Hebrews

Chapter Ten

Blaine Robison, M.A.

Published 3 October 2022

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Scripture Text: The Scripture text used in this commentary is prepared by Blaine Robison and based on the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. The essentially literal translation seeks to reflect the Jewish character of the author and writing. All other Scripture quotations are from the NASB Updated Edition (1995, NASU), unless otherwise indicated. Click here for Abbreviations of Bible Versions. Quotations marked with the initials "BR" indicate the translation of the commentary author.

Sources: Bibliographic data for works cited may be found at the end of the chapter commentary. Works without page numbers are cited ad loc. Important early Jewish sources include the following:

DSS: the Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of Jewish manuscripts of Scripture and sectarian documents found in the Qumran caves. Most of the Qumran MSS belong to the last three centuries B.C. and the first century A.D. Online DSS Bible.

LXX: The abbreviation "LXX" ("70") stands for the Septuagint, the Jewish translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, in use among Jews by the mid-2nd century B.C. Online.

Josephus: The Works of Flavius Josephus (c. 75–99 A.D.), Jewish historian, trans. William Whiston (1737). Online.

Philo: Works by Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, the Jewish philosopher (20 B.C.─A.D. 50), consisting of 45 monographs. Online.

MT: The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Tanakh for Rabbinic Judaism. Work on developing a uniform Hebrew Bible began under Rabbi Akiva (2nd c. A.D.), but completed by scholars known as the Masoretes between the 7th and 10th centuries A.D. The oldest extant manuscripts date from the 9th century. Online.

Talmud: the Soncino Babylonian Talmud (1948); online at Halakhah.com. Click here for Talmud abbreviations.

Targums: Aramaic translation of Hebrew Scripture with commentary: Targum Onkelos (1st c. AD), and Targum Jonathan (2nd c. AD). Index of Targum texts.

Syntax: Unless otherwise noted the meaning of Greek words is from F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (2009), and the meaning of Hebrew words is from The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (1981), abbreviated as "BDB." See the Greek Guide for the meaning of grammar abbreviations. The numbering system of the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible is identified with "SH" (Strong's Hebrew number) and "SG" (Strong's Greek number). Strong's Online.

Terminology: In order to emphasize the Hebrew and Jewish nature of the entire Bible I use the terms Yeshua (Jesus), Messiah (Christ), Tanakh (Old Testament), Torah (Pentateuch, Law), ADONAI (for the sacred name in Tanakh verses), and Besekh (New Testament).

Please see the Introduction for background information on the letter. This commentary assumes that Paul the apostle wrote the letter in the Hebrew language and Luke translated it into Jewish Greek.

Chapter Overview

In Chapter Ten Paul continues the theme of the last section of the previous chapter to emphasize that while the animal sacrifices prescribed in the Torah were a type of the good things to come, there are five deficiencies that make them ineffective for accomplishing spiritual reformation and incapable of removing the stain of sin from the soul. Paul affirms that Messiah came into the world to do the will of God with the goal of sanctifying His covenant people through his sacrificial death.

Paul then provides a comparison between the priesthood of Messiah and that of the Levitical priesthood, as well as the new covenant of which Jeremiah prophesied, and the blessings promised in it. Considering that believers have access to the holiest High Priest, Paul challenges his readers with a five-fold exhortation to draw near to God with pure hearts and faithfulness, to hold fast their profession, to stir up mutual love and good works, to maintain regular assembling and to encourage one another in preparation for the Day of the Lord.

What follows is the fifth of six warnings, this one against despising God's grace with willful sin, thereby invoking divine judgment. In order to assure perseverance, disciples should often reflect on past mercies, and the divine support afforded in temptations and afflictions. Maintaining confidence and living according to the will of God will result in receiving the promises of God. Paul closes with a quotation from Habakkuk to affirm that the righteous will live by God's faithfulness, but warns that leaving the relationship with God will result in loss of divine favor. Paul closes with a personal affirmation of his commitment to faithfulness.

Chapter Outline

The Deficiency of Animal Sacrifices, 10:1-9

The Sufficiency of Messiah, 10:10-18

The New and Living Way, 10:19-25

Warning against Willful Sin, 10:26-31

Call to Remember, 10:32-39

The Deficiency of Animal Sacrifices, 10:1-9

1 For the Torah having a shadow of the coming good things, not the form itself of the realities, every year with the same sacrifices which they offer in perpetuity, is never able to perfect the worshipers.

Since Paul's readers were being tempted to return to the unbelief that characterized their lives under Pharisaic Judaism (cf. 2:1-4; 3:7-12; 4:1; 6:1-6), they must be made to understand the danger of an inadequate atonement. Moreover, considering the prophetic word of Yeshua that the time would come when the Jerusalem temple would cease to exist (Matt 24:1-2; Luke 19:41-44; John 4:21; cf. Heb 8:13), the loss of the presumed means of atonement would be catastrophic. Therefore, in the first nine verses of this chapter Paul presents five serious deficiencies of the Levitical sacrificial system that illustrate the folly of relying on animal sacrifices.

For: Grk. gar, conj., a contraction of ge ("yet") and ara ("then"), and in a broad sense means "certainly it follows that; for." The conjunction is used to express cause, explanation, inference or continuation; here to introduce an important explanation of spiritual truth. the Torah: Grk. ho nomos may mean either (1) a principle or standard relating to behavior or (2) codified legislation, i.e. law. The second meaning applies here.

In the LXX nomos primarily translates Heb. torah (SH-8451), which means "direction," "instruction" or "law" (BDB 435f), first in Exodus 12:49. Originally Torah meant an instruction from God, a command for a given situation (DNTT 2:440). The term is used here of the body of commandments and ordinances governing Levitical sacrifices.

having: Grk. echō, pres. part., to have, hold or possess with a wide range of application. As a verbal adjective the participle describes an important characteristic of the Torah. Some versions inaccurately insert the word "only" to qualify the following noun (CSB, NASU, NCV, NIV, NLT, NRSV). Hegg comments that adding the word "only" in this verse has the effect of treating the Torah as deficient. Paul is certainly not contrasting the Sinai Covenant with the New Covenant to imply that the former failed in its purpose.

a shadow: Grk. skia, shadow or foreshadowing (Mounce), used of an outline or suggestion of itself projected by the real thing. In the LXX skia translates Heb. tsel (SH-6738), a shadow or shade (Jdg 9:36; 2Kgs 20:9-11; 1Chr 29:15; Job 7:2; 8:9; 14:2). In Hebrew thought the idea of "shadow" represents the transitory nature of life (e.g., Job 8:9; Ps 23:4; 102:11; 109:23; 144:4; Eccl 6:12; 8:13), but here the noun is used of that which indicates something beforehand.

The term skia occurs in Philo in reference to Moses making copies of the heavenly realities (Allegorical Interpretation III, §102; On Dreams §1.206), as well as an allegorical or symbolic interpretation of a biblical passage (On Husbandry §27; On the Posterity of Cain §112). Lane comments that the term skia does not signify unreal or deceptive, as in Platonism, but rather imperfect or incomplete. Its use suggests that the function of the Torah was to point forward to that which was perfect or complete.

Hegg points out that a shadow is something seen but which cannot exist by itself, for its form requires the real object by which the shadow is cast. Thus, the shadow gives evidence of the object by which it is cast, but is not that object itself. Thus, the Messiah is revealed in the earthly tabernacle and its priestly ceremonies. Elsewhere Paul offers a similar perspective on the revelatory role of the Torah:

"Why then the Torah? It was added on account of transgressions until that the Seed should come, to whom the promise had been made, having been arranged through angels by the hand of a mediator. … 24 the Torah became our guardian into Messiah, in order that from his faithfulness we might be acquitted." (Gal 3:19, 24 BR)

"For the goal of Torah is Messiah, unto righteousness to everyone trusting" (Rom 10:4 BR).

of the coming: Grk. mellō, pl. pres. part., a future oriented verb with a pending aspect, about to happen, being in the offing, be about to, be going to. good things: pl. of Grk. ho agathos, adj., achieving a high standard of excellence in meeting a need or interest, beneficial, useful, helpful or good. In the LXX agathos translates Heb. tob ("tov," SH-2896), pleasant, agreeable, good, often used as the regular designation of God's character or actions (DNTT 2:98).

The noun tov is sometimes used in a collective sense to mean the blessing of good things that come from God (Deut 28:12; Job 22:18; Ps 21:3; 103:5; 104:28; 107:9; Prov 24:25; Isa 55:2) (BDB 275). Cassirer translated agathos here as "blessings." In 9:11 Paul spoke of blessings that have come by virtue of Yeshua's priestly ministry, but now he refers to blessings yet to come.

not: Grk. ou, adv., a particle used in an unqualified denial or negation; not. the form: Grk. eikōn, something that bears likeness to something else, an image or likeness. The term assumes a prototype, of which it not merely resembles, but from which it is drawn (HELPS). Bruce says the term means more than a "shadow;" rather it is a replication (226). itself: Grk. autos, an intensive personal pronoun, often used to distinguish a person or thing in contrast to another, or to give him (it) prominence. The pronoun may mean (1) self, (2) he, she, it, or (3) the same. The first meaning applies here.

of the realities: pl. of Grk. pragma (from prassō, "to do, perform"), something that involves or presumes action by a responsible party, a thing done; deed, matter or thing. In the LXX pragma occurs 125 times (DNTT 3:1155) and is used to translate Heb. dabar (SH-1697), speech, word, advice, or a matter or thing of which one speaks, first in Genesis 19:22.

every: Grk. kata, prep., generally used to signify (1) direction, 'against, down;' (2) position, 'down, upon, in;' or (3) relation, 'according to, in reference to.' The preposition is used here in a distributive sense, indicating orderly and repetitively succession. year: Grk. eniautos, a cycle of time, used for a period of twelve lunar months, a year. The temporal reference is to Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), which occurred on the tenth day of the seventh month called Tishri (September-October).

with the same: pl. Grk. autos. sacrifices: pl. of Grk. ho thusia, an official sacrifice prescribed by ADONAI in the Torah, hence an offering the Lord accepts because of being offered on His terms (HELPS). This term is distinguished from the burnt offering, which is totally consumed by fire (Mark 12:33). In the LXX thusia generally translates two Hebrew terms for sacrificial offerings: minchah (SH-4503) and zebach (SH-2077). The minchah was an offering made to God of any kind, whether from field or flock. The zebach is a generic term for an animal sacrifice on any occasion, often of which the flesh is eaten in a family or festival setting (e.g., Gen 31:54; Ex 12:27; 34:25).

which: Grk. hos, relative pronoun used to give significance to the mention of a person, thing, or piece of information that precedes; who, which, what, that. they offer: Grk. prospherō (from pros, "toward" and pherō, "to bear"), pres., 3p-pl., to cause movement of something or someone to a person or place, and used to express (1) to bring near or to; (2) to offer or present, especially of offerings to God; or (3) to bear oneself towards (Zodhiates). The second usage is intended here. In the LXX prospherō translates Heb. qarab (SH-7126), "to come or draw near" or "approach," used in the sense of bringing and offering a sacrifice to ADONAI (Ex 29:3; Lev 1:2; 2:1, 8). The present tense points to the continual repetition of sacrifices (Rienecker).

in: Grk. eis, prep., with the root meaning of "in, within," indicating the point reached or entered, and expressing direction, position, relation, cause or purpose (DM 114), here the latter. perpetuity: Grk. diēnekēs, adj., carried through, continuous, used adverbially to mean "for all time," "in perpetuity" or "without interruption." is never: Grk. oudepote, adv., denying absolutely and objectively; not ever, never. able: Grk. dunamai, pres. mid., to be capable of doing or achieving; be able. to perfect: Grk. teleioō, aor. inf., bring to a point at which nothing is missing.

The focus of the verb may be (1) carrying out a task or responsibility; complete; (2) bringing something to a designed conclusion; complete; or (3) bringing to the ultimate point of maturation; complete, to perfect. The third focus is in view here. In the LXX teleioō occurs 25 times and translates four different Hebrew verbs with the same range of meaning (DNTT 2:60). In this letter (7:19; 9:9; 10:1, 14; 11:40; 12:23) teleioō is used in a moral sense meaning to make perfect, to fully cleanse from sin, in contrast to Levitical cleansing (Zodhiates). Thus, the verb is a functional synonym of "cleanse" (e.g., 9:14) and implies a spiritual renewal of the inner self.

those: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. worshiping: Grk. proserchomai, pl. pres. mid. part., to approach from a point to a person or place; come, go to, approach. The verb is used here in a figurative sense of coming to God in sacrifice and worship (Zodhiates). In the LXX proserchomai is used to translate Heb. qarab (SH-7126), to come near or approach, to describe the congregation of Israel coming near and standing before the presence of God in order to experience the glory of God (Lev 9:5-6). Then the verb is also used of Aaron approaching the altar to offer a sacrifice (Lev 9:7-8).

The first deficiency noted of the Levitical system is that animal sacrifices could not perfect or cleanse the worshiper's conscience.

2 Otherwise, would not they have ceased to be offered, because of those worshiping having no longer a consciousness of sins, having been cleansed once?

Paul now poses an important rhetorical question. Otherwise: Grk. epei, conj., used to assume what precedes is true, and understands what follows to be true as well; since, inasmuch, otherwise. Here the conjunction, reflecting a classical idiom, has an interrogative effect (Lane). would: Grk. an, a disjunctive particle that nuances a verb with contingency or generalization; would, ever, might, in that case, anyhow. The particle indicates what could occur under certain conditions, and the context determines the limits of those conditions (HELPS).

not: Grk. ou, adv. See the previous verse. The particle expects a positive answer. they have ceased: Grk. pauō, aor. mid., engage in cessation of an activity or state; stop, cease. to be offered: Grk. prospherō, pl. pres. pass. part. See the previous verse. because of: Grk. dia, prep. used as a prefix to a statement, which may express (1) instrumentality; through, by means of; or (2) causality; on account of, because of. The second usage applies here. those: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pronoun.

worshiping: Grk. latreuō, pl. pres. part., to minister or serve God, often in the context of religious activity at the sanctuary. The participle is parallel to "those offering" in the previous verse and signifies worshipers in general (Lane). having: Grk. echō, pres. inf. See the previous verse. The infinitive expresses result. no: Grk. mēdeis, adj. (from , "not" and heis, "one"), not even one, nothing, none. The adjective constitutes an emphatic denial. longer: Grk. eti, adv. expressing continuance of an action or circumstance or expressing addition, whether of time (still, yet) or degree (further, longer, more).

a consciousness: Grk. suneidēsis (from sũn, "with" and eidō, "to know, to see"), sensitivity to moral or ethical expectations; properly, joint-knowing, i.e. conscience which joins moral and spiritual consciousness as part of being created in the divine image (HELPS). In the LXX suneidēsis occurs twice, first in Ecclesiastes 10:20 where it translates Heb. madda (SH-4093), knowledge, thought; and then in the Apocrypha (Wisdom 17:11). In a practical sense "conscience" is equivalent to the Hebrew use of "heart" (Heb. levav), which means "mind" or "will" and refers to that human capacity for making moral and ethical decisions.

The term suneidēsis occurs 30 times in the Besekh and outside of Hebrews it occurs only in Paul's speeches (Acts 23:1; 24:16), and in his letters. The conscience functions best as an internal awareness of right and wrong when guided by knowledge of God's commandments (Rom 2:15; cf. 1Cor 8:7; Heb 10:2). In this context suneidēsis emphasizes a present awareness, so many versions translate the term here as "consciousness."

of sins: pl. of Grk. hamartia may refer to (1) a behavioral action, a misdeed that creates liability, every departure from the way of righteousness; (2) the result of sinning or the condition of being sinful; or (3) an invasive evil power. Hamartia is the dominant word for sin in the Besekh. In the LXX hamartia translates several Hebrew words for guilt and sin. The Tanakh has no main general word for sin like is found in the Besekh (DNTT 3:577).

In the Torah hamartia primarily translates Heb. chatta'ah (SH-2403; BDB 308), which is used for sin against man or God, guilt of sin, punishment for sin or a sin offering (Gen 18:20; 50:17; Ex 10:17; 29:14). Throughout Scripture sin as a behavior is a violation of God's written commandments (Rom 3:20; 5:13; 7:7). The degree of intentionality is not a factor in defining sinful behavior.

having been cleansed: Grk. katharizō (from katharos, adj., "clean"), pl. perf. pass. part., to clean or cleanse, and is used of (1) physical removal of stains and dirt (Matt 23:25); (2) physical healing of skin disease that enabled communal restoration (Luke 17:14-17); (3) pronounce clean in a Levitical sense (Acts 10:15; 11:9); and (4) removal of the guilt or defilement of sin (2Cor 7:1; Eph 5:26). The fourth meaning applies here. The verb is a word picture of removing all admixture or intermingling (HELPS). Some versions translate the verb as "purified," which may be a distinction without a difference.

In the LXX katharizō primarily translates Heb. taher (SH-2891), to cleanse or purify, first in Genesis 35:2 and about 40 times in Leviticus. The verb has wide application and is normally associated with removal of uncleanness, whether in a ceremonial, moral, physical, or spiritual sense that will enable a person to have contact with God and/or other people (DNTT 3:104). Here the verbal action has a spiritual sense. The perfect tense implies a cleansing that is permanent (Lane).

once: Grk. hapax, adv., a unique and decisive occurrence; once. The adverb distinguishes a cleansing with finality from an experience of cleansing that will have to be repeated, as mentioned in the next verse. Under the Sinai covenant worshipers never experienced a definitive internal cleansing. The mention of "cleansing" in the context of the Day of Atonement instruction (Lev 16:30) refers to "sending away" the sins of the people on the scapegoat (Lev 16:22). Thus, Paul's question implies that if the sacrifices had been genuinely efficacious, all sense of the collective consciousness of defilement would have been removed from the worshipers (Lane).

3 But in these there is a reminder of sins every year.

But: Grk. alla, conj., adversative particle used adverbially to convey a different viewpoint for consideration; but, on the other hand. in: Grk. en, prep. generally used to mark position, lit. "in" or "within." these: pl. of Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun signifying a person or thing set forth in narrative that precedes or follows it; this. The pronoun refers back to the sacrifices mentioned in verse 1. there is a reminder: Grk. anamnēsis, recollection or remembrance, used here in an active and deliberate sense. of sins: pl. of Grk. hamartia. See the previous verse. The mention of "sins" does not include 36 capital crimes for which there was no atonement.

every: Grk. kata, prep. See verse 1 above. year: Grk. eniautos. See verse 1 above. Again, the temporal reference is to Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), which occurred on the tenth day of the seventh month called Tishri (September-October). The second deficiency of the Levitical sacrificial system is that the repetitiveness of sacrifices provided a constant reminder of sinning. In fact, the reminding is implied in the ordinance for observance of Yom Kippur that required the Israelites to "afflict their souls" (Heb. anah) on that day (Lev 16:2-31; 23:26-32).

Jewish interpretation is that the "afflicting" or "humbling" equals "fasting," as it is interpreted in Isaiah 58:3. The Torah instruction does not use the term for "fast," because simply abstaining from food as a religious duty is not the point. In fact, the verb tsūm and its derivative noun tsōm, 'fasting,' do not occur in the books of Moses at all. In Hebrew thought to afflict one's soul included some form of self-denial. In context the humbling at least meant to treat the day as a Sabbath, refraining from all work. Yet, given the seriousness of the occasion God intended the humbling to emphasize reflecting on one's shortcomings and need for atonement as well as to motivate repentance (cf. Joel 1:13-14; 2:12-15).

The idea of recollecting past sins was meant to motivate getting rid of sinful acts, such as proposed in the Spiritual Exercises designed by Ignatius of Loyola. Yeshua and Paul gave exhortations to stop sinning (John 5:14; 8:11; Rom 6:12-14; 1Cor 15:24). Unfortunately, many modern Christians are quite content to think of themselves as "sinners saved by grace" with no need of serious reformation or have redefined sin so that it does not include their behaviors of which God actually condemns.

4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to remove sins.

Reference: Leviticus 16:15, 21.

