11/12/16 Hebrews 10:1-14 “He takes away the first to establish the second”
Hebrews 10:1 – 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.
Because the law of the first (old) covenant was only a shadow (sketch; outline) of the perfection that was to come with the second (new) covenant, and not the real or true, it could never on its own be able to perfect anyone who offered the sacrifices required by the law. We’ve covered this point a few times already in Hebrews (“shadow” Hebrews 8:5; “good things to come” Hebrews 9:11). It’s just reinforcing what we’ve already seen in Hebrews that the old covenant on its own could offer nothing of value at all. It was only a symbolic gesture, the value of which rested entirely upon the efficacy of the new covenant.
the very image – could be suggesting that if the “shadow” were a more perfect representation of the real, then it might have been more effective. But “the very image” can be translated (according to Thayer) as “the image of the Son of God, into which true Christians are transformed, in likeness not only to the heavenly body, but also to the most holy and blessed state of mind, which Christ possesses”.
See Hebrews 1:3a – Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person (While a different term, could be a similar comparison.)
Another way of looking at it is to understand the shadow to be a mere outline, while the very image would be the complete shape and formation of the real, much like the difference between a sketch of a person and a statue of a person.
continually – translated “(for) ever” in Vs 12 & 14. Also, note the contrast with Christ who “abideth a priest continually” (Hebrews 7:3b).
Hebrews 10:2 – 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 of the old covenant had been capable of perfecting man, then how can anything of value be added to that which is already perfect? If this were so, then, at some point in time, perfection should have been attained by at least some people for a period of time. If a person’s sin could have been completely purged (removed) from his life, then theoretically, he should be able to remain perfect (that is, holy as God is holy) until such time as he sinned again. He could have enjoyed some time of having a perfect conscience with respect to the law; that is, no more guilty conscience.
Hebrews 9:9 – Which [was] a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
Thus, if man’s debt (penalty) for his sin could be paid, he could be set free from that penalty; his accounts would be balanced and he could no longer be held accountable for his sin. (Of course, until he sinned again. that is.)
Hebrews 10:3 – But in those [sacrifices there is] a remembrance again [made] of sins every year.
But the sacrifices didn’t only fail to remove sin at all; they also served to remind man of what he was: a sinner unfit for the presence of a holy God. The law of sacrifices didn’t prevent sin, nor did it even improve man one single bit toward perfection. It only made the fact of sin more evident in a man’s life. Far from helping man to forget his sin, instead, it served to remind man of the continual presence of sin in his life.
Numbers 5:15 – Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth [part] of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it [is] an offering of jealousy, an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance.
Also see Hebrews 10:16-17 – 16 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; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
Hebrews 10:4 – For [it is] not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
A clear statement that needs little explanation! However, note that (a) the bulls and goats were innocent victims, and (b) they were never meant to be able to take away sins, but could only be a shadow of the real sacrifice of the new covenant. The following verses (5-7) are quoted from a Psalm where King David makes this clear point: that the sacrifices of the law in themselves gave God no pleasure at all; instead the pleasure was in doing the will of God.
Hebrews 10:5-7 – 5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and [sacrifices] for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
This is quoted from Psalm 40:6-8 with some meaning apparently added.
Psalm 40:6-8 – 6 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book [it is] written of me, 8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law [is] within my heart.
Note that Hebrews 10:5-7 is more closely quoted from the LXX.
Psalm 40:6-8 – 6 Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not; but a body hast thou prepared me: whole-burnt-offering and sacrifice for sin thou didst not require. 7 Then I said, Behold, I come: in the volume of the book it is written concerning me, 8 I desired to do thy will, O my God, and thy law in the midst of mine heart.
Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith – Not quoted from Psalm 40 yet added through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This makes Psalm 40 a Messianic Psalm, by indicating that these words were applicable to Christ.
When did Christ come into the world as such? Hebrews 10:7 indicates that it would have been His incarnation as a man - Lo, I come (or “have arrived”) …. to do thy will, O God. (See Luke 22:42 – Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.)
