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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Hebrews 10

 

 

Verse 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.

Instead of the daily ministry of priests, Christ's service is perfected, by the one sacrifice, whence He now sits on Gods right hand as Priest-King, until all His foes shall be subdued unto Him. Thus the new covenant (Hebrews 8:8-12) is inaugurated, whereby the law is written on the heart, so that an offering for sin is needed no more. Wherefore we ought to draw near the Holiest in firm faith and love: fearful of the awful results of apostasy; looking for the recompense at Christ's coming.

Previously the oneness of Christ's offering was shown: now is shown its perfection, contrasted with the law-sacrifices.

Having - inasmuch, as it has but 'the shadow, not the very image;' i:e., exact likeness, reality, such as the Gospel has. The "image" [ eikona (Greek #1504)] is the archetype (cf. Hebrews 9:24) of those heavenly verities of which the law furnished but a shadowy outline. The law is the primer, teaching the elements of Christianity by object-lessons (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:13-14; 2 Corinthians 3:18). As Christ is 'the express image (character) of the Father's person' (Hebrews 1:3), so the Gospel is the very realization to us of the heavenly archetype, of which the law was drawn as a sketch, or outline copy (Hebrews 8:5). The law was a continual acted prophecy, showing the divine design that its counterparts should come, and proving their truth when they came. Thus the imperfect and continued sacrifices before Christ foreshowed, and now prove the reality of Christ's one perfect antitypical expiation.

Good things to come (Hebrews 9:11) - belonging to 'the world (age) to come.' Good things in part made present by faith, and to be fully realized hereafter in perfect enjoyment. 'As Christ's Church on earth is a prediction of the future life, so the Old Testament economy is a prediction of the Christian Church' (Lessing). In relation to the law's temporal goods, the Gospel's spiritual and eternal goods are "good things to come." Colossians 2:17, calls legal ordinances 'the shadow,' and Christ "the body."

Never , [ oudepote (Greek #3763)] - at any time (Hebrews 10:11).

With those sacrifices , [ tais (Greek #3588) autais (Greek #846)] - 'with the same sacrifices.'

Year by year - referring to the whole sentence, not merely to "which they (the priests) offered" [ prosferousin (Greek #4374), 'offer']. The law year by year, by the repetition of the same sacrifices, testifies its inability to perfect the worshippers-namely, on the YEARLY day of atonement. The "daily" sacrifices are, referred to, Hebrews 10:11.

Continually , [ eis (Greek #1519) to (Greek #3588) dieenekes (Greek #1336)] - 'continuously.' Implying, they offer a toilsome and, ineffectual 'continuous' round of the 'same' atonement sacrifices "year by year."

Comers thereunto - the worshippers (the whole people) coming to God in the person of their representative, the high priest.

Perfect - fully meet man's needs as to justification and sanctification (note, Hebrews 9:9).


Verse 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.

For - if the law could have perfected the worshippers.

They - the sacrifices.

Once purged - IF once for all cleansed (Hebrews 7:27).

Conscience - consciousness of sins (Hebrews 9:9).


Verse 3

But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.

But - So far from those sacrifices purging from consciousness of sins ) But - So far from those sacrifices purging from consciousness of sins 4:2).

In ... - in the fact of their being offered, and during the offering. Contrast Hebrews 10:17.

A remembrance - a recalling to mind by the high priest's confession, on the day of atonement, of the sins of each past year and of all former years, proving that the sacrifices of former years were not felt by men's consciences to have fully atoned for sins; in fact, the expiation and remission were only legal and typical (Hebrews 10:4; Hebrews 10:11). There was no true atonement until Christ died: the repeated sacrifices kept vividly before believers the promised Redeemer, through whom alone their consciences had peace. The Gospel remission is so complete, that sins are 'remembered no more' (Hebrews 10:17) by God. It is unbelief to "forget" this, once for all purgation, and to fear because of 'former sins' (2 Peter 1:9). The believer, once for all bathed [ leloumenos (Greek #3068)], needs only to "wash" [ nipsasthai (Greek #3538)] his hands and "feet" of soils, daily contracted, in Christ's blood (John 13:10).


Verse 4

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

For - Reason why, necessarily, there is a continually-recurring 'remembrance of sins' in legal sacrifices (Hebrews 10:3). Typically, "the blood of bulls," etc., had power; but it was only in virtue of the one antitypical sacrifice of Christ: they had no power in themselves; they were not the instrument of vicarious atonement, but an exhibition of the need of it, suggesting to believing Israelites the sure hope of coming redemption, according God's promise.

Take away , [ afairein (Greek #851)] - 'take off.' [ Perielein (Greek #4014), Hebrews 10:11, is stronger. 'take away utterly.'] The blood of brutes could not take away the sin of man. A MAN must do that (notes, Hebrews 9:12-14).


Verse 5

Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:

Christ's voluntary self-offering, in contrast to those inefficient sacrifices, fulfils perfectly "the will of God" as to redemption, by completely stoning 'for (our) sins.'

Wherefore - seeing that a nobler than animal sacrifices was needed.