For: Grk. gar, conj. See verse 1 above. it is impossible: Grk. adunatos, adj., (from alpha, neg. prefix and dunatos, "able, possible"), adj., lacking in capability; unable, powerless, impossible; here the latter. The phrase essentially repeats the verb "can never" in verse 1 (Lane). for the blood: Grk. haima, the fluid that circulates in the principal vascular system of human beings and vertebrate animals, blood. The term has several figurative uses. In the LXX haima translates Heb. dam (SH-1818), blood of humans or animals with the same range of meaning, first in Genesis 4:10. The term is used here of the blood of sacrificial animals.

of bulls: pl. of Grk. tauros, a bull or ox. In the LXX tauros translates three Hebrew words for a bovine animal: (1) par (SH-6499), a young bull or steer (Gen 31:15); (2) shor (SH-7794), bullock, ox (Ex 21:28); and (3) baqar (SH-1241), bull, calf, ox (Deut 32:14). The use of tauros as a sacrificial animal only occurs in later literature (Ps 50:13; Isa 1:11). The choice of tauros indicates that the setting for this logical argument has moved away from the sacrifices of Yom Kippur to include those accomplished on other occasions. Bulls were sacrificed as burnt offerings (Lev 1:5) and sin offerings (Lev 4:3).

and: Grk. kai, conj. that marks a connection or addition with three basic uses: (1) continuative – and, also, even; (2) adversative – and yet, but, however; or (3) intensive – certainly, indeed (DM 250f). The first use applies here. Kai is used in the LXX to translate the vav (ו) character added to words for conjunctive effect. goats: pl. of Grk. tragos, a male goat, a cloven-hoofed ruminant mammal. The goat is closely related to sheep. In the LXX tragos translates two Hebrew terms: (1) tayish (SH-8495), a male goat (Gen 30:35; 32:14; 2Chr 17:11; Prov 30:31); and (2) attud (SH-6260), a male goat (Gen 31:10).

Of the two terms only attud is used of a sacrificial animal for a sin offering (Num 7:17 +25 times). The ordinance for Yom Kippur required the high priest to take two male goats (Heb. sa'iyr; LXX ximaros) for a sin offering and a ram (Heb. ayil; LXX krios) for a burnt offering (Lev 16:5). One of the goats was sacrificed and the other goat was sent away into the wilderness as the scapegoat, bearing the sins of the people.

to remove: Grk. aphaireō (from apo, "from" and haireomai, "to take, choose"), pres. inf., cause to be no longer there; to take away or remove. In the LXX aphaireō translates several different Hebrew terms that mean to gather, remove, seize or take something. In this context Paul likely used Heb. nasa (SH-5375), to lift, carry or take, as used of forgiving sin of the congregation (Ex 34:7; Lev 10:17; Num 14:18). sins: pl. of Grk. hamartia. See verse 2 above. The third deficiency of the Levitical sacrificial system is the impossibility for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Lane comments that the issue is not whether the blood of animals sacrificed during Yom Kippur has any power to effect cleansing (Lev 16:3, 6, 11, 14–16, 18–19), but whether it has the potency to effect a decisive cleansing. In my view the distinction is between external vs. internal cleansing. The releasing of the scapegoat into the wilderness on Yom Kippur (Lev 16:21-22) is an acted out parable of sins being sent away from the people, thus releasing them from the penalty that sinning deserves (cf. Gen 50:17; Ex 10:17; 32:32; 34:7; Num 14:19; Josh 24:19; 1Sam 25:28).

In addition, the earthly tabernacle was defiled by the sin of the Israelites (cf. Lev 15:31; 20:3; 21:12, 23; Num 19:13, 20) and the Yom Kippur sacrifice provided ritual cleansing of that defilement (Lev 16:16-19, 30). However, their hearts were not cleansed (cf. Heb 9:9, 14). Finally, the focus of the Yom Kippur atonement was on unintentional behavioral sins. There was no atonement for capital crimes and cleansing could not remove sinful and toxic attitudes from the heart (apathy, bitterness, conceit, envy, hatred, jealousy, lust, prejudice, pride, selfishness, etc.). Only the sacrifice of Yeshua provides complete and in-depth cleansing.

5 Consequently, coming into the world, he said, "Sacrifice and offering you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me;

Reference: Psalm 40:6.

Consequently: Grk. dio (from dia, "through," and hos, "which"), inferential conj., consequently, therefore, for this reason, on account of which, wherefore. coming: Grk. eiserchomai, pres. mid. part., to go or enter into a geographical area, manufactured structure or other place defined in the context. In the LXX eiserchomai translates Heb. bo (SH-935), to come in, come, go in, go. into: Grk. eis, prep. the world: Grk. ho kosmos, world, has a variety of uses in the Besekh, including (1) the entire cosmic universe including the earth; (2) the earth as the abode of mankind; or (3) the present world, the present order of things in contrast to the Kingdom of God (Zodhiates).

In ancient Greek kosmos originally meant an harmonious arrangement and then ornament, decoration, and adornment. To Greek philosophers the term meant the sum total of everything in existence here and now, the orderly universe. Pythagoras (570-495 BC) is credited as the first to use the word in this sense (Thayer). The LXX of the Tanakh uses kosmos five times for Heb. tsaba, (SH-6635), host, in reference to the arrangement of the stars, 'the heavenly hosts,' as the ornament of the heavens (Gen 2:1; Deut 4:19). The meaning of kosmos as the 'orderly universe' is found especially in the Apocrypha (2Macc. 7:23; 8:18; 4Macc. 5:25; Sir. 6:30; 21:21; Wis. 7:17; 9:3; 11:18).

However, as the destination stipulated for the verb "coming," kosmos means "world." The opening clause refers to the incarnation of Yeshua. he said: Grk. legō, pres., to make a statement or utterance, whether mentally, orally or in writing, often used to introduce quoted material. The focus of the verb may be declarative, interrogative or imperative; answer, ask, declare, enjoin, order, say, speak, tell, told, refer to, talk about. In the LXX legō translates Heb. amar (SH-559), to utter, say, shew, command or think.

The Greek verb "say" functions here as quotation marks for the text following since ancient writings did not contain punctuation. The present tense of the verb is a historical present intended to give vividness to a past event. To buttress his argument in the first four verses Paul now (through verse 7) quotes from Psalm 40:6-8 (LXX 39:7–9; MT 40:7–9).

Psalm 40, in Book I of the Psalms, was written by David in the first person, and composed in two parts: Thanksgiving, vv 1-10, and Petition, vv 11-17. The song is dedicated to the "chief musician" (Heb. natsach), which signifies someone who is preeminent and likely refers to a supervisor of the worship ministry whom David appointed (1Chr 15:21; 23:4). This dedication marks the beginning of 55 psalms. Noteworthy is that the psalm contains nine references to YHVH, whom David calls "our God" once (verse 3), but "my God" three times (verse 5, 8 and 17).

Psalm 40 may rightly be classed as a Messianic Psalm due to Paul's use of it here. Indeed, Paul quotes from the psalm as if spoken by Yeshua himself. Perhaps the quotation recalls an incident in which Yeshua actually used the psalm in one of his discourses. Henry Morris suggests the context of the quotation may represent the inward meditation of Yeshua as he hung on the cross dying for the sin of the world (Sampling the Psalms, Master Books, 1978; p. 153).

Sacrifice: Grk. thusia. See verse 1 above. In the quoted verse thusia translates Heb. zebach. and: Grk. kai, conj. offering: Grk. prosphora may mean (1) the act of bringing or presenting offering; or (2) that which is brought, a gift, an offering or a sacrifice. The second meaning is intended here. In the quoted verse prosphora translates Heb. minchah. See verse 1 above. you have not: Grk. ou, adv. desired: Grk. thelō, aor., to have a desire for something or have a purpose for something; will, wish, desire. but: Grk. de, conj. used to indicate (1) a contrast, (2) a transition in subject matter, or (3) a continuance of thought. The first meaning applies here.

a body: Grk. sōma, a structured physical unit in contrast to its parts, body of human or animal, whether living or dead, here of a human body. There is no Hebrew equivalent in the Tanakh corresponding to the Greek idea of sōma (DNTT 1:233). In the LXX sōma is used to translate several Hebrew terms, including words that mean animal carcass (Gen 15:11), a living human body (Gen 47:18), and a dead body (Deut 21:23). But the primary use of sōma is of the whole person in the physical sense without reference to personality (e.g., Gen 34:29; 36:5; Lev 14:9; 15:2, 3, 16, 19; 16:4; 19:28 and often).

you have prepared: Grk. katartizō, aor., may mean (1) to put in order, restore or put into proper condition; or (2) prepare, design or create an entity; produce. The second meaning is intended here. for me: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. This clause alludes to the incarnation of the Son of God (Luke 1:35; John 1:14). Henry Morris comments that just as the verb is used in Hebrews 11:3 of special creation so here Paul affirms that God formed the human body of His Son with the same mighty power and wisdom with which He had formed the universe (DSB 1376).

The detail that God had "prepared a body" for the One who entered the world to do God's will, accounts for the Paul's selection of this quotation. It not only indicated that the incarnation and active obedience of Messiah had been prophesied in Scripture, but it provided biblical support for the subsequent argument in verses 8–10 that the offering of the body of Yeshua was qualitatively superior to the offerings prescribed by the Torah (Lane).

The Masoretic Text (MT) reads, "my ears you have opened," but Paul quotes the LXX, which is centuries earlier than the MT. Without any supporting textual evidence Moffatt called sōma in the LXX a "mistranslation" of an original ōtia and said, "Our author found sōma in his LXX text and seized upon it; Jesus came with his body to do God's will, i.e., die for the sins of men" (138). However, Lane prefers to regard sōma as an interpretive paraphrase of the MT, saying, "The Greek translators appear to have regarded the Heb. expression as an example of the part for the whole and translated the text in terms that express the whole for the part" (88).

Bruce concurs with this viewpoint saying "the digging or hollowing out of the ears is part of the total work of fashioning a human body" (232). Hegg and McKee also attempt to defend the MT as original, supposing that "ears" symbolically stands for "body." Against this suggestion is the fact that while Scripture sometimes mentions a part of the body to stand for the whole (e.g., "hands" or "feet," Prov 6:17-18), nowhere in Scripture is sōma ever used to substitute for a particular part of the body.

Stern offers a mediating position by suggesting that the sense of the Septuagint is essentially the same as that of the Hebrew, for the point in both is that the person is entirely ready to do God's will and obey his Torah. He allows that it is not known whether the Septuagint translators worked from a different Hebrew text or merely clarified the sense of the existing text, a common practice among the Targum translators. Nevertheless the clauses as presented in the LXX and MT are substantively different and contradictory.

Gruber points out that currently there is not an older Hebrew text with the words as given in the LXX, but that is not unusual for a time when there was no standardized Hebrew text (331). Since the original Hebrew text of the Tanakh does not exist any analysis that claims the superiority of the Masoretic Text over the LXX is purely subjective. The argument of Barry Setterfield that the Masoretic text of Psalm 40:6 was purposely altered in order to deny the incarnation of Yeshua should be seriously considered. See the Additional Note below.

Additional Note: Septuagint vs. Masoretic Text

Paul's quotation from Psalm 40 illustrates a significant difference between the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Tanakh, and the Masoretic Text (MT), the authoritative Hebrew text of the Tanakh for Rabbinic Judaism. Work on developing a uniform Hebrew Bible began in the 2nd century A.D. under Rabbi Akiva, but completed by Jewish scholars known as the Masoretes between the 7th and 10th centuries A.D. The oldest extant manuscripts of the MT date from around the 9th century A.D.

During the intertestamental period learned Jews translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek. According to the Letter of Aristeas (ca. 200 BC) and Philo (On the Life of Moses II, 25-44) the project was initiated by King Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-247 BC) of Egypt. The Letter of Aristeas says that the King requested the Jewish High Priest Eleazar to provide six representatives from each of the tribes. The Talmud records that 72 elders did come together during the King's reign to translate the Torah (Megillah 9a). Thus, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures was in use among Jews by the mid-2nd century B.C. Extant LXX manuscripts date from that period, so they are much older than manuscripts of the Masoretic Text.

Today, there are three main manuscripts (uncials) of the Septuagint, in existence: Codex Alexandrinus, Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus. (See a summary here.) The manuscripts include all of the Tanakh and some additional apocryphal books that used to be in the Hebrew Bible, but were removed from it during the Talmudic period. All three codices have the clause "a body you have prepared" in Hebrews 10:5 (Hegg 98; Lane 88). Given the dates of extant Hebrew manuscripts it is apparent that Rabbi Akiva and the Masoretes deliberately changed some passages in the Hebrew text in reaction to their usage by Messianic believers to prove Yeshua is the Messiah.

For a definitive study of this subject see Barry Setterfield, The Alexandrian Septuagint History (March 2010). For more discussion on the practice of Rabbi Akiva and his successors of annulling Scripture passages when they conflicted with their own teachings see Daniel Gruber, Rabbinic Judaism: Uprooting the Scriptures.

6 in burnt offerings and offerings concerning sin you have not taken pleasure.

In burnt offerings: pl. of Grk. holokautōma (for Heb. olah, SH-5930, whole burnt offering), an offering completely consumed by fire. Some versions insert the adjective "whole" to emphasize that the entire carcass was burned. This offering, first mentioned in Genesis 8:20, and required of Israel in Leviticus 1:3-17, was a voluntary act of worship for atonement of unintentional sin in general; or an expression of devotion, commitment and complete surrender to God. The offering had to be an animal - bull, ram or male bird without defect.

and: Grk. kai, conj. offerings: The plural noun is presumed in this context. concerning: Grk. peri, prep. with an orientational aspect relating to being near or having to do with something. With the genitive case of the noun following the preposition means "about, concerning, with regard to, in reference to." sin: Grk. hamartia. See verse 2 above. While all the sacrificial offerings had an expiatory effect, two offerings pertained directly to atoning for sin:

● the sin offering, Heb. chatta'ah (SH-2403), sin or sin offering, Exodus 29:14; Leviticus 4:3 and often in Leviticus and Numbers. The sin offering was to be a young bull for the high priest and congregation; a male goat for a leader; a female goat or lamb for a common person; or a dove or pigeon for a poor person.

● the guilt or trespass offering, Heb. asham (SH-817), guilt, offense, trespass, trespass offering, Leviticus 5:6, and often in Leviticus and Numbers. The guilt offering was to be "a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat."

Paul used hamartia for "sin offering" a few times elsewhere (Rom 6:10; 8:3; 2Cor 5:21). These offerings provided atonement for specific unintentional sin, and involved confession of sin, forgiveness of sin and cleansing from defilement.

While the two types of sacrifices are mentioned in Psalm 40:6 the rest of the verse is not found there. you have not: Grk. ou, adv. taken pleasure: Grk. eudokeō, aor., may mean (1) consider beneficial and therefore worthy of choice, decide, resolve; or (2) take delight in or with something or someone, be delighted, be well pleased. The second meaning is intended here. Paul's choice of the verb eudokeō is purposeful. In the LXX eudokeō occurs about 60 times and generally translates Heb. ratsah (SH-7521), to take pleasure in, like, enjoy, first in Genesis 33:10 (DNTT 2:817).

Instead of completing the quotation of Psalm 40:6 Paul offers a midrashic commentary on God's attitude toward those sacrifices. McKee comments that this criticism does not mean God admitted it was a mistake to prescribe animal sacrifices, but He expressed disappointment that the Israelites abused the sacrificial system and the sacrifices lost their meaning. God was not interested in receiving animal sacrifices that were not offered with the proper penitential attitude. God never intended worship to be cost-free (cf. Ex 23:15; Deut 16:16; 2Sam 24:24), but He could take no pleasure from the sacrifices themselves when His people made little or no effort to stop sinning.

The fourth deficiency is that atonement by animal sacrifices was not what God really wanted and therefore He could take no pleasure in the sacrificial system.

7 Then I said, 'Behold, I come ─ in the scroll of the book it is written about me ─ to do, O God, your will.'"

Reference: Psalm 40:7-8.

Paul continues with a quotation from Psalm 40:7 LXX. Then: Grk. tote, temporal adv. that focuses on a time or circumstance that is closely associated with what precedes in the narrative; at that time, then, thereupon. I said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 5 above. The first person of the verb properly represents the voice of the Messiah. Behold: Grk. idou, aor. imp., demonstrative interjection that arouses the attention of hearers or readers; (you) see, look, behold (BAG). The Greek verb translates Heb. hinneh (SH-2009), lo, behold, which often serves to enliven divine monologues and narratives, particularly to invite closer consideration of something.

I come: Grk. hēkō, pres., with the sense of the perfect tense, have come, have arrived, am present. Kidner suggests the declaration is comparable to the consecration of Isaiah, "Here I am, send me" (178). in: Grk. en, prep. the scroll: Grk. kephalis, lit: "little head," then the knob at the end of the wooden core of a roll of papyrus, later a roll, volume, or division of a book. The noun occurs only here in the Besekh. In the LXX (e.g., Ezek 2:9; 3:1) and in literature influenced by it, kephalis denotes a scroll, the form of the book that was customary prior to the time when the use of the codex became fashionable (Lane).

of the book: Grk. biblion, a book, a scroll or a document. The noun is the diminutive form of biblos, derived from an older form bublos, which originally meant the papyrus plant, or its fibrous stem, that was exported to Greece through the port of Byblos in Syria where the plant was prepared. In the LXX biblion translates Heb. sēpher, which was used for anything that has been written, such as a scroll, book, writing, letter, diary, or a legal document. The "scroll of the book" likely refers to a written copy of the Torah.

it is written: Grk. graphō (for Heb. kathab, to write"), perf. pass., to write or inscribe as a physical act, generally in reference to a document. The phrase "it is written" is the standard formula in the Besekh for attesting an assertion of truth and divine inspiration of Scripture, normally followed by a quote from the Tanakh. about: Grk. peri, prep. See the previous verse. me: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. The rest of this verse quotes from Psalm 40:8 LXX with a slight change in word order.

David could make the claim that he is mentioned in the Torah by virtue of the prophecy of Jacob that the scepter and ruler's staff would not depart from the tribe of Judah (Gen 49:10) and the later prophecy that a "star" and "scepter" would come forth from Jacob (Num 24:17). On the lips of Yeshua these words are a fulfillment of the prophecy of Moses that a prophet like him would come, and Yeshua had declared that "Moses … wrote of me" (John 5:46; cf. Luke 24:27; Acts 3:22; 7:37) (Kidner 178).

to do: Grk. poieō (for Heb. asah, "to do or make"), aor. inf., a verb of physical action, which may mean (1) to produce something material or bring something into existence; or (2) to express by deeds the feelings and thoughts of the mind; act, do, perform (Thayer). The second meaning applies here. O God: Grk. ho theos (for Heb. Elohim), voc., properly, God, the Creator and owner of all things (John 1:1-3). Elohim (SH-430) is the one only and true God of Israel (BDB 42). In Hebrew thought the plural form of Elohim represents fullness, which excludes the possible existence of any other deity (Isa 44:6; 45:5-6; 46:9).

Both the LXX and MT insert the first person pronoun to read "O my God" with the direct address at the end of the verse. your: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person. will: Grk. thelēma (for Heb. ratson) may mean (1) that which is to be carried out according to wish or purpose, will; or (2) the act of willing, will or desire. The first meaning applies here. Yeshua repeatedly said that he came to do the Father's will (John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38-40; 8:28).

8 saying previously that, "Sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and offerings for sin You have not desired nor delighted in, which are offered according to the Torah,

Reference: Psalm 40:6.

saying: Grk. legō, pres. part. See verse 5 above. previously: Grk. anōteros, adj., in a higher place or relatively before in expression of something, used here of a place in a written document that is earlier; earlier, former, previously. that: Grk. hoti, conj. that serves as a link between two sets of data, here introducing a direct quotation and functioning as quotation marks. Sacrifices: pl. of Grk. thusia. See verse 1 above. and: Grk. kai, conj. offerings: pl. of Grk. prosphora. See verse 5 above. and: Grk. kai. burnt offerings: pl. of Grk. holokautōma. See verse 6 above. and: Grk. kai. offerings for sin: Grk. peri hamartia. See verse 6 above. All these terms apply to animal sacrifices.

