Hebrews Chapter 10
Hebrews 10:1 MKJV For the Law which has a shadow of good things to come, not the very image of the things, appearing year by year with the same sacrifices, which they offer continually, they are never able to perfect those
While Hebrews 9 touches strongly on the sin-offering, its primary function was to show how the tabernacle would have its antitype. Chapter 10, however, has a strong focus on Jesus and his body as the sin offering which must precede the New Covenant.
The idea that the Old Covenant (the law) is a mere shadow of the substance that is the New Covenant is also communicated in Col_2:17 and Heb_8:5. Shadow means that the law communicated the outline and the figure of the fulfillment in Jesus, but was not the very image of the things.
Shadow isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes a shadow can tell you a lot. But the shadow is not the substance. The Old Covenant and its law were not themselves bad or evil, they are only incomplete and insufficient to bring total cleansing from sin, and to save. The shadow . . . can never . . . make those who approach perfect. Just as a literal shadow cannot show the detail of that which casts it, neither can the Law services adequately picture what we want to know of our Lord and ourselves as pictured in it.
Hebrews 10:2 MKJV For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because the worshipers, when they had been once for all purged, would have had no more conscience of sin.
Hebrews 10:3 MKJV But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again of sins every year.
The point is clear. If sacrifices really worked, they would not have to be repeated. Paul is yet focusing on the priesthood—“the worshippers.” This is important. While the sacrifices ultimately are for the people, the RESULTS never will reach the people until the “worshippers” (the priesthood) have successfully given a sacrifice WHICH WORKS! But the Jewish priesthood’s “conscience” knew very well that these sacrifices did not really work! So, they kept offering them “continually” in hopes that they somehow would eventually work—not knowing (9:8) that the sacrifices they were offering were only TYPICAL of those which would truly satisfy “the Most Holy.”
WE do know this. We know that no more sacrifice is needed—only the completion of that which already has been offered (Jordan and Pentecost).
But the Jewish priests did not know this. They knew only, year after year, that they were being reminded that the problems were not yet solved.
Hebrews 10:4 MKJV 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 goats could take away sins: Animal sacrifice under the Old Covenant could cover sin. The Hebrew word for atonement is kophar, which literally means “to cover.” But animal sacrifice could never take away sins. Only Jesus, the Perfect Sacrifice of the New Covenant, takes sins away.
Of bulls and of goats -- Or angels or archangels. Neither a higher nor a lower order of beings could redeem. It required a man to redeem mankind, because bulls and goats had not sinned, but a man had sinned, therefore a man must die.
Hebrews 10:5 MKJV Therefore when He comes into the world, He says, "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but You have prepared a body for Me.
This whole section begins with THEREFORE—because blood from bulls and goats (10:4) won’t work, something else has been provided. The content of these next few verses is exciting and inspiring and humbling beyond words. As we carefully consider their impact, we will learn more about the 40th Psalm, about Jesus’ sacrifice, and about the unspeakable privilege we have been given. These verses deserve and demand careful and prayerful scrutiny. Their lessons can do no less than heighten our consecration concepts and vows.
THEREFORE: This common word takes on immense import in this context. Paul is holding us in suspense as he ends verse 4. To paraphrase: The Jewish atonement sacrifices don’t work.
Now, where does that leave us?
Sacrifice and offering You did not desire: More animal sacrifices, made under the law, would not please God.
But a body You have prepared for Me: His body was specially prepared, separate and different from others of our race, all of whom were of Adamic stock. Actually, physically perfect and corresponding to the body of Adam. The taking of a human body was not the sacrifice, but merely the preparation for it.
Hebrews 10:6 MKJV In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have had no pleasure.
Hast had no pleasure -- Did not satisfy or please God in making satisfaction for sin.
Hebrews 10:7 MKJV Then I said, Lo, I come (in the volume of the Book it is written of Me) to do Your will, O God."
The sixth verse repeats the reasoning of the first part of verse 5; the seventh verse repeats in alternate terms the commitment of verse 5. It almost is saying, “In case you missed the symbolism of verse 5, I will state it clearly in verse 7.”
