Hebrews 8:1 – 10:18

Christ is Superior to Israel’s System: A Better Covenant, Sanctuary, Sacrifice
Hebrews 8:1 – 10:18
Hebrews 8 – 10. What we have in these chapters is a continuation of what we had in Hebrews 5 – 7. In the previous three chapters the emphasis was on the greatness and personal dignity of Christ as our great High Priest in contrast with Aaron. That having been thoroughly established, the writer of Hebrews goes on to a broader subject. He compares what Christians have in and through Christ to the entire Jewish system. He takes up the ministry of Christ compared with Aaron’s, the better covenant of which Christ is Mediator in contrast with the Old, the sanctuary in which Christ serves in comparison with the earthly sanctuary, and the sacrifice that Christ has offered in comparison with the sacrifices of the Old Testament. Christ’s priesthood is still germane in this next section, but the emphasis shifts to a different aspect. In the previous three chapters the emphasis is on Christ as our Intercessor, ever living at God’s right hand for us. In the next three chapters the emphasis is on Christ as Minister of the Sanctuary, bringing us near to God. As such, the emphasis changes from the Person of Christ to the Work of Christ, although we certainly get both all throughout.

A Better Ministry (8:1-13)

Now a summary of the things of which we are speaking is, We have such a one high priest who has sat down on the right hand of the throne of the greatness in the heavens; 2 minister of the holy places and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord has pitched, and not man. vv.1-2 A Summary: A High Priest in Heaven. The writer gives a summary of the doctrine up to this point concerning Christ. Instead of numerous, imperfect, earthly priests standing daily to minister in the earthly Tabernacle, we have one quintessential High Priest who has sat down at the right hand of God in heaven. The focus is really on the place and sphere of His ministry as High Priest. The earthly priests were themselves at a distance from God, but Christ is in the very nearest place, having “sat down on the right hand of the throne of the greatness in the heavens” (even stronger than Heb. 1:3). Christ is said to be “minister of the holy places and of the true tabernacle”, not that the old holy places and tabernacle were untrue, but simply that they were earthly representations of the heavenly reality. Jehovah caused the glory cloud to come down over the Tabernacle as a symbol of His presence on earth. However, God’s true dwelling place is not in a tent pitched by men, but in heaven above. And it is there, in heaven, the true holy place and true Tabernacle, where Christ functions as our great High Priest!
3 For every high priest is constituted for the offering both of gifts and sacrifices; whence it is needful that this one also should have something which he may offer. 4 If then indeed he were upon earth, he would not even be a priest, there being those who offer the gifts according to the law, 5 (who serve the representation and shadow of heavenly things, according as Moses was oracularly told when about to make the tabernacle; for “See,” saith He, “that thou make all things according to the pattern which has been shewn to thee in the mountain.” [Exodus 25:40]) vv.3-5 A Heavenly Ministry. The fact that Christ’s priesthood is carried out in heaven implies that there is a change in the principle on which the priesthood is based. This is borne out in the following argument. First, as a high priest, Christ must do what all high priests do, i.e. offering gifts and sacrifices on behalf of men to God (v.3). Second, because there were already priests on earth offering sacrifices according to the law, for Him to do so would conflict with that priesthood. This progression of thought supports the point that Christ’s priesthood is heavenly, and did not begin until He was seated above. The experiences of Christ as a man below fitted Him to be our sympathetic High Priest, and the work of the cross fulfilled and surpassed the sacrifices that were offered, but those things do not make up the priesthood of Christ. He could not be a priest if He remained on earth (v.4). Jesus’ priesthood began when He was glorified at God’s right hand. In v.5 we have a parenthetical statement that explains the relation between the earthly ministry of the tabernacle and the heavenly ministry of Christ. The tabernacle and its service is “the representation and shadow of heavenly things”. To support this, the writer quotes from Exodus 25 where the Lord warned Moses (about to commence building the tabernacle) to diligently follow “the pattern which has been shewn to thee in the mountain”. The fact that the tabernacle was built following a pattern showed Moses on the mountain proves that it is only a representation and shadow of heavenly things that are far greater! We tend to think of what we can see with human eyes as “more real”, but actually what is unseen is more real (2 Cor. 4:18). What is more real, that which Moses built as an earthly replica, or the heavenly pattern itself? This will be further developed in ch.9.
6 But now he has got a more excellent ministry, by so much as he is mediator of a better covenant, which is established on the footing of better promises. 7 For if that first was faultless, place had not been sought for a second. 8 For finding fault, he says to them, “Behold, days come, saith the Lord, and I will consummate a new covenant as regards the house of Israel, and as regards the house of Juda9 not according to the covenant which I made to their fathers in the day of my taking their hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because “they” did not continue in my covenant, and “I” did not regard them, saith the Lord. 10 Because this is the covenant that I will covenant to the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord: Giving my laws into their mind, I will write them also upon their hearts; and I will be to them for God, and “they” shall be to me for people. 11 And they shall not teach each his fellow-citizen, and each his brother, saying, Know the Lord; because all shall know me in themselves, from the little one among them unto the great among them. 12 Because I will be merciful to their unrighteousnesses, and their sins and their lawlessnesses I will never remember any more.” [Jeremiah 31:31-34] 13 In that he says New, he has made the first old; but that which grows old and aged is near disappearing. vv.6-13 Mediator of a Better Covenant. Not only does Christ function as High Priest from heaven, but He has an entirely different ministry, which is “more excellent”! His ministry is according to “a better covenant”, which is the “New Covenant” described in the quotation from Jeremiah 31:31-34. A covenant is an agreement between two parties, and in scripture, God’s covenants with man govern the relationship in which man can approach Him. Christ is the mediator of the promised New Covenant, “which is established on the footing of better promises”. The “better promises” are those that are unconditional, characterized by grace (simply “I will”, in contrast with the Old Covenant which said “if you… then I will”). The Spirit of God shows the “fault” or inferiority of the Old Covenant in that He promised a New Covenant. Israel’s blessing could not be achieved under a covenant that depended on their own faithfulness. Israel’s future blessing is dependent on the New Covenant and its unconditional promises. The fact that Christ is the mediator of that New Covenant, which antiquates the Old, further shows that He is superior to the entire Jewish system, and that the Hebrews ought to leave that system entirely! Why were some of them still clinging to the Old? The earthly center of that Old Covenant was about to be destroyed. Note that it doesn’t say Christians are under the New Covenant, as Covenant Theologians would allege. Rather, the writer reasons from the fact that God promised a New Covenant, and that Christ is the Mediator of it.
The New Covenant.

