Category Archives: HEBREWS 10

The writer shows the superiority of the sacrifice of Christ, and also warns those who despise it.

HEBREWS 10

HEBREWS CHAPTER 10

Summary of the chapter
The first 18 verses of this chapter answer one last question about the matter of sins. The previous chapter, having dealt with the seven-fold effect of the blood of Christ, had ended with the thought in verse 28 that Christ is coming again without any need to deal with sins. He will not need to raise the sin-question again, for He dealt with it fully at His first coming. How can this be, remembering that Israelites sinned between Days of Atonement, and were never fully free from sins? Are believers of this age in the same situation, with sins subsequent to their faith in Christ needing to be dealt with?

The answer is found in the once for all sacrifice of Christ, enabling God to pledge to remember the sins of believers no more. So the first part of the chapter answers the unasked question from chapter 9. If the sacrifice of Christ was once for all, never to be repeated, did it deal with sins that are committed after conversion? If it did not, then those sins will never be dealt with, for Christ is come again “without sin”, that is, without having need to deal further with sins.

The second part of the chapter, verses 19-25, is in one sense the climax of the epistle as regards the believer. The climax as far as Christ is concerned is found in 9:24, where we read of Him entering in to the presence of God on the basis of what He did at Calvary. In verses 18-25, however, it is the entrance, in spirit, of the believer into the very presence of God, and the consequences that flow from that privilege.

The third section of the chapter, verses 26-31, consists of the fourth of the five warning passages in the epistle The remainder of the chapter, verses 32-39 are an encouragement to those who heed the warning. These verses also form the introduction to chapter 11, with its catalogue of those who pressed on in faith.

Structure of the whole chapter

Section 1 Verses 1-18 Christ sitting down
Section 2 Verses 19-25 Believer drawing near
Section 3 Verses 26-31 Unbeliever looking back
Section 4 Verses 32-39 Believer pressing on

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS CHAPTER 10, VERSES 1-18:

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.

10:2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

10:3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.

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

10:5 Wherefore when He cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me:

10:6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure.

10:7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me,) to do Thy will, O God.

10:8 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;

10:9 Then said He, Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second.

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

10:11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:

10:12 But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

10:13 From henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool.

10:14 For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

10:15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that He had said before,

10:16 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;

10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

10:18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.

Structure of Section 1

(a) Verses 1-4 Situation under the law
Worshippers coming to altar. Sins remembered
(b) Verses 5-10 Christ as offering at Calvary
(c) Verse 11 Situation under law
Priest standing at altar. Sins not taken away
(d) Verses 12-14 Christ as offerer at Calvary
(e) Verses 15-18 Situation under grace. Sins not remembered

(a) 1-4 Situation under the law

Worshippers coming to the altar. Sins remembered.

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.

For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things- as we have noticed in the summary of the chapter, these verses answer an unasked question raised by the truth of chapter 9. If Christ’s coming again will not be to deal with sins, what of the sins of believers after they were converted? The writer answers that question by pointing out the contrasts between the Old Testament situation and the New. In Old Testament times, a fresh sin needed a fresh sacrifice. Now, however, the sacrifice of Christ is so thorough, that there needs to be no more sacrificing.
The law was a shadow, and not the object that cast the shadow, for Christ, prophesied in the Old Testament, is that. Compare Colossians 2:17, “which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ”. That is, Christ is the body or object that casts a shadow in the Old Testament era. This is a testimony to His existence before He was born. “Things” means matters, things under consideration now.
Can never with those sacrifices- “those sacrifices” can be literally rendered, “with the same sacrifices”, with which compare verse 11.
Which they offered year by year- the same expression as is translated in verse 3 as “every year”. The annual Day of Atonement is in view.
Continually- that is, to perpetuity, with no prospect of an end in sight. Make the comers thereunto perfect- comers are those who desire to approach God as worshippers. They are therefore those in the nation that had faith, and were concerned about their sins. To be perfect means to be brought to the final goal, which in this context means to be able to approach God without sin on the conscience. Israelites in old time could only approach in the person of their high priest, they themselves had no entrance into God’s presence. Those who were exercised to appear at the altar with a sacrifice in between Days of Atonement, could never be perfected by their sacrifice.

10:2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

For then would they not have ceased to be offered?- the logic of the writer is devastating. The word “for” links back to verse 3, and gives the reason why the blood of bulls and goats did not deal with sins so that they are taken away absolutely. A sacrifice that needs to be offered many times, even if it is not for the same sins, is a sacrifice that has no forward application so as to deal with sins yet to be committed; it can only look back. Because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins- if the former sacrifices had been really effective, then the worshippers would have been once-for-all purged, and no longer would sins be a weight on their conscience. Note that the writer is not talking about consciousness of sins, which involves being aware of sins, for every believer should have this. Conscience of sins means that sins are on the conscience.

10:3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.

But- far from relieving the would-be worshippers of their sins.
In those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year- God remembered the sins of Israel every year on the Day of Atonement, and also every time an Israelite came to the altar with his sin offering. As a result of the sacrifice of Christ, however, He can guarantee to remember the sins of believers no more for ever, verse 17.

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

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins- this might seem to contradict the statements made in the Old Testament. For instance, “that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord”, Leviticus 16:30. How can these things be said of the blood of the bulls and goats of successive Days of Atonement, if the statement found here is true? The answer is two-fold. First, in the nature of the case, the animals offered in sacrifice were not intelligent as to the mind of God, and as such were only temporary measures. “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice”, were God’s words even in Old Testament times, Hosea 6:6. The blood of bulls and goats in and of themselves cannot take away sins, but what the blood of bulls and goats spoke to God of, namely the blood of His Son, can. The Lord Jesus was delivered to death in line with the foreknowledge of God, Acts 2:23, and therefore all was known by God beforehand. Second, the writer uses a word for take away that means to remove, or cut off. Indeed, it is used of the cutting off of Malchus’ ear in Matthew 26:51. The idea, then, is of a complete separation being made between the sinner and his sins, erasing them completely from God’s memory. Notice the “for” at the beginning of the verse, which links the two ideas of remembrance of sins and the ineffectiveness of animal blood together. In Hebrews 9 the emphasis is on the blood, both of animals and of Christ. In this chapter, however, the emphasis is on the body that yielded the blood. The mention of the blood of bulls and goats confirms that the reference at the end of chapter 9 was to the Day of Atonement.

Summary of Verses 1-4
The law was a shadow not the reality.

The law could not perfect the worshippers.

The law could not purge sins.

The law could not put away sins from God’s memory.

(b) 5-10    Christ as offering at Calvary.