Behold, I have come . . . to do Your will, O God: Jesus’ submission to God’s the Father’s will had its ultimate fulfillment in His obedience to the cross. This desire to do God’s will was shown in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luk_22:39-44).
COME TO DO THY WILL: Paraphrasing: “The reason I have come—the ONLY reason I have come with a human body—is to accomplish what THY WILL REALLY IS. It was NOT animal sacrifices. It was human sacrifice. This is the reason I have come.”
IN THE BOOK: This little parenthesis, occurring way back when the Psalm was written, clearly indicates that the pre-Psalm writings prophesy of the sacrifice of Christ. It was done in allegory with Abraham and Isaac. It was done in all sorts of symbols like the clothing for Adam and Eve, the sacrifices of Cain and Abel, the services of the Tabernacle, etc. The important point is: This is not a change of plans on God’s part. The lamb was slain from the foundation of the world. God didn’t suddenly say, “The Law doesn’t work; let’s find another plan.” NO! The true sin offering was ordained from the beginning. Jesus now says, “It’s time for the writing of the Book to be fulfilled. I have come to do it.”
Hebrews 10:8 MKJV Above, when He said, "Sacrifice and offering, and burnt offerings and offering for sin You did not desire, neither did You have pleasure in them" (which are offered according to the Law),
Hebrews 10:9 MKJV then He said, "Lo, I come to do Your will, O God." He takes away the first so that He may establish the second.
Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God: The sacrifice of Jesus was determined before the foundation of the world (1Pe_1:20; Rev_13:8). But it was still an act of His will to submit to the cross at the appointed time and by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ.
i. Our sanctification - our being set apart to God - is founded on the will of Jesus, not our own will. It is founded on the offering of Jesus, not on our own offering or sacrifices for God.
Hebrews 10:10 MKJV By this will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Once for all: These are the important words of this passage, and the writer to the Hebrews repeats the theme over and over again: once for all.
Hebrews 10:11 MKJV And indeed every priest stands daily ministering and offering often the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
Every priest stands ministering daily: The priests had to stand continually in their work. Their work continued daily and sacrifices had to be repeatedly offered. The priests could never sit down! But Jesus sat down at the right hand of God, having finished His work of sacrificing for sin.
Hebrews 10:12 MKJV But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right of God,
The seated posture of Jesus is important. It shows that His work is finished. He doesn’t need to stand ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices as priests under the Old Covenant had to. Jesus still ministers in heaven - He has a ministry of intercession for His people. But that ministry flows from His completed work, so He can adopt a posture of rest - He sat down at the right hand of God.
Hebrews 10:13 MKJV from then on expecting until His enemies are made His footstool.
Henceforth expecting -- He has been waiting for nearly two thousand years, and waits still. Until his church is complete and glorious Kingdom shall be inaugurated for the blessing of all the families of the earth.
Hebrews 10:14 MKJV For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified.
This makes it plain that the work of Jesus is effective only for those who are being sanctified. The work of Jesus is capable of saving every human being, but it is only effective in saving those who are being sanctified (set apart to God). For all that ever will come unto God by Christ--whether they come during this age or during the next age.
That are sanctified -- Fully consecrated to God. Set apart as members of his Body.
Their sins are completely obliterated from divine record--only held accountable for trespasses against their covenant, their vow.
Hebrews 10:15 MKJV The Holy Spirit also is a witness to us; for after He had said before,
The witness of the Holy Spirit here referred to is what is furnished in the Scriptures, and not any witness in ourselves. Paul immediately makes his appeal to a passage of the Old Testament, and he thus shows his firm conviction that the Scriptures were inspired by the Holy Spirit.
The words are quoted from Jer_31:33, Jer_31:34, and here we are assured that Jeremiah spoke by the inspiration of the Spirit of God.
Hebrews 10:16 MKJV "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord; I will put My Laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,"
In the passage quoted from Jeremiah, the writer to the Hebrews makes note of the promises of the new covenant, instituted by the Messiah. The new covenant is new. It comes after those days.
After those days -- After this Gospel age.
I will put My laws into their hearts: The new covenant has to do with an inner transformation. God changes the heart of man, and writes His law into their hearts. Not take away their flesh and make them spiritual beings. But give them a heart of flesh--again as Adam's; an image of God. Sin is now written on the hearts of all humanity.
