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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Hebrews 5

 

 


Other Authors
Verses 1-3

The High Priest Must Be a Prayer of Manasseh - The first point in proving Jesus Christ is qualified to become our Great High Priest is that a high priest for men must come from among men so that the priest can sympathize with men ( Hebrews 5:1-3). Jesus qualifies because He partook of flesh and blood ( Hebrews 2:14; Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 4:15).

Hebrews 2:14, "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that Isaiah , the devil;"

Hebrews 2:17, "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people."

Hebrews 4:15, "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."

Hebrews 5:1 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:

Hebrews 5:1 — "For every high priest taken from among men" - Comments- The benefits and weaknesses of the priesthood of men will be now compared to the superior priesthood of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 5:1"is ordained for men" - Comments- These men are appointed priests "in behalf of men." The high priest made atonement for the sins of men.

Hebrews 5:1 — "in things pertaining to God" - Comments- Theirs is a divine work, dedicated to spiritual matters.

Hebrews 5:1"that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices" - Comments- "gifts" - Wuest says the Greek word δωρον is a reference to "gifts in general." 212] Thayer says it is generally used for the Hebrew word ( קרבן) in the LXX. Holladay says this Hebrew word refers to offerings and gifts in the most general sense. The Greek word δωρον is also used for ( שחד) and ( םנחה).

212] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest's Word Studies From the Greek New Testament for the English Reader, vol 2 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, c 1973, 1977), 96.

"sacrifices" - Wuest says the Greek word θυσια is a reference to "blood sacrifices." 213] Thayer says it means, "a sacrifice, a victim," and its Hebrew equivalent is ( םנחה) and ( זבח). Holladay says that ( זבח) refers to "a (communion) sacrifice" of an animal.

213] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest's Word Studies From the Greek New Testament for the English Reader, vol 2 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, c 1973, 1977), 96.

The phrase "gifts and sacrifices" serves to summarize all categories of offerings under the Mosaic Law, describing those who brought thanksgiving offerings and those who came to atone for their sins.

Hebrews 5:2 Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.

Hebrews 5:2 — "Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way" - Comments - There were two ways to sin under the Law. Men transgressed the Mosaic Law either through ignorance or through willful disobedience due to deception.

"for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity" - Comments- Man's human spirit is "encompassed" about with a mortal, physical body. The human aspect of the divine priesthood is essential in order to serve with compassion. Jesus Christ qualifies in this aspect because of His humanity, as noted in Hebrews 4:15.

Hebrews 5:3 And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.

Hebrews 5:3 — "And by reason hereof" - Comments - The Greek text reads, " καὶ διʼ αὐτὴν." The near demonstrative pronoun αύ τῃ is used in the feminine gender and matches the feminine word ἀ σθέ νεια (infirmity) as its antecedent. Thus we read, "because of his weakness."

Hebrews 5:3"he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins" - Comments- Since a Levite priest was a Prayer of Manasseh , he had to deal with sin in his life, also. (Note Leviticus 4:3; Leviticus 9:7; Leviticus 16:6).

Leviticus 4:3, "If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering."

Leviticus 9:7, "And Moses said unto Aaron, Go unto the altar, and offer thy sin offering, and thy burnt offering, and make an atonement for thyself, and for the people: and offer the offering of the people, and make an atonement for them; as the LORD commanded."

Leviticus 16:6, "And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house."


Verses 1-10

Second Doctrinal Discourse: The Priesthood of Jesus Christ (Understanding His Office for Us) - In Hebrews 5:1-10 contains a doctrinal discourse with a brief introduction to the office of Jesus Christ as our Great High Priest since it is by His priesthood that we have access to God's throne of grace ( Hebrews 4:14-16). This passage briefly states that Jesus meets the two requirements of being High Priest, which are the necessity to be a man ( Hebrews 5:1-3), and the need to be called of God ( Hebrews 5:4-10).

