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Book 2


This lesson is separated into 5  main sections:
(10:1-4)        The essential inadequacy of the Legal sacrifices to remove sin
(10:5-10)      The one valid sacrifice of the perfect fulfillment of the Will of God offered by Christ   
(10:11-14)    The efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice shown by His present Majesty   
(10:15-18)    The fulfillment in Christ of the prophetic description of the New Covenant
(10:19-39)  The Appropriation And Vital Application Of  The Truths Laid Down
These 5 sections are separated into 13  sub- sections:
1.  The Old and New  (10:1) 6.  Have Been Sanctified  (10:10) 10.  Privileges of Christians  (10:22)
2.  No More Curse  (10:2 - 3) 7.  Efficacy of Work  (10:11 - 14) 11.  Social Duties  (10:23 - 25)
3.  To Take Away  (10:4) 8.  Forgiveness of Sins  (10:15 - 18) 12.  The Perils of Apostasy  (10:26 - 31)
4.  A Body Prepared  (10:5 -  7) 9.  Personal Advocate  (10:19 - 21) 13.  Past Experience  (10:32 - 39)
5.  He Takes Away  (10:8 - 9)

The Old Sacrifices and the New
The abiding efficacy of Christ's One Sacrifice

In the preceding section the writer of the Epistle has pointed out the completeness of the one single High-priestly work of Christ in comparison with the crowning service of the Old Covenant on the Day of Atonement. He once for all was offered (Heb. 9:28); and in due time, coming forth from the Divine Presence, He will proclaim the consummation of His work.

Thus He stands in sharp contrast to the Levitical High-priests. Their work was repeated because it was essentially imperfect. In other words, that which seemed to give it special attractiveness and power, as appealing sensibly to the worshipper year by year by a visible and impressive service, was a sign of its inefficacy and transitoriness to those who looked deeper.

Because the Law witnessed to something which it did not include or convey, its message was given again and again. This thought is now extended from the general representative sacrifice to the Levitical sacrifices generally. The Apostle points out:

(Heb. 10:1-4) The inherent weakness and the provisional office of these sacrifices
(Heb. 10:5-10) The true nature of the Sacrifice of Christ
(Heb. 10:11-14) The perpetual efficacy of Christ’s Sacrifice from His present position of Kingly Majesty
(Heb. 10:15-18) The consequent fulfillment in Him of the prophetic description of the New Covenant 

Heb. 10:1-4.  The essential inadequacy of the Legal sacrifices to remove sin

(10:1) The sacrifices of the Mosaic system could not bring a completing, for just what they did once they did afresh when the time came round .
(10:2) Such repetition could not have been required if they had been spiritually efficacious.
(10:3) Viewed in their real character they were designed to declare a need which they did not satisfy.
(10:4) Which essentially they could not satisfy.
The Old and New  (Heb 10:1)

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Heb 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.

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
For a shadow having the law of the coming good things, not itself the image of the things, year by year with the same sacrifices which they offer in perpetuity never is able those who approach to perfect.


For a shadow…to perfect
The sentence is complicated, and the natural order of the words is modified by the desire of the writer to emphasize the main ideas of the statement. If we adopt the reading  "is able"  the rendering appears to be fairly clear:  For as having a shadow only of the good things to come, not the very image of the objects, the Law can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer year by year, in a continually recurring cycle, make perfect for ever those who come to God on the way which it opens.

In this rendering it is assumed that the two phrases  year by year  and  in perpetuity  are placed (irregularly) at the head of the clauses to which they belong in order to bring out the conceptions of  ‘yearly repetition’  and ‘perpetuity’ of effect,  which respectively characterize the Old and New Covenants.

The same purpose of emphasis explains the fact that  in perpetuity  precedes the verb to which it belongs,  while elsewhere it follows it: vv. 12,14; 7:3.

If  in perpetuity  is joined with  they offer  in the sense of the Vulgate  indesinenter,  ‘without cessation,’  ‘as long as the Law lasts,’  it loses the peculiar force which it has elsewhere of marking an act which issues in a permanent result,  permanent in continuous duration and not only in successive repetition;  and it is specially difficult to suppose that the same combination of words should be used differently in the same chapter.

For a shadow having…not itself the image
For as having a shadow of the good things to come the Law
The emphatic position of the participle contrasts forcibly the nature of the Law with the nature of Christ’s work which has been just set forth.  The iteration,  the inefficacy,  the transitoriness of the services of the Law which culminated on the Day of Atonement,  followed from the fact that it  ‘had a shadow only of the good things to come.’  It could provide nothing more than symbolic,  and therefore recurrent, offerings, which in different ways witnessed to an idea that they were inadequate to fulfill.

The words contain one of the very few illustrations which are taken from art in the New Testament.  The ‘shadow’ is the dark outlined figure cast by the object — as in the legend of the origin of the bas-relief  contrasted with the complete representation produced by the help of color and solid mass.

The  likeness  brings before us under the conditions of space,  as we can understand it,  that which is spiritual: See Romans 8:29; Col. 1:19; 3:10.

Rom 8:29
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.   NIV

Col 3:10-11
(10)  And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
(11)  Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.  KJV

The difference between the ‘shadow’ and the ‘image’ is well illustrated by the difference between a ‘type’ and a ‘sacrament,’ in which the characteristic differences of the Old and New Covenants are gathered up. The one witnesses to grace and truth beyond and outside itself: the other is the pledge and the means through which grace and truth are brought home to us.

Hence many saw in  ‘the good things to come’  the sacraments of the Christian Church;  and Theophylact, accepting this interpretation,  carries our thoughts still further.  As the image is better than the shadow, so, he argues, will the archetype be better than the image, the realities of the unseen world than ‘the mysteries’ which now represent them.

One other point is to be noticed. 

Things visible and sensible are the shadows:
Things unseen and spiritual are the substance

In other words the whole world is made for us a shadow of some unimaginable glory. 

What is our life span of some seventy years compared to eternity?
What is our life with its pains and problems compared to the glorious eternity with the creator of all things? 

There is no comparison.  Our life here on earth is only a shadow of what lies ahead,  according to the path that we choose either life with Jesus or death with Satan, ‘choose ye this day whom ye shall serve?’

Of the coming good things
Of the good things to come,  the blessings which belong to the  ‘coming age’ (Heb. 6:5),  ‘the coming order’ (Heb. 2:5).  These are here spoken of as future from the standpoint of the Law.  And,  though they were essentially realized by the accomplishment of Christ’s work (Heb. 9:11),  they still remain in part yet future in regard to man’s full enjoyment of them  (Heb. 13:14).

Of the…things
The real objects.’  The word is unusual in this sense.  It expresses coming good things so far as they were embodied.  Compare Heb. 6:18; 11:1.

Heb 6:18
God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.    NIV

Heb 11:1
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.   NIV

Year by year
The words go with the whole clause.  The reference is not exclusively to the services of the Day of Atonement, but to the whole sacrificial system of the Law, completed in a yearly cycle, which started (so to speak) from the ‘continual’  burnt-offering and was crowned on the Day of atonement   ‘once in the year’ (compare Heb. 9:7).

When all had been done only to be repeated, the powerlessness of the legal atonements was vividly set forth.

All the Levitical sacrifices, the daily sacrifices habitually offered by the priests (v. 11)
And the single yearly sacrifice of the High-priest
Found their fulfillment in Christ

With the same
The identical repetition was a sign of the powerlessness of the system.

It could provide nothing fresh.
And yet further, what it had once done it did again and again and again and etc.
Evidently therefore the effect was as inadequate as it was unalterable.

Which they offer
Which they, the appointed ministers of the system, offer. 

In perpetuity…those who approach to perfect
Make perfect for ever — so that the effect once obtained lasts onwards without break — those worshippers who come to God through the High-priest or priests. The whole congregation is included in the title, which cannot be limited either to the priests or to special offers. The daily sacrifices and the sacrifices on the Day of atonement were for all.

To perfect
See Additional Note on  Hebrews 2:10  found in Book One of this study.

 No More Curse  (Heb 10:2 - 3)

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Heb 10:2-3
(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.
(3)   But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(2)  Since would they not have ceased to be offered, on account of no any having longer conscience of sins those who serve once purged(3)  But in these a remembrance of sins year by year [there is]. 

The inefficacy of the sacrifices is proved by their repetition.

If it be said that the repeated sacrifice dealt only with the later sins; 
the answer is that we have to deal with sin and not with sins only
To be assured that our true relation with God has been re-established. 

Romans 5:12
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:  KJV

Romans 8:2
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.  KJV

Romans 8:3
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:   KJV

2 Corinthians 5:21
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

As in Adam  we all became sinners,
So in Christ  we have through His Sacrifice become saved if we except Him and follow Him. 

Since would they
The words are a question which is followed up by the  but  of verse 3. ‘since in that case (else), would they not…?  But in fact…’

Those who serve
The worship would still continue though the necessity for atoning sacrifices had ceased to exist. 
Compare Revelation 22:3; Heb. 9:9.

Rev 22:3
No longer will there be any curse.  The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city,  and his servants will serve him.   NIV

Heb 9:9
This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper.   NIV

Once purged
When they had once for all been cleansed.  
The effect of the cleansing is regarded in its continuance
and not in its actual accomplishment  (Eph. 5:26 having cleansed)  Compare v. 10  sanctified
Such permanent cleansing would have involved  to perfect (v. 1).  The application of the virtue of the one effectual sacrifice would have met the wants of every true worshipper.  The case of a single body of worshippers. The case of a single body of worshippers is taken, but the principle holds true of all.


The Levitical sacrifices had,  however,  an important function to fulfill in the discipline of men.  The repetition which showed their inefficacy,  kept alive the sense of sin. 

But in these
But in them sins are called to remembrance
That is:  ‘so far from the sacrifices being discontinued because they have fulfilled their work, they serve in fact to keep alive the recollection of sin as a present burden.’  

A remembrance of sins
Not simply  ‘a remembrance’  or  ‘a record made’  of sins but a  calling to mind of sins,  whereby men are put in remembrance of them by a divine institution.  This is more than a public acknowledgment and confession of sins.

Under the new Covenant God Himself does not remember the sins of His people,  still less does He bring them solemnly to their remembrance.

The use of the word a  remembrance  suggests a contrast between the Jewish sacrifices and the Christian Eucharist (the Communion service with the bread being the body of Christ and the cup of wine being the blood of Jesus Christ).  In them there was a remembrance of sins. See Luke 22:19; I Cor. 11:24-26.

Luke 22:19
And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.  KJV

1 Cor 11:24-26
(24)  and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."  (25)  In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."  (26)  For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.   NIV

They were instituted to keep fresh the thought of responsibility: that was instituted, in Christ’s words, to bring to men’s minds the recollection of the redemption which He has accomplished. 

Year by year
The words are repeated from verse 1.  The thought of sin is brought home in various aspects by the whole system of sacrifices year by year.
To Take Away  (Heb 10:4)

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Heb 10:4
For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
Impossible [it is] for [for the] blood of bulls and of goats to take away sins.