The two great Covenants have to do with Israel, not the Church, as we clearly see from Rom. 9:4; "... Israelites; to whom pertaineth ... the covenants". Covenant theologians argue that the New Covenant is with the Church; but if we look at Jeremiah 31:31 we find that the New Covenant will be made with "the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah". The covenants are with Israel and for the earth. The Church is heavenly, and called out of the earth. If we compare the two covenants we will see striking differences:

  Old Covenant New Covenant
Made with: Israel at Sinai in the wilderness Israel and Judah in the Millennium
Character: Blessings or cursings conditional upon Israel's obedience Unconditional blessings
  • Long life on earth
  • Protection from enemies
  • To remain in the land
  • Crops and herds, etc.
  • New birth
  • Personal knowledge of the Lord
  • Forgiveness of sins
A system of: Demand (works) Supply (grace)

The great difference between the two covenants is that the Old was on the basis of works, and the New is on the basis of grace. The language of the Old is "if thou shalt ... then I will...", but the language of the New is just "I will...". The prophecy of Jeremiah 31 was given after the utter failure of Israel under the Old Covenant was manifest, which set God on His part free to make a New Covenant. On the people's part, the cross must come in first, because it was necessary to transfer the issue of their responsibility to Israel's smitten Messiah. The guilt of breaking the Old must be cleared before the New could be established. Therefore, we can see that the death of Christ was needed to "take away the first and establish the second" (Heb. 10:9). If the New Covenant is made with Israel, why does the cup in the Lord's Supper represent "the blood of the New Covenant" (1 Cor. 11:25, etc.)? If we look at the blessings of the New Covenant we will see that Christians have those same blessings in Christianity, although we also have many blessings that go far beyond those of the New Covenant (Eph. 1; blessings "in Christ"). Therefore, it can be said that Christians share the blessings of the New Covenant, without being formally under the covenant. Paul clearly says that Christians are "competent, as ministers of the new covenant" (2 Cor. 3:6) although we are not under it as a binding contract; "not of letter, but of spirit". The spirit of the New Covenant is grace, and that is what characterizes our relationship to God in Christianity. The same blood that has secured the New Covenant blessings for future Israel has secured our blessings in Christianity today.


A Better Sanctuary (9:1-12)

The first therefore also indeed had ordinances of service, and the sanctuary, a worldly one. 2 For a tabernacle was set up; the first, in which were both the candlestick and the table and the exposition of the loaves, which is called Holy; 3 but after the second veil a tabernacle which is called Holy of holies, 4 having a golden censer, and the ark of the covenant, covered round in every part with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, and the rod of Aaron that had sprouted, and the tables of the covenant; 5 and above over it the cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy-seat; concerning which it is not now the time to speak in detail. vv.1-5 The Worldly Sanctuary. The old covenant had a sanctuary associated with it, but it was “a worldly one”. Notice that the tabernacle is in view in Hebrews rather than the temple because we are in the wilderness in Hebrews. The temple represents the presence of God when the saints are at rest (at times a picture of the Millennium), and thus when the ark was set in the temple we read it contained neither the golden pot with manna nor Aaron’s rod that budded (2 Chron. 5:10); i.e. things that pertain to the wilderness are left out. The parts and furniture of the tabernacle are now unfolded. Coming into the tabernacle through the first veil one would enter the place called “Holy”, where they would see the table of showbread, the golden candlestick, and the altar of incense which remarkably is omitted. Inside the second veil one would enter the “Holy of holies”, which contained the ark of the covenant, and the “golden censer”. The censer was used in making atonement, and it would be brought in by the High Priest once a year when he approached the Ark to make atonement for the people. We gather from the omission of the golden altar and the inclusion of the golden censer that the writer is giving a snapshot the tabernacle on the day of atonement. The golden censer would do the function of the golden altar (produce sweet clouds of incense) only it could be carried into the holy of holies. Further details of the “ark of the covenant” are given, its gold covering, the three items that were contained inside, and the mercy seat above, overshadowed by the two cherubim of glory”. All of this was vague, suited to the old creation, supported by the old covenant, and in no way capable of bringing the soul near to God. The writer of Hebrews does not dismiss the value of the details and meaning of the various elements, only he must pass over them for the sake of time (v.5), and instead focus on the system as a whole in contrast with Christianity. Read more…
6 Now these things being thus ordered, into the first tabernacle the priests enter at all times, accomplishing the services; 7 but into the second, the high priest only, once a year, not without blood, which he offers for himself and for the errors of the people: 8 the Holy Spirit shewing this, that the way of the holy of holies has not yet been made manifest while as yet the first tabernacle has its standing; 9 the which is an image for the present time, according to which both gifts and sacrifices, unable to perfect as to conscience him that worshipped, are offered, 10 consisting only of meats and drinks and divers washings, ordinances of flesh, imposed until the time of setting things right. vv.6-9 The Shortcomings of the Earthly Sanctuary. The writer now unfolds the shortcomings of the earthly tabernacle. There were two great shortcomings: first to do with access, and second to do with representation. Into the “first tabernacle” or holy place many priests could enter “at all times”, performing the various services of the tabernacle, such as lighting the candlestick, offering incense, and presenting the loaves. But the “second” tabernacle, or inner chamber, called “the holy of holies”, was off-limits to the priests with one exception. The veil with its cherubim guarded that place, which represented God’s immediate presence. Only one could enter there (the high priest), only once a year (on the day of atonement), and he must come with blood to offer “for himself and for the errors of the people”.1 In this way, the Holy Spirit demonstrated that access into the immediate presence of God was not yet opened in the Old Testament while the Tabernacle was functioning. This was the greatest limitation of Judaism: the soul was left at a distance from God. Secondly, the earthly tabernacle was but a representation or “image for the present time”, and the material things that pertained to that tabernacle including animal sacrifices, meats, drinks, washings, and various ordinances could not fully cleanse the conscience before God. That whole system was but a type, imposed by God on a temporary basis, until a better approach to God could be opened up. He calls this time, described in vv.11-12 as “the time of setting things right”. This refers to Israel in the future under the New Covenant, but includes Christianity too.2 How foolish to cling to that system which was imposed before things were set right?
How Far Could Old Testament Saints Come? We might wonder after hearing this comparison between the earthly sanctuary and what we have in Christianity, how does this shape our understanding of the portion of the Old Testament saints in approaching God? Surely, they had the privilege of prayer, as many examples would show. Some even enjoyed communion with God, as we see with Abraham and David. But it was often God coming to seek them, rather than them boldly entering His presence with free access. Further, they did not have a purged conscience, because the work of the cross was not yet accomplished. When it comes to worship, only a soul with a purged conscience can draw near into the presence of God in the appreciation of His revealed character (as both light and love) and commune with Him about the Person and Work of His Son! Godly Israelites knew God as Jehovah, but we have access to the Father! There is a vast difference between the limited access the Old Testament saints had with what the Christian has today. But do we appreciate it? Do we spend time in that place where no Old Testament saint would dare to set foot: in what answers to the holiest of all?
11 But Christ being come high priest of the good things to come, by the better and more perfect tabernacle not made with hand, (that is, not of this creation,) 12 nor by blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, has entered in once for all into the holy of holies, having found an eternal redemption. vv.11-12 Christ in the True Sanctuary. The new approach to God was opened up by none other than Christ Himself, who in contrast with the high priests of Israel is called “high priest of the good things to come”, alluding to the blessings of the New Covenant. The good things to come look on to the Millennium, but we enjoy them today.3 In contrast with the Aaronic priests who entered an earthly tabernacle made with hands and suitable to this old material creation, Christ entered heaven itself, “the better and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands”. The high priest of old went within the veil on the day of atonement “by blood of goats and calves” to obtain a temporary “passing over” Israel’s sin, but Christ entered “once for all into the holy of holies” in virtue of “his own blood” which has obtained “an eternal redemption”. Animal blood is contrasted with Christ’s blood, year-by-year action with once-for-all action, temporary atonement with eternal redemption. When it says Christ entered “by His own blood” it does not mean that Christ entered heaven with His own blood to make atonement there. Instead, atonement was made on the cross in the suffering and death of Christ (1 Pet. 2:24; Isa. 53:6), and the shed blood of Christ contained all the value of that work before the eye of God. In ascension and glorification, Christ entered heaven as our great High Priest, and He entered by or through His own blood, on the basis of eternal redemption already accomplished.4 This introduction of the sacrifice of Christ opens into a wider treatment of the same precious subject in Heb. 9:13 – 10:18.
A Heavenly Sanctuary. We don’t have earthly sanctuary in Christianity according to scripture, and yet Christendom has borrowed so much from Judaism that we can see many similarities to it (candles, altars, special priesthood, etc.) including an earthly place of worship. The New Testament makes very clear where the Christian is to worship, and it is not a physical location, as Jesus told the woman at the well of Sychar; “Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father… But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him” (John 4:22-23). Hebrews opens up the true place of worship; “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus” (Heb. 10:19-20). No matter where a person is located physically, they can look up to God in prayer and find themselves there, in the holiest of all, in the immediate presence of God without fear and with consciousness of the favor wherein they stand.