When he cometh - `coming.' The time referred to is before (or just at) His entrance into the world, when the inefficiency of animal sacrifices for expiation had been proved (Tholuck). [ Eetheleesas (Greek #2309) ... kateertisoo (Greek #2675) are past: 'sacrifice, etc., thou didst not wish, but a body thou didst prepare for me;' but heekoo (Greek #2240), present perfect, 'Lo, I am come:' to harmonize these times, refer 'am come' to his actual arrival in the world, or incarnation, the past tenses to God's purpose from eternity, regarded as if already fulfilled.] 'A body thou didst prepare in thy eternal counsel.' This is more likely than explaining, with Alford, 'coming into the world,' as entering on his public ministry. David in Psalms 40:1-17 (here quoted), reviews his past troubles and God's having delivered him, and his consequent desire to render willing obedience to God as more acceptable than sacrifices; but the Spirit puts into his month language finding its full realization only in the Divine Son of David. 'The more any son of man approaches the incarnate Son of God in office, or spiritual experience, the more may his holy breathings in the power of Christ's Spirit be taken as utterances of Christ himself. Of all men, the prophet-king of Israel foreshadowed him the most' (Alford).

A body hast thou prepared me - `thou didst fit for me a body.' 'In thy counsels thou didst determine to make for me a body, to be a sacrificial victim' (Wahl). In the Hebrew, Psalms 40:6, it is "mine ears heat thou opened," or 'dug.' Perhaps this alludes to boring the ear of a slave who volunteers to remain under his master when he might be free. Christ's assuming a body, in order to die the death of a slave (Hebrews 2:14), was a voluntary submission to God's service, like that of a slave suffering his ear to be bored by his master. His willing obedience to the Father's will is what gave especial virtue to his sacrifice for man (Hebrews 10:7; Hebrews 10:9-10). The fitting of a body for him is not with a view to His incarnation merely, but to His expiatory sacrifice (Hebrews 10:10), as the contrast to "sacrifice and offering" requires: cf. also Romans 7:4; Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 1:22. More probably 'opened mine ears,' means opened mine inward ear, to be obedient to what God wills me to do-namely, to assume the body He has prepared for my sacrifice. So Job, margin, Job 33:16; Job 36:10 (doubtless the boring of a slave's ear symbolized such willing obedience); Isaiah 1:5, "The Lord God hath opened mine ear" - i:e., made me obediently attentive as a slave to his master. Others, 'Mine ears hast thou digged,' or 'fashioned;' not with allusion to Exodus 21:6, but to the true office of the ear-a willing, submissive attention to God's voice. The forming of the ear implies the preparation of the body; this secondary idea, really in the Hebrew, though less prominent is the one which Paul uses for his argument. As he obediently assumed the body prepared by the Father, in which to make his self-sacrifice, so ought we present our bodies a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1).


Verse 6

In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.

Burnt offerings , [ holokautoomata (Greek #3646)] - 'whole burnt offerings.'

Thou hast had no pleasure - God had pleasure in [ eudokeesas (Greek #2106), 'was well pleased with'] them, in so far as they were in obedience to his positive Old Testament command, but not as having intrinsic efficacy to atone for sin, such as Christ's sacrifice had. Contrast Matthew 3:17.


Verse 7

Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

I come , [ heekoo (Greek #2240)] -'I am come' (note Hebrews 10:5). 'Here we have the creed of Jesus: "I am come to I come , [ heekoo (Greek #2240)] - 'I am come' (note Hebrews 10:5). 'Here we have the creed of Jesus: "I am come to fulfill the law, Matthew 5:17; to preach, Mark 1:38. to call sinners to repentance, Luke 5:32; to send a sword, and to set men at variance, Matthew 10:34-35; to do the will of him that sent me, John 6:38-39 (Psalms 40:7-8); I am sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, Matthew 15:24; for judgment, John 9:39; that they might have life, and might have it more abundantly, John 10:10 : to seek and to save that which was lost, Matthew 18:11; Luke 19:10 : cf. 1 Timothy 1:15; to save men's lives. Luke 9:56; to send fire on the earth, Luke 12:49; to minister, Matthew 20:28; as 'the Light,' John 12:46; to bear witness unto the truth, John 18:37." See, reader, that thy Saviour obtain His aim in thy case. Do thou for thy part say, why thou are come here? Dost thou, also, do the will of God? From what time? in what way?' (Bengel). When the two goats on the day of atonement were presented before the Lord, that goat was to be offered as a sin offering on which the lot of the Lord should fall; that lot was lifted up on high in the high priest's hand, and then laid upon the head of the goat which was to die; so the hand of God determined all that was done to Christ (Acts 4:28). Besides the covenant of God with man through Christ's blood, there was another made by the Father with the Son from eternity. The condition was, "If He shall make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed," etc. (Isaiah 53:10.) The Son accepted it, "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God" (Dr. Pearson). Oblation, intercession, and benediction are His three priestly offices.

