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Bible Commentaries

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

Hebrews 10

 

 

Verses 1-39

CHAPTER 10

1. The all-sufficiency of the one offering (Hebrews 10:1-18)

2. Exhortations (Hebrews 10:19-25)

3. Warning (Hebrews 10:26-31)

4. Encouragements (Hebrews 10:32-39)

Hebrews 10:1-18

The precious truth the apostle has unfolded in the preceding chapters concerning Christ, His one offering He made, His own blood by which He entered once for all into the holy place the one all sufficient sacrifice, which has an eternal value and can never be repeated, is now still more practically applied. This one offering sanctifieth and it hath perfected forever them that are sanctified, so that the believer thus sanctified and perfected can enter into the holiest as worshipper. The sacrifices brought in the first covenant did not make the worshippers perfect. If such had been the case there would have been no need to repeat them year by year continually. The repetition of these sacrifices in the law dispensation was a memorial of sin. “in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again of sins every year.” The day of atonement was repeated every year and each time the high priest entered in the holiest with the blood of others. But the worshippers were not purged by it; the conscience as to sins remained, and those worshippers could not enter in themselves. For it was not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins. Yet the sins of Jewish believers before the cross were forgiven, not because the blood of an animal was sprinkled on the mercy-seat, but in anticipation of the one great offering, known to God in all its value and meaning.

(See Romans 3:25. The remission of sins that are past are the sins of Old Testament believers. The work of Christ on the cross declares God’s righteousness in having passed over the sins of those who believed the promise.)

All is now changed. The one offering has been brought; by His own blood He entered the heavenly sanctuary, and all who believe are purged, the conscience is cleansed, we draw nigh and enter the holiest, not by the blood of bulls and goats, but by the blood of Jesus.

Hebrews 10:5-9 are of deep interest. It reveals what passed between God the Father and God the Son. When about to enter the world these words were spoken by Him to the Father; “Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me; in burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure. Then I said Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me) to do Thy will, O God. (What a testimony the Son of God bears as to the character of the Old Testament Scriptures! As He said on earth “they testify of Me.”) it is a startling revelation, the Spirit of God acquainting us with what transpired between the Father and the Son. He comes into the world to do God’s eternal will.

“He is the Son of God from all eternity, and in that mysterious eternity before the creation of the world, in His pre-mundane glory, this mind was in the Son, that He would humble Himself, and take upon Himself the form of a servant, and obey the whole counsel of God concerning the redemption of fallen man. His whole life on earth, embracing His obedience and His death, His substitution for sinners, was His own voluntary resolve and act.

True, the Father sent Him; but such is the unity and harmony of the blessed Trinity, that it is equally true to say, the Son came. The love of the Lord Jesus, the sacrifice of Himself in our stead, the unspeakable humiliation of the Son of God, have their origin not in time but in eternity, in the infinite, self-subsistent, co-equal Son of the Father. He took on Him our nature. By His own will He was made flesh. From all eternity He offered Himself to accomplish the divine will concerning our salvation, He must needs be God, to have the power of freely offering Himself; He must needs take upon Him our nature to fulfil that sacrifice. Only the Son of God could undertake the work of our redemption; only as man could He accomplish it” (A. Saphir).

He speaks of “a body hast Thou prepared Me.” This means His virgin-birth. The body the Son of God took on was a prepared body, called into existence by a creative act of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35).

The sentence, “A body hast Thou prepared Me,” is the Septuagint translation, or paraphrase, of the Hebrew, “ears hast Thou digged for Me” (Psalms 40:6). This reading, or interpretation, is here fully sanctioned by the Holy Spirit. The ear is for learning, and the opened ear stands for obedience (Isaiah 50:5). In taking on the human body He took the form of a servant. See also Exodus 21:1-36. And thus He offered Himself, as One who had the power to do so, out of love for the glory of God, to do His will. He undertook of His own free will the accomplishment of all the will of God and He took on the prepared body in incarnation in order to accomplish the eternal will of God. In this prepared body He lived that blessed life of obedience, suffering from man for God, and then He gave that body, according to the will of God, in His death, when He suffered from God for man, in being made sin for us.

“God’s rights as the Lawgiver have been fully satisfied by the unsullied and complete obedience of the Lord Jesus. He magnified the law which man had taken and dishonored. Having fulfilled it in His life, He gave Himself to death, that He might silence forever its demand on the believing sinner’s life. By man and for man the will of God has been fulfilled. In the life and death of the Lord Jesus the active measure of both grace and truth has been attained. God’s will was the redemption of His people. But that His grace might triumph, His holiness must first be satisfied. The cross of Christ has effected this. God’s will, when finished, is thus found to be atonement. Blood has been shed, in obedience to His commandment, which is of virtue to remove all sin. It pleased Him to bruise His Son for sinners. He has laid upon Him the iniquity of all His people. By making Him an offering for sin, He has finished His intention of salvation. He has established grace in perfect righteousness” (A. Pridham). And thus “He taketh away the first (the ordinances of the law, the burnt-offerings and sacrifices) and established the second (the will of God perfectly done). “By the which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

This is a great and most blessed truth. His people, those who believe in Christ, are according to the will of God, to be sanctified, that is set apart to God. And this sanctification of all who believe is accomplished by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. The will of man has no part in this; the work by which believers are sanctified is absolutely and wholly of God. It was done once for all when Christ died on the Cross; before we were in existence it was all done. In this faith rests, knowing that He hath sanctified us, that His work, not ours, nor our experience, has accomplished our sanctification. Believers belong to God for ever according to the efficacy of the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And this setting aside abides; it is as settled and permanent as the peace which was made, the peace with God, the abiding possession, of all who are justified by faith. There is also for those who are sanctified in Christ, a practical sanctification which is wrought by the Spirit of God in the believer (Hebrews 12:14).