A Better Sacrifice (9:13 – 10:18)

The Sacrifice of Christ. Having introduced the subject of the “better sacrifice” of Christ in v.12, the writer of Hebrews now enters on that subject directly, showing the parallels and contrasts with the sacrifices of Israel’s earthly system. All blessing for man comes always and only through the death and blood of Christ. All the death and blood of Old Testament sacrifices had a ceremonial application, but no efficacy to remove sin or give the conscience peace.

The Necessity and Results of Christ’s Death and Shed Blood (9:13-28)

What We Have Through the Blood (vv.13-23)

13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and a heifer’s ashes sprinkling the defiled, sanctifies for the purity of the flesh, 14 how much rather shall the blood of the Christ, who by the eternal Spirit offered himself spotless to God, purify your conscience from dead works to worship the living God? vv.13-14 To Give A Purged Conscience. Now we have a comparison (“how much rather”) between the ceremonial purification of Israel’s sacrifices with the purification of the conscience that we have through the blood of Christ. The blood of goats and bulls is seen in the sacrifices of the day of atonement, but the ashes of a heifer has to do with the purification of defilement in the red heifer offering (Numbers 19). One tremendous result of the work of Christ is seen in v.14. The because of the shed blood of Christ the believer has the knowledge of a finished atonement, and therefore a conscience that is purged as regards their sins (Heb. 10:2). A purged conscience has to do with the peace that the believer has concerning his standing judicially before God (Rom. 5:1). A person who is unsure of their salvation does not have a purged conscience. A good conscience has more to do with our state (1 Tim. 1:5, 19), and it is important to maintain it through self-judgment. The sacrifice of Christ is described in unique language; “by the eternal Spirit offered himself spotless to God”. What is described is what Christ did as a man, but according to and by the power of the Holy Spirit. All three Persons are involved in that sacrifice. He gave Himself, offering His whole person up to God, to meet whatever requirements His holiness and glory demanded. This is like the burnt offering! The Spirit is called “eternal” here, in contrast with the transitory character of the earthly system, but it also shows the eternal existence and deity of the Spirit of God. In a parallel way to the offering of sacrifices in the Old Testament, Christ offered what no other could – Himself – as a spotless sacrifice to God. He is the propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:2). It is the efficacy of that supreme offering that has purged the believer’s conscience “from dead works” and made him fit “to worship the living God”.
15 And for this reason he is mediator of a new covenant, so that, death having taken place for redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, the called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16 (For where there is a testament, the death of the testator must needs come in. 17 For a testament is of force when men are dead, since it is in no way of force while the testator is alive.) vv.15-17 To Give Us An Eternal Inheritance. There had to be a dealing with the sins that were committed under the Old Covenant in order for the blessings of the New Covenant to be mediated our by Christ. His death on the cross was in part “for redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant”; the transgressions of Jews under law, much like these Hebrews, to redeem them from its curse (Rom. 3:25; Gal. 3:13). The death of Christ answered the moral obligation of the Old Covenant, and thus established its authority to the utmost, but set God free (if we can use the expression) to unleash His heart of love and grace, causing the saints to “receive the promise of the eternal inheritance”. There was nothing in Jeremiah about a mediator of the New Covenant, but we have it here: the dead of Christ laid the foundation for its blessings. Even in natural things, for an inheritance to be passed on there must be a death. The person who holds the will must die in order for that will to be executed. So in spiritual things, in order for us to receive “an eternal inheritance”, there had to be the death the testator. This brings out the blessedness of the death of Christ; He died and left us the blessing! Christ died to give us the inheritance, but then in resurrection He shares it with us! The “eternal inheritance” here would be first the blessings of the New Covenant including salvation, but for Christians it goes further to include all our spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3-7; Col. 1:12; 1 Pet. 1:4).
Testament vs. Covenant. It can be a little hard to follow the use of the Greek word ‘diathemeke’ sometimes used to mean ‘covenant’ and sometimes ‘testament’ (or will), and ‘diathemenos’ (‘covenanter’), translated testator. It is helpful to see that vv.16-17 is a parenthesis following the word ‘inheritance’, which connects more with a testament than a covenant.5 The switch from covenant to testament is upon the mention of the inheritance. Another reason is that what is said of testaments in vv.16-17 is not true of covenants and what is said in vv.18-22 is not true of testaments; i.e. death has nothing to do with a covenant coming into force, and blood-shedding has nothing to do with a testament. This more than implies a change in vv.16-17. 
The Blood of Christ. Blood in scripture is always connected with death, because, as we read in Lev. 17:11, "the life of the flesh is in the blood". Blood can sometimes be a symbol of death generally, usually as a judgment, of life being taken, like the river of Egypt turned to blood. But in a sacrifice the blood speaks of the value of the life offered up. Hence, on the cross the Lord suffered, died, and then His blood was shed. The shed blood of Christ contained all the value of His sufferings and of His life offered up. In the Old Testament we have the blood mentioned in connection with three purposes.6 Blood is used: (1) to seal a covenant made, (2) to cleanse or purify, and (3) to remit sins. There is a fulfillment of each of these in connection with the blood of Christ!