In the volume ... - literally, the roll: the parchment manuscript wrapped round a cylinder headed with knobs. Here, the Scripture meant is the 40th Psalm. 'By this very passage "written of me," I undertake to do thy will (to die for the sins of the world, that all who believe may be saved, Hebrews 10:6, by my death).' This is Messiah's written contract (cf. Nehemiah 9:38) to be our surety. So complete is the inspiration of all that is written, so great the authority of the Psalms, that David's words are Christ's words.


Verse 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;

He - Christ.

Sacrifice ... 'Aleph (') A C Delta f, Vulgate, read 'sacrifices and offerings' (plural). This verse combines the two clauses quoted distinctly, Hebrews 10:5-6, in contrast to Christ's sacrifice with which God was well pleased.


Verse 9

Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

Then said he - `At that very time (namely, when speaking by David's mouth in the 40th Psalm) He hath said.' The rejection of the legal sacrifices involves Jesus' voluntary offer to make the self sacrifice with which God is well pleased (for, indeed, it was God's own "will" that He came to do in offering it: so that this sacrifice could not but be well pleasing to God). Taketh away , [ anairei (Greek #337)] - 'sets aside the first;' namely, the legal system of "sacrifices," which God wills not.

The second - `the will of God' (Hebrews 10:7; Hebrews 10:9) that Christ should redeem us by His self-sacrifice.


Verse 10

By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

By - IN. So "in" and "through" occur in the same sentence, 1 Peter 1:22; also 1 Peter 1:5, Greek. The 'IN (fulfillment of) which will' (cf. the use of IN, Ephesians 1:6) expresses the originating cause; "THROUGH the offering ... of Christ," the instrumental or mediatory cause. Redemption flows from 'the will' of God the Father, as the First cause, who decreed redemption from before the foundation of the world. The "will" [ theleema (Greek #2307)] is His absolute sovereign will. His 'good will' [ eudokia (Greek #2107)] is a particular aspect of it.

Are sanctified - once for all, as our permanent state [ heegiasmenoi (Greek #37)]. It is the finished work of Christ in having sanctified us (i:e., translated us from unholy alienation into a state of consecration to God, having "no more conscience of sins," Hebrews 10:2) once for all, not gradual sanctification, which is referred to.

The body - prepared for Him by the Father (Hebrews 10:5). As the atonement, or reconciliation, is by the blood of Christ (Leviticus 17:11), so our sanctification (consecration to God, holiness, and eternal bliss) is by the body of Christ (Colossians 1:22). 'Common Prayer Communion Service,' 'that our sinful bodies may be made clean by His body, and our souls washed through His most precious blood.'

Once for all (Hebrews 10:12; Hebrews 10:14; Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 9:26; Hebrews 9:28).


Verse 11

And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:

And. A new contrast: the frequent repetition of the sacrifices.

Priest. So 'Aleph (') Delta f, Vulgate. But A C, 'high priest.' Though he did not in person stand "daily" offering sacrifices, he did so by the subordinate priests of whom, as of all Israel, he was the representative. So "daily" of the high priests, Hebrews 7:27.

Standeth the attitude of one ministering: in contrast to (Christ) "sat down on the right hand of God" (Heb Standeth - the attitude of one ministering: in contrast to (Christ) "sat down on the right hand of God" (Hebrews 10:12): the posture of one ministered to as a king.

Which , [ haitines (Greek #3748)] - 'the which;' i:e., of such a kind as.

Take away - utterly [ perielein (Greek #4014): strip off all round]. Legal sacrifices could scarcely, in part, produce the sense of forgiveness (note, Hebrews 10:4); but could never entirely strip off guilt.


Verse 12

But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

This man - emphatic (Hebrews 3:3).

Forever - join with "offered one sacrifice;" namely, the efficacy of which endures forever [ eis (Greek #1519) to (Greek #3588) dieenekes (Greek #1336): continuously] (cf. Hebrews 10:14). The mass, which professes to be the frequent repetition of one and the same sacrifice of Christ's body, is hence disproved. For not only is Christ's body one, but also His offering is one, and past [ prosenengkas (Greek #4374): aorist, not action continued down to the present, as the perfect], and inseparable from His suffering (Hebrews 9:26). The mass is as opposed to Paul's view of Christ's ONE finished sacrifice, as the Jewish sacrifices would be now. A repetition would imply that the once for-all offering was imperfect, and so would be dishonouring to it (Hebrews 10:2; Hebrews 10:18). Hebrews 10:14, on the contrary, says, "He hath PERFECTED FOREVER them that are sanctified." If Christ offered Himself at the last supper, then He offered Himself again on the cross, and there would be two offerings; but Paul says there was only one, once for all (note, Hebrews 9:26). Usage in this letter puts [ eis (Greek #1519) to (Greek #3588) dieenekes (Greek #1336)] "forever" after, not before, that which it qualifies (Hebrews 10:1; Hebrews 10:14; Hebrews 7:3).

