This chapter concludes the doctrinal part of the epistle. The first covenant was given by God through Moses, based upon animal sacrifices offered perpetually by an earthly priesthood. It has been replaced by the New Covenant based upon the once for all sacrifice of Christ and maintained by His heavenly priesthood.
V 1-4 The Inadequacy of the First Covenant and its Sacrifices
The ceremonial law was but a shadow (skia) of a future reality: It was not a perfect representation (eikon).
Good things to come – eternal benefits of the Sacrifice of Christ Sacrifices offered “perpetually” could never remove the guilt of the offerer, or
1) Would they not have ceased to be offered? The question answered.
2) They were a continual reminder of sins, awakening their consciences.
3) Conclusion: It is impossible for the blood of animals to remove sin!
V 5-10 The Reason for the Incarnation – “Wherefore”
4) When Christ came into the world, He quotes Psalm 40 (LXX Version). God was dissatisfied with animal sacrifices, therefore He prepared for His Son a body to be “offered once for all,”
5) God was dissatisfied with burnt offerings and sin offerings. Why?
- He had required them because man failed to fully do His will:
- Sin and trespass offerings only covered sins temporarily:
- Most Jew had come to treat them as just a religious ritual;
V 7 The reasons why Christ came:
To fulfill all that was written of Him
To perfectly submit to God, and to accomplish His will (John 6:38-40)
V 8 “Above” … “Then” – There are two interpretations of these words:
- Comment and conclusion on quotation “above” from Psalm 40.
- A Conversation “Above” in Heaven between the Father and the Son.
V 9 Christ fully accomplished God’s will in His life, death and resurrection God then canceled the first covenant and established the second.
V 10 He permanently sets us apart from our sins on the basis of the once for all offering” of the body of Jesus Christ.
V 11-18 Our heavenly Priest – the Obsolete Priesthood in Jerusalem
V 11 The Levitical priests “stood” daily – their work was never completed. They offered the same sacrifices daily which could never take away sins.
V 12 But this Priest (Christ) offered “one sacrifice for sins, He “sat down perpetually” at God’s right hand – a completed work.
V 13 He waits there until His coming in power and glory (Rev 19), when his enemies will be made a footstool for his feet.
V 14 By “one offering” He has perfected “perpetually” those being sanctified.
V 15-17 The Testimony of the Holy Spirit thru Jeremiah (31:33,34).
Principles of the New Covenant (v 9):
- I will write my laws on their hearts and minds (likeness to Christ);
- I will remember their sins and lawlessness no more.
V 18 Once sins have been remitted, no further offering is ever required.
V 19-25 Our Resulting Privileges and Responsibilities
V 19 Boldness (confidence) to enter the holiest by the blood of Jesus.
V 20 A new and living way (Jn 14:6), which He has consecrated for us, through the veil of His flesh. The temple veil rent at the moment of His death (Matt 27:51) signified the end of the old covenant. As a Man on earth, His flesh veiled His heavenly glory. But now, through the Man in heaven in a body of flesh we have access into the holiest of all.
V 21 A High Priest over “the house of God” – embraces all believers in Christ, but characteristically seen in a scriptural, local assembly.
Five imperative exhortations:
V 22 Let us draw near – characteristic of all who enter God’s presence.
V 23 Let us hold fast our confession of faith – He who promised is faithful.
V 24 Let us consider one another – to stimulate love and good works.
V 25 Forsake not nor neglect the assembly meetings.
V 25 Exhort one another and more so because His Coming is imminent
V 26-31 A Solemn Warning to those in Danger of Apostasy.
V 26 This “willful sin” is deliberately turning away from the truth.
V 27 God’s judgement and fierceness of fire (Vine) are sure consequences. It will devour them along with all His other adversaries.
V 28 Since the penalty for despising Moses law was death,
V 29 Far greater punishment awaits the Christ rejecter, because he –
- Tramples the Son of God – Counts the Blood of Christ as common.
- Despises the Spirit of Grace (Who had awakened his conscience)
V 30 God describes His character and attitude toward rebellious sinners: A God of Vengeance, Recompense and Judgment (Deut 32:35, 1 Pet 4:17).
V 31 The most fearful destiny is to fall into the hands of the Living God.
V 32-39 A Final Word of Encouragement for Believers
V 32 Remember your courage in suffering when the Gospel first came.
V 33 The mockery, reproach you personally endured and shared with others.
V 34 The deep sympathy you showed the writer while he was in prison: The plundering of your possessions which you endured with joy. Why? Confidence in a far more enduring possession in heaven.
V 35 Don’t throw your confidence, it will result in a great heavenly reward.
V 37 The Promise – The Coming One will come soon and will not delay.
V 38 Oft repeated principle, “The just shall live by faith” (Heb 2:4, Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11).