You have not: Grk. ou, adv. desired: Grk. thelō, aor. See verse 5 above. nor: Grk. oude, adv., a negative marker, here linking a negative statement to a preceding statement in terms of explanation; not, not even, nor. delighted in: Grk. eudokeō, aor. See verse 6 above. which: Grk. hostis, relative pronoun used as a generalizing reference to the subject of a verb or a preceding entity; who, which. are offered: Grk. prospherō, pres. pass. See verse 1 above. according to: Grk. kata, prep. the Torah: Grk. nomos. See verse 1 above. Other passages in the Tanakh echo the sentiment of God not delighting in animal sacrifices:

"For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering." (Ps 51:16 NASU)

"What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?" says ADONAI. "I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle; and the blood of bulls, or lambs or goats I do not delight in." (Isa 1:11 BR)

21 "I hate, I despise your festivals! I take no delight in your sacred assemblies. 22 Even if you offer me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, nor will I look at peace offerings of your fattened animals." (Amos 5:21-22 TLV)

Lane suggests that the combination of the four terms for sacrificial offerings and the two negated verbs in Psalm 40:6 "serves to intensify an impression of the divine disdain for the cultic provisions of the Old Covenant." On the contrary "not delighting" does not equal disdain. God never acted contrary to His own will. He wanted animal sacrifices as a means of providing atonement, but more important to Him was a humble and obedience spirit among His people. God's displeasure was the result of disobedience of His will, as Samuel rebuked King Saul by saying,

"Does ADONAI delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of ADONAI? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay heed than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination and stubbornness is like iniquity and idolatry." (1Sam 15:22-23 TLV)

Hosea declared the distinction in God's attitude to the Kingdom of Israel:

"For I delight in loyalty and not sacrifice, knowledge of God more than burnt offerings." (Hos 6:6 TLV)

Micah repeated God's message to the Kingdom of Judah:

"7 Will ADONAI be pleased with thousands of rams, with hordes of rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my belly for the sin of my soul? 8 He has told you, humanity, what is good, and what ADONAI is seeking from you: Only to practice justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." (Mic 6:7-8 TLV)

Later God declared through Jeremiah,

"22 For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. 23 But this is what I commanded them, saying, 'Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you.'" (Jer 7:22-23 NASU)

The point in this passage is that God illustrated His priority by pointing out that His first instruction to Israel at the time of the exodus was to obey His commandments and statutes (Ex 15:26). The people, having heard the Ten Commandments and other divine statutes, affirmed their willingness to obey God's will (Ex 24:7). Only then did God direct Moses to institute the priesthood of Aaron (Ex 28:1) and to prescribe the requirement of a sin offering (Ex 29:14) and a twice-daily burnt offering (Ex 29:38).

9 then he added, "Behold, I have come to do your will;" He takes away the first that He might establish the second.

then: Grk. tote, adv. See verse 7 above. he added: Grk. legō, perf. See verse 5 above. The presumed subject of the verb is Yeshua. Paul repeats the quotation almost verbatim from verse 7 above. Behold: Grk. idou, aor. imp. I have come: Grk. hēkō, pres. to do: Grk. poieō, aor. inf. your: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person. will: Grk. thelēma. The declaration perhaps alludes to Yeshua's affirmation to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt 26:39).

He takes away: Grk. anaireō, pres., lit. "to take up," but used here in the sense of abolishing or abrogating an established custom (Thayer). The choice of the verb may be a word play since the verb is used in the apostolic narratives of taking the life of Yeshua (Luke 22:2; 23:32; Acts 2:23; 10:39; 13:28). the first: Grk. ho prōtos, adj., first, foremost, most important, principal. The adjective refers to the sacrifices required in the Sinai covenant, which is the theme of the previous eight verses.

In the LXX prōtos occurs initially in Genesis to translate Heb. echad (SH-259), one, first, with a temporal meaning (Gen 8:5), but then primarily to translate Heb. rishon (SH-7223), "first, former, chief" (BDB 911), which may convey (1) a temporal sense (Gen 8:15), (2) sequence or succession (Gen 32:17), (3) a spatial sense (Num 2:3), or (4) a description of rank or worth (1Sam 15:21) (DNTT 1:665). The second and fourth meanings have application here.

that: Grk. hina, conj. used to add an idea that completes an intention expressed; in order that, so that, that. He might establish: Grk. histēmi, aor. subj., may mean (1) cause to be in a place or position; or (2) be in an upright position, used of bodily posture. The first meaning applies here. the second: Grk. ho deuteros, adj., second, the other of two. "The second" refers to the better sacrifice of Yeshua, as confirmed in the next verse.

The fifth deficiency of the Levitical sacrificial system is that the order of Aaron could not bring about the sacrifice necessary to establish of the New Covenant.

The Sufficiency of Messiah, 10:10-18

10 By that will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Yeshua the Messiah once for all.

In this section Paul affirms that the Levitical priests have been superseded by the one priest enthroned at God‘s right hand and the adequacy of the provisions of the new covenant render a sacrifice for sins no longer necessary (Lane).

By: Grk. en, prep. that: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. will: Grk. thelēma. See verse 7 above. The phrase "by that will" alludes to the affirmation in verse 7 and 9 that Yeshua came to do the will of the Father. we are: Grk. eimi, pres., 1p-pl., to be, a function word used primarily to declare a state of existence, whether in the past ('was, were'), present ('are, is') or future ('will be'), often to unite a subject and predicate (BAG). sanctified: Grk. hagiazō (from hagios, "holy, "set apart"), pl. perf. pass. part. The perfect tense emphasizes the completed state.

The verb has a range of meaning: (1) to separate from things profane and dedicate to God, to consecrate; (2) to purify by expiation, free from the guilt of sin; or (3) to purify internally by reformation of soul. Thayer assigns the second meaning here. Lane interprets the verb here and in verse 14 as representing consecration. Zodhiates defines the verb as "to render clean in a moral sense," which is accomplished by the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:8-9; Rom 15:16; 2Th 2:13; 1Pet 1:2). The ground or authority for the Holy Spirit to sanctify is provided by the sacrifice of the Son of God.

In the LXX the hagiazō translates Heb. qadash (SH-6942), to set apart, hallow or consecrate, dedicate (BDB 872), first used in Genesis 2:3 of the seventh day. The Hebrew verb is used of (1) calendar events, such as Shabbat and festivals (Ex 20:11; 20:20); (2) persons, such as the firstborn (Ex 13:2), the Israelite people (Ex 19:14) and priests (Ex 28:3, 41); (3) places, such as Sinai (Ex 19:23), the worship sanctuary (Ex 29:44; 2Chr 30:8) and houses (Lev 27:14); and (4) objects, such as sacrifices (Ex 29:27), and contents of the sanctuary (Ex 29:37; 40:9-10).

The point of the verb in the Tanakh is that what has been sanctified belongs to God and no use can be contemplated that violates His will. The majority of versions translate the verb as "sanctified," but many others have "made holy." Stern says he avoided the word "sanctify" in the CJB because it seems archaic and removed from people's reality today (204). Consistent with Tanakh usage the verb reflects the pronouncement in Exodus 31:13, "YHVH says to Israel, 'I, YHVH, sanctify you,'" spoken in the context of commanding Israel to fulfill covenantal expectations. Just as the Son obeyed the will of the Father, so we are sanctified to obey the Son.

through: Grk. dia, prep. the offering: Grk. ho prosphora. See verse 5 above. The noun elevates what Pilate considered to be an execution to a sacred act. of the body: Grk. ho sōma. See verse 5 above. The clause "sanctified through the offering of the body" reflects the declaration of Yeshua in his high priestly prayer: "And for them I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth" (John 17:19).

of Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous, a transliteration of the Hebrew name Yeshua ("Jesus" in Christian Bibles). Yeshua is a contraction of the Hebrew name Y’hoshua ("Joshua"), which means "YHVH [the LORD] is salvation" (BDB 221). The meaning of his name is explained to Joseph by an angel of the Lord, "You shall call his name Yeshua, for he will save his people from their sins" (Matt 1:21). The English translation of "Jesus" originated with the Mace New Testament in 1729. For more information on the meaning our Lord's name, his identity, and the history of translation of the name see my web article Who is Yeshua?

the Messiah: Grk. Christos (from chriō, "to anoint with olive oil"), the expected fulfiller of the hopes of Israel for an end-time deliverer, the Anointed One or Messiah. Christos is a royal title, not a last name. This is the ninth mention of "Messiah" in this letter. Jewish translators of the LXX chose Christos to translate Heb. Mashiach (SH-4899), "Anointed One," and in the Tanakh Mashiach is used for the Messiah (Ps 2:2; Dan 9:25-26). Jewish anticipation of the Messiah was grounded in the future hope expressed by the Hebrew prophets of one who would come to deliver and rule as God's anointed king. For more discussion of the Jewish hope and expectation of the Messiah see my article The Messiah.

once for all: Grk. ephapax, adv., once, once for all, opposite of repeatedly. The adverb excludes the possibility of any further occurrence. The adverb refers to the unique and definitive offering of the body of Yeshua (Lane). The application is universal ("for all") given the context of sacrifice. McKee comments that verses 9-10 once again confirm the rightful transfer of the Levitical priesthood and animal sacrifices to Yeshua's priesthood and final sacrifice, inaugurating the era of the New Covenant.

11 And indeed every priest stands every day serving, and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which never are able to take away sins.

Reference: Exodus 29:38.

And: Grk. kai, conj. indeed: Grk. mén, conj., a particle of affirmation; indeed, verily, truly. Many versions don't translate the conjunction. every: Grk. pas, adj., comprehensive in scope, but without statistical emphasis; all, every, the whole. priest: Grk. hiereus (from hieros, "sacred"), person who offers sacrifice to a deity at a place of worship and in general is occupied with sacred rites; priest. In the LXX hiereus translates Heb. kohen (SH-3548), priest, first in Genesis 14:18 in reference to Melchizedek. Here hiereus denotes the priest on duty in accordance with the assigned rota (cf. Luke 1:5, 8).

stands: Grk. histēmi, pres. See verse 9 above. The verb notes that priests perform their duties in a standing posture. every: Grk. kata, prep. See verse 1 above. day: Grk. hēmera, day, may refer to (1) the daylight hours from sunrise to sunset, (2) the civil or legal day that included the night, (3) an appointed day for a special purpose or (4) a longer or imprecise period, such as a timeframe for accomplishing something or a time of life or activity (BAG). The first meaning applies here. In the LXX hēmera translates Heb. yom (SH-3117), day, first in Genesis 1:5. The temporal reference contrasts with "every year" in verse 1 above and alludes to the continual priestly activity at the sanctuary.

serving: Grk. leitourgeō, pres. part., to minister in an official capacity, especially on behalf of the congregation. Here the verb refers to performing sacerdotal duties at the sanctuary. In the LXX leitourgeō is used about 100 times for Heb. sharath (SH-8334), minister or serve, almost exclusively for the service of priests and Levites in the temple, particularly in Exodus and Numbers. In late Judaism, especially as it was developed in the synagogue, and in the Diaspora, there is a gradual spiritualizing of this concept of service, especially in the interpretation of prayer as "sacrifice" (cf. Wisdom 18:21; Heb 13:15) (DNTT 3:551f).

and: Grk. kai. offering: Grk. prospherō, pres. part. See verse 1 above. repeatedly: Grk. pollakis, adv., frequently, often, many times. the same: Grk. ho autos, personal pronoun, 3p-pl. sacrifices: pl. of Grk. thusia. See verse 1 above. This clause alludes to the Torah instruction: "Now this is what you are to offer upon the altar: two one-year-old lambs, each day, continually" (Ex 29:38 TLV). The marvel of the sacrificial program of the Sinai covenant is that God provided sufficient animals to conduct the daily, weekly, monthly and annual sacrifices for centuries.

Paul then repeats the axiomatic statement of verse 4. which: Grk. hostis, relative pronoun. never: Grk. oudepote, adv. See verse 1 above. are able: Grk. dunamai, pres. pass. See verse 1 above. Paul notes again the limitation of sacrifices with which he began the chapter. to take away: Grk. periaireō (from peri, "around" and haireomai, "to take, choose"), aor. inf., take something away that is around or attached to something; remove, take away. The prep peri in the compound verb has perfective force, "to take away altogether, to remove utterly." The aor tense expresses finality (Robertson).

Even though Paul repeats the axiom from verse 4 the choice of periaireō, given its use elsewhere in the Besekh (Acts 27:20, 40; 2Cor 3:16), seems unusual. Hegg, however, notes that periaireō is not used by the LXX to translate the Hebrew verbs normally associated with "forgiving" sin. Since periaireō is normally used in the LXX in a context where physical objects are removed (for Heb. sur, Gen 38:14, 19; 41:42; Ex 8:8), Paul may have chosen the verb to present a more graphic expression of the axiom.

sins: pl. of Grk. hamartia. See verse 2 above. The removal of sins in the Levitical sacrificial program was only a legal action of God removing the penalty for sinning and removing defilement from the sanctuary. The sacrifices provided no personal internal reformation or cleansing of the conscience. In addition, the sacrifice of the animal provided expiation for only that day, so the sacrifice had to be continually repeated for the sins that continued to be committed.

12 But this One having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God,

Reference: Psalm 110:1.

But: Grk. de, conj., used here for contrast. this One: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. The pronoun refers back to Yeshua the Messiah in verse 10. having offered: Grk. prospherō, aor. part. See verse 1 above. The aorist tense affirms that the sacrifice of Yeshua is finished and complete, never again to be offered. The present tense employed by a few versions (CSB, DRA, GNB, PHILLIPS) misconstrues the meaning. This errant translation opens the door to the idea that Yeshua is continually offering Himself as a sacrifice for sin, something which connects to the Roman Catholic mass, a practice entirely contrary to the point here (Hegg).

one: Grk. heis, the numeral one. Some versions have "single" (CJB, ESV, MSG, NLT, NRSV, RSV, TLV). sacrifice: Grk. thusia. See verse 1 above. for: Grk. huper, prep., lit. "over, above," used to express a stance of concern or interest relating to someone or something. With the genitive case of the pronoun following the preposition here stresses causation, "for the sake of." sins: pl. of Grk. hamartia. See verse 2 above. Paul affirms again that Yeshua died as a sin offering, which occurred on Pesach instead of Yom Kippur (1Cor 5:7). The context of Passover emphasizes deliverance from death, which is the judgment on sin (Rom 6:23).

for: Grk. eis, prep., lit. "into." all time: Grk. diēnekēs. See verse 1 above. The sacrifice of Yeshua never had to be repeated. Paul then alludes to fulfillment of the prophecy of Psalm 110:1. Psalm 110, which occurs in Book 5 of the Psalms, is typically classified as a royal psalm due to the mention of installing the King of Israel, as well as Messianic due to it prominent usage in the Besekh in reference to Yeshua (Matt 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42-43; Acts 2:34-35; Heb 1:13; 5:6, 10; 7:17, 21).

Psalm 110 makes two divine declarations, the first ("Sit at my right hand") in verse one and the second ("You are a priest forever") in verse 4. The first declaration is applied here. Three distinct persons are involved in the psalm: (1) YHVH, the speaker, (2) David, the recipient of the message, and (3) one whom David calls "my Lord" and whom he understands to be his sovereign, the one to whom he must submit (Kaiser 94). The finality of Yeshua's sacrifice is confirmed by his next action.

sat down: Grk. kathizō, aor., to sit, to take one's seat. at: Grk. en, prep. the right hand: Grk. dexios, right as a direction or location, used of a bodily member or a location within a structure or in relation to a structure. In the LXX dexios translates Heb. yamin (SH-3225), "right hand," first in Genesis 13:9. Many versions have the anthropomorphic translation of "right hand." Mention of "the right hand" is an important motif in the Tanakh to refer to the saving and supportive power of God (Ex 15:6, 12; Ps 16:8; 17:7; 18:35; 60:5; 63:8; 89:13; 98:1; 108:6; 118:15-16; 138:7; 139:10; Isa 41:10).

of God: Grk. ho theos. See verse 7 above. Yeshua had prophesied to the ruling council that he would be seated at the right hand of God (Luke 22:69) and the apostles recorded that accomplishment several times in the Besekh (Mark 16:19; Acts 2:33; 5:31; 7:55-56; Rom 8:34; Eph 1:20; Col 3:1; Heb 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1Pet 3:22). To sit at the right hand of the king was a mark of the highest honor (cf. 1Kgs 2:19; Matt 20:20-21; John 13:23). Sitting does not imply inactivity since Yeshua has a continual ministry of intercession on behalf of God's people (Rom 8:34).

13 waiting henceforth until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.

Reference: Psalm 110:1.

Paul continues the allusion to the first divine declaration in Psalm 110:1. waiting: Grk. ekdechomai, pres. mid. part., to wait for someone or some thing, here the latter. henceforth: Grk. ho loipos, adj., remaining of what's left, used here in a temporal sense; for the future, from now on, henceforth, hereafter. Some versions have "from/since that time" (AMP, ESV, GW, ISV, NASU, NIV, NKJV). The adjective marks the time from when Yeshua ascended to Heaven. until: Grk. heōs, conj., a marker of limit, here of time; till, until.

his: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. enemies: pl. of Grk. echthros, adj., (for Heb. oyeb, SH-341, an enemy or foe), someone openly hostile or inimical toward another, properly an enemy. The term implies irreconcilable hostility, proceeding out of a "personal" hatred bent on inflicting harm (HELPS). In normal usage the term may refer to opponents in military conflict or to personal enemies. In the context of Psalm 110 "your enemies" can mean the enemies of David, but in its prophetic foretelling they are the enemies of the Son-Messiah. Messiah's enemies are those that deny his authority over their lives (Luke 19:27).

should be made: Grk. tithēmi, aor. pass. subj. a footstool: Grk. hupopodion, a device for supporting one's feet when in a sitting position, footstool, footrest. In the LXX of this verse hupopodion translates Heb. hadom (SH-1916), a stool or footstool, used in the psalm to denote conquest of enemies of the Messianic king by the agency of YHVH. In regular usage the term referred to a constructed item of furniture. for his: Grk. autos. feet: pl. of Grk. ho pous (for Heb. regel, foot), the body part that is used for walking or running; the foot.

The history of footstools has been dated to ancient Egypt (3200 B.C.) and were typically used by kings that sat on high thrones. The footstool of Tutankhyhahymin of Egypt was carved with pictures of his enemies. Other Pharaohs were portrayed with their feet on their enemies' heads ("Footstool," HBD). The declaration of the psalm alludes to the practice of conquerors who placed their feet on the necks of their defeated enemies (Thayer; cf. Josh 10:24). The word picture represents total dominion (HELPS).

David's prophecy indicates that there would be a considerable space of time between the Messiah assuming his place at the right hand of God and the last day of the present age when the Messiah achieves his complete victory (cf. Matt 26:64; Rom 16:20; Heb 10:11-13). Yeshua confirmed this lengthy period to his disciples (Matt 24:36-42; Acts 1:6-7). That day of the Messiah will surely come and make an end of the enemies of Israel (Isa 13:9; 42:13; Ezek 30:3; Mic 5:9; Obad 1:15; Zeph 2:3; 3:15; Zech 12:9; Matt 26:64; Luke 1:71, 74; Rom 16:20; 2Th 1:6-11). All people and human systems will then be placed in subjection to the Messiah (1Cor 15:25, 27; Php 2:10; Heb 2:8).

14 For by one offering he has perfected for all time those being sanctified.

In this verse Paul emphasizes the decisive character of the finished sacrifice of Yeshua. For: Grk. gar, conj. by one: Grk. heis, adj. See verse 12 above. offering: Grk. prosphora. See verse 5 above. he has perfected: Grk. teleioō, perf. See verse 1 above. The verbal clause emphasizes that the perfecting power to cleanse the conscience was unleashed by Yeshua's sacrifice (cf. 9:14). for: Grk. eis, prep. all time: Grk. diēnekēs. See verse 1 above. The effectiveness of the offering continues without needing to be repeated.

those: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. being sanctified: Grk. hagiazō, pres. pass. part. See verse 10 above. The benefit of perfecting power accrues to the beneficiaries of God's favor, those who are wholly His. Paul previously established that such perfection was not achieved through the Levitical priesthood (7:11, 19; 9:9; 10:1). The present tense can have a dual application. First, the present tense points to the future to extend the perfecting power of Yeshua's sacrificial offering to all that shall ever call on the name of the Lord (Acts 2:39).

Second, the present tense affirms that sanctification is a continual process of conforming the individual disciple to the will of God. While sanctification has a starting point it also requires the continued "renewal of the mind (Rom 12:2) to develop fully in the personality. Life also includes many decision points at which the disciple must again affirm his commitment to do the will of God and receive the empowerment of the Spirit to put God's will into practice.

