Heb 10:1-39. Conclusion of
the Foregoing Argument. The Yearly
Recurring Law Sacrifices Cannot Perfect the Worshipper, but Christ's
Once-for-all Offering Can.
Instead of the daily ministry of the Levitical
priests, Christ's service is perfected by the one sacrifice, whence He
now sits on the right hand of God as a Priest-King, until all His foes
shall be subdued unto Him. Thus the new covenant (Heb 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 to
be given at Christ's coming.
1. Previously the oneness of Christ's
offering was shown; now is shown its perfection as contrasted with the
having—inasmuch as it has but "the
shadow, not the very image," that is, not the exact likeness, reality,
and full revelation, such as the Gospel has. The "image" here means the
archetype (compare Heb 9:24),
the original, solid image [Bengel]
realizing to us those heavenly verities, of which the law furnished but
a shadowy outline before. Compare 2Co 3:13, 14, 18; the Gospel is the very setting forth by
the Word and Spirit of the heavenly realities themselves, out of which
it (the Gospel) is constructed. So Alford. As Christ is "the express image
(Greek, 'impress') of the Father's person" (Heb 1:3), so the Gospel is the heavenly verities
themselves manifested by revelation—the heavenly very
archetype, of which the law was drawn as a sketch, or outline
8:5). The law was a continual
process of acted prophecy, proving the divine design that its
counterparts should come; and proving the truth of those counterparts
when they came. Thus the imperfect and continued expiatory sacrifices
before Christ foretend, and now prove, the reality of, Christ's one
perfect antitypical expiation.
good things to come—(Heb 9:11); belonging to "the world (age) to
come." Good things in part made present by faith to the
believer, and to be fully realized hereafter in actual and perfect
enjoyment. Lessing says, "As Christ's Church on earth is a prediction
of the economy of the future life, so the Old Testament economy is a
prediction of the Christian Church." In relation to the temporal good
things of the law, the spiritual and eternal good things of the Gospel
are "good things to come." Col 2:17 calls legal ordinances "the shadow," and
Christ "the body."
never—at any time (Heb 10:11).
with those sacrifices—rather, "with
the same sacrifices.
year by year—This clause in the
Greek refers to the whole sentence, not merely to the words
"which they the priests offered" (Greek, "offer"). Thus the
sense is, not as English Version, but, 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, Heb 10:11.
"continuously," implying that they offer a toilsome and ineffectual
"continuous" round of the "same" atonement-sacrifices
recurring "year by year."
comers thereunto—those so coming
unto God, namely, 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 (see on Heb
2. For—if the law could, by its
sacrifices, have perfected the worshippers.
once purged—IF they were once for all cleansed (Heb 7:27).
3. But—so far from those sacrifices
ceasing to be offered (Heb 10:2).
in, &c.—in the fact of their being
offered, and in the course of their being offered on the day of
atonement. Contrast Heb 10:17.
a remembrance—a recalling to mind by
the high priest's confession, on the day of atonement, of the sins both
of each past year and of all former years, proving that the expiatory
sacrifices of former years were not felt by men's consciences to have
fully atoned for former sins; in fact, the expiation and remission were
only legal and typical (Heb 10:4, 11). The Gospel remission, on the contrary,
is so complete, that sins are "remembered no more" (Heb 10:17) by God. It is unbelief to "forget" this
once-for-all purgation, and to fear on account of "former sins" (2Pe 1:9). The believer, once for all
bathed, needs only to "wash" his hands and "feet" of soils,
according as he daily contracts them, in Christ's blood (Joh 13:10).
4. For, &c.—reason why, necessarily,
there is a continually recurring "remembrance of sins" in the legal
sacrifices (Heb 10:3).
Typically, "the blood of bulls," &c., sacrificed, had power;
but it was only in virtue of the power of the one real antitypical
sacrifice of Christ; they had no power in themselves; they were
not the instrument of perfect vicarious atonement, but an exhibition of
the need of it, suggesting to the faithful Israelite the sure hope of
coming redemption, according to God's promise.
take away—"take off." The
Greek, Heb 10:11,
is stronger, explaining the weaker word here, "take away
utterly." The blood of beasts could not take away the sin of
man. A MAN must do that (see on
5. Christ's voluntary self offering, in
contrast to those inefficient sacrifices, is shown to fulfill perfectly
"the will of God" as to our redemption, by completely atoning "for
Wherefore—seeing that a nobler than
animal sacrifices was needed to "take away sins."
when he cometh—Greek, "coming."