Impossible…..to take away
The spiritual inefficacy of the Levitical sacrifices, which was indicated by their repetition, is patent also from their very nature.

The physical suffering and death of an irrational creature – unwilling and unconscious
can make no atonement for man’s sin. 
Man can have no true fellowship with such beings.
Such a sacrifice cannot be more than a symbol, a sign.

Of bulls and of goats
Compare Heb. 9:12 & 19.  The sacrifices of the Day of Atonement still suggest the general language. 
Compare Psalms 50:13  LXX.  ‘Do I eat the flesh of bulls?  Or do I drink the blood of goats?’

To take away sins
The image appears to be that of the removal of a load bound upon the sinner. Compare Jeremiah 11:15; Zech. 3:4.

Jer 11:15
"What is my beloved doing in my temple 
as she works out her evil schemes with many?
Can consecrated meat avert [ your punishment]?
When you engage in your wickedness,
then you rejoice."    NIV

Zech 3:4
The angel said to those who were standing before him, "Take off his filthy clothes." 
Then he said to Joshua, "See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you."    NIV

The limited yet real power of the Levitical sacrifices has been recognized in  Hebrews 9:13.

Heb 9:13
The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.   NIV

Heb. 10:5-10     The one valid sacrifice of the perfect fulfillment of the Will of God offered by Christ

In the last paragraph the inefficacy of the Levitical sacrifices has been brought out. In this paragraph Christ’s efficacious sacrifice of Himself is placed in contrast with them.
The argument is expressed in the language of a Davidic Psalm.

(10:5-7) The Christ coming into the world gives utterance to the conviction of man that the only sacrifice which he can offer to God is perfect obedience
(10:8,9) In doing this He contrasts the fulfillment of the will of God with the Levitical sacrifices so as to abolish the latter by the former
(10:10) He obeys perfectly; and of the fruits of His obedience men are made partakers

Psalm 40 is regarded with probability as an expression of David’s feeling towards the close of his persecution by Saul, when the promised kingdom was now in near view.  

Ps 40:6
Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but my ears you have pierced ;
burnt offerings and sin offerings 
you did not require.     NIV

The present text of the Psalm consists of two parts which differ widely in general tone.
(Psalms 40:1-12) 

The first part stands out from the writings of the Old Testament as giving
not only a view of the essential inadequacy of external sacrifices,
but also a clear indication of that which they represent and of that which fulfils the idea to which they bear witness.

In the contemplation of God’s mercies,  and in the declaration of God’s righteousness,  the Psalmist feels that no offering of that which is without the worshipper can rightly convey the return of gratitude or make atonement (sin-offering).  Nothing but perfect self-devotion answers to the claims of God and man’s desire.
Such a confession, which embodies the aspiration of man, and rises above his power of fulfillment, describes what Christ has done as the Son of man, through whom man’s ideal has been realized (compare Heb. 2:6; Psalm 8). Thus the words are rightly applied to Him.  His power to do the will of God corresponded with His purpose to do it.  That will bring once accomplished for humanity by its perfect representative, the use of sacrifices was done away.
The words in their original context gain fresh force from a comparison with I Samuel 15:22. David,  the true divine type of a king,  spontaneously embodied the principle which Saul, the human type of a king, violated to his own overthrow.
‘And Samuel said,  Hath the Lord as great delight in whole burnt offerings, and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  Behold obedience is better than good sacrifice; and to hearken, is better than the fat of rams.’ I Basileion (I Samuel) 15:22 LXX.

(Psalms 40:13-17)

The second part cannot be applied to the Messiah (v. 13); and most of it (vv. 14-18) occurs again in the Psalter, with slight variations, as Psalms 70.

The rendering in Hebrews must therefore be considered to be a free interpretation of the original text in the LXX
In this respect it extends and emphasizes the fundamental idea.

The ‘body’ is the instrument for fulfilling the divine command,
just as the ‘ear’ is the instrument for receiving it. 

God originally fashioned for man in his frame the organ for hearing His voice, and by this He plainly showed that he was made by obey it.

A Body Prepared  (Heb 10:5 - 7)

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Heb 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.

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(5)  Wherefore coming into the world he says, Sacrifice and offering thou willedst not, but a body thou didst prepare me( 6)  Burnt offerings and [sacrifices] for sin thou delightedst not in( 7)  Then I said, Lo, I come, (in [the] roll of [the] book it is written of me,) to do, O God, thy will.  

Heb 10:5-7
(5)   Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: 
"Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, 
but a body you prepared for me; 
(6)   with burnt offerings and sin offerings 
you were not pleased. 
(7)  Then I said, `Here I am-it is written about me in the scroll- 
I have come to do your will, O God.'"    NIV


Wherefore coming into the world
Wherefore…   Because the Levitical sacrifices were essentially ineffective the Christ speaking through the Psalmist or,  to express the same idea otherwise,  the Psalmist giving utterance to the highest thought of man which Christ alone can realize,  recognized the fact,  and offered the reality of rational self-surrender which they represented.
The words   when He entereth into the world   are not to be confined to the moment of the Incarnation though they found their complete fulfillment then.  They apply to each manifestation of Christ in the realm of human life (John 1:9; comp. 6:14;11:27).   The entrance of the divinely chosen King upon His earthly Kingdom corresponds with the entrance of the Son of man upon the inheritance of the world.

The words,  it will be observed,  assume the preexistence of the Christ. 
It is worthy of notice that Philo especially affirms of the Logos (Word)  that  ‘he came not in visible form’ de prof. & 19 (I 561M.);

He says
The words of the Psalmist are ideally the words of the Christ; and they are not past only but present. 
Compare Heb. 1:6; 3:7;5:6;8:8. 
No person is named. The thought of the true speaker is present to the mind of every reader.

Sacrifice and offering
Burnt offerings and for sin
The two pairs of words give a complete view of the Jewish sacrifices.

The first pair describe them according to their material, the animal-offering and the meal offering. 
The second pair give in the burnt-offering and the sin-offering

Representative types of the two great classes of offerings:

Eucharistic Offerings which belonged to the life of the Covenant
Expiatory Offerings which were provided for the restoration of the life of the Covenant.

In themselves,  this is laid down generally,  the sacrifices gave no pleasure to God.
Their value was in what they represented
Under this aspect:

That which corresponds to the first pair is distinctly stated. 
The aspirations and wants expressed by the second pair find their complete satisfaction in the fulfillment of the will of God by the Son of man through suffering and death (v. 7).

Several passages in the Old Testament recognize the powerlessness of sacrifices in themselves: I Sam. 15:22; Ps. 50:8; Hos. 6:6; Isa. 1:10; Jer. 7:21. 

But these words of Ps. 40 go further:  they point to a perfect service,  and perhaps to the sacrifice (death) of one who has served perfectly.

But a body thou didst prepare me
The King,  the representative of men,   recognizes in the manifold organs of His personal power — His body — the one fitting means for rendering service to God.  Through this,  in its fullness,  He can do God’s will.

Not by anything outside Himself
Not by animals in sacrifices
Not by the fruits of the earth in offerings

But by the use of His own endowments,  as He is enabled to use them,  He will accomplish that which God designed for Him to do.

Some ancient thinkers regarded the humanity of Christ as the final cause of all created things  (compare Epp. Of St John, pp. 291 f.).  The thought throws light upon the gradual progress of the world throughout the ages,  the humanity of Christ holding out the promise of the unity of men and of Creation in man.

Additional Note on Heb. 10:5      The Body of Christ

1. The idea of  ‘the Body.’
The idea of  ‘the Body of Christ’  has a very wide and important bearing upon the apprehension of the truth of the Incarnation  (God in Christ).  The  ‘body’  is the one complete organism through which the life is realized under special conditions.  The body,  if we may so speak,  is the expression of the life in terms of the environment.
Thus the one life of the Son of man is equally manifested under different circumstances by 
‘the body of humiliation’  and by
‘the body of glory.’

The conception of  ‘the body’  is fundamentally different from that of  ‘flesh and blood,’  the symbolic (representative) elements,  which go to form our present bodies.  Of these  ‘the blood’  is taken to symbolize the principle of the earthly life.  That in us which is represented by  ‘the blood’  has no place in the body of the Resurrection  (Luke 24:39  flesh and bones.  Compare Ephesians 5:30  of His flesh and of His bones).

2. The work of Christ in His Body of humiliation.

We have then to consider the relation of the Lord’s  ‘body of humiliation,’ and of His  ‘body of glory,’  to humanity and to men.
The writer of the Epistle in treating finally of the Lord’s redemptive and consumptive work finds the lesson which he desires to convey in the words of the Psalmist spoken in the person of the Christ:  Lo I am come to do Thy will, O Lord: a body didst Thou prepare for me.

This earthly body became the organ of a perfect,  a universal,  human life.  By the offering of His body (Heb. 10:10)  in the absolute service of life,  in the voluntary endurance of death,

The Lord fulfilled the destiny of man as created,
And bore the penalty which fallen man had brought upon himself.

In the offering of Himself He offered to God the humanity which He had taken.
The effect of this offering is both individual and social.

Each believer finds himself in Christ,
And in Him realizes the fulfillment of his own destiny.

He was potentially included in Him,  so that

The death of Christ was his death, 
And the life of Christ through death is his own life.

At the same time the separated fragments of creation are brought together, and the barriers find clear expression in the Apostolic writings:

(I Peter 2:24) He Himself bore (carried up and laid as upon an altar) our sins in His body upon the tree, that we having died unto sin might live unto righteousness
(Romans 7:4) Ye were made dead to the law through the body of Christ   (compare 6:3)
(Hebrews 10:10) By the offering of the body of Jesus Christ we have been sanctified

So far the personal effects accomplished through  ‘the Body of Christ’ - ‘the Body of His humiliation’ - are affirmed.  The wider effects are described no less distinctly.

(Col 1:19-22) It was the good pleasure [of the Father]….through Him to reconcile all things unto Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross….and you did he reconcile in the body of His flesh through death
(Eph 2:14-16) He is our peace, who made both one….that He might create in Himself of the twain one new man; and might reconcile them both in one body unto God through the cross

3. The work of Christ in His Body, the Church.

What is thus begun has to be fulfilled. This fellowship with the ascended Christ finds a realization on earth. There is still an organism of the life of the Son of man, a Body through which He works, and to which men may minister.
(Col. 1:24) I….fill up on my part that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His body’s sake, which is the Church

Of this Body He is even now the Head:

(Eph. 1:23;4:15;5:23) The Father….gave Him to be head over all things to the Church, which is His body
(Col. 1:18) He is the head of the body, the Church

This Body is necessarily one, even as Christ is one:

(I Cor. 12:13) In one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free
(Eph. 4:4,5) There is one body and one Spirit….one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all
(Col. 3:15) Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to the which also ye were called in one body

At the same time,  like the natural body,  it  ‘grows’  by the action of its own vital law through the ministry of its constituent parts,  and it is  ‘built up’  by the introduction of new members; 
but  ‘growth’  and  ‘building up’  are alike manifestations of the informing power of Christ,  the Head:

(Col. 2:19) ….the Head, from Whom all the body, being supplied and knit together through the joints and bands, increaseth with the increase of God
(Eph. 4:11,12) He gave some to be apostles, and some prophets….for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ
(Eph. 4:16) From Whom all the body…..maketh the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love

Into this Body Christians are incorporated by Baptism:

(Eph. 5:30) We are members of His body   (compare verse 26); I Cor. 12:13
(I Cor. 10:16) And they are sustained in their vital union with Christ by the fellowship of His body and blood 

So it is that Christians themselves are one body in Christ  (Romans 12:5); 
and severally members one of another  (Eph. 4:25; Rom. 12:5), 
sharing in a common life but charged with different offices  (Rom. 12:4,6; I Cor. 12:27); 
and under this aspect our bodies are members of Christ  (I Cor. 6:15).