Also, "one sacrifice ... forever," stands in contrast to "oftentimes the same sacrifices" (Hebrews 10:11). Also, 1 Corinthians 15:23-25; 1 Corinthians 15:28, agrees with Hebrews 10:12-13; not joining, as Alford, "forever" with "sat down;" for Jesus is to give up the Mediatorial throne 'when all things shall be subdued unto Him,' and not to sit on it forever. Leviticus 16:17 (cf. Hebrews 4:13-16 ) shows that on the day of atonement none but the high priest could offer a sin offering for the people, until he came out of the Holiest, having finished his? Christ, our High Priest, having gone within the heavenly veil, and not yet come out, precludes any other from priestly ministry during our whole dispensation, which is our day of atonement and year of jubilee (Leviticus 25:9). His ascension into heaven is necessary to His priesthood: 'if on earth, He would not be a priest;' much less are His disciples (Hebrews 8:4).


Verse 13

From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

Expecting , [ ekdechomenos (Greek #1551)] - the Son 'awaiting' the fulfillment of the divine promise (Psalms 110:1) until the Father shall 'send Him forth to triumph over all His foes.' He is now sitting at rest (Hebrews 10:12), invisibly reigning, having His foes virtually, by right of His death, subject. This is a necessary preliminary to His coming forth to His visibly manifested kingdom and conquest over his foes. He is, by His Spirit and His providence, now subjecting them in part, The subjection fully shall be at His second advent, and from that time to the general judgment (Revelation 19:1-21; Revelation 20:1-15); then comes the subjection of Himself, as Head of the Church, to the Father (the Mediatorial economy ceasing when its end shall have been accomplished), that God may be all in all. Eastern conquerors used to tread on the necks of the vanquished, as Joshua did to the five kings. So Christ's absolute conquest is symbolized.

His enemies - Satan and Death, whose strength consists in 'sin:' this being taken away (Hebrews 10:12), their power is taken away; their destruction necessarily follows.

Be made his footstool - literally, 'be put footstool of His feet.'


Verse 14

For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

For. The sacrifice being "forever" in its efficacy (Hebrews 10:12) needs no renewal. "For," etc.

Them that are sanctified , [ hagiazomenous (Greek #37)] - 'them that are being sanctified.' The sanctification (consecration to God) of the elect (1 Peter 1:2) is perfect in Christ once for all (note, Hebrews 10:10). (Contrast the law, Hebrews 7:19; Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 10:1.) The development of that sanctification is progressive.


Verse 15

Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,

[ De (Greek #1161)] 'Moreover.'

Is a witness - of the truth I am setting forth. The Father's witness, Hebrews 5:5-6; the Son's, Hebrews 10:5; now that of the Holy Spirit, called accordingly "the Spirit of grace," Hebrews 10:29. The testimony of all Three confirms Hebrews 10:18.

For after that he had said ... The conclusion to the sentence is Hebrews 10:17, 'After He had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them (with the house of Israel, Hebrews 8:10, also with the spiritual Israel), etc., saith the Lord, I will put [ didous (Greek #1325), giving: referring to the giving of the law; not now as then, into the hands, but giving] my laws into their hearts (mind, Hebrews 8:10), and in their minds (hearts, Hebrews 8:10) I will inscribe [ epigrapsoo (Greek #1924)] them (here he omits the addition in Hebrews 8:10-11, I will be to them a God, etc., and they shall not teach every man his neighbour, etc.), and (i:e., after having said the foregoing, HE ADDS) their sins, etc., will I remember no more.' The object of the quotation is to prove that, there being in the Gospel covenant "REMISSION of sins" (Hebrews 10:17), there is no more need of a sacrifice for sins. The object of the same quotation in Hebrews 8:8-13, is to show that, there being a "NEW covenant," the old is antiquated.


Verse 16-17

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;

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 18

Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.

Where remission of these is - as there is under the Gospel covenant (Hebrews 10:17). 'Here ends the finale (Hebrews 10:1-18) of the tripartite arrangement (Heb 7:1-25; 7:26-9:12; 9:13-10:18) of the middle portion of the letter. Its great theme was Christ, a High Priest forever after the order of Melchisedek. What it is to be this is set forth, Hebrews 7:1-25, as contrasted with the Aaronic order. That Christ, however, as High Priest, is Aaron's antitype in the true holy place, by virtue of His self-sacrifice on earth, and Mediator of a better covenant, whose essence the old only typified, we learn, Hebrews 7:26-28; Hebrews 8:1-13; Hebrews 9:1-12. And that Christ's self-sacrifice, offered through the eternal Spirit, is of everlasting power, as contrasted with the unavailing cycle of legal offerings, is established in the third part, Hebrews 9:13-28; Hebrews 10:1-18; the first half of this last portion, Hebrews 9:13-28, showing that both our present possession of salvation and our future completion of it are as certain as that He is with God, ruling as a Priest and reigning as a King, once more to appear, no more as bearer of our sins, but in glory as Judge. The second half, Hebrews 10:1-18, reiterating the main position, the High Priesthood of Christ, grounded on His offering of Himself, its kingly character, its eternal accomplishment of its end, confirmed by Psalms 40:1-17 and Psalms 110:1-7, and Jeremiah 31:1-40.' (Delitzsch in Alford).


Verse 19

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

Here begins the third and last division of the letter: our duty now while waiting for the Lord's second advent. Resumption and expansion of the exhortation (Hebrews 4:14-16 : cf. Hebrews 10:22-23 here) wherewith he closed the first part of the letter, and prepared the way for his doctrinal argument, beginning Hebrews 7:1.

