies, the thickness of a cubit; but when they built the second temple, it was doubted by them, whether the thickness of the wall was of the measure of the holy place, or of the measure of the holy of holies; wherefore they made the holy of holies twenty cubits complete, and the holy place forty cubits complete, and they left the space of a cubit between the holy, and the holy of holies; and they did not build a wall in the second temple, but they made , "two vails", one on the side of the holy of holies, and the other on the side of the holy place, and between them a cubit answerable to the thickness of the wall, which was in the first temple; but in the first temple there was but one vail only, as it is said, Exodus 26:33 and the vail shall divide unto you, &c.''

And to this account other Jewish writers (w) agree; and the space between the two vails is called by them (x), from the trouble and perplexity this affair gave them. This vail, or vails, might represent the sin of man, which separates between God and men, excludes from heaven; but is removed by the death of Christ, when the vail was rent in twain; so that now there is an open way to heaven; Christ has entered into it by his own blood; and saints have boldness to enter there by faith and hope now, and shall hereafter personally enter into it: or else this vail may signify the ceremonial law, which separated between Jew and Gentile, and is abolished by the death of Christ: or rather it was typical of the flesh, or human nature of Christ, called the vail of his flesh, Hebrews 10:20. Now within this second vail was

the tabernacle, or that part of it, the second part,

which is called the holiest of all; which was either typical of Christ, who is called the most Holy, Daniel 9:24 he being so in both natures, divine and human; or of heaven, for the holy places, made with hands, were figures of heaven, Hebrews 9:24 for its holiness, it being the habitation of the holy God, holy angels, and spirits of just men made perfect; and for its invisibility, and the unseen things which faith and hope, which enter within the vail, are the evidence of; and for the things that are in it, typified by the following ones.

(r) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 54. 1. & Cetubot, fol. 106. 1. Vid. Philo de Vita Mosis, l. 3. p. 667. (s) Misn. Shekalim, c. 8. sect. 5. Maimon. Cele Hamikdash, c. 7. sect. 16. (t) Misna Yoma, c. 5. sect. 1. Vid. Bereshit Rabba, sect. 10. fol. 8. 3.((u) Hilchot Beth Habbechira, c. 4. sect. 2.((w) Gloss. & Tosephot in T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 51. 2. & Bartenora in Misn. Yoma, c. 5. sect. 1. & in Middot, c. 4. sect. 7. (x) Misn. Middot ib. & T. Bab. Yoma ib. & Gloss. in T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 106. 1.

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