Hebrews 10:11-13 Commentary

Hebrews 10:11 Every priest stands daily * ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: Kai pas men iereus esteken (3SRAI) kath' emeran leitourgon (PAPMSN) kai tas autas pollakis prospheron (PAPMSN) thusias, aitines oudepote dunantai (3PPPI) perielein (AAN) amartias

Amplified: Furthermore, every [human] priest stands [at his altar of service] ministering daily, offering the same sacrifices over and over again, which never are able to strip [from every side of us] the sins [that envelop us] and take them away— (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Barclay: Again, every priest stands every day engaged upon his service; he stands offering the same sacrifices over and over again, and they are sacrifices of such a kind that they can never take away sins. (Westminster Press)

NLT: Under the old covenant, the priest stands before the altar day after day, offering sacrifices that can never take away sins. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: Every human priest stands day by day performing his religious duties and offering time after time the same sacrifices - which can never actually remove sins. (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: And indeed every priest has stood and continues to remain in that same position, day by day performing his sacred service and often offering the same sacrifices which are of such a nature that they cannot take away sins. (Eerdmans)

Young's Literal: and every priest, indeed, hath stood daily serving, and the same sacrifices many times offering, that are never able to take away sins.

AND EVERY PRIEST STANDS DAILY MINISTERING AND OFFERING TIME AFTER TIME THE SAME SACRIFICES WHICH CAN NEVER TAKE AWAY SINS: Kai pas men hiereus esteken (3SRAI) kath hemeran leitourgon (PAPMSN) kai tas autas pollakis prospheron (PAPMSN) thusias aitines oudepote dunantai (