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which is a parable for the time at hand, in which both gifts and sacrifices being offered are

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not able to make the worshipper fully complete

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in regard to conscience.


this is a symbol which is helpful to us today, and according to this symbolism, a system made up of some non-blood offerings and some blood sacrifices [just like the system of the Former Covenant] is not able to bring the conscience of the worshipper to a state of complete [freedom from guilt].



“being offered” and “are not able” are both in the present, middle/passive, the first being a verb and second being a participle. The last verb, “make complete” is in the Aorist tense which can mean past time, or fullness of action in any time. The sentence seems grammatically convoluted to us but that is because it is the expression of a parable. This symbolic representation, which mirrors the Old Testament Law, is incapable of bringing good results, just like the Law.


This verb is an Aorist verb which shows either action completed in the past, or action that is full and complete regardless of the time in which it is found.

A Veiled Reference to the Urim and Thummim

In these two verses we see a veiled reference to the Hebrew words Urim and Thummim. Urim means “light, flame and clarity,” and Thummim means “completeness, perfection, integrity, finished.” Thummim is rendered in the Greek Septuagint with a word meaning “moral truth, reality, certainty, truth appertaining to God and the duties of man, a mode of life in harmony with divine truth, or integrity of character.”

The Greek word in Hebrews 9:8, which I render “making clear,” is equivalent of the Old Testament word for Urim (just in a different form), and the Greek word in verse 9 which I render “make fully complete,” is almost identical in meaning to the Hebrew word Thummim.

Therefore, although this passage does not intend to directly address the act of speaking in tongues, it does refer to the process that God has used down through history for addressing a burning question; He illuminates it with His light/flame and makes it clear, then He brings us to a point of completion as we learn to obey that truth and live in harmony with it, thus developing the type of character He desires.