The time referred to is the period before His entrance into the
world, when the inefficiency of animal sacrifices for expiation had
been proved [Tholuck]. Or, the time is
that between Jesus' first dawning of reason as a child, and the
beginning of His public ministry, during which, being ripened in human
resolution, He was intently devoting Himself to the doing of His
Father's will [Alford]. But the time of
"coming" is present; not "when He had come," but "when
coming into the world"; so, in order to accord with Alford's view, "the world" must mean His PUBLIC ministry: when coming, or about to
come, into public. The Greek verbs are in the past:
"sacrifice … Thou didst not wish, but a body Thou
didst prepare for Me"; and, "Lo, I am come." Therefore,
in order to harmonize these times, the present coming, or about
to come, with the past, "A body Thou didst prepare for Me," we
must either explain as Alford, or else,
if we take the period to be before His actual arrival in the
world (the earth) or incarnation, we must explain the
past tenses to refer to God's purpose, which speaks of
what He designed from eternity as though it were already fulfilled. "A
body Thou didst prepare in Thy eternal counsel." This seems to me more
likely than explaining "coming into the world," "coming into
public," or entering on His public ministry. David, in the fortieth
Psalm (here quoted), reviews his past troubles and God's having
delivered him from them, and his consequent desire to render willing
obedience to God as more acceptable than sacrifices; but the Spirit
puts into his mouth language finding its partial application to David,
and its full realization only in the divine Son of David. "The more any
son of man approaches the incarnate Son of God in position, or office,
or individual spiritual experience, the more directly 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 resembled and
foreshadowed Him the most" [Alford].
a body hast thou prepared
me—Greek, "Thou didst fit for Me a body." "In
Thy counsels Thou didst determine to make for Me a body, to be
given up to death as a sacrificial victim" [Wahl]. In the Hebrew, Ps 40:6, it is "mine ears hast thou opened," or
"dug." Perhaps this alludes to the custom of boring the ear of a
slave who volunteers to remain under his master when he might be
free. Christ's assuming a human body, in obedience to the
Father's will, in order to die the death of a slave (Heb 2:14), was virtually the same act of
voluntary submission to service as that of a slave suffering his ear to
be bored by his master. His willing obedience to the Father's
will is what is dwelt on as giving especial virtue to His sacrifice
10:7, 9, 10). The
preparing, or fitting of a body for Him, is not with a
view to His mere incarnation, but to His expiatory sacrifice
10:10), as the
contrast to "sacrifice and offering" requires; compare also
Ro 7:4; Eph 2:16; Col 1:22. More probably "opened mine ears" means
opened mine inward ear, so as to be attentively obedient to what
God wills me to do, namely, to assume the body He has prepared for me
for my sacrifice, so Job 33:16,
Margin; Job 36:10
(doubtless the boring of a slave's "ear" was the symbol of such
willing obedience); Isa 50:5,
"The Lord God hath opened mine ear," that is, made me obediently
attentive as a slave to his master. Others somewhat similarly explain,
"Mine ears hast thou digged," or "fashioned," not with allusion
21:6, but to the true office
of the ear—a willing, submissive attention to the voice of God
50:4, 5). The forming of the
ear implies the preparation of the body, that is, the incarnation; this
secondary idea, really in the Hebrew, though less prominent, is
the one which Paul uses for his argument. In either explanation the
idea of Christ taking on Him the form, and becoming obedient as a
servant, is implied. As He assumed a body in which to make His
self-sacrifice, so ought we present our bodies a living
sacrifice (Ro 12:1).
6. burnt offerings—Greek,
"whole burnt offerings."
thou hast had no pleasure—as if these
could in themselves atone for sin: God had pleasure in (Greek,
"approved," or "was well pleased with") them, in so far as they
were an act of obedience to His positive command under the Old
Testament, but not as having an intrinsic efficacy such as Christ's
sacrifice had. Contrast Mt 3:17.
