Hebrews 10:1-8

Sunday, May 21st, 2017

THE SACRIFICES UNDER THE LAW

MADE NOTHING PERFECT

INTRODUCTION:

 

Hebrews was written to Jews professing faith in Christ. As a result of severe persecution, some of them were contemplating abandoning Christ and Christianity and returning to Judaism and living under the law. Hebrews was written to warn them not to do this but to persevere in their faith in Christ.

 

We have seen in chapters 1-7 that:

 

    I.    Christ is superior to angels – 1:4 - 2:18

   II.    Christ is worthy of more glory than Moses – 3:1 - 4:13

  III.    Christ’s ministry is more excellent than the Levitical Priests’ ministry – 4:14 - 7:28

 

In Hebrews 8:1-10:18 Christ is shown to be the mediator of a better covenant.

 

In this section of Hebrews we have already seen:

 

A summary of what the writer has said thus far – 8:1-6

The promise of a new covenant – 8:7-9

A description of this new covenant – 8:10-12

This new covenant has made the old covenant [i.e. the law] obsolete – 8:13

 

The ordinances of divine service of the first covenant [i.e. of the law] were types – 9:1-10

The types of the first covenant [i.e. the types of the law] were fulfilled by the offering of Christ’s blood in the heavenly sanctuary – 9:11-28

 

In this message as we consider Hebrews 10:1-8 , we want to show that the sacrifices under the law made nothing perfect.

We see that –

    I.     THE LAW FORESHADOWS GOOD THINGS TO COME – 10:1A

 

Hebrews 10:1 a – For the law having a shadow of good things to come. . . .

 

Verse 1 advances the argument that Christ is the mediator of a better covenant as is indicated by for, which is used in the sense of now.

 

The law is the Mosaic law and is another way of saying the first covenant.

 

The law functions as the subject of can . . . make.

 

Having may be understood in the sense of because it (i.e. because the law) has, inasmuch as (the law) has, or since (the law) has. It may instead be understood in the sense of although (the law) has.

 

A shadow is a foreshadowing and has been used previously in Hebrews 8:5 . A shadow is not as specific as an exact likeness.

 

Of good things to come refers to the good things to come under the new covenant of which the law was only a shadow.

We also see that –

  II.     THE LAW IS NOT THE VERY IMAGE OF THE GOOD THINGS TO COME – 10:1B

 

Hebrews 10:1 b – . . . And not the very image of the things. . . .

 

And not the very image of the things introduces something that is not true of the law.

 

The very image is the image itself where image means likeness or, perhaps, former appearance.

 

The word translated very is used to intensify image.

 

Of the things refers to the good things to come and suggests the coming good things and means the matters (or the affairs) about to come.

Next, we see that –

 III.     THE LAW CAN NEVER MAKE THOSE WHO COME TO IT PERFECT – 10:1C

 

Hebrews 10:1 c – For the law . . . can never with those sacrifices which they [i.e. which the high priests] offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

 

Can . . . make is is able, and never suggests not ever or not at any time.

 

The tense of can . . . make implies an ongoing situation which is always true.

 

Hence, the law is not now, and never will be, able with those sacrifices which they [i.e. which the high priests] offered year by year continually to make the comers thereunto perfect.

 

With those sacrifices is with the same sacrifices or with the same offerings.

 

Which they offered refers to the sacrifices the high priests brought or presented.

 

Year by year is annually or year after year.

 

The sacrifices referred to are the sacrifices offered by the high priests on the day of atonement.

 

Continually implies without interruption. Its use in this verse indicates that these sacrifices have been made annually on a continued basis ever since the instructions for the day of atonement were given.

 

What these sacrifices were never able to do was make the comers thereunto perfect.

 

Make . . . perfect suggests complete, bring to an end, bring to its goal, or bring to its accomplishment.

 

The comers thereunto suggests the ones who come to, the ones who come near, or the ones who approach and refers to the ones who make an attempt to come near to God or to approach God on the basis of the sacrifices.