It is obvious that the view which is thus opened to us of the Body of Christ as the one organism,  if the word may be allowed,  through which His life is fulfilled,  throws light upon the  ‘words of Institution’  at the Last Supper.  Christ does not say  ‘This is my flesh’:  He does say  ‘This is my blood.’  He offers us part in the one organization of the One Life which transcends earth  (This is my body,  I Cor. 11:24; Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19):  He offers us the virtue of His life on earth through which we may now fulfill our work.

The discernment and appropriation of this spiritual reality is at once the great trial and the highest blessing of the Christian life (….if he discern not the body. I Cor. 11:27-29).


Burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin  -  holokautoomata kai peri hamartias 
The burnt-offering and the sin-offering.
(from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Thou delightedst not in
Because of the sin and rebelliousness of the people.  The great contrast is illustrated:

(Mal 1:10)

"Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you, " says the LORD Almighty, " and I will accept no offering from your hands.   NIV
(Eph 5:2) As Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.       NIV


Then I said
At the time when the Divine Will was made clear:  when it was seen that no Eucharistic offerings could satisfy the divine claim to grateful service;  and no expiatory offerings do away with sin.

I come
I am come,  not  ‘I will come.’ 
Obedience is immediate and complete.  This sense of the will of God was, as it were, the Master’s call in the heart, and the servant’s answer was in the new connection.   ‘Here am I’   (Isaiah 6:8).

In roll of book it is written
Perhaps the simplest rendering is:  in the book-roll (the roll of the Law) a law is written for me, which lays down perfectly my duty.  The King acknowledges a definite standard of the will of God, before He undertakes to aim at fulfilling it.  The Law which foreshadowed the duties of a King of Israel was the rule of the King’s life.  Here the reference appears to be quite general: John 5:39

John 5:39
You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me.   NIV

To do
The shortening of the verse brings the purpose of the speaker into closer connection with His coming. 

Thy will
The will of God answers to the fulfillment of man’s true destiny; and this in spite of the fall of man.  Christ, as Son of man,  made this will His own and accomplished it.  The utterance of the King of Israel expressed man’s true aim, which was beyond human reach,  and so rightly belongs to the Messiah who attained it. Compare John 4:34; 8:29.
It is of interest to notice how constantly ‘the will of God’ is connected with the redemption and consummation of man: John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38; Eph. 1:5,9,11; I Tim. 2:4;  and in one special aspect: I Thess. 4:3. 
Compare Revelation 4:11.

He Takes Away  (Heb 10:8 - 9)

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Heb 10:8-9
(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;
(9)   Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
( 8)  Above saying, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and [sacrifices] for sin thou willedst not, nor delightedst in, (which according to the law are offered);  ( 9)  then he said, Lo, I come, to do, O God, thy will. He takes away the first, that the second he may establish;  

(8)  First he said,  "Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them" (although the law required them to be made).  (9)  Then he said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first to establish the second.    NIV


Sacrifice and offering
The plurals seem to be accommodated to burnt offerings, which itself generalizes the singular of the original.

Which   -   such as are offered…., compare v. 11; 2:3.

According to the law
The absence of the article directs attention to the general character of the sacrifices as  legal,  and not to their specific character as  Mosaic.  Compare Heb. 8:4 and contrast this with Heb. 7:5; 9:19,22.


He takes away
He  (i.e. the Christ)  removeth, doeth away with
This is the only occurrence of the word in the Epistles except in 2 Thess. 2:8. In the sense of ‘kill’ it is frequent in the Acts. It is not found elsewhere in the New Testament or in the LXX in the sense of ‘removing.’

The first……the second
The first — the offering of outward sacrifices: 
The second — the fulfillment of the divine will by rational self-devotion.

Have Been  Sanctified  (Heb 10:10)

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Heb 10:10
By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
By which will sanctified we are through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.


By which will
In which will,  perfectly accomplished by Christ for all time,  according to His abiding declaration,  we have been sanctified, as included in its scope.  The will of God fulfilled by Christ is regarded not as that through which, nor as that according to which men are sanctified. They are included in it, even in that purpose of love which Christ has realized (Eph. 1:7). Compare v. 19; 29; 13:20.

The thought of Christians as included in the Father’s will, which Christ fulfilled, corresponds with Paul’s thought of Christians being  ‘in Christ’.

Through the offering of the body
Prepared,  which offering,  slowly matured through life,  was consummated on the cross.
The clause contains an answer to the question which naturally arises:

‘How are we sanctified in the will of God?’
That will was realized in the perfect life of the Son of man,  in which each man as a member of humanity finds the realization of his own destiny.

The use of offering  (used of Christ’s offering only in this chapter and Eph. 5:2)  connects the self-sacrifice of Christ with the typical sacrifices.  And the compound name  Jesus Christ  (comp. Heb. 13:8,21  only)  characterizes the completeness of the sacrifice under the divine and human aspects of the Lord’s Person.  At the same time the specific reference to  ‘the body,’  the appointed organ for doing God’s will under the particular conditions,  emphasizes the reference to the totality of Christ’s earthly work.  Elsewhere in the Epistle He is said to   ‘offer Himself’  (Heb. 7:27; 9:14,25). 

Once for all
The word (Heb. 7:27; 9:12) goes with the whole sentence. The sanctification of all believers is completed on the divine side. Compare v. 13 & 14.

The effects of Christ’s Sacrifice

Christ has gained for man the end of his creation
The effect of Christ’s Sacrifice of Himself is presented in different places of the Epistle under various aspects in relation to man’s position and needs. 

In consequence of sinfulness and sin man is
Spiritually in bondage
In debt
Alienated from God
He requires
All these blessings Christ has brought to humanity by His
His Life
His Passion
His Ascension
By His perfect fulfillment of the destiny of man under the conditions of the Fall
He has brought again within man’s reach the end of his creation (Psalms 8; Heb. 2:5)

The general teaching of the Epistle upon the subject can be summarized most conveniently into two heads:

A. In relation to spiritual powers
1. The effect of Christ’s Sacrifice on the general relation of man to spiritual powers
The might of the devil is brought to naught.
Christ was Incarnate   (See Heb. 2:14. Comp. Rev. 1:18)
2. The effect of Christ’s Sacrifice on man’s personal state
As a consequence of this men are delivered from:
A present tyranny.   (See Heb. 2:15)
An obligation contracted in the past. (See Heb. 9:15. Comp. 9:22; 10:18; 9:12)
3. A propitiation is offered
At the same time a propitiation is offered for the sins of the people, so that they can come before God   (See Heb. 2:17,18)
B. Man’s personal state 
Man was created to gain the divine likeness:
he needs therefore perfect hallowing

He is sin-stained: 

he needs cleansing

He has powers capable of exercise, cultivation, development:

he needs perfecting

These three, hollowing, cleansing, perfecting, are connected in the Epistle with Christ’s Sacrifice in Life and Death.
Ps 17:15
As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.

(a) The purpose of Christ (See Heb. 13:12)
(b) The fact  (See Heb. 10:29)
(c) The realization ( See Heb. 10:14)
The work is complete on the divine side and gradually appropriated on man’s side.
(d) The ground   ( See Heb. 2:11) 
The Redemption completes and crowns the purpose of Creation, which included the possibility of it.
(e) An object of human effort  (See Heb. 12:14)
Consecration requires as the beginning of its actual fulfillment cleansing. This is presented:
(a) Generally (See Heb. 1:3)
(b) Individually ( See Heb. 9:14)
(c) As complete on the divine part ( See Heb. 10:2)
(d) As extending to the scene of man’s heavenly service ( See Heb. 9:23)
The perfecting of men is wholly dependent on Christ’s own perfecting. Of this perfecting we see:
(a) The ground, in Christ’s work (See Heb. 10:14)
(b) The accomplishment, according to a purpose of God slowly fulfilled to our eyes (See Heb. 11:40)
(c) The partial fulfillment in a vision of the heavenly city (See Heb. 12:23)

Different forms in which the work is presented
In this connection it is desirable to study together the verbs which present typical views of Christ’s work,  holy  and  purity  -  these deal with man in himself in his present and final state.

The sense of  ‘holy’ is derived from the highest application of the word to God Himself. God is spoken of as ‘holy’ under the aspect of His inviolable purity, majesty, awe-inspiring glory. Those who are devoted to Him that they may reflect His character are ‘holy’. That is hollowed which is made to minister to the manifestation of His glory: See Matthew 6:9; compare I Peter 3:15.
Hence generally Holy has two main senses.
(1) To set apart for God: to separate from ‘the world.’
(2) To make conformable in character to such a dedication. Compare Lev. 20:26.

As applied to Christians there are therefore two distinct aspects of the words ‘holy,’

The initial consecration which marks the destiny for which as Christians they are set apart—the ‘indelible character,’ in theological language, which is given by Baptism
'Progressive Hallowing"
By which the divine likeness is slowly formed (compare John 10:36;17:19).
The different tenses in which the verb is used place the different aspects of ‘hallowing’ in a clear light.
The idea of ‘purity’ expresses primarily the satisfaction of external conditions. In the first instance it marks ceremonial cleanness. The leper as unclean was excluded from the outward commonwealth of Israel. He was restored by cleansing (Matt. 8:2).
(1) To remove outward defilement 
And so to make  ceremonially fit to draw near to God.
(2) To remove spiritual defilement
And so to make  morally fit  to come before God.
Purity Is prospective, and points forward to a future state not yet attained (Heb. 12:14)
Purification Is retrospective and points to a past which has been done away (Heb. 1:3; 2 Pet. 1:9)
Propitiation Marks the present restoration of fellowship with God, by the removal of that which stays the outflow of His love (I John 2:2)

10:11-14    The efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice shown by His present Majesty
Efficacy of Work  (Heb 10:11 - 14)

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A view of the efficacy of Christ’s present work follows on the general description of His historic sacrifice in Life and Death. This is given by presenting the contrast between:

(Heb. 10:11-13) The continuous service of the Levitical priests and Christ’s position of Royal assurance
(Heb. 10:14) Showing the ground of Christ’s preeminence in the abiding sufficiency of His one offering for the needs of every member of His Church
Heb 10:11-14
(11)   And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
(12)   But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
(13)   From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
(14)   For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(11)  And every priest stands day by day ministering, and the same often offering sacrifices, which never are able to take away sins. ( 12)   But he, one for sins having offered sacrifice, in perpetuity sat down at [the
right hand of God,  ( 13)   henceforth awaiting until he placed his enemies [as] a footstool for feet his.  ( 14)   For by one offering he has perfected in perpetuity the sanctified.