7. I come—rather, "I am come" (see on Heb 10:5). "Here we have the creed, as it were, of
Jesus: 'I am come to fulfil the law,' Mt 5:17; to preach, Mr 1:38; to call sinners to repentance, Lu 5:32; to send a sword and to set men at
variance, Mt 10:34, 35; I came down from heaven to do the will
of Him that sent me, Joh 6:38, 39 (so here, Ps 40:7, 8); I am sent to the lost sheep of the
house of Israel, Mt 15:24; I
am come into this world for judgment, Joh 9:39; I am come that they might have life,
and might have it more abundantly, Joh 10:10; to save what had been lost, Mt 18:11; to seek and to save that which
was lost, Lu 19:10;
1:15; to save men's lives,
Lu 9:56; to send fire on the earth, Lu 12:49; to minister, Mt 20:28; as "the Light," Joh 12:46; to bear witness unto the truth, Joh 18:37. See, reader, that thy Saviour
obtain what He aimed at in thy case. Moreover, do thou for thy part
say, why thou art come here? Dost thou, then, also, do the will of God?
From what time? and in what way?" [Bengel]. When the two goats on the day of atonement
were presented before the Lord, that goat on which the lot of the Lord
should fall was to be offered as a sin offering; and that lot was
lifted up on high in the hand of the high priest, 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. Besides the covenant of
God with man through Christ's blood, there was another covenant 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," &c.
53:10). The Son accepted the
condition, "Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God" [Bishop Pearson]. Oblation, intercession, and
benediction, are His three priestly offices.
in the volume, &c.—literally, "the
roll": the parchment manuscript being wrapped around a cylinder headed
with knobs. Here, the Scripture "volume" meant is the fortieth Psalm.
"By this very passage 'written of Me,' I undertake to do Thy will
[namely, that I should die for the sins of the world, in order that all
who believe may be saved, not by animal sacrifices, Heb 10:6, but by My death]." This is the written
contract of Messiah (compare Ne 9:38),
whereby He engaged to be our surety. So complete is the inspiration of
all that is written, so great the authority of the Psalms, that what
David says is really what Christ then and there said.
Sacrifice, &c.—The oldest
manuscripts read, "Sacrifices and offerings" (plural).
This verse combines the two clauses previously quoted distinctly, Heb 10:5,
6, in contrast to the
sacrifice of Christ with which God was well pleased.
9. Then said he—"At that time (namely,
when speaking by David's mouth in the fortieth Psalm) He hath said."
The rejection of the legal sacrifices involves, as its concomitant, the
voluntary offer of Jesus 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).
I come—"I am come."
taketh away—"sets aside the first,"
namely, "the legal system of sacrifices" which God wills not.
the second—"the will of God" (Heb 10:7,
9) that Christ should redeem
us by His self-sacrifice.
10. By—Greek, "In." So "in," and
"through," occur in the same sentence, 1Pe 1:22, "Ye have purified your souls in
obeying the truth through the Spirit." Also, 1Pe 1:5, in the Greek. The "in
(fulfilment of) which will" (compare the use of in, Eph 1:6, "wherein [in which grace] He hath made
us accepted, in the Beloved"), expresses the originating cause;
"THROUGH the offering … of
Christ," the instrumental or mediatory cause. The whole
work of 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" here (boulema) is His absolute sovereign
will. His "good will" (eudokia) is a particular aspect of
are sanctified—once for all, and as
our permanent state (so the Greek). It is the finished
work of Christ in having sanctified us (that is, having translated us
from a state of unholy alienation into a state of consecration
to God, having "no more conscience of sin," Heb 10:2) once for all and permanently, not the
process of gradual sanctification, which is here referred to.
the body—"prepared" for Him by the
10:5). As the atonement, or
reconciliation, is by the blood of Christ (Le 17:11), so our sanctification
(consecration to God, holiness and eternal bliss) is by the body
of Christ (Col 1:22).
Alford quotes the Book of Common
Prayer Communion Service, "that our sinful bodies may be made
clean by His body, and our souls washed through His most precious
once for all—(Heb
7:27; 9:12, 26, 28; 10:12, 14).
11. And—a new point of contrast; the
frequent repetition of the sacrifices.
priest—The oldest manuscripts read,
"high priest." Though he did not in person stand "daily" offering
sacrifices, he did so by the subordinate priests of whom, as well as of
all Israel, he was the representative head. So "daily" is applied to
the high priests (Heb 7:27).
standeth—the attitude of one
ministering; in contrast to "sat down on the right hand of God,"
10:12, said of Christ; the
posture of one being ministered to as a king.
which—Greek, "the which," that
is, of such a kind as.
take away—utterly; literally, "strip
off all round." Legal sacrifices might, in part, produce the
sense of forgiveness, yet scarcely even that (see on Heb 10:4); but entirely to strip off one's guilt
they never could.
