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1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
Ver. 1. A Shadow of good things, &c. ] That is, of Christ, saith one. When the sun is behind, the shadow is before; when the sun is before, the shadow is behind. So was it in Christ to them of old. This Sun was behind, and therefore the law or shadow was before; to us under grace the Sun is before, and so now the ceremonies of the law, these shadows, are behind, yea, vanished away.
2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
Ver. 2. No more conscience of sin ] Christ, though he took not away death, yet he did the sting of death; so though he took not away sin, yet he did the guilt of sin.
3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
Ver. 3. Made of sins every year ] A solemn confession of them, and what great need they had of a Saviour to expiate them, laying their hands on the head of the sacrifice, in token that they had in like sort deserved to be destroyed.
4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
Ver. 4. Should take away sins ] And so pacify conscience; for sin is to the conscience as a mote to the eye, as a dagger to the heart, 2 Samuel 24:10 , as an adder’s sting to the flesh, Proverbs 23:32 .
5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
Ver. 5. But a body hast thou prepared ] A metaphor from mechanics, who do artificially fit one part of their work to another, and so finish the whole, κατηρτισω . God fitted his Son’s body to be joined with the Deity, and to be an expiatory sacrifice for sin.
6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
Ver. 6. Thou hast had no pleasure ] viz. As in the principal service and satisfaction for sin.
7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
Ver. 7. Lo, I come ] As an obedient servant bored through the ear, Exodus 21:6 ; Psalms 40:6-7 , wise and willing to be obsequious. Servus est nomen officii, a servant is the master’s instrument, and ολως εκεινου , saith Aristotle, wholly at his beck and obedience.
It is written of me ] Christ is author, object, matter, and mark of Old and New Testament. Therefore if we will profit thereby, we must have the eyes of our minds turned toward Christ, as the faces of the cherubims were toward the mercy seat.
8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein ; which are offered by the law;
Ver. 8. Which are offered by the law ] To the great cost and charge of the offerers. This we are freed from, and are required no more than to cover God’s altar with the calves of our lips.
9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
Ver. 9. Lo, I come ] True obedience is prompt and present, ready and speedy, without shucking and hucking, without delays and consults, Psalms 119:60 .
He taketh away the first ] Clear consequences drawn from Scripture, are sound doctrine,Matthew 22:32; Matthew 22:32 . See Trapp on " Mat 22:32 "
10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all .
Ver. 10. By the which will ] That is, by the execution of which will, by the obedience of Christ to his heavenly Father.
11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
Ver. 11. Take away sin ] Separando auferre, sunder it from the soul, strike a parting blow betwixt them, περιελειν , Undique tollere.
12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
Ver. 12. But this man ] Opposed to the plurality of Levitical priests. One sacrifice, and once for ever, not many and often, as they. And he sat down, when as they stood daily offering oftentimes. Note the antithesis, and Christ’s precellency.
On the right hand of God ] Which he could not have done if he had not expiated our sins. John 16:10 , "Of righteousness, because I go to my Father." He could not have gone to his Father if he had not first fulfilled all righteousness, and fully acquitted us of all our iniquities.
13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
Ver. 13. Expecting till his enemies ] Admire and imitate his patience. The God of peace shall tread Satan and the rest under our feet shortly, Romans 16:20 .
14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
Ver. 14. He hath perfected ] tie would not off the cross till all was finished.
15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,
Ver. 15. The Holy Ghost also witnesseth ] viz. By inspiring the pemnen, 2 Timothy 3:16 , acting and carrying them into all truth, 2 Timothy 2:25 , as it were by a holy violence, φερομενοι .
16 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 in their minds will I write them;
Ver. 16. I will put my laws ] See Trapp on " Heb 8:10 "
17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
Ver. 17. Will I remember no more ] Therefore there needs not any repetition of a sacrifice for sin in the New Testament.
18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
Ver. 18. Where remission of sin is ] viz. An impletory remission, as now in the New Testament, not a promissory, as under the Old.
