Bible Commentaries

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Hebrews 10


Questions For Hebrews Chapter Ten

1.What did the law have?

2.What did it not have?

3.Thus what could it not do with its sacrifices?

4.When were they offered?

5.Were they regular or irregular?

6.In what case would they have ceased to be offered?

7.For what would it have done for the conscience?

8.What is made in those sacrifices every year?

9.Were they remembered against them ?

10.What is not possible as to blood of animals?

11.Then why offer them?

12.Who came into the world, verse five?

13.What body is meant in this verse?

14.Tell one reason God ceased to receive sacrifices.

15.For what purpose did Jesus come to the world?

16.Had this ever been prophesied?

17.Identify the first and second; 9th verse.

18.With which were animal sacrifices connected?

19.Wonld retaining this also retain sacrifices?

20.How would this affect teaching of Judaizers?

21.What will must be received to obtain Christ?

22.Compare this thought with Galatians 5:4.

23.How oft were those sacrifices offered?

24.Explain verse11in light Leviticus 4:20; Leviticus 4:31; Leviticus 4:35.

25.Who is "this Prayer of Manasseh," verse12?

26.What is the one sacrifice mentioned here?

27.From henceforth expecting; from where?

28.Is a thing expected always in the future ?

29.How long is this to be expected?

30. By what is he to accomplish this triumph ?

31.Who are made perfect by this one offering?

32.Can anything perfect be improved?

33.What about adding O. T. sacrifices to Christ?

34.Would teaching of Judaizers imply this?

35.What testimony does sacrmce of Christ have?

36.Can this sacrifice and N. "f. be separated?

37.What spirit gave testimany of16th verse?

38.What does he say he will not remember?

39.Does he say not remember agamst them any more?

40.What would remission pnt a stop to?

41.Continuance of offering would imply what?

42.How would this refiect as tQ Christ?

43.What gave boldness mentioned19th verse?

44.When did his flesh pierce through the veil?

45.What doctrine would close the veil again?

46.In what special sense have we an high priest?

47.Let us draw near to what, verse19?

48.How can we draw near such a place?

49.By what are our hearts sprinkled?

50.In what were our bodies washed?

51.Explain "pure water" in light Numbers 19:1-22.

52.What should we hold fast?

53.Would this require dropping O. T. sacrifices?

54.How is "provoke" used in a good sense?

55.Not forsaking what?

56.In this assembly what sacrifice is present?

57.FQrsaking assembling is forsaking whom?

58.What is to be done while assembling?

59.When will assembling be ended?

60.Can we "see" that day with the eye of faith?

61.Would the coming day be ground for exhortation?

62.How serious is sin of rejecting Christ wilfully?

63.What false teachers were dQing this?

64.What is it that remains not for such?

65.Does this mean that Christ is done away?

66.Would one still be permitted to return ro Christ?

67. If he does not to what must he look?

68. State fate of one despising Moses" law.

69. Can anything worse than umnerciful death happen here?

70. What law will impose such punishment?

71.Will it not have to CQme after death?

72.Does this agree with idea of consciQus punishment?

73.Who had troclden uncler foot Son of God?

74. What is here said to be a fearful thing?

75.Were these brethren always as wayward as now?

76.What had indicated the strength of their faith?

77.What was needed to hold them to the faith?

78.By what shall the just live?

79. Contrast this with living by law of Moses.

80. Who are included in "my soul" in the38th verse?

Verse 1

The difference between shadow and very image is the same as between type and antitype, or between form and substance. The sacrificial system under the law was a figure of the one under Christ. Can never . . . make . . . perfect which means complete. (See the comments at verse4.)

Verse 2

Had those sacrifices been complete (of themselves or by their own virtue) they would have ceased to be offered. When a devoted Hebrews - brew nation had made one full program of atonement for sin, it would have been permanent and would not have to be repeated. Such a conclusion is logical, and it should have convinced the Judaizers that something was to come in the place of those institutions.

Verse 3

Remembrance again made. But it does NOT SAY that the sins were remembered against them as it is so frequently expressed, Every year when the national atonement day arrived, the nation had a public and formal reminder of sin by the entrance of their high priest into the most holy place with the blood of atonement. Contrary to that, our High Priest entered once and forever into the presence of God with the blood of the New Covenant, and it has never had to be repeated.