12. this man—emphatic (Heb 3:3).
for ever—joined in English
Version with "offered one sacrifice"; offered one sacrifice, the
efficacy of which endures for ever; literally. "continuously," (compare
10:14). "The offering of
Christ, once for all made, will continue the one and only oblation for
ever; no other will supersede it" [Bengel]. 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 that inseparable from His suffering (Heb 9:26). The mass would be much the same
as the Jewish sacrifices which Paul sets aside as abrogated, for they
were anticipations of the one sacrifice, just as Rome makes masses
continuations of it, in opposition to Paul's argument. A repetition
would imply that the former once-for-all offering of the one sacrifice
was imperfect, and so would be dishonoring to it (Heb 10:2, 18). Heb 10:14, on the contrary, says, "He hath PERFECTED FOR EVER 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. Compare Note, see
on Heb 9:26. English Version is favored
by the usage in this Epistle, of putting the Greek "for ever"
after that which it qualifies. Also, "one sacrifice for ever," stands
in contrast to "the same sacrifices oftentimes" (Heb 10:11). Also, 1Co 15:25, 28, agrees with Heb 10:12, 13, taken as English Version,
not joining, as Alford does, "for ever"
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
13. expecting—"waiting." Awaiting
the execution of His Father's will, that all His foes should be
subjected to Him. The Son waits till the Father shall "send Him
forth to triumph over all His foes." He is now sitting at rest
10:12), invisibly reigning,
and having His foes virtually, by right of His death, subject to Him.
His present sitting on the unseen throne is a necessary
preliminary to His coming forth to subject His foes openly. He shall
then come forth to a visibly manifested kingdom and conquest over His
foes. Thus He fulfils Ps 110:1.
This agrees with 1Co 15:23-28. He is, by His Spirit and His
providence, now subjecting His foes to Him in part (Ps 110:1-7). The subjection of His foes
fully shall be at His second advent, and from that time to the
general judgment (Re 19:1-20:15); 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 total and absolute conquest
at His coming is symbolized.
be made his footstool—literally, "be
placed (rendered) footstool of His feet."
his enemies—Satan and Death, whose
strength consists in "sin"; this being taken away (Heb 10:12), the power of the foes is taken away,
and their destruction necessarily follows.
14. For—The sacrifice being "for ever"
in its efficacy (Heb 10:12)
needs no renewal.
them that are sanctified—rather as
Greek, "them that are being sanctified." The
sanctification (consecration to God) of the elect (1Pe 1:2) believers is perfect in Christ once for
all (see on Heb 10:10). (Contrast the law,
Heb 7:19; 9:9; 10:1). The development of that sanctification
15. The Greek, has "moreover," or
is a witness—of the truth which I am
setting forth. The Father's witness is given Heb 5:10. The Son's, Heb 10:5. Now is added that of the Holy Spirit,
called accordingly "the Spirit of grace," Heb 10:29. The testimony of all Three leads to the
same conclusion (Heb 10:18).
for after that he had said before—The
conclusion to the sentence is in Heb 10:17, "After He had said before, This
is the covenant that I will make with them (with the house of
Israel, Heb 8:10;
here extended to the spiritual Israel) … saith the Lord; I will
put (literally, 'giving,' referring to the giving of the law;
not now as then, giving into the hands, but giving) My
laws into their hearts ('mind,' Heb 8:10) and in their minds ('hearts,' Heb 8:10); I will inscribe (so the
Greek) them (here He omits the addition quoted in Heb 8:10, 11, I will be to them a God
… and they shall not teach every man his neighbor …),
and (that is, after He had said the foregoing, He then adds) their sins … will I remember no
more." The great object of the quotation here is to prove that, there
being in the Gospel covenant, "REMISSION of sins" (Heb 10:17), there is no more need of a sacrifice
for sins. The object of the same quotation in Heb 8:8-13 is to show that, there being a
"NEW covenant," the old is
18. where remission of these is—as there
is under the Gospel covenant (Heb 10:17). "Here ends the finale (Heb 10:1-18) of the great tripartite
arrangement (Heb 7:1-25; 7:26-9:12;
9:13-10:18) of the middle
portion of the Epistle. Its great theme was Christ a High Priest for
ever after the order of Melchisedec. What it is to be a high priest
after the order of Melchisedec is set forth, Heb 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 here on earth, and
Mediator of a better covenant, whose essential character the old only
typified, we learn, Heb 7:26-9:12. 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, Heb 9:13-10:18; the first half of this last portion
9:13-28], showing that both
our present possession of salvation, and our future completion of it,
are as certain to us as that He is with God, ruling as a Priest and
reigning as a King, once more to appear, no more as a bearer of our
sins, but in glory as a Judge. The second half, Heb 10:1-18, reiterating the main position of
the whole, the High Priesthood of Christ, grounded on His offering of
Himself—its kingly character its eternal accomplishment of its
end, confirmed by Psalms 40 and 110 and Jeremiah 31" [Delitzsch in Alford].