18 Whence neither the first was inaugurated without blood. 19 For every commandment having been spoken according to the law by Moses to all the people; having taken the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, he sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has enjoined to you.” [Exodus 24:8] 21 And the tabernacle too and all the vessels of service he sprinkled in like manner with blood; 22 and almost all things are purified with blood according to the law, and without blood-shedding there is no remission. vv.18-22 The Necessity of Shed Blood. Here we have the three great uses of the blood under the Mosaic economy.
  1. First, the blood was used to inaugurate the Old Covenant. In Exodus 24, after Moses had read the law to the people, and the people had agreed to keep it (Ex. 24:3), Moses took blood and sprinkled the book and the people, stating “This is the blood of the covenant which God has enjoined to you.” The blood in this way inaugurated the Old Covenant, and formally placed the people under it. In a parallel way, the blood of Christ has been shed so that Israel, when the New Covenant is made with them, will come under its blessings. We as Christians already enter into the blessings of that covenant without being under it. This is why the cup in the Lord’s Supper represents “the blood of the New Covenant” (1 Cor. 11:25, etc.), because that blood that has secured the New Covenant blessings for future Israel, as well as our blessings in Christianity today. The blood of sprinkling at Sinai was a solemn warning of death if Israel disobeyed, whereas the blood of Christ speaks of grace and blessing. It is interesting that some of the details recorded here are not mentioned in Exodus. We read nothing of the water, scarlet wool, or hyssop at the inauguration of the Old Covenant, but all three are found in the cleansing of the leper (Lev. 14) and in the cleansing of contact with death, or the red heifer offering (Num. 19). Obviously they were involved at Sinai, but not recorded in Exodus.
  2. Second, the blood was used for purification; “the tabernacle too and all the vessels of service he sprinkled in like manner with blood; and almost all things are purified with blood according to the law”. It is clearly as distinct aspect from the inauguration of the covenant, because the tabernacle and vessels were not then built! This “sprinkling” in v.21 alludes to the Day of Atonement when Aaron, at Moses’ direction, would “make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel”, and this was done by the sprinkling of blood (Lev 16:16-20). This sprinkling was done to guard against any defilement of the meeting place which man, on his part, might bring in. This aspect is taken up further in v.23. It is added that “almost all things are purified with blood according to the law”. In the Old Testament things were purified sometimes by water, which represents moral cleansing, but sometimes by blood, which represents a judicial cleansing. Jesus came by water and blood (1 John 5:6). Even if something cannot be charged with guilt, it can still be defiled by sin, and thus needs purification.
  3. Third, the blood was used in the remission of sins. This final aspect of the blood is the greatest; “and without blood-shedding there is no remission”. Remission of sins means the cancelling of the guilt of sins. The word remit means ‘to cancel or refrain from exacting or inflicting a debt or punishment’. It is the moral foundation for the forgiveness of sins; the blood of Christ has been “shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28). The offering of Christ vindicated and glorified the nature of God in respect to sin, and this set God at liberty to cancel the the guilt of those who come to Christ in faith, and bless them according to His own purpose of love. The sacrifices under the Old Covenant could only remit sins in a ceremonial way, and thus the veil remained under that system. Only the sacrifice of Christ and His precious blood has efficacy to remit sins judicially before God. Not until the blood of Christ was sprinkled before the eye of God could that veil be rent and the believer invited to draw near!
23 It was necessary then that the figurative representations of the things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with sacrifices better than these. v.23 The Heavens Purified by Better Sacrifices. Expanding more on v.21, the writer explains that the sacrifice and blood of Christ had far reaching effects that extend all the way to the created universe! The tabernacle and vessels that were sprinkled with blood are “the figurative representations of the things in the heavens”. The layout of the tabernacle is also taken up in Hebrews as typical of heaven in three aspects . The outer court of the tabernacle represents the first or physical heaven (Psa. 19:1; Gen. 1:14-17; Heb. 3:4), the first veil opened into “the holy place” representing the second or spiritual heaven (Eph. 1:3; 1:20; 2:6; 3:10; Eph. 6:12), and the second veil opened into “the holiest of all” representing the third or eternal heaven which is the immediate presence of God (2 Cor. 12). Jesus as our great High Priest has passed “through the heavens” – as in type Aaron on the Day of Atonement passed through the outer court and holy place – and is seated at the right hand of God! But the point here is that there are things that sin has defiled, in the first and second heavens, that are purified by the blood of Christ. Sin has infected the physical creation, and we know that in the spiritual realm Satan has his stronghold (Eph. 6:12). Job tells us that “the heavens are not clean in his sight” (Job 15:15). If the blood of bulls and goats purified the figurative representations, then it required “better sacrifices” to purify the heavenly things! Thus John the Baptist could consider Christ with admiration, and say “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Notice it is sin, not sins; i.e. the whole issue of sin in general, as in v.26. This introduces the widest aspect of the death of Christ, in which He tasted death “for every thing” (Hebrews 2:9). The blood of Christ becomes the foundation for the reconciliation of all things to Himself, “whether the things on the earth or the things in the heavens” (Col. 1:20). Read more… Truly, the better sacrifices refer (in the plural) to the one sacrifice of Christ!