Verse 4

It is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins. Any explanation of a passage that contradicts another plain one is bound to be wrong, for the Bible does not contradict itself. To say that sins were not forgiven under the Old Testament is a contradiction of the following. Leviticus 4:1-35 describes the sin offerings under the Mosaic system that were required of various Hebrews who had sinned. Verses20, 26, 31,35 state these persons are to offer these sacrifices for sin, and in each case after doing it the passage plainly declares, "And it shall be forgiven him." Perhaps someone replies that it does not say they were to be forgiven then. Well, we will consider another place in the Old Testament, namely, 1 Kings 8:1-66. After the temple was completed, Solomon offered a prayer on behalf of the people in which he asked God to forgive them upon their prayer to Him. Verse30 makes it definite as to when the forgiveness was to take place, for it says, "When they shall pray toward this place; hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and when thou hearest, forgive." This is very definite; when they prayed was the time God was to hear and when He heard was the time the forgiveness was to be granted. But was this prayer of Solomon granted? Chapter9 and verse3of that book says, "And the Lord said unto him, have heard thy prayer and thy supplication that thou hast made before me." That settles the point that sins were actually forgiven under the Old Testament times.

This is another place where we should remember the main subject of this book. The Judaizers were insisting on the permanence of the old law and its ordinances of religious service. They thought that the benefits to be obtained from those performances were by reason of the virtue of those things and hence that they were good enough to be continued. Were Paul to write an epistle to many disciples and others today, he would use the same argument about baptism and the other items of service to Christ, He would say that it is impossible for baptism and the other formalities of the Gospel to take away sin. Indeed, the denominational world actually does see that and that only with reference to the ordinances. They will say "there is no salvation in water," and that is true in the same sense that the blood of animals could not take away sins. No, the saving virtue is in the blood of Christ and it is the purchasing power for salvation on behalf of mankind in what ever age he lives. But He will not apply that blood to any man unless he has enough faith in the Lord to do whatever he is told to do. That may be the command to offer animal sacrifices or be baptized, depending on what age he is under. Hence in any of the dispensations that God has placed among men, all who will do whatever they are told to do, will be forgiven on the strength of the blood of Christ. The virtue is in the blood is why it never had to be repeated.

Verse 5

The two pronouns he and the one me refer to Christ, and the two pronouns thou stand for God. When Christ was ready to come into the world He knew it was to fulfill the promise made to Abraham ( Galatians 3:1619), also that He was to make of himself a sacrifice to replace the animal sacrifices of the old law. Yes, Christ existed before he was born of the virgin ( John 8:58), and hence when God made the promise to Abraham, He made it also to Christ. (See the passages in Galatians referred to above.) The coming of Christ into the world by way of the virgin birth was therefore voluntary on His part, in the spirit of obedience to his Father. He also knew that a spiritual body could not die, and hence that a fleshly body would be needed. That is why it was said that God had prepared a body for Him, to be produced within the fleshly body of the virgin and consisting of one that could be made to die.

Verse 6

This verse represents Christ as explaining why the plan was needed referred to in the preceding verse, namely, that God no longer was pleased with burnt offerings offered under the law.

Verse 7

Then said I (Christ), in the rolume of the book it is written of me. Christ knew that the Old Testamen predicted His coming into the world as a sacrifice for sins. The great respect Christ had for the Father, also for the majesty of the ancient writings, induced Him to cooperate in the great plan. That is why He said, I come to do thy will, O God.

Verse 8

This verse is mostly an explanation or repetition of the preceding ones, to the effect that the displeasure of God was concerning the sacrifices of the law. Of course it should be understood that such a condition of mind came after those sacrifices had served the divine purposes.

Verse 9

The forepart of this verse is a repetition of verse7. The antecedent of first is will, referring to the old will or covenant consisting of the ordinances of the Mosaic law. God took away the first one that He might establish the second. He never had two systems of religion in force at the same time for the same people. This verse is a complete refutation of the Sabbatarian heresy even if there did not exist a single other passage on the subject.

Verse 10

By the which will means that by the second will or system of salvation, we are sanctified (or consecrated) through the body of Christ, (not that of animals).

Verse 11

This is explained by the comments at verse4 ( Hebrews 10:4).

Verse 12

This man refers to Christ, and forever means His sacrifice would be permanent and would not have to be repeated as did those of the old law.

Verse 13

From henceforth expecting signifies that He expects to remain on the right hand of God till his enemies are made his footstool. ( 1 Corinthians 15:25-26.)

Verse 14

This is equivalent to Hebrews 9:26; and verse12in this chapter ( Hebrews 10:12).

Verse 15

Holy Ghost (or Spirit) also is a witness to us. The prophets of the Old Testament and the apostles of the New were all inspired by this Spirit.

