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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - HEBREWS 10
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    CHAPTER 10

    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 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 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 copy (Heb 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.
    - 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 Heb 9:9).

    2. For--if the law could, by its sacrifices, have perfected the worshippers.
    - they--the sacrifices.
    - once purged--IF they were once for all cleansed (Heb 7:27).
    - conscience--"consciousness of sin" (Heb 9:9).

    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 Heb 9:12-14).

    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, 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 (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 (Heb 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 to Ex 21:6, 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 (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; compare 1Ti 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 GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - D. J-F-B INDEX & SEARCH

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