19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
Ver. 19. To enter into the holiest ] viz. By our prayers, which pierce heaven and prevail with God.
20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
Ver. 20. By a new ] Fresh, and as effectual at all times as if Christ were but newly sacrificed for us. Tam recens mihi nunc Christus est, ac si hac hora fudisset sanguinem, saith Luther. Christ is even now as fresh to me as if this very hour he had shed his precious blood. προσφατον , Recens mactatus.
Which he hath consecrated, or new made for us ] Paradise had a way out, but none that ever we could find in again. Heaven hath now a way in ( sc. this new and living, or life giving, way, a milky way to us, a bloody way to Christ), but no way out again.
Through the veil, that is; his flesh ] Whereby we come to God, dwelling bodily therein. Like as where I see the body of a man, there I know his soul is also, because they are not severed; so is it here. The veil or curtain in the sanctuary did hide the glory of the holy of holies; and withal ministered an entrance into it for the high priest.
21 And having an high priest over the house of God;
Ver. 21. Over the house of God ] As Jehoiadah was over the temple, presided and commanded there, 2 Kings 2:5 . All power is given to Christ both in heaven and earth, for our behoof and benefit.
22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
Ver. 22. Let us draw near ] Come, for the Master calleth,Mark 10:49; Mark 10:49 .
With a true heart ] That is, with a heart truly and entirely given up to God, uprightly propounding God’s service in prayer, and that out of a filial affection, delighting to do his will, and therefore well content to wait, or, if God see good, to want what it wisheth, desirous rather that God’s will be done than our own, and that he may be glorified though we be not gratified; acknowledging the kingdom, power, and glory to be his alone. This is a true heart.
In full assurance of faith ] πληροφορια . Not with a quarter or half wind, but with full assurance, such a gale of faith as fills the sails of the soul, and makes it set up its top-gallant, as it were.
Having our hearts sprinkled, &c. ] Faith ever purgeth from sin, and worketh repentance from dead works.
23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
Ver. 23. Without wavering ] Gr. ακλινη , without tilting or tossing to one side or other. This amounts to more than that conjectural confidence of the Popish dubitanei, and that common faith that holds men in suspense, and hangs between heaven and earth as a meteor.
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
Ver. 24. And let us consider ] Christians must study one another’s cases, the causes and cure of their spiritual distempers, solicitous of their welfare.
To provoke unto love ] To whet on, as Deuteronomy 6:7 , to sharpen and extimulate, as Proverbs 27:17 , to rouse and raise up their dull spirits, as 2 Peter 2:13 , to set an edge on one another, as boars whet their tusks one against another, saith Nazianzen, ως υων οδοντες αλληλους θηξαντες. ~
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is ; but exhorting one another : and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Ver. 25. Not forsaking ] Schism is the very cutting asunder of the very veins and arteries of the mystical body of Christ. We may not separate, but in case of intolerable persecution, heresy, idolatry, and Antichristianism.
The assembling of ourselves together ] επισυναγωγη , in Church assemblies and Christian meetings, as ever we look for comfort at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together (the same word as here) unto him,2 Thessalonians 2:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:1 ; the day whereof approacheth, as in this text. Christ will come shortly to see what work we make in this kind.
As the manner of some is ] It was then, it was afterwards, and is still in these siding and separating times. The Donatists made a horrible schism for the life of Caecilian. So did various others for the pride and profaneness of Paulus Samosatenus. But never was there any schism so causeless and senseless as that of our modern sectaries.
26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
Ver. 26. For if we sin wilfully ] Against the grace of the gospel, despising and despiting it, as those that fall into the unpardonable sin. Some good souls by mistakes of this text have been much afflicted, as Master John Glover. Other odious apostates have utterly despaired. Others of the ancients have unworthily cashiered this Epistle out of the canon, because of this passage.