The eleventh verse takes up the three thoughts of v. 1. 
The Levitical service consists of  repeated acts, and these the same, and essentially ineffective
On the other hand Christ having offered one sacrifice efficacious for ever took His place on the divine throne in certain expectation of final victory (10:12,13).


And every priest
And  further, there is another characteristic of Christ’s priestly work which marks its infinite superiority,  
while every Levitical priest standeth
…..He….sat down…..

Christ’s sacrifice is not only pleasing to God, but it has an absolute power: it issues in perfect sovereignty for the Son of man, the representative of men (Heb. 2:9).

The general term  ‘priest’  suits the argument better than the specific term ‘high-priest.’  The work of Christ is considered in relation to the whole hierarchical and sacrificial system of Judaism.  The Jewish priests ‘stand’ in their service  (Deut. 10:8; 18:7).

Deut 10:8
At that time the LORD set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister and to pronounce blessings in his name, as they still do today.    NIV

Deut 18:7
Then he shall minister in the name of the LORD his God, as all his brethren the Levites do, which stand there before the LORD.   KJV

Standeth.  The idea of  ‘standing’  is that of:

A work still to be done
Service still to be rendered
Homage still to be paid

So the angels stand before God: Isaiah 6:2; Luke 1:19; Revelation 7:11.

Day by day……..sacrifices
The divine service and the sacrifices of the Tabernacle and Temple are repeated day by day.
This could be said even of the duties of the High-priest. 

To take away sins
Contrast  is encompassed   (Heb 5:2).    Man is, so to speak, wrapped in sins.  He weaves, as it were, in action a terrible robe for himself  (compare Psalms 35:26).

Psalms 35:26
May all who gloat over my distress 
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who exalt themselves over me 
be clothed with shame and disgrace.    NIV

This enveloping shroud,  no part of his true self, has to be stripped off  (2 Cor. 3:16).

2 Cor 3:16
But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.   NIV


But he, one…in perpetuity sat down
He,  when He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down.
The sacrifice was efficacious for ever,  through all time,  being appropriated by each believer  (v. 14). 


Henceforth awaiting
Henceforward awaiting.  Christ Himself in His royal majesty  ‘waits’  as the husbandman for the processes of nature (James 5:7)  and the patriarchs for the divine promise (Heb. 11:10). 
There is an aspect in which the time of the triumphant Return of Christ is known only to the Father (Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32; Acts 1:7),  and is in some sense contingent on the action of men (Acts 3:19,20; 2 Pet. 3:12).

Until he placed
The Return of Christ appears to be placed after the conquest of His enemies. Compare I Cor. 15:22-26.

1 Cor 15:22-26
(22)  For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.  (23)  But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. (24)  Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.   (25)  For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.  (26)  The last enemy to be destroyed is death.    NIV


For by one offering
So that no fresh duty can interrupt the continuance of His royal Majesty. 
The word offering goes back to v. 10.  It extends more widely than  sacrifice  (v. 12; 9:16).
Paul combines both words in Eph. 5:2 which,  as was noticed,  is the only passage besides this chapter (vv. 5,8,10,18)  in which the word is used in connection with Christ’s work;  the only other occurrence in the Epistles is Romans 15:16.

The ‘offering’ of Christ,  His perfect life crowned by a willing death,  in which He fulfilled the destiny of man and bore the punishment of human sin, is that by and in which every human life finds its consummation.
It is significant that Christ Himself is said to perfect  ‘by the offering’:  it is not said that ‘the offering’ perfects. His action is personal in the application of His own work.   The importance of this form of expression appears from the language used of the Law:  ( Heb. 7:19)  For noting perfected the law.  Compare Heb. 9:9; 10:1. 
In the case of the Levitical institutions the action of the appointed ministers fell into the back-ground.

He has perfected in perpetuity
He hath perfected for ever
The virtue of Christ’s work remains ever available as long as the need of man exists.

The sanctified
All who from time to time realize progressively in fact that which has been potentially obtained for them.
Compare Heb. 2:11; and contrast v. 10 sanctified.

10:15-18    The fulfillment in Christ of the prophetic description of the New Covenant

Forgiveness of Sins  (10:15 - 18)

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The Apostle goes back,  in conclusion,  to the testimony of the prophet from which he commenced his exposition of the high-priestly and sacrificial service of the new Covenant.  A characteristic of that Covenant,  which has been established by Christ,  was the forgiveness of sins.  Under it,  therefore,  offerings for sin were necessarily done away;  and the Temple services could no longer have any value for the Christian.

Heb 10:15-18
(15)   Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,
(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.
(18)   Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(15)  And bears witness to us also the Spirit the Holy; for after the having said before(16)   This [is] the covenant which I will covenant towards them after those days, says [the] Lord: giving my laws into their hearts, also into minds their I will inscribe them(17)   and sins their and their lawlessness in no wise will I remember any more. (18)   But where remission of these [is], no longer [is there] an offering for sin.


And bears witness to us also the Spirit the Holy
And the Holy Spirit also beareth witness to us Christians and confirms our common faith.  The witness of the Holy Spirit in the promise of the New Covenant is added to the witness of Christ contained in the Psalm.  The words of the Christ in the Psalm are supported by an independent divine testimony.

Jeremiah's covenant prophecy has been fulfilled. 
Believers in Christ are now:

Fitted for perpetual communion and fellowship with God

The word  perfected  (teteleioken)  means  "completed." 

The end in view is achieved
The believer is prepared for entrance into the sanctuary
His earthly hope of this is assured 

This signifies growth and also enjoyment of privileges.

The writer again quotes Jer 31:33ff.,  to indicate how the heart of a believer is changed by faith in Christ, and his very nature is transformed.  Jeremiah foretold that it would be so as the Holy Spirit spoke through him.  Remission of sins is now complete,  and what Jeremiah spoke of in prophecy is now reality.  Sins are not even remembered,  and lives are fully transformed by all that Christ has accomplished in atoning death. 
The work is done.  
(The Wycliffe Bible Commentary,  Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)


But where remission of these
Now where there is remission of these sins. The consequences of sin are threefold:

(1) Debt which requires forgiveness
(2) Bondage which requires redemption
(3) Alienation which requires reconciliation

The prophetic words show that under the New Covenant no place is left for the Levitical sacrifices. The Christian can therefore dispense with them without any loss.  To be forced to give up their shadowy consolation is to be led to realize more practically the work of Christ.
This is the last  –  the decisive  –  word of the argument.

Additional notes by Wuest:
In Hebrews 10:16-18, the writer now quotes Jeremiah on the New Testament which God was going to inaugurate.

(1) One distinctive feature of the New Testament 
The sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit who would be caused to take up His permanent abode in the believer under the New Testament dispensation. 
Heretofore,  He had come upon  or  in  individuals in order to equip them for a certain ministry, and then would leave them when the time of that ministry was over.  He did not personally indwell them for purposes of sanctification.   
The Old Testament saint was regenerated,  thus becoming a partaker of the divine nature,  and thus had that impetus to the living of a holy life. 
The New Testament saint has both the advantages of  regeneration  and the personal indwelling and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. 

Thus, under the First Testament God wrote His laws on stone,
whereas under the New Testament He writes them upon the heart.

(2) The other distinctive feature of the New Testament 
The fact that God remembers sins and iniquities no more.  
The constant repetition of the sacrifices demonstrated that the sin question was not settled.  
The once for all offering of the Messiah shows that sin is paid for and put away.

The writer now draws an important conclusion to all this.  He says that  in view of the fact that sin has been paid for, there is no more need of the constant repetition of sacrificial offerings.  And that is exactly what the writer is attempting to instill into the minds and hearts of his readers,  namely,  that the New Testament in Jesus'  blood is superior to and takes the place of the First Testament in animal blood.
(Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament,  Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)

Heb. 10:19-13:25    The Appropriation And Vital Application Of  The Truths Laid Down

Having established his theoretical view of the relation of Christianity to Judaism, as its complete fulfillment, the substance answering to the shadow,  the writer of the Epistle at once goes on to enforce the practical consequences of his conclusions. 
The privileges must be used
The duties must be discharged
The faith is not for speculation but for life
All the consolations of the Levitical system can be surrendered without loss; and they must be surrendered at once if they come in any way into competition with Christian obligation.

The main line of thought is developed under four sections.

(Heb. 10:19-39) The writer first makes a direct application of his teaching to his readers, defining sharply their privileges and perils and encouragement’s.
Having thus insisted on the necessity of faith as an element in that patient endurance which God requires in the discipline of His Providence.
(Heb. 11) He next shows that it was by faith the spiritual heroes of earlier times wrought their victories.
(Heb. 12) Such examples had an immediate application to the circumstances of the crisis in which the Hebrews were placed; and they were sufficient to enable them to realize the grandeur of the responsibilities and hopes which were given to them.
(Heb. 13) The last chapter  is a kind of appendix to the Epistle in which detailed instructions and personal notices find a place.

Thus we have:

(10:19-39) The privileges, perils, encouragement’s of the Hebrews
(11:1-40) The past triumphs of Faith
(12:1-29) The general application of the lessons of the past to the present season of trial 
(13:1-25) The last words

The application of the lessons to be drawn from the view which the Apostle has given of the absolute supremacy of the Christian Faith over the preparatory system of Judaism begins with a vivid picture of the position of the Hebrews:

(10:19-25) Their privileges and duties 
(10:26-31) Their perils
(10:32-39) Their encouragement’s

Each section has traits taken directly from scenes of persecution:

(10:25) From the isolation of proud or timid believers
(10:29) From the abjuration of apostates
(10:34) From the triumph of confessors

Heb 10: 19-25   The privileges and duties of Christians

(10:19-22) Personal privileges
(10:23-25) Social duties of  believers
(10:19-21) Direct access to God
The privilege of direct access to God is confirmed by general and personal considerations. We have a way of approach and an effective Mediator 
(10:22) Personal Responsibilities
On our part certain conditions have to be fulfilled personally. These are both
Subjective (with a true heart, in fullness of faith)
Objective (sprinkled in our hearts, washed in our body)
Personal Advocate  (10:19 - 21)

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The writer sums up briefly the blessings which he has shown to belong to Christians

They have an entrance to the Divine Presence in virtue of Christ’s Blood
They have a way made by the Incarnation
They have an availing personal Advocate, a Priest over the house of God
Heb 10:19-21
(19)  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
(20)  By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
(21)  And having an high priest over the house of God;

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(19)  Having therefore, brethren, boldness for entrance into the holies by the blood of Jesus( 20)   which he dedicated for us a way newly made and living through the veil, that is, his flesh( 21)   and a priest great over the house of God [having].


Having therefore, brethren
That which was under the Law a privilege of one only, once a year, is now the privilege of all Christians at all times. The form of the sentence is closely parallel to  Heb. 4:13.
The title  brethren  is an impressive recognition of the new fellowship established in Christ.  By using it the writer appeals to his readers to consider what they have received as Christians.