Additional Note on "Sanctify"

Scripture affirms frequently that God wants His people to be holy (i.e., wholly His). The command to be holy was a requirement for all the "sons of Israel" (Ex 22:31; 30:29; Lev 19:2; 20:2, 7; Lev 21:6; Num 15:40; Deut 7:6; 14:21; 28:9). To be holy meant separation from all that is profane. While being holy and being righteous are synonymous in some things they may be distinguished by the difference between the two great commandments to love. Being holy means to love God first and being righteous means to love one's neighbor. In the Ten Commandments holiness is associated with the first four commands and righteousness with the remainder of those commands.

God expects there to be a marked difference between His people and the world. The Torah requirement for holiness is echoed in the apostolic letters (Rom 6:19; 2Cor 7:1; Eph 1:4; 4:24; 5:27; Col 1:22; 1Th 3:13; 4:3, 7; Heb 12:10, 14; 1Pet 1:15-16; 2:9; 2Pet 3:11; Jude 1:20). According to the teaching of the apostles, holiness is both a state of belonging wholly to God and a goal of being transformed into the image of God's Son (John 17:17; Rom 8:29). Sanctification is freedom from a sinning lifestyle (Rom 6:19-22; cf. Luke 1:74-75) made possible by a spiritual cleansing of the heart by the Holy Spirit accomplished in those trusting in Yeshua for salvation (cf. Acts 2:38; 11:15-17; 15:9; 19:1-6; Rom 6:22; 2Th 2:13).

There has been much discussion among Christians, and not a little debate, regarding the degree to which a person is made holy and when it happens. Wesleyan theologians are quick to point out that being sanctified entirely (1Th 5:23) does not make one as pure as God, as perfect as the angels or as innocent as Adam and Eve before they sinned. Moreover, all disciples make mistakes or fall short of the glory of God due to human imperfection (Rom 3:23; Jas 3:2). Yet, sanctification, or being separated to God, is necessary to become a fully "actualized" disciple. The chief impediment to sanctification is the self-will acting contrary to the interests of God.

The promise of the New Covenant is that God's people would be empowered to obey His commandments (verse 16 below). Too many believers fail to become sanctified disciples because they are unwilling to obey all that God commands. Some Christians associate holiness with legalism, but being holy in this life is not a matter of developing a personal list of rules or building a resume of good works. Sanctification means consecrating oneself or transferring the ownership of one's life to God and allowing God through the Holy Spirit to empower full obedience (cf. Acts 1:8; Rom 12:1; 15:16; Titus 3:5).

In any event, it is reasonable to assume that the God of grace will complete whatever may be lacking in the faithful believer on the great day of the Messiah's appearing and the resurrection. The completion of sanctification at the resurrection may be inferred from some passages (1Th 3:12-13; 1Pet 4:1; 1Jn 3:2; Rev 22:11). Being sanctified does not mean that the disciple will never commit another sin, but that by being single-mindedly devoted to pleasing God, the disciple's life will demonstrate a moral character that conforms to God's commandments.

We should note, however, that while the apostles were holy disciples (2Cor 1:12; Eph 3:5), none of them had the temerity of Job to assert unequivocal blamelessness before God (Job 13:3; 27:5f; cf. Paul's humility in 1Cor 4:4). Personal testimonies of early disciples are appropriately modest in the face of God's holiness, a lesson all disciples should take to heart (cf. Matt 8:8; John 1:27; Acts 10:25-26; Php 3:8-15; 1Tim 1:12-16).

15 Now the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after having said,

Now: Grk. de, conj. the Holy: Grk. ho Hagios, adj., consecrated, set apart or sanctified by or for God and therefore different; holy, hallowed and when used of God worthy of reverence. In the LXX hagios translates Heb. qadosh (SH-6918), which means separate, sacred, holy. Qadosh is first used of God in Leviticus 11:44. Spirit: Grk. ho Pneuma (for Heb. ruach, Resh-Vav-Chet), wind, breath or spirit; here referring to the Holy Spirit.

In Scripture "holy" is only used as an adjective of "spirit" to refer to the Holy Spirit. "Holy Spirit" is not the title of a separate being, because God is Spirit (John 4:24). The specific name "Holy Spirit" occurs only three times in the Tanakh (Ps 51:11; Isa 63:10, 11). The Holy Spirit is identified by three other forms in the Tanakh (Ruach Elohim, Gen 1:2; Ruach YHVH, Jdg 3:10; and Ruach Adonai YHVH, Isa 61:1). Of interest is that the Greek word order here ("to Pneũma to Hagion") imitates Hebrew word order.

also: Grk. kai, conj. bears witness: Grk. martureō, pres., to attest or testify to a fact or truth; bear witness, or testify. In the LXX martureō occurs only 17 times: first for the Hebrew construction "this is a witness" to denote the commemorative function of a monument (Gen 31:48, 52), and then for legal testimony (Heb. anah, to answer, respond; Num 35:30; Deut 19:15, 18; 31:21) (DNTT 3:1041). An important ministry of the Holy Spirit is revealing and testifying of truth (Luke 2:26; John 14:26; Acts 20:23; 21:11; Rom 8:16; 1John 5:6).

to us: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person. The plural pronoun refers to the covenant people Israel to whom the New Covenant was given. for: Grk. gar, conj. after: Grk. meta, prep. with a root meaning of "in the midst of" (DM 107), may be used (1) as a marker of association; with, among; or (2) as a sequential marker; after, behind. The second usage is intended here. having said: Grk. legō, perf. inf. See verse 2 above. The verb is used here to introduce a quotation from the Tanakh. Paul confidently asserts that the following Scripture, as all the Scriptures, was inspired of the Holy Spirit (cf. 2Tim 3:16; 2Pet 1:20-21).

16 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says ADONAI: putting my laws on their hearts, and I will write them on their minds,"

Reference: Jeremiah 31:33 (LXX/MT).

Paul now quotes from Jeremiah 31:33 with substantially the same syntax as his quotation in Hebrews 8:10. See my commentary there. This is: Grk. houtos (for Heb. zoth), demonstrative pronoun. the covenant: Grk. ho diathēkē (from diatithēmi, "to set out in order"), a formal agreement having complete terms determined by the initiating party, which also are fully affirmed by the one entering the agreement (HELPS). The noun occurs 33 times in the Besekh, over half (17) in Hebrews, which makes it an important theme. The term here refers to the New Covenant.

In the LXX diathēkē occurs 270 times and almost always translates Heb. b'rit (SH-1285), pact, compact, or covenant (BDB 136), used first in Genesis 6:18 of God's covenant with Noah and subsequently in the Tanakh of God's covenants with named individuals (Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Aaron, and David) and the nation of Israel. See my article The Everlasting Covenants. Hughes points out that the decision to use diathēkē relied on three points of criteria (30f). First, the Greek term had to have an almost exclusive legal usage since b'rit was founded upon legal precepts. Second, the term had to designate a relationship inaugurated, defined and controlled by one party.

Third, the term had to designate a unilaterally enacted relation defined by certain laws and which may result in certain benefits for the inferior party. The Jewish translators of the LXX might have used sunthēkē, which only means an agreement, but as Hughes notes, sunthēkē did not define a relationship in which a superior party exercised control over the welfare of an inferior party. Zodhiates also says that diathēkē was chosen because there was no better word available to express the Hebrew idea of a irrevocable disposition made by God of His own gracious choice to secure a religious inheritance to His chosen people.

Each of the divine covenants also set forth specific expectations, duration and a sign or perpetual reminder of the covenant. Thus, b'rit refers to a declaration of God's will, not the result of an agreement between two parties. The divine covenant was "with" a beneficiary only in the sense of their being chosen by God. The participation of the "one chosen" was to accept it or reject it and then upon acceptance to obey its expectations.

that: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. I will make: Grk. diatithēmi, fut. mid., to appoint, arrange or make. The preposition dia intensifies the meaning of the verb tithēmi to denote an arranging which effectively accomplishes the objective at hand (HELPS). In the Besekh the verb is first used of appointing the apostles as judges over the twelve tribes (Luke 22:29). Then, the verb is used of the covenant God made with the patriarchs (Acts 3:25) and here in Hebrews of enacting the New Covenant.

In the LXX diatithēmi translates Heb. karath (SH-3772), to cut, cut off, cut down or make a covenant (BDB 503). In ancient times establishing a covenant with God involved a ritual of cutting up and distributing sacrificial animals (Gen 15:18; Ex 24:8; Deut 4:23; 5:2; 9:9; 29:1; Ps 50:5; Jer 31:31; 34:18: Heb 9:16-17).

with: Grk. pros, prep., lit. "near, facing" (DM 110), to, towards, with. Here the preposition denotes the relation or close connection entered (or to be entered) into by one person with another. them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. The pronoun refers to Israel and Judah (Jer 31:31). after: Grk. meta, prep. See the previous verse. those: pl. of Grk. ekeinos, demonstrative pronoun typically used to refer to a noun (person or thing) immediately preceding in the Greek text; that, that one there. days: pl. Grk. hēmera. See verse 11 above. Here the plural noun refers to a prophesied period of time.

The temporal reference "after those days" naturally raises the question, "what days?" The prophecy in Jeremiah announced that the "days are coming" when God would make a New Covenant with Israel (Jer 31:31). The New Covenant was enacted coincidental with the sacrificial death of Yeshua, as represented in the Lord's Supper (Luke 22:20; 1Cor 11:25). Thus, the preposition "after" points to an important event that occurred following the making of the New Covenant. says: Grk. legō, pres. See verse 5 above. The verb introduces a quotation.

ADONAI: Grk. kurios may mean either (1) 'one in control through possession,' and therefore owner or master; or (2) 'one esteemed for authority or high status,' thus lord or master. The second meaning applies here. In the LXX kurios occurs over 9,000 times, the great majority of times to replace Heb. YHVH (SH-3068) (DNTT 2:511). Kurios is not translation of YHVH, but an interpretative substitution that encompassed all that the Hebrew text implied by use of the divine name. In fact, the oldest LXX manuscript fragments have YHVH written in Hebrew characters in the Greek text. See my article The Blessed Name.

Paul now reverses the order of the verbal clauses as found in Jeremiah 31:33 and his quotation of the passage in Hebrews 8:10, with the two clauses functioning as a synonymous parallelism. putting: Grk. didōmi, pres. part., generally to give something to someone, often with the focus on generosity; offer, give, put, place. In the LXX didōmi translates Heb. nathan (SH-5414), to give, put or set, with a wide range of meaning (DNTT 2:41). The Hebrew verb is a Qal perfect denoting a decisive and completed act. my: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. laws: pl. of Grk. nomos. See verse 1 above.

Note that ADONAI says "my laws," not "laws of Moses." Moses did not invent the laws given to Israel and the laws of God cannot be annulled by man! The phrase "my laws" refers to commandments and statutes governing behavior and decreed by God from the beginning (Gen 26:5; Ex 15:26). Noteworthy is that the Hebrew noun is singular, whereas the Greek noun is plural. The use of the plural "laws" may have been intended to emphasize the separate codes that make up the body of commandments and statutes in the Torah. The passage does contain an implied contrast between laws written on stone tablets and laws written in their minds.

on: Grk. epi, prep., lit. "upon," used primarily as a marker of position or location. The Hebrew text has the prepositional prefix b, which means "in." Like the Grk. preposition en, so also epi with the genitive pronoun following is used after verbs expressing motion to indicate the rest following the motion (Thayer). their: pl. of Grk. autos. hearts: pl. of Grk. kardia, the pumplike organ of blood circulation, used here fig. of selfhood or the combination of character, emotion, intelligence and the will. In the LXX kardia translates Heb. leb (SH-3820), inner man, mind, heart, will (BDB 523f). This prophecy was fulfilled on Pentecost, A.D. 30 (cf. Acts 2:1-4; 15:9).

and: Grk. kai. I will write: Grk. epigraphō, fut., to write upon, inscribe, or imprint a mark on. In the LXX epigraphō translates Heb. kathab (SH-3789), to write, used generally of writing or recording words on a tablet, scroll or book (BDB 507). The Hebrew verb is a Qal imperfect denoting continuous action into the future. them: pl. of Grk. autos. The plural pronoun refers back to "my laws." on: Grk. epi. their: pl. of Grk. autos. minds: pl. of Grk. dianoia, mental process relating to options for behavior, with focus on intention or purpose; mind, disposition or understanding.

In the LXX dianoia translates Heb. qereb (SH-7130), inward part of man, here as the seat of thought and emotion (BDB 899). The "writing" is accomplished by the Holy Spirit as prophesied by Ezekiel:

"26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances." (Ezek 36:26-27)

17 and, "I will not remember their sins and their lawless deeds any more."

Reference: Jeremiah 31:34 (LXX/MT).

The context of the quotation in this verse is Jeremiah 31:34, which is quoted in full in Hebrews 8:11-12:

"And they will not teach each his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know ADONAI,' because all will know me, from their least to their greatest," says ADONAI, "because I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and their sins I will not remember any more." (LXX BR)

Only the last clause of Jeremiah 31:34 is quoted. and: Grk. kai, conj. I will not: Grk. ou, adv. See verse 1 above. The particle ou is combined with , adv., a particle of qualified negation that rules out any implications that could be involved with what should (could, would) apply (HELPS). It differs from the negative particle, , in that is objective, dealing only with facts, while is subjective, involving will and thought (DM 265). The combination of the two negative particles, lit. "not not," is the strongest negation possible.

remember: Grk. mimnēskomai, fut. pass., to call something to mind that one has noted or thought about in the past; recollect, remember. In the LXX mimnēskomai translates Heb. zakar (SH-2142), remember, recall, call to mind (BDB 269). their: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. sins: pl. of Grk. ho hamartia (for Heb. chatta'ah). See verse 2 above. It is important to remember that "sin" as a behavior is a violation of God's recorded laws, regardless of intention, not man-made customs and traditions.

Paul then adds a phrase not found in the Jeremiah text, perhaps alluding to the "iniquities" that will receive mercy. and: Grk. kai. their: pl. of Grk. autos. lawless deeds: pl. of Grk. ho anomia (from the negative particle "alpha" and nomos, "law"), may refer either to (1) a state or condition of opposition to the plans and purposes of God or (2) action or product of a lawless mindset. In the LXX anomia primarily translates Heb. avon (SH-5771), iniquity, guilt or punishment for iniquity (BDB 730), often referring to serious transgression or wickedness, first for the sexual perversity of Sodom (Gen 19:15). The word for iniquity in Jeremiah 31:34 is avon.

The term anomia is the equivalent of Torah-lessness or living contrary to Torah commands. The range of meaning that anomia represents in the LXX includes acts that God considers to be abominations, and the worst forms of wickedness, including treachery, rebellion, injustice, violence, and destruction. Unlike the atonement provided in the Sinai covenant in which only unintentional sins were forgiven, the New Covenant extends God's mercy to capital crimes that previously required the death penalty (Acts 13:38-39; Heb 8:12).

any more: Grk. eti, adv. expressing continuance of an action or circumstance. Used with the negative here the Greek phrase means "anymore" or "any longer." The negative promise, also announced in other prophets (Isa 43:25; Ezek 18:22; 33:16), is based on the reality that God does remember unrepentant sins committed by His people (Jer 14:10; 44:21; Ezek 21:24; Hos 7:2; 8:13; 9:9). The promise does not imply that the omniscient God develops amnesia, but rather affirms the legal principle that once forgiven, the person will not again be charged with the sins of the past. The negative promise is contingent on repentance (cf. Isa 1:27;30:15; Ezek 18:21, 32; 36:31).

NOTE: The thoroughness of God's forgiveness is perhaps the most difficult of the spiritual virtues to develop in the hearts of believers. C.S. Lewis once said, "Every one says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive" (Mere Christianity, Macmillan, 1952; p. 104).

18 Now where forgiveness of these is, there is no longer an offering for sin.

Now: Grk. de, conj. where: Grk. hopou (from hos, "which, that" and pou, "somewhere, where"), adv. of place or circumstance, here the latter; in which place, where. forgiveness: Grk. aphesis (from aphiēmi, "send away, release, forgive"), a letting go, a sending away, release from an obligation or debt, pardon, forgiveness. Here the noun is used of the remission of the penalty for sin (e.g., Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38; 10:43; 13:38). In the LXX aphesis occurs at least 50 times and translates six different words (DNTT 1:698). Of significance is that 22 times aphesis translates Heb. yobel (SH-3104), 50th year, jubilee (mainly in Leviticus 25 and 27).

This use of aphesis for "jubilee" indicates that the term represents freedom from debt and slavery, which is the basis for the use of the verb aphiēmi by Yeshua (Matt 6:12; 18:27; Luke 11:4). Only once in the LXX does aphesis appear in the sense of forgiveness (Lev 16:26) and there without Hebrew equivalent. In that passage the releasing of the scapegoat into the wilderness on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), is an acted out parable of sins being sent away from the people, thus releasing them from the penalty that sinning deserves (cf. Gen 50:17; Ex 10:17; 32:32; 34:7; Num 14:19; Josh 24:19; 1Sam 25:28).

of these is: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. The plural pronoun alludes to the mention of "sins and lawless deeds" in the previous verse. there is no longer: Grk. ouketi, adv. of cessation of an activity or condition; no further, no longer, no more. an offering: Grk. prosphora. See verse 5 above. for: Grk. peri, prep. See verse 6 above. sin: Grk. hamartia. See verse 2 above. With the finished offering of Yeshua no further sacrifice is necessary, since his offering provides atonement for all transgressions into the indefinite future.

The New and Living Way, 10:19-25

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, having confidence for the entering of the Most Holy Place by the blood of Yeshua,

Lane points out that verse 19 introduces a long and involved sentence that extends through verse 25 (111). Long and complex sentences are characteristic of Paul's letter to the Roman congregation. Bible versions have broken up the lengthy sentence out of consideration for English style. Paul engages here in a series of three exhortations.

Therefore: Grk. oun, an inferential conj., which is used here to indicate a conclusion connected with the sufficiency of the Savior's sacrifice set forth in the preceding section; "so, therefore, consequently, then." brothers and sisters: pl. of Grk. adelphos, voc., lit. "of the same womb," a male sibling; brother. In the Besekh the term primarily refers to blood siblings or fellow Israelites who are of the same blood by virtue of descent from Jacob. In the LXX adelphos translates Heb. ach (SH-251), a male sibling (Gen 4:2; 20:5), a near blood relative (Gen 13:8), a member of the same tribe (Num 16:10) or a fellow descendent of Jacob (Ex 2:11; 4:18).

The direct address of "adelphoi" certainly stresses the Jewish constituency of the congregations. Given the hortatory nature of the following appeal the plural noun would also stress the collective sense of "brothers and sisters," including Gentiles, given that Paul is addressing the entire constituency of the congregations. A number of versions translate the plural noun as "brothers and sisters" (CEB, CSB, ERV, EXB, GW, NOG, NASB-2020, NCV, NET, NIV, NLT, NRSVUE, TLV).

having: Grk. echō, pl. pres. part. See verse 1 above. confidence: Grk. parrēsia, freedom, openness, especially in speech. The noun has a focus here on assurance in a relationship that presupposes communication; boldness, confidence. This attitude is the opposite of fear and trembling. Lane notes that in practical terms the word means "authorization." for: Grk. eis, prep. the entering: Grk. ho eisodos, 'a going in,' the act of arriving on the scene, entry, entrance. of the Most Holy Place: neut. pl. of Grk. ho hagios, lit. "the holies." See verse 15 above.

The neuter plural of the Greek term is used in the LXX of the "Holy of Holies" in the mishkan (Ex 26:33) and Solomon's temple (2Chr 3:8). In this letter the plural noun is used of the holiest place in heaven in which the Son performs his ministry (8:2; 9:12) and here symbolically represents the presence of God (Guthrie). The by: Grk. en, prep. the blood: Grk. ho haima. See verse 4 above. of Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous. See verse 10 above. The blood mentioned here refers to the shedding of Yeshua's blood as a result of scourging and crucifixion.

Paul had previously commented on the importance of confidence in Messiah (3:6; 4:16). He now affirms that based on what Yeshua the Messiah has done for his people there is no reason not to approach God with confidence. Previously approaching the most holy place was reserved for the priests, but since God intended for Israel to be a kingdom of priests (Ex 19:6), then Yeshua's sacrifice has elevated all faithful disciples into that status (cf. 1Pet 2:5). All the brethren share in the heavenly call.