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. The High Priest Must Be a Man — Hebrews 5:1-3

2. The High Priest Must Be Ordained by God — Hebrews 5:4-10


Verses 4-10

The High Priest Must be Ordained by God- The second point in proving Jesus Christ is qualified to become our Great High Priest is that the high priest must be ordained by God ( Hebrews 5:4-10). Jesus qualifies because He was made a high priest by God. Hebrews 5:4-10 explains that Jesus His prayers were heard because of His reverence for God, which was why He was obedient in suffering on the Cross, and it was why He was ordained a high priest. Since Jesus Christ was of tribe of Judah, and not of Levi, the priestly tribe, the writer of Hebrews is explaining why Jesus meets these requirements of being our High Priest.

Hebrews 5:4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.

Hebrews 5:4Comments- Aaron was called by God into the priesthood ( Exodus 28:1).

Exodus 28:1, "And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest"s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron"s sons."

Korah was not called and was judged for attempting to take this honour upon himself ( Numbers 16:6; Numbers 16:40).

Numbers 16:5, "And he spake unto Korah and unto all his company, saying, Even to morrow the LORD will shew who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him."

Numbers 16:40, "To be a memorial unto the children of Israel, that no stranger, which is not of the seed of Aaron, come near to offer incense before the LORD that he be not as Korah, and as his company: as the LORD said to him by the hand of Moses."

King Saul also took the office of the priest upon himself, and he paid the penalty for this sin ( 1 Samuel 13:9).

1 Samuel 13:9, "And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering."

King Uzziah also offered incense upon the altar and was struck with leprosy ( 2 Chronicles 26:16-21).

Note John 3:27, "John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven."

Hebrews 5:5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Song of Solomon , to day have I begotten thee.

Hebrews 5:5"So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest" - Scripture Reference- Note:

John 8:54, "Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:"

Hebrews 5:5"but he that said unto him, Thou art my Song of Solomon , to day have I begotten thee" - Comments- Hebrews 5:5 quotes from Psalm 2:7, which shows the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Psalm 2:7, "I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee."

Psalm 2:7 is quoted earlier in Hebrews 1:5 and also in Acts 13:33.

Hebrews 1:5, "For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Song of Solomon , this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?"

Acts 13:33, "God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second Psalm , Thou art my Song of Solomon , this day have I begotten thee."

Hebrews 5:6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

Hebrews 5:6 — "As he saith also in another place" - Comments- The author of Hebrews refers to Old Testament passages a number of times in this epistle as "a certain place" ( Hebrews 2:6; Hebrews 4:4) or "another place" ( Hebrews 5:6) or "in this (place) again" ( Hebrews 4:5). This is because there were no chapter or verse divisions during the first centuries of the Church, which were a later addition to the Holy Bible. Therefore, the author of Hebrews refers to these passages without a reference.

Hebrews 5:6 — "Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec" - Comments- Hebrews 5:6 is a quote from Psalm 110:4 :

Psalm 110:4, "The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek."

"Melchizedek" - The most thorough discussion of the person Melchizedek is in chapter 7 of Hebrews. Genesis 14:18-20 says that he was the King of Salem (considered to be Jerusalem). Also:

1. He was priest of the Most High God.

2. He blessed Abraham.

3. Abraham gave tithes of all to him.

"after the order of Melchizedek" - That Isaiah , "according to the nature of," or "just like" Melchizedek. Compared to the Levitical order, this order was not only of a higher rank, but also of an entirely different nature. The order of Melchisedec was according to an endless life ( Hebrews 7:16), no father, no mother, no genealogy, no beginning nor end of days.

Hebrews 7:16, "Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life."

Hebrews 5:5-6Comments - The Use of Two Old Testament Prophecies in Juxtaposition - David notes that Psalm 2:7 and Psalm 110:4 have never been used together in juxtaposition prior to the writing of the epistle of Hebrews. 214]

214] David L. Allen, "Class Lecture," Doctor of Ministry Seminar, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 25 July to 5 August 2011.