10:5 Wherefore when He cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me:

Wherefore- on account of which thing, namely the matter of taking away sins.
When He cometh into the world- there is a contrast here with those who came to the altar in the tabernacle court. The Lord Jesus came into the world for the express purpose of going to Calvary. “The Son of man came…to give His life a ransom for many”, Mark10:45.
He saith- the writer does not feel the need to say who he means by “He”, for he has linked his argument with Christ’s second coming, and now speaks of His first coming. The thought is, “Coming into the world, He was characterised by the following statement”. The Jews described a man as a “comer into the world”. Although of course the Lord Jesus was different inasmuch as His birth was not His beginning. The Lord said of Himself, “Yet a little while I am with you, and then I go unto Him that sent Me”, John 7:33 and, “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go unto the Father”, John 16:28. So to come into the world, for Christ, is more than being born, for the opposite to it is going back to heaven. So for Him, to come into the world means to come from heaven. Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me- in Hebrews 10:5-10 the writer represents the Lord Jesus as speaking in the language of Psalm 40:6-8. The title of that psalm reads “To the chief musicians, a psalm of David”. This can signify either or both of two things. Those two things are that the psalm is written by David, and that it is about David, in the first instance. In verse 12 David admits to having iniquities, so the first reference is clearly to the psalmist. Only in a limited way, and within Divinely-indicated boundaries, can the psalm be applied to Christ. To see how that application is made we must first of all see how it relates to David personally.
Clearly, according to verses 1-5 of Psalm 40, David had experienced a great deliverance from God, and he was deeply thankful. He realised that bringing an offering as thanksgiving is one option open to him under the law. But he is a prophet, with insight into the mind of God, and he knows that to bring an animal sacrifice is not the best way of showing his gratitude; rather, he should surrender himself to God’s will. This will be in line with the teaching of the other prophets. For instance, Samuel asked Saul, “Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams”, 1 Samuel 15:22. Micah spoke to the same effect, “Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?, Micah 6:6-8. During the ministry of the Lord Jesus, a scribe said, “there is one God; and there is none other but He: and to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices”. The verdict of the Lord Jesus on this remark was that the man had answered discreetly, that is, sensibly and prudently, and that he was not far from the kingdom of God, Mark 12:33.
David has grasped this principle, and therefore resolves to present himself as a living sacrifice, vowing to do God’s will, and to delight in the doing of it, Psalm 40:6-8. This will be much better than mere religious observance, which may be carried out by unbelievers. Accordingly, like the Hebrew servant of old, who pledged to do his master’s will for ever, Exodus 21:1-6, David will allow his ear to be opened, so that it is ready to hear the commands of His God.
So delightful are David’s words to God, that He uses them to tell us of His Son in Hebrews 10. The Spirit takes up David’s expressions, and gives them a fresh dimension, so that they may more fully express Christ’s resolve. We see this in the following ways:
First, David had come to do God’s will as one whose name was in the book that God keeps of those who live upon the earth, see Exodus 32:32; Psalm 139:16. Christ, too, is real man, but unlike David, He came into the world from His Father, being “that eternal life, which was with the Father, and as manifested unto us”, 1 John 1:2. Whereas David signified his willingness to do God’s will, he did so as a mature man, whereas Christ came to do God’s will from the very outset.
Second, the stipulation with regard to the Hebrew servant was “if he come in by himself, he shall go out by himself”, Exodus 21:3. But those words may be rendered as in the margin, which reads, “if he come in with his body, he shall go out with his body”. David had expressed his readiness to respond to God’s commands by having his ear opened, but Christ’s words were, “a body hast Thou prepared Me”. It is true that by having his ear opened David was ready to serve with his body, but with Christ there is the more precise and inclusive statement. The use of the word body in Hebrews 10 is all the more pertinent, because we are sanctified by the offering consisting of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, verse 10. And His suffering is compared with what happened to the bodies of beasts in Hebrews 13:11,12.
Third, the word David used for “opened” is translated in Psalm 22:16 as “pierced”, in the expression, “they pierced My hands and My feet”. This shows how far the Lord Jesus was prepared to go in service to God, for He was “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”, Philippians 2:8. Sincere as David was, no doubt, he could never match the service of Christ.
Fourth, the word David used for “opened” can not only mean pierced, but also prepared. This meaning the writer to the Hebrews takes up, and applies to Christ. His body was prepared in a way David’s never was, for Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, and consequently, tendency or ability to sin was absent from Him. Such a preparation was vitally important, for He could not be a suitable sacrifice without it.
Fifth, as one born into the world, David’s name was in the book of the living. Christ, however, was not only mentioned in another book, but was the subject of it, for as Peter said, “to Him give all the prophets witness”, Acts 10:43. More particularly, the book of the law, which contains the details of the sacrifices, when read in the light of New Testament revelation, is seen to be written about Him.
Sixth, the only option open to David after he had realised that the better way of showing gratitude was to surrender himself to the will of God, was to offer his body in service. This service, however, despite David’s good intentions, would be marred by sin to some degree or other. With Christ’s service, however, there was perfection, for He loved His God with all His heart, understanding, soul and strength, and He could be typified by sacrifices that were “without blemish”.
Seventh, David knew that God was not deriving pleasure from the sacrifices, and knew they were not what God’s final will was, but he could do nothing about rendering them obsolete and taking them out of the way, and establishing that which did please God fully. That was beyond him. It was not beyond Christ, however, for He had complete insight into His Father’s will, and set about the task of establishing that which would satisfy Him eternally. He does this in such a thorough way that the old sacrifices are rendered obsolete.
In the Authorised Version of Psalm 40:6, the words read, “Mine ears hast thou digged”, no doubt a reference to the practice of fastening the ear of a servant to his master’s door post, if he was determined to continue to serve him, see Exodus 21:6. See also Proverbs 8:34; Isaiah 50:4. The writer of Hebrews, guided by the same Spirit that led David to write, uses a dynamic expression for the literal phrase, “mine ears hast thou digged”. In other words, “a body hast thou prepared me” states the ultimate meaning of David’s words, for a servant whose ear was bored, had committed his body to be used for whatever his master desired. Here is one who has insight into the thoughts of God about animal sacrifices, and realises that He Himself is appointed to do perfectly what they did partially. Compare the ignorance of Isaac as he went to Moriah with his father, Genesis 22:7, and also the ignorance of the animals that were brought for sacrifice.
In preparation for the great work of final sacrifice, a body was prepared by God for Him. This would involve the fact that the Spirit of God Himself was alone responsible for the conception of the Lord Jesus in the womb of Mary, thus ensuring that nothing of Adam’s fall touched Him. God had said of animal sacrifices that “it shall be perfect to be accepted”, and no less standard can be expected of the supreme sacrifice.
We should not read into this statement about His body being prepared, the idea that He was not actually the child of mary, but that she was simply and only His carrier. This makes His birth unreal and artificial, whereas the scripture says that “He also Himself likewise took part of the same”, that is, the same flesh and blood conditions that His people exist under. Note the “also” and the “likewise”. The one tells us He took real manhood, as His people did when they were born, and the second tells us that He did it in the same way, by birth of a mother. Anything less than this destroys the reality of His manhood, and comes dangerously close to the denial of it, which is anti-Christian, 1 John 4:2.
The preparation of the body of Christ may not simply refer to His conception, but also include the experiences of life which He passed through, which perfected (fully-fitted) Him to go to Calvary. The trials which the Lord Jesus passed through on the way to the cross have fitted Him to be the perfect sacrifice. Animal sacrifices needed to be prepared after they had been slain, for instance by having their legs and inwards washed, Leviticus 1:9; no such process was needed by Christ.
Sacrifice is the word most often used for the peace offering, whereas offering is usually the meal offering. The next verse speaks of burnt and sin offerings, so all four types of offering are mentioned here. These four offerings were used in the ceremony for the consecration of the priests, so the mention of them here may prepare us for the ideas expressed in verses 19-22. Peace offerings and meal offerings are not said to produce any result in terms of acceptance or forgiveness, unlike the burnt and sin offerings. They were offered by a man who was already in the good of the acceptance that came through the burnt offering, and the forgiveness that came through the sin offering. The Lord Jesus was the true peace offering, for He was totally in harmony with God without the need for a prior sin offering. And He was perfectly pleasing to the Father, being the counterpart to the meal offering, God’s Ideal Man, and as such needed not a burnt offering to make Him acceptable. “Wouldest not” is a form of the verb “to will”, and implies volition and purpose, and indicates what God’s desire is. His will which decrees, ordained that animal sacrifices be offered, but His will which desires, prefers the supreme sacrifice of Christ to which they pointed. It is important to note this reference to the will of God, in view of verses 9 and 10.