Three Appearances of Christ (vv.24-28)

Three Appearances of Christ. In what follows to the end of the chapter, there are three appearances of Christ mentioned: to earth at His first coming (v.26), in heaven now (v.24), and to earth at His second coming (v.28). In these three appearances of Christ we have three aspects of salvation. Our past salvation is connected with His death and resurrection (Heb. 9:25-28a). Our present salvation is connected with His life now glorified at God’s right hand (Heb. 9:24). Our future salvation is connected with His coming again (Heb. 9:28b)! Read more…
24 For the Christ is not entered into holy places made with hand, figures of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear before the face of God for us: v.24 His Appearing in Heaven (Present). The first appearing that is mentioned is that of the present time; Christ appears now in “heaven itself… before the face of God for us”. This is the central truth of the book of Hebrews, that Christ as a glorified man is seating at God’s right hand in heaven! This is a contrast to the high priest on the day of atonement who passed through the outer court and sanctuary into the holiest of all. Those were “holy places made with hand” and only “figures of the true”. Christ as a man has actually gone into the third heaven itself; the place were God dwells. Notice that His appearing in heaven is “for us”; i.e. on our behalf. In that place He intercedes for us, conducts our worship, and represents us before God (Heb. 7:25; Rom. 8:34). His being there secures our position and future destiny, but also gives us grace for the wilderness path. Another has said, “There He is for us before God in all the efficacy of His work, in all the acceptance of His person.”7
25 nor in order that he should offer himself often, as the high priest enters into the holy places every year with blood not his own; 26 since he had then been obliged often to suffer from the foundation of the world. But now once in the consummation of the ages he has been manifested for the putting away of sin by his sacrifice. vv.24-26 His Appearing to Put Away Sin (Past). The next appearing mentioned is that of Christ’s appearing in this world to put away sin. The emphasis is that Christ appeared “once” to put away sin, in contrast with the high priest under the old covenant who had to come with blood repeatedly. If Christ’s one offering was not enough to vindicate God’s nature and settle the issue of sin, that Christ would have been obliged to suffer often. But we know that He came and suffered only once, showing that the matter has been settled once-for-all. The issue is viewed from the broadest standpoint. It is the putting away of sin in its totality – the issue as a whole – from before God. To do this required the most complete sacrifice; “the sacrifice of Himself”. This is the highest aspect of the work of Christ. Here it is the putting away of sin judicially before God, but that sacrifice laid the foundation for what will be accomplished in actual fact when God makes a new heavens and earth; “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
The Consummation of the Ages. The “consummation of the ages” refers to the time at which the outcome the ages are made known. The outcome of all the times of the testing of the first man is seen at the cross. The outcome determined is that the first man is proved a complete failure after 4000 years of testing. So, once in the consummation of the ages Christ has been manifested “for the putting away of sin by his sacrifice”. The Second Man appeared to put right and glorify God in all that the first man has ruined. The “end of the ages” (1 Cor. 10:11) is the moral outcome of the ages, and we are living in that light of that today; we have all the accumulated light of the ages in view! When you get the expression “consummation of the ages” or “ends of the ages” it isn’t talking about the days of end-times prophecy but a moral end or outcome of the testing of the first man.89 Read more… 
27 And forasmuch as it is the portion of men once to die, and after this judgment; 28 thus the Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear to those that look for him the second time without sin for salvation. vv.27-28 His Second Coming (Future). Now we have that third appearing, this time in the future. It refers to the second coming of Christ to this world, specifically the aspect of His coming that is for His saints; i.e. the rapture. These verses contrast the portion of men apart from Christ (death) with the portion of those who belong to Christ (salvation). Because of our sins, “it is the portion of men once to die, and after this judgment”. The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), and then eternal judgment (Rom. 2:5). For believers, the work of Christ has dealt with the issue of judgment; He had “been once offered to bear the sins of many”. Our sins have been put away, and though we all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, the issue of our sins will never be raised. But further, we have been given a different hope. Not all believers will keep their appointment with death; “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,” (1 Cor. 15:51). Those who look for the Savior when He comes will be taken without passing through the article of death, like Enoch who “was translated that he should not see death” (Heb. 11:5). The salvation spoken of here is in the future sense; as something that we will receive at the end of our pathway (Rom. 5:9; Rom. 13:11; Phil. 3:20; 1 Pet. 1:5; 1 Thess. 5:8-9).