Hebrews 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

Hebrews 5:7 — "Who in the days of his flesh" - Comments- The phrase "who in the days of his flesh" is referring back to Jesus Christ, when He was on earth prior to His crucifixion. This phrase refers to a mortal body, which Jesus was encompassed with, as are all men, reflecting back upon the necessity of Jesus' humanity as a qualification of His high priesthood discussed in Hebrews 5:1-3

Hebrews 5:7 — "when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears" - Comments- This act of Jesus offering prayers and supplications unto God paints an image for the readers of this epistle of a Jewish priest entering the Temple offering the daily prayers of the people. We see Zechariah doing this priestly duty in Luke 1:5-25.

Perhaps the most moving prayer that Jesus ever prayed was in the Garden of Gethsemane. Illustration: God"s heart is moved when we pray most intensely and sincerely ( Psalm 34:18, Isaiah 66:2).

Psalm 34:18, "The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit."

Isaiah 66:2, "For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word."

Hebrews 5:7"unto Him that was able to save Him from death" - Comments- It was possible for God to save Jesus from the Cross, but it was not God"s will ( Matthew 26:39). Jesus knew God's will. Note Matthew 26:53.

Matthew 26:39, "And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."

Matthew 26:53, "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?"

Jesus not only died physically, but he was temporarily forsaken by God, thus a spiritual death. Note:

Psalm 16:10, "For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption."

Acts 2:27, "Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption."

Acts 13:35, "Wherefore he saith also in another Psalm , Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption."

Matthew 27:46, "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

Mark 15:34, "And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which Isaiah , being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

Ephesians 4:9-10, "(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)"

Hebrews 13:20, "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,"

1 Peter 3:19, "By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;"

1 Peter 4:6, "For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit."

It was not possible for Jesus to be held by the power of death:

Acts 2:24, "Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it."

Hebrews 5:7 — "and was heard in that he feared" - Comments- God heard His prayers.

Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Song of Solomon , yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

Hebrews 5:8Comments - Jesus Christ learned obedience by experience. We too learn obedience the same way. It is a choice that we make ( Philippians 3:10-11). However, we must distinguish between the experience of suffering and the decision in our heart to be obedience in its midst. It is not suffering in itself that brings us to maturity. Having lived for years in Africa, I have seen much needless suffering and death. However, it is our willingness to yield to God's will even though it brings hardship that brings us to perfection. Suffering without a path of obedience to follow is needless suffering.

Philippians 3:10-11, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

Hebrews 5:7-8Comments - Jesus' Prayer for Deliverance - God the Father heard Jesus' prayer to be delivered from the suffering of Calvary. God could have delivered Him from this cruel death; yet, God's will was for Jesus to suffer on the Cross. In a similar manner, Job committed himself into God's hands with a confession to trust Him even though He slay him ( Job 13:15).

Job 13:15, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him."

Hebrews 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

Hebrews 5:9Comments- Jesus Christ had to achieve His office to which He was predestined by the Father through suffering and obedience. It was not automatically bestowed upon Him.

Hebrews 5:9Scripture Reference- Note:

Isaiah 45:17, "But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end."

Hebrews 5:10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.

Hebrews 5:10Comments- After this verse, the author of Hebrews takes a detour before going on with the discussion of Melchizedek, by discussing the need to mature in the Christian life. He will pick up this topic of Melchizedek again in Hebrews 7:1.


Verses 11-14

Conclusion to Justification: Warning for Failure to Grow in Maturity - Hebrews 5:11-14 contains the author's concluding remarks on the literary section that emphasizes our justification through faith in Jesus Christ. Before Paul continues teaching about the office and ministry of Jesus Christ as our Great High Priest he takes a moment to rebuke the Hebrews for still being spiritual babes in Christ ( Hebrews 5:11-14)

The Author Rebukes the Hebrews for Being Dull of Hearing- In Hebrews 5:11-14 Paul rebukes the Hebrews for not being more mature in their faith and lifestyle. As a father, I give my small children a lot of room to misbehave. As a boss on my Job , I am much more restrictive to my employees. I expect an adult to behave differently than my children. This is what Paul is telling his readers. As we grow in the Lord, our journey becomes more narrow. We are required to walk the straight and narrow path. Jesus told Peter, "When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not." ( John 21:18) In other words, when Peter was young, he could do a lot of things that he wanted to do; but as he became old, he had to relinquish his will to others. He journey became straight and narrow. This is the way it works in our Christian life as we mature in the Lord.