19. Here begins the third and last division of
the Epistle; our duty now while waiting for the Lord's second
advent. Resumption and expansion of the exhortation (Heb 4:14-16; compare Heb 10:22, 23 here) wherewith he closed the
first part of the Epistle, preparatory to his great doctrinal argument,
beginning at Heb 7:1.
boldness—"free confidence," grounded
on the consciousness that our sins have been forgiven.
to enter—literally, "as regards the
by—Greek, "in"; it is in
the blood of Jesus that our boldness to enter is grounded. Compare
3:12, "In whom we have
boldness and access with confidence." It is His having once for all
entered as our Forerunner (Heb 6:20) and
High Priest (Heb 10:21),
making atonement for us with His blood, which is continually there
12:24) before God, that gives
us confident access. No priestly caste now mediates between the sinner
and his Judge. We may come boldly with loving confidence, not
with 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 would
like. Each must come for himself, and all are accepted when they come
by the new and living way opened by Christ. Thus all Christians are, in
respect to access directly to God, virtually high priests (Re 1:6). They draw nigh in and through Christ,
the only proper High Priest (Heb 7:25).
20. which, &c.—The antecedent in the
Greek is "the entering"; not as English Version, "way."
Translate, "which (entering) He has consecrated (not as though it were
already existing, but has been the first to open, INAUGURATED as a new thing; see on Heb 9:18, where the Greek is the same) for us
(as) a new (Greek, 'recent'; recently opened, Ro 16:25, 26) and living way" (not like the
lifeless way through the law offering of the blood of dead
victims, but real, vital, and of perpetual efficacy, because the
living and life-giving Saviour is that way. It is
a living hope that we have, producing not dead, but
living, works). Christ, the first-fruits of our nature, has
ascended, and the rest is sanctified thereby. "Christ's ascension is
our promotion; and whither the glory of the Head hath preceded, thither
the hope of the body, too, is called" [Leo].
the veil—As the veil had to be
passed through in order to enter the holiest place, so the weak,
human suffering flesh (Heb 5:7) of Christ's humanity (which veiled His
God head) had to be passed through by Him in entering the heavenly
holiest place for us; in putting off His rent flesh, the temple
veil, its type, was simultaneously rent from top to bottom (Mt 27:51). Not His body, but His
weak suffering flesh, was the veil; His body was the temple
21. high priest—As a different
Greek term (archiereus) is used always elsewhere in this
Epistle for "high priest," translate as Greek here, "A
Great Priest"; one who is at once King and "Priest on His
throne" (Zec 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 now is (Heb 12:22, 23). Thus, by "the house of God," over
which Jesus is, heaven is included in meaning, as well as the
Church, whose home it is.
22. (Heb 4:16; 7:19.)
with a true heart—without hypocrisy;
"in truth, and with a perfect heart"; a heart thoroughly imbued with
"the truth" (Heb 10:26).
full assurance—(Heb 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," Heb 10:23, 24.
sprinkled from—that is, sprinkled
so as to be cleansed from.
evil conscience—a consciousness of
guilt unatoned for, and uncleansed away (Heb 10:2; Heb 9:9). Both the hearts and the
bodies are cleansed. The legal purifications were with blood of
animal victims and with water, and could only cleanse the flesh
9:13, 21). Christ's blood
purifies the heart and conscience. The Aaronic priest, in
entering the holy place, washed with water (Heb 9:19) in the brazen laver. Believers, as
priests to God, are once for all washed in BODY (as distinguished from
"hearts") at baptism. As we have an immaterial, and a material nature,
the cleansing of both is expressed by "hearts" and "body," the inner
and the outer man; so the whole man, material and immaterial. The
baptism of the body, however, is not the 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 (1Pe 3:21). "Body" (not merely "flesh," the
carnal part, as 2Co 7:1)
includes the whole material man, which needs cleansing, as being
redeemed, as well as the soul. The body, once polluted with sin, is
washed, so as to be fitted like Christ's holy body, and by His body, to
be spiritually a pure and living offering. On the "pure water," the
symbol of consecration and sanctification, compare Joh 19:34; 1Co 6:11; 1Jo 5:6; Eze 36:25. The perfects "having … hearts
sprinkled … body (the Greek is singular)
washed," imply a continuing state produced 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
23. (Heb 3:6, 14; 4:14.)