God does not desire sacrifice and offerings (as required under the old covenant) because He can obtain no pleasure from such things (in this case, sacrifices as a preparation for man to come into the presence of God). The covering of sin through sacrifices is only a band-aid fix to sin which can only be dealt with effectively by actually taking it (the sin) away. Sacrifices and offerings only provided an atonement (that is, a covering) whereas the new covenant word is “propitiation” as used in 1 John 2:2 = “the means of appeasing the anger of God against sin”. The atonement was only the covering up of that which was abhorrent; the only thing that could cause real pleasure for God was the actual removal of the sin itself. And how was this actual removal of sin achieved? Not by the sacrifices and offerings of the old covenant, but by the sacrifice of the body that Christ took on when He became man in the flesh. You cannot kill God – God can never die – but if God became mortal man, He can be put to death as a mortal man, thus “a body hast thou prepared me”. It wasn’t just any sacrifice that would appease a holy God; it could only be the perfect sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God that could satisfy!
Note that “a body thou hast prepared me” is not from the Hebrew OT but from the LXX.
(in) the volume of the book – kephalis (literally “the little head”, used of the knobs at each end of the wooden rod on which the parchment scrolls were rolled) + biblion (a small book: a scroll: a written document). Thus, Christ came as foretold in the scrolls of the Old Testament, in particular noting Psalm 40 here, according to the will of God.
In Vs 6, “pleasure” can mean “one’s good pleasure” or it can mean “to do willingly; to be ready to do something; to use one’s free will to choose a course of action”. In the New Testament however, (out of 21 occurrences) it is translated “be willing” only twice (2 Corinthians 5:8 & 1 Thessalonians 2:8). On the other hand, in Vs 7, “will” can also mean “pleasure” and is translated as such in …..
Revelation 4:11 – Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
It is used in the same sense that someone may be kept in prison at the pleasure of whoever is in charge. (Eg. at the queen’s or governor’s pleasure etc.)
Also note similarity of Hebrews 10:5-7 to Psalm 51:16-17 – 16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give [it]: thou delightest not in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
That is, sacrifice without humble obedience is of no value!
Hebrews 10:8 – 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;
So, when He (Christ) “said”, the term means “to affirm”; thus Christ affirmed (or gave affirmation) what was said in the Psalm.
wouldest (not) – verb thelo (to will; have in mind; intend) Translated “will; would; will have; would have” 175 out of 210 times, from same root word as noun thelema which is translated as “pleasure” in Revelation 4:11.
pleasure – as per “pleasure” in Vs 6
offered by the law – here the law of Moses, OT law, law of the old covenant.
Thus, it is not God’s will that the sacrifice and offerings required by the law of the old covenant should give Him pleasure. That is, God’s pleasure appears to be defined by His will, that even with God the carrying out of His will is that which gives Him pleasure.
In the same way, it appears that God’s character is the result of God’s will; that is, He is what He has determined by His will that He should be. Thus, God is holy (sinless) because that is His will for Himself. Similarly, those who dwell eternally in heaven will be sinless for eternity because of an act of their wills determining that they desire to be holy as God is holy. This is the challenge of the gospel on a man: that he desire by his will that he be holy as God is holy, or reject this by his will.
Hebrews 10:9 – Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
Then (at that time) Christ said (uttered), “Lo (behold) I come (have arrived) to do (to carry out; to execute) Your will (as noted per Hebrews 10:7). And the will of God is apparently that the first covenant be taken away in order that the second covenant may be established. That is, it is a pre-requisite that the first covenant be removed before the second covenant can become effective. The two covenants cannot exist both at the same time, side-by-side! Thus, God’s will is the removal of the old covenant sacrifices so that the new covenant sacrifice of Christ may be established.
Hebrews 10:10 – By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once [for all].
And by this same will (that has established the second covenant through the removal of the first covenant), we are sanctified (made holy; consecrated; set apart for God), not by the blood of bulls and goats (Vs 4) but by the sacrifice of the perfect Lamb once for all time. It is God’s will that only the once-for-all-time offering of the body of Jesus Christ on the cross should be able to sanctify all who call upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13).
