18/12/16 Hebrews 10:15-27 “If we sin wilfully, there is no further sacrifice for sins”
Hebrews 10:15 – [Whereof] the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,
Whereof – de (but, moreover, and, etc.) – a continuative or contrasting primary particle or conjunction. Primary particles do not have any grammatical function on their own, and the KJV indicates that this word doesn’t exist (putting it in italics). However, it is an actual term in the Greek, and appears to be a conjunction here, with various commentaries suggesting “moreover”, “but”, “and”, “now” and “wherefore”. I tend toward “moreover” – this verse, while a new sentence, clearly appears to follow on or continue from Vs 14.
witness – to be a witness; to bear witness; to affirm that one has seen or heard or experienced something. The same word is used twice in John 15:26-27 – 26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
and once out of 79 New Testament occurrences in Revelation 22:20 – He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
(for) after that he has said before – what He (the Holy Spirit) has already said.
That is, “Moreover, the Holy Spirit bears witness (testifies) to us (concerning what we are talking about): (for) after previously saying” (…. what is about to be quoted from Jeremiah 31:33-34).
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.
Taken from the underlined in the following:
Jeremiah 31:33-34 – 33 But this [shall be] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
into & in – upon; on; at; by; before. The laws will be put upon their hearts and also written upon their minds. This is established by the second covenant, for the first covenant would have already been in place in Jeremiah’s day. But now the first covenant has been taken away (Hebrews 10:9). However, for the majority of Israel, being spiritually blinded, the second covenant won’t happen until the end times.
Romans 11:25-27 – 25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
after those days – This suggests the time leading up to the second coming. Note the similarity with the following:
Matthew 24:29 – 29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
This phrase has some similarity to “in those days” which often relates to end-times prophecy.
Joel 2:31-32; 3:1-2 – 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. 32 And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.
1 For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, 2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and [for] my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.
Jeremiah 50:4 – In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the Lord their God.
Jeremiah 33:14-16 – 14 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. 15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this [is the name] wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our righteousness.
Hebrews 10:18 – Now where remission of these [is, there is] no more offering for sin.
remission – release from bondage or imprisonment; forgiveness or pardon, of sins (letting them go as if they had never been committed); remission (cancellation) of the penalty. (remitted = to refrain from exacting a tax or penalty)
That is, where the sins are cancelled (and not just atoned for, or covered), there is no need for any further offering for sin, as the payment for sin has been cancelled, that is, remitted.
This was an important issue for the Hebrew Christians, as most, if not all of them, would have attended the temple, involved with the offerings and sacrifices required by the law of the old covenant. Many of them would have found the new covenant somewhat disturbing as it would have appeared to require so much less physical application than the old covenant. They would have felt more comfortable with the old covenant (somewhat like many feeling comfort in the rituals of some churches such as communion or mass). Just putting aside all their temple ritual would have felt almost like putting God to one side. The writer to the Hebrews is trying to get them to understand that the old ritualistic worship no longer had any value. It never had any value in itself, and now God had removed its imputed value (which had rested upon the sacrifice of the second covenant all along).
Hebrews 10:19 – Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
the holiest – the true sanctuary not made with hands, and the context says this is the most holy place (Hebrews 9:24-25)
boldness – freedom in speaking; liberty of speech; free and fearless confidence. It is used 3 other times in Hebrews – “hold fast the confidence” – 3:16; “come boldly before the throne of grace” – 4:16; “cast not away therefore your confidence” – 10:35.
“boldness” suggests that a hard decision may have to be made concerning the putting aside of their old covenant practices.
So now, after the writer has spent some time on the differences between the old and new covenants, he now assumes that their lessons are completed and thus they now have to apply to their lives what they have learned. That is, if they believe what has been taught, then put it into action; practice what has been preached!
The first step here is to enter the heavenly sanctuary with boldness (confidence), trusting in the new covenant God has made available to us through the blood sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The implication is that in order to do this properly, they will have to put away their trust in the old covenant ordinances.
Hebrews 10:20 – By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
new – newly slain; lately slaughtered; freshly killed; recently made; new. Only used once in the New Testament, in this verse.
living – living, or metaphorically to be in full vigour of life.
