Hebrews 10 Bible Commentary

B. W. Johnson’s Bible Commentary

(Read all of Hebrews 10)
Christ's Sacrifice Offered Once for All.

SUMMARY.--The Imperfection of the Sacrifices of the Law. In Such Sacrifices God Had No Pleasure. Christ's Sacrifice Offered Once for All. The Holiest of All Opened by the Blood of Christ. Exhortation to Faithful Perseverance. If Christ is Rejected, No More Sacrifice.

      1-4. The Law. The law of Moses. Having a shadow of the good things to come. It did not contain the good things, but only the shadow of them. They were typified in the law but exist in the gospel. Can never . . . make the comers thereunto perfect. That is, free them from sin, and thus perfect their consciences. 2. For then would they not, etc. If the legal sacrifices secured complete forgiveness, they would not have been offered over and over. The fact that it was done showed that there was still a consciousness of sin. 3. There is a remembrance, etc. Besides the daily sacrifices, and the individual sacrifices, there was repeated every year the atonement for the whole nation. There were daily, monthly, and yearly sacrifices. 4. For it is not possible. The blood of bulls and goats, the animals offered in the sacrifices, had no power to cleanse from sin. In their essence the only real efficacy of the bloody sacrifices of the altar was the moral effect upon the people and the fact that they pointed forward to the Lamb of God.

      5-10. When he cometh into the world. Since the Levitical sacrifices could not cleanse from sin, Christ, the Redeemer from sin, said when he entered upon his mission, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not. Quoted from Ps. 40:6-8. Since the sacrifices and offerings of the Jewish altar did not meet God's will. A body hast thou prepared me for an offering. This is Christ's offering. 6. In burnt offerings. Burnt offerings were wholly consumed. See Lev. 1:17. Sacrifices for sin. See Lev. 4:1 to 5:13. They were so called because of their special reference to sin. In neither had God pleasure; that is, they did not fully meet his will. 7. Then said I, Lo, I come. The Psalmist represents Christ, who comes simply to do the will of God, completely surrendered to his will. In the volume of the book. In the roll of the law it is written of me; that is, there I am predicted. 8, 9. Then said he. He said, first, "The Levitical sacrifices do not please God;" then he said, second; Lo, I come to do thy will. This is pleasing to God. Hence he taketh away the first, the old covenant with its sacrifices, and establishes the second, the new covenant inaugurated by complete submission to the will of God. 10. By which will we are sanctified. By this complete submission our sins are removed from us and we are made holy. The meaning of "sanctified" here is remission of sin. Through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ. In Christ's surrender his body was offered on the cross, once for all for sin, and by that offering our sins are remitted.

      11-14. Every priest standeth daily ministering. Christ offered his sacrifice "once for all," but Levitical priests offer daily their sacrifices which can never take way sins. 12. But this man. Jesus, after . . . one sacrifice, himself on the cross, sat down, which implies that he needeth to make no more offering. On the right hand of God. Honored forever. 13. From henceforth expecting. Waiting until every enemy is conquered. See note on 1:13. 14. For by one offering, that of the cross, he hath perfected forever. Given them perfect consciences free from a sense of the guilt of sin. Them that are sanctified. All Christ's brethren are sanctified (2:11); so are all whose sins are forgiven (verse 10, also verse 29); all saints are sanctified (1 Cor. 1:2); hence all Christians are called the "sanctified."

      15-18. Whereof the Holy Ghost is also a witness. It testifies that Christ perfects the sanctified. See, too, that it bears witness in words. He spoke in Jeremiah the prophet. 16, 17. This is the covenant, etc. See Jeremiah 31:33, 34; also notes on 8:10. Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. It is thus God "perfects the sanctified," by forgiving all their sins. 18. Where remission of these is. Hence, since there is complete remission, no more offering for sin is required.