20 which he dedicated for us a new and living way through the curtain, this is his body,

which: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. The pronoun refers back to the mention of "blood" in the previous verse. he dedicated: Grk. egkainizō (from en, "in" and kainizō, "make fresh, new"), aor., focus on the opening of a new way; consecrate, dedicate, inaugurate, initiate, institute. In the LXX egkainizō translates Heb. chanak (SH-2596), to dedicate in regarding to a formal opening (Deut 20:5; 1Sam 11:14; 1Kgs 8:53) (Zodhiates). for us: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person, referring to the covenant people. a new: Grk. prosphatos, adj., newly or recently made or something fresh. The term has both a temporal and qualitative nuance (Lane).

and: Grk. kai, conj. living: Grk. zaō, pres. part., be in the state of being physically alive. way: Grk. hodos, with the focus on the concept of going the word typically has the sense of a route for traveling, hence a way, a road or a highway. Then, hodos is used fig. of the way or expectation of God defining manner of life or how something is to be done (Matt 22:16; Acts 13:10; 18:25). In the LXX hodos occurs frequently and is used to translate 18 different Hebrew words, but mostly Heb. derek (SH-1070), a way, road, or journey (Ps 1:6) (DNTT 3:937).

The "new and living way" could be an allusion to the description of the Yeshua movement as "The Way," of which Paul was a leading spokesman (Acts 24:14). "The Way" was certainly new in terms of time, the Yeshua movement being only thirty-two years old at the writing of this letter. "The Way" has a dual meaning, the way of salvation (Acts 16:17) and the way of life (Acts 2:28). As Peter affirmed to Jewish leaders there is no other way to be saved than through Yeshua (Acts 4:12). The way of Yeshua was also new in its "light yoke" and freedom from legalism (Matt 11:30; Acts 15:10). In this sense, the "new and living way" is the way to abundant life (John 10:10).

Hegg views the newness in terms of Yeshua being the heavenly High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, and offering Himself as the sacrifice, and interceding for His people in the heavenly rather than the earthly tabernacle (118). Further, the priest after the order of Melchizedek must have an indestructible life (Heb 7:16), meaning that He is eternal. Yeshua, living forever, is therefore always able to bear the burdens of His people before the throne of God.

through: Grk. dia, prep. See verse 2 above. the curtain: Grk. ho katapetasma, that which is spread out downwards, that which hangs down, a curtain, which alludes to the inner veil of the mishkan. In the LXX katapetasma translates two Heb. terms: (1) paroket (SH-6532), the partition between the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place (Ex 26:31, 33); (2) masak (SH-4539), a covering, screen, used of the curtain that screened the outside entrance or doorway to the Holy Place (Ex 40:5). this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. See verse 3 above. is: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 10 above.

his: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. body: Grk. ho sarx, "flesh," has a variety of literal and figurative uses in Scripture. Here the term refers to the whole physical human body of Yeshua that suffered from scourging and crucifixion. Paul offers a metaphorical parallel between the tearing of Yeshua's flesh with nails and spear and the tearing of the temple curtain at the moment Yeshua died on the cross (Matt 27:51). In the old order the way into the presence of God was through the curtain and in the new order the way is the body of Yeshua.

21 and having a great priest over the house of God,

and having: Grk. kai, conj. a great: Grk. megas, adj., large or great in extent and is used of used of size, measure, quantity, time, age, rank or influence. The adjective is used here of rank. In the LXX megas translates Heb. gadol (SH-1419), "great," which may denote magnitude and extent, number, intensity, volume of sound, age, or importance (BDB 152f). priest: Grk. hiereus. See verse 11 above. The Hebrew title of the high priest in the Tanakh is Ha-Kohen Ha-Gadol (Lev 21:10; Num 35:25, 28; Josh 20:6; 2Kgs 12:10; 22:4, 8; 23:4; 2Chr 34:9; Neh 3:1, 20; 13:28; Hag 1:1, 12, 14; 2:2, 4; Zech 3:1, 8; 6:11) and is translated in the LXX with ho megas ho hiereus, "the great priest."

In the early 60's while Paul was confined in Rome there were four high priests in Jerusalem: Ishmael b. Phiabi II (AD 58-61), Joseph Qabi (AD 61-62), Ananus, son of Ananus (AD 62) and Jesus, son of Damnaius (AD 62-63) (Jeremias 378). However, Paul forthrightly declares that Yeshua had gained the exalted position of high priest. Only he is Ha-Kohen Ha-Gadol.

over: Grk. epi, prep., used here to designate authority. the house: Grk. ho oikos, a structure for habitation; by extension those belonging to the household of that dwelling, as well as an organized body of people. In the LXX oikos translates Heb. bayith (SH-1004) with the same range of meaning, first in Genesis 7:1. of God: Grk. ho theos. See verse 7 above. The "house of God" originally referred to the mishkan (Matt 12:4), but is used here in a figurative sense for the covenant people, but more precisely the blessed beneficiaries of and participants in the New Covenant in whom the Spirit dwells (cf. 1Cor 3:16; 2Cor 6:16; Eph 2:19, 21; 1Pet 2:5).

Paul had previously declared that Yeshua is the head (Grk. kephalē) of the Body of Messiah (Eph 1:22; 4:15; 5:23; Col 1:18; 2:10). The use of kephalē in this figurative sense denotes someone superior in rank who merits respect by virtue of that position. As "head" Yeshua exercises all the functions of government: executive, judicial, and legislative. The language of "headship" was common within Hebrew culture. In the LXX kephalē frequently translates the Heb. rosh ("head") and is used to denote one who occupies a position of authority in the community (cf. Jdg 10:18; 11:8-11; 1Kgs 21:12). The high priest is also designated by the term rosh (2Kgs 25:18; 2Chr 19:11; 24:6, 11; 26:20; Ezra 7:5; Neh 12:7; Jer 52:24).

22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of trust, our hearts having been sprinkled clean from an evil conscience, and our bodies having been washed with clean water;

Reference: Ezekiel 36:25.

Paul presents the first of three exhortations. let us draw near: Grk. proserchomai, pres. mid. subj., 1p-pl. See verse 1 above. The verb is used here of approaching the throne of grace. The subjunctive mood is hortatory, which is used when one exhorts others to participate with him in any act or condition and used in the first person plural (DM 171). with: Grk. meta, prep., used here to mark association. a true: Grk. alēthinos, adj., in accord with what is true and here means sincere or upright in heart (Zodhiates). In the LXX alēthinos translates Heb. emet (SH-571), firmness, faithfulness, truth, first in Exodus 24:7. heart: Grk. kardia. See verse 16 above.

In the Tanakh emet is sometimes translated as "truth" and sometimes as "faithfulness." In Hebrew culture "truth" suggested the idea of stability, firmness or reliability (DNTT 3:877). So, a true heart represents firmness of devotion to God. In addition, a true heart represents a commitment to honesty in communication with God, as Yeshua declared that worship must be done in truth (John 4:23-24). Drawing near to God requires the vulnerability of being willing to admit failures and shortcomings.

in: Grk. en, prep. full assurance: Grk. plērophoria, state or condition of nothing lacking, fullness. Mounce gives the meaning as full conviction, firm persuasion, assurance. of trust: Grk. pistis (from peithō, "to persuade, be persuaded"), incorporates two primary facets of meaning, (1) that which causes trust and faith, i.e., faithfulness or reliability, and (2) trust or confidence in an active sense (BAG). Zodhiates says that pistis subjectively means firm persuasion, conviction, belief in the truth, veracity, reality or faithfulness (1163). The noun occurs 32 times in Hebrews. The expression "full assurance of faith" anticipates the definition of "faith" in the next chapter and 21 historical examples of the virtue.

In the LXX pistis translates Heb. emunah (SH-530), firmness, steadfastness, or fidelity (BDB 53), mainly of men's faithfulness (1Sam 26:23; 2Kgs 12:15; 22:7; Jer 5:1, 3; 7:28; 9:3; Hos 2:20), but also of God's faithfulness (Ps 33:4; Lam 3:23; Hab 2:4); as well as Heb. emun (SH-529), faithfulness (Deut 32:20; Prov 13:17). The LXX usage emphasizes that the intended meaning of pistis is faith that results in fidelity or trusting faithfulness. The great majority of versions translate the noun as "faith," but a few versions have "trust/trusting" (CJB, TLB, NABRE, NLT).

our hearts: pl. of Grk. kardia. having been sprinkled clean: Grk. rhantizō, pl. perf. pass. part., sprinkle. In the LXX rhantizō translates Heb. nazah (SH-5137), to spurt, spatter, sprinkle, first in Leviticus 6:27. The verb occurs primarily in context of ritual sanctification in which blood, water or ashes were sprinkled or splattered on the altar or people (Lev 16:14-15, 19; Num 19:4, 18-21). The verb serves as a graphic description of internal cleansing. The verb may allude to the promise in Ezekiel: "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols" (Ezek 36:25).

from: Grk. apo, prep. an evil: Grk. ponēros (from penomai, "toil, work"), adj., being in a deteriorated or undesirable state or condition (bad); or marked by deviation from an acceptable moral or social standard (evil), here the latter. The adjective is used here to characterize a spiritual condition. In the LXX ponēros translates Heb. ra (SH-7451), adversity, bad, evil, primarily in an ethical sense, first in Genesis 2:9; and Heb. roa (SH-7455), badness, evil conduct with willful intent, first in Deuteronomy 28:20. The adjective properly means "pain-ridden, emphasizing the inevitable agonies or misery that always go with evil" (HELPS).

conscience: Grk. suneidēsis. See verse 2 above. Barnes suggests that an "evil conscience" may refer to (1) a consciousness of evil, (2) a conscience oppressed with sin or (3) a conscience defiled by guilt. An evil conscience could also refer to a conscience that does not submit to the authority of God's Word to govern ethical decisions. In this context "evil conscience" probably means a guilty conscience and some versions offer this translation (ERV, GW, GNB, ISV, NOG, NCV, NIV, NLT). The cleansing of the conscience, previously mentioned (Heb 9:14; 10:2), occurs upon confession and repentance of sin (Rom 10:9-10; 1Jn 1:9).

and: Grk. kai, conj. our bodies: Grk. ho sōma. See verse 5 above. having been washed: Grk. louō, pl. perf. pass. part., to cleanse with water; bathe, wash. This verb has the whole body as the object of washing and thus implies immersion. with clean: Grk. katharos, adj., may mean (1) free from contamination, clean, cleansed; or (2) free from guilt or blame or moral impurity. The first meaning applies here. water: Grk. hudōr (Heb. mayim), the physical element of water. The reference to "clean water" refers to the stipulation that the pool in which immersion took place could not contain any other liquid besides water (Lev 11:36). See Ron Moseley, The Jewish Background of Christian Baptism.

The perfect participles of "sprinkled" and "washed" point to spiritual milestones of the past that occurred in response to the good news and becoming a member of the Body of Messiah and therefore serve as prerequisites for drawing near to God. Both participles represent the experience of Paul who certainly possessed an evil conscience that justified persecution of Yeshua's followers, but he was miraculously transformed by meeting Yeshua. Later he was immersed as a testimony of his repentance. The assertion of this verse may well allude to David's words: "Who may ascend into the hill of ADONAI? And who may stand in His holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart" (Ps 24:3-4 BR).

23 let us hold fast the confession of hope, unyielding, for the One having promised is faithful,

Paul presents the second of three exhortations. let us hold fast: Grk. katechō, pres. subj., 1p-pl., to hold fast, to hold down. The subjunctive mood is hortatory. the confession: Grk. ho homologia, (from homou, "the same," and legō, "to speak"), the act of making a public declaration relating to belief or conviction; agreement, confession, profession. This noun is a favorite of Paul, occurring outside of this letter only in 2Corinthians 9:13 and 1Timothy 6:12-13. In the Corinthian letter homologia refers to the content of the good news to which believers had become obedient. In the letter to Timothy homologia is Timothy's public testimony of faith in and faithfulness to Yeshua.

of hope: Grk. ho elpis may refer to (1) looking forward to something that is desirable, or (2) the basis of firm expectation. The second usage applies here. Paul twice made a public confession of hope in the resurrection, first before the Judean rulers (Acts 24:15) and then King Agrippa (Acts 26:6-7). unyielding: Grk. aklinēs (from alpha, neg. prefix and klinō, "to bend, yield"), adj., not bending to the side, not being side-tracked; without wavering, unbent, unyielding, resolute, firm. The adjective occurs only here in the Besekh.

for: Grk. gar, conj. the One: Grk. ho, definite article but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. Among Jews "The One" was a circumlocution for God (cf. Ps 3:3; 37:24; Isa 40:26; 45:7; 49:7; Amos 9:5-6; John 1:33; 6:46; 7:18; 11:27; 12:45; 15:21; Acts 10:42; Rom 5:17; 2Cor 4:6). "The One" is also shorthand for the early usage in Hebrew culture of "the Holy One" (Qadosh, Job 6:12; Prov 30:3; Isa 40:25; Hos 11:9, 12; Hab 3:3). Several versions have "the one" (CEB, CEV, GW, ISV, LEB, NOG, NCB, NET, NTE), but a few versions appropriately capitalize "One" (CJB, DLNT, OJB, VOICE).

having promised: Grk. epaggellomai, aor. mid. part., to promise something in the sense of a commitment. The verb occurs often in the context of covenantal promises made to the patriarchs and Israel. is faithful: Grk. pistos, adj., may mean (1) characterized by constancy and therefore worthy of trust; or (2) believing or trusting with commitment. The first meaning applies here. In the LXX pistos translates the participle of the Heb. verb aman (SH-539), made firm or sure, lasting (first in Num 12:7). Indeed all the covenantal promises are guaranteed by Yeshua (2Cor 1:20).

24 and let us consider one another, toward provoking love and good works,

Paul presents the third of three exhortations, which itself includes three parts. and: Grk. kai, conj. let us consider: Grk. katanoeō (from kata, "according to," and noieō, "to think"), pres. subj., 1p-pl., to pay close attention to, to take a close look at, to concentrate by fixing one's thinking. Paul challenges his readers to take time to think about some important matters for strengthening discipleship and community. one another: Grk. allēlōn, reciprocal pronoun, one another, each other. The opening clause expresses compliance with the second great commandment.

toward: Grk. eis, prep., lit. "into." The preposition expresses purpose or goal of the thinking. The opening clause could be taken as an invitation for the congregation to engage in serious discussion and active listening. What opportunities are there? What are the various ways of accomplishing the following spiritual goals? What can each person do within his or her own abilities and spiritual gifts? Paul then lists three areas of focus for the thinking.

provoking: Grk. paroxusmos, an inciting to a high pitch, which may be manifested negatively or positively, here the latter; encouraging, provoking, stimulating. The first area of focus for thinking together is stimulating the most important spiritual fruit. love: Grk. agapē, a relatively high level of interest in the well-being of another, affection, esteem, love. The noun agapē is one of the four Greek words for "love." In the LXX agapē translates Heb. ahavah (SH-160, BDB 12), which is used of both human and divine love.

The Jewish translators of the LXX apparently coined the noun agapē, since there is no Greek literature earlier than the LXX that uses the word (DNTT 2:539). God's nature and actions are the epitome of agapē (1Jn 4:8) and the preeminent virtue (1Cor 13:1-13). The essential factor in agapē as a spiritual virtue is the willingness to sacrifice for another as Yeshua loved (John 13:34-35; 15:13).

and: Grk. kai. good: Grk. kalos, adj., meeting a high standard, often with a focus on a moral aspect; fine, good. In the LXX kalos most frequently translates Heb. tov (SH-2896), pleasant, agreeable or good, whether in a practical sense or a moral, ethical sense. Foremost is the use of kalos/tov as descriptive of what's pleasing to God, what He likes or what gives Him joy (Deut 6:18; Mic 6:8) (DNTT 2:103). works: pl. of Grk. ergon, generally means a tangible deed, action or accomplishment that may be observed, whether of men or God.

Yeshua encouraged his disciples to be light in the world by means of good works (Matt 5:16). In contrast to "dead works" (Heb 6:1; 9:14), "good works" are works that Yeshua himself did (cf. Matt 11:2; John 5:36; 6:28; 10:32) or works that demonstrate love of God and neighbor, especially doing good that benefits or serves the needs of others (cf. Eph 2:10; 1Tim 2:10; 5:10; 6:18).

25 not abandoning the assembling of ourselves, as is the habit with some, but encouraging one another, and so much more as you see the Day drawing near.

not: Grk. , adv. See verse 17 above; i.e., don't give any thought to. abandoning: Grk. egkataleipō, pl. pres. part., to abandon or forsake with the suggestion of being left in dire circumstances or peril. In the LXX egkataleipō translates Heb. azab (SH-5800), to abandon, forsake, leave, first in Genesis 24:27 in which the servant of Abraham lauded ADONAI for His faithfulness in not forsaking Abraham. Some versions have "neglecting" (CJB, CSB, ESV, ISV, NRSV, RSV), which might imply an occasional absence. However, "neglect" does not adequately convey the seriousness of the implied warning.

There was a serious problem of faithfulness, which was exacerbated by the spiritual failure depicted in verses 26 and 39. The God of Israel does not forsake His faithful covenant people (Gen 28:15; Deut 4:31; Josh 1:5; Ps 37:5) or His covenantal promises (Isa 41:17; 62:10-12; Jer 31:35-37; 33:19-26). Congregational leaders must think together how to prevent members from forsaking the community of faith and in so doing their Messiah.

the assembling: Grk. ho episunagōgē, a gathering or collecting together; assembling, meeting. Christian lexicons say that the noun is derived from the verb episunagō, "to gather together." However, by etymology the noun is from epi, "upon," and sunagōgē, "place of assembly, synagogue." The semantic association of the two nouns emphasizes the Jewish context of the letter and association of Messianic believers as a synagogue (cf. Jas 2:2). of ourselves: pl. Grk. heautou, reflexive pronoun, here in the first person to denote the members of the congregation and the New Covenant community.

The "assembling of ourselves" no doubt refers to disciples regularly gathering for prayer or worship and observance of God's appointed times, whether in a house, a local synagogue or in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12; 16:3, 15; 18:4, 7, 11; 20:6-7, 16, 20; Rom 16:5; 1Cor 5:7-8; 16:2, 19; Col 2:16; 4:15; Phm 1:2). See my article God's Appointed Times. Considering the author and audience Stern suggests the translation, "not neglecting to synagogue ourselves together." He quotes the maxim of Hillel, "Separate not yourself from the community" (Avot 2:4).

The exhortation does not refer simply to attending worship gatherings, but more importantly identifying with a local body of believers. Maintaining a relationship with a congregation provides opportunity for corporate worship, fellowship, mutual care, counsel, discipling in the Word of God, and cooperation in service as cannot otherwise be known apart from the family of God. Apostolic instruction presumes submission to pastoral authority (1Cor 16:16; 1Th 5:12-13; Heb 13:17) and financial support of those providing discipling ministry (Matt 10:10; 1Cor 9:8-14; Gal 6:6; 2Tim 2:6).

as: Grk. kathōs, adv. emphasizing similarity, conformity, proportion or manner; as, just as. is the habit: Grk. ethos, a way of doing things marked by recurring procedure, a usage formed from habit; custom, habit or practice. The danger of continued avoidance of the believing community is the law of inertia. Things in motion tend to stay in motion, and the longer the bad habit persists the more difficult it is to reverse course.

with some: pl. of Grk. tis, indefinite pronoun used to indicate non-specification; a certain one, someone, anyone, anything. Apparently some members of congregations had forsaken regular worship assembly, perhaps as a result of persecution or family pressures. In so doing they were in danger of forsaking their Lord, failing to consider that a day of accountability is coming. Hegg observes that one of the clear, tell-tale signs of trouble in a person's confession of faith is when someone who  as been a regular part of the gathered community of faith begins to show up less and less and eventually disappears from attendance altogether (129).