our faith—rather as Greek, "our
hope"; which is indeed faith exercised as to the future
inheritance. Hope rests on faith, and at the same time quickens
faith, and is the ground of our bold confession (1Pe 3:15). Hope is similarly (Heb 10:22) connected with purification
without wavering—without declension
3:14), "steadfast unto the
he—God is faithful to His promises
(Heb 6:17, 18; 11:11; 12:26, 28;
1Co 1:9; 10:13; 1Th 5:24; 2Th 3:3; see also Christ's promise, Joh 12:26); but man is too often unfaithful to his
24. Here, as elsewhere, hope and
love follow faith; the Pauline triad of Christian
consider—with the mind attentively
fixed on "one another" (see on Heb 3:1),
contemplating with continual consideration the characters and wants of
our brethren, so as to render mutual help and counsel. Compare
"consider," Ps 41:1, and Heb 12:15, "(All) looking diligently lest
any fail of the grace of God."
to provoke—Greek, "with a
view to provoking unto love," instead of provoking to hatred, as is
too often the case.
25. assembling of ourselves together—The
Greek, "episunagoge," is only found here and 2Th 2:1 (the gathering together of the elect to
Christ at His coming, Mt 24:31).
The assembling or gathering of ourselves for Christian communion in
private and public, is an earnest of our being gathered together to Him
at His appearing. Union is strength; continual assemblings together
beget and foster love, and give good opportunities for
"provoking to good works," by "exhorting one another" (Heb 3:13). Ignatius says, "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 together might end in apostasy at last. He avoids the
Greek term "sunagoge," as suggesting the Jewish
synagogue meetings (compare Re 2:9).
as the manner of some is—"manner,"
that is, habit, custom. This gentle expression proves he is not here as
yet speaking of apostasy.
the day approaching—This, the shortest
designation of the day of the Lord's coming, occurs elsewhere only in
3:13; a confirmation of the
Pauline authorship of this Epistle. The Church being in all ages
kept uncertain how soon Christ is coming, the day is, and has
been, in each age, practically always near; whence, believers have been
called on always to be watching for it as nigh at hand. The Hebrews
were now living close upon One of those great types and foretastes of
it, the destruction of Jerusalem (Mt 24:1, 2), "the bloody and fiery dawn of the
great day; that day is 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 through and breaks off
the night of the present world" [Delitzsch in Alford].
26. Compare on this and following verses,
6:4, &c. There the
warning was that if there be not diligence in progressing, a falling
off will take place, and apostasy may ensue: here it is, that if there
be lukewarmness in Christian communion, apostasy may ensue.
if we sin—Greek present
participle: if we be found sinning, that is, not isolated acts,
but a state of sin [Alford]. A
violation not only of the law, but of the whole economy of the
New Testament (Heb 10:28, 29).
"willingly." After receiving "full knowledge (so the Greek,
2:4) of the truth," by having
been "enlightened," and by having "tasted" a certain measure even of
grace of "the Holy Ghost" (the Spirit of truth, Joh 14:17; and "the Spirit of grace," Heb 10:29): to fall away (as "sin" here
means, Heb 3:12, 17; compare Heb 6:6) and apostatize (Heb 3:12) to Judaism or infidelity, is not a sin
of ignorance, or error ("out of the way," the result) of
infirmity, but a deliberate sinning against the Spirit (Heb
10:29; Heb 5:2): such
sinning, where a consciousness of Gospel obligations not only was, but
is present: a sinning presumptuously and preseveringly against Christ's
redemption for us, and the Spirit of grace in us. "He
only who stands high can fall low. A lively reference in the soul to
what is good is necessary in order to be thoroughly wicked; hence, man
can be more reprobate than the beasts, and the 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 that sacrifice, deliberately reject
27. a certain—an extraordinary and
indescribable. The indefiniteness, as of something peculiar of its
kind, makes the description the more terrible (compare
Greek, Jas 1:18).
looking for—"expectation": a later
sense of the Greek. Alford
strangely translates, as the Greek usually means elsewhere,
"reception." The transition is easy from "giving a reception to"
something or someone, to "looking for." Contrast the "expecting" (the
very same Greek as here), Heb 10:13, which refutes Alford.
fiery indignation—literally, "zeal of
fire." Fire is personified: glow or ardor of fire, that is, of Him who
is "a consuming fire."