Verse 16-17

This makes specific reference to one of the Old Testament predictions, and it is to be found in Jeremiah 31:31-33, which is explained at Hebrews 8:8-13.

Verse 18

See the comments at verse3 ( Hebrews 10:3).

Verse 19

Boldness does not mean a spirit of forwardness but rather one of strong confidence. Enter into the holiest. Not literally but by faith through the merits of the blood of Jesus Christ.

Verse 20

This new and living way. . . through the veil is explained by the comments at Hebrews 9:8. It is living in that it need not be repeated.

Verse 21

This verse shows one of the likenesses between the two systems in that each had the services of a high priest. The distinction is the truth that Christ is over the house of God which is said in the sense of the church and Heaven.

Verse 22

Draw near. The nearest the people of the first priesthood could get to the most holy place was by way of or near the vail. Likewise Christians may get very near the throne of God (by the full assu-rance of faith). The heart and conscience are the inner and invisible part of Prayer of Manasseh, hence we know that sprinkled is used figuratively and means to be cleansed spiritually. The figure is drawn from the fact that the blood was actually sprinkled on men to consecrate them for the priesthood under the old law ( Exodus 29:21). Our bodies are literal and hence they are literally washed in the water of baptism. Pure water has no reference to the subiect of sanitary conditions. The word means "unmixed" and is a contrast from the water of purification used under the law. That water was mixed with the ashes of an animal ( Numbers 19:1-22).

Verse 23

Hold fast means to be faithful to the end. He is faithful denotes that the Lord is always true and makes His promises good.

Verse 24

To provoke means to induce or stimulate others to do that which is good. We should ab this by exhortation and that will require the following verse.

Verse 25

Forsaking is from EGKATALEIPO, which Thayer defines, "To abandon, desert, to leave in straits, leave helpless; leave in the lurch." The word does not refer to those who are "irregular in attendance" or who "just come occasionally." (There are other scriptures which take care of such delinquents.) But it means those who remain away from the assemblies so long that they can no longer be considered as a part of the group. Assembling of ourselves together. This does not apply to any one of the public gatherings of Christians any more than it does to another. The assembling to have the Lord"s Supper is included in the passage, but it does not apply to that any more than to any another scriptural gathering of the church. Malachi 3:16 is clearly a prediction of conditions to exist in the dispensation of Christ, and it savs "Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another." They cannot do this unless they are together, and coming together once a week cannot trulv be said to be "often." The day first refers to the day when the citv of Jerusalem was to be destroyed, which was then near at hand. At that time a general disturbance was expected when manv opportunities for assembling would be hindered and in some places would be completely impossible. Since that event is now past, the day means the judgment day when all opportunities for Christian assembling will be forever ended on earth. We can see the day approaching by faith, for each day brings us "One day nearer our Father's house than ever we've been before" ( Romans 13:11).

Verse 26

Sin wilfully means to sin deliberately or purposely, in contrast with that committed incidentally or through weakness. No more sacrifice does NOT SAY there is no more chance of forgiveness. Jesus taught that all manner of sins would be forgiven except that against the Holy Spirit. This passage is in the same class or principle as Hebrews 6:4-6, in that it mentions that the persons had received the knowledge of the truth. The point is that Christ made one sacrifice for sin and will make no other. If this one is repudiated there is no other to which we can look as the Hebrews could in the Mosaic system. Those sacrifices were repeated over and over again and after every transgression the guilty ones could look forward to another sacrifice. If we reject the one in Christ there will be no one and nothing else to which we mav look ( Galatians 5:4). But that does not say we cannot change our mind and return to the sacrifice that is still available for all who will receive it on the Lord"s terms.

Verse 27

If we do not return to Christ then we must look for that which is fearful, namely, the judgment of God at which He will exhibit fiery indignation.. Devour is from a word that literally means to eat. However, we do not eat that which we dislike, hence the thought is that God will dispose of these adversaries by abandoning them to the regions of endless destruction.

Verse 28

To despise means to disrespect and refuse to obey. The punishment for disobeying the law of Moses in extreme cases was death without mercy ( Numbers 35:30; Deuteronomy 17:5-6).

Verse 29

The law of Christ is so much more final and far-reaching that the violation of it deserves a much sorer (worse) punishment than an unmerciful death of the body. But since such a punishment as that is the most severe of anv that can be imposed on a human being in this world. the sorer punishment will have to wait until the next world to be inflicted. That is why the unjust are to be "reserved unto the day of judgment to be punished"

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Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Hebrews 10". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. 1952.