10:6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure.

In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure- The past tense used here confirms what the words “coming into the world” state, that these words are appropriate when the Lord Jesus came, for they review the past, with its centuries-long bringing of animal sacrifices. When the Lord Jesus committed Himself publicly to Calvary by being baptized, the words “I am well-pleased” were used of Him, Matthew 3:17, thus marking Him out as the true burnt offering and sin offering.

10:7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me,) to do Thy will, O God.

Then said I- These words are spoken as a consequence of Christ’s awareness that animal sacrifices were not God’s final goal.
Lo, I come- animal sacrifices were substitutes for people, since, as sinners, they had forfeited the opportunity to present themselves before God. They might be “the comers thereunto” of verse 1, but they had no merit of their own. We are introduced to one here who had not that handicap, and could offer Himself without spot to God. This may be the counterpart of John’s words as he saw Jesus coming to him, (as the Old Testament prophets John represented had seen the Messiah coming), “Behold, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world”, John 1:29.
Note the exclamation “Lo!”. The sacrifices of old time were offered continually, or “to perpetuity”, with apparently nothing to interrupt them. Here is one, however, who has the right to interrupt them. This announcement may also be for the benefit of the godly remnant of Israel who were waiting for the “good things to come”, Hebrews 9:11, and now this exclamation alerts them to the fact that they have arrived.
(in the volume of the book it is written of Me,)- views vary as to what this means. Certainly the Lord Jesus Himself maintained that the whole of the Old Testament spoke of Him, Luke 24:27,44. The problem with this is that the Old Testament is not simply called a book. Alternatively, the word “volume” means a head, and may refer to the ends of the frame onto which the scroll would be wound. The idea may therefore be the same as when we talk about a book “from cover to cover”, in other words, throughout.
Yet again, the words literally read, “in the heading of the scroll it is written of me”, and there may be a reference to the first psalm, which stands at the head, so to speak, of the Book of Psalms, and which describes the Blessed Man who is so different to the sinners all around Him as He lives upon the earth.
An alternative idea would be that it is a reference to the book in which God records the names of those who live on earth. We are told of this book in Psalm 139:13-16, where David speaks of God’s knowledge of men even before they are born. Hence Christ may appeal to this book to show that He has really been born of Mary, and His body is therefore real, and can be a real sacrifice.
To do thy will, O God- the expression, “to do” is a strong one, and indicates strength of resolve, and determination to act until the goal is reached. This is not someone pledging to carry out a ritual in which he may not have much interest, but one fully committed to the will of God whatever the cost.

10:8 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;

Above when He said- the word “above” refers to a place higher up on the scroll. We have already seen that the words express the thought of Christ after He had come into the world, not before He came. In any case, the law-sacrifices must be operative for the verdict “No pleasure” to be given, so the above does not refer to heaven, either in eternity, or after the world was made. Having quoted the whole of the passage which he needs to make his point, the writer now amalgamates different parts of the psalm together, inserting his own comments, to bring his argument out plainly. So what he will call “the first”, is summarised from verses 5 and 6, then what he will call “the second”, is summarised from verse 7, as follows:
Quotation of what was said above, or previously on the scroll, linking all the classes of sacrifice together, and also linking “wouldest” and “pleasure” together.
Comment by the writer- “which are offered by the law”.
Alteration of “Then said I”, as found in the psalm, to “Then He saith” of writer to Hebrews.
Quotation of what came second, without reference to volume of the book.
Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin Thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law- this latter phrase gives the clue to why the animal sacrifices were superceded; for they were not a response to the grace of God, but rather His law. Christ, on the other hand, “by the grace of God tasted death for every man”, 2:9.

10:9 “Then said He, Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God”. He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second.

Then said He, Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second- having re-arranged the words of the psalm to highlight what was said first, or above on the page, the contrast between them is evident, and the statement can be made that the Lord Jesus has taken away the first, that is the things mentioned first in the rearranged psalm, that he may establish the second, that is, the things mentioned second in the rearranged psalm. So superior is the sacrifice of Christ, that by making it, He effectively renders the first system obsolete, and replaces it with that which is once for all in character. It is interesting and instructive to notice that what God’s will may be in one age, is not necessarily His will in another. For instance, it was God’s will for Joshua to destroy the nations of Canaan, whereas it is not now God’s will that people be destroyed, as the Lord Jesus indicated in Luke 9:56.

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

By the which will- the will of God as done by Christ, in contrast to the temporary will of God involving animal sacrifice.
We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all- those who rest in the sacrificial work of Christ are sanctified, which means, in this context, made fit for the sanctuary. The tense of the word sanctified indicates that which has been done and still abides, giving a permanent result. The word “offering” is a noun, so it is not the act of offering which sanctifies, but rather the offering consisting of the body of Jesus Christ. Since His was a body prepared, then the result when He offered it to God in sacrificial surrender was to set apart His believing people, and fit them to enter into God’s presence as worshippers. No longer have they sins on their conscience.

(c) Verse 11 Situation under law

Priest standing at altar. Sins not taken away.