In addition, we see that –

 IV.     IF SACRIFICES UNDER THE LAW COULD MAKE PEOPLE WHO OFFER THEM PERFECT, THEY WOULD HAVE CEASED TO BE OFFERED – 10:2A

 

Hebrews 10:2 a – For then would they not have ceased to be offered? . . . .

 

For then is understood in the sense of because, since, for otherwise, or for if it were different.

 

Would they not have ceased to be offered suggests that they would have ceased being offered, and the very fact that these sacrifices continued to be offered year after year indicates that they did not make the worshiper perfect.

We furthermore see that –

   V.     IF THE WORSHIPERS HAD BEEN PURGED, THEY WOULD HAVE NO MORE CONSCIENCE OF SINS – 10:2B

 

Hebrews 10:2 b – . . . Because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

 

Because that is simply because.

 

The worshippers are the ones doing the religious service to God.

 

Here they would have been the high priests as well as the people who were seeking to approach God on the basis of these sacrifices.

 

Once is once for all and implies once for all time rather than once for all people.

 

Purged is having been purified, having been made clean, or having been cleansed. It is understood in the sense of if they had been once cleansed.

 

Should have had no more conscience of sins is should have no more conscience of sins, should have no consciousness yet of sins, should no longer have consciousness of sins, or should have no consciousness still of sins.

 

In other words, their consciences should have been cleansed; but they were not. This has already been indicated in Hebrews 9:13-14 .

 

Hebrews 9:13-1413 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

In addition, we see that –

 VI.     ANNUAL SACRIFICES PROVIDE A REMINDER OF SINS – 10:3

 

Hebrews 10:3 3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.

 

But introduces a strong contrast to the thought that there should have been no more consciousness of sins.

 

In those or in them or by means of them, i.e. in (or by means of) these animal sacrifices on the day of atonement.

 

There is a remembrance of sins made is (there is made) a reminder of sins. It indicates that there is still a consciousness of sins.

 

It is in contrast to Hebrews 10:17 which states, And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

 

Remembrance or reminder functions as the subject of the supplied verb, i.e. as the subject of is . . . made. It is literally, In those a remembrance of sins (is made) or in those (is) a reminder of sins.

 

The fact that there is a reminder of sins indicates that the sins are still there and have not been fully removed. There has been no cleansing of the conscience.

 

Again implies that this remembrance is repeated every year.

 

As indicated by the italics, there is . . . made has been supplied by the translators in order to express more fully the thought in English.

 

Every year is annually, yearly, year by year, or year after year. It is the identical phrase translated year by year in verse 1. It is also translated every year in Hebrews 9:7 .

We furthermore note that –

VII.     IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE BLOOD OF BULLS AND GOATS TO TAKE AWAY SINS – 10:4

 

Hebrews 10:4 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

 

Verse 4 continues the explanation of verse 2 as is indicated by for, which is used in the sense of because.

 

It is not possible is simply it is impossible, and what is impossible is that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

 

To take away sins is to remove sins and implies to forgive sins.

 

To take away functions as the subject of is which must be supplied in the mind of the reader.

 

Sins is used generally of any and all sin.

By contrast, we see that –

VIII.   A BODY WAS PREPARED FOR CHRIST – 10:5

 

Hebrews 10:5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me.

 

In verse 5 the writer introduces a quotation from Psalms 40:6-8 , to demonstrate that Christ did not come for the purpose of offering sacrifices according to the law.

 

Wherefore introduces a strong inference and means therefore or for this reason.

 

When he cometh into the world is literally coming into the world. It may be understood in the sense of when He comes into the world, because He comes into the world, or simply He comes into the world.

 

He refers to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the statement is being addressed to God the Father.

 

Into the world is into the world in the sense of into the earth. Its reference is to the incarnation.

 

What he saith or says is, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sins, thou hast had no pleasure.

 

Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not is, You (i.e. God the Father) did not wish (or desire) sacrifice and offering.

 

Sacrifice and offering are two terms which mean basically the same thing. Their use together suggests offering.

 

Thou is You (singular) and refers to God the Father.

