Hebrews 5:7-14

Sunday, January 29th, 2017




In Hebrews 4:14-7:28 Christ is seen to have a more excellent ministry than the Levitical priests. Therefore, professing believers need to hold fast the confession of faith they have made.


In chapter 5 the office of high priest is described (5:1-4). Also, Christ is stated to be a high priest after the order of Melchizedek (5:5-10).


These believers to whom Hebrews was written were not as sharp spiritually as they should have been (5:11-14). Therefore, they are urged to leave the first principles of the Messiah and to go on to completion, making sure that they are truly saved.


We have already seen –

The office of high priest described – 5:1-4


Hebrews 5:1-41 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: 2 Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. 3 And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. 4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.


Regarding the high priest, we have seen that –

            A.  He is a human being – 5:1

            B.  He is appointed for men in things pertaining to God – 5:1

            C.  He offers both gifts and sacrifices for sins – 5:1

            D.  He has compassion on sinners – 5:2

            E.        He must offer for the people’s sins and also for his own sins – 5:3

            F.        He must be called by God to be a high priest – 5:4


We are in the process of seeing that –



We have seen that –

            A.  God the Father has appointed Christ to be a high priest – 5:5


Hebrews 5:5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.


This was said in Psalms 2:7 .


We have also seen that –

            B.  Christ is a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek – 5:6


Hebrews 5:6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.


This was said in Psalms 110:4 .


We continue with –



Hebrews 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared.


Verses 7-9 describe the Lord Jesus Christ.


Who refers to Christ.


In the days of his flesh suggests when He was alive physically.


The tense of when he had offered implies after He had offered.


Offered is the same sacrificial term used in verse 1 meaning to bring, offer, or present and is used of offering gifts and sacrifices.


Here, Jesus offered in the days of his flesh which implies during His lifetime on this earth.


What He offered were prayers and supplications.


Prayers is a general term for entreaties; and supplications is literally signs of a suppliant, hence, the translation supplications. It means prayers.


Using two terms together which mean approximately the same thing emphasizes both the fact that Jesus prayed and the intensity of His prayer.


Thus, during His lifetime, prayer was an offering He presented to His Heavenly Father.


Jesus brought His sacrifice of prayers and supplications to His Father with strong crying and tears.


Strong is understood in the sense of mighty or powerful; and crying refers to a loud, articulate cry. When used together, they suggest loud crying.


Tears suggests weeping.


Although the strong crying and tears were seen in the garden of Gethsemane prior to His betrayal and arrest, there is no reason that this reference in Hebrews to His strong crying and tears must be limited to these events in Gethsemane.


Another possibility is that the strong crying and tears has reference to Psalms 22:24 and thus to Christ’s sufferings on the cross.


Psalms 22:24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.


Unto him that was able to save him from death refers to God the Father.


Was able is can.


This passage is not referring to the possibility of God the Father’s preventing Jesus from dying. As a matter of fact, God had sent Him for the purpose of dying.


To save him from death is to save Him out of death. This indicates that its meaning is not One Who was able to deliver Jesus from the necessity of dying, but One Who was able to deliver Him out of death after He had died. It means, therefore, that God was able to raise Jesus from the dead rather than to prevent His dying. This is made clear by the term translated from which means out of rather than away from.


Thus, it is clear that Jesus was going to die; and His prayer was that He be delivered, rescued, or saved out of death itself.


Were His prayers answered? Yes, His prayers were answered as is indicated by and was heard in that he feared. It means that God the Father heard His prayers because of His fear, i.e. because of Jesus’ fear.


Feared is not the term suggesting fright but is a term suggesting awe, a fear of God, a piety, or a reverence; and it is His fear, i.e. Christ’s fear, His reverence, or His piety toward God. The reason Jesus was heard is because He feared God, because He stood in awe of God, because He showed reverence toward God.


Next, we see that –



Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.


Verse 8 continues the description of Christ as high priest begun in verse 7. It extends through verse 9.


Though he were a Son is although He was a Son. As the Son of God, Jesus was the Messiah, God the Son.


Yet learned he is simply He learned and suggests that He learned this not through instruction but through His experience.


What He learned was obedience. It does not suggest that Christ was ever disobedient.


By the things which He suffered suggests from the things which He suffered or from the things which He endured. In other words, the things which Christ suffered or endured are the things which taught Him obedience. Although there never was a time that Jesus did not obey the Father, He learned obedience in an experiential way by going to the cross and dying there for sin. Thus, He learned by His experience. It does not suggest that He had not known all along what obedience was; rather, it suggests that He demonstrated obedience in something He had not previously done. He had never previously suffered or died, but now He has.


Similarly, according to Luke 2:52 , Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man.