10:11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:

And every priest standeth daily- the law-priests stood at the altar waiting for Israelites to come to them with their sacrifices. They did this daily, for there was a constant need for sacrifices. The priest could never sit down, his work done for ever.
Ministering- the priest’s main function was to minister to God’s demands.
And offering oftentimes the same sacrifices- the point here is that the priests offered oftentimes, (i.e. lots of times), the same sacrifices. There was no variation, no perfection, only repetition. The ordinary Israelite was not allowed to touch the altar, so a priest interposed between him and God.
Which can never take away sins- no matter how long they had continued offering these sacrifices, they would never have eradicated sins. The work for “take away” here is even stronger than that used in verse 4. It means to “take away entirely that with which one is enveloped”, Grimme. Sins had imprisoned men, surrounding them on all sides, not allowing any escape, until Christ came and dealt effectively and finally with them.

(d) 12-14 Christ as offerer.

10:12 But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

But this man- the writer is careful not to call the Lord Jesus a priest, or High Priest here, even when he is contrasting Him with the priests of old. As chapter 7 has informed us, the priesthood of Christ did not begin until the oath of God was uttered, and this was at His ascension, 7:28, 21; 5:10. The original simply says, “but He”. The fact that Israelites needed a priest to act for them was a sign of weakness, and a sign that sins had not finally been dealt with.
After He had offered one sacrifice for sins- To offer means to bring near, and does not in itself signify a burning of the sacrifice. Aaron offered blood in the Holiest of All, but he did not burn it. So Christ offered Himself without spot to God in the sense that He presented Himself for sacrifice at Calvary.
For ever sat down on the right hand of God- “for ever” means “to perpetuity”, that is, without interruption. Views differ as to whether for ever refers to the sacrifice, or the sitting down. The position of Christ on the throne of God in heaven is a moral position, for one day He will sit upon His own throne on the earth, Matthew 25:31. Quee

n Elizabeth II may be said to sit on the throne of England, but that is not her physical position, except on rare occasions. The fact that one sacrifice cannot be offered to perpetuity suggests that “for ever” refers to the sitting down, which can be done to perpetuity. The position at the right hand is the position reserved for the firstborn, see Genesis 48:12-20. Now that He is established as Firstborn, the Lord Jesus is able to dispense the great blessings which His sacrifice has secured.

Note the series of contrasts in verses 11 and 12:

Verse 11  Verse 12
Every priest This man
Offering Offered
Oftentimes the same sacrifices One sacrifice
Never take away sins For sins
Standeth daily  For ever sat down
(At the altar) implied (On the throne) implied
Never For ever

10:13 From henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool.

From henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool- This statement is based on the words of Psalm 110:1, which are quoted in 1:13. This forms a warning to those who were in danger of apostatizing, for they would become His foes. Joshua made his captains to put their feet on the necks of the conquered Canaanite kings, to show their utter defeat. See Joshua10:24. Christ is not expecting to come again to earth to deal with sins, but rather, He is expecting to come to deal with sinners.

10:14 For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified- perfected means brought to the goal. In this case, that of the believer’s competence to enter the heavenly sanctuary.

We could list seven expressions which tell us why the believer is fitted to enter God’s sanctuary:

1. The tense of the word sanctified, for it signifies a permanent result.

2. The sacrifice of Christ on which their fitness is based is “once for all”.

3. The sacrifice of Christ needed only to happen once, so it is “one sacrifice for sins for ever”.

4. Having made His sacrifce, He has sat down, unlike the Levitical priests who stood. He “sat down on the right hand of God”, showing His work is complete.

5. Having gone to Calvary to die, He is seated on the throne permanently. He has “sat down for ever”.

6. The believer is said to be perfected, meaning he is fully fitted to enter God’s presence.
7. The believer is “perfected for ever”, not temporarily perfected. With this we may compare 9:9- “Could not make him that did the service perfect”. Perfection involves a purged conscience, 10:1.

(e) 15-18 Situation under grace- sins not remembered.

10:15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that He had said before,

Whereof- this perfect position before God is now confirmed.
The Holy Ghost also is a witness to us- as well as a witness to Christ through the psalmist in Psalm 40. The words of Jehovah in Jeremiah 31 are now quoted, so this is testimony to the Deity of the Holy Spirit.
For after that He had said before- that is, spoke beforehand. The sense is that there is something that comes “after” the initial statement of Jehovah about the new covenant, and this statement is crucial to the argument here, for it gives the Holy Spirit’s testimony about God’s attitude to our sins. The sense is expressed if we insert, (in our minds), the word “which” into the phrase- “after that (which) He said before”. That which He said before is found in verse 16, and verse 17, containing the vital statement, is what is said after this. The writer is using a similar device to the one in verses 8 and 9, “above…then”.

10:16 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;

This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord- that is, after the days of the Old Covenant, a reminder to the Hebrews that it was always God’s intention to bring in the new covenant, for the words are found in the Old Testamrent prophecy of Jeremiah 31:31.
I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them- the Lord ensures that His people are like Christ, who said, in the language of the psalm already quoted in this chapter, “Thy law is within my heart”, Psalm 40:8. Like the Ark of the Covenant in the tabernacle, Christ kept safely and securely the unbroken tables of the law of Moses. Now, the laws, or principles, of the new covenant are written in the fleshly tables of the heart, 2 Corinthians 3:3, and that writing constitutes an epistle of Christ, for He is declared to men when believers work out the responsibilities placed upon them by the terms of the new covenant. But the laws are also written in the mind. There were those in Israel who interpreted literally God’s word to them about keeping the laws as frontlets before the eyes, (by which He simply meant, “Keep them in mind all the time”), and made phylacteries, tiny boxes strapped to the forehead, containing small excerpts from the law. The terms of the new covenant, however, are written in the mind, not on the forehead, for part of the blessing of the new covenant is the knowledge of God, Hebrews 8:11.

10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more- this is what comes “after”. Under the law, sins and iniquities were constantly remembered, verse 3, whereas the work of Christ enables God to righteously not remember our sins at all for ever. Note that it is not that God will forget our sins, but rather, will do the positive thing of not remembering our sins. He can do this because He remembered those sins at Calvary, and charged them against Christ, who endured the full penalty for those sins by exhausting the wrath of God against them.

10:18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.

Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin- remission is forgiveness, and where this is known through the sacrifice of Christ, there is no need for Him to be offered again, nor is there any need for animal sacrifices either.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS CHAPTER 10, VERSES 19 TO 25:

10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

10:20 By a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh;

10:21 And having an high priest over the house of God;

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.