There remaineth no more sacrifice ] For sins against the law, though against knowledge there was an atonement, Leviticus 6:1 , though it were for perjury; but for this sin against the gospel, that repudiates the remedy, there is no sacrifice; abused mercy turns into fury.
27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
Ver. 27. Fearful looking for ] Though judgment be not speedily executed, yet it is certainly to be expected. Winter never rots in the air, or dies in the dam’s belly, as they say. Could but men foresee what an evil and a bitter thing sin is, they durst not but be innocent.
28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
Ver. 28. He that despised ] i.e. He that with a high hand violated it, or fell into any capital crime, and it came to light, died without mercy. As for those heinous offences, that not being discovered, and sufficiently proved, came not under the Judge’s cognizance, the Lord, for the easing of men’s consciences, and for the saving of their lives, appointed the yearly feast of expiations, Leviticus 16:29 .
29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
Ver. 29. Who hath trodden under foot ] Respecting him no more than the vilest and filthiest dirt in the street, or the most abject thing iu the world, as Ambrose expounds it; he disdains to receive benefit by Christ’s propitiatory and expiatory sacrifice, he would not if he might, he is so Satanized. King Henry VI, going against Richard Duke of York (that ambitious rebel), offered them a general pardon. (Speed, 898.) This was rejected by them, and called "A staff of reed," or "glass-buckler." In Ket’s conspiracy, when King Edward VI’s pardon was offered to the rebels by a herald, a lewd boy turned toward him his naked posteriors, and used words suitable to that gesture. (Sir John Hayward.) Desperate apostates deal as coarsely with Christ; they hold him for a scorn, as an offender that is carted,Hebrews 6:6; Hebrews 6:6 .
The blood of the covenant ] That is, the blood of Christ, whereby the covenant is sealed, the Church purchased, the atonement procured, and heaven opened for our more happy entrance.
Wherewith he was sanctified ] By external profession, and by participation of the sacraments.
An unholy thing ] Gr. A common profane thing, as if it were the blood of a common thief, or unhallowed person, yea, or of a dead dog. In the Passover they sprinkled the door and lintel with blood, but not the threshold, to teach them that they must not tread upon the blood of Jesus, as they do in a high degree that sin against the Holy Ghost.
And hath done despite, &c. ] Spitting at him their hellish venom, persecuting and blaspheming his immediate effect, work, and office; and this out of desperate malice and desire of revenge, without any colour of cause or measure of dislike. One that had committed this sin, wished that his wife and children and all the world might be damned together with him.
30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
Ver. 30. I will recompense ] And if God will avenge his elect,Luke 18:7; Luke 18:7 , how much more his Son and his Spirit!
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Ver. 31. It is a fearful thing ] For who knoweth the power of his anger? even according to thy fear is thy wrath,Psalms 90:11; Psalms 90:11 . A melancholy man can fancy vast and terrible fears, fire, sword, racks, strappadoes, scalding lead, boiling pitch, running bell metal, and this to all eternity; yet all these are nothing to that wrath of God which none can either avoid or abide.
32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;
Ver. 32. But call to remembrance ] q.d. You cannot utterly fall away, as those above mentioned; forasmuch as you have given good proof already of the reality of your graces.
After ye were illuminated ] Till they had a sight of heaven they could not suffer; but no sooner out of the water of baptism, but they were presently in the fire of persecution.
33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.
Ver. 33. Made a gazing-stock ] Gr. θεατριζομενοι , set upon a theatre; take it either properly, or metaphorically, both befell Christians. See1 Corinthians 4:9; 1 Corinthians 4:9 .
Ye became companions of them ] Sympathy hath a strange force; as we see in the strings of an instrument; which being played upon (as they say), the strings of another instrument are also moved with it. (Dr Sibbs.) After love hath once kindled love, then the heart being melted is fit to receive any impression. Two spirits warmed with the same heat, will easily solder together.
34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.
Ver. 34. For ye had compassion ] Gr. Ye sympathized. See Trapp on " Heb 10:33 "
And took joyfully ] The joy of the Lord was their strength, as it was theirs, Acts 5:41 , who took it for a grace to be disgraced for Christ.