28. Compare Heb 2:2, 3; 12:25.
despised—"set at naught" [Alford]: utterly and heinously violated, not merely
some minor detail, but the whole law and covenant; for example,
by idolatry (De 17:2-7).
So here apostasy answers to such an utter violation of the old
died—Greek, "dies": the normal
punishment of such transgression, then still in force.
without mercy—literally, "mercies":
removal out of the pale of mitigation, or a respite of his doom.
under—on the evidence of.
29. sorer—Greek, "worse," namely,
"punishment" (literally, "vengeance") than any mere temporal punishment
of the body.
suppose ye—an appeal to the Hebrews'
reason and conscience.
thought worthy—by God at the
trodden under foot the Son of God—by
"wilful" apostasy. So he treads under foot God Himself who "glorified
His Son as an high priest" (Heb 5:5; 6:6).
an unholy thing—literally, "common,"
as opposed to "sanctified." No better than the blood of a common man,
thus involving the consequence that Christ, in claiming to be God, was
guilty of blasphemy, and so deserved to die!
wherewith he was sanctified—for Christ
died even for him. "Sanctified," in the fullest sense, belongs only to
the saved elect. But in some sense it belongs also to those who have
gone a far way in Christian experience, and yet fall away at last. The
higher such a one's past Christian experiences, the deeper his
done despite unto—by repelling in
fact: as "blasphemy" is despite in words (Mr 3:29). "Of the Jews who became Christians and
relapsed to Judaism, we find from the history of Uriel Acosta, that
they required a blasphemy against Christ. 'They applied to Him epithets
used against Molech the adulterous branch,' &c." [Tholuck].
the Spirit of grace—the Spirit that
confers grace. "He who does not accept the benefit, insults Him who
confers it. He hath made thee a son: wilt thou become a slave? He has
come to take up His abode with thee; but thou art introducing evil into
thyself" [Chrysostom]. "It is the curse
of evil eternally to propagate evil: so, for him who profanes the
Christ without him, and blasphemes the Christ within him,
there is subjectively no renewal of a change of mind (Heb 6:6), and objectively no new sacrifice
for sins" (Heb 10:26)
30. him—God, who enters no empty
Vengeance belongeth unto
me—Greek, "To Me belongeth vengeance": exactly
according with Paul's quotation, Ro 12:19, of the same text.
Lord shall judge his people—in grace,
or else anger, according as each deserves: here, "judge," so as to
punish the reprobate apostate; there, "judge," so as to interpose in
behalf of, and save His people (De 32:36).
31. fearful … to fall into the
hands—It is good like David to fall into the hands of
God, rather than man, when one does so with filial faith in
his father's love, though God chastises him. "It is fearful" to
fall into His hands as a reprobate and presumptuous sinner doomed to
His just vengeance as Judge (Heb 10:27).
living God—therefore able to punish
for ever (Mt 10:28).
32. As previously he has warned them by the
awful end of apostates, so here he stirs them up by the remembrance of
their own former faith, patience, and self-sacrificing love. So Re 2:3, 4.
call to remembrance—habitually: so the
present tense means.
illuminated—"enlightened": come to
"the knowledge of the truth" (Heb 10:26) in connection with baptism (see on Heb 6:4). In spiritual baptism, Christ, who is "the
Light," is put on. "On the one hand, we are not to sever the sign and
the grace signified where the sacrifice truly answers its designs; on
the other, the glass is not to be mistaken for the liquor, nor the
sheath for the sword" [Bengel].
fight of—that is, consisting of
33. The persecutions here referred to seem to
have been endured by the Hebrew Christians at their first conversion,
not only in Palestine, but also in Rome and elsewhere, the Jews in
every city inciting the populace and the Roman authorities against
gazing-stock—as in a theater
(so the Greek): often used as the place of punishment in the
presence of the assembled multitudes. Ac 19:29; 1Co 4:9, "Made a theatrical spectacle to
ye became—of your own accord:
attesting your Christian sympathy with your suffering brethren.
companions of—sharers in affliction
34. ye had compassion on me in my
bonds—The oldest manuscripts and versions omit "me," and
read, "Ye both sympathized with those in bonds (answering to the
last clause of Heb 10:33;
compare Heb 13:3, 23; 6:10), and accepted (so the Greek is
translated in Heb 11:35)
with joy (Jas 1:2;
joy in tribulations, as exercising faith and other graces, Ro 5:3; and the pledge of the coming glory,
Mt 5:12) the plundering of your (own)
goods (answering to the first clause of Heb 10:33)."
in yourselves—The oldest manuscripts
omit "in": translate, "knowing that ye have for (or 'to')
better—a heavenly (Heb 11:16).
enduring—not liable to
substance—possession: peculiarly our
own, if we will not cast away our birthright.
