on Hebrews 9 :9
Which - Tabernacle and its services, was a figure, παραβολη, a dark enigmatical representation, for the time then present - for that age and dispensation, and for all those who lived under it.
In which, καθ' ὁν, during which, time or dispensation were offered both gifts and sacrifices - eucharistic offerings and victims for sin, that could not make him that did the service, whether the priest who made the offering, or the person who brought it in the behalf of his soul, perfect as pertaining to the conscience - could not take away guilt from the mind, nor purify the conscience from dead works. The whole was a figure, or dark representation, of a spiritual and more glorious system: and although a sinner, who made these offerings and sacrifices according to the law, might be considered as having done his duty, and thus he would be exempted from many ecclesiastical and legal disabilities and punishments; yet his conscience would ever tell him that the guilt of sin was still remaining, and that it was impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take it away. Thus even he that did the service best continued to be imperfect - had a guilty conscience, and an unholy heart.
The words καθ' ὁν, in which, referred in the above paraphrase to τον καιρον, the time, are read καθ' ἡν by ABD, and several others, one copy of the Slavonic, the Vulgate, and some of the fathers, and thus refer to την σκηνην, the tabernacle; and this is the reading which our translators appear to have followed. Griesbach places it in his margin, as a very probable reading; but I prefer the other.
on Hebrews 9 :9
Which was a figure for the time then present - That is, as long as the tabernacle stood. The word rendered "figure" - παραβολὴ parabolē - is not the same as type - τύπος tupos - (Romans 5:14; Acts 7:13, Acts 7:44; John 20:25; 1 Corinthians 10:6, 1 Corinthians 10:11; Philippians 3:17, et al.) - but is the word commonly rendered "parable;" Matthew 13:3, Matthew 13:10, Matthew 13:13, Matthew 13:18, Matthew 13:24, Matthew 13:31, Matthew 13:33-36, Matthew 13:53; Matthew 15:15, "et soepe," and means properly "a placing side by side;" then a "comparison, or similitude." Here it is used in the sense of "image, or symbol" - something to "represent" other things. The idea is, that the arrangements and services of the tabernacle were a representation of important realities, and of things which were more fully to be revealed at a future period. There can be no doubt that Paul meant to say that this service in general was symbolical or typical, though this will not authorize us to attempt to spiritualize every minute arrangement of it. Some of the things in which it was typical are specified by the apostle himself, and wisdom and safety in explaining the arrangements of the tabernacle and its services consist in adhering very closely to the explanations furnished by the inspired writers. An interpreter is on an open sea, to be driven he knows not whither, when he takes leave of these safe pilots.
Both gifts - Thank-offerings.
And sacrifices - Bloody offerings. The idea is, that all kinds of offerings to God were made there.
That could not make him that did the service perfect - That could not take away sin, and remove the stains of guilt on the soul; note, Hebrews 7:11; compare Hebrews 8:7; Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 10:1, Hebrews 10:11.
As pertaining to the conscience - They related mainly to outward and ceremonial rites, and even when offerings were made for sin the conscience was not relieved. They could not expiate guilt; they could not make the soul pure; they could not of themselves impart peace to the soul by reconciling it to God. They could not fully accomplish what the conscience needed to have done in order to give it peace. Nothing will do this but the blood of the Redeemer.
on Hebrews 9 :9
9:9 Which - Tabernacle, with all its furniture and services. Is a figure - Or type, of good things to come Which cannot perfect the worshipper - Neither the priest nor him who brought the offering. As to his conscience - So that he should be no longer conscious of the guilt or power of sin. Observe, the temple was as yet standing.