Boldness , [ parreesian (Greek #3954)] - of speech, 'free confidence,' grouuded on the consciousness that our sins are forgiven.

To enter , [ eis (Greek #1519) teen (Greek #3588) eisodon (Greek #1529)] - 'unto the entering.'

By , [ en (Greek #1722)] - 'in:' it is in the blood of Jesus that our boldness is grounded. Compare Ephesians 3:12. It is His having once for all entered as our Forerunner (Hebrews 6:20) and High Priest (Hebrews 10:21), making atonement for us with His blood continually there (Hebrews 12:24) before God, that gives us confident access. No priestly caste now mediates between the sinner and his Judge. We may come with loving confidence, not slavish fear, directly through Christ, the only mediating Priest. The minister is not officially nearer God than the layman; nor can the latter serve God at a distance, or by deputy, as the natural man likes. Each must come for himself; all are accepted when they come by the new and living way opened by Christ. Thus all Christians are, as to access directly to God, virtually high priests (Revelation 1:6). They draw nigh in and through Christ, the only proper High Priest (Hebrews 7:25).


Verse 20

By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

Which. The antecedent is 'the entering;' not, as the English version, "way." Translate, 'which (entering) He has consecrated (not as though already existing, but has INAUGURATED as a new thing [ enekainisen (Greek #1457)]: note, Hebrews 9:18) for us (as) a new [ prosfaton (Greek #4372), recent: recently opened, Romans 16:25-26] and living way' (not the lifeless way through the law offering of blood of dead victims, but vital, and of perpetual efficacy, because the living and life-giving Saviour is that way. It is a living hope, producing not dead, but living works). Christ, the first-fruits of our nature, has ascended: the rest is sanctified thereby. 'Christ's ascension is our promotion; where the glory of the Head hath preceded, there the hope of the body is called' (Leo).

The veil. As the veil had to be passed through to enter the holiest, so the human suffering flesh (Hebrews 5:7) of Christ's humanity (which veiled His Godhead) had to be passed through by Him in entering the heavenly Holiest for us; in putting off His rent flesh, the temple veil, its type, was simultaneously rent from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51). Not His body, but His suffering flesh, was the veil: His body was the temple (John 2:19).


Verse 21

And having an high priest over the house of God; High priest , [ hierea (Greek #2409) megan (Greek #3173)]. A different term [ archiereus (Greek #749)] is used always in this letter for "high priest." Translate, 'A Great Priest:' one at once King and "Priest upon His throne" (Zechariah 6:13): a royal Priest, and a priestly King.

House of God - the spiritual house, the Church, made up of believers, whose home is heaven, where Jesus, their Head, now is (Hebrews 12:22-23). Thus heaven is included, as well as the Church, whose home it is.


Verse 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.

With a true heart - without hypocrisy: 'in truth, and with a perfect heart;' thoroughly imbued with "the truth" (Hebrews 10:26). See Hebrews 4:16; Hebrews 7:19.

Full assurance (Hebrews 6:11) - with no doubt as to our acceptance when coming to God by the blood of Christ. As "faith" occurs here, so 'hope' and "love," Hebrews 10:23-24.

Sprinkled from - i:e., so as to be cleansed from.

Evil conscience - a consciousness of guilt unatoned for, and uncleansed away (Hebrews 10:2; Hebrews 9:9). Legal purifications, with blood of animal victims and with water, could only cleanse the flesh (Hebrews 9:13; Hebrews 9:21). Christ's blood purifies our hearts and consciences as well as our 'body.' The Aaronic priest, in entering the holy place, washed with water (Hebrews 9:19) in the brazen laver. Believers, as priests to God, are once for all washed in BODY at baptism. As we have an immaterial and a material nature, the cleansing of both is expressesd by "hearts" and 'body'-the inner and the outer-so the whole man. The baptism of body, however, is not mere putting away of material filth, nor an act operating by intrinsic efficacy, but the sacramental seal, applied to the outer man, of a spiritual washing (1 Peter 3:21). 'Body' (not merely "flesh," the carnal part, as 2 Corinthians 7:1) includes the whole material man, which needs cleansing, being redeemed, as well as the soul. The body, once polluted with sin, is washed, so as to be fitted, like and by Christ's holy body, to be spiritually a pure and living offering. On "pure water," the symbol of consecration and sanctification, cf. Ezekiel 36:25; John 19:34; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 John 5:6. The perfects, 'having ... hearts sprinkled ... body [to soma] washed,' implying a continuing state by a once-for-all-accomplished act-namely, our justification by faith through Christ's blood, and consecration to God, sealed sacramentally by the baptism of our body.


Verse 23

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

Profession [ homologian (G3671) 'confession '] our faith [ tees (Greek #3588) elpidos (Greek #1680)] 'OUR Profession, [ homologian (G3671), 'confession,'] our faith , [ tees (Greek #3588) elpidos (Greek #1680)] - 'OUR HOPE' which is indeed faith exercised as to the future inheritance, Hope rests on faith; at the same time quickens faith, and is the ground of bold confession (1 Peter 3:15). Hope is similarly (Hebrews 10:22) connected with purification (1 John 3:3). (See Hebrews 3:6; Hebrews 3:14; Hebrews 4:14.)