35-37. Consequent exhortation to confidence
and endurance, as Christ is soon coming.
Cast not away—implying that they now
have "confidence," and that it will not withdraw of itself, unless they
"cast it away" wilfully (compare Heb 3:14).
which—Greek, "the which":
inasmuch as being such as.
hath—present tense: it is as certain
as if you had it in your hand (Heb 10:37). It hath in reversion.
recompense of reward—of grace not of
debt: a reward of a kind which no mercenary self-seeker would seek:
holiness will be its own reward; self-devoting unselfishness for
Christ's sake will be its own rich recompense (see on Heb 2:2; Heb 11:26).
36. patience—Greek, "waiting
endurance," or "enduring perseverance": the kindred Greek verb
in the Septuagint, Hab 2:3, is
translated, "wait for it" (compare Jas 5:7).
after ye have done the will of
God—"that whereas ye have done the will of God" hitherto
10:32-35), ye may now show
also patient, persevering endurance, and so "receive the
promise," that is, the promised reward: eternal life and bliss
commensurate with our work of faith and love (Heb 6:10-12). We must not only do, but
also suffer (1Pe 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, &c. It may be also translated, "That ye
may do the will of God, and receive," &c. [Alford]: "patience" itself is a further and a
persevering doing of "God's will"; otherwise it would be profitless and
no real grace (Mt 7:21). We
should look, not merely for individual bliss now and at death, but for
the great and general consummation of bliss of all saints, both in body
37, 38. Encouragement to patient endurance by
consideration of the shortness of the time till Christ shall come, and
God's rejection of him that draws back, taken from Hab 2:3, 4.
a little while—(Joh 16:16).
he that shall come—literally, "the
Comer." In Habakkuk, it is the vision that is said to be about
to come. Christ, being the grand and ultimate subject of all
prophetical vision, is here made by Paul, under inspiration, the
subject of the Spirit's prophecy by Habakkuk, in its final and
38. just—The oldest manuscripts and
Vulgate read, "my just man." God is the speaker: "He who
is just in My sight." Bengel translates,
"The just shall live by my faith": answering to the
Hebrew, Hab 2:4;
literally, "the just shall live by the faith of Him," namely,
Christ, the final subject of "the vision," who "will not lie,"
that is, disappoint. Here not merely the first beginning, as in Ga 3:11, but the continuance, of
the spiritual life of the justified man is referred to, as opposed to
declension and apostasy. As the justified man receives his first
spiritual life by faith, so it is by faith that he shall
continue to live (Lu 4:4). The
faith meant here is that fully developed living trust in the
11:1) Saviour, which can keep
men steadfast amidst persecutions and temptations (Heb 10:34-36).
if any man draw back—So the
Greek admits: though it might also be translated, as Alford approves, "if he (the just man)
draw back." Even so, it 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" or
justified: as in Eze 18:24, 26. In the Hebrew, this latter half
of the verse stands first, and is, "Behold, his soul which is lifted
up, is not upright in him." Habakkuk states the cause of drawing
back: a soul lifted up, and in self-inflated unbelief setting
itself up against God. Paul, by the Spirit, states the effect,
it draws back. Also, 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," that is, Christ has no pleasure in him
(compare Heb 12:25).
Every flower in spring is not a fruit in autumn.
39. A Pauline elegant turning-off from
denunciatory warnings to charitable hopes of his readers (Ro 8:12).
saving of the soul—literally,
"acquisition (or obtaining) of the soul." The kindred
Greek verb is applied to Christ's acquiring the Church as
the purchase of His blood (Ac 20:28). If we acquire or obtain
our soul's salvation, it is through Him who has obtained it for us by
His bloodshedding. "The unbelieving man loses his soul: for not
being God's, neither is he his own [compare Mt 16:26, with
Lu 9:25]: faith saves the
soul by linking it to God" [Delitzsch in