The Believer Perfected by the Sacrifice of Christ (10:1-18)

Hebrews 10. In the tenth chapter we are coming to the close of the main doctrinal part of the epistle, and with v.19 the practical section begins. The Spirit of God is pressing home the vast importance of the Person and Work of Christ, especially in comparison to the Jewish system. The first eighteen verses unfold how the believer has been perfected by the sacrifice of Christ, which the law was incapable of doing. In vv.1-4 we have the weakness of the law, in vv.5-10 the will of God, in vv.11-14 the work of Christ, and in vv.15-18 the witness of the Spirit.10

The Weakness of the Law and Its Sacrifices (vv.1-4)

For the law, having a shadow of the coming good things, not the image itself of the things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually yearly, perfect those who approach. v.1 The Law. The writer now summarizes all that he has explained regarding the law. The law had “a shadow of the coming good things”, in the types of the tabernacle, priesthood, and sacrifices, but these shadows were far inferior to the heavenly realities they represented. Furthermore, the yearly sacrifices (the day of atonement in view) had no efficacy to “perfect” those who approached God by the law. The evidence for this is given in vv.2-3, and the reason is given in v.4. 
2 Since, would they not indeed have ceased being offered, on account of the worshippers once purged having no longer any conscience of sins? 3 But in these there is a calling to mind of sins yearly. vv.2-3 Evidence of the Powerlessness of the Law. The evidence that the law and all its sacrifices could not purge the guilt of sins is seen in that (1) the consciences of the worshippers were never actually purged, except in a ceremonial sense, and (2) the sacrifices had to be repeated yearly, bringing up the issue of the people’s sins time and time again. As we noted in Heb. 9:13-14, a purged conscience has to do with the peace that the believer has concerning his standing judicially before God (Rom. 5:1). A person who is unsure of their salvation does not have a purged conscience. The purged conscience should not be confused with a good conscience, which has more to do with our state (1 Tim. 1:5, 19), and it is important to maintain it through self-judgment. Laying hold of the work of Christ alone is what gives us a purged conscience. Someone who is approaching God on the basis of their own works, whether in Judaism or in some works-based perversion of Christianity, can never have a purged conscience.
4 For blood of bulls and goats is incapable of taking away sins. v.4 Insufficiency of Animal Blood. The reason is now given why the sacrifices under the law could not purge the sinner’s conscience; the “blood of bulls and goats is incapable of taking away sins”. To understand this better, it is helpful to see the reason that God required a sacrifice of blood. God required a life to be given, and blood to be shed, but those of an animal could not suffice. The Jewish sacrifices looked on to the one sacrifice of Christ, which alone could take away sin!
Necessity of Jesus' Blood. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11). The life of a body of flesh is contained in its blood. When Adam sinned he forfeited his life, “for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17; see Rom. 6:23). Once sin has come in there is no way to set man on another footing before a holy and righteous God apart from a life being given. Hence, God required the sacrifice of blood. But the life of an animal could not redeem a man’s, other than in a ceremonial sense, as Hebrews 9 and 10 show (Heb. 9:12; 10:4). It must be a human life given in exchange for another human life. But “all have sinned” (Rom. 3:23), and so none could give himself a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28), because that life is forfeited, and therefore not free to offer. It must be a sinless human life. Further, the one whose life was given must be a Divine person (Zechariah 13:7; 1 Timothy 2:5; Heb. 9:14; Ecc. 8:8; Eph. 5:2; Gal. 2:20; 1 John 3:16). In incarnation, the Son became a man in order to be the sacrifice that God’s righteousness required; thus a body was prepared for Him (Heb. 10:5). On the cross He offered up His holy life in death, and shed His precious blood - blood that contained all the value of that life - before the eye of God, in order to bring us into a new standing before God! Hence the preciousness of the blood of Christ (Heb. 9:12; Heb. 10:19; 1 Pet. 1:19; 1 Jn. 1:7).

The Will of God: Accomplished by Christ (vv.5-10)

