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Bible Commentaries

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Hebrews 10

Verse 1

Heb 10:1. 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 verse 4.)

Verse 2

Heb 10:2. Had those sacrifices been complete (of themselves or by their own virtue) they would have ceased to be offered. When a devoted Hebrew 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

Heb 10:3. 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

Heb 10:4. 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 describes the sin offerings under the Mosaic system that were required of various Hebrews who had sinned. Verses 20, 26, 31 and 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. 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. Verse 30 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? Chapter 9 and verse 3 of that book says, "And the Lord said unto him, I 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 whatever 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

Heb 10:5. 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 (Gal 3:16-19), 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 (Joh 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

Heb 10:6. 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

Heb 10:7. Then said I (Christ), in the volume of the book it is written of me. Christ knew that the Old Testa-men 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, 0 God.

Verse 8

Heb 10:8. This verse is mostly an exnlanation or repetition of the pre-ceding 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

Heb 10:9. The forepart of this verse is a repetition of verse 7. 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

Heb 10:10. 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

Heb 10:11. This is explained by the comments at verse 4.

Verse 12

Heb 10:12. This man refers to Christ, and for ever means His sacrifice would be permanent and would not have to be repeated as did those of the old law.

Verse 13

Heb 10:13. From henceforth expecting signifies that He expects to remain on the right hand of God till his enemies are made his footstool. (1Co 15:25-26.)

Verse 14

Heb 10:14. This is equivalent to chapter 9:26; and verse 12 in this chapter.

Verse 15

Heb 10:15. 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

Heb 10:16-17. This makes specific reference to one of the Old Testament predictions, and it is to be found in Jer 31:31-33, which is explained at chapter 8:8-13.

Verse 18

Heb 10:18. See the comments at verse 3.

Verse 19

Heb 10:19. 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

Heb 10:20. This new and living way through the vail is explained by the comments at chapter 9:8. It is living in that it need not be repeated.

Verse 21

Heb 10:21. 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

Heb 10:22. 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 assurance of faith). The heart and conscience are the inner and invisible part of man, 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 (Exo 29:21). Our bodies are literal and hence they are literally washed in the water of baptism. Pure water has no reference to the subject 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).

Verse 23

Heb 10:23. 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

Heb 10:24. To provoke means to induce or stimulate others to do that which is good. We should do this by exhortation and that will require the following verse.

Verse 25

Heb 10:25. Forsaking is from ECKATA-LEIPO, 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 other scriptural gathering of the church. Mal 3:16 is clearly a prediction of conditions to exist in the dispensation of Christ, and it says "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 truly be said to be "often." The day firSt refers to the day when the city of Jerusalem was to be destroyed. which was then near at hand. At that time a general disturbance was expected when many opnortunities for assembling would be hindered and in some places would be completely im possible. 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" (Rom 13:11).

Verse 26

Heb 10:26. 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 Heb 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 may look (Gal 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

Heb 10:27. 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 abandon-ing them to the regions of endless destruction.

Verse 28

Heb 10:28. To despise means to dis-respect and refuse to obey. The punishment for disobeying the law of Moses in extreme cases was death without mercy (Num 35:30; Deu 17:5-6).

Verse 29

Heb 10:29. 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 any 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" (2Pe 2:9). All of the wrongs mentioned in the rest of this verse may be charged against the Judaizers, because they have trodden under foot the Son of God. They did so by rejecting Him and going back to the sacrifices that were offered under the law. Blood of the covenant refers to the blood of Christ because it was shed to make good all the promises God made to the descendants of Abraham. To reject it and go back to the sacrifices for salvation is equivalent to counting it an unholy thing in that it implies that it is no better than the blood of animals. Spirit of grace is a phrase signifying the New Testament since it is the final system under the favor of God. and it was given through the means of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 30

Heb 10:30. Paul cites a statement of God recorded in Deuterony 32:34-36, in regard to the determination of God to judge (execute punishment) the people who reject His terms of mercy.

Verse 31

Heb 10:31. All men and all things are ever in the hands of God in a general sense, and hence cannot fall into His hands. The verse therefore has a special meaning which is related to the mediation of Christ. There is no being in the universe who is between God and man but Christ, by whom man may escape the judgment mentioned in the preceding verse. Hence if a man repudiates Christ (as the Judaizers were doing), he deprives himself of any intercessor, and must take his chances with an avenging God who has declared vengeance against all who are not pardoned by the blood of Christ.

Verse 32

Heb 10:32. Illuminated means to be enlightened by the Gosnel. Soon after these people became Christians they were persecuted by the unbelivers of both Jews and Gentiles. Paul terms this experience with afflictions as a fight, and of course it would be a "fight of faith" (1Ti 6:12).

Verse 33

Heb 10:33. Made a gazingstock denotes an exhibition of something for people to gaze at with contempt. By reproaches and afflictions the enemy drew attention to the Christians with the result that they were made light of. Some did not personally have this experience, but they associated with and showed friendship for those who did, and thus brought unon themselves the same kind of reproaches.

Verse 34

Heb 10:34. Paul was a prisoner in chains for the sake of the Gospel, but these disciples manifested sympathy for him and thus invited the darts of the enemies. As a punishment for their manifestation of faith, they were forced to submit to the spoiling (plundering) of their possessions. They did not even fret about such losses because they believed there were better riches awaiting them in Heaven.

Verse 35

Heb 10:35. Confidence means strong assurance which prompts one to face danger or affliction on behalf of the truth. The reward will be great in the end.

Verse 36

Heb 10:36. Patience is the same as perseverance, and it is manifested by those who continue to have confidence. We need not expect to receive the fulfillment of God's promises unless we first do the will of the Lord.

Verse 37

Heb 10:37. Little while Is comparative, for the endless term of the reward will make even centuries of waiting seem but a short time.

Verse 38

Heb 10:38. Live by faith agrees with the idea of persevering on the strength of our faith. Draw back means to hesitate or shrink from going forward against afflictions.

Verse 39

Heb 10:39. But we are not, etc. In placing himself with them the apostle regards them in a favorable light. It is true that many of the Hebrews had remained true. However, many others had gone backward, and others were in danger of doing so on account of the Judaizers among them. That made it necessary for the apostle to warn them repeatedly against the disastrous results of faltering.
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Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Hebrews 10". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/hebrews-10.html. 1952.