Also, note that in the time when these Christians should have become mature in their Christian walk, they had also been suffering persecution.

Hebrews 10:32-33, "But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used."

In a similar statement, Jesus rebuked His disciples for failing to cast a demon out of a child ( Mark 9:14-29). At this point in their training, the disciples should have been able to take authority over the demon.

Mark 9:19, "He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me."

Hebrews 5:11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.

Hebrews 5:11 — "Of whom" - Comments- Wuest says the phrase "of whom" refers to "the teaching of the Melchisedecan priesthood of Jesus Christ." 215]

215] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest's Word Studies From the Greek New Testament for the English Reader, vol 2 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, c 1973, 1977), 103.

Hebrews 5:11 — "seeing ye are dull of hearing" - Word Study on "dull of hearing" - Thayer says the Greek word νωθρός means, "slow, sluggish, indolent, dull, languid." He says the phrase "dull of hearing" means, "Of one who apprehends with difficulty." That Isaiah , it is difficult for them to comprehend the things of God.

Hebrews 5:11Comments- The author of Hebrews says that there is much to be said about Jesus, our great High Priest. Two points:

1. For us - Hard to explain.

2. For you - difficult to apprehend.

Hebrews 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

Hebrews 5:12 — "For" - Comments- Hebrews 5:12-14 explain the author"s statement in verse 11. He wants to teach these Christians, but he explains why he is not able to do so at this time.

Hebrews 5:12 — "when for the time ye ought to be teachers" - Comments- The author of Hebrews , believed to be Paul the apostle, selected the office of a teacher to rebuke them for their lack of maturity. In the Gospels Jesus was often call by this title, which is actually the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew/Aramaic term "rabbi." Since this Epistle is addressed to the Jewish community of converts, it was a term, or office, that they clearly understood. James will use this same term "teacher" in his epistle to the Jews of the Diaspora in James 3:1.

James 3:1, "My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation."

Hebrews 5:12 — "ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God" - Comments- Although the Hebrew nation had been given much time to learn the Holy Scriptures, they were still very unlearned about the Scriptures because of man's traditions, and therefore did not recognize Jesus Christ as their Messiah, and they needed to be taught again. Therefore, those Jews who did accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah needed to have the fundamentals of the Scriptures explained to them again. They should have been further advanced in the understanding of the Kingdom of God and of the Gospel of Jesus Christ than their Gentile counterparts. Unfortunately, they were not.

Many scholars interpret Hebrews 5:12 to be a reference to Palestinian Jews who first heard and embraced the preaching of the Gospel from Jesus and the Apostles. This would mean that the author was writing primarily to the Jewish Christians in Palestine rather than to those of the Diaspora.

Just like an infant grows up on a time scale that can be measured and predicted month by month and year by year, God also puts His children on a time scale to grow up to be used by God. However, as Paul states in Hebrews 5:11-14 many believers remain babes, and are not qualified to walk in the gifts and callings and anointings that God has waiting for them.