Hebrews 10:17 MKJV also He adds, "their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more."
The new covenant offers complete forgiveness. The forgiveness is so complete that God can say that doesn’t even remember our sins in light of the new covenant! This will apply not only to natural Israel, but all the families of the earth. The New Covenant is the covenant of the Kingdom Age.
Romans 11:26-27 KJV And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
Hebrews 10:18 MKJV Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
Where sins are really forgiven and forgotten (remission of these), there no longer must be an offering for sin. The remission of sins has not yet come for Israel and the world, because the offering for sins is not completed. Christ is still offering up himself. The great Atonement Day is not yet closed, though nearly so.
In other words: Once the sin offering is complete, it will be possible for the New Covenant to function—but not before! It is this completion for which Jesus sits (vs. 12) and waits in expectation.
Hebrews 10:19 MKJV Therefore, brothers, having boldness to enter into the Holy of Holies by the blood of Jesus,
Now Paul draws us to the application of the doctrine he has just taught.
Having boldness: Access has been given to us for a bold approach to God. The point is simple: we must take advantage of this access, and take it with boldness. On the Day of Atonement, the high priest entered the holiest place of all with fear and trembling, but we can enter the Holiest with boldness.
We can have boldness because we enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus. If we entered as the Old Testament high priest did, with the blood of animals, we wouldn’t have boldness. But with the blood of Jesus providing a new and living way which He consecrated with us, we really can come into the presence of God with boldness.
"No man cometh unto the Father but by me." (Joh_14:6) "Whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name he will give it you." (Joh_16:23)
Entering the Most Holy, i.e., having even the concept that we could be part of the offering for sin, takes CONFIDENCE far beyond what any son of Adam could claim. But Paul says we MUST claim this based on the bullock’s blood. He says, in essence, that if we do not have faith enough to accept this call, we do not believe that the blood of Jesus is capable of cleansing us to make us acceptable.
Hebrews 10:20 MKJV by a new and living way which He has consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, His flesh;
That is, His flesh: The writer to the Hebrews makes an analogy between the veil that stood between God and man and the body of Jesus. Jesus’ body was “torn,” and so was the veil, each indicating that now, we can come to God boldly.
The rending of the veil between the Holy and the Most Holy would seem to teach symbolically that a way into the Holy of Holies had been opened.
By equating the veil into the Most Holy to the flesh of Jesus, and by taking our minds to how that veil was torn at his death, Paul is showing that Jesus DOES open the Most Holy access to us. He is commenting on 9:8 which said that while the typical arrangement still functioned, the concept of our entering the Most Holy was impossible.
Hebrews 10:21 MKJV and having a High Priest over the house of God,
We have a High Priest who presides over the heavenly courts to make certain the believer has total access. The antitypical High Priest--Jesus the Head and the Church his Body. We may by faith realize ourselves as underpriests, members of the High Priest's body, joint-sacrificers with him and under his ministration.
It is clear that we do not enter the offering by ourselves by individual initiative. We enter by being a part of the High Priest. Remember in Leviticus 16 (and Hebrews 9:7) that when the bullock was offered, it was “for Aaron and his house.” It cleansed his own body (the “body” of Christ) and his house, the Levites—those without an inheritance in the land who would fall short of the priesthood.
Hebrews 10:22 MKJV let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies having been washed with pure water.
With the perfect cleansing available to us, cleansing both the inner man (hearts sprinkled) and the outer man (bodies washed) we can draw near to God in a way never available to someone under the Old Covenant. The work of Jesus makes us able to draw near in a full assurance of faith. This invitation is not addressed to sinners, but to those who have already believed unto justification. Those born in a measure of justification, have had a measure of fellowship with God always, as children of believers, and are in a favorable condition to be drawn of God. The full attainment of our privilege of drawing near to God will not be reached until we shall have passed the second veil through death.
So, several issues have been settled. The problem of access to God has been settled. The problem of a perfect High Priest has been settled. The problem of moral and spiritual pollution has been settled. So now, let us draw near!