Thus, “By a newly slain and living way…” Note “in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain” (Revelation 5:6 – different word used, though)
Galatians 2:20a – I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:
consecrated – dedicated. Only used twice in the New Testament; the other is ….
Hebrews 9:18 – Whereupon neither the first [testament] was dedicated without blood.
That is, the new and living way was inaugurated (initiated; dedicated) through the veil (the sacrifice of Christ’s flesh and blood) in order to commence service. It related to the sprinkling of the blood in order to cleanse, in order to prepare people to come closer to God, but the new and living way required a better sacrifice, made available for us through the sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God.
Hebrews 9:21-23 – 21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. 22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. 23 [It was] therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
The way was opened up (note the temple veil) through the crucifixion.
Matthew 27:51a – the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom
Hebrews 10:21 – And [having] an high priest over the house of God;
high – megas (great, of age, rank or position) That is, a mega-priest!
Here it denotes greatness of rank and position, the One who is over all others. Not only have we a new and living way through the sacrificed Christ, we also have a great (superior) priest (Christ) to minister for us.
the house of God – can mean the household of God, God’s people.
1 Peter 4:17 – For the time [is come] that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if [it] first [begin] at us, what shall the end [be] of them that obey not the gospel of God?
Hebrews 10:22 – 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.
That is, having boldness (confidence) to draw near (enter the sanctuary; approach the mercy seat) through the flesh of Jesus Christ our great priest (the implication being that it’s not through the sacrifices of the law), let us draw near ….
Hebrews 4:16 – Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
…. in full assurance (most certain confidence) of that in which we have placed our faith (trust), that is, our salvation in Christ ……
2 Timothy 1:12b – I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience – our hearts are purged clean by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ such that we are freed from our guilty consciences, something that could never be possible under the old covenant 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;
our bodies washed with pure water – Christians as a royal priesthood must be cleansed for service. The old covenant law never had anything irrelevant.
Exodus 30:20 – When they (Aaron and his sons) go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water
Ephesians 5:26 – That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
Hebrews 10:23 – Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;)
faith – actually should read “hope”. Translated “hope” 53 out of 54 occurrences. This is the only time it is translated “faith”!
Hebrews 6:11 – And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
Hope is a sure and certain expectation of that which is ahead of us.
Titus 2:13 – Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Here’s another of those admonitions to hold onto: to hold fast to the profession (confession) of our hope in the finished work of Christ. Hold on! Don’t give up! Don’t let go! Do it without wavering! Why should your hope ever change?
James 1:6 – But let him ask (for wisdom) in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
Don’t be driven around all over the place with false doctrines. Test all things and then stand firm on the truth so obtained. Note 2 Timothy 12b again (see above – I know whom I have believed …).
For the One who has promised us all these things is faithful and will not turn away from His promises. God is truth; He will not lie. There should be no doubt at all.
Numbers 23:19 – God [is] not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do [it]? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
Hebrews 10:24 – And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
provoke – paroxysmos (incite; irritate; provoke into action) Note paroxysm. From a root word meaning “to make sharp” or “sharpen”.
good – genuine; approved; praiseworthy.
They were to show enough consideration (understanding) for their fellow-Christians such that if there were a need for something to be done to protect them from apostasy, it would be done. To provoke means to annoy to the extent that you get a reaction. To get oxen moving you would use a stick with a sharp point on the end, called a goad. In Acts 9:5, Paul (then Saul) was told that it was hard for him to kick against the pricks (of the goad). The Hebrews were being told to provoke their brethren in similar fashion, in order to get the responses of love and good works.
Another way of looking at this could be that some of them may have been provoking others into responses other than love and good works, and the writer is simply teaching them to focus their goading into more productive areas!
Note that the emphasis has to be on the end result: namely, to produce love and good works. In particular, as some apparently were in the habit of not being part of the gathering (assembling) together (Vs 25), a provoking to put more effort into this might have been meant as well. The context does, of course, appear to teach that the Hebrews were to grow in their Christian living by learning more about maturing as Christians (see Hebrews 6:1-3), as included under “good works”.
Hebrews 10:25 – 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.