5 Wherefore coming into the world he says, “Sacrifice and offering thou willedst not; but thou hast prepared me a body. Thou tookest no pleasure in burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin. Then I said, Lo, I come (in the roll of the book it is written of me) to do, O God, thy will.” [Psalm 40:6-8] vv.5-7 The Coming of Christ as Sin-Bearer. The writer now quotes from Psalm 40, bringing out an exceedingly beautiful truth. The fact that this Psalm is quoted with the preface “Wherefore coming into the world he says..” shows that the words are spoken by Christ Himself as a man.
No Pleasure Therein. Concerning all the Jewish sacrifices under the law, God said that He took no pleasure in it. This might seem strange at first, but it is found in the Hebrew’s own scriptures. Notice that statement was made long before the testing of man was complete, showing that God’s displeasure with animal sacrifice was not a late development. What does it mean that God had no pleasure in the offerings? No doubt Jehovah was pleased with the obedience of those who offered, and with what the offerings represented (Christ). We read that the burnt-offerings were a “sweet smelling savor” unto the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The actual offerings smelled horrible to man (burning flesh, etc.), but they represented Christ, and so were a sweet-smelling savor to God. Yet here we find that in the actual sacrifices God had no pleasure. Instead, that whole Jewish system of sacrifice under the law has been completely replaced through the coming of Christ to fully accomplish the will of God; “Lo, I come to do thy will” (the thrust of vv.8-9).
The Volume of the Book. The words “in the volume of the book” refers to the end of a scroll, equivalent to the spine of a modern book. The title of a book would be written on the end of a scroll so that you could see the general contents of a book at-a-glance. Christ gives us a summary title that could be written over His whole life! His entire purpose on earth as a man was this, “Behold, I come… to do thy will O God”. His entire life is book-ended by that one, singular goal: to accomplish His Father’s business (Luke 2:49; John 19:30; Luke 23:46). It wasn’t mere willingness to do the will of God, but His “delight”. Here in the quotation in Hebrews the word “delight” is dropped because atoning suffering is in view; Christ could not find His delight in being made sin. The system of law was that of endless symbols and sacrifices which could never take away sin, offered for hearts that were reluctant to do God’s will. But when Christ came into the world, there was something that had never been seen before. Here was a Man who was totally here for the pleasure and interests of God! Every other man by nature walks according to his own will, but Christ was totally different (John 4:34).
A Body Prepared. The expression in v.5 refers to the incarnation; “a body hast thou prepared me”. This is the rendering as the Septuagint translation puts it, and as quoted by the writer of Hebrews, the Spirit of God gives it His approval. Why then in the Masoretic text is it translated “ears hast thou prepared me” or “mine ears hast thou digged”? Of course, forming an ear implies a whole body. It is because in this sense, in the context of what is being brought out in Psalm 40 by the Spirit of God, the ear of Christ was that which embodied His whole humanity. As the body of Christ was formed in the womb, the leading feature was His hearing ear! An ear that was “digged” refers to a man whose whole being was trained toward one object, of doing the good pleasure of God. But a body He must have in order to bear our sins (1 Pet. 2:24), to give that body in death (1 Cor. 11:24), and shed His precious blood for God’s satisfaction and our eternal blessing (1 Pet. 1:19).
The Digged, Opened, Pierced Ear. It is a very helpful study to look at the ear of Christ in the Old Testament prophecies. The ear of the Lord Jesus was: digged (prepared) at His incarnation (Psalm 40:6), opened morning by morning throughout His devoted life in daily dependence (Isaiah 50:4), pierced at His death (Exodus 21:6), showing that He was fully devoted to the obedience of God unto death, and to remain as a servant forever.1112
8 Above, saying “Sacrifices and offerings and burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin thou willedst not, neither tookest pleasure in” (which are offered according to the law); 9 then he said, “Lo, I come to do thy will.” He takes away the first that he may establish the second; vv.8-9 His Person and Work Replacing the Old System. Here Psalm 40 is quoted again, but the words are reordered slightly, and “thou hast prepared me a body” is omitted. The focus now is now on the whole Jewish system being replaced. Notice that we have four things listed which would encompass all the offerings of Leviticus 1 – 6; “Sacrifices and offerings and burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin”. After God had expressed His displeasure with that entire system, “then he said, ‘Lo, I come to do thy will.'” What he is getting at is explained in v.9; “He takes away the first, that he may establish the second”. The “first” is the old approach by Levitical sacrifices, and the “second” is the new and only approach to God by the sacrifice of Christ, who said “I am the way” (John 14:6). The Person and Work of Christ has completely replaced and set aside the whole order of Judaism, which in many ways pointed forward to the “coming good things” (v.1). What a powerful point for the Spirit of God to draw from Psalm 40 in addressing the Hebrews!
10 by which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. v.10 Christ’s Offering. Having seen that Christ come in flesh to do the will of God, now we have what Christ did in order that God’s will toward us might be accomplished. The “which will” of v.10 is the will of God, the same as in v.7 and v.9, which Christ came to accomplish. God’s will was for His elect to be “sanctified” or set apart for a holy purpose. This is what we call positional sanctification; an aspect of sanctification that God does, and it can never be undone. Read more… There is a practical side of this which will later be taken up (Heb. 12:14). This inward and positional “sanctification” may be a contrast to the outward separation that characterized the Jew; i.e. that of circumcision, which set Israel apart for God. That blessed body which was prepared in the womb of Mary was offered on the cross. It was a “once for all” work, efficacious for the salvation of “all” who come to God by faith (Jews and Gentiles), and never to be repeated like the Levitical sacrifices.

The Work of Christ: Done Once For All (vv.11-14)

11 And every priest stands daily ministering, and offering often the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But “he”, having offered one sacrifice for sins, sat down in perpetuity at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from henceforth until his enemies be set for the footstool of his feet. vv.11-13 Christ: Offered One Sacrifice, Seated in Perpetuity. Another great contrast between Judaism and the work of Christ is that the priests under the Old Covenant were continually standing, because their repetitive work was never done. In fact, when we read of the tabernacle furniture, we do not read of any seat for the priests to sit down on. We find that Eli, in a time of Israel’s ruin, had a seat outside the door. This was out of place because the priest’s work was never done.13 What marks Christ’s sacrifice as so distinct from all the others is that after it, He “sat down in perpetuity”. It signals the expiration of that whole system of repetitive sacrifices that were never enough. Christ took His seat at the right hand of God; sat down in the satisfaction of an accomplished work (v.12), and also in anticipation of future glory (v.13). How could there be the anticipation of coming glory, “waiting from henceforth until his enemies be set for the footstool of his feet” (ref. Psalm 110:1), if there was any question as to the acceptability of Christ or His finished work? Christ will rise from that seat in other enterprises (e.g. Acts 7:56), but never again to deal with the issue of sin.
14 For by one offering he has perfected in perpetuity the sanctified. v.14 Believers: By One Offering, Perfected in Perpetuity. Having shown that Christ is seated on the right hand of God in perpetuity, which testifies to the completeness and acceptability of His one-time offering, we have the blessed outflow of that for the believer: “by one offering he has perfected in perpetuity the sanctified”. That one offering was the completion of the work. God is satisfied and even glorified in His nature, and we are perfected through that same finished work. What the countless sacrifices over many centuries could not do, Christ did once for all, and then cried in a loud voice, “Finished!” (John 19:30, c.p. Mark 15:37). Now His acceptance is ours before God (Eph. 1:6). To be “perfected” by the offering of Christ is to be given a perfect standing and a purged conscience; no more dread of the presence of God. In another sense, our bodies also will be “perfected” at the rapture, when they are changed to be like Christ’s (Heb. 11:40; 12:23). We can see from these verses that any system that teaches a need for repetition of the work of Christ is erroneous. In vv.11-14 the believer’s acceptance is linked to the place that Christ has at God’s right hand!
And now we draw near to the throne of grace,
For His blood and the Priest are there;
And we joyfully seek God’s holy face,
With our censer of praise and prayer.
The burning mount and the mystic veil,
With our terrors and guilt, are gone;
Our conscience has peace that can never fail,
‘Tis the Lamb on high on the throne.