In spite of the frankest recognition of our sins.   Compare Heb. 3:6; 4:16.

For entrance into the Holies
To use the entrance into the Holy place.  Each Christian in virtue of his fellowship with Christ is now a high-priest (see Revelation 5:10),  and is able to come to the very presence of God.  The ‘entrance’ expresses

Primarily the way itself, 
and then also the use of the way

Elsewhere in the New Testament  entrance  is used generally of  ‘the act of entering’: I Thess. 1:9;2:1; Acts 13:24;  but in 2 Peter 1:11 it has rather the sense of  ‘the means of entering,’ and the parallel with away (v. 20) seems to fix this as the dominant sense here.

The use of the phrase ‘boldness for (to use) the entrance’  instead of the simpler  ‘boldness to enter’ calls up distinctly both the:

1. Characteristic act of the High-priest
2. The provision made by Christ

By the blood
The entrance of Christians into the divine presence is  ‘in the blood of Jesus’  —  even as the Levitical High-priest entered into the Holy of Holies ‘in blood,’  though it was the blood of  ‘bulls and goats’:  
Compare Heb. 9:25 with bloods another’s — in the power, that is, of the human life of the Lord offered up and made available for them:  His life is their way.  
The human name of the Lord in every place where it occurs in the Epistle emphasizes His true humanity and rests the point of the argument upon that.


Which he dedicated
The entrance which He inaugurated for us, even a fresh and living way… 
Christ has made available for others the road by which He Himself traveled.  He not only made the way,  but He also used it.  The word  has been inaugurated  (Heb. 9:18)  is used in the LXX of the inauguration (dedication) of the altar,  the temple,  the kingdom (I Sam. 11:14),  a house (Deut. 20:5).

A way newly made and living
The way,  however the words which follow may be interpreted,  must finally be Christ Himself  (John 14:6;10:7); and it is therefore  ‘fresh’  not only in the sense that it is a way which was before unknown,  but also as one that retains its freshness and cannot grow old (Heb. 13:13);  and it is  ‘living’  as a way which consists in fellowship with a Person.

John 14:6
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.    NIV

John 10:7
Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.   NIV

Through the veil
There can be no doubt that the  ‘veil’  is here regarded as excluding from the Divine Presence and not  (as some early church Fathers took it)  as the door by which the Divine Presence was approached. Compare Heb. 8:5; 9:8.
The way into the holiest place can now be traversed. The veil is not indeed removed so long as we live on earth, but we can pass through it in Christ. Compare Matthew 27:51.

How then are we to understand the words which follow  his flesh?
These words are by common consent taken either:

As dependent on  ‘the veil,  that is  the veil of His flesh’ (i.e. consisting  in His flesh)
Or as in apposition with it,  ‘the veil,  that is, His flesh.’ 

In both cases  ‘the flesh’ of Christ is presented as that through which He passed, a veil which for a time shut off access to God.

Such a thought is strange and difficult; but it becomes in some degree intelligible if  ‘the flesh’ of Christ is used in a strictly limited sense to describe His humanity under the limitations of earthly existence, of temptation and suffering.
The word (‘flesh’) being thus understood,  it can be said that Christ passed through  ‘the flesh’ which He assumed, which did actually to common eyes hide God from men,  into the presence of God;  but the greatest care must be taken to guard against the error of supposing that in  ‘passing through’  and thus leaving behind,  His ‘flesh,’ Christ parted with anything which belongs to the full perfection of His humanity.

For it is most unlikely that the Apostle would describe Christ’s ‘flesh’ as a veil hiding God from men,  through which they too must pass,  though it is true that His humanity did,  during His historic Presence,  veil His Godhead, and that,  in one sense,  ‘the flesh profiteth nothing.’

Still even with these restrictions this interpretation is hardly satisfactory.  It remains surprising that ‘the flesh’ of Christ should be treated in any way as a veil,  an obstacle,  to the vision of God in a place where stress is laid on His humanity  (by the blood of Jesus).  And we should certainly expect to find a complete parallelism between the description of the approach of Christ to God and the approach of the believer to God.

This construction appears to be followed by our Early English translations:  ‘by the new and living way which He hath prepared for us through the veil, that is to say by His flesh’ (Tyndale, Cov., G.B., Gen.). 
The ‘by’ is omitted in the Bishops’ Bible.
The Greek certainly admits this construction, let me show you what I mean:

Which He-in-news to-us way toward-slain and living thru the down-expander this is of-the flesh
Hebrews 10:20   The Concordant Version
Which he dedicated for us a way newly made and living through the veil that is his flesh;’
Hebrews 10:20   The Greek New Testament by Berry
Even a fresh and living way through the veil, that is to say a way of His flesh,’
Hebrews 10:20   Hebrews by Westcott

You see from these different translations from 4th Century AD to 1961 how much more easy it is to read and understand than the Concordant Version.

And a priest great
Christians have open access to the Divine Presence; and in the court of the Divine Majesty they have an effectual Intercessor.

The epithet  great  describes the sovereign power of our Priest  (a great High-priest Heb. 4:14),  and does not simply serve in combination with priest.

Over the house of God
The house of God includes the whole Christian economy both

in its earthly and in its heavenly elements
in its organization and in its members

The Church on earth, so far as it has a true existence, lives by its embodiment of the heavenly idea. Under other aspects this ‘house’ is spoken of as 

the order to come (the habitable world which is to come   Heb. 2:5)
the city to come (an abiding city   Heb. 13:14)

Philo speaks of the righteous soul,  and again,  by a remarkable image of the Word itself,  as ‘the house of God’. (de migr. Abr. & i.; i. 437 M.).

Privileges of Christians  (Heb  10:22)

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Heb 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.

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(22)   We should approach with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having been sprinkled [as to] the hearts from a conscience wicked, and having been washed [as to] the body with water pure.


These privileges of Christians are to be used.  They must personally exercise their right of access to God.  And this they must do in sincerity and faith,  even as they have received the fullness of divine blessing in preparation for the fulfillment of their priestly work.

This connection of the clauses in vv. 22-24  is uncertain.

It is possible to begin each main sentence with the verb: 
We should approachWe should hold fast…And we should consider;
Or to regard the and as giving the new beginning; or to make the break after of faith

The last arrangement may be dismissed at once.
In favor of the second,  it may be urged that it gives a natural succession of conditions;  internal and external,  both personal and social:  and further that the separation of  Baptism (having been washed the body) from the confession naturally included in it is harsh;  while the accumulation of fresh thoughts by the writer and is in the style of the writer (let us come to God…; and having our body bathedlet us hold fast…; and let us consider…).
But on the other hand it seems most likely that the writer would complete the description of the conditions of personal approach, corresponding with the priestly preparations in the Levitical code, and then pass on to the social obligations of Christians. So that on the whole it seems best to make the break at the end of verse 22 (let us come to God….bathed with pure water. Let us hold fast….And let us consider….).

The fourfold characterization of worshippers in verse 22:

(1) With a true heart  What they are
(2) In full assurance of faith What they have received
(3) Having been sprinkled With their disposition
(4) Having been washed With their divine endowment

In themselves there is required sincerity and faith
In regard to the gift of God, the participation in the spiritual reality and in the outward sacramental sign of cleansing.

We should approach
The word in this sense of the approach of the worshipper to God is found in the New Testament only in this Epistle and in I Peter 2:4.  The usage is frequent in the LXX.

This approach is characterized by two personal qualities:

(1) Real devotion
(2) Ripe faith

With a true heart
A heart which fulfils the ideal office of the heart, the seat of the individual character, towards God.
A heart which expresses completely the devotion of the whole person to God. 
There is no divided allegiance: no reserve of feeling.

In full assurance of faith
In fullness of faith,  in faith which has reached its mature vigor. 
Compare Heb. 6:11  to the full assurance of the hope
The sense of perfect self-surrender must be completed by sure reliance on One Who is ready to help.

The three members of the Christian triad of earthly discipline are forcibly recognized in the familiar order of Paul:

I I Cor. 13:13 ‘And now abides faith, hope, love; these three things; but the greater of these love.’ 
II Heb. 10:23 ‘We should hold fast the confession of the hope unwavering, for faithful he who promised.'
III Heb. 10:24 ‘for provoking to love and to good works.’

Having been sprinkledhaving been washed
There are also Divine blessings corresponding to human character. 

The heart is touched with the cleansing power of the Divine life:  faith rests on the pledge of a historic fact.  In each case there is a reference to Levitical ceremonies.  So it is said that we have our hearts — the seat of personal character — and not our outward persons and garments (Ex. 29:21; Lev. 8:30). 
Sprinkled, that is with Christ’s Blood and not with any water of purification, and so cleansed from an evil conscience; and our body is bathed with pure water

In the later clause there is a reference both to

(Ex. 29:4) The consecration of priests
(Lev. 16:4) The bathing of the High-priest on the day of Atonement

With these symbolic bathings the sacramental ‘bathing’ of Christians is contrasted.

Twice only is the sprinkling of men with blood noticed in the Levitical ritual, and in each case the symbolism is most expressive:  Ex. 24:8 (c. 9:19); 29:21.

A conscience wicked
The conscience takes its character from the actions of the man:  Heb. 13:18; Acts 23:1; I Tim. 3:9; 2 Tim. 1:3
The two phrases appear to contain allusions to the Christian sacraments.

Allusion to the Eucharist is veiled
The reference is primarily to the spiritual efficacy of the divine working, of which the Holy Eucharist is the appointed but not the sole means:
Allusion to Baptism is unquestionable
The outward act, the decisive, sensible, rite in which the believer recognized the foundation of his assurance outside himself.

The change in number from the hearts to the body is not to be overlooked.

Social Duties  (Heb 10:23 - 25)

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The exhortation to the use of the personal privilege of approach to God is followed by the charge to fulfill the social duties of believers. Christians are required to:

(v. 23) Maintain the open confession of their hope
(v. 24) Regard one another with a view to bringing the influence of example to bear upon the development of life 
(v. 25) Use occasions of meeting together in the prospect of a near crisis
Heb 10:23-25
(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.

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(23)   We should hold fast the confession of the hope unwavering, for [is] faithful he who promised( 24)   and we should consider one another for provoking to love and to good works( 25)   not forsaking the assembling together of ourselves, even as [the] custom [is] with some; but encouraging [one another], and by so much [the] more as ye see drawing near the day


The reference to Baptism in the last clause furnishes a direct transition. The confession then publicly and gladly made must be firmly held.

We should hold fast the confession
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope that it waver not.

Hebrews 4:14 we should hold fast the confession
Hebrews 3:6,14 we should hold fast
Hebrews 3:1;4:14 confession

The word was used specially of the confession at Baptism.

The phrase ‘confession of hope’ is remarkable. 
The Apostle substitutes for the more general word ‘faith,’ that word which gives distinctness to special objects of faith to be realized in the future. 

Hope gives a definite shape to the absolute confidence of Faith. 
Faith reposes completely in the love of God: 
Hope vividly anticipates that God will fulfill His promises in a particular way.