Given the context here, Hebrews was written to Christians. There is no open statement of the gospel (as there is in Romans, for instance) and all the teachings appear to assume the recipients to be Christian, albeit generally immature or new Christians. It is also likely that many of them were reconsidering their new-found faith in Christ, and re-assessing whether it might be indeed advantageous to return to the sacrificial law of the old covenant in which they probably found more worldly comfort and satisfaction. It was, after all, what they were used to; they’d grown up with it.
It is likely that some (maybe many) of these Hebrew Christians were indeed wavering between the old and new covenants; they were aware that the new covenant had benefit for them, but the old covenant was still, to their minds, too valuable to be left out. They were trying to hold fast to the new way, yet weren’t willing yet to let go of the old way with which they had grown up. Many would have been wavering between the synagogue or temple (the old) and the Church (the new), with the possibility of apostasy by going back to the synagogue or temple, representing the old covenant.
The word used for “the assembling” is episynagoge (a gathering together in one place; the religious assembly of Christians), used instead of the word synagoge (“synagogue” = a bringing together, a gathering). episynagoge is only found in one other place, where the meaning clearly relates to Christian gatherings.
2 Thessalonians 2:1 – Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him,
Note Matthew 18:20 – For where two or three are gathered together (synago) in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
But exhort (exhort; entreat; instruct; admonish; encourage) one another, especially even more when you see the coming Day of the Lord (sometimes known as the Parousia of Christ, or the Second Coming, something we’ll be looking at a bit next time.
Hebrews 10:37 – For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
As that day approaches, the need for encouragement will greatly grow.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 – Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Hebrews 10:26 – For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
sin wilfully – sin voluntarily, willingly, of one’s own accord; sin wilfully as opposed to sins committed inconsiderately, and from ignorance or from weakness. That is, to sin while knowing that it is sin, and not from ignorance. If we know what is right and wrong and then wilfully choose to do wrong, then we have sinned wilfully. “For” indicates that this is as a result of disregarding the previous three verses.
If there remains no more (no further) sacrifice for sins, then it can only mean one thing: such a person has already been forgiven, been saved by the sacrifice and blood of Jesus Christ on the cross, and has then rejected it wilfully.
Note Hebrews 6:4-6 – 4 For [it is] impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put [him] to an open shame.
The logic is sure: (a) Jesus died on the cross to be a propitiation for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2); (b) all were offered the free gift of justification as a result of Christ’s once-for-all-time sacrifice (Romans 5:18); (c) there was only one sacrifice for all sin for ever, never to be repeated (Hebrews 10:12); (d) a person may only accept that free gift once. (Because only one sacrifice was offered, then likewise only one free gift is offered for justification.)
Therefore, the gift of justification is offered only once to all, and should ensure eternal life for all who receive it. However, if a person were to receive that gift, and then to reject that gift, there remains no further gift of justification for such a person. The gift will never be offered twice, nor will there be a second sacrifice to provide such a second gift, for that would assume that there were imperfections in the first and only sacrifice (of the new covenant). The first (and only) gift of justification was offered to all, once only, once-for-all-time, and if that isn’t sufficient for the task, then no further sacrifice remains that could then justify for sins once the first gift had been accepted, then rejected.
2 Peter 2:20-21 – 20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known [it], to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
For those who maintain that these must never have been Christians in the first place, then that also means that they haven’t yet accepted their free gift resulting from the once only sacrifice of Christ. On the other hand, if the penalty were merely for the rejection of the gospel (as some may claim), how many times may a person reject the gospel before accepting salvation? Clearly, if the answer is more than once, then it cannot be talking about merely rejecting the gospel! Thus, it must be to do with receiving the free gift of justification, and then rejecting that gift.
Hebrews 10:27 – But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
indignation – zelos (the fierceness of indignation; punitive zeal) Note that “zealous” comes from this word.
All that remains for those who have accepted the sacrificial gift of Christ, and then rejected it, is a certain fearful looking for (expectation) of judgment leading to fiery indignation (punitive zeal) which shall devour (consume) the adversaries (those opposing).
Hebrews 12:29 – For our God [is] a consuming fire.
Hoppers Crossing Christian Church homepage