Without wavering - without declension "stedfast unto the end."

He - God is faithful to His promises (Hebrews 6:17-18; Hebrews 11:11; Hebrews 12:26; Hebrews 12:28; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:24; 2 Thessalonians 3:3 : also Christ's promise, John 12:26), but man is often unfaithful to his duties.


Verse 24

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

As elsewhere, love follows faith and hope: the Pauline triad of graces.

Consider , [ katanooomen (Greek #2657)] - with the mind attentively fixed on "one another" (note, Hebrews 3:1), contemplating considerately the characters and wants of our brethren, so as to render mutual help. Compare Psalms 41:1; Hebrews 12:15, "(All) looking diligently lest any ... fail of the grace of God."

To provoke , [ eis (Greek #1519) paroxusmon (Greek #3948)] - 'with a view to PROVOKING unto love,' instead of to hatred, as is too often the case. The only right 'provocation' (Ephesians 4:26): once Paul forgot his own rule [Acts 15:39 : paroxusmos (Greek #3948), "contention"].


Verse 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.

Assembling of ourselves together , [ episunagoogeen (Greek #1997)] - is only found here and 2 Thessalonians 2:1 (the gathering together of the elect to Christ at His coming, Matthew 24:31). The assembling of ourselves for Christian communion is an earnest of our being gathered together to Him at His appearing. Union is strength: continual assemblings beget and foster love, and give opportunities for 'provoking to good works,' by "exhorting one another" (Hebrews 3:13). Ignatius, 'When ye frequently and in numbers meet together, the powers of Satan are overthrown, and his mischief is neutralized by your likemindedness in the faith.' To neglect such assemblings might end in apostasy. [He avoids synagoge, as suggesting the Jewish synagogue meetings (cf. Revelation 2:9).]

As the manner of some is , [ ethos (Greek #1485)] - custom. This gentle expression proves he is not as yet speaking of apostasy. The day approaching. This shortest designation of the Lord's coming occurs only in 1 Corinthians 3:13 : confirming the Pauline authorship of this letter. The Church being in all ages uncertain how soon Christ is coming, the day is, in each age, practically always near; whence believers are called on always to be watching for it as nigh at hand. The Hebrews were now living close upon one great type and foretaste of it-the destruction of Jerusalem (Matthew 24:1-51), 'the bloody and fiery dawn of the great day, the day of days, the ending day of all days, the settling day of all days, the day of the promotion of time into eternity, the day which, for the Church, breaks off the night of the present world' (Delitzsch in Alford).


Verse 26

For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

Compare Hebrews 6:4, etc. There the warning was, that if there be not diligence in progressing, a falling off, and then an apostasy, will ensue: here it is, if there be lukewarmness in Christian communion, apostasy ensues.

If we sin , [ hekousioos (Greek #1596) hamartanontoon (Greek #264): present participle] - if we at that day be found sinning; i:e., not isolated acts, but in a state of sin (Alford): sin against not only the law, but the whole Gospel economy (Hebrews 10:28-29).

Wilfully - presumptuously; 'willingly.' After receiving 'full knowledge [ epignoosin (Greek #1922): cf. 1 Timothy 2:4] of the truth,' by having been "enlightened," and having "tasted" a measure even of "the Holy Spirit" (the Spirit of truth, John 14:17; and "the Spirit of grace," Hebrews 10:29), to fall away ("sin," Hebrews 3:12; Hebrews 3:17 : cf. Hebrews 6:6) to Judaism or infidelity is not an ignorance or error ("out of the way," Hebrews 5:2 : the result) of infirmity, but a deliberate sinning against the Spirit: a consciousness of Gospel obligations not only was, but is present: a sinning presumptuously and perseveringly against Christ's redemption for us, and the Spirit of grace pleading in us. 'He only Who stands high can fall low. A vivid apprehension of good is necessary in order to be thoroughly wicked; hence, man can be more reprobate than beasts, and apostate angels than apostate man' (Tholuck).

Remaineth no more sacrifice - for there is but ONE sacrifice that can atone for sin: they, after having fully known it, deliberately reject it.


Verse 27

But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

A certain - an indescribable. The indefiniteness, as of something special, makes the description the more terrible [cf. tina (Greek #5101), James 1:18]. Looking for , [ ekdochee (Greek #1561)] - 'expectation.' Alford strangely translates 'reception,' the classic sense. Contrast Christ's "expecting" [the kindred verb, ekdechomenos (Greek #1551)] (Hebrews 10:13) and Abraham's 'looking for a city which hath foundations,' which refutes Alford.

Fiery indignation - literally, 'zeal of fire.' Fire is personified: zeal of Him who is "a consuming fire" (Isaiah 59:17-18).

Devour - present: continually.


Verse 28

He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

Despised , [ atheteesas (Greek #114)] - utterly and heinously set aside, not merely in minor detail, but the whole law, as by idolatry (Deuteronomy 17:2-7). So apostasy answers to such utter violation of the old covenant. Compare Hebrews 2:2-3; Hebrews 12:25.