      19-22. Having therefore, brethren, boldness. It has now been shown that Christ has, as our high priest, opened the way into the holiest of all, the heavens, for us. Hence we may follow with boldness. We have the assurance of heaven. 20. By a new and living way. Christ is the way. The way for us is not only pointed out but opened through his flesh. His rent body poured out the redeeming blood, and thus the veil before the holiest of all was rent open that we might enter in. For us the rent veil is the body of Christ. 21. And having an high priest. Our high priest hath opened the way by rending the veil. He is priest over the House of God, the church on earth, and our high priest in the Holiest of all above. 22. Let us draw near, the altar of incense, the open veil, and to God who dwelleth in the Holiest of all. With a true heart. Sincere and pure heart. In full assurance of faith. Filled with trust in our high priest. Our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience. By the blood of Christ through which we realize that our sins are forgiven. Our bodies washed with pure water. See Titus 3:5, and Acts 22:16. Alford, Prof. Stuart, Delitzch, Moll, Meyer and most commentators refer the passage to baptism. That is undoubtedly the thought of the sacred writer; the heart and spirit are cleansed by the blood of Christ and the body sanctified by washing in pure water, effecting the purification of the whole man.

      23. Let us hold fast. The thought is, cling to the faith professed and the hope in the soul without wavering.

      24, 25. Consider one another. Let each care for others and exhort others to love and to do good works both by word and example. 25. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves. In times of persecution there was a great temptation to stay away from the church assemblies, and some had fallen into dangerous neglect. As ye see the day approaching. There were signs that the Hebrew Christians could see that the day was near at hand. They probably thought that Christ would come in person at that day. He did come in judgment on the Jewish nation. As that awful time of trial seemed near at hand they should be zealous in exhorting each other. Macknight, Stuart, Milligan, Meyer and many others refer "day" to the destruction of the Jewish nation.

      26-31. For if we sin wilfully. Deliberately trample under foot Christ's will; apostasize from the faith in life. Remaineth no more sacrifice. We have, in that case, rejected Christ, the only sacrifice for sin. 27. There remains instead a looking for of judgment. Cut off from hope of salvation by rejecting Christ, one has only judgment and punishment to look forward to. 28. He that despised Moses' law. He who wilfully rebelled against the law of Moses had no remission. When proved guilty by two or three witnesses his fate was death. See Num. 15:30-36; Deut. 13:6-10. There was mercy for the ignorant, the mistaken, those "overtaken," but not for the deliberate despiser. 29. Of how much sorer punishment. Where much is given much is required. How great the sin of the apostate! Trodden under foot the Son of God. Despised him instead of Moses. Counted the blood of the covenant, the blood of Christ, the blood by which he was sanctified (cleansed from the guilt of sin), treated this blood as if it was unholy. Done despite unto the spirit of grace. Rejected all the work, the words, the preaching, the pleadings of the Holy Spirit. 30. We know him that hath said. We know what God hath said. He promises vengeance and judgment upon sinners. Vengeance. See Deut. 32:35. The Lord shall judge. See Deut. 32:36. 31. It is a fearful thing, etc. A fearful thing for the sinner who has despised God's mercy; for the apostate who has trampled it under foot.

      32-36. Call to remembrance the former days. Some former day of persecution, after they were enlightened (Revision) by the gospel. Possibly the great persecution at the death of Stephen is referred to, or that of Acts 12:1-3. 33. Made a gazing stock. Looked upon with reproach, abused and afflicted personally. Companions. Sharing the suffering of those who were persecuted. 34. For ye had compassion on them in bonds (Revision). And actively showed their sympathy. Took joyfully the spoiling of your goods. The losses made necessary by becoming Christians. Knowing. Knowing that if they lost on earth they would gain in heaven. 35. Cast not away therefore. In as much as formerly ye endured so well, be faithful now. Some great period of trial was evidently being endured. 36. For ye have need of patience. Patience is an essential element of patient endurance. See Rom. 5:3-5.

      37-39. For yet a little while. Quoted from Habakkuk, chapter 2, and applied to Christ. Soon Christ will come, either in person or by his providence, in such a way as to bring relief. He did thus come very soon after and ended Jewish persecution by the overthrow of the nation. This is a frequent sense of oft-repeated allusions to the coming of the Lord found both in the Old Testament and New Testament. See Habakkuk, chapter 2. The passage there quoted refers to the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and is here applied to the destruction by the Romans. 38. Now the just shall live by faith. Hab. 2:4. Those who continued to walk in the full assurance of faith (verse 22) shall live by faith. If any man draw back. He who draws back through fear, or because of trial, in him God hath no pleasure. See Ps. 5:4. 39. But we are not of them. The apostle has confidence that the Hebrew saints are of those who "shall live by faith" rather than those who draw back to perdition. He that draweth back is lost.