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Bible Commentaries

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary
Hebrews 10

 

 

Verses 1-39

Chapter10

For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very substance of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect ( Hebrews 10:1 ).

Now notice the law was only a shadow of the good things to come. The value of the studying of Leviticus and the studying of the law, to the Christian, is that it foreshadows the work of Jesus Christ, the offering of Jesus Christ, and the high priestly nature of Jesus Christ. The shadow, it"s not the substance. Paul tells us this in Colossians, chapter2 , where Christ through His death blotted out the handwriting and the ordinances that were against us, nailing them to His cross and triumphing over them in it. Therefore, don"t let any man judge you in respect of meat, or drink, or new moons, or holy days or Sabbath days, for these were all a shadow of things to come, but the substance is Christ.

So Christ standing here in this point in history. His shadow was cast over the past history. The shadow of Christ is there in the law and in the sacrifices. You can see that they foreshadow Him, but they were only the shadow. Jesus is the substance that casts the shadow. And so there is a real substance in Jesus. These things were only foreshadowing His coming. Once He came they were no longer necessary, no longer necessary to have the shadows, for we now have the substance in Jesus.

For if they could have been perfect sacrifices that had put away the sins then would they not have ceased to be offered? ( Hebrews 10:2 ).

In other words, they would have done it once in Moses" day and that would have been it. They wouldn"t have to offer animals every day. They wouldn"t have to offer animals once a year in the Holy of Holies. It would have been sufficient had they been able to perfect man.

"Then would they not have ceased to be offered?"

Because the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins ( Hebrews 10:2 ).

Now this was under the old covenant, and had it been effective, once being cleansed, they should have no more conscience of sins. Showing that it did not bring that to them under the old covenant, however, the glorious thing is that in this new covenant through Jesus Christ, once being purged, we really should not have any more consciousness of sins. There is this purging. It"s complete, the cleansing in the blood of Jesus Christ is complete, and the blood of Jesus Christ God"s Son cleanses. In the Greek, it is present perfect tense. It is continually cleansing us from all sins. What a glorious thing, that continual cleansing by Jesus Christ.

But in those sacrifices there was a reminder again made for sins every year ( Hebrews 10:3 ).

Every year when the priest would go in, you"d be reminded again of your guilt and of your sin.

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins ( Hebrews 10:4 ).

It is impossible that they could actually take away your sins. They made what they called the kophar for sins. In the Hebrew, kophar, which is translated atonement. It is probably a bad translation. It should be translated covered. It made a covering for their sins, but it did not put their sins away. It only covered their sins.

Wherefore, when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me ( Hebrews 10:5 ):

Now this is a quotation from Psalm 46:1-11 . However, the latter part of the quotation, "a body thou hast prepared me," is not as your King James reads, but this was translated from the Septuagint version.

The Septuagint version of the scriptures was a Hebrew to Greek translation of the Old Testament that was made by seventy scholars two hundred years before the birth of Christ. After the Babylonian captivity, the Hebrew language was almost dead. It was only known by the biblical scholars. They were the only ones that used the Hebrew language. The Jews, themselves, usually spoke the Koine or they spoke Greek, but Hebrew was only for biblical scholars. They felt that the people should have the Bible in a language they could understand, and so they translated the Old Testament scriptures into Greek. It is called the Septuagint. So whenever you read of the Septuagint version, that is what it is, a translation by seventy scholars of the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek two hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ.

This quotation, as do others in the New Testament, come from the Septuagint version, and interestingly enough, "Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not," or you don"t care for, "but you have prepared a body for me."

That is, Jesus, when He came into the world, God prepared a body for Him. In order that in this body, He might become the perfect, complete sacrifice for man.

In burnt offerings [the Lord said in Psalm] and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God ( Hebrews 10:6-7 ).

So, this is declared of Jesus Christ. He declared, "I have come. In the volume of the book it is written of Me." The Old Testament is all about Jesus Christ. He is all the way through, interwoven in all of the types, in all of the shadows, in all of the books. It is one continuous story in the preparing of the hearts of man for the coming of the Messiah. The prophecies, the hopes, all prefigured there in the Old Testament.

He speaks here of the burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin. There were five offerings that were made in the Old Testament. They were necessary to bring man into fellowship with God. It is the purpose of God that man should fellowship with Him. God"s purpose is that man should know Him, that he should fellowship with Him and that he might cooperate with God in the accomplishing of God"s purposes here on the earth.

Now sin creates a breach between man and God. Sin separates man from God. Sinful man cannot be one with a holy God.