10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised;)

10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Section 2 Verses 19-25 Believer drawing near

Structure of section 2

(a) Verses 19,20 Drawing near with boldness
(b) Verses 21,22 Drawing near with assurance
(c) Verses 23-25 Drawing near to the day of His coming

(a) Verses 19,20 Drawing near with boldness

10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest- There are three climaxes in the epistle. In 4:14 Jesus the Son of God enters heaven as one who has overcome in the wilderness temptation experience, as Israel failed to do. As such, He is our resource for strength to overcome also. In 9:12 He enters under His official title of Christ, as the priestly representative of His people. Here, however, it is believers who enter in spirit into the very presence of God in heaven. Nadab and Abihu entered into God’s presence on earth, but it was the boldness of rebellion, and perhaps of drunkenness, see Leviticus10:1,2,9. King Uzziah likewise sought to enter into the Temple in his day, his heart being lifted up in pride, 2 Chronicles 26:16-21. He was a great king, but even so, it is only Christ who can combine priesthood and kingship permanently. God is jealous of the honour of His Son, and Uzziah was stricken with leprosy on his forehead, having failed to keep the holiness of God in mind. The word boldness means literally, “the absence of fear in speaking”, and reminds us that we have the opportunity of speaking in the presence of God. Aaron was not given anything to say in the presence of God, and when his sons sinned he held his peace, Leviticus10:3. Zecharias, also, was struck dumb for not believing the testimony of the angel, Luke 1:20-22, but Christian priests may offer the sacrifice of praise, the fruit of our lips, 13:15.
By the blood of Jesus- in 9:12, Christ enters through or by means of His own blood, for His blood shed on earth is the means by which He enters heaven as the believer’ representative. Here, however, the preposition is “in”, telling of the character of our entry; it is solely because of what the man Jesus means to God, and therefore what His blood means to God, that we enter His presence. We cannot enter because of what we are, but we may enter because of what and who He is..

10:20 By a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh;

By a new- the way is new because it has never been trodden before. Aaron, as he entered into the Holiest of All, could not go by a direct route, but had to move aside the edge of the vail and enter that way, leaving the veil intact as he retreated outside again. Believers, however, have a straight path into God’s presence, for there is no literal veil there to move aside. this enterance is not, indeed, into an earthly sanctuary but the heavenly. The way into that Holiest of all places is now made manifest, as before it was not, 9:8. The word new literally means “newly slain”, and reminds us of the cost of our privilege of entering, and also the fact that the work which made it possible is ever fresh in the memory of God and His people.
And living way- if the way is new because it is newly slain, the way is living because the one who died is risen and ascended. He declared to His own that He would ascend to His Father and their Father, and His God and their God, John 20:17, so He by His ascension leads us to the Living God by what He is in Himself, the way to the Father, John 14:6.
Which He hath consecrated for us- there are two thoughts in the word consecrated, namely, inaugurate and dedicate. He inaugurates by entering in before us, the forerunner into that which is within the veil, 6:19,20, the veil in question there being the veil of the created heavens. But He dedicates also, His blood ensuring that our entry into the presence of God is without peril. Aaron was forbidden to enter the presence of God without blood, Hebrews 9:7, and we cannot enter either except by the virtue of the blood of Jesus, which calls for mercy to be shown to us despite our shortcomings, 12:24.
Through the veil, that is to say, His flesh- the writer now gives to us the meaning of the veil which hung across the path of the Old Testament priest. It was the flesh of Christ, by which is meant His life on earth in flesh and blood conditions. (We have no difficulty with the idea that the tabernacle in the wilderness is a figure of Christ, on the basis of John 1:14, “the word…tabernacled among us”, so we should have no difficulty with the idea that the veil represents all that He was in the flesh). All the while He had not come, there was a barrier, but once He had lived, and then given up Himself in death, then the way was opened. Significantly, when the Lord Jesus dismissed His spirit, and died, (for the body without the spirit is dead, James 2:25) the veil in the temple was rent in twain. This was a sign of heaven’s response to the giving up of the life of Christ. Now that He has returned to heaven, He Himself, considered as the one who lived and died upon the earth, is the means by which we enter into God’s presence. There is now no barrier, for what was a barrier before, is transformed into a means of access. Hence we are said to enter through the vail, and not within the vail. “Within the vail” is an Old Testament expression, speaking of a situation that prevailed then, but which does not prevail now.

(b) Verses 21,22   Drawing near with assurance

10:21 And having an high priest over the house of God;

And having an high priest over the house of God- this is further encouragement to draw near, for we have one who is for us at the right hand of God. He is Son over God’s house, 3:6, and as such is faithful to God and to us; so we have nothing to fear as we enter. His greatness is not calculated to deter us, but rather to attract us and assure us.

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.

Let us draw near- the epistle may be said to consist of expositions of truth, examinations of the heart, and exhortations to progress.
With a true heart- a heart free from longing after the past things of Judaism, and loyal to Christ, being controlled by the truth.
In full assurance of faith- the full assurance that faith gives, for it lays hold of unseen things and counts them as real and true, see 11:1. The Hebrews might have misgivings about leaving the visible temple behind, and walking by faith, but they are encouraged by the writer so to do.
Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience- when the priests were consecrated, they were first washed with water at the laver, and then the blood of sacrifice was sprinkled upon them. Here the order is reversed, for approach to God is the subject in hand. When the priests subsequently drew near to God, they first of all passed the altar where the blood had been shed at their consecration ceremony, then passed the laver where they had been washed all over. Thus each time they approached God they were reminded that they could only do so on the basis of the blood and the water. The work of Calvary, which cleansed us from sin and defilement should be on our minds too as we draw near to worship God. As those who do thus draw nigh to God, we have the assurance in our hearts that the sins which gave us an evil conscience have been fully dealt with, and God remembers them no more.
And our bodies washed with pure water- just as “heart” and “sprinkled” are figurative terms, to be interpreted in the light of the Old Testament rituals on which they are based, so it is with “bodies” and “washed”. There is no literal pure water for us to wash in, but there is the initial washing of regeneration of which Titus 3:5 speaks, by which the defilement of earthly associations (that which we come into contact with through being in the body) is dealt with completely. “He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit”, John 13:10.

(c) Verses 23-25 Drawing near to the day of His coming

10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised;)

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering- there were some amongst the Hebrews who were not fully convinced that the things of Judaism were wholly gone. They had made a profession of allegiance to Christ, but the former things still had an attraction for them. It is these that are especially exhorted to hold fast the profession of faith in Christ they had made, and not hesitate as to whether they should fully give up Judaism.
(for He is faithful that promised;)- they can count on the one who makes promises in the epistle, for He has shown Himself to be faithful to God in all His ways, and He will not let them down.

10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works- priesthood is not just Godward, but manward as well. Levi gained the priesthood by slaying his brethren, Exodus 32:25-29; Deuteronomy 33:8-11, but the Christian priesthood should take character from Him who portrayed Himself as a Good Samaritan, ministering to the needs of the helpless, even when priests and Levites of the law passed by on the other side, Luke10:30-37. We often overlook the closing words of the story, which are, “Go, and do thou likewise”. We should not only do good works ourselves, but encourage others in the same. Salvation is “not of works”, but it is “unto good works”, Ephesians 2:10. The apostle Paul knew that the Thessalonians were elect, not because they said they believed what he had preached to them, but because they were engaged in works of faith, 1 Thessalonians 1:3,4. By this means, James tells us, faith is made perfect as far as demonstrating its existence is concerned, James 2:22.