The spoiling of their goods ] If a heathen could say when he saw a sudden shipwreck of all his wealth, Well, Fortune, I see thou wouldest not have me to be a philosopher; should not we, when called to give up our treasures, say, Well, I see that God would have me to lay up treasure in heaven, that is subject neither to vanity nor violence
Knowing in yourselves ] Not in others, in books, &c., but in your own experience and apprehension, in the workings of your own hearts.
That ye have in heaven ] When we lose anything for God, he seals us a bill of exchange of better things, or a double return. He will recompense our losses, as the king of Poland did his noble servant Zelislaus; having lost his hand in his wars, he sent him a golden hand. These Hebrews had lost their goods, but not their God. Here is the dry rod blossoming.
35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
Ver. 35. Cast not away your confidence ] Since it is your shield and buckler, Ephesians 6:16 ; but if battered with temptations, beat it out again. Demosthenes was branded with the name of Ριψασπις , one that had lost his buckler.
36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
Ver. 36. For ye have need of patience ] Whereas they might object, But where is this recompense you tell us of? Oh, saith he, you have need of patience to wait God’s time of recompense. Good men find it oft more easy to bear evil than to wait till the promised good be enjoyed. The spoiling of their goods required patience, but this more than ordinary.
That after ye have done the will of God ] viz. By suffering it, and longsuffering, till he reward it.
37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
Ver. 37. For yet a little while ] Tantillum, tantillum, adhuc pusillum. A little, little, little while, ετι γαο μικρον οσον, οσον . God’s help seems long, because we are short. Were we but ripe, he is full ready. Hence this ingemination, "he that shall come, will come," &c., q.d. he will, he will, his mind is always upon it, he is still a coming to deliver. With this sweet promise Rev. Mr Whatley comforted himself a little before his death. And Bishop Jewel, persuading many to patience, oft said, haec non durabunt aetatem, this is but for awhile. (Mr Leigh’s Annotat.)
38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
Ver. 38. Now the just shall live by faith ] In the want of feeling; he shall rest upon God in the fail of outward comforts, as the believing Jews were to do in the Babylonish captivity, Habakkuk 2:4 , quoted here by the apostle, though with some variation of words.
But if any man draw back ] Gr. υτοστειληται . Steal from his colours, run from his captain, revolt from Christ, turn renegade, relinquishing his religion, as did Julian, Lucian, and other odious apostates.
My soul shall have no pleasure ] Christ hath no delights in dastards, turn-coats, run-a-ways, he will not employ them so far as to break a pitcher, or bear a torch, Judges 7:7 . Baldwin the French lawyer, that had religionem ephemeram, as Beza said of him, for every day a new religion, being constant to none, became Deo hominibusque quos toties fefellerat invisus, hated of God and men, whom he had so oft mocked. Theodoric, an Arian king, did exceedingly affect a certain deacon, although an orthodox. This deacon thinking to ingratiate, and get preferment, became an Arian. Which when the king understood, he changed his love into hatred, and caused the head to be struck from him, affirming that if he kept not his faith to God, what duty could any one expect from him? (Melch. Adam.)
39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
Ver. 39. Who draw back unto ] Apostates have martial law, they run away but into hell’s mouth. A worse condition they cannot likely choose onto themselves; for they are miserable by their own election, John 2:8 , and are wholly destined to utter destruction. Transfugas arboribus suspendunt, saith Tacitus of the old Germans; they hang up run-a-ways. And transfugas, ubicunque inventi fuerint, quasi testes interficere licet, saith the civil law. Run-a-ways are to be received as enemies, and to be killed wherever they be found.
To the saving of the soul ] Gr. εις πεοιποιησιν ψυχης , to the giving of the soul. A metaphor from merchants, who either get more or lose what they have; or else haply from gamesters, who keep a stake in store, however the world go with them.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 10". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25