Paul, writing to the Corinthians, who lived in that city that was so debauched, that the word Corinthian became a synonym for a totally debauched person. Every night a thousand priestesses would come into the city of Corinth from the Acropolis above Corinth, the temple there of Aphrodite. These priestesses in the temple of Aphrodite were prostitutes. And a thousand of them, a thousand streetwalkers in the city every night. And so Paul warned the Corinthian believers concerning having a relations with a harlot. He said, "Don"t you realize that if you have relationships with a harlot you become one with her? And if you are one with Christ then you are making Christ a partaker and bringing Him as one with a harlot." He said, "You can"t do that. What fellowship hath light with darkness? Christ with Belial and all." He is warning against these things. You are to be one with God and if you then go out and sin you are making God a partner in your sin. That can"t be. Sinful man cannot have fellowship with a holy God. So before fellowship can be experienced, sin has to be put away.

In the first covenant there were two of the offerings that dealt with sin. The first was the sin offering, which is sins general. The second was the trespass offering where I had deliberately trespassed against the law of God. That took a different type of a sacrifice. But they had to be taken care of before I could have fellowship with God. But once I had made the sin and trespass offerings, then I could bring the burnt offerings.

You notice the burnt offering here, and then the sin offerings. The burnt offerings were offerings of consecration where I would consecrate my life to God. This was the burnt offering, and it was symbolic of just consecrating my life to God. Then there was the meal offering, which was the consecration of my service to God as I brought the grain that I had cultivated and grown. And they baked it into bread and offered it unto God.

Finally, I could offer the peace offering, which was communion. I could now be made one with God. My sins have been put away. My trespasses have been put away. I"ve consecrated my life and my service to God, and now I come into oneness with God and I offer the peace offering. And I sit down and eat with God the peace offering. I give Him His portion to eat, the best part of it, being a gracious host, and I then partake of the rest and we eat together. And as we are both nourished by the same lamb, then I become a part of God and God becomes a part of me, and I have this fellowship.

So God was tired. He would not accept anymore of these sacrifices.

Offering and burnt offerings and the offering for sin thou wouldst not, neither did you have pleasure therein; those things that were offered by the law. Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he might establish the second ( Hebrews 10:8-9 ).

The first covenant that God established with man is over. You cannot come to God by the first covenant.

There are always those who want to come to God on their terms. Hey, you"re not calling the shots! You"re in no position to call the shots. "God, I"ll do this for You if You"ll do this, this and this." You"re trying to bargain with God or come to God on your terms, and it can"t be done. The only way you can come to God is as a guilty sinner and cast yourself upon His mercy and grace and just ask for mercy and grace. You"ve got to come on His terms, and His terms are that you come through Jesus Christ.

The Old Covenant is disannulled; it"s passed away. It is no longer effective. In establishing of the new covenant, He has put away the first. So, taketh away the first that He might establish the second

By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all ( Hebrews 10:10 ).

So, we have been sanctified through the body of Jesus Christ. I am made righteous through Jesus Christ. I am accepted in Jesus Christ. All that I have in my relationship with God today must and does come through Jesus Christ. He is my peace. He is my righteousness. He is my sin offering. He is my sin offerer. He is everything. He is my mediator. Jesus is everything to me. Without Him I have nothing. I have no access to God. I am alienated from God. I am hopelessly and helplessly lost apart from Jesus Christ.

Every priest stands daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins ( Hebrews 10:11 ):

So they"re busy. They are kept busy all day long offering one sin offering after another; one meal offering after another as the various people came in. But it is . . . he"s pointing out these offerings cannot take away sins.

But this man [Jesus Christ], after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God ( Hebrews 10:12 );

It"s complete. He doesn"t have to do it every day. He doesn"t have to be crucified over and over. The death of Christ is sufficient once and for all.

From henceforth [or from now on] just waiting until his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he has perfected for ever them that are sanctified ( Hebrews 10:13-14 ).

Isn"t that glorious? By His one offering we have been perfected forever. Thank God!

Whereof the Holy Ghost also is witness to us: for after he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their hearts, and their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more ( Hebrews 10:15-17 ).

David cried out, "Oh how happy is the man whose transgressions are forgiven. Oh how happy is the man whose sins are covered. Oh how happy is the man to whom God does not impute iniquity." All I can say to that is, "Amen!" How happy is the man whose sins and iniquities, God said, I will remember no more.

Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin ( Hebrews 10:18 ).

Where you"ve already had the remission once and for all, perfected in Christ, there is no need for any further offering for sin.

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holy of Holies by the blood of Jesus ( Hebrews 10:19 ),

I can enter in where He entered in, right in to the presence of the Father. Coming to the Father through the blood of Jesus Christ, I can enter into the Holy of Holies. I can come into the presence of God through Him. The door is open. Jesus Christ has made the way whereby we can come into the presence of God and fellowship with Him.