Hebrews 5:12 — "which be the first principles of the oracles of God" - Comments- The classical writers reveal that the concept of sacred mysteries being utters as divine oracles was practiced in the ancient world. Regarding the use of oracles, the ancient Greeks regarded divine oracles as a form of worship until the time of the Persian war (490-479 B.C.). 216] The temple of Apollo located at Delphi was famous in the ancient world for delivering oracles to men by those in a trance, or they interpreted dreams or patterns in nature. 217] The Greek historians Herodotus (484-425 B.C.) 218] and Plutarch (A.D 46-100) 219] mention this place of oracles in their writings. While the Romans as a nation did not regard oracles as a religious practice, this custom continued within the Empire, but not without the contempt of the Romans. 220] This practice was later outlawed under the Roman emperor Theodosius (A.D 379-385). 221] King Saul's visit to the witch of Endor shows its popularity among ancient eastern cultures ( 1 Samuel 28:7-25). The damsel who prophesied over Paul and Barnabas in Philippi is an example of the proliferation of divination in the New Testament times ( Acts 16:16-24). The Sibylline Oracles, 222] a collection of Greek oracles compiled by Jews and Christians in the early centuries before and after Christ, reflect the widespread popularity that the Sibyl prophetesses held in ancient Greek and Roman history. Regarding the concept of "mysteries" ( μυστή ριον) revealed through oracles, Plutarch, writing about the Pythian priestesses who prophesied at Delphi, speaks of "interpreters of the sacred mysteries." 223] Thus, when Paul refers to the mysteries hidden from the ages being revealed to the Church ( Romans 16:25, 1 Corinthians 2:7, Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 3:3-4; Ephesians 3:9; Ephesians 6:19, Colossians 1:26; Colossians 2:2; Colossians 4:3, 1 Timothy 3:9), or when Luke , Paul, and Peter speak of the "oracles" ( λόγιον) (G 3051) of God ( Acts 7:38, Romans 3:2, Hebrews 5:12, 1 Peter 4:11), they are speaking in a cultural language that the Greeks and Romans understood, where pagans frequently sought oracles through divine utterance at the temples to reveal hidden mysteries for their lives.

216] C. H. Prichard, "Oracle," in A Dictionary of the Bible, vol 3, ed. James Hastings (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1901), 629.

217] R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison, and Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nelson"s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, rev. ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), "Oracle."

218] Herodotus writes, "…and he [Dorieus] asked the Spartans for a company of folks, whom he took away as colonists; he neither enquired of the oracle at Delphi in what land he should plant his settlement, nor did aught else that was customary…" (Histories 542) See Herodotus III, trans. A. D. Godley, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, 1938), 46-47.

219] Plutarch tells us that the Sibylline prophetesses of Delphi used poetic verses with their prophecies, saying, "…for when we drew near that part of the rock which joins to the senate-house, which by common fame was the seat of the first Sibyl that came to Delphi from Helicon, where she was bred by the Muses…Serapio made mention of certain verses of hers, wherein she had extolled herself as one that should never cease to prophesy even after her death…" (Wherefore the Pythian Priestess Now Ceases to Deliver Her Oracles in Verse 9) He later writes, "…but I am constrained to claim your first promise, to tell me the reason wherefore now the Pythian prophetess no longer delivers her oracles in poetic numbers and measures…and also the temple of Tellus, to which the oracle appertained, and where the answers were delivered in verses and song." (Wherefore the Pythian Priestess Now Ceases to Deliver Her Oracles in Verse 17) See William W. Goodwin, Plutarch's Essays and Miscellanies, vol 3 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1911), 77, 86-87.

220] The Roman poet Lucan (A.D 39-65) reflects the contempt for such oracles by the Romans when he writes, "They had now come to the Temple, the only one which among the Libyan nations the uncivilized Garamantes possess. There stands Jupiter, the foreteller of destiny, as they relate; but not either brandishing the lightnings or like to ours, but Ammon with crooked horns." (Pharsalia 9593-598) See H. T. Riley, The Pharsalia of Lucan (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1853), 359.

221] C. H. Prichard, "Oracle," In A Dictionary of the Bible, ed. James Hastings (), 629.

222] The Sibylline Oracles, trans. H. C. O. Lanchester, in The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English With Introductions and Critical and Explanatory Notes to the Several Books, vol 2, ed. R. H. Charles (electronic edition), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004).

223] Plutarch writes, "The interpreters of the sacred mysteries acted without any regard to us, who desired them to contract their relation into as few words as might be, and to pass by the most part of the inscriptions." (Wherefore the Pythian Priestess Now Ceases to Deliver Her Oracles in Verse 2) See William W. Goodwin, Plutarch's Essays and Miscellanies, vol 3 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1911), 70.