The Witness of the Spirit: The Work Is Done (vv.15-18)

15 And the Holy Spirit also bears us witness of it; for after what was said: 16 This is the covenant which I will establish towards them after those days, saith the Lord: Giving my laws into their hearts, I will write them also in their understandings;” 17 and “their sins and their lawlessnesses I will never remember any more.” [Jer. 31:33-34] 18 But where there is remission of these, there is no longer a sacrifice for sin. vv.15-18 The Witness of the Spirit. After having shown the weakness of the law (vv.1-4), the will of God that Christ came to accomplish (vv.5-10), the work of Christ and its blessed results (vv.11-14), now we have the witness of the Spirit, which testifies to these vital truths (vv.15-18). Another has said, “There is, first, the will of God – ” By which will,” etc. Second, the work whereby it is done – “By the offering of the blood of Jesus Christ, once for all.” … Third, there is the knowledge of it given to me. Without this my conscience is not purged. … I was full of sin; someone was needed to think about me, someone was needed to do the thing required, and then someone to tell me the effect”.14 Here we have the gracious witness of the Spirit to assure the believer that the work of atonement is indeed finished. We have the witness of the Spirit in a number of ways in scripture, and each reference has to do with giving the believer assurance. The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Rom. 8:16), bears witness in us that God has given us eternal life (1 John 5:5-11), and bears witness to us that the work of atonement is finished once for all (Heb. 10:15). Here the witness of the Spirit is by the Word of God, and thus another quotation from Jeremiah 31, concerning the blessings of the new covenant. Notice the quote is partial. He quotes the part introducing the new covenant, then jumps to “after”, picking up on the forgiveness of sins. It is a contrast with “a remembrance of sins every year” (v.3) under the Old Covenant to, “their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more”. Clearly, the promise of a New Covenant looked on to a day when there would be “no longer a sacrifice for sin” (v.18) because the sins of Israel would be remitted, not remembered. Notice the carefulness of language. We as Christians are not under the New Covenant, but we have the blessedness of it. The witness of scripture, even in the Old Testament, was that a day was coming in which everything would rest on a finished work. Notice that it doesn’t say “forgotten”, because  forgetfulness is weakness. God doesn’t remember our sins in the sense that He doesn’t bring them up any more. The issue has been dealt with once and for all. What an assurance this is!
  1. Notice that it says “errors of the people”. The sin offerings of the Old Testament only covered “sins of ignorance” (Lev. 4:2, 13, 27; 5:15, 17), but provided no remedy for “presumptuous sins” (Num. 15:30-36). This also shows the shortcomings of that old system.
  2. “Certain things were imposed on them until the time of reformation. Christ came, ‘an High Priest of good things to come.’ What does that refer to? Some may find a difficulty as to whether ‘to come,’ refers to what was future for the Jews, while that tabernacle was standing, or to what is now future. I believe both. All was new in Christ. It was to come on a new foundation. The basis is laid for the entire and perfect reconciliation of man with God.” – Darby, J.N. Collected Writings, vol. 27, p. 385.
  3. …If these good things were now acquired, if it could be said, “we have them,” because Christianity was their fulfilment, it could hardly be still said — when Christianity was established — “good things to come.” They are yet to come. These “good things” consist of all that the Messiah will enjoy when He reigns. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
  4. C.E. Stuart and W. Scott promoted an evil teaching that Christ entered heaven in the disembodied state to sprinkle his own blood before the throne of God. He twisted this verse (Heb. 9:12) to that end. However, a careful examination of the verse will reveal that it does not say Christ sprinkled His own blood. He entered heaven by it, but this was as a glorified man, and as our High Priest. The sacrifice of the cross was not a priestly sacrifice, and it forms no part of the priesthood of Christ, which began with His glorification.
  5. Heb. 9:16-17 is the sole passage of scripture which requires or even admits of such a sense; and it is there due to “eternal inheritance” in the verse immediately preceding. The word in itself is capable of either sense, meaning in human relations a disposition, especially of property by will, and in divine things a covenant, which naturally predominates in the LXX. and the N.T. The context decides with certainty. – Kelly, W. Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews.
  6. There are three aspects in which the value of Christ's blood is here seen. First, it was the seal of the covenant, connected with its dedication to God. That was also done in connection with the covenant with Abraham; Gen. 15. A person, binding himself to death in the most solemn way, passes through the pieces of the sacrifice. It was the seal of the covenant. Second, it is purifying. Third, the blood is for remission. - Darby, J.N. Exposition of Hebrews.
  7. Kelly, W. Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews.
  8. The “end of the ages,” or “consummation of the ages,” are all the dealings of God with man to test his general condition. In this general sense the state of innocence came in; but the proper connection is what comes after the fall, yet not looking at man as lost, but testing his state and whether he was recoverable; or was lost and had to be saved. Without law; under law; God manifested in the flesh, were the great features of this [testing of the first man]. Hence in John 12 the Lord says, “Now is the judgment of this world.” Though there was testimony, there were no religious institutions before the flood, unless the fact of sacrifices. There were after: government; promises to Abraham, showing it was grace to one separated from an idolatrous world and head of a new race [not an accurate description]; the law; the prophets; and at last the Son as come, not as offered. Then God laid the foundation of His own purposes in righteousness. – Darby, J.N. Letters of J. N. Darby 3:442.
  9. The expression, “the ends of the ages,” which will be found in 1 Corinthians 10:11, is rather strange; but to preserve the sense of the Greek, we could not say, “the last times,” any more than “the end of the ages,” still less “the end of the world.” The end of the ages was not yet come; but all the different dispensations by which God had put Himself in relation with man, so far as they were connected with man’s responsibility, had come to one point, and were brought to an end in the death of the Lord Jesus. After that — great as had been His longsuffering — God established a new creation. We have therefore used the literal translation, “the ends of the ages.” – Darby, J.N. Collected Writings 13:169.
  10. We have had the will of God as the source of our salvation, and the Saviour’s work as the efficacious means. There now follows the no less indispensable witness of the Holy Spirit as the unfailing power of bringing our souls into the possession and knowledge of the blessing. Thus each person of the Godhead has His appropriate place, and all contribute to this end as worthy of God as it is needed by man. – Kelly, W. Exposition of Hebrews.
  11. Here the ears "dug" express His incarnation, as "opened" (Isa. 50) His daily dependence, and "bored" (Ex. 21) His devotedness in death and forever. - Kelly, W. Notes on Psalms.
  12. I highly recommend the following address: Address by Chuck Hendricks, The Digged, Opened, Pierced Ear, Toledo 1987
  13. Notice that Eli later died by falling off a seat, although it was probably a different seat, “by the wayside… by the gate” (1 Sam. 4:13-18). He was never able to overcome his tendency for laziness: sitting when we first read of him, and sitting when he died (but then, “very heavy”).
  14. Darby, J. N. Collected Writings, vol. 27, p. 386