 

But introduces a statement in mild contrast to the phrase sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not.

 

A body hast thou prepared me, where thou is God the Father and me is Christ, is, You, (God the Father), have prepared a body for Me.

 

Body refers to Christ’s physical body.

 

Hast . . . prepared is made or created and has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

 

The author is showing that it was the sacrifice of this body of the Lord Jesus Christ that God wished or desired rather than that Jesus would present a sacrifice or offering in accordance with the Levitical system.

Next, we see that –

 IX.     GOD HAS NO PLEASURE IN BURNT OFFERINGS AND SACRIFICES FOR SIN MADE UNDER THE LAW – 10:6, 8

 

Hebrews 10:6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.

 

Verse 6 continues the quotation from Psalms 40:6-8 .

 

The speaker is still the Lord Jesus Christ, and His statement is being made to God the Father.

 

Burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin is literally whole burnt offerings and concerning sin or whole burnt offerings even concerning sin.

 

Thou hast had no pleasure refers to God the Father, and it means You, (God the Father), were not well-pleased with or You did not delight in. It has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

 

Thou is God the Father.

 

Hebrews 10:8 8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law.

 

In verse 8 the writer comments on the quotation he has just made in verses 5-6 quoted from Psalms 40:6-8 .

 

By above he means in the previous few verses or earlier regarding what he has just stated in verses 5-6.

 

When He said is literally saying. It may be understood in the sense of when He said, while He said, or and He said.

 

What He said is, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein.

 

The writer has combined the statements made in verses 5 and 6 and re-phrased them slightly.

 

Sacrifice and offering are two terms used to indicate offerings, and burnt offerings are whole burnt offerings.

 

Thou wouldest not, where thou, where thou refers to God the Father, is, You, (God the Father), did not wish or, You did not desire.

 

Neither hadst pleasure therein is, You, (God the Father), were not well-pleased with or, You did not delight in.

 

Which are offered by the law is the writer’s comment upon this quotation.

 

Which refers to sacrifice, to offerings and burnt offerings, and to offerings for sin. It is literally such as those which, and it is used in the sense of such as those which are offered by the law.

 

Are offered by the law means are offered in accordance with the law, are offered according to the law, or are presented according to the law.

 

In other words, certain sacrifices and offerings were prescribed by the law. It is these kinds of sacrifices which the writer has in view.

 

Thus, in verses 5 and 6 the writer is stating that the intent of Christ’s coming into the world was not to offer sacrifices, offerings, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin as prescribed by the law.

Finally, we see that –

   X.     CHRIST CAME TO DO HIS FATHER’S WILL – 10:7

 

Hebrews 10:7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

 

Verse 7 continues the quotation from Psalms 40:6-8 begun in verse 5.

 

Christ is the speaker, and what He says is spoken to God the Father.

 

Then said I refers to Christ; and what He said is, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

 

Then may be temporal and mean at that time, but it more likely means thereupon.

 

Lo is behold.

 

I come, where I is Christ, is I have come or I am present.

 

The reason or purpose for which Christ has come is expressed by to do Thy will, O God. Here Christ addresses His Father as God.

 

God the Father’s will was that Christ die on the cross as an offering for sin rather than that He come and make offerings and sacrifices for sin in accordance with the Levitical system.

 

In the volume of the book is in a roll of a book or in a roll of a scroll.

 

It is written of me, where me refers to Christ, is, It has been written concerning (or about) Me.

 

The tense of is written indicates an activity which occurred in the past with its result continuing on. This was written down in the past and remains written for all to read.

 

It is now an existing fact.

CONCLUSION:

 

The Jews who were contemplating abandoning Christ and Christianity and returning to Judaism should realize that the sacrifices made in conjunction with the law made nothing perfect. They should also realize that the one sacrifice that Christ made did make those who come to Him perfect.

 

In Christ, sins have been forgiven, and there is no more consciousness of sins. The same is true for non-Jews. Christ’s death on the cross paid in full for the sins of all humanity. If you haven’t already done so, trust Him and receive Him as your Savior from sin and its consequences.