They may have thought that they had many, many problems - persecution, difficult relationships, hard times with culture or economy. But the real problem was their relationship with God wasn’t on track. They didn’t draw near to God on the basis of what Jesus had done.
a. Are you in a tough time? Many people have gone through worse times and have had a better attitude, and more joy, than you do now. What is the difference? They knew how to draw near!
b. Just as importantly, they are reminded that they will never regain that intimacy coming through the institutions of the Old Covenant.
With a true heart -- Honesty of heart. Not double-minded. The desire to draw nearer and nearer to God must be in our hearts; else we shall fail to go on and attain our privileges in Christ.
Are you as close to the Lord as you should be?
What is holding you back? Heart? Faith? Conscience?
Hebrews 10:23 MKJV Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering (for He is faithful who promised),
Discouragement made them waver from the truth. A renewed confidence in the greatness of Jesus and in the future New Covenant will make them stand strong in the faith. The reason we can stand strong is because He who promised is faithful. It is far better to trust in His faithfulness instead of ours!
Russell: We should scrutinize our hearts day by day to make sure we are still loyal to the Lord. Unless we do hold fast to our faith we shall lose everything. Hold the glorious truth not only in the letter, but also in the spirit; in the love of it.
The profession -- The Lord will not consider that we have a proper faith or hope unless we confess it. We confess the Lord with our mouth.
ERV We must hold on to the hope we have, never hesitating to tell people about it. We can trust God to do what he promised.
(GW) We must continue to hold firmly to our declaration of faith. The one who made the promise is faithful.
Pulpit: The duty of public confession. (Heb_7:23) It is not enough that we cherish deep religious convictions, and that we maintain a constant commerce with God in acts of secret prayer. We must acknowledge our Christian hope before men—with our lips and by our lives, and in the observance of the public ordinances of grace. We must not he ashamed to manifest profound spiritual earnestness, even in the presence of a persecuting world. To confess our hope will strengthen it. To refuse to acknowledge Christ is to deny him. And our confession ought to be a consistent "Yea." We are unfaithful if we allow it to sway to and fro, even although it should expose us to obloquy and danger. Seeing that our hope is grounded upon the sure promises of our Father God, why should not our acknowledgment of the truth he always explicit and consistent?
Are you professing our faith?
Are you wavering?
Hebrews 10:24 MKJV and let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works,
And let us consider one another - Let us so regard the welfare of others as to endeavor to excite them to persevere in the Christian life. The idea is, that much might be done, in securing perseverance and fidelity, by mutual kind exhortation. They were not to be selfish; they were not to regard their own interests only (notes, Php_2:4); they were to have a kind sympathy in the concerns of each other. They had, as Christians have now, the same duties to perform, and the same trials to meet, and they should strengthen each other in their trials and encourage them in their work.
To provoke unto love - We use the word “provoke” now in a somewhat different sense, as meaning to offend, to irritate, to incense; but its original meaning is to “arouse, to excite, to call into action,” and it is used in this sense here. The Greek is, literally, “unto a paroxysm of love” - the word “paroxysm” meaning “excitement or impulse,” and the idea is, that they were to endeavor to arouse or excite each other to the manifestation of love. The word is what properly expresses excitement, and means that Christians should endeavor to excite each other. Men are sometimes afraid of excitement in religion. But there is no danger that Christians will ever be excited to love each other too much, or to perform too many good works.
Are you encouraging your brethren to love and good works?
If you are not going to church, is it possible to encourage your brethren to anything?
Hebrews 10:25 MKJV not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
(ERV) We must not quit meeting together, as some are doing. No, we need to keep on encouraging each other. This becomes more and more important as you see the Day getting closer.
Forsaking fellowship is a sure way to give place to discouragement. This discouragement festers where God’s people are not exhorting one another.
Many people go to church if they feel they “need it” at the time. But our motivation for fellowship must be to obey God and to give to others. We can go to church looking to encourage someone who needs to hang in there against a tide of discouragement.
None of us is so strong in the new nature that he can disregard the fellowship of kindred minds. Of Christ it was said, "As his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath Day." (Luk_4:16) We are more or less like coals of fire, which, if separated, will tend to cool rapidly, but which, if brought together, will tend to increase in fervency the whole mass. Our Lord encouraged his people to seek each other's fellowship for companionship in the study of his Word, and in prayer, pronouncing special blessings upon the meeting, even if only two or three.
So much the more as you see the Day approaching: As the Day of Jesus’ return draws nearer, we should be more committed to the fellowship of God’s people, the assembling of ourselves together.
We need a counteracting influence to off-set the increasing influence of the world and its affairs upon us, and this is to be sought by communing with the Lord's people. The Lord foresaw these perilous times, and knew how much more than ever we should need each other's sympathy, encouragement and help.
Are you not going to Church or Bible Study?
Hebrews 10:26 MKJV For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins,
To sin willfully is defined in Heb_10:29. It speaks of someone who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace. It is a knowing, deliberate rejection of Jesus’ great work for us on the cross.
Sin willfully: In a sense, every sin is a “willful sin” to some degree. But here, the writer to the Hebrews speaks of something much more severe and relevant to these discouraged Jewish Christians who contemplated a retreat from a distinctive Christianity and a return to Judaism with its sacrificial system. This is turning your back on Jesus.
There no longer remains a sacrifice for sins: If Jesus’ sacrifice for sin is rejected, after we have consecrated and been washed by his blood, there remains no other sacrifice that can cleanse. The imputation of Christ's merit will not be repeated to any.
"It is impossible to renew them again to repentance." (Heb_6:4,6)
"Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more." (Rom_6:9)
The blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven unto men. (Mat_12:31)
"There is a sin unto death." (1Jo_5:16)
The Apostle is not speaking of sins of ignorance nor of accidental missteps by being overtaken in a fault. If a sin is partially willful, and confessed, it is not a sin unto death, but the measure of willfulness would receive stripes. Very few of the Lord's people reach this point of full, complete, deliberate, intentional sin. In nearly all sin there is room for a measure of divine forgiveness, proportionate to the willingness or weakness.
Take inventory of where you are with the Lord.
Hebrews 10:27 MKJV but a certain fearful looking for judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
Refers to the people of God who realize the fearfulness of the position of those who despise God's favor. Those whose justification had been vitalized, but they had turned back to sin. They cannot be renewed unto repentance. Their hearts have become too hardened.
Fiery indignation -- To go out from under the blood of Jesus, the penalty would be second death--hopeless extinction.
Psalms 145:20 KJV The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.
1 Peter 4:17-18 KJV For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Do you believe that God is going to give you a pass when you disobey?
Do you believe you have a responsibility to obey?
Hebrews 10:28 MKJV He who despised Moses' Law died without mercy on the word of two or three witnesses.
Verses 28 and 29 contrast the penalty for forsaking the true Mediator with the typical penalty under the Law for forsaking the typical Mediator, Moses.
Despised -- Violated.
Died without mercy -- Every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward. Those executed for disobedience to Moses were merely types of those who will suffer second death. In the antitype, the wages of willful conduct would be everlasting, while that in the type was covered by the great sacrifice for sins once for all. They will eventually have an opportunity to receive God's grace in Christ Jesus during the Kingdom.
Under two or three witnesses - That is, when convicted by the testimony of two or three respectable witnesses. See Deu_17:6.
Hebrews 10:29 MKJV Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy of punishment, the one who has trampled the Son of God, and who has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?
If someone does reject Jesus’ sacrifice, fearful judgment is certain, even more certain than it was under the Old Covenant.
a. When we sin willfully by rejecting Jesus’ work on the cross as sufficient, we have:
b. Trampled the Son of God underfoot: We have disgraced Him by rejecting His greatest work. We devalue Him by devaluing what He did. Denying the ransom--the very foundation of all the hopes and blessings seen and experienced. Rejection of the atoning work of Christ.
c. Counted the blood of the covenant . . . a common thing: We have considered that Jesus’ blood was of no greater importance than the countless animals that had been sacrificed under the Old Covenant. Counting the blood of Christ, the death of Christ, as an ordinary death, and not as a special holy sacrifice valid for the cancellation of our sins. No longer count their covenant to be dead with him as a sacred obligation. No longer recognizing Jesus' death as their ransom or covering. Esteeming their own little self-denials equally indispensable to the execution of God's great plan of the ages.
d. Insulted the Spirit of grace: We reject Jesus and His finished work on our behalf. When we reject God’s free gift of grace and seek to be justified by law. Rejecting the only name, the only sacrifice, the only means by which there is forgiveness of sins and fellowship with the Father.
How much sorer -- Severer. Does not signify more painful, but simply severer or more weighty. Second death--Not only lose a few years of his condemned life, but lose his soul, his being, his existence forever, and that without hope of recovery.
Hebrews 10:30 MKJV For we know Him who has said, "Vengeance belongs to Me, I will repay, says the Lord." And again, "The Lord shall judge His people."
For we know -- This is no idle suggestion. God will punish the evil doers, those who forsake the way of the Lord.
Let us not wait for him to judge us personally--let us examine ourselves, and correct whatever we can find to be out of alignment with his instructions to us. If not sufficiently watchful, the Lord will give us some experiences that will be good--if rightly received.
If we were to read verses 26 through 31 we likely would see not much positive. But here, in verse 30, if we take the time to investigate the source of Paul’s quotation (Deuteronomy 32:35, 36), we can learn from it. Paul is quoting from the so-called “Song of Moses”—a judgment message which Moses delivers to the nation of Israel to inculcate sobriety in their dealings with the Lord. Paul quotes the beginning of each of two verses. (The KJV is the least clear. We recommend most other translations.)
Looking at Deuteronomy 32:35, we see a clear condemnation of God’s enemies. But in verse 36 (which Paul ALSO quotes), we see God’s desire to DELIVER His people. This CONTRAST between those two verses is NOT EVIDENT in Hebrews 10:30. But, in the context of Hebrews 10:24-36 it IS EVIDENT that Paul wants to CONTRAST faithfulness to waywardness. (See Deuteronomy 30:15-20 for a wonderful parallelism which forms the context of Paul’s quotation source.) So, in Deuteronomy 32:36, we see God’s intent to VINDICATE His servants, to help them in their weaknesses.
Seeing this information from its source, we can more clearly interpret Paul’s intention. Paraphrasing:
Verse 30 Those who have insulted God’s grace
and have become his enemies (verse 29)
we know have been promised
appropriate payment with a vengeance
Don’t forget, He also said that
those who remain His people will be
vindicated and strengthened.
Do you believe this is true?
How does knowing this verse is truth affect how you live?
Hebrews 10:31 MKJV It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Because God is just, and we are imperfect and could not hope to meet the requirements of the law of absolute justice.
Because every imperfect being, judged by the law of God, would be unworthy of life, condemned to death--second death.
Because of the absolute perfection of God's law, and the fact that his only allowance for imperfection is through Jesus.
Because, if in his hands, though loving, he is just and cannot look upon sin with any degree of allowance.
If in his hands we know that the slightest imperfection must condemn us to death, how graciously, then, has God provided a "cleft rock", a perfect covering for our nakedness, in the person of Jesus our Lord. By coming out from under the covering, ignoring the ransom price, and "counting the blood of the covenant a common thing." (Verse 29) By a willful rejection of the Redeemer's merit. Being out of the hands of mercy, they expose themselves to the second death.
Do you believe in Once in Grace always in Grace?
Hebrews 10:32 MKJV But call to memory the former days, in which (after you were illuminated) you endured a great fight of afflictions,
The Apostle recognized that we might become discouraged with our faults and weaknesses. We need to take encouragement from what we may have endured in the past and continue to wage warfare against the world, the flesh and the devil.
But recall the former days: These Christians had suffered for Jesus, being rejected from their Jewish community, and perhaps being counted as dead. This came after they trusted in Jesus (after you were illuminated).
The persecution came in many different ways, but it was a great struggle with sufferings. They were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations. They were companions of those who were so treated - including the writer to the Hebrews himself (you had compassion on me in chains). They also had faced economic persecution (the plundering of your goods). But the point is that they had faced these things, and had endured them. They could take a look at their past endurance, and be encouraged to keep standing strong in the future.
A great fight -- The early Church did not hide their light because of persecution.
1 Peter 4:12 MKJV Beloved, do not be astonished at the fiery trial which is to try you, as though a strange thing happened to you,
Romans 8:17 MKJV And if we are children, then we are heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ; so that if we suffer with Him, we may also be glorified together.
Hebrews 10:33 MKJV indeed being exposed both by reproaches and afflictions, and while you became companions of those who lived so.
It was not an uncommon thing, however, for the early Christians to be held up to reproach and scorn, and probably this refers to some time when it was done by rulers or magistrates. It was a common custom among the Greeks and Romans to lead criminals, before they were put to death, through the theater, and thus to expose them to the insults and reproaches of the multitude. The “language” here seems to have been taken from this custom, though there is no evidence that the Christians to whom Paul refers had been treated in this manner.
All lovers of righteousness are to have more or less share in experiences of opposition. Some were not able to go out in the midst of the battle as Paul was, but were loyal to the truth and rejoiced in the privilege of being companions. Some suffered with those in affliction in that they had been sympathizers of those who had been persecuted. The Lord recognizes and appreciates this association with those in distress. Each doing to the extent of his opportunity the work of the Lord. If we have the martyr spirit, are loyal, courageous for the Truth, even though we never are counted worthy of open or public opposition or persecution.
That is, even when they had not themselves been subjected to these trials, they had sympathized with those who were. They doubtless imparted to them of their property; sent to them relief, and identified themselves with them. It is not known to what particular occasion the apostle here refers. In the next verse he mentions one instance in which they had done this, in aiding him when he was a prisoner.
Have you been made a “gazingstock” or exposed to persecution because of being a Christian?
If not having the personal experience, are you standing up for your brothers or sisters who are under fire right now?
Hebrews 10:34 MKJV For you both sympathized with my bonds and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that you have in Heaven a better and an enduring substance.
They made it through the time of persecution by keeping a heavenly perspective.
Paul was at one time a prisoner more than two years at Cesarea Act_24:27, and during this time he was kept in the charge of a centurion, and his friends had free access to him; Act_24:23. It would seem not improbable that this was the occasion to which he here refers.
The plunder of your property. It was not an uncommon thing for the early Christians to be plundered. This was doubtless a part of the “afflictions” to which the apostle refers in this case. The meaning is, that they yielded their property not only without resistance, but with joy. They, in common with all the early Christians, counted it a privilege and honor to suffer in the cause of their Master; see Php_3:10; compare Rom_5:3. Men may be brought to such a state of mind as to part with their property with joy. It is not usually the case; but trusting in God will enable a man to do it.
Knowing in yourselves - The true rendering is, “knowing that ye have for yourselves.” It does not refer to any internal knowledge which they had of this, but to the fact that they were assured that they had laid up for themselves a better inheritance in heaven. With this hope, therefore, Christians may cheerfully see their earthly wealth vanish, for they can look forward to their enduring and their better inheritance.
Can you see yourself in this description of the faithful?
Hebrews 10:35 MKJV Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great recompense of reward.
These discouraged Christians were in danger of casting away their confidence in Jesus, and relapsing into an Old Covenant relationship with God. The Apostle exhorts them not to turn back, not to be discouraged, but to be encouraged. They should have confidence in God that he loved and appreciated all they had borne for him. Be not weary in well-doing; rise from the ashes of discouragement and lift the cross with renewed zeal. We surely have every reason for greater confidence than ever--when we call to mind our leading in the past.
In proportion as we have knowledge and grow in grace, in that same proportion our confidence is growing stronger. It represents our heart condition.
Confidence in the outworking of God's plan, and in all who trust in the precious blood and are bringing forth fruits of the spirit in their daily lives.
Faith in God and in the "great and precious promises" is the very basis of all Christian endeavor. Without this faith in God one cannot fight a good fight.
The Lord has not promised a great reward for merely believing and trusting, and in a cowardly manner keeping our light hidden. Testings will come in some manner not expected, and may be very severe crucial tests of our love and loyalty.
God will reward us according to our faith, confidence, honesty, sincerity. He rewards faith rather than works--not what we can accomplish.
Where is your confidence?
Does your life reflect where you say your confidence is?
Hebrews 10:36 MKJV For you have need of patience, so that after you have done the will of God you might receive the promise.
For ye have need -- More and more we come to see how much patience we need.
Of patience -- Greek, hupomone, cheerful endurance, constancy. The Lord cannot give us patience except by giving us trials to develop that patience. Without hope, patience would soon fritter away; and no length or breadth or depth of character could be expected.
James 1:3-4 KJV Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
James 5:10-11 KJV Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. 11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
Done the will of God -- Reached the mark--having attained to that mark of character in our hearts, in our wills we should establish God's righteous will as the rule of life under all circumstances and conditions. Not in the perfect and complete sense, but a reasonable service. God does not expect us to do that which is impossible. "This is the will of God (concerning you) even your sanctification." (1Thess. 4:3)
Receive the promise -- A share in the coming glory is contingent upon present sufferings because they develop positive characters--and love instead of selfishness. The Apostle is urging that we continue to be Christ's and to abide in him--thus to be glorified with him.
Has your patience grown since last year?
Do you believe in the Promise of God?
Hebrews 10:37 MKJV For "yet a little while, and He who shall come will come and will not delay."
A little while -- "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." (Rom_16:20) "A thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday." (Psa_90:4)
Will come -- Greek, heko, to have come, be here; not future tense, but present. Be present--Paul's words are especially for us--at the end of the age.
Will not tarry –
Habakkuk 2:3 KJV For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
Even with what might seem like a long-term endurance, it will seem only a little while until our hopes will find fulfillment in Jesus’ return. You need endurance because, even though our vision is Divinely timed, and even though each step of its progress is unfailing heading toward its goal, it will seem to tarry! Don’t Give up! Patiently wait for it! It will come as promised; there actually will be no delay at all.
Are you waiting patiently?
Hebrews 10:38 MKJV Now, "the Just shall live by faith. But if he draws back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him."
Every word in Hab_2:4 is important, and the Lord quotes it three times in the New Testament just to bring out the fullness of the meaning!
a. In Rom_1:17, when Paul quotes this same passage from Hab_2:4, the emphasis is on faith: “The just shall live by faith.”
b. In Gal_3:11, when Paul quotes this passage from Hab_2:4, the emphasis is on just: “The just shall live by faith.”
c. Here in Heb_10:38, when the writer to the Hebrews quotes this same passage from Hab_2:4, the emphasis is on live: “The just shall live by faith.”
Take special note: There will be some who are proud—some who internally will have forsaken their justification. The righteous man will not be like them. He will LIVE BY HIS FAITH!
Thus Paul, with one text, summarizes his major points since 10:19: Keep faith (collectively); don’t stray from the fellowship with possible extinction consequences; watch especially for these problems at the end of the age. (see 2 Peter 3:3, 9; 2 Peter 2:20; Romans 1:16-18; Galatians 3:9,11.)
Are you living your faith?
Have you drawn back?
Hebrews 10:39 MKJV But we are not of those withdrawing to destruction, but of those who believe to the preserving of the soul.
This is a confident conclusion. We will be those who endure on and gain the promise of God. We will not draw back into old traditions or into an Old Covenant relationship with God - or any other replacement for Jesus!
In this verse Paul encourages, mentioning the two courses he has discussed: (1) drawing away, and (2) keeping faith. The latter results in preserving the soul.
By this verse he also introduces his next chapter. It is FAITH and FAITHFULNESS that as always been the standard. Paul will show how many have in so many ways been pleasing to the Lord by maintaining faith. This enduring through faith has been a constant topic in Chapter 10. See the varying expressions of it in these verses.
12 = sat down (i.e., exercised patience)
13 = waiting
15 = after (i.e., a period of waiting)
16 = after
19 = confidence
22 = full assurance of faith
23 = without wavering
23 = faithful
32 = endured
35 = confidence
36 = endurance
38 = faith
39 = faith
It now is SO OBVIOUS why Chapter 11 comes next!
Are you withdrawing or believing?
Quotes from David Guzik, Charles Russell, Albert Barnes, Adam Clarke, John Gill, New Albany, and more