Romans 16:25, "Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,"

1 Corinthians 2:7, "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden Wisdom of Solomon , which God ordained before the world unto our glory:"

Ephesians 1:9, "Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:"

Ephesians 3:3-4, "How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)"

Ephesians 3:9, "And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:"

Ephesians 6:19, "And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,"

Colossians 1:26, "Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:"

Colossians 2:2, "That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;"

Colossians 4:3, "Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:"

1 Timothy 3:9, "Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience."

Acts 7:38, "This is Hebrews , that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:"

Romans 3:2, "Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God."

Hebrews 5:12, "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat."

1 Peter 4:11, "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."

The reference to pillars and foundations of the Church in 1 Timothy 3:15 suggests that Paul had in mind the ancient Greek and Roman temples with their practice of divination, and that he compares this pagan scene of worship to the New Testament Church and the Holy Scriptures, which serve as its pillars and foundation.

Hebrews 5:12 — "and are become such as have need of milk" - Comments- We read a similar statement in 1 Peter 2:2, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:" Anyone who has ever raised children, and the apostle Peter was married and probably had raised children, knows how earnestly a child will cry for milk when it is hungry. This desire is a type and figure of how we must desire the Word of God in our lives in order that we may also grow into mature Christians. However, there are situations when a mother's milk becomes tainted. For example, she may be on antibiotics or other medications because of surgery, or she may be eating spicy foods, so that the taste of her breast milk is changes. In some cases, the infant rejects the milk. Thus, note how Peter uses the word "sincere milk," or "pure milk." In the spiritual realm, there are new, baby Christians who are fed "tainted milk" from their church and lose their taste for it. Such Christians never grow and become rooted and grounded in the Word. However, if they were fed the pure, untainted milk of the Word of God, they would eagerly desire it and grow thereby.

Hebrews 5:12 — "and not of strong meat" - Comments - That Isaiah , solid food.

Hebrews 5:12Comments- Bad teaching results in a Christian being fed junk food. Therefore, they do not grow up to become healthy Christians. They will not be able to understand the meat of the Word of God if they have not first been fed the milk of the Word. The milk represents the foundational doctrines of the Sacred Scriptures which Paul will list in Hebrews 6:1-2 and is found in the teachings of Christ Jesus in the Gospels and Acts. They are referred to in Hebrews 5:12 as "the first principles of the oracles of God." The meat of the Word represents the Church doctrine that Paul teaches in the nine Church epistles (Romans thru 2Thessalonians) in which he builds upon these six foundational doctrines. The phrase "strong meat" is used in Hebrews 5:12 to refer to the Church doctrine built by Paul. For example, faith in the fact of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is the milk of the Word of God, but faith in our identification with Christ's resurrection is the meat of God's Word.

Hebrews 5:12Comments- Sometimes the hardest people to teach are those who have had the truth, but become dull to it. This happens when people sit in a church all of their life and adhere to a particular denominational doctrine without being willing to change.

Hebrews 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

Hebrews 5:13"For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness" - Comments- Being unskillful means, "inexperienced." The context of this passage is not to lost people, but to believers. Song of Solomon , this would imply that these believers had not experienced in their lives the working out of God's Word, and therefore, they did not have as clear a discernment of right and wrong.

Hebrews 5:13 — "for he is a babe" - Comments- The phrase "a babe," "babes in Christ," or "newborn babes," refers to the spiritual development that every child of God must go through. But what aspect of our development is this referring to? We know that we have been created as a three-part creature. We are a spirit, we live in a body and we have a soul. We know that our bodies can be full-grown as an adult while still being babes in Christ. So this phrase does not refer to our physical development. We know that our spirits are fully recreated by God by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. What God creates, He does perfectly so that our spirits were fully developed the moment we were born again; for Paul said, "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power," ( Colossians 2:10). Song of Solomon , a babe in Christ is not a reference to the need for a man's spirit or body to grow. Thus, a babe in Christ is one who is underdeveloped in the soulish realm, the realm of the mind, the will, the intellect and the emotions. This is why the author of Hebrews says that a babe needs to be taught, and why Peter says that they need to study the Word of God, which is a way of developing the mental realm by renewing the mind. Note similar verses that refer to babes in Christ:

1 Corinthians 3:1-3, "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?"

1 Corinthians 14:20, "Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men."

1 Peter 2:2, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:"

Hebrews 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Hebrews 5:14 — "But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age" - Comments - The phrase "full age" refers to Christian maturity. Note other uses of this same Greek word:

Matthew 5:48, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

1 Corinthians 14:20, "Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men."

Ephesians 4:13-14, "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;"

How do we become mature Christians?