10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is- what anxiety must have filled the hearts of the men of Israel as they waited for their high priest to come back out of the tabernacle on the day of atonement. If he did not emerge, it meant that he had transgressed some part of God’s law regarding the ritual, or perhaps had offered the blood of an animal that was not perfect. If he died, then all was lost, for he was their representative. Believers of this age have no such fears, however, for their representative fully dealt with sins before He passed into the heavens. We do not wait to see whether His work has been successful, for we have the word of God on the matter already. We wait for Him to come out of heaven to receive us to Himself, and all who love His appearing are looking for Him expectantly. Those who are not waiting expectantly for Him, or who default in the matter of assembling together with fellow-believers, run the risk of being thought of as having no interest in Christ or His work. There were those amongst the Hebrews like this, and instead of waiting for the appearance of an unseen Christ, they were in danger of reverting to the visible things of the temple. They were attracted more to the crowds in the temple courts than they were to the saints in the local assembly.
But exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching- we should do what the writer does in this epistle, exhort and stimulate one another, so that those who waver may be brought into full blessing. This is all the more important as the day of Christ’s appearing draws nearer, for He said Himself that in the last days, because lawlessness would abound, the love of many would wax cold, Matthew 24:12. Malachi spoke of the days before Messiah was born, and said, “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name. And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels”. So there is not only remembrance of the works of those who fear God, Hebrews 6:10, but remembrance also of their words. This should make us very careful when we speak to one another, and we should ensure we speak to encourage, not despise or destroy.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS CHAPTER 10, VERSES 26 TO 31:

10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

10:27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

10:28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

10:29 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?

10:30 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.

10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Section 3 Verses 26-31 Unbeliever looking back

Structure of section 3

(a)  Verses 26,27 Warning of judgement for wilful sin
(b) Verses 28,29 Witness of men and of the Godhead
(c) Verses 30,31 Witness of the Scriptures

(a) Verses 26,27 Warning of judgement for wilful sin

10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

We now come to the fourth warning passage in the epistle. These warnings come after the setting out of great truths concerning the Lord Jesus, and show the wickedness of turning from Him in all His glory.

The first was in chapter 2, after the statements about the Deity of Christ and His glorious reign in a day to come. That passage was based on the giving of the law at Sinai.

The second warning passage was in chapter 3, after the glories of the manhood of the Lord Jesus had been set out in chapter 2. There the wilderness wandering provides the example the writer needs to warn his readers.

The third comes in chapter 6, where the warning comes after the announcement that Christ is priest after the order of Melchizedec, and is based on the situation when Israel reached the land of promise.

Now we have the fourth warning, after almost three chapters that have dealt with the wonder of the sacrifice and ministry of the Lord Jesus. This warning is based on an event which happened during the wilderness journey, but was given in the context of commandments for when they had arrived in the land, Numbers 15:1,2, 32-36. A man was found gathering sticks on the Sabbath day, and was stoned to death after Moses had ruled on the matter. This severe punishment becomes an object lesson for the Hebrews who received this letter. The warning comes to the Hebrews just before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, just as Habukkuk warned the people just before the destruction of Jerusalem in 606 BC.

For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth- to sin wilfully is to sin knowing fully that the act is contrary to the will of God. The knowledge of the truth has been given by God to the nation, (hence the “us”), and the will of some in Israel was going against it flagrantly.
There remaineth no more sacrifice for sinsto reject Christ is to reject the only valid and available sin-offering. His sacrifice has displaced the old animal sacrifices. He has taken away the first (system of sacrifices), and established the second (His own sacrifice), verse 9. And it is by this sacrifice that a man is made perfect and sanctified, if he is made perfect and sanctified at all. This is not to say that those who currently were rejecting Christ were beyond the reach of Christ’s sacrifice. Rather, it is that if they put themselves in a position of rejecting His sacrifice, there is none other left to them.

10:27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation- one of the main features of the sin-offering was that it was burnt up by the fire of God’s anger against sin. If they reject this, the Hebrews will expose themselves to that fire and anger. This is a fearful thing, for verse 31 will tell us that, and 12:29 will warn that God is a consuming fire. He either consumes the sin-offering, or He consumes the sinner.
Which shall devour the adversaries- this shows that it is possible for some in the nation to be classed as the enemies of God. The Lord Jesus indicated this when He spoke the Parable of the Pounds, Matthew 19:11-27. There were two elements to the parable. There were the citizens who hated the nobleman, and sent a message saying they would not accept His rule. Then there were the servants of the nobleman, with their varying degrees of diligence. The citizens who hated the nobleman are called his enemies, and were slain. They represent the unbelieving part of the nation, who, after the Lord Jesus had gone back to heaven, sent a message after Him, in the form of the stoning of Stephen, to indicate clearly that they would not accept His rule. The idea, as made known by Stephen, that Jesus was standing at the right hand of God, was too much for them, and they expressed their anger by stoning Stephen.

(b) Verses 28,29 Witness of men and of the Godhead

10:28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

He that despised Moses’ law- this is what the man who gathered sticks on the Sabbath day had done, Numbers 15:32-36. It was very clear that working on the sabbath was forbidden, yet he wilfully transgressed the law of God. Even if he had forgotten what day it was, the fact that no manna had fallen that day should have alerted him, for no manna fell on the sabbath, and as he bent down to pick up sticks this should have dawned on him.
By gathering sticks he despised the law given through Moses. We might think this to be a trivial offence, but it was a flagrant disregard of a very simple and easily-understood command from God. It constituted an act of rebellion. The very next chapter, Numbers 16, records the serious rebellion of Korah and his company. We might have thought that this would provide the illustration of wilful sin. But our writer chooses, by the Spirit, the apparently small matter of gathering sticks on the Sabbath day, in order to highlight the seriousness of any wilful sin. Coupled with this, the Sabbath was a sign to Israel throughout the centuries that God was determined to have His Sabbath rest in the kingdom of the Messiah. Chapter 4 has referred to this. The man who gathered sticks is not only spoiling his rest, but God’s rest, too, and spoiling also the image of a future glorious kingdom.
Died without mercy under two or three witnesses- once it was firmly established through adequate witness that the man was guilty, he was stoned to death with no possibility of reprieve. Such is the firmness and rigour of the Law.

10:29 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?

Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy- notice the line of argument here. It is not, “Under law the penalty was harsh, but under grace the penalty is borne by another”. That is the truth of the gospel, but is not the point here. The argument is, “If the penalty for gathering sticks was severe, how much more severe shall the penalty for hanging the Son of God on a stake be”. The Hebrews are invited to give an answer to this question, for the writer says, “Of how much…suppose ye”. The priests had declared at the trial of Christ that he was “worthy of death”. Now their words are coming back to haunt them. Just as “His blood be on us, and on our children”, is about to come back on their own heads in AD 70, with the destruction of Jerusalem and the crucifixion of thousands of Jews outside the city walls. The severity of the punishment is in direct proportion to the severity of the rebellion. To be stoned involved temporary pain; to be judged of God for rejecting Christ is to endure eternal pain.
Who hath trodden under foot the Son of God- notice that the three Persons of the Godhead are spoken of here, and they provide infallible witness to the seriousness of the sin. The man gathering sticks had human witnesses, the nation has Divine witnesses. This is necessary given the eternal character of the punishment, which shall be for ever and ever. The Lord spoke of salt that had lost its savour as being good for nothing, and trodden underfoot of men”, Matthew 5:13. He used the same word as here. The majority of the nation had thought of Christ as good for nothing, and had trodden Him underfoot in contempt and cruelty. As Isaiah had prophesied, they despised and rejected Him.
And hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing- by thus dealing with Christ, they reckoned the covenant that God had entered into, (as recorded in Exodus 24, separating them unto Himself), an unholy thing; in other words, they were not interested in the holiness and separation it spoke of. There is such as thing as the holiness of association. The sabbath day is not any different to the other days of the week, but it is set apart by God for Israel to observe. The mount on which the Lord Jesus was transfigured was an ordinary mountain, it had no special holiness of itself, but when Christ was transfigured there it became, as Peter says, “the holy mount”, because it was associated with the holiness of Christ. It was not holy before, it is not holy now, but it was holy during that event. So the first covenant had separated the nation for God by the holiness of association. It did not mean that every individual in the nation was personally holy. They thus have God the Father as witness against them, as well as the Son of God they have trampled under foot.
And hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?- now the other member of the Godhead bears witness to the treatment received at their hand. Their treatment of the apostles, and their stoning of Stephen, were potent testimony to their rejection of Divine persons and things. Stephens words were, “Ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye”, Acts 7:51. He went on to charge them with the murder of the Just One, Christ their Messiah, and his final accusation was that they had not kept the law. So the three things mentioned here, the reaction of Christ, the resisting of the Holy Spirit, and the devaluing of the covenant, were mentioned by Stephen.

(c) Verses 30,31 Witness of the Scriptures

10:30 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.

For we know Him that hath said- as a nation they were familiar with the dealings of God with men in Old Testament times; they had no excuse for thinking He would overlook sin and rebellion, especially on the part of those who claimed to be His people. They not only knew about God, but they were in national relationship with Him, so that He Himself said, “You, only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities”, Amos 3:2.
Vengeance belongeth unto Me, I will recompence, saith the Lord- this is a quotation from Deuteronomy 32:35. That chapter consists of the Song of Moses, which he taught them just before he died. They were to recite it to one another constantly, and to remember its words especially when they were far away from God in idolatry and sin. The actual words were spoken concerning the Gentiles who took Israel into captivity, and yet they are applied here to the nation of Israel. No greater condemnation could be made against the nation than that they were deserving of the same judgement as the Gentiles. They thought they would never suffer vengeance from God, but they were wrong. They had rebelled against Him so severely by crucifying Christ that He is compelled to judge them. Those who refused to come to the wedding feast have their city destroyed by “God’s army”, the Romans, Matthew 22:7.
And again, The Lord shall judge His people- the warning is directly to Israel now, in this second quotation from the Song of Moses. The fact that they were His people did not exempt them from judgement. Perhaps they had forgotten that truth. So taken up with their specialness before God, they became careless and indifferent.

10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

It is a fearful thing- verse 27 warns unbelievers of “a fearful looking for of judgement”, and verse 30 has used the words “vengeance”, “recompence”, and “judge”. Just because we live in the age of grace does not mean that God has changed in character. He is still as stern against sin as He ever was, for He changes not. What does change is His mode of dealing with men. But grace despised is worse than law despised, for grace involves a reaction to God’s Son.
To fall into the hands of the living God- God is energetic to pursue and judge men. We find mention of God as the Living God four times in this epistle. In chapter 3:17,12 we read of those whose carcases fell in the desert because they departed from the living God; they clearly did not possess life from Him. They were spiritually dead and then they were physically dead. Normally a person dies and his body becomes a carcase in death. With these the order is reversed, for they were dead before they died. In 9:14 the blood of Christ purges the conscience from dead works to serve the living God. The dead works of Judaism are no vehicle for the service of a God who is living. In 12:22 Christians are said to have come to the city of the living God, in contrast to Israel who came to mount Sinai, where 3000 of them died, Exodus 32:28. The law worketh death, but believers are citizens of a city that the Living God has built.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS CHAPTER 10, VERSES 32 TO 39:

10:32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;

10:33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.

10:34 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.

10:35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.

10:36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

10:37 For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him.

10:39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

Section 4 Verses 32-39 Believer pressing on

Structure of Section 4

(a) Verses 32-34 Endurance in the light of the past
(b) Verses 37-39 Patience in the light of the future

(a) Verses 32-34 Endurance in the light of the past

10:32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;

But call to remembrance the former days- the writer is able to point those of his readers who were true believers to the way in which coming to know Christ affected them. They had been changed in their outlook completely. The fact that he refers to former days might suggest that they had wavered in their faith, so he is seeking to recover them to full allegiance to Christ.
In which, after ye were illuminated- this is the same word as was used in 6:4, where it is translated “enlightened”. We saw in that chapter that it referred to those who had followed John the Baptist and had rejoiced in the light he brought. Some had not gone on to perfection, however, but it is evident that the ones referred to in this chapter 10 had done so, for it resulted in a change of life. It was now the light of the glory of Christ their Messiah that shined upon them, and this encouraged them to suffer with Him, for they knew they would share His glory.
Ye endured a great fight of afflictions- the afflictions are detailed in the next two verses, but here they are described as a fight, for the world, and in particular, their fellow-Jews, were now at war with them. The hatred of the world is always directed towards those who side with Christ, for it is the only way that sinners can get at Christ now that He is gone back to heaven.

10:33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.

Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions- their sufferings were two-fold; what they endured themselves, and what their fellow-believers suffered. The word “gazingstock” is the Greek word “theatre”, the stadium where the Games took place, and oftentimes where Christians were thrown to the lions. The whole world is a theatre in this verse, and the believers were the spectacle put on by unbelievers for their amusement. The suffering took the form of verbal abuse, “reproaches”, and violent abuse, “afflictions”. The Lord Jesus told His own, “If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you”, John 15:20. Not only did Saul throw a javelin at David out of jealousy, but also at Jonathan when he sided with David, 1 Samuel 18:11; 20:33. These afflicted ones will be encouraged further in chapter 11:32-38 with the thought that men and women of faith in olden times suffered afflictions too.
And partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used- not only did they suffer personally, but they suffered sympathetically, as they saw fellow-believers being badly treated. They were like Moses, who chose to suffer affliction with the people of God, 11:25.

10:34 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.