Once more a contrast is made between Him and the levitical priests. The priests stood ministering, always bringing the same sacrifices over and over again. And they could never take away sins. But He having offered one sacrifice for sins, sat down forever at the right hand of God. (it is not “eternal,” but continuously, without interruption; He is at rest, His work is finished.) The work is accepted and believers are accepted in Him. Those who are sanctified are perfected in perpetuity by what He has done. He is forever seated, we are forever perfected by virtue of His work. And there at the right hand of God He is also waiting in patience till it pleases God to make His enemies the footstool of His feet. That will be when He comes the second time. And the Holy Spirit bears witness to it. That witness is in the Word of God, there the Spirit of God speaks. “If we could have heard the counsel of eternity, the word of the Father to the Son, ere time began, we could have no greater certainty than now, when we listen to Scripture, the echo in time of the counsel in eternity.” We see here in this chapter up to Hebrews 10:15 the three persons of the Godhead in connection with redemption. The will of God is the source of the work of redemption; the Son of God accomplished it; the Holy Spirit bears witness of it. Here again is an allusion to the new covenant in Hebrews 10:16-17. (See 8:10-12.) Blessed assurance which all believers have “their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” This is the witness of the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 10:19-25

And now the great truth is reached which the Holy Spirit wanted these Hebrew Christians to lay hold of and for which He so wonderfully prepared the way. He has shown that by the sacrifice of Christ the believers’ sins are put away; a perfect and everlasting cleansing has been made, remission assured and an eternal redemption obtained. By the will of God believers are sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all; they are perfected and therefore in the eyes of a holy God, believers are without sin. This gives liberty to come into God’s presence. The veil is rent and we can enter in. There is no more barrier, we have a free and unfettered access. “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holy places by the blood of Jesus, a new and living way which He hath consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, His flesh.” And we do not go in alone but we find Him in the holiest who has done the work. He is there as a great high priest to welcome us and to minister in tenderness to our needs.

Upon this follow three exhortations. 1. “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our body washed with pure water (corresponding to the washing of the priests, Exodus 29:4, and typical of regeneration).” We are then a holy priesthood fit and fitted in Christ to offer up spiritual sacrifices. 2. “Let us hold fast the confession of the hope without wavering for He is faithful who hath promised.” And we shall hold fast if we draw near and constantly realize our nearness, our blessings and privileges in Christ. 3. “Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the custom is with some, but encouraging one another, and so much the more as ye see the day approaching.” It is the public confession of God’s people that they are one and belong together. And they saw the day approaching which is here not the day when His people will be gathered together unto Him, caught up in clouds to meet Him in the air, but the day of His appearing.

Hebrews 10:26-31

A solemn warning is now once more added. It warns against deliberate apostasy of those who have known the truth (though not regenerated). They are enemies, adversaries and for such wilful going astray there remaineth no longer any sacrifice for sins “but a certain fearful looking for judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” This was the great danger for these Hebrews who had professed faith in Christ, yet lingered around the levitical institutions as the temple with its worship was still standing. If they renounced the truth of Christianity by turning back to Judaism they trampled under foot the Son of God and counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith they were sanctified an unholy thing; for such horrible, deliberate contempt there was no repentance and no remedy. They cannot escape judgment. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God-- He who hath said “Vengeance is mine, I will recompense.”

(“Observe here the way in which sanctification is attributed to the blood; and, also, that professors are treated as belonging to the people. The blood received by faith, consecrates the soul to God; but it is here viewed also as an outward means for setting apart the people as a people. Every individual who had owned Jesus to be the Messiah, and the blood to be the seal and foundation of an everlasting covenant available for eternal cleansing and redemption on the part of God, acknowledging himself to be set apart for God, by this means, as one of the people--every such individual would, if he renounced it, renounce it as such; and there was no other way of sanctifying him. The former system had evidently lost its power for him, and the true one he had abandoned. This is the reason why it is said, ‘having received the knowledge of the truth’” Synopsis of the Bible.)

Hebrews 10:32-39

Words of encouragement and comfort conclude this main section of the Epistle. They had suffered for Christ’s sake and he calls to their remembrance their former days. They had endured even with joy the spoiling of their goods, because they knew that they had in heaven a better and enduring substance. He exhorts them to be patient and not to cast away their confidence. The promise was sure. “For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come and will not tarry.” Habakkuk 2:3-4 is quoted. He was sure that they are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe (literally: of faith) to the saving of the soul. The chapter which follows describes the action of this faith through the example of their forefathers who walked and lived according to the same principle.

 


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Bibliography Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:4". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/hebrews-10.html. 1913-1922.


Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, July 23rd, 2017
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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