CONCLUSION OF THE
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
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
1. Previously the oneness of Christ's offering was shown;
now is shown its perfection as contrasted with the law sacrifices.
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
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"
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 copy
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--
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."
calls legal ordinances "the shadow," and Christ "the body."
never--at any time
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,
continually--Greek, "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
2. For--if the law could, by its sacrifices, have perfected the
once purged--IF they were once for all
conscience--"consciousness of sin"
3. But--so far from those sacrifices ceasing to be
in, &c.--in the fact of their being offered, and in the course
of their being offered on the day of atonement. Contrast
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
(Heb 10:4, 11).
The Gospel remission, on the contrary, is so complete, that sins are
"remembered no more"
by God. It is unbelief to "forget" this once-for-all purgation, and to
fear on account of "former sins"
The believer, once for all bathed, needs only to "wash" his
hands and "feet" of soils, according as he daily contracts them, in
4. For, &c.--reason why, necessarily, there is a continually
recurring "remembrance of sins" in the legal sacrifices
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,
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 (our) sins."
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,
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
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
(Heb 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
as the contrast to "sacrifice and offering" requires; compare
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
(doubtless the boring of a slave's "ear" was the symbol of such
"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
but to the true office of the ear--a willing, submissive attention to
the voice of God
(Isa 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
6. burnt offerings--Greek, "whole burnt
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
7. I come--rather, "I am come" (see on
"Here we have the creed, as it were, of Jesus: 'I am come to
fulfil the law,'
to call sinners to repentance,
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
Ps 40:7, 8);
I am sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,
I am come into this world for judgment,
I am come that they might have life, and might have it more abundantly,
to save what had been lost,
to seek and to save that which was lost,
to save men's lives,
to send fire on the earth,
as "the Light,"
to bear witness unto the truth,
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 GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - D. J-F-B INDEX & SEARCH