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Sacrifice Complete in the Fulfilment of God’s Will. The Open Way to God
Recapitulation and close of the argument. The sacrifices of the Law were ineffective to cleanse the conscience, as shown by their continual repetition (Hebrews 10:1-4). In the mind of God they were temporary. But the offering of Christ is a sacrifice that accomplishes the will of God and consecrates us as the people of a new covenant (Hebrews 10:5-10). That it is efficacious and final is also proved by the session of Christ at God’s right hand. Unlike the Levitical priests, who continually stand to offer sacrifices, Christ having made one perfect sacrifice is now set down, waiting the final triumph over all His foes (Hebrews 10:11-14). The finality of His sacrifice is also confirmed by the prophecy which foretells that under the new covenant God will remember the people’s sins no more, implying that sin has been dealt with finally and for ever (Hebrews 10:15-18).
1. The shadow is unsubstantial, lacking all the qualities of the original except perhaps outlined form; the very image is an exact reproduction of the original. Continually] is perhaps best taken with the preceding verb, ’offered.’ Comers thereunto] see on Hebrews 7:25.
2. Conscience of sin] i.e. consciousness of sin, sense of guilt: cp. Hebrews 9:9.
3. The continual repetition of the sacrifices served only to remind the worshippers of the continuity of the need of cleansing.
5. The quotation is from Psalms 40:6-8, according to the LXX, which reads, ’a body thou hast prepared for me,’ where the Hebrew has, ’mine ears thou hast opened,’ meaning that God has opened the ears of His servant to hear and obey His will. The LXX may be due to an early corruption of the text, or it may be a free reproduction of the sense. As used here the words refer to the Incarnation, and are taken to indicate the superiority of Christ’s sacrifice over the animal sacrifices of the Law in respect that His offering was voluntary and moral. It was a sacrifice of obedience (Hebrews 10:7), the voluntary and glad (cp. Hebrews 12:2) surrender of His own life to God.
9. He taketh away] i.e. Christ supersedes the legal and ineffectual mode of reconciliation by His own sacrifice, in accordance with God’s will.
10. Sanctified] i.e. cleansed from the defilement of sin and enabled to draw near to God.
11-14. Further proof of the finality of Christ’s sacrifice: see analysis at the beginning of this chapter. The ineffectiveness of the legal ordinances is brought out forcibly by the accumulation of the words, standeth daily.. oftentimes.. the same sacrifices. There is no cessation, no ’sitting down,’ as in the case of Christ.
13, 14. His people are finally sanctified; His enemies are the only class remaining to be dealt with.
15-18. See analysis above.
19-25. Practical exhortation to hold fast the superior benefits and privileges of the new covenant.
19. Boldness to enter into the holiest] a privilege denied to the worshipper under the old covenant.
20. The way is new, i.e. lately opened up, and it is living, either because it is effective (cp. Hebrews 4:12), or because Christ is living: cp. John 14:6, where Christ says that He is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. Through the veil] During His earthly life His flesh stood between Him and the entrance into the heavenly sanctuary. By the rending of that veil, i.e. His death. He has entered in, opening the way for His people.
22. The First Exhortation. Draw near] i.e. in worship and service: see on Hebrews 7:25.
Bodies washed] There may be here a reference to baptism, but the two clauses together denote the purification of the whole man, within and without: see Exodus 19:10; Exodus 29:4, and cp. Ephesians 6:5, Ephesians 6:6.
23. The Second Exhortation, to ’hold fast the confession of our hope’ (so RV): cp. Hebrews 3:6, Hebrews 3:14.
24. The Third Exhortation, to ’encourage each other to love and good works.’
Provoke] The word is used in the good sense equivalent to stimulate.
25. Assembling of ourselves] i.e. the meeting of Christians which gives the opportunity to exercise the love and good works already recommended, and also to make the confession of the Christian faith and hope which is to be held fast. The day] is the Day of the Lord, the Day of His Second Coming: cp. on Hebrews 9:26.
26-31. A warning against unbelief and apostasy, suggested by the thought that the Day of the Lord which is approaching will be a day of judgment to some, especially to those who, after having been enlightened, have fallen away: cp. the warning in Hebrews 6:1-8.
26. Sin wilfully] The participial form of this condition expresses not a single act, but a deliberate and persistent state. The Levitical Law made no provision for the atonement of sins done with a high hand: see on Hebrews 5:2. No more sacrifice] Christ’s sacrifice is final: see on Hebrews 10:13, Hebrews 10:14.
28-30. For the form of the argument cp. Hebrews 2:1-4.
28. Under] RV ’at the word of’: see Deuteronomy 17:2-7.
32-39. An exhortation to exhibit the same steadfastness under the present trials as they had shown in a previous time of affliction: cp. the similar change from a tone of warning to one of hope of better things in Hebrews 6:9.
32. Were illuminated] RV ’enlightened,’ i.e. became Christians: cp. Hebrews 6:4. Fight of a afflictions] see Intro. § 3, ’Recipients and Probable Date.’
33. Companions] i.e, voluntary partners and sympathisers with those who suffered: cp. Hebrews 6:10.
34. RV ’had compassion on them that were in bonds.’ This is the better attested reading, though the other has good support. In yourselves] It is possible to render, ’Knowing that ye have your own selves for a better possession,’ a similar thought to that in Luke 9:25; Luke 21:19 RV, and in Hebrews 10:39.
35. Recompence of reward] cp. the other aspect of ’just recompence’ in Hebrews 2:2.
37. A quotation from Habakkuk 2:3-4, with the addition of the introductory clause ’yet a little while,’ reminiscent of Isaiah 26:20. In Habakkuk the idea is that steadfast adherence to God is needed by the righteous man in view of the perplexing anomalies visible at present in God’s method of providence. Here the idea is much the same; the Coming of the Lord being regarded as the chief ground why Christians should not draw back, and so fail to enter upon the promised inheritance.
38. The just] RV ’my righteous one.’ The Speaker is God.
39. But we] The writer is unwilling to believe that his readers will abandon their faith: cp. Hebrews 6:9. The saving] lit. ’gaining,’ or ’winning’: see on Hebrews 10:34.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 10". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany