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The Letter To The Hebrews: Chapter 10

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1Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the true form of these realities, it c Other ancient authorities read they can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who approach. 2Otherwise, would they not have ceased being offered, since the worshipers, cleansed once for all, would no longer have any consciousness of sin? 3But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin year after year. 4For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5Consequently, when Christ d Gk he came into the world, he said,

“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me; 6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. 7 Then I said, ‘See, God, I have come to do your will, O God’ (in the scroll of the book e Meaning of Gk uncertain it is written of me).”

8When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9then he added, “See, I have come to do your will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. 10And it is by God's will f Gk by that will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11And every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins. 12But when Christ g Gk this one had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, “he sat down at the right hand of God,” 13and since then has been waiting “until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.” 14For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. 15And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying,16

“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds,”

17he also adds,

“I will remember a Gk on their minds and I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

18Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

19Therefore, my friends, b Gk Therefore, brothers since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, 20by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, 25not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

26For if we willfully persist in sin after having received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28Anyone who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy “on the testimony of two or three witnesses.” 29How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by those who have spurned the Son of God, profaned the blood of the covenant by which they were sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace? 30For we know the one who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

32But recall those earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33sometimes being publicly exposed to abuse and persecution, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34For you had compassion for those who were in prison, and you cheerfully accepted the plundering of your possessions, knowing that you yourselves possessed something better and more lasting. 35Do not, therefore, abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward. 36For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. 37For yet

“in a very little while, the one who is coming will come and will not delay; 38 but my righteous one will live by faith. My soul takes no pleasure in anyone who shrinks back.”

39But we are not among those who shrink back and so are lost, but among those who have faith and so are saved.


c Other ancient authorities read they

d Gk he

e Meaning of Gk uncertain

f Gk by that will

g Gk this one

a Gk on their minds and I will remember

b Gk Therefore, brothers

Text Commentary view alone
Commentary spanning earlier chapters

4.14–10.31 : Jesus as the eternal high priest.

4.14–5.10 : Christ as great high priest.

The author under stands Jesus' life, death, and present heavenly role through the category of “high priest” who perfects the ancient sacrificial system of Judaism. Having discussed Jesus' “faithfulness”( 2.17; 3.1–6 ), the author turns to reflect on his “mercy.”


Through the heavens, Jesus has passed through the series of heavensabove the earth and entered into the highest where God dwells. His entry is the basis for the confidenceand hope of Christians.


Approach the throne of grace, the sermon's imagery shifts from holding fast( 3.6,14; 4.14 ) to moving forward, an image that will be explored as the sermon proceeds.


The authordefines what a high priest is and shows how the definition fits Jesus. A priest is chosen from among humanbeings and represents them before God in sacrifices he offers.


He can effectively represent them becausehe shares human weakness.


See Lev 9.7 .


He is called by God to this office. Aaron, Ex 28.1 .


Citing Ps 2.7 , the author demonstrates that Christ is appointed by God (cf. Lk 3.22 ).


The author quotes Ps110.4 . According to the order of Melchizedek is interpreted to mean “like” Melchizedek. The sermon willreturn to this element in 7.1–22 .


The author refers to an example of Jesus' sharing human weaknessand suffering in order to show how that makes him a source of salvation for human beings.


Traditionally, this verse has been understood to refer to Gethsemane (Mk.14.32–42 and parallels). However, thedescription resembles the portrayal of the typical Jewish hero, such as Abraham or Moses, who prays loudly to God for deliverance (2 Macc 11.6 ; Philo, Rer. div. her. 19).


Melchizedek, see 7.1–10 n. Although simply called a “priest according to the order of Melchizedek” in the psalm citation, the authorelaborates that Jesus is a “high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.”

10.1–18 :

Old and new sacrifice. The author summarizes the comparison between Christ's sacrifice andIsraelite ritual. Evidence is found in scripture both for the limitations of the ritual and for the meaningof the word spoken in the Son.


The shadow of the law is understood to be inferior to the true formthat is in the future.


The proof for the idea that it is impossible for animal sacrifices to take away sins is found in interpretation of Ps 40.6–8 (Septuagint) in which the speaker is understood to be Christ.


1 Sam 15.22; Ps 50.8–15; Isa 1.10–17; Jer 7.21–26; Hos 6.6 .


Sanctified, ceremonially cleansed and perfected through Christ's blood ( 10.29 ).


Ps 110.1 .


The Holy Spirit is understood to be speaking a paraphrase of Jer 31.33–34 . The new covenant assures full and final forgiveness of sins.

10.19–31 :

Exhortations and warnings. Compare the exhortation in 4.14–16 .


That he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), perhaps the curtain symbolizes Jesus' physical existence,which separates the holy of holies from the outer sanctuary; or the physical existence of Jesus symbolizesthe path of access to God. The flesh of Jesus is the means for approaching God.


Three privileges and duties of Christians: Let us approach God in faith and worship( vv. 22,25 ); let us hold fast the public confession of our hope (v. 23 ); let us consider how we can help others in love (v. 24 ).


Confession of our hope, the basic attitude of Christians. For Hebrews, faith undergirds hope (see 3.6; 6.11,18; 7.19 ).


The Day of Christ's Second Coming, see 9.28n.


Solemn warning about deliberate sin (see 5.2; 6.4–6 ).


Deut 17.2–6 .


Deut 32.35–36 .

10.39–12.29 :

The power of faith.

10.32–39 :

Living by faith. This transitional passage shifts from a focus on hope and confidence( vv. 35–36 ) to faith (vv. 38–39 ).


Isa 26.20 (Septuagint).


Hab 2.3–4 (cf. Rom 1.17; Gal 3.11 ).

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