Died , [ apothneeskei (Greek #599)] - 'dies:' the normal punishment then still in force.

Without mercy , [ oiktirmoon (Greek #3628)] - mercies: removed out of the pale of mitigation or respite.

Under - on the evidence of.


Verse 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?

Sorer , [ cheironos (Greek #5501) timoorias (Greek #5098)] - 'worse vengeance' than any temporal punishment.

Suppose ye - an appeal to the Hebrews' conscience.

Thought worthy - by God at the judgment.

Trodden under foot the Son of God - and so God Himself, who 'glorified His Son as an High Priest;' by 'wilful' apostasy (Hebrews 5:5; Hebrews 6:6). Wherewith he was sanctified - for Christ died even for him (2 Peter 2:1). "Sanctified," in the full sense belongs only to the saved elect; but in some sense it belongs also to those who have gone far in Christian experience, yet fall away at last.

An unholy thing , [ koinon (Greek #2839)] - 'common:' opposed to "sanctified:" as if Christ were a common man, and so, in claiming to be God, guilty of blasphemy, and deserving to die!

Done despite unto , [ enubrisas (Greek #1796)] - 'insulted,' repelling in fact; as 'blasphemy,' in words (Mark 3:29). 'Of the Jews who became Christians and relapsed to Judaism, we find from the history of Uriel Acosta that a blasphemy was required against Christ. They applied to Him epithets used against Moloch, "the adulterous branch," etc. In their prayer Olenu they spit while they mention His name' (Tholuck).

The Spirit of (that confers) grace. 'He who does not accept the benefit insults the Bestower. He hath made thee a son: wilt thou become a slave? He has come to take up His abode with thee; but thou admittest evil into thyself' (Chrysostom). 'For him who profanes the Christ without him, and blasphemes the Christ within him, there is subjectively no renewal, and objectively no new sacrifice for sins (Hebrews 10:26; Hebrews 6:6)' (Tholuck).


Verse 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.

Him - who utters no empty threats.

Vengeance belongeth unto me - `To me belongeth vengeance:' exactly according with Paul's quotation, Romans 12:19.

Lord shall judge his people - in grace, or else anger, as each deserves: here, "judge" so as to punish the reprobate; there (Deuteronomy 32:35-36), "judge" so as to interpose in behalf of His people.


Verse 31

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Fearful thing to fall into the hands. It is good, like David, to fall into the hands of God rather than man, with filial faith in one's father's love, though God chastises (2 Samuel 24:14). 'It is fearful' to fall into His hands as a presumptuous sinner doomed to His just vengeance as judge (Hebrews 10:27).

Living God therefore able to punish forever (Matthew 10:28) Living God - therefore able to punish forever (Matthew 10:28).


Verse 32

But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;

As previously he warned them by the awful end of apostates, so here he stirs them up by the remembrance of their own faith, patience, and self-sacrificing love. So Revelation 2:3-4.

Call to remembrance - habitually: the present tense.

Illuminated - "enlightened:" come to "the (full) knowledge of the truth" (Hebrews 10:26), in connection with baptism (note, Hebrews 6:4). In spiritual baptism, Christ, "the Light," is put on. 'On the one hand, we are not to sever the sign and the grace, where the sacrament truly answers its design; on tho other, the glass is not to be mistaken for the liquor, nor the sheath for the sword' (Bengel).

Fight of - i:e., consisting of afflictions.


Verse 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.

The persecutions referred to were probably endured by the Hebrew Christians at their first conversion, not only in Palestine, but also in Rome and elsewhere, the Jews inciting the populace and the Roman authorities against Christians.

Gazing-stock - as in a theater [ theatrizomenoi (Greek #2301)], often used as the place of punishment in the presence of assembled multitudes. Acts 19:29; 1 Corinthians 4:9, 'Made a theatrical spectacle [ theatron (Greek #2302)] to the world.'

Ye became - of your own accord: attesting your sympathy with suffering brethren.

Companions of - sharers in affliction with [koinonoi].


Verse 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.

Ye had compassion of me in my bonds. So 'Aleph ('). But A Delta, Vulgate, omit "me," and read [ desmiois (Greek #1198) for desmois (Greek #1199)], 'Ye both sympathized with those in bonds (answering to the last clause of Hebrews 10:33 : cf. Hebrews 13:3; Hebrews 13:23; Hebrews 6:10), and accepted [ prosedexasthe (Greek #4327), as in Hebrews 11:35] with joy (James 1:2; as exercising faith and other graces, Romans 5:3; and the pledge of coming glory, Matthew 5:12) the plundering of your (own) goods' [ton humon), answering to the first clause of Hebrews 10:33].

In yourselves. 'Aleph (') A, Vulgate, omit "in:" 'knowing that ye have yourselves.' Delta, 'for yourselves.'

In heaven. So C. But 'Aleph (') A Delta f, Vulgate, omit.

Better - a heavenly (Hebrews 11:16).

Enduring - not liable to spoiling.