The conception of Hope naturally occupies a prominent place in an Epistle directed to meet despondency. 

Hebrews 3:6 Whose house are we, if indeed the boldness and the boasting of the hope unto end firm we should hold
Hebrews 6:11 But we desire……to shew diligence to the full assurance of the hope unto end
Hebrews 6:18,19 Who fled for refuge to lay hold on the set before hope which as an anchor we have of the soul both certain and firm, and entering into that within the veil
Hebrews 7:19 Of a better hope by which we draw near to God.

The hope in each case appears to be fixed upon the realization of a complete divine fellowship under new conditions, as it was laid down by the schoolmen.  To this the Christian looks forward with a vivid anticipation.  In it he sees the assurance of the transfiguration of the conditions of earthly being (I John 3:2,3)

1 John 3:2-3
(2)  Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.  (3)  Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.    NIV

The resurrection of Christ is the pledge of its fulfillment  (I Peter 1:3,21).

1 Peter 1:3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,     NIV

1 Peter 1:20-21
(20)  Chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.  (21)  Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.   NIV

Hence  ‘Christ Jesus’  Himself is  ‘our hope’  (I Tim. 1:1; Col. 1:27).

1 Tim 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,   NIV

Col 1:27
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.     NIV

In the presence of such a hope the visible glories of the Temple fade away.  Those who can realize it will feel no loss when they are withdrawn.

For faithful he who promised
The fidelity of God is not only the sure ground of our confidence but  (as men speak)  it challenges our fidelity. Compare I Cor. 1:9; 10:13; I Thess. 5:24.


And we should consider one another
It is our duty to declare what we are and what we look for.
It is our duty also to consider what others are.
The well-being of each believer is bound up with the well-being of the whole body. 
He is therefore constrained to give careful heed to others in the hope that he may rouse them to nobler action.
And again that he may himself draw encouragement and inspiration from noble examples
Compare Heb. 12:15   looking diligently lest any lack the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness up springing, should trouble and by this be defiled many.

Provoking to love
The combination has a starling sound. Christians are to be roused,  provoked,  but to love. 
Compare I Thess. 4:9-12.

1 Thess 4:9-12
(9)  Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.  (10)  And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more. 
(11)  Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you,  (12)  so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.    NIV

When the world sees your life in Christ, does that make them hungry to accept or to reject Jesus?

Acts 11:26
And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians (or Christ like) first in Antioch.   KJV 

To good works
Good deeds,  or rather,  noble works,  works which by their generous and attractive character win the natural admiration of men.  For  to good  see Heb. 5:14;6:5.

It is a misfortune that we cannot distinguish  to good works  and  good deeds  in translation:  we are constrained to render both phrases by  ‘good works.’  Yet the ideas suggested by the two phrases are distinct.

Good Deeds In good deeds we mark only the intrinsic character of the works: they are essentially good.
Good Works In good works we emphasize the notion of their effect upon others, of their nobility which attracts.

Not forsaking the assembling together of ourselves
Not forsaking the gathering of our own selves together for fellowship in divine worship. 
The fulfillment of this social duty is presented under a twofold aspect

Negatively Christians are not to abandon the opportunities of meeting
Positively Christians are to use the power of mutual influence

The word  forsaking  conveys the notion not simply of leaving, as no longer taking part in the assembly,  but of abandoning,  leaving the assembly exposed to peril in the conflict.  
Compare Heb. 13:5 note; 2 Tim. 4:10,16; 2 Cor. 4:9; Matt. 27:46.


Even as custom with some
Such conduct on the side of Christians would arise partly from

Partly from fear lest they should provoke the active hostility of the Jewish authorities.
Partly from self-confidence, as though they no longer needed the assistance of ordinary common worship where the general average of spiritual life might be counted too low to aid more mature believers.

And yet more than this, the Christian assemblies must have appeared insignificant when compared with those to which the Hebrews were accustomed.  Other traces of the practice are found: Jude 19.

But encouraging
But on the contrary cheer the timid,  and stimulate the backward,  by your example. Compare Heb. 3:13; 12:5; 13:22   the word of exhortation.

Such ‘exhortation’ would have regard both

To dangers from without Christians had need of Courage
To dangers from within Christians had need of Progress

And by so much more as ye see…the day
The actual position of the things,  the nearness of the great crisis of the Lord’s coming,  made the obligation of mutual support among Christians urgently pressing.  The danger was great and the time was short.  Those who deserted the Christian Faith would be swept away in the ruin soon to follow,  (the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome in 69 AD)  without the opportunity of return.
The beginning of the Jewish war with Rome was already visible to the Hebrews.

This absolute use of  ‘the day’  is peculiar. 
The nearest parallels are  I Thess. 5:4; Rom. 13:12;  in both of which passages the contrast with  ‘night’  is brought out. Compare I John 2:8.

1 John 2:8
Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.    NIV

The day’ is elsewhere spoken of,  according to the phrase of the Old Testament as:

1. ‘The day of the Lord’  Acts 2:20; I Thess. 5:2; II Thess. 2:2
2. ‘That day’ Matt. 7:22; 24:36; Mr. 13:32; Lk. 10:12
3. ‘The day of God’ II Pet. 3:12
4. ‘The day (days) of the Son of man’  Lk. 17:26 (30) comp. John 8:56
5. ‘The day of our Lord Jesus [Christ] I Cor. 1:8 (5:5)
6. ‘The great day’ Jude 6; Rev. 6:17; 16:14
7. ‘A day of judgment’ Matt. 10:15; 11:22,24; 2 Pet. 2:9;3:7
8. ‘A day of redemption’ Eph. 4:30  (in regard to its contrasted issues)
9. 'A day of wrath’ Rom. 2:5
10. ‘The last day’ John 6:39

In working out these various thoughts it will be seen that each day of Christ’s coming is at once

a fulfillment and a prophecy
a judgment and a promise

Such was the final overthrow of the Jewish system at the fall of Jerusalem by Rome in AD 69.

The expectation of the Lord’s speedy coming,  which then had accomplishment,  is found expressed in each group of writings of the New Testament,  and under the same term.

1 Cor 7:29-31
(29)  But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;
(30)  And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;
(31)  And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.   KJV

The day’ is spoken of as ‘drawing nigh’, as in other apostolic writings: Romans 13:12; Phil. 4:5; James 5:8; I Pet. 4:7. Compare Heb. 8:13 and John 21:21-22.

John 21:21-22.
(21)  When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?" 
(22)  Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me."    NIV

Is it any wonder that they believed that Jesus would come back soon after he left them.

The Perils of Apostasy  (Heb 10:26 - 31)

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The charge which has been given in the last section to fulfill the personal and social claims of the Faith is enforced by a consideration of the perils of apostasy.  

(10:26,27) There is,  the writer shows,  no sacrifice available for apostates from Christ
(10:28) Death was the punishment of the corresponding offence under the Old Covenant
(10:29) The same principle must find application to Christians
(10:30,31) Who serve the same God 

It must be observed that the argument assumes that the sacrifice of Christ is finally rejected, and sin persisted in. The writer does not set limits to the efficacy of Christ’s work for the penitent.
The whole section must be compared with Hebrews 6:4-8.

Heb 6:4-8
(4)  It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit,  (5)  who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age,  (6)  if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 
(7)  Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God.  (8)  But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.    NIV

Heb 10:26-31
(26)   For if we sin willfully 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.
(28)   He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
(29)   Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
(30)   For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
(31)   It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(26)  [Where] willingly for sin we after receiving the knowledge of the truth, no longer for sins remains a sacrifice(27)   but a fearful certain expectation of judgment, and of fire fervor to devour about the adversaries(28)   Having set aside any one [the] law of Moses, without compassion’s on [the testimony of] two or three witnesses dies(29)   how much think ye worse shall he be counted worthy of punishment who the Son of God trampled upon, and the blood of the covenant common esteemed wherewith he was sanctified, and the Spirit of grace insulted(30)   For we know him who said, To me vengeance [belongs]; I will recompense, says [the] Lord: and again, [The] Lord will judge his people(31)    [It is] a fearful thing to fall into [the] hands of God [the] living.


The mention of  ‘the day’ in v. 25 calls out the sad severity of the warning which follows. We must use the help which God has provided and in His way; for if we set this at naught nothing remains for our relief.


Willingly for sin we
The phrase includes two distinct elements:

1. The voluntariness, that is the realized consciousness of the sin.
2. The habitual indulgence in the sin. Such sin involves apostasy from Christ (v. 29 trampled upon).

By the addition of  we  the writer softens the severity of his words with a touch of deep sympathy.  No one of us,  he implies,  can set aside the warning as needless.  If he dwells on the danger of others he does not forget his own. Compare I John 2:1-2.

1 John 2:1-2
(1)  My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense - Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.  (2)  He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.    NIV

The thought is of the single act of sin, and not of the state of sinfulness. 
But if anybody’  Here again the thought is of the single act regarded as past,  into which the believer may be carried against the true tenor of his life (I John 1:7),  as contrasted with the habitual state (I John 3:6,8,9;5:18). 

Ezek 3:20
Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before him, he will die. Since you did not warn him, he will die for his sin. The righteous things he did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for his blood.    NIV

After receiving the knowledge of the truth
Compare I Tim. 4:3  who know the truth
The use of the compound phrase (receiving the knowledge) for the simple verb (Col. 1:6; 1 Pet. 2:21)  brings out the double aspect of the knowledge as God’s gift and man’s acquisition (receiving).  In gaining it man is active and yet it is not from him. 

The knowledge thus received is treated as complete: contrast Tit. 1:1; 1 Tim. 2:4;  and the use of the emphatic knowledge marks the greatness of the fall which is contemplated.  Those whose case is taken into account have vigorously applied themselves to pursue the study of Christian truth.

The truth
The Truth’ absolutely is coincident with the revelation of Christ.  The use of the term is characteristic of John (1:17; 3:21; 16:13; I John 2:21);  but is found also in each group of the Epistles: James 3:14; 5:19; 1 Pet. 1:22; 2 Thess. 2:12; Gal. 5:7; Eph. 1:13; 2 Tim. 2:15.

No longer……remains
The sacrifice of Christ has been rejected
There is no other sacrifice which can be effectual.
The order of the words is remarkable.  The words  for sins  and  a sacrifice  are separated so that the fact of sin stands out prominently:  ‘for sins there is left no sacrifice.’  So too the writer appeals to individual experience when he says  ‘for sins’  and not generally  ‘for sin.’   Contrast:

Heb 10:18 an offering for sin
Heb. 9:26 for putting away of sin
Heb. 12:4 against sin wrestling
Heb. 13:11 for sin


But a fearful certain
But there is ...there abideth  (compare John 3:36).  This issue is represented on its two sides: 

1. Man’s expectation (expectation of judgment)
2. God’s provision (of fire fervor)

The rhetorical use of the indefinite certain gives a solemn awe to the statement.  The fact that the expectation cannot be exactly defined necessarily makes it more impressive. Compare Acts 8:9; 5:36.

Expectation of judgment
The noun Expectation occurs here only in the New Testament. 
Compare v. 13  awaiting compare also Heb. 11:10.