And so, "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,"

By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having a high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart full of assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised ( Hebrews 10:20-23 );

Notice now this new covenant: hold fast, hang on, don"t worry, because God is faithful who made the promises. This new covenant is predicated upon the promises of God, and God is faithful who has made these promises to you. So hold fast this profession of faith. We have a great high priest.

The danger was these Jews who had received Jesus, returning back to Judaism, taking a lamb, dragging a lamb to the priest again to make a sin offering for them. That was their danger.

Don"t underestimate how deeply rooted traditions are, especially among the Jewish people, and even to the present day. Even non-believing Jews keep Sabbath; eat kosher. It is so deeply a part of their tradition that they guard it fiercely. And I know many, many Jews that would become Christians, but they are afraid they would no longer be a Jew. They don"t understand that to become a Christian is to become a completed Jew. For Jesus was the Messiah that God had promised in their scriptures. And they need not fear to cease being a Jew by becoming a Christian. In fact, they"d probably become a better Jew than they ever were. And yet, their rabbis have determined that to be a Jew and a Christian are mutually exclusive; you cannot be both. But they are trying to protect their national identity and they fight fiercely. For it is deeply, deeply ingrained.

So the time of the writing of the Hebrews, those who had made a profession of Christ, some of them sort going back. So the encouragement is to hold fast the profession; don"t waiver. And again, pointing not to our faithfulness, but the faithfulness of God. He who has promised is faithful.

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works ( Hebrews 10:24 ):

And so that"s as we"re together exhorting each other for a greater love and good works.

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching ( Hebrews 10:25 ).

Consider each other to provoke each other to love, to good works, and then not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, in order that we might receive exhortation. Actually, he is saying we should gather together all the more as we see the day of the Lord approaching. So I don"t know how we can do any more than we are every night of the week around here and during the day, but anyhow . . . That"s the purpose of gathering and assembling ourselves together is for mutual encouragement, the strengthening of each other, the exhorting of each other.

For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins ( Hebrews 10:26 ),

This is talking to the Jew who is wavering in his faith in Jesus Christ and who is seeking to go back to the priest with a sin offering. There is no further sacrifice. The lamb will do nothing. For the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is complete. It is once and for all. And there is no further sacrifice that can be offered, of a goat or a lamb or a calf or anything else. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is complete. There remains no other sacrifice for your sins. You can"t go back to the old system.

[All that remains is] the certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries ( Hebrews 10:27 ).

Now, this judgment and fiery indignation is going to take place, much of it, during the Great Tribulation. Notice it is going to devour God"s adversaries.

He that despised Moses" law [that is, the first covenant that has been set aside] died without mercy under two or three witnesses ( Hebrews 10:28 ):

Very severe punishment, capital punishment for those who despised the first covenant that God established through Moses.

Of how much worse punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant [this new covenant], wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite to the Spirit of grace? ( Hebrews 10:29 )

So the three things: he"s trodden under foot the Son of God, counted the blood of Christ as nothing, and has done despite to the Spirit of grace.

For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will repay, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall in the hands of the living God ( Hebrews 10:30-31 ).

Now two things can be done concerning your sins. One, by your coming to Jesus Christ, they can be totally and completely washed away. Totally forgiven through Him, accepting this new covenant that God has established, your sins are completely put away. If that does not take place, then the second thing that will happen concerning your sins is that you will stand before God and be judged, and your sins will condemn you.

Years ago, I was told the story of a wonderful prince, the heir to the kingdom, who had married a wife who proved to be undeserving of him and of his love. During a time of rebellion, she went out and lived in open adultery with the leader of the rebellion. When the rebellion was subdued, the princess was brought to justice and the court decreed that she should die in the tiger"s pit. Outside of the city, in a clearing in the forest, a pit had been dug. In the pit was a post, and those victims, who were so executed, were tied to the post. And during the night the tigers, drawn by the scent of human flesh, would come and devour the victims. The day of execution came and she was led into the woods and tied securely to the post there in the bottom of the pit and was left to her fate.

As it grew darker, she heard the crunching of gravel above her head. Looking up, she saw silhouetted in the evening sky not the form of a tiger, but of a man, who vaulted down into the pit. She recognized him to be the prince, her husband that she had betrayed. She turned on him in anger saying, "What have you done? Have you come to mock me because of the fate that I have?" He said, "No, I have come to prove to you how much I"ve always loved you. You"ve never understood that." With that, he waited silently in the pit until again there was crunching at the top of the pit. And now a tiger, drawn by the scent of human flesh, circling the pit, and then the fast footsteps as it approached and leaped into the pit. But instead of leaping upon the princess, it met the unsheathed sword of the prince. There in the darkness a fierce battle ensued, until finally the princess could hear the death throes as the last bit of life was leaving, and then just the dripping of blood.