Galatians 6:14 – But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
John 14:6 – Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Romans 10:13 – For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Hebrews 10:11 – And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
Under the old covenant of the law, priests were required to carry out their priestly duties daily, offering the same sacrifices over and over again (often; frequently) which could never take away sins anyway, but they still did it because they were required to by the law of the first (old) covenant of God with His people Israel.
Hebrews 10:12 – But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
But – that is, an opposing point of view, a different side to the discussion.
(for) ever – dienekes (continuously) That is, ongoing without end, perpetual motion. This term is also used again in Vs 14 (and in Vs 1 as well where it is translated “continually”).
It is a different term to aionios (everlasting; eternal; without beginning and end).
This man (Christ) demonstrated the once-for-all-time effectiveness of His one sacrifice for sins by sitting down afterward on the right hand of God. The sacrifice could only be given once, and the resulting free gift of justification would only be offered once to all people. A second sacrifice would have to assume an inadequacy of the first sacrifice in some way, something that a perfect sacrifice could never be. Thus, if the first sacrifice is perfect in every way, then a second sacrifice cannot achieve any more than the perfection already attained. And therefore a second sacrifice would have to be seen as an admission that the first sacrifice was not absolutely perfect.
Hebrews 7:27 – Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
Hebrews 10:13 – From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
expecting – expecting; looking for; waiting for; awaiting. Thus, waiting for His enemies to be made His footstool.
footstool – metaphorically taken from the practice of conquerors who placed their feet on the necks of their conquered enemies.
From that time onward Christ is waiting with expectation for the inevitable total subduing of all His enemies. That is, this will happen; it is a statement of fact.
1 Corinthians 15:24-26 – 24 Then [cometh] the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy [that] shall be destroyed [is] death.
Hebrews 10:14 – For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
one – only one; one and only.
offering – that which is offered; a gift; a present; (including blood sacrifices).
perfected – to make perfect, complete; to carry through completely; to accomplish, finish, bring to an end; to complete (perfect); to bring to the end (goal) proposed; to bring to a close or fulfilment by event (especially of the prophecies of the scriptures).
(for) ever – continuously (as used in Vs 1 & 12).
As already thoroughly established in Hebrews so far, Christ’s once for all time sacrifice was in itself the perfect sacrifice. There was no more that could be added to increase its effectiveness, for perfection itself never needs improvement, or otherwise it could not be deemed perfect! Not only was it perfect, but it was also ongoing for all time, continuously. Thus “For by only one offering (namely, blood sacrifice) Christ (who is continually a priest – Hebrews 7:3) has perfected (brought to completion, fulfilment) continuously those who are sanctified (made holy; set apart for God) by that offering. Sanctification begins with the gospel, following which there is an ongoing (continuous) process resulting from that blood offering that will continuously and finally bring a person to perfection.
Philippians 1:6 – Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ:
Also note 1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The work of the gospel through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross does not merely provide a beginning, but, as long as we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end (Hebrews 3:6b), we are assured of a continual and ongoing work that will ultimately bring us to perfection. It is not a work of ours in any way; we are only required to hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;) (Hebrews 10:23). Note carefully that holding fast is not a work of salvation, for we are not saved by our works (Ephesians 2:9) yet we are commanded many times to hold onto or hold fast to our salvation until the end – if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end (Hebrews 3:14b).
We would not be commanded to hold onto or hold fast to such if it were a work that could compromise our salvation; in fact, holding onto or holding fast is actually taught as a support to the eventual perfection of our salvation. Thus, works cannot save us, yet if we do not hold onto or hold fast, we may not retain our salvation. This is where the rest of Hebrews 10 is leading us, to consider what happens if we do not hold fast the profession of our faith. Look now at where holding fast the profession of our faith (Hebrews 10:23) leads us, for if we look at Vs 23 as the commencement of a long sentence (or continuous idea), then we have to add the following four verses to give the full context.
Hebrews 10:23-27 – 23 Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 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. 26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
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