Stern notes that many believers not only neglect to meet regularly with a congregation of believers but suppose it unnecessary. Lack of commitment to a congregation leads naturally to a lack of accountability, which can endanger one's salvation (John 13:34–35; 1Jn 3:10–11, 14, 18; 4:7–8). Believers are called to be disciples in a mutually supportive and accountable relationship (Rom 12:10, 16; 13:8; 14:19; 15:7; 1Cor 12:25; Gal 5:13; 6:2; Eph 4:25, 32; Col 3:13, 16).

but: Grk. alla, conj. See verse 3 above. encouraging one another: Grk. parakaleō (from para, "beside," and kaleō, "to call"), pl. pres. part., may mean (1) call to be at one's side; (2) hearten in time of trouble; or (3) encourage performance; urge, exhort, encourage. The third meaning applies here. In the LXX parakaleō is chiefly used for Heb. nacham (SH-5152), be moved to pity, console, comfort, have compassion, first in Genesis 24:67.

The third area of focus for thinking together is "care-fronting" a term coined by David Augsburger (Caring Enough to Confront, Revell, 1973). See an excerpt here. Weak disciples are not strengthened and restored by judgmental criticism, but by loving encouragement. Paul's exhortation is a call to not give up on those struggling with faithfulness.

and: Grk. kai, conj. so much: Grk. tosoutos, demonstrative pronoun used to express intensity; so great, so much. more: Grk. mallon, adv., used of increase or additive in some aspect of activity, all the more, still more. as: Grk. hosos, relative pronoun, as great, as much, how much. you see: Grk. blepō, pres., 2p-pl., may mean (1) possess the physical ability to see; (2) use one's eyes to take note of an object; (3) be looking in a certain direction; or (4) to have inward or mental sight. The fourth meaning applies here, so the verb represents spiritual analysis and conclusion.

the Day: Grk. ho hēmera. See verse 11 above. The noun refers here to an appointed day. The temporal reference might refer to the Sabbath day, the normal day of assembling together for Messianic Jews, but commentators generally regard "the day" as shorthand for "the Day of the Lord" (cf. Rom 2:16; 13:12; 1Cor 3:13; 1Th 5:4; 2Pet 2:9). See my article The Day of the Lord. drawing near: Grk. eggizō, pres. part., come or draw near, approach. In the LXX eggizō translates forms of Heb qarab (SH-7126), to come near or approach, first used in a spatial sense of proximity to a place (Gen 12:11); and Heb. nagash (SH-5066), to draw near or approach, first used of approaching God (Gen 18:23) (DNTT 2:53).

The emphasis on "seeing" the Day of the Lord approaching alludes to watching for the signs or birth pangs (Matt 24:3, 8) of the Second Coming to which Yeshua referred in his Olivet Discourse. Such signs make fulfilling these actions exhorted by Paul all the more urgent.

Warning against Willful Sin, 10:26-31

This section contains the fifth serious warning in the letter. Paul was very concerned about the spiritual jeopardy of some of his readers. He knew that the devotion and faithfulness had been eroded in some quarters. Paul does not make a specific accusation but employs a hypothetical scenario grounded in the reality of biblical truth to caution his readers against being presumptuous about the grace of God. Considering the last clause of the previous verse he wants to prevent his readers from suffering the judgment of God.

26 For if we continue sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, a sacrifice for sins no longer remains,

For: Grk. gar, conj. See verse 1 above. if we: Grk. hemeis, pl. pronoun of the first person. The opening clause posits a hypothetical situation with real consequences. continue sinning: Grk. hamartanō, pres. part., cause to be alongside instead of on target, to miss and in a moral sense to do wrong. The verb is used of offenses against the moral law of God as defined in the Torah. BAG defines as to transgress or sin against divinity, custom or law.

In the LXX hamartanō translates Heb. chata (SH-2398), to miss, go wrong, sin, and generally used of behavior prohibited by God (Gen 20:7; Ex 9:27), which inevitably produces guilt and the need for atonement or punishment. The present tense denotes continuous activity and the participial form is adjectival in description and denotes a pattern of life. Even as a hypothetical condition continued sinning was contrary to the injunction of Yeshua and the apostles to stop sinning (John 5:14; 8:11; Rom 6:1-2, 12-13; 1Cor 15:34; Eph 4:26; 1Tim 5:20; 1Jn 2:1; 3:9).

willfully: Grk. hekousiōs, adv., of one's own accord; deliberately, intentionally, willingly, willfully. In the Torah sinning deliberately, or sinning "with a high hand" was regarded as a capital crime (Ex 21:12-17; Num 15:30-31; Deut 17:12; 18:20-22; Ps 19:13). The danger Paul suggests is not merely "falling short of the glory of God" (Rom 3:23), but of refusing to end sinful practices. after: Grk. meta, prep. receiving: Grk. lambanō, aor. inf., actively lay hold of to take or receive. In the LXX lambanō translates chiefly Heb. laqach (3947), to take, generally in the active sense, first in Genesis 2:7 (DNTT 3:747). The infinitive expresses a result.

the knowledge: Grk. ho epignōsis, knowledge with the connotation of personal acquaintance, insight or perception. In the LXX epignōsis translates Heb. daath (SH-1847), knowledge, used first of skill in metallurgy (1Kgs 7:14), but mostly knowledge of God (Prov 2:5; Hos 4:1, 6; 6:6). of the truth: Grk. alētheia may mean (1) truthfulness, dependability, uprightness in thought and deed, (2) truth as opposed to what is false, or (3) reality as opposed to mere appearance (BAG). Danker has "that which is really so."

In the LXX alētheia regularly translates the Heb. emet (SH-571), "firmness, faithfulness, truth" (BDB 54), although Christian Bibles sometimes render it as "truth" and sometimes as "faithfulness" (DNTT 3:877). Emet is often used for truthfulness in God and piety in man. The Rabbis explain rather pedantically that emet contains the first, middle and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and that truth ought to be trustworthy through and through (Santala 72). In this context "knowledge of the truth" alludes to the fact that Yeshua has provided the better sacrifice for atonement and serves as the high priest for the people of God.

Thus, "receiving the knowledge of the truth" at the very least is being informed of Yeshua's mediatorial ministry, but would also incorporate the redemptive experience presented in verse 22 above, that of cleansing the guilty conscience and immersing in water in accordance with apostolic instruction. Commentators typically treat the description of "sinning willfully" as indicative of apostasy, which is a complete defection from the faith and revolt against God. While Paul does not use the term apostasia as he does elsewhere (2Th 2:3), he does warn against the unwillingness to stop serious sinful conduct after the new birth (verse 29 below).

Unfortunately members of some congregations did not fully separate themselves from the pagan culture and continued with serious sinful practices, such as idolatry and immorality, especially in Corinth (1Cor 1:10; 3:3; 5:1, 10-11; 6:18; 8:9-12; 10:8; 2Cor 12:21). The apostles offered scathing condemnation of continued sinning (Acts 15:28-29; Gal 5:19; Eph 5:3, 5; 1Th 4:3; 1Tim 1:10; Rev 2:14, 20-21). Paul's confrontational assertion contradicts the belief by Christians in the Calvinist tradition that they must sin in thought, word and deed every day. True repentance with its unequivocal turning away from sinful conduct is at the heart of receiving the good news.

a sacrifice: Grk. thusia. See verse 1 above. for: Grk. peri, prep. See verse 6 above. sins: pl. of Grk. hamartia. See verse 2 above. no longer: Grk. ouketi, neg. adv. of cessation of an activity or condition, no longer, no more. remains: Grk. apoleipō, pres., to leave or leave behind. Here the focus is on being reserved or left for future appearance or enactment. In other words, deliberate continued sinning nullifies the efficacy of Yeshua's atonement.

McKee observes that even though the Levitical priesthood and sacrifices may soon be gone for the Messianic readers of this letter, this would not be substantial justification for them to completely ignore the Torah and its code of conduct (219).

NOTE: I once counseled a man engaged in an adulterous affair and warned him of spiritual danger based on this verse. The man responded that this verse did not apply to him because of his belief in eternal security. He was a fool.

27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire being about to consume the adversaries.

Reference: Isaiah 26:11 (MT/LXX).

but: Grk. de, conj. a certain: Grk. tis, indefinite pronoun. See verse 25 above. The pronoun is used here adjectivally to denote inevitability. fearful: Grk. phoberos, adj., capable of arousing fear and cause a person to flee; fearful, terrifying. expectation: Grk. ekdochē, personally anticipate; expectation. of judgment: Grk. krisis (from krinō, to separate, judge") is used primarily to mean scrutiny of conduct, either evaluation or procedure, mostly in a legal sense; judgment. The word krisis refers to the overall administration of jurisprudence, from which may come a positive verdict that vindicates the innocent, or more commonly, a negative verdict that condemns the guilty.

In the LXX krisis translates primarily Heb. mishpat (SH-4941), judgment or justice (e.g., Gen 18:19, 25; Ex 15:25; Lev 19:15; Num 35:12; Deut 1:17; Isa 5:7; 56:1; 59:8; Jer 17:11), which most often refers to the act of deciding a case, the decision itself, or the execution of the judgment, and in doing so providing justice to victims. In this context krisis refers to the scrutiny of conduct by God that all must face after death (cf. Rom 14:10).

and: Grk. kai, conj. Paul then alludes to the last clause in the prophecy of Isaiah 26:11 without giving an exact quotation. a fury: Grk. zēlos, boiling over from heat, thus hot. The noun also denotes fervency and intensity. In the LXX of the quoted verse zēlos translates Heb. qinah (SH-7068), ardor, zeal or jealousy. of fire: Grk. pur, a fire, as a physical state of burning and a product of combustion. In the LXX of the quoted verse pur translates Heb. es (SH-784), fire, which has a wide range of use including a torch of fire (Gen 15:17), supernatural fire (Ex 3:2), lightning (Ex 9:23-24), cooking fire (Ex 12:8), and altar fire (Lev 1:7), as well as various fig. uses.

The description "fury of fire" denotes divinely caused fire as judgment and corresponds to God's es qinah, "burning anger" or "fire of jealousy" (Ps 79:5; Zeph 1:18; 3:8; cf. Deut 29:20). The "fury of fire" could also allude to the word picture of God's wrath being "kindled" or ignited as a fire (Ex 22:24; Num 11:1; Deut 32:22; Jdg 3:8; 2Kgs 13:3; Job 42:7; Ps 2:7; 78:21; 106:40; Lam 4:11; Zech 10:3).

being about: Grk. mellō, pres. part. See verse 1 above. The judgment of God is always viewed as imminent (Mark 13:29; Jas 5:8), since we are but one breath away from meeting God. to consume: Grk. esthiō, pres. inf., to consume food, but used here in a fig. sense if being consumed by fire. In the LXX esthiō translates Heb. akal (SH-398), to eat. the adversaries: pl. of Grk. ho hupenantios, in opposition; adversary, opponent. The "adversaries" are those considered to be enemies of God and the Messiah.

In biblical history God sometimes used fire to bring judgment on the wicked (Gen 19:24; Ex 9:23-24; Ps 11:6; Isa 26:11; 29:6; Jer 15:14; 21:10; cf. Ezek 38:22; 39:6). The future oriented nature of Paul's prophecy probably alludes to the Day of the Lord, which will be attended with the judgment of fire (Isa 13:9; 66:15-16, 24; Ezek 30:3, 8, 14, 16; Joel 1:15, 19-20; Zeph 1:18; 2:1-2; Mal 3:2; 2Th 1:6-8; 2Pet 3:7, 10; Rev 9:17-18). See my article The Day of the Lord.

The "fury of fire" in a literal sense could intend Hell, the place of eternal punishment for the enemies of God. Hell is a place of "everlasting fire" (Matt 18:8; 25:41) that "destroys both soul and body" (Matt 10:28). The fire of hell is described as "unquenchable" (Grk. asbestos, Matt 3:12; Mark 9:43f; cf. Isa 66:24; Jer 4:4; 7:20; 21:12), which means that the fire will not degrade in intensity over the course of eternity and it cannot be extinguished by any force other than God's power. The lake of fire, a synonym of Hell (Rev 19:20; 20:10, 14-15), is a real place, a physical reality. It is not just a metaphor for a state of separation from God.

28 Anyone having set aside the Torah of Moses dies without mercy on the basis of two or three witnesses.

Reference: Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15.

In this verse and the next Paul employs a Jewish hermeneutical argument known as kal v’chomer (from the lesser to the greater) or what in logic is called a fortiori, "from the stronger." He first cites a legal principle from the Torah that no one will dispute. Indeed, traditional Jews would affirm the vital importance of this principle of jurisprudence. The legal principle cited in this verse functions as a premise that validates the declaration of the following verse.

Anyone: Grk. tis, indefinite pronoun. See verse 25 above. having set aside: Grk. atheteō (from alpha, negating particle, and tithēmi, "to set or place"), aor. part., to set aside as unworthy of consideration, and in a legal sense to abrogate, invalidate, nullify or set aside. the Torah: Grk. nomos. See verse 1 above. The singular noun could allude to a specific commandment or law, but in reference to the legal principle mentioned the entire body of commandments as the governing authority over life is probably intended. of Moses: Grk. Mōusēs transliterates Heb. Mosheh (Ex 2:10). Born into the tribe of Levi about 1525 BC in Egypt there is no greater figure in the Tanakh than Moses.

The story of Moses is found in the extensive narratives from Exodus 1:1 through Deuteronomy 34:1. His life can be easily divided into three 40-year periods, the first being his birth and early life in Egypt (Acts 7:23), the second his years in Midian (Acts 7:30), and the third from the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt through the years spent in the wilderness until his death (Ex 7:7; 16:35; Num 14:33; Deut 2:7; Josh 5:6; Acts 7:36). During the last third of his life Moses served Israel as deliverer, judge, mediator, lawgiver, priest, elder, prophet and scribe. For a summary of his life and deeds see my article Moses, Servant of God.

The genitive case of the name "Moses" is objective, which emphasizes that Moses did not produce the Torah, but received the Torah from God by divine revelation. Contrary to modern Christian false teaching that Yeshua canceled the Torah, Paul clearly viewed the Torah as applicable and authoritative in his day (cf. Rom 7:12, 14; 8:2-4; 1Cor 7:19; 1Tim 1:8). Indeed, to "set aside" the Torah as the authority for ones' life echoes the insistence of Yeshua that he did not come to abolish the Torah and he strongly condemned anyone who would do so (Matt 5:17-19).

The decision to use the verb atheteō is purposeful since it is the same verb used by Yeshua to condemn Pharisees that set aside commandments of God for the sake of man-made traditions (Mark 7:9; Luke 7:30). Relevant is that Paul himself was accused by his enemies (and modern Christians!) of teaching Jews to "forsake Moses" (Acts 21:21), which he vehemently denied (Acts 24:13-14). In fact, Paul is an apologist for Moses (Acts 26:22; 28:23; Rom 9:14-18; 10:5; 1Cor 9:9; 10:2; 2Tim 3:8; Heb 3:2, 5; 11:23-29; 12:21). Here the "setting aside" reflects an attitude of substituting one's own values for the will of God (cf. Deut 12:8; Jdg 17:6) in order to justify the deliberate sinning mentioned in verse 26.

dies: Grk. apothnēskō, pres., to cease to live, generally used of physical death, whether natural or violent. In the LXX apothnēskō translates Heb. muth (SH-4191), to die, whether of natural or other causes, and to die as a penalty; first in Genesis 2:17. Here the verb refers to death as a penalty. Capital punishment was prescribed for any deliberate sin (Num 15:30) and any of the 36 capital crimes defined in the Torah. The capital offenses are listed in the Mishnah (K'ritot 1:1).

In the Torah the preferred means of execution was stoning (Ex 21:28; Lev 20:27; 24:14, 16, 23; Deut 13:10; 17:5; 21:21; 22:21, 24), but in some cases God also prescribed shooting with arrows (Ex 19:13), burning (Lev 20:14) and hanging (Deut 21:22). The Mishnah specified four modes of capital punishment: stoning, burning, slaying with the sword and strangulation (Sanh. 7:1).

without: Grk. chōris, prep., in a condition or circumstance not including; apart from, lacking, separate from, without. mercy: pl. of Grk. oiktirmos, tender concern for one in trying circumstances or distress. In the LXX oiktirmos translates Heb. racham (SH-7356), compassion or mercy, first in 2Samuel 24:14, where it refers to the mercy of God. Indeed, God instructed that capital punishment was to be executed "without pity" (Deut 13:8; 19:13, 21).

on the basis of: Grk. epi, prep. two: Grk. duo, the numeral two. or: Grk. ē, used to denote (1) an alternative, 'or,' or (2) a comparative function, 'than.' The first usage applies here. three: Grk. treis, the numeral three. witnesses: pl. of Grk. martus, one who attests the fact or truth of something, often of one who testifies before a legal proceeding regarding first hand knowledge. The Torah established that in a court case two or three witnesses are required to establish the fact of any wrongdoing (Deut 19:15; cf. Matt 18:16; 2Cor 13:1; 1Tim 5:19), especially a charge leading to capital punishment (Num 35:30; Deut 17:6).

In other words the crime had been visually seen by at least two men. This rule is echoed in the Mishnah, "no one is believed as to himself" and "no one may testify concerning himself" (Keth. 2:9; 2:10). The justice principle presumed that two or three persons would be much less likely to conspire to give a false testimony than one would be. Also, two or three witnesses would not likely be deceived in regard to a fact which they had observed. The requirement of eyewitnesses was an important legal principle to assure that justice would be done. No one was to be convicted on "hearsay" testimony or someone's assumption or personal attitude, such as is common in modern American culture.

29 How much worse punishment will he deserve, do you think, the one having trampled upon the Son of God, and having esteemed as common the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and having insulted the Spirit of grace?

Now the powerful conclusion of the kal v’chomer argument is presented. The logic of Paul's assertion is irrefutable and terrifying. If the death penalty prescribed by the Torah is meted out on someone who committed a capital crime or deliberately ("with a high hand") broke a divine commandment, what do you think will be God's response to someone who treats the atonement of Yeshua with disrespect?

How much: Grk. posos, interrogative pronoun with a focus on degree, how much. worse: Grk. cheirōn, adj., a comparative word meaning "worse" or "more severe" in contrast to the condition noted in the previous verse. punishment: Grk. timōria, reciprocity for wrongdoing; penalty, punishment. The noun occurs only here in the Besekh. The term denotes punishment meted out from the view of the offended party (the Son of God), emphasizing the value-system and standards of the punisher (God the Father) (HELPS).

will he deserve: Grk. axioō, fut. pass., deem as fitting, right or deserving. The verb implies the justice principle of proportionality, that is, the offender was to be punished according to the severity of the crime (Deut 19:21). Willful or intentional misconduct merited the strongest penalty. do you think: Grk. dokeō, pres., 2p-pl., to entertain an idea or form an opinion about something on the basis of what appears to support a specific conclusion; think, opine, regard.

Paul appeals to the reader's judgment based on their knowledge of God and the standards of Torah. The worse punishment as compared to the temporal death required under the Torah would be eternal death. Paul continues his hypothetical scenario by describing from the divine perspective three equivalences of willful sinning. In other words, if you engage in willful sin this is what you are really doing.

the one: Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pronoun of the sinner. having trampled upon: Grk. katapateō (from kata, "down," and pateō, "to tread on"), aor. part., trample under foot. The verb denotes complete crushing or trampling down, often in the figurative sense of treating disdainfully or despising (DNTT 3:943). Yeshua's use of this verb (Matt 5:13; 7:6; Luke 8:5; 12:1) stresses the physical act, treating the object of the trampling as worthless and beneath contempt.

In the LXX katapateō occurs over 40 times, translating at least nine different Hebrew terms, and especially occurs in contexts describing military attacks and utter defeat (Jdg 20:43; 1Sam 14:48; 2Kgs 13:7; Ps 7:5; 56:1, 3; 91:13; Isa 5:5; 10:5; 14:25; 16:4, 8; 18:2, 7; 22:5, 18; 25:10; 28:3, 18, 28; 41:25; 63:3, 6, 18; Lam 2:8; Ezek 26:11; 32:2, 13; 34:18; 36:4; Hos 5:11; Amos 2:7; 4:1; 5:12; Mic 7:10; Zech 12:3; Mal 4:2). The Maccabean history describes the pagan Syrians as having "trampled" upon the sacred precincts of the Temple (1Macc 3:45, 51; 4:60; 2Macc 8:2).

the Son: Grk. ho huios, a male offspring or descendant, whether by direct birth or by more remote ancestry. In the LXX huios translates Heb. ben (SH-1121, "son," "son of"), which is normally used in three distinctive ways: (1) to identify direct paternity; (2) to mean not the actual father but a more distant ancestor; or (3) in a broader sense of having the characteristics of. of God: Grk. ho theos. See verse 7 above. For Jews in the first century "Son of God" was used as a title for a human descendant of King David, the Messiah, who would establish the promised Kingdom (Ps 2:6-7, 11-12; cf. Matt 26:63; John 1:34, 49; 11:27; 20:31).