As it became daylight, the men from the city came to take the remains of the princess and bury them. To their astonishment, they found that the princess was in good shape, still tied in the center of the pit. But over in the corner, and almost drowned in his own blood, was their beloved prince, and next to him a tiger that had been killed.

They lifted him out of the pit and carried him back to town and called the best physicians in the kingdom. For three days he hovered between life and death. Every hour a bulletin went out throughout the kingdom telling of the condition of the prince as he fought the battle for life. Finally, on the third day the news went out that the prince has passed the crisis and would live. All within the kingdom rejoiced.

In the meantime, the princess had again been incarcerated because the court"s judgment had not been executed. Again, she was brought to trial and now the verdict was to be given. All the people of the kingdom gathered in the great arena to hear the verdict against the princess. As the crier stepped forth, he said, "Hear ye, hear ye, the decision of the supreme council." Then turning to the princess he said, "Over on your right there is a door, and behind that door there stands your husband, the prince, the one that you betrayed. Over on your left is another door, behind which are several tigers. If by five o"clock this evening you do not go to the door on your right and enter that door declaring to all within the kingdom that from now on you will be a faithful and devoted wife, then the door on your left will be opened and the death which he almost died to save you from will come upon you, and this time without any hope of escape. And the story ended, which door?

But as you see the story, you realize that we are the guilty princess, and that we rebelled against the Lord, who loved us so much that He came to prove His love by dying in our place. Now there are two doors, two things that can be done for your sins. Totally forgiven by your commitment of your life to Jesus Christ, or if you fail, then the death from which He died to save you will come and there will be no hope of any escape. "For how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" So really, you have to put the ending on the story yourself. Which door? You are the one that puts the ending on the story.

"It"s a fearful thing to fall in the hands of a living God."

But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions ( Hebrews 10:32 );

Remember what you went through in the beginning of your faith.

Partly, while you were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, while you became companions of them that were so used ( Hebrews 10:33 ).

"Your identification with Christianity really cost you a lot," and it did. It cost many of them their families. They were completely ostracized. Actually, the families would hold funerals for them. They were dead. They would not even recognize them on the street as existing. "Remember the things that you endured because of your faith in Jesus Christ."

For you had compassion of me and in my bonds, and you took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that you have in heaven a better and an enduring substance ( Hebrews 10:34 ).

A lot of them had their possessions taken away, but they didn"t care. They knew they had possessions that no man could take away, the enduring substance in heaven.

Cast not away therefore your confidence, which has great recompence of reward. For you have need of patience, and after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry ( Hebrews 10:35-37 ).

So again, as so often in the New Testament, the exhortation of patience as we wait for the coming of Jesus Christ. James has said, "Have patience brethren; establish your souls for the Lord is waiting for the complete fruit of harvest" ( James 5:7 ). Have patience; He has a few more yet to save. Give them a chance too. Establish yourselves, for the Lord is waiting for the full fruit of harvest. Peter said, "God is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness. He is faithful to us-ward, he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" ( 2 Peter 3:9 ).

So the reason why God is waiting and delaying the coming of Jesus Christ is to give opportunity for others to come on into the kingdom. But He that shall come will come and will not tarry. The day of the Lord will come. The Lord has waited, but the days of waiting are almost over. But have patience brethren, that after you"ve done the will of God you might receive the promise. The Lord is going to come again.

Now the just shall live by faith: and if any man draw back, [God said] my soul shall have no pleasure in them. But we are not of those who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul ( Hebrews 10:38-39 ).

The writer here declares his confidence in them. We are not those that draw back. We are those that believe to the salvation of our souls.

Now the just shall live by faith, and as we go into chapter11 , we"re going to get the hallmark of faith, the hall of fame for those who believe. And that is the hall of fame that I want to appear in. You can have Cooper"s Town and everything else. I want to be listed in that hall of fame, those who believe in the promises God. And we"ll get an interesting listing of these men of faith as we move on into chapter11 , the glorious chapter on faith.

And now may the Lord be with you, watch over and keep you in His love as you walk in faith in Him. May you be blessed of the Lord and strengthened in every good work for the glory of Jesus Christ. God bless you. In Jesus" name. "

 


Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.

Bibliography Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:4". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/hebrews-10.html. 2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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