Substance - possession: peculiarly our own, unless we cast away our birthright.


Verse 35

Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.

Consequent exhortation to confidence and endurance, as Christ is soon coming.

Cast not away. They now have "confidence," and it will not withdraw of itself, unless they 'cast it away' willfully (cf. Hebrews 3:14).

Which , [ heetis (Greek #3748)] - inasmuch as it.

Hath - present: it is as certain as if you had it in hand (Hebrews 10:37). It hath in reversion.

Recompence of reward - of grace, not debt: of a kind which no mercenary self-seeker would seek: holiness will be its own reward; self-devotion for Christ will be its own rich recompence (note, Hebrews 2:2; Hebrews 11:26).


Verse 36

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

Patience , [ hupomonees (Greek #5281)] - 'enduring perseverance.' The kindred verb in the Septuagint, Habakkuk 2:3, is translated 'wait for it' (cf. James 5:7).

After ye have done the will of God - `that whereas ye have done the will of God' hitherto (Hebrews 10:32-35), ye may show also persevering endurance, and so "receive" the promised reward-eternal bliss commensurate with our work of faith and love (Hebrews 6:10-12): not only do, but also suffer (1 Peter 4:19). God first uses the active talents of His servants; then polishes the other side of the stone, making the passive graces shine-patience, meekness, etc. It may be also [ hina (Greek #2443) poieesantes (Greek #4160) komiseesthe (Greek #2865)] 'that ye may do the will of God, and receive,' etc. (Alford.) "Patience" is a further persevering doing of 'God's will,' otherwise it would be no real grace (Matthew 7:21). We should look not merely for individual bliss at death, but for the general consummation of the bliss of all saints in body and soul.


Verse 37

For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

Encouragement to enduring perseverance, by consideration of the shortness of the time until Christ shall come, and God's rejection of him that draws back, from Habakkuk 2:3-4.

A little while (John 16:16).

He that shall come - literally, 'the Comer.' In Habakkuk it is the vision about to come. Christ, the grand subject of all prophetic vision, is made by Paul, under inspiration, the ultimate subject of the Spirit's prophecy by Habakkuk, in its exhaustive fulfillment.


Verse 38

Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

Just. 'Aleph (') A, Vulgate, read 'MY just man.' God is the speaker-`He who is just in my sight.' Bengel, with Delta f, 'The just shall live by MY faith.' So the Hebrew, Habakkuk 2:4, literally, 'The just shall live by the faith of Him'-namely, Christ, the final subject of "the vision," who 'will not lie;' i:e., disappoint. Here not merely the beginning, as in Galatians 3:11, but the continuance of the spiritual life of the justified man is referred to, as opposed to apostasy. In Romans 1:17 the righteousness or justice of God in the Gospel plan is what is dwelt on; so the emphasis falls on "just." In Galatians 3:11 the emphasis is on "faith" as the means of justificaton. Here, the emphasis is on "live." As the justified man receives first spiritual life by faith, so it is by faith that he shall continue to live (Luke 4:4). Faith here is that fully-developed living trust in the unseen (Hebrews 11:1) Saviour, which keeps men stedfast amidst persecutions and temptations (Hebrews 10:34-36).

But - Greek, 'and.'

If any man draw back. The Greek admits Alford's, 'if he (the just man) draw back.' This would not disprove the final perseverance of saints: for 'the just man' in this latter clause would mean one seemingly, and in part really, though not savingly, "just;" as in Ezekiel 18:24; Ezekiel 18:26. In the Hebrew this latter half stands first. Therefore 'and' (not "but"), in Paul, merely joins his two quotations: the 'drawer back' answering to the 'lifted-up soul' must, if Paul follows Habakkuk (Hebrews 2:4, note), be distinct from "the just;" for the former stands first, and refers to the Chaldean, or else the unbelieving Jews. "Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him." Habakkuk states the cause of drawing back: a soul lifted up by prosperity, like the Chaldean, in self-inflated unbelief setting itself up against God. Paul, by the Spirit, states the effect: it draws back. What in Habakkuk is, "his soul ... is not upright in him," is in Paul, "my soul shall have no pleasure in him." Habakkuk states the cause, Paul the effect: He who is not right in his own soul does not stand right with God; God has no pleasure in him. Bengel translates Habakkuk, 'His soul is not upright in respect to him'-namely, Christ, the subject of "the vision;" i:e., Christ has no pleasure in him (cf. Hebrews 12:25). Every flower in spring is not a fruit in autumn.


Verse 39

But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

A Pauline elegant turning-off from denunciatory warnings to charitable hopes (2 Thessalonians 2:13).

Saving of the soul , [ peripoieesin (Greek #4047)] - 'acquisition (or obtaining) of the soul.' The kindred verb is applied to Christ's acquiring the Church as the purchase of his blood (Acts 20:28). If we acquire our soul's salvation, it is through Him who has obtained it for us by His bloodshedding. 'The unbeliever loses his soul; for not being God's, neither is he his own (cf. Matthew 16:26 with Luke 9:25): faith saves the soul by linking it to God' (Delitzsch in Alford).

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/hebrews-10.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 14th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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