For ye had compassion of me in my bonds- some see in this phrase proof that the apostle Paul is the writer of the epistle. But we learn in 13:23 that Timothy had a period in prison too, so those other than Paul were imprisoned for their faith in those times. That is not to say that Timothy wrote this epistle. Clearly not, because the writer is speaking of someone other than himself in 13:23. The point is that they expressed their love to the writer in his imprisonment in practical ways. In those days many prisoners were only kept from starvation by the kindness of their friends as they brought them food.
And took joyfully the spoiling of your goods- to become a Christian was particularly dangerous if you were a Jew, for it meant expulsion from the synagogue in many cases, (see John 9:34; 12:42; 16:2), and this, in turn, meant being cut off from society and means of living. This was not all, however, for here we are told they had their goods spoiled by their tormentors. It is testimony to the genuineness of their faith however, that they took this treatment joyfully. The apostle Paul wrote, “we glory in tribulations also”, Romans 5:3, for it is the evidence of the reality of faith in Christ. They had no thought of revenge, but no doubt prayed for their enemies, as the Lord Jesus did on the cross.
Knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance- the words of the Lord Jesus were, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you”, Matthew 5:11,12. These words were the primarily reason why they knew they had an enduring substance in heaven, for the very words of Christ Himself assured them it was so. The reward in heaven was better, for it would be for faithfulness to Christ, whereas what they had built up by way of possessions on earth was the result of their own effort. The reward was enduring, too, as opposed to the things of earth that pass away at the dissolution of all things.

10:35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.

Cast not away therefore your confidence- they had let go of their goods, they should not let go of their confidence in God.
Which hath great recompence of reward- these are the words used in connection with Moses in 11:26 when he let go the glories of the palace for the sufferings of the wilderness. He moved on to a better land than Egypt could ever be, and so do all believers. The Hebrew Christians needed to be reminded that to give up the seen things of Judaism for the unseen things of Christianity was no mistake. Chapter 11 will enforce that important lesson.

10:36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

For ye have need of patience- the word is endurance, the ability to carry on with God despite the outward circumstances.
That, after ye have done the will of God- so suffering and affliction is part of the will of God. He has not lost control of the situation, but has ordained that His people should “through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God”, Acts 14:22. The chapter opened with the Lord Jesus saying, “I come to do Thy will”, and He did complete what His Father had for Him, even though it meant the cross. This is the example and the encouragement given to those who suffer.
Ye might receive the promise- these words are used in two senses in the epistle. So chapter 11:17 will describe Abraham as “he that had received the promises”. But verse 13 of that same chapter says that Abraham died, “not having received the promises”. To receive the promises in one sense is to hear and receive what God says initially by way of promise, but the other sense is to receive the fulfillment of the promises. The Hebrew Christians are being exhorted as those who have received promises from God, to press on until they gain the fulfillment.

(b) Verses 37-39 Patience in the light of the future

10:37 For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

For yet a little while- we now have an allusion to the words of the prophet Habukkuk. He prophesied about twenty years before the Babylonians took Judah into captivity. The prophet was concerned about conditions in Israel, and enquired of the Lord what He intended to do about it. The answer was two-fold. In the immediate future He would send the Chaldeans, (another name for Babylonians), and punish the nation for their wickedness. He is then assured by God that in the distant future the Messiah will come to judge and set up a righteous kingdom. To encourage him, God gave to Habakkuk a vision of that coming, which the prophet records in his last chapter. He is warned, however, that although the coming is certain, the vision, (meaning the fulfillment of the vision), is for the appointed time, namely, the time of God’s choosing. The Lord Jesus told His disciples that the timing of the setting up of His kingdom is in the Father’s power to decide, Acts 1:7. Then Habukkuk is told that at “the end”, meaning the end of man’s rule upon earth, the vision shall speak. Compare Daniel 8:17. Because the vision is about Messiah, the vision speaking is equivalent to Messiah speaking. And this indeed He will do, for He shall come forth from heaven and “smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked”, Isaiah 11:4. See also 2 Thessalonians 2:8 and Revelation 19:15.
As far as the expression “for yet a little while” is concerned, this is said to believers, and they know that God reckons time in a different way to us, and a long time to us is a little time to Him, as Peter makes clear, “for one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day”, 2 Peter 3:8. The Lord Jesus spoke of His three and a half year’s ministry as “a long time”, John 14:9, so Philip learnt to count time in a different way. Because the coming of the Lord is imminent at any time, then the interval between now and it happening is just a short while to faith. As the next chapter will show, faith brings the future into the soul.
And He that shall come will come, and will not tarry- the readers have already been told about the day that is approaching, and now the one who will come in that day is in view. It is no vision that will come, but Christ Himself, “He that shall come”, which is almost the equivalent to a title. Whereas the vision that Habukkuk saw would tarry, or be delayed in its fulfillment, and two and a half millenia have gone by since he received it, the one who is the subject of the vision will not tarry, but will come quickly. The New Testament opens with a priest tarrying, so that the people wondered what had caused the delay, Luke 1:21, but our High Priest will come out of the heavenly sanctuary without any delay. A man may be waiting on the platform for the last train of the day to arrive. He would think of it as the late train. He then might enquire of the porter if the train was on schedule, and be told it was. So when the late train arrived, it was not late. So with the coming of Christ. It is at the last moment, but He will not be delayed, and therefore be late. He will come on time at the last time.

10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him.

Now the just shall live by faith- the allusion to Habakkuk continues, for the prophet envisages two sorts of people in relation to the coming of Messiah. Those who live by faith, patiently waiting for Him to come, and those who are lifted up in pride, confident that He will not come to judge them. The word faith does not occur many times in the Old Testament, even though there were many believers. The phrase is used here to encourage a life of faith; in Romans 1:17 to establish that faith is the principle upon which God justifies men; in Galatians 3:11 to establish the principle that it is faith and not works that result in a man being justified.

Habukkuk is a great example of the just living by faith, for his closing words tell us that:

“Although the fig tree shall not blossom,

Neither shall fruit be in the vines;

The labour of the olive shall fail,

And the fields shall yield no meat;

The flock shall be cut off from the fold,

And there shall be no herd in the stalls:

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

I will joy in the God of my salvation”,

Habukkuk 3:17,18.

But if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him- in contrast to those who persevere in faith, there are those who draw back when told of the coming of Christ. They have no interest in Him coming, and are content with things as they are. With such people God is displeased, for they reject His Son, and the wrath of God rests on those who do this, John 3:36. The same words “no pleasure” are used of these people as are used by God about Old Testament sacrifices in verse 8, for these unbelievers were in danger of reverting to the practice of laying hands on sacrifices with which God had no pleasure. “Draw back” for these Hebrews meant going back to Judaism.

10:39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition- the writer disassociates himself from those who draw back, and gives the end result of their drawing back, for they will draw back to perdition. Like Judas, the arch-apostate himself, who is called “son of perdition”, they will find themselves in the place of loss and misery for all eternity.
But of them that believe to the saving of the soul- if unbelief results in perdition, then faith results in salvation, not just in terms of being in heaven for all eternity, but also being preserved from the pitfalls that lie along the pilgrim journey. The next chapter will give many examples of those who were thus saved by their faith.