Philippians 3:10-11, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead."

Hebrews 5:8-9, "Though he were a Song of Solomon , yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;"

1 Peter 1:6-7, "Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:"

Hebrews 6:1 used the phrase "unto perfection." We are kept by the power of God through faith ( 1 Peter 2:2). This faith comes by hearing the Word of God ( Romans 10:17). Song of Solomon , in order to mature, they need the Word of God, referred to here as "solid food." We grow by the Word ( 1 Peter 2:2).

Hebrews 6:1, "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,"

1 Peter 1:5, "Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."

Romans 10:17, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

1 Peter 2:2, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:"

Hebrews 5:14 — "by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" - Word Study on "to discern" - Strong says the Greek word "discern" ( διά κρισις) (G 1253) means, "judicial estimation." BDAG says it means, "a distinguishing, a differentiation." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 3times in the New Testament, being translated in the KJV as, "discerning 1, discern 1, disputation."

Comments- A similar Greek word ανακρί νω (G 350) is used in 1 Corinthians 2:14 to refer to "spiritual discernment."

1 Corinthians 2:14, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

Comments - "by reason of use" - By use of the strong meat, which is the Word of God, our senses can be trained. They should learn to use God"s Word to discern between good and evil. This meaning is brought out in several English translations.

BBE, "But solid food is for men of full growth, even for those whose senses are trained by use to see what is good and what is evil."

Weymouth, "Such persons are mere babes. But solid food is for adults--that Isaiah , for those who through constant practice have their spiritual faculties carefully trained to distinguish good from evil."

"have their senses exercised" - Our senses refer to our "ability to make moral decisions." Our senses can be trained, or exercised, to know good or evil.

1. The positive:

1 Timothy 4:7, "But refuse profane and old wives" fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness."

2. The negative:

2 Peter 2:14, "Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:"

"to discern both good and evil" - By practice of applying God's Word to our lives, our senses are trained to discern God's will for our lives.

Scripture Reference- Note:

Romans 16:19, "For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil."

Hebrews 5:13-14Comments - Growth in God's Word is a Prerequisite to Christian Maturity- The requirement of learning to discern between good and evil precedes going on to maturity. A person must first learn to choose what is right and lay aside those things that are wrong in their Christian life before the Lord will take them into a deeper level of anointing and impartation and responsibility in the things of God. The reason God sets this strict requirement in place is explained in Hebrews 6:4-6, which says that if we were allowed to partake of the Word of God and the powers of the spiritual gifts while yet immature, and like many young Christians, drifted away from the Lord, there would be no more opportunities of repentance. Therefore, God has an order of spiritual growth that takes time, and it is put in place for our own good.

Illustration- A man owns a shop full of all kinds of tools, capable of being used to accomplish any task. Some tools are simple and basic to use, but others require discipline, skill and experience to accomplish the most highly skilled jobs. This man has a son. As the son grows up, the father teaches the son those basic skills. Through the years, the son learns to use the more involved tools in order to accomplish a wider range of tasks.

Several factors that affect the son's rate of grow in the skill and use of these tools are his interest, his attitude and the time spent in practicing the use these tools. If the father had others sons, the sons would develop different levels of skills or even be skillful in one or two tools and unskillful in other tools.

God gives us everything that we need to attain life and godliness ( 2 Peter 1:3). But we must pay attention as He teaches us to use the tools that He has available for us. We will grow at different rates according to our interest, our attitude and our time spent in exercising these skills. We will vary in levels of skill and ability and thus, we will specialize in certain areas of the Christian ministry, and not in other areas.

2 Peter 1:3, "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:"

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Hebrews 5:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/hebrews-5.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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