Such a judgment (Heb. 9:27) would be,  for those whom the Apostle describes, condemnation. Compare John 5:24,28-29.

John 5:24
I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.    NIV

John 5:28-29
(28)  Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice  (29)  and come out-those who have done good will rise to live,   and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.    NIV

Of fire fervor
The words are adapted from Isaiah 26:11  LXX
Thy hand, O Lord, was lifted high; but they did not know it; but when they know they will be ashamed. Zeal will seize an uninstructed people; even now a fire devoureth the adversaries.’

The word  they did not know it  suggests the thought of love which has been wronged. 
Compare Heb. 12:29   Our God a fire consuming.


The anticipation of fatal punishment for apostasy is confirmed by the consideration of the enactment for a similar offence under the Old Covenant.  The same form of argument from the less to the greater occurs compare Heb. 2:2; 9:13; 12:25.

Ps 50:22
Consider this, you who forget God,
or I will tear you to pieces, with none to rescue:     NIV


Having set aside any one law of Moses
One that setteth at naught Moses’ law… 
The offence like the correlatives is regarded in its isolated completeness:

A. The culprit  ‘set the law at naught.’
B. His act was final and decisive.

And it is not presented in its present fulfillment (having set aside any one) or in its abiding permanence.
It describes not only the violation of an ordinance or authority in details, but the denial of the validity of the ordinance or the authority altogether. Compare Gal. 3:15; 1 Tim. 5:12; Jude 8; John 12:18.

In the case of the Old Covenant the sanction lay in the declaration of the Lawgiver
In the case of the New Covenant the believer had direct experience of the power of the Divine Presence

Without compassion’s
All the people shared in the infliction of the punishment  (Deut. 13:9; 17:7;  Acts 7:58).
The word  compassion’s  appears to be very rare in classical Greek. 
The word expresses the feeling which witnesses to fellowship and natural sympathy, while pity describes the feeling which is called out by the sight of misery. 
Compare Rom. 12:1; 2 Cor. 1:3; Phil. 2:1; Col. 3:12; Luke 6:36; James 5:11.

The Law is valid and effective.


How much think ye
The parenthetical  think ye  makes the appeal to the readers more direct and pointed.
The verb  be counted,  which is commonly used in connection with words of reward (compare Heb. 3:3; 1 Tim. 5:17),  is used also of meet punishment,  like worthy  (Acts 23:29).

The noun occurs nowhere else in the New Testament.  It expresses simply the notion of retribution punishment in regard of the offence.  It will be seen that in the case of the perfect fulfillment of a perfect law the ends of retribution and correction absolutely coincide.

Who…trampled upon…insulted
There is a triple indictment.  The manifestation of the apostasy of the offender is described under three distinct aspects:

1. (trampled upon) As an act
2. (esteemed) As an opinion
3. (insulted) As a personal and willful assault

His conduct shows that he has already abandoned his faith,  and that too after he had made trial of its blessings.
His decision,  expressed in deed,  is regarded as complete and final.
The language used suggests the open repudiation of the baptismal confession and covenant: I Cor. 12:3

1 Cor 12:3
Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.    NIV

The strangeness of the metaphor in  trampled upon  as applied to a person is enhanced by the use of the title  ‘the Son of God’ (compare Heb. 6:6 note).  The word  trampled upon  occurs in Matthew 5:13; 7:6  in connection which illustrate the image.

That which claims to be precious is not only regarded as having no value:
it is also treated with utter contempt.

The act of contemptuous rejection of Christ is joined with,  or rests upon,  a deliberate judgment.  The apostate held the blood of the covenant to be a common thing.  The phrase suggests the contrast on which the writer has already dwelt between the inaugurations of the Old and New Covenants:  Ex. 24:8 (compare Heb. 9:20). 
Also Heb. 13:20; Matt. 26:28; Mk. 14:24  which for many is poured out
Luke 22:20  This cup the new covenant in my blood which for you is poured out.

Common esteemed
The two senses given by the Latin have each found support in later times. 

Some have taken  common  as in the sense of  ‘undistinguished from the blood of any other man
Others as  (positively)  ‘impure,’  ‘unholy,’  as if Christ had suffered justly as an evil doer.
Which, of course, is impossible since Christ had no sin.

This sense is supposed to be suggested by the clause wherewith he was sanctified which follows.  In either case the clause,  added after the structure of the sentence was complete,  brings in a new thought which places the greatness of the offence in a clearer light:  ‘holding that common wherein he was made holy.’

The blood of Christ is as  ‘the fountain’  in which the sinner is  ‘plunged’  for cleansing  (Baptize you  Matt: 3:11).
The  ‘hallowing’  of the Christian is spoken of as one definite act.  By incorporation into Christ he was once for all devoted to God.   Compare I Cor. 6:11.

1 Cor 6:11
And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.   NIV

The Spirit of grace insulted
And (who) doth outrage to the Spirit of grace
There is still a third element in the apostasy.  The apostate offers insult and outrage to that Power through Whom the highest divine influences flow to man.  This act of open rebellion against the present power of God, active through the Body of the Church,  crowns the personal hostility to Christ and the violation of the allegiance which had been pledged.

The word  insulted  is that insolent self-assertion which disregards what is due to others.  It combines arrogance with wanton injury.  Compare Rom. 1:30; 1 Tim. 1:13.

This outrage is directed against One Who is spoken of by the unique title ‘the Spirit of grace.’ 
Here then  ‘the Spirit of grace’  is the Spirit through whom the grace of God is manifested.  The apostate (unbeliever) wilfully wrongs the Power whose action he has felt.

It will be observed that the action of the Holy Spirit falls into the back-ground in the Epistle from the characteristic view which is given of the priestly work of Christ.  Compare Heb. 6:4 note.


The certainty of the retribution to which the writer has pointed lies in the knowledge of the divine character.

For we know
For we know Him that said
We know not only who He is that said,  but we know His character who said….  We know that He is a ‘living God,’ and that His words will find fulfillment to the uttermost. 
Compare John 4:22; 7:28; 1 Thess. 4:5; 2 Thess. 1:8; Tit. 1:16; Heb. 8:11 note.

The two quotations establish two facts with regard to the divine judgment:

1. It will carry with it strict requital.
This is an adaptation of Deut. 32:35, which differs from the Hebrew.
‘Vengeance is Mine, and recompense, Against the time when their foot shall slip; For the day of their calamity is at hand, And the things that are to come upon them shall make haste.’   
Hebrew Deut. 32:35
‘In the day of vengeance I will requite,  When their foot shall be supplanted.  Because the day of destruction is nigh for them, Therefore at hand are the things prepared for you.’ 
LXX  Deut. 32:35
(To me belongeth vengeance and recompense)  It occurs in the same form in Rom. 12:19, and had probably taken this shape in popular use.  The clause is rendered very nearly in the same way in the  Targum of Onkelos  (Vengeance is before me, and I will repay).

Rom 12:19
Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written:  "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.   NIV

2. It will extend to all those who stand to God as His people.
This is also taken from the same passage of  Deuteronomy  (32:36; compare Psalms 135:14),

Deuteronomy 32:36
The LORD will judge his people 
and have compassion on his servants 
when he sees their strength is gone 
and no one is left, slave or free.    NIV

Psalms 135:14
For the LORD will vindicate his people 
and have compassion on his servants.    NIV

In the original context the idea of judgment is that of just vindication.  But the character of God requires that the same act which upholds the righteous should punish the wicked.  The point of this quotation is that God’s people will be judged,  that they from their peculiar position will be specially objects of His care.  What the judgment will be for them lies in themselves (v. 27).


Discernment or separation between good and evil. God judges among people and their actions according to the standards of His LAW.   Judgment can refer either

to this process of discernment 
or to the punishment meted out to those who fall under His wrath and condemnation (John 5:24).

In the Bible the most important judgment is the final judgment, the ultimate separation of good and evil at the end of history. The precise time of this judgment is appointed by God  (Acts 17:31),  but it remains unknown to man (Matt 24:36).  

The return of the Lord to earth, 
the resurrection of the dead, 
and the final judgment, 
together with the end of the world-
all these may be thought of as belonging to a single complex of events at the end of time.

From earliest times it has been recognized

that God Himself is the Judge of mankind (Gen 18:25),
and that He has the power and wisdom to judge with righteousness, truth, and justice (Ps 96:13; 98:9). 

The final judgment is a task given specifically to God's Son  (John 5:22; Acts 17:31)  to:

Conclude His work as mediator
Deliver His people from sin
Destroy all God's enemies

God's people are associated with Christ in the exercise of this judgment (1 Cor 6:2-3; Rev 20:4).

The final judgment will be comprehensive in scope; 

It will include all people and nations from the beginning of the world to the end of history (Matt 25:31-46; Rom 14:10-12)
As well as fallen angels (2 Peter 2:4).

Those who trust in the Lord, repent of sin, and walk in His ways will not be condemned but will enter into eternal life (Ps 1).  The purpose of the final judgment is the glory of God through the salvation of the  ELECT and the condemnation of the ungodly (2 Thess 1:3-10).

The death of Jesus Christ is unique among these judgments of history.  Through His death God paid the judgment price demanded by mankind's sin.  The death and resurrection of Jesus are the foundations on which sinners are saved (Isa 53:5) through their trust in Him as Lord and Savior.

(Rom 13:1-7) God's role as judge is reflected in the leadership functions of political officials, who uphold order in society and execute judgment on evildoers.
(Deut 16:18-19) The rulers of Israel bore special responsibility in this respect 
(Matt 18:17-18) The leaders of the church today also bear special responsibility in this respect 
(Matt 18:15) But this should always be done fairly and with compassion. 
(Heb 10:30) Believers are never to take over the task of judgment that belongs to God alone.

(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c)1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)


A fearful thing
The word takes up the  but a fearful  of   Heb.10:27
The adjective is found in the New Testament only in these passages and in Hebrews 12:21.

Encouragement From Past Experience  (Heb 10:32 - 39)

Previous Section

Words of encouragement follow upon the words of warning,  just as the warnings in Heb. 6:4-8,  were followed by the expression of joyful confidence.  

(vv 32-34) The Hebrews are reminded of their former courageous faith 
(vv. 35-39) They are exhorted not to peril its fruit at the last moment 

They had fought their battle: all that was required was that they should endure to wait for their crown

Rev 2:10
Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer.  I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days.  Be faithful,  even to the point of death,  and I will give you the crown of life.    NIV

Rev 3:11
I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.    NIV

Heb 10:32-39
(32)   But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;
(33)   Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.
(34)   For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.
(35)   Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.
(36)   For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
(37)   For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
(38)   Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
(39)   But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(32)  But call to remembrance the former days in which, having been enlightened, much conflict ye endured of sufferings( 33)   partly, both in reproaches and tribulations being made a spectacle; and partly, partners of those thus passing through [them] having become( 34)   For both with my bonds ye sympathized, and the plunder of your possessions with joy ye received, knowing to have in yourselves a better possession in [the] heavens and abiding( 35)   Cast not away therefore your boldness which has recompense great( 36)   For of endurance ye have need, that the will of God having done ye may receive the promise( 37)   For yet a very little while, he who comes will come, and will not delay( 38)   But the just by faith shall live; and if he draw back, delights not my soul in him( 39)   But we are not of [those] drawing back to destruction, but of faith to saving [the] soul.


