Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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HEBREWS - Chapter 10

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Hebrews 10

Supplemental Commentary:


4.  A Superior Sacrifice  9, 1 -- 10, 18 (continued)

10, 1-10:  One Sacrifice Supplants Many.    1.  Shadow . . . image: as a sketch is to the picture.    5-7.  A prophecy from Ps. 39, 7-9, picturing the dispositions of the Messias in submitting Himself absolutely to the will of God.  Obedience is more than mere sacrifice of animals.  A body would be prepared for the Messias, through which the sacrifice of perfect obedience to God's will would be accomplished.  A body thou hast fitted to me: the Hebrew has, "Ears thou hast opened for me."  The meaning is similar, as through the ears the will of God would be known.  Head of the book: the Hebrew has "roll of the book."  Books were written on strips and wound on rolls.    10.  Will: the will of the Father.

10, 11-18:  Its Eternal Efficacy.    16 f.  Jeremias is quoted again to prove that there will be no further need of any sacrifices offered for sin.  Christ's sacrifice is all-sufficing; the Jewish sacrifices are obsolete.

II.  EXHORTATION  10, 19 -- 13, 17

1.  To Persevere in Faith  10, 19 -- 11, 40

10, 19-25:  First Motive:  The Judgment.    20.  Jesus led the way to heaven through His Passion and Death.  Heaven is now open for all.    22.  Hearts cleansed: an allusion to the sprinkling with blood in the Jewish rites.  Our hearts are cleansed with the blood of Christ.  Washed with clean water: an allusion to Baptism.    24.  Faith and hope must issue in charity and good works.    25.  The chief purpose of the Christian assembly was to celebrate the Holy Eucharist (1 Cor. 11, 20).  Day drawing near: the destruction of Jerusalem, or more probably the last day.

10, 26-31:  Guilt of Apostasy.    26.  As in 6, 6, it is the sin of apostasy which is meant.  They have rejected Christ's sacrifice, and there is no other.    27.  Apostasy was punished with death under the Mosaic Law; here eternal punishment is threatened.  The allusion is to Isa. 26, 11 according to the Septuagint.    28.  See Deut. 17, 6.    29.  See Ex. 24, 8.    30.  See Deut. 32, 35-36; also Rom. 12, 19.    31.  See Deut. 5, 26.

10, 32-39:  Second Motive:  Trials Well Borne.  Words of encouragement and hope.    32.  Enlightened: by faith received in Baptism.    37.  See Ag. 2, 7; also Isa. 26, 20 (Sept.).  He who is to come: Christ as Judge.    38.  See Hab. 2, 4; also Rom. 1, 17; Gal. 3, 11.  The quotation from Habacuc is rendered rather freely from the Greek, which again differs somewhat from the Hebrew.  The underlying thought, however, is the same.  As it was faith in God which brought the just Hebrew through the terrible trial of the Chaldean invasion, so now it would be faith in Christ which would bring the Christians through the difficulties which they were facing (probably the persecution before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.).

Confraternity Bible:

One Sacrifice Supplants Many  1 For the Law, having but a shadow of the good things to come, and not the exact image of the objects, is never able by the sacrifices which they offer continually, year after year the same, to perfect those who draw near; 2 for in that case would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshippers, once cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sin?  3 Yet in these sacrifices sins are brought to remembrance year by year.  4 For it is impossible that sins should be taken away with blood of bulls and of goats.  5* Therefore in coming into the world, he says,
"Sacrifice and oblation thou wouldst not, but a body thou hast fitted to me:

6* In holocausts and sin-offerings thou hast had no pleasure. 

7* Then said I, 'Behold, I come---(in the head of the book it is written of me)---to do thy will, O God.'" 
8 In saying in the first place, "Sacrifices and oblations and holocausts and sin-offerings thou wouldst not, neither hast thou had pleasure in them" (which are offered according to the Law), 9 and then saying, "Behold, I come to do thy will, O God," he annuls the first covenant in order to establish the second.  10 It is in this "will" that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Its Eternal Efficacy  11 And every priest indeed stands daily ministering, and often offering the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; 12 but Jesus, having offered one sacrifice for sins, has taken his seat forever at the right hand of God, 13 waiting thenceforth until his enemies be made the footstool under his feet.  14 For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are sanctified.  15 Thus also the Holy Spirit testifies unto us.  For after having said,
16* "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord:

I will put my laws upon their hearts, and upon their minds I will write them,"
he then adds,
17* "And their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more." 
18* Now where there is forgiveness of sins, there is no longer offering for sin.

First Motive: the Judgment  19 Since then, brethren, we are free to enter the Holies in virtue of the blood of Christ, 20 a new and living way which he inaugurated for us through the veil (that is, his flesh), 21 and since we have a high priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in fullness of faith, having our hearts cleansed from an evil conscience by sprinkling, and the body washed with clean water.  23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has given the promise is faithful.  24 And let us consider how to arouse one another to charity and good works; 25 not forsaking our assembly as is the custom of some, but exhorting one another, and this all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Guilt of Apostasy  26* For if we sin willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there remains no longer a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain dreadful expectation of judgment, and "the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries."  28 A man making void the Law of Moses dies without any mercy on the word of two or three witnesses; 29 how much worse punishments do you think he deserves who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant through which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?  30* For we know him who has said,
"Vengeance is mine, I will repay." 
And again,
"The Lord will judge his people." 
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Second Motive: Trials Well Borne  32 But call to mind the days gone by, in which, after you had been enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings; 33 partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by making common cause with those who fared thus.  34 For you both have had compassion on those in prison and have joyfully accepted the plundering of your own goods, knowing that you have a better possession and a lasting one.  35 Do not, therefore, lose your confidence, which has a great reward.  36 For you have need of patience that, doing the will of God, you may receive the promise: 
37* "For yet a very little while, and he who is to come, will come, and will not delay.  

38* Now my just one lives by faith.  

But if he draws back, he will not please my soul." 
39 We, however, are not of those who draw back unto destruction, but of those who have faith to the saving of the soul. 


5-7: Ps. 39, 7-9.

16-17: Jer. 31, 33-34.

18: The sense is: where these are remitted there is no longer need of an offering for sin.

26: Sin willfully: by apostasy.

30: Deut. 32, 35-36.

37-38: Hab. 2, 3-4.