Next, we see that –



Hebrews 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.


Verse 9 continues the description of Jesus as high priest begun in verse 7.


Being made perfect is understood in the sense of after or when He was made perfect. Its tense indicates that its time of action occurred logically prior to the action of became but so close in actual time that they could be said to have occurred at the same time.


Being made perfect suggests being made complete, being brought to its end, or being brought to accomplishment. Thus, the writer is speaking here of the completion of Jesus, of His learning through His experience.


He became suggests He came to be and indicates that at this point in time He was something He had not been previously.


What He became was the author of eternal salvation.


Author comes from a word which means responsible. Here its use suggests the cause or the source.


It is of eternal salvation that Jesus is author, cause, or source. It is He Who has provided salvation for the lost. Thus, if someone is going to be saved, he must come to Jesus in order to go to God.


Salvation is the normal term meaning deliverance or preservation.


Unto all them that obey him is unto all that follow Him or unto all that are subject to Him. Inasmuch as belief in the gospel was viewed as the supreme act of obedience by Christians, obey him suggests the obedience of faith and the sense unto all them that believe on Him or trust in Him. People obey Christ by believing in Him.


All suggests that there are no exceptions; no one who believes in Him will be left out or in any way excluded.


Unto all them that obey him restricts the salvation Christ has provided to those who believe the gospel. Although Christ died for all and although all could believe in Him and be saved if they would, only those who do place their trust in Him will be saved.


Finally, we see that -



Hebrews 5:10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.


Called means named or designated. Called is to be understood in the sense of and was named or and was designated.


Of God is by God and indicates direct agency. It is God the Father Who called, named, or designated Christ; and what He called, named, or designated Him is an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. Jesus was thus named or designated as high priest.


After the order of Melchisedec is the same phrase used in verse 6 meaning according to the order of Melchizedek, suggesting a nature or quality which Melchizedek had. In other words, it means just like Melchizedek.


Thus, what had been prophetically said of Christ in Psalms 2:7 is now fulfilled at the same time Christ was made perfect and became the author of eternal salvation. He was named, appointed, or designated an high priest after the order of Melchizedek.


Thus, Christ satisfied the requirement stated in verse 4 for being a high priest that no man taketh this honour of being a high priest unto himself, but he that is called of God.

We continue with –

  II.     AN APPEAL AND WARNING – 5:11-14


In verses 11-14 the writer introduces a warning intended to show his readers that they need to be certain they are truly saved. The warning continues through 6:12.


The writer of Hebrews will return to the subject of Christ’s being a high priest after the order of Melchizedek in chapter 7.


What the writer needed to write to his readers was for mature believers, but his readers were still spiritual infants. In the event that some professing salvation determined to return to Judaism, they needed to know that returning to Judaism was a logical impossibility for those who had been genuinely saved.


If one actually did return to Judaism, he would be demonstrating that he had never been saved in the first place.


We observe that –

            A.  THE READERS ARE DULL OF HEARING – 5:11


Hebrews 5:11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.


Of whom is concerning whom or about whom and refers to Melchizedek.


Whom may also be understood as which and refer instead to the declaration of Christ’s being a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. This fits the context very well.


We have many things to say is literally the word is much for us to speak or the word is great for us to speak.


By this the writer means that for us to speak about the subject (or matter) under discussion is much, great, strong, severe, hard, deep, or profound.


We is a literary plural and refers to the writer. In other words, what the writer is talking about is a difficult subject; and anyone who has ever tried to study Hebrews certainly has no difficulty understanding this statement!


And hard to be uttered is literally and hard to explain. It is not an easy matter to explain. Yet, the writer still has a great deal to say to these persons to whom he is writing.


Seeing ye are dull of hearing provides the reason what must be said is hard to explain.


Seeing is because or since.


Ye are is you have come to be or you have become and indicates an action which has occurred in the past with its result continuing on. At some point in the past they became dull of hearing, and they have continued to be dull of hearing until the time of the writing of this epistle.


Dull is lazy or sluggish, and hearing refers to their listening. The same term translated dull in this verse is translated slothful in Hebrews 6:12 .


Hebrews 6:11-1211 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: 12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.


The readers are not in any spiritual shape to be able to handle the truths the writer is about to share with them.


We also observe that –



Hebrews 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.


Verse 12 provides the reason the writer has written that his readers are dull of hearing.


For is used in the sense of because.


A word which is ordinarily translated and appears in the Greek text, but it was not translated by the King James translators. When combined with for, its use in this verse is emphatic and understood in the sense of indeed, in fact, yea, verily, or certainly.


When . . . ye ought has been translated as indicating time. It might instead be understood in the sense of although . . . you ought.


For the time suggests because of the time or on account of the time.