The retrospect of their own history was sufficient to inspire the Hebrews with patience. They had borne sufferings themselves and shared the sufferings of others. They had experienced in all this the assurance of a better possession than any that they could lose by persecution. 


But call to remembrance
Call again to remembranceCall to mind.  2 Cor. 7:15;  2 Tim. 1:6 (I remind thee to kindle up).
The word is used of recalling specific subjects to the mind.  Contrast Heb. 13:3   Be mindful of prisoners.
The phrase  the former days  does not so much express  ‘the former days’  as a definite period,  as ‘the days at a former time,’  at an earlier stage of your faith.

In which…much conflict ye endured of sufferings
Whereinye endured a great struggle of sufferings,  that is,  consisting in sufferings.
The use of the word  conflict  (here only in the New Testament, and not in LXX: compare 2 Tim. 2:5)  adds to the picture the image of the resolute combatant.  The Hebrew not only suffered,  but bore themselves as those who were contending for a crown.

2 Tim 2:5
Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules.    NIV

Here the notions of intensity and repetition are both applicable to the struggle of the Hebrews.


Partly…and partly
The courage of the Hebrews was shown both

 in what they bore personally,
and (which is often more difficult) in their readiness to show sympathy to those who were in affliction.

The contrast in the tenses of the participles,  being made a spectacle,  and  having become,  which is necessarily lost in translation  (as in the Latin),  suggests that upon some special occasion the persons addressed had in a signal manner identified themselves with fellow-Christians in an outbreak of persecution;  while they were habitually exposed to public reproach.

Both in reproaches and tribulations
The personal sufferings of the Hebrews were twofold:

Reproaches Affect the Character
They had endured reproaches, which contrast a man’s conduct with what might have been expected from him (Matt. 11:20; Mk. 16:14; James 1:5).
Afflictions Affect Material Prosperity
They had endured afflictions, in which force is the expression of ill-will.

Partners of those thus passing through having become
Avowing your fellowship with those who were facing reproaches and afflictions in their daily life. 
The Hebrews,  so far from abandoning their fellow Christians,  courageously claimed connection with them,  sharing their perils by the active avowal of sympathy.


The statements of the former verse are defined in inverse order by reference to specific facts.  The Hebrews had shown sympathy when it could not be perilous to do so:  and they had welcomed material loss.

With my bonds ye sympathized
Ye had compassion on them that were in bonds.
The definite article points to some familiar fact.  Compare Heb. 13:3. 
Elsewhere the word  with my bonds  is used in the epistles of the New Testament only by Paul of himself: Eph. 3:1; 6:20; Col. 4:3;Phil. 1:7;2 Tim. 1:16.

Eph 3:1
For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,    KJV

Knowing to have in yourselves …abiding
Knowing that ye had your own selves for a better possession and an abiding one.
Stripped of their goods the Christians learned better than before that their true self remained unchangeable.  That was not marred but purified:  they had  ‘won their souls in patience’  (Luke 21:19).  This possession they had so that they could never lose it.  By the use of the word Hebrew  knowing,  as distinguished from the Greek word knowing  (which is different)  from Eph. 6:8; Rom. 5:3; 6:9,  the writer implies that the knowledge was realized through the trial:  through that the confessors came to know the value of their faith. Compare James 1:3.

James 1:3
Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.    NIV


The sacrifices which the Hebrews once made proved their confidence — confidence in an unseen future — which they boldly proclaimed;  and at the same time they confirmed it.  The lesson of the past therefore encouraged them to still further endurance.  And such endurance God claims from His people.


Cast not away therefore
Do not therefore cast (fling) away (Mark 10:50),  as though it were of no value,  the boldness which you once made your own.  The opposite is expressed in Hebrews 3:6  boldness and  boasting.

Your boldness

The Apostle first chooses the term which describes endurance under its most commanding aspect, as ready to proclaim the hope on which it rests and as secure of victory; 
and then afterwards (v. 36) he presents the idea of simple endurance. Compare Heb. 3:6 note (book one).

Which has
Seeing that it hath great recompense
The recompense is included even now in the spirit of the believer who has learned to rate outward afflictions at their true value  (Rom. 8:37-39).

Romans 8:37-39
(37)  No,  in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  (38)  For I am convinced that neither death nor life,  neither angels nor demons,  neither the present nor the future,  nor any powers,  (39)  neither height nor depth,  nor anything else in all creation,  will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.    NIV


For of endurance ye have need
For of patience ye have need
The force of the reason lies in the moral efficacy of endurance.

Do not cast away your confidence
For you have need of it.
The trials to which you are subjected belong to the perfect discipline of the faith which you hold.
You have need of patience therefore that you may obtain what you expect.

That the will of God having done…the promise
That, having done the will of God, ye may receive the promise
This general term  ‘the will of God,’  which occurs throughout the New Testament,  takes its color from the context.  Not infrequently the mention of  ‘the will of God’  suggests a contrast to man’s will through the discipline of suffering  (Matt. 26:42; Eph. 6:6; 1 Pet. 2:15; 3:17;4:19),  as is the case here.

The phrase also necessarily recalls what was said of Christ’s work  (Heb. 10:5)  as a fulfillment of the will of God. Man in his little field must follow the example of his Lord (1 Pet. 2:21),  which is always set before us as an example of suffering  (Rev 2:8-10)

Rev 2:8-10
(8)   And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
(9)   I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
(10) Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

By receiving the promise, we must understand  ‘receiving all that was expressed in the promise.’ 
The promise’  in this connection is defined by John as  ‘eternal life’  (1 John 2:25),  which is the complete expression of  ‘the promise made to the fathers’  (Acts 13:32; 26:6).  Of this the gift of the Spirit  (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4; 2:33; Gal. 3:14; Eph. 1:13)  and  ‘the presence of the Lord’ (2 Pet. 3:4,9)  were pledges. 
Compare Heb. 6:12 note.


The writer of the Epistle uses freely the language of ancient prophecy to express the general truth which he wishes to enforce,  that the purpose of God will be fulfilled in its due time even if it seems to linger.  So it was when Isaiah charged the people to withdraw from a space and wait till the divine wrath was spent.  In old times the faithful had to wait for the manifestation of the salvation of God.

For yet…little while
For, yet a very little while… 
These words with which the quotation from Habakkuk is prefaced by the writer of the Epistle occur in Isaiah 26:20 (LXX),  where the prophet charges the people to hide themselves  ‘for a little moment until the indignation should be over-past.’ 

Isaiah 26:20
Go,  my people,  enter into thy chambers;  shut thy door:  hide thyself for a little while;  until the anger of the Lord is passed.’     LXX

The thought of the purposes of God wrought through the discipline of Israel thus serves as a preparation for the understanding of His counsel for the Church.

10:37, 38

He who comes…in him
These words are taken with modifications and transposition from the LXX. Version of Habakkuk 2:3.  

Habakkuk 2:3
For the vision is for a time yet to come.  But it will spring up at last and will not be vain.  Though he may tarry,  wait for him;  for he will assuredly come and will not fail.’     LXX

Habakkuk 2:4
If anyone draw back,  My soul hath no pleasure in him.  But the just shall live by faith in Me.’  LXX

Additional Note

The quotation in Heb. 10:37 consists of an introductory clause from Isaiah 26:20 and an adaptation of the LXX version of Habakkuk 2:3,4.

Hab 2:3-4
(3)   For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry. 
(4)   "Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.   NKJV

In contrast with both the writer of the Epistle gives:
For yet a very little while, he who comes will come, and will not delay. 38 But the just by faith shall live; and if he draw back, delights not my soul in him.

A comparison of these words with those of the LXX.,  taken in connection with the introductory clause, shows that the writer is freely using familiar language to convey his own thought.  The LXX had given a personal interpretation to the Vision which embodied the divine promise:  wait for Him (i.e. the Lord,  or His representative);  and the writer of the Epistle,  in the light of his Christian faith,  defines the Person ‘He that cometh,’  even the Ascended Christ,  adding the article and so separating  comes  from  will come.  It was natural therefore that he should at once connect with this assurance of the coming of the Savior the reward of faith,  and transpose to the end the clause which reveals the peril of slackened zeal.  By this adaptation prophetic words conveyed the lesson which he desired to enforce,  and the associations which they carried with them gave a solemn coloring to the thought of necessary endurance.  The deliverance from Chaldea,  however real,  was not such as Israel looked for.

In the original context that which is expected is the fulfillment of the prophetic vision of the destruction of the Chaldeans,  the enemies of God’s people,  to be followed by the revelation of His glory.  The judgment was executed and the promise was accomplished in due time,  but not as men had hoped.  The lesson had a significant application to the condition of the early Church.


The original text gives the sense:  ‘His soul is puffed up with pride: it is not right within him; but the righteous shall live by his faithfulness,’  where the reference is to the vain confidence of the Chaldean invader as contrasted with the trust of the people upon God.  The LXX represents a different text in the first clause;  and the author of the Epistle has transposed the two clauses of the LXX  in order to bring out more clearly the idea which he wishes to enforce,  the necessity of endurance in the righteous.

But the just…shall live
But my righteous one shall live by faith
The argument requires that the words  by faith shall live  should be taken together. 
The just — the true believer — requires faith,  trust in the unseen,  for life. 
Such faith is the support of endurance and the seal of confidence.
It is said that the phrase was held in Rabbinic teaching to declare the essence of the Law 
Delitzsch, Romerbrief s. 75.   Compare Gal. 3:11,12; Rom. 1:17.

Hab 2:1-3
After receiving an answer to this supplicatory cry,  the prophet receives a command from God:  to write the oracle in plain characters,  because it is indeed certain,  but will not be immediately fulfilled  (vv. 1-3). 
Then follows the word of God,  that the just will live through his faith,  but he that is proud and not upright will not continue (vv. 4, 5);  accompanied by a fivefold woe upon the Chaldean,  who gathers all nations to himself with insatiable greediness (vv. 6-20).
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Gal 3:11-12
(11)  Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because,  "The righteous will live by faith."  (12)  The law is not based on faith;     NIV

Rom 1:17
For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed,  a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,  just as it is written:  "The righteous will live by faith."    NIV

And if he draw back
And if he,  who has been spoken of as  ‘the just,’  draw (shrink) back
The insertion of  ‘any man,’  so as to avoid the thought of the falling away of  ‘the just one,’  is wholly unwarranted,  and it is precisely this contingency which gives the point to the words  (compare v. 32  having been enlightened).


But we…of drawing back
But we are not of shrinking back (of them that shrink back)…
The thought of shrinking back is at once put aside.
The writer here identifies his readers with himself,  as before he has identified himself with them (Heb. 6:1; v. 26).
The genitives of  drawing back of faith  express that which marks the two classes.  Our character is not expressed by  ‘shrinking back’  but by ‘faith.’


(End of Lesson Seven)


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