Robert Alter in his commentary The Book of Psalms (W.W. Norton & Co., 2007) says that it was commonplace in the ancient Near East to consider the king as God's son (6). The "Son of God" functioned as God's regent on earth and was vested with God's authority. The apostles also affirmed categorically that Yeshua manifested deity in his incarnation (Luke 1:35; Acts 9:20; 2Cor 4:4; Php 2:6; Col 1:15-17; 2:9; Heb 4:14). Yeshua as the "Son of God" possesses the seven-fold characteristics of deity set forth in the introduction to this letter (Heb 1:2-4). The first equivalence of willful sin is physically assaulting Yeshua as an act of defiant rejection of his authority as Messiah and King.

and: Grk. kai, conj. having esteemed: Grk. hēgeomai, aor. mid. part., may mean either (1) to function in a leadership capacity, to lead; or (2) 'deem to be,' to think, consider or deduce. The second meaning applies here. as common: Grk. koinos, adj., may mean either (1) shared collectively, communal; or (2) belonging to what is everyday, ordinary; or (3) contrary to special religious practice or perspective, common. The third meaning applies here.

The Hebrew term used in the Tanakh to mean "commonness" is chôl (SH-2455), first in Leviticus 10:10. Originally 'common' was a category between the two extremes of holiness and uncleanness. However, the Maccabean writer uses koinos of animals unauthorized for sacrifice and food considered Levitically profane by the Torah (1Macc 1:47, 62). Bruce and Guthrie suggest the meaning of "unholy" is likely. the blood: Grk. ho haima. See verse 4 above. The blood of a sin offering is most holy (cf. Ex 30:10). of the covenant: Grk. ho diathēkē. See verse 16 above. by: Grk. en, prep. which: Grk. hos, relative pronoun.

he was sanctified: Grk. hagiazō, aor. pass. See verse 10 above. The original context for this entire clause is the sprinkling of sacrificial blood on the people of Israel to inaugurate the Sinai covenant (Ex 24:3-8; Heb 9:15). Here the covenant is the New Covenant, which was inaugurated by the shedding of Yeshua's blood (Matt 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; 1Cor 11:25; Heb 12:24; 13:20). Thus, the verb "sanctified" describes someone who has experienced redemption and forgiveness. John Wesley explained in his tract A Plain Account of Christian Perfection that,

"the term 'sanctified' is continually applied by St. Paul to all that were justified. That by this term alone, he rarely, if ever, means 'saved from all sin.'" (The Heart of Wesley's Faith, Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 1963, p. 33; Online.)

The second equivalence of willful sin is demeaning the ministry of Yeshua as high priest. To go back to sinning after receiving the benefit of Yeshua's atoning blood is tantamount to treating the sacred source of salvation as of no value for redemption and renouncing the benefits of the New Covenant.

and: Grk. kai. having insulted: Grk. enubrizō, aor. part., heap insult on, treat contemptuously. The verb originated from the noun hubris, which means arrogance and insolence. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. the Spirit: Grk. ho Pneuma. See verse 15 above. of grace: Grk. ho charis, disposition marked by inclination to generosity, frequently unmotivated by the worth of the recipient; thus, grace, gracefulness, graciousness, favor, thanks or gratitude. In the LXX charis primarily stands for Heb. hēn (SH-2580), acceptance, favor or grace, first in Genesis 6:8 in regards to Noah receiving the favor of God (DNTT 2:116).

The mention of "the Spirit of grace" is probably an allusion to Zechariah 12:10,

"I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn." (NASU)

The Holy Spirit is the person who conveys the grace of God's forgiveness to His covenant people. Moreover, the prophecy of Zechariah was fulfilled initially on Pentecost. Many of Paul's readers had likely been present for that supernatural event and responded to Peter's appeal for repentance. To return to a life of sin is a direct affront to the Holy Spirit. Indeed, the insistence that a believer must sin is the height of arrogance and offensive to the Holy Spirit. To insult the Holy Spirit is not far removed from blasphemy (Matt 12:31; Mark 3:29; Luke 12:10) and courts divine judgment as Paul goes on to warn.

30 For we know the One having said, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay." And again, "ADONAI judges His people."

Reference: Deuteronomy 32:35-36 (MT/LXX); Deuteronomy 32:41 (MT/LXX).

Many people want to believe (as a result of Satan induced blindness, 2Cor 4:4) that God is an indulgent grandfather who will overlook their abominations. We only have to review the history of Israel in the Tanakh to reveal the lie of God's supposed toleration of willful sin.

For: Grk. gar, conj. we know: Grk. oida, perf., 1p-pl., to have seen or perceived, hence to know. The verb is used for experiential knowledge. In the LXX oida translates Heb. yada (SH-3045), to know, (e.g., Gen 3:5; 4:1), which in most occasions refers to a personal knowledge, primarily by experience (DNTT 2:395). the One: Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pronoun in reference to God. See verse 23 above. The clause "for we know the One" likely has a dual meaning: (1) "We (you and I") know God in a personal relationship; and (2) we know the divine source of the following Scripture quotation.

having said: Grk. legō, aor. part. See verse 5 above. Paul then quotes from the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32, verse 35, and provides his own translation of the Hebrew text. Vengeance: Grk. ekdikēsis (for Heb. naqam), satisfaction for wrongdoing, which may focus on (1) carrying out justice, righting of wrong, or (2) exacting a penalty or punishment. The second focus is intended here. is mine: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. In the Tanakh this assertion has a dual application. First, God prescribed the "vengeance" or punishment for named offenses to be carried out by an Israelite court. Second, God Himself imposed punishment at various times by various means for wicked acts. Paul then conflates this clause with a clause from verse 41.

I: Grk. egō. Even though the following verb is first person, Paul inserts the pronoun to emphasize the divine personality, the Living God of Israel. will repay: Grk. antapodidōmi (for Heb. shalam), fut., to repay, give back, return as an equivalence. The verb may be used in a positive or negative sense, here the latter. In this verse Moses affirmed the right of the God of Israel to act as a judge to exact punishment against His covenant people whenever there was rebellion. Often this recompense affected the entire nation, but God did emphasize individual accountability for sin (Num 16:22; Deut 24:16; 2Kgs 14:6; Isa 3:11; Jer 31:30; Ezek 18:4, 20).

And: Grk. kai, conj. again: Grk. palin, adv. with focus on a repetitive occurrence; once more, again. Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 32:36. ADONAI: Grk. kurios (for YHVH). See verse 16 above. judges: Grk. krinō (for Heb. din), pres., may mean (1) make a selection between options; (2) subject to scrutiny and evaluation of behavior; or (3) draw a conclusion and present an opinion or decree. The third meaning applies here. In the LXX krinō is used to translate three Hebrew words: din, rib and shaphat, generally in a legal context (DNTT 2:363).

Many versions translate the verb as future tense ("will judge") since the Hebrew verb is a Qal imperfect, which is commonly used to express future tense. In the original context the verb alludes to the fact that judging is a regular action of God and not necessarily conducted within a special event. Yet, the verb also pointed to the indefinite future when God would have occasion to act in judgment as circumstances required.

His: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. people: Grk. laos (for Heb. am, "people, kinsman"), a group of humans, understood geographically or ethnically, and often in the Besekh the descendants of Jacob associated with the God of Israel. In the context of Deuteronomy "His people" refers to the nation that accepted the covenant with God at Sinai. Several times in the wilderness God exacted judgment on rebellious Israelites (cf. Heb 3:9, 16-18).

Peter said similarly, "For it is time for the judgment to have begun from the house of God; and if first from us, what will be the outcome of those disobeying the good news of God?" (1Pet 4:17 BR)

31 It is terrifying to fall into the hands of the living God.

It is terrifying: Grk. ho phoberos. See verse 27 above. Many versions have "a fearful thing." to fall: Grk. empiptō, aor. inf., to fall in or into, always in the context of peril and here of divine penalty. into: Grk. eis, prep. the hands: pl. of Grk. cheir, the anatomical limb of the hand, but used here in a figurative sense. The clause "to fall into the hands" pictures the helpless being overcome by the mighty and having no recourse but to seek mercy (Hegg). of the living: Grk. zaō, pres. part. See verse 20 above. God: Grk. theos. See verse 7 above.

The description of the God of Israel as the "living God" occurs frequently in Scripture, which stands in contrast to the fact that pagan deities have no existence and therefore no life (Deut 5:26; Josh 3:10; Ps 42:2; 84:2; Matt 16:16; Acts 14:15; 2Cor 6:16). Having the "fear of the Lord" is a healthy attitude and the beginning of wisdom (Job 28:28; Ps 19:9; 111:10; Prov 8:13; 9:10; 14:26-27; Acts 9:31; 2Cor 5:11; 7:1; Eph 5:21; Php 2:12; Heb 4:1; Rev 14:7). The fear of the Lord, which is reverence for God's holy nature, is motivation to avoid violating His holy standards.

Paul is not implying that those who have repented and are pursuing righteousness and holiness need to be afraid of God, because with God there is compassion and mercy when we fall short (2Sam 24:14; Ps 103:8-14; 111:5). However, those who identify with Yeshua and have taken the name "Christian" (="Messianic," Acts 11:26) should manifest the fear of the Lord (Jer 10:10; Dan 6:26). Claiming the privilege of eternal security as an absolute condition, but refusing to stop sinful practices reveals a heart of arrogance that surely guarantees spiritual defeat and ultimate judgment (Prov 16:18).

Call to Remember, 10:32-39

32 But recall the former days in which having been enlightened, you endured much struggle of sufferings,

But: Grk. de, conj., or "instead" (Mounce). With the adversative conjunction Paul urges his friends to pursue a course of action opposite to that just described (Lane). recall: Grk. anamimnēskō, pres. pass. imp., 2p-pl., call to mind, i.e. to journey where the remembrance leads (HELPS); recall, recollect, remember. The entreaty is parallel to the exhortations in verses 22, 23 and 24 above. the former: Grk. ho proteros, adv., indicating that something occurred prior to the current time; before, formerly, previously. days: pl. of Grk. hēmera. See verse 11 above.

The temporal reference "former days" would be relative to the individual disciple, but it also points to a time when the congregation had a shared experience as described below. in: Grk. en, prep. which: pl. of Grk. hos, relative pronoun. having been enlightened: Grk. phōtizō, pl. aor. pass. part., cause to be bright with light; provide illumination, here in a spiritual sense of the saving knowledge that came with accepting the good news. For some the spiritual enlightenment occurred under the ministry of Peter, for others Paul and Barnabas and later Paul and Silas.

you endured: Grk. hupomenō, aor., 2p-pl., may mean (1) to stay in a place when others are leaving; or (2) be steadfast in face of difficulty. The second meaning is intended. much: Grk. polus, adj., extensive in scope, indicating a high degree of amount or quality; great, much. struggle: Grk. athlēsis, contest, as of an athletic contest, with focus on intense effort; struggle. The noun occurs only here in the Besekh. of sufferings: pl. of Grk. pathēma (from paschō, "to experience feeling," "to suffer"), that which is suffered or endured; a suffering, misfortune, calamity, evil, affliction.

The noun does pathēma not occur in the LXX, but Paul uses the noun elsewhere for the sufferings of Yeshua (2Cor 1:5; Php 3:10), as well as his own sufferings (Rom 8:18; Col 1:24) and the sufferings of other disciples (2Cor 1:7). The manner in which his readers suffered is further noted in the following verses. As the minority culture in cities Jews were accustomed to mistreatment, persecution and acts of violence. Yet, Yeshua had warned his disciples that they would experience opposition from their own relatives (Luke 21:16) and persecution from unbelieving Jewish leaders began during Yeshua's ministry (John 9:22).

The thirty-year narrative of Acts records numerous incidents of persecution instigated by unbelieving Jews, particularly synagogue leaders: in Damascus (Acts 9:23), in Jerusalem (Acts 4:1-3; 5:17-18, 40; 6:9-12 7:54-59; 8:1-3; 9:29; 12:2-3; 21:27; 22:22; 23:1-22), in Paphos (Acts 13:6-8), in Antioch (Acts 13:45), in Iconium (Acts 14:2,5), in Lystra (Acts 14:19), in Thessalonica (Acts 17:5), in Berea (Acts 17:13), in Corinth (Acts 18:5-6), in Macedonia (Acts 20:3, 19), and in Caesarea (Acts 24:9; 25:2, 7). In contrast the book of Acts records only four incidents of Gentile hostility (Acts 12:1-4; 14:5, 19; 16:16-24; 19:23ff).

33 on this matter indeed, being made a spectacle by both insults and tribulations, and in this having become partners of those being treated this way.

on this matter: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. See verse 3 above. Many versions translate the pronoun as "sometimes," but the pronoun does not have a temporal meaning. Rather the pronoun alludes to the sufferings mentioned in the previous verse. indeed: Grk. mén, conj. See verse 11 above. Most versions do not translate the conjunction. Paul then proceeds in this verse and the next to identify some of the particular experiences of suffering.

being made a spectacle: Grk. theatrizō, pl. pres. pass. part., to be exposed as in a theater, to be made a gazing-stock, object of scorn (Mounce); putting them on exhibit for public jest and mockery (HELPS). The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. by both: Grk. te, conj. insults: pl. of Grk. oneidismos, demeaning faultfinding, undeserved condemnation; an insult aimed to damage or disgrace reputation (HELPS).

and: Grk. kai, conj. tribulations: pl. of Grk. thlipsis, distress that is the result of outward circumstances; distress, affliction, persecution, suffering, trouble, tribulation. In the LXX thlipsis translates several Hebrew words that denote need, distress, affliction, or trouble, from personal hostility to war and exile (e.g., Gen 35:3; Ex 4:31; Ps 4:1; 9:9; Isa 10:3) (DNTT 2:807).

Thlipsis refers not only to the negative outward circumstances, but also the personal anguish because of the circumstances. Yeshua warned his disciples that they would experience persecution and tribulation (Matt 24:9; Mark 10:30). The plural form of the noun emphasizes that affliction can come in a variety of forms, such as pressure to conform, slander, legal strictures, economic deprivation, physical abuse, and murder.

and: Grk. de, conj. in this: Grk. houtos. having become: Grk. ginomai, pl. aor. pass. part., to transfer from one state or condition to another, which may be expressed in one of three ways: (1) come into being by birth or natural process; be born or produced; (2) exist through application of will or effort by a person; be made, be performed; or (3) undergo a state of existence, change or development. The third meaning applies here; come to be, become. partners: pl. of Grk. koinōnos, a sharer, partner, companion. The term properly means, a participant who mutually belongs and shares fellowship; a "joint-participant."

of those: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. being treated: Grk. anastrephō (from ana, "again, back, or up," and strephō, "to turn"), pl. pres. pass. part., to overturn, throw down, to live (Mounce). Given the association of the verb with suffering many versions translate the verb as "being treated." this way: Grk. houtōs, adv. used to introduce the manner or way in which something has been done or to be done; thus, in this manner, in this way or like this. The verbal clause could have the meaning of lives being turned upside down. In other words, they were being denied the right to a normal life free of harassment.

34 For also you sympathized with the prisoners, and you accepted with joy the plundering of your possessions, knowing yourselves to have a better possession, and an abiding one.

For: Grk. gar, conj. also: Grk. kai, conj. you sympathized with: Grk. sumpatheō (from sun, "with" and paschō, "to feel heavy emotion"), aor., 2p-pl., have a capacity for internal sharing of troublesome experience; sympathize with. with the prisoners: pl. of Grk. ho desmios, one who is bound, thus "bound, in bonds, captive or prisoner." Yeshua identified this virtue as characteristic of the sheep (Matt 25:35-40). Paul, of course, before meeting Yeshua had put many Messianic believers in prison in the persecution he instigated (Acts 8:3; 22:4-5; 26:10), and then he himself became a prisoner (Acts 21:33; 22:29; 23:18; 25:14, 27; 26:29; 27:1; 28:20; Eph 3:1; 4:1; 6:20).

and: Grk. kai. you accepted: Grk. prosdechomai, aor. mid., 2p-pl., to receive to oneself, used here in the sense of acceptance. with: Grk. meta, prep. joy: Grk. chara (from chairō, "to rejoice"), joy, delight, gladness, a source of joy. The description may be similar to the report of Peter and John rejoicing after being flogged that they were worthy to suffer for Yeshua (Acts 5:41). Paul characterizes these overcomers by their refusal to allow adverse circumstances to steal the joy of the Lord (cf. 1Th 1:6; 5:16-18).

the plundering: Grk. ho harpagē, the act of plundering fueled by greed; plunder, robbery, spoil. The translation of "confiscation" in some versions seems to diminish the injustice of the crime. of your: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. possessions: Grk. ho huparchō, pl. pres. part., to function or be in a state as determined by circumstance; to be or exist. The verb properly means already have or be in possession of what exists (HELPS).

McKee suggests that this reference to "plundering" alludes to the expulsion of Jews from Rome by Caesar Claudius in A.D. 49/50, which resulted in Aquila and Priscilla moving to Corinth (Acts 18:2). However, Paul speaks of a more common experience and the initial persecution in Jerusalem in which disciples were imprisoned and put to death would have resulted in loss of property. Likewise, Paul testified that he suffered the loss of "all things" (Php 3:8).

knowing: Grk. ginōskō, pl. pres. part., to know, including (1) to be in receipt of information; (2) to form a judgment or draw a conclusion; or (3) have a personal relationship involving recognition of another's identity or value. The second meaning applies there. In the LXX ginōskō translates Heb. yada, which has a similar wide range of meaning, but in most occasions refers to a personal knowledge, especially knowledge gained by experience. yourselves: pl. of Grk. heautou, reflexive pronoun of the second person.

to have: Grk. echō, pres. inf. See verse 1 above. a better: Grk. kreittōn, adj., having a degree of advantage, used here to denote status or rank; better, more excellent, superior. The adjective appears 12 times in this letter out of the 15 in the Besekh, and is used to assert the superior quality of the blessings received by followers of Yeshua: a better name (1:4), better hope (7:19), better covenant (7:22; 8:6), better promises (8:6), a better country (11:6), and a better resurrection (11:35).

possession: Grk. huparxis, that which belongs to someone; goods possessed, substance, property (Mounce). The term only appears twice in the Besekh, the other in Acts 2:45 of the property shared among those in need. The blessing to be received in the future in not just spiritual, but tangible. and: Grk. kai. an abiding one: Grk. menō, pres. part., to be in a situation for a length of time; remain. The participle is used to denote that which lasts for an eternity.

Some versions insert "in Heaven" as the location of the better possession (BRG, KJV, MEV, NKJV, NMB, RGT, WEB), but this addition to the Textus Receptus (1551) has little manuscript support. The interpretive addition reflects traditional Christian belief that eternal blessings are only found in Heaven. The "better possession" is not only eternal life after death (Mark 10:30). For Messianic Jews the better and abiding possession would be a share in the Messianic kingdom on the earth in the age to come as prophesied by Isaiah (65:17-23), Ezekiel (47:13−48:35) and Yeshua (Matt 8:11; 25:31-34; Luke 13:28).

35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.

Therefore: Grk. oun, conj. See verse 19 above. do not: Grk. , adv. See verse 17 above. throw away: Grk. apoballō, aor. subj., cast aside, let go, throw away from. your: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. confidence: Grk. parrēsia. See verse 19 above. Mounce has "boldness." which: Grk. hostis, relative pronoun. See verse 8 above. has: Grk. echō, pres. See verse 1 above. a great: Grk. megas, adj. See verse 21 above. reward: Grk. misthapodosia, rendering of return for performance, a paying back, whether negative or positive, here the latter; payment, recompense, reward. The noun occurs only in this letter (also 2:2; 11:26).