Ye ought is used in this verse to mean you are obligated or you must.


Because of the length of time they have been saved, they ought to be teachers, i.e. instructors. They had been saved a long time, but they had not grown spiritually.


They ought to be teaching others, but they were not capable of doing so as is indicated by ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God.


Ye have need is you have need or you have necessity. It is equivalent to you need.


What the readers need is that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God.


Again is once more or anew and is to be understood with have need rather than with teach, i.e. that you have need again or that you again have need.


Which be the first principles of the oracles of God is what are the first principles of the oracles of God where first principles refers to the beginning elements of learning or the beginning, fundamental principles. In other words, it is the basic features or the very basics. It is the ABCs.


Of the oracles is of the sayings where oracles is used of short sayings which originate from a divinity. In this case this divinity is God the Father.


The very basics of New Testament Christianity were seen in the Old Testament.


And are become indicates that something has happened in the past and that its result has continued to the present. They have become something in the past, and they still are whatever they became.


What they have become is such as have need of milk and not of strong meat.


Need is necessity. It is the same word used previously in this verse.


What they need is milk, and what they do not need is strong meat.


Strong is used in the sense of solid; and meat is nourishment or food.


In other words, they are spiritual infants who need to be fed with milk rather than with solid food. However, they may not always have been this way as is indicated by have become; but they were this way at the time Hebrews was written.


Have become indicates that one who does not make progress in his Christian growth does not remain at the same level of spirituality. He will gradually go backward until he is again characterized as a spiritual infant.

Finally, we observe that –



Hebrews 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.


In verse 13 the writer explains why his readers have need of milk rather than of solid food.


For is used in the sense of now.


Everyone that useth milk is literally everyone who shares in milk, everyone who participates in milk, or everyone who partakes of milk.


When used with foods, useth means eats, drinks, enjoys, or lives on.


Milk is what an infant needs. Just as a baby’s system cannot assimilate solid food, so the spiritual infant cannot handle solid spiritual food. Thus, the one using milk here is a spiritual infant. It is spiritual milk rather than literal milk.


This person is described by is unskilful in the word of righteousness.


Unskilful is unaccustomed to, unacquainted with, or inexperienced in. It does not mean that they have absolutely no acquaintance with it, but it means that they have little acquaintance with it. They are unskillful in it. What it amounts to is that a person who has been saved ought to be studying his Bible; and when he does, he will be gaining certain skills in the Bible so that he will be able to teach it to others.


However, these persons had been making no use of their spiritual opportunities. They had not been developing their spiritual lives in whatever Scriptures they had; and consequently, they had not grown. As a matter of fact, they had gone backwards.


The word of righteousness may be the word which produces righteousness (or uprightness) or the word which is righteousness (or uprightness). It seems best to understand the word of righteousness as a reference to the Scriptures or to the message which produces righteousness.


For he is a babe shows why he is unskilled in the word of righteousness as is indicated by for, which is used in the sense of because.


A babe is an infant or a minor. He should no longer be a minor. He ought to be an adult in his use of the Word of God, but he has not developed this skill. Consequently, he is a spiritual infant; but he is a spiritual infant. He is not an unsaved individual.


Hebrews 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.


But introduces a contrast with what was stated in verse 13 regarding someone’s using milk.


Strong meat is the same phrase used in verse 12 where meat is food or nourishment and strong is literally firm and used in the sense of solid.


Belongeth to them that are of full age is simply is for those of age, is for those full grown, or is for adults.


Them that are of full age are described as those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil, and even is supplied by the translators to make this clear.


Even is used in the sense of that is.


By reason of use is because of practice or on account of practice.


Because of practice, what these persons who use solid food have is their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.


Their senses is literally their organs of sense. When used figuratively as it is in this verse, it is used in the sense of their faculties or their abilities to make moral choices or decisions.


Exercised means trained. Its tense indicates a state of being which has come about as a result of an action which occurred in the past whose result has continued to the time of the writing of Hebrews.


To discern both good and evil is for distinguishing between both good and evil or for differentiation between both good and evil. In other words, they can tell the difference between good and evil including correct and incorrect doctrine; and the reason they can tell the difference is that they have trained their senses by using them. Consequently, strong spiritual food is for them.


Although it ought to have been this way with the original readers of Hebrews, it was not. They were out of shape spiritually. They had not trained their senses to discern between good and evil.


Consequently, they still needed spiritual milk rather than solid spiritual food.


They were not able to discern the difference between Christianity and Judaism, between the inferiority of Aaron’s priesthood and the superiority of Christ’s priesthood.


Thus, the writer questioned whether his readers were able to understand Christ’s being a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.



Don’t be a spiritual infant. Be studying your Bible and be a mature believer.