The usual term for "reward" is Grk. mithros, which is used in reference to the fruit naturally resulting from toils and endeavors (John 4:36; 1Cor 9:18), but especially of the rewards which God bestows, or will bestow, upon good deeds and a life of faithfulness (Matt 5:12; 6:4; 10:41; Mark 9:41; Luke 6:23, 35; 1Cor 3:8, 14; Col 3:24; 2Jn 1:8; Rev 22:12).

36 For you have need of endurance, so that having done the will of God you may receive the promise.

For: Grk. gar, conj. you have: Grk. echō, pres., 2p-pl. See verse 1 above. need: Grk. chreia, state or experience of necessity, to be in want of something; need. of endurance: Grk. hupomonē (from hupo, "under" and menō, "remain"), capacity for resolute continuance in a course of action; i.e., endurance, patience, perseverance or steadfastness. See the comment on the verb hupomenō in verse 32 above. Barclay explains that the noun is especially common in Jewish literature, for instance in Fourth Maccabees (1:11; 7:9; 9:8, 30; 15:30; 17:4, 12, 17, 23) of that quality of "spiritual staying power" which enabled men to die for their God (NTW 143).

Barclay says further that the noun depicts the spirit which can bear things, not simply with resignation, but with blazing hope; it is not the spirit which sits statically enduring in one place, but the spirit which bears things because it knows that these things are leading to a goal of glory (Ibid., 144). so that: Grk. hina, conj. See verse 9 above. having done: Grk. poieō, aor. part. See verse 7 above. the will: Grk. ho thelēma. See verse 7 above. of God: Grk. ho theos. See verse 7 above.

According to Yeshua doing the will of God provides assurance of entering the Kingdom of God (Matt 7:21) and is evidence of a close relationship with him (Matt 12:50). In this context doing the will of God directly pertains to obeying the exhortations in verses 22-25 above, as well as abandoning sinful practices. See also my article The Will of God.

you may receive: Grk. komizō, aor. mid. subj., 2p-pl., be in receipt of, here connected with the idea of fulfillment. the promise: Grk. ho epaggelia (pronounced "ep-ang-el-ee'-ah"), a pledge of special benefit or promise, especially from God. In Greek culture the term meant a promise freely offered and volunteered, typically without conditions. It is not a promise extracted or coerced from someone, nor is it the result of mutual agreement (NTW 87). Throughout antiquity epaggelia was a legal term that referred to an officially sanctioned promise, and almost every use in the Besekh points back to the Tanakh (HELPS).

The term epaggelia has no exact Hebrew equivalent (DNTT 3:69). In the LXX epaggelia replaces Heb. parashah (SH-6575), "exact statement, sum" (Esth 4:7) for the amount of money Haman promised to the Persian king for destroying the Jews. However, the concept of divine promise pervades the Tanakh, especially in the content of the covenants that God made with Abraham and his descendants through Isaac and Jacob (Rom 9:4; Gal 3:17; Eph 2:12; Heb 8:6; 9:15). Moreover, followers of Yeshua received the promises of spiritual power (Luke 24:49; Acts 2:33), of resurrection (Acts 13:32-33; 23:6; 26:6-7), of eternal life (Titus 1:2) and of the Kingdom of God (Jas 2:5).

Eisenbaum associates the promise with the expectation of the Messiah, to which Paul alludes in the next verse. She cites Maimonides to affirm that it is an obligation of Jews to wait for the Messiah (Mishneh Torah, Sefer Shoftim, Laws of Kings, Chap. 11). "The promise" is certainly grounded in Yeshua as the Messiah as we wait for his return in power and glory and the fulfillment of all his promises. Much more will be said about "the promise" in the next chapter.

37 "For yet, a little while, the One coming will arrive and will not delay;

Reference: Isaiah 26:20; Habakkuk 2:3.

To buttress his exhortation Paul conflates two Scripture passages, first using a phrase from Isaiah 26:20 (MT/LXX).

Isaiah was the son of Amoz of the tribe of Judah and perhaps related to the royal house. He lived during the reigns of the Judean kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, and probably the first years of Manasseh. He married a prophetess and had two sons (Isa 7:3; 8:3). Isaiah received his call to ministry in a dramatic fashion c. 740 BC (Isa 6:1), and prophesied for forty years during which he was an adviser (court prophet) to King Ahaz and King Hezekiah.

He was contemporary with the prophets Micah and Hosea. He left a monumental literary work of 66 chapters, the longest of the prophetic books, containing almost half of the Messianic prophecies in the Tanakh. Isaiah wrote mostly warnings in the first half of his book and mostly comfort and promise in the second half. Jewish tradition says that Isaiah was put to death by King Manasseh by being sawn in half (Yebamoth 49b; Ascension of Isaiah 1:9; 5:2).

For: Grk. gar, conj. The LXX uses Grk. dioti to translate Heb. ki. yet: Grk. eti (Heb. od), adv. expressing continuance of an action or circumstance or expressing addition, whether of time or degree; just, still, yet. little: Grk. mikros (for Heb. me'at), adj., relatively limited in extent, used of size, measure, quantity, time, age, rank or influence. The term is used here of time. while: Grk. hosos hosos, relative pronoun. See verse 25 above. In the quoted text the pronoun hosos translates Heb. rega, which refers to a moment of time. The doubling of hosos would lit. mean, "how much, how much."

Bruce notes that the LXX phrase mikron hoson hoson translates Heb. kim'at rega (273). The temporal phrase signifies an indefinite but short period. Stern notes that in Judaism when a Bible verse is cited its entire context is implied, if appropriate (84). Thus the context of Isaiah 26:20 is important for understanding why Paul chose the phrase. The Israelites were instructed to "hide" themselves for a short time as they anticipated the wrath of God to be poured out on the earth (Isaiah 24). Israel was not to imagine that a lack of immediate action by God showed failure on His part to honor his promise (Guthrie).

Paul has already warned about the day of judgment that is coming (verses 25-31 above), and the Isaiah passage carries the same end time association. So, "for a little while you must wait, and while you wait you must endure."

Paul then quotes a clause from Habakkuk 2:3 (MT/LXX). Nothing is known for certain about Habakkuk (Heb. Chabaqquq), other than he is identified as a prophet (Heb. nabi, 1:1). In 2:1 Habakkuk mentions serving as a watchman on a tower of the temple, which both establishes the existence of the temple and membership in the tribe of Levi, perhaps a priest as suggested by Jewish tradition. No mention is made of the ruling monarch as in other prophetic works. He had a passion for the justice of God as reflected in his rhetorical questions of God and complaint about the deprivation of the people of Judah.

The book does contain a few clues of the time period. The societal conditions of which Habakkuk complains in 1:2-4 could fit the reigns of Manasseh (697-642 BC) and Jehoiakim (608-597 BC). Jewish tradition favors the former whereas various Christian commentators favor the latter. The specific complaint of violence in 1:2-3 and "bloodshed" in 2:12 would fit best the time of Manasseh, who shed much innocent blood (2Kgs 21:16).

In 1:6 God announced that He was "raising up the Chaldeans" as His avengers against the wickedness in Judah (cf. 2Kgs 21:14; 24:2). The prophesied action was not immediate. God would cause the Chaldeans to arise, but they had not yet arisen. The prophecy certainly places Habakkuk before the Battle of Carchemish (606 or 605 BC). In the second chapter God informs Habakkuk the prophecy is for "an appointed time" and says "though it tarries" (2:3). The qualification indicates that while the invasion was certain it was not imminent.

Keil presents a persuasive argument in favor of Manasseh given that there were only 38 years between the death of Manasseh and the first invasion of the Chaldeans (KDC 10:388). The authors of 2Kings and 2Chronicles expressly related that in the time of Manasseh the Lord's prophets announced the coming of such a calamity, "that whoever hears of it, both his ears will tingle" (2Kgs 21:12 NASU).

the One: Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as demonstrative pronoun and circumlocution for the Messiah. coming: Grk. erchomai (for Heb. bo), pres. mid. part., 'to come or arrive,' with focus on a position from which action or movement takes place. The verb occurs in passages in reference to Messiah's coming in glory (e.g., Matt 11:3; 16:27-28; 24:30, 44; 25:31). Bruce notes that the title "the Coming One" is used by Yochanan the Immerser when he sent his disciples to Yeshua with the question, "Are you the Coming One, or are we to expect someone else (Matt 11:3/Luke 7:19) (274). Yochanan had prophesied that when Messiah comes he will bring both judgment and deliverance (Matt 3:11-12).

will arrive: Grk. hēkō, fut. See verse 7 above. The verb affirms the certainty of the future event. and: Grk. kai, conj. will not: Grk. ou, adv. delay: Grk. chronizō, fut., take time longer than expected to do or accomplish something; take time, linger, delay. The assurance offered reflects a conundrum faced by the Jewish followers of Yeshua. They had heard Yeshua begin his public ministry on earth by proclaiming, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand" (Mark 1:15). Yeshua spoke as if the message of the prophets had finally come true.

Yet, over three years of proclaiming the good news passed, followed by crucifixion and resurrection and shortly before the Lord's ascension, the apostles were compelled to ask, "Lord, shall you be restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?" (Acts 1:6 BR) The hope of Israel that the apostles shared was the promise to be freed from the oppression of the Roman empire with the Messiah installed as King (cf. Matt 24:3; Luke 1:67-74; Acts 15:13-18).

The apostles knew, as did Amos, that "the Lord God does nothing unless he reveals his secret counsel to his servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7; cf. Isa 44:7; 46:9-10; Dan 2:28-29). How could Yeshua tell them that almost two thousand years would pass before Israel would be restored to its own sovereignty? Moreover, Yeshua knew they were not ready for such knowledge. Yeshua responded, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by his own authority" (Acts 1:7). It took time for the apostles to understand that the last days began with the first advent (1Cor 10:11; Heb 1:2; 1Pet 1:20) and that the Last Day still lay in the future (John 6:39ff; 12:48).

Paul's assurance here is that prophetic time is not measured as humans measure time. For God a thousand years is as a day (Ps 90:4; 2Pet 3:8). Yeshua's coming might be as fast as a lightning strike (Matt 24:27) and the blink of an eye (1Cor 15:52), but there is a divine reason why Yeshua has not come (cf. Matt 24:36). As Yeshua outlined in his Olivet Discourse he will not come until all prophecy has been fulfilled.

The standard translation of Habakkuk 2:3 in Bible versions can be misleading:

"For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end - it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay." (ESV)

The six verbs in the Hebrew text of Habakkuk 2:3 are in fact all masculine singular,

"For yet the vision is for an appointed time, but He will speak at the end and He will not lie. Though He tarries, wait for Him, because surely He will come and He will not tarry." (BR; see the MT)

Translating these verbs as neuter (as Bible versions do) obscures the focus on a person as the originator of the action. The Orthodox Jewish Bible is the only version that translates the last clause as "he will surely come, and will not tarry." The natural meaning is that God is going to do something; the something won't happen by itself. (There is no such thing as spontaneous generation.) Of course, in the original context the masculine verbs could imply Nebuchadnezzar as the agent, but Paul's use of the clause gives it a Messianic meaning. Yeshua is the "Coming One." The Sages also viewed this passage as predicting the Messiah (Sanhedrin 97b).

38 but my righteous one will live from faithfulness, and if he should shrink back, my soul will not be pleased in him."

Reference: Habakkuk 2:4 (MT/LXX)

Paul continues his quotation from Habakkuk. but: Grk. de, conj. my: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. righteous: Grk. dikaios, adj., being in accord with God's covenantal standards expressed in Torah for acceptable behavior, upright or just. In the LXX dikaios translates Heb. tsaddiq (SH-6682), 'just or righteous' (BDB 843). In Scripture a just man is one who is blameless or innocent of wrongdoing, one who follows the ethical and moral demands of Torah. one: Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pronoun.

will live: Grk. zaō, fut. mid. See verse 10 above. The verb points to the experience of receiving eternal life. from: Grk. ek, prep. may be used to denote derivation or separation, here the former; from, out of, out from among. Ek has a two-layered meaning, "out from" and "to," which makes it out-come oriented, i.e., out of the depths of the source and extending to its impact on the object (HELPS). faithfulness: Grk. pistis (from peithō, "to persuade, be persuaded"), incorporates two primary facets of meaning: (1) belief evoked by another's reputation for trustworthiness, thus confidence, faith, or trust; and (2) dependability in awareness of obligation to others, thus constancy, faithfulness or fidelity.

Zodhiates says that pistis also includes the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to God (1163). Thayer and the NASBEC also include "faithfulness" in the definition of pistis (1558). In the LXX pistis translates Heb. emunah (SH-530), firmness, steadfastness, or fidelity (BDB 53), mainly of men's faithfulness (1Sam 26:23; 2Kgs 12:15; 22:7; Jer 5:1, 3; 7:28; 9:3; Hos 2:20), but also of God's faithfulness (Ps 33:4; Lam 3:23; Hab 2:4). Pistis also translates Heb. emun (SH-529), faithfulness (Deut 32:20; Prov 13:17); amanah (SH-548), fixed support (Neh 9:38; 11:23; SS 4:8); and emet (SH-571), firmness, faithfulness, or truth (Prov 14:22; Jer 28:9; 33:6).

The LXX usage emphasizes that the intended meaning of pistis is a firm persuasion that results in fidelity or trusting faithfulness. The genitive case of the noun is used for description and thus its function is adjectival (DM 72). Thus, pistis describes an important characteristic of the righteous one. Most Christian versions translate the noun as "faith," but Stern translates the noun as "trusting" (CJB). However, Mounce translates the noun here as "faithfulness" and the OJB and TLV have emunah, which means faithfulness.

and: Grk. kai, conj. if: Grk. ean, conj. that serves as a conditional particle and produces an aspect of tentativeness by introducing a possible circumstance that determines the realization of some other circumstance. he should shrink back: Grk. hupostellō, aor. mid. subj., to draw oneself back, out of sight, hence, generally to shrink or draw back, to withdraw oneself or retreat (Zodhiates). Outside of Hebrews this verb occurs only in Paul's letter to the Galatians describing Peter's negative example (2:12) and in his parting address to the elders of the Ephesian congregation in which he positively affirmed his own character (Acts 20:20, 27).

my: Grk. egō. soul: Grk. psuchē may mean (1) a quality of physical life; (2) that which possesses vital being; person; or (3) the seat of feelings, desires, affections, aversions. The third meaning is intended here. In the LXX psuchē translates Heb. nephesh (SH-5315), which may mean a soul, living being; first in Genesis 1:20. The mention of "my soul" alludes to the fact of God as a personality with feelings. will not: Grk. ou, adv. be pleased: Grk. eudokeō, pres. See verse 6 above. in: Grk. en, prep. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun; used in reference to the one shrinking back.

39 Now we are not of shrinking back to destruction, but of faithfulness to preservation of the soul.

Now: Grk. de, conj. we: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person. The plural pronoun includes Paul and his ministry team, but could include faithful followers of Yeshua to whom he is writing. are: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 10 above. not: Grk. ou, adv. of shrinking back: Grk. hupostolē, properly, "draw down or under," i.e. shrink or draw back in apostasy; backwards movement spiritually (HELPS). The noun occurs only here in the Besekh. Many versions translate the noun as "of those shrinking back" as reference to a category of people. However, the noun is used of a spiritual condition.

to: Grk. eis, prep. destruction: Grk. apōleia (from apollumi, "cut off entirely, destroy"), destruction, ruin, loss. The noun is primarily used in the Besekh of causing someone to be completely severed, cut off entirely from what could or should have been (HELPS). In LXX apōleia translates several different Hebrew words that signify loss or destruction, especially exclusion from belonging to ADONAI, but also destruction and loss of life (DNTT 1:463).

In Deuteronomy apōleia is sometimes appears with the verb apollumi in translating the double use of abad (SH-6), to perish, thus "perish utterly." The graphic word picture is used to describe the consequence of removal from the land for disobeying covenantal expectations (Deut 4:26; 8:19; 30:18). In most of the writings of the Tanakh apōleia is understood in the sense of earthly calamity or death.

However, some texts use apōleia to translate the noun abaddôn (SH-11), "destruction," in which the noun functions as a personification in connection with the concepts of Hades and eternal death (Job 26:6; 28:22; Prov 15:11; 27:20). In the Besekh the noun frequently stresses the eternal aspect of loss, and this is Paul's implied warning (Matt 7:13; Rom 9:22; Php 1:28; 3:19; 1Tim 6:9).

but: Grk. alla, conj. of faithfulness: Grk. pistis. See the previous verse. The majority of versions translate the noun as "faith," but pistis is set in contrast to "shrinking back," so its meaning is much stronger than "belief" (KJV) or "trust" (CJB). A few versions recognize the meaning of fidelity to God and translate the noun as "faithful" (JUB, NLT, MRINT, MW, TLV). to preservation: Grk. peripoiēsis, circumstance of securing, make one's own; preserving, preservation. of the soul: Grk. psuchē. See the previous verse. The disciple of Yeshua is preserved from destruction by faithfulness to the Master.

Works Cited

ABP: The Apostolic Bible Polyglot. ed. Charles Van der Pool. Apostolic Press, 2006. An interlinear of the Septuagint with English translation. Online.

BAG: Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. trans. W.F. Arndt & F.W. Gingrich. The University of Chicago Press, 1957.

BDB: The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Oxford University Press, 1907. Reprinted by Associated Publishers and Authors, Inc., 1981.

Bruce: F.F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1964. (New International Commentary on the New Testament)

Cassirer: Heinz Walter Cassirer (1903-1979), God's New Covenant: A New Testament Translation. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1989.

Danker: F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, University of Chicago Press, 2009.

DM: H.E. Dana & Julius R. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament. The Macmillan Co., 1955.

DSB: The Defenders Study Bible. World Publishing Co., 1995. [KJV with annotations by Dr. Henry M. Morris.]

DNTT: Colin Brown, ed., Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 3 Vols. Zondervan Pub. House, 1975.

Gruber: Daniel Gruber, The Messianic Writings. Elijah Publishing, 2011. [Translation of the New Testament Majority Text and annotations by the author.]

Guthrie: Donald Guthrie, Hebrews. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1983. [Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, Vol. 15].

Hegg: Tim Hegg, A Commentary on the Book of Hebrews. Vol. 2. TorahResource, 2016.

HELPS: Gleason L. Archer and Gary Hill, eds., The Discovery Bible New Testament: HELPS Word Studies. Moody Press, 1987, 2011. (Online at BibleHub.com)

HBD: Trent C. Butler, ed., Holman Bible Dictionary. Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1991. Online.

Hughes: John J. Hughes, "Hebrews IX 15ff. and Galatians III 15ff.: A Study in Covenant Practice and Procedure," Novum Testamentum, Vol. 21, Fasc. 1. Brill, January, 1979; pp. 27-96. Online.

Jeremias: Joichim Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus. Fortress Press, 1975.

Kaiser: Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. The Messiah in the Old Testament. Zondervan Pub. House, 1995.

KDC: C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament (1866-1891). 10 Vols. Hendrickson Publishers, 2006.

Kidner: Derek Kidner, Psalms 1―72: An Introduction and Commentary. InterVarsity Press, 1973. (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries)

Lane: William L. Lane, Word Biblical Commentary: Hebrews 9-13. Word Books, 1991. Online.

LSJ: Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott, An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon (1889). rev. by Sir Henry Stuart Jones. Clarendon Press, 1940. Online

McKee: John Kimball McKee, Hebrews for the Practical Messianic. Messianic Apologetics, 2012.

NASBEC: New American Standard Bible Exhaustive Concordance, Updated Edition. Foundation Publications, Inc., 1998.

NTW: William Barclay, New Testament Words. The Westminster Press, 1974.

Robertson: Archibald Thomas Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, 6 Vols. Broadman Press, 1933. (Parsons CD-ROM Version 2.0, 1997) Online.

Santala: Risto Santala, The Messiah in the New Testament in the Light of Rabbinical Writings. Trans. William Kinnaird. Keren Ahvah Meshihit, 1992. Online.

Setterfield: Barry Setterfield, The Alexandrian Septuagint History. Genesis Science Research, 2010. Online.

Stern: David Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary. Jewish New Testament Publications, 1996.

Thayer: Joseph Henry Thayer (1828-1901), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Harper Brothers, 1889). Hendrickson Publishers, 2003. Online.

TLV: Tree of Life Version, Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society, 2014. Online.

Zodhiates: Spiros Zodhiates (1922-2009), ed. The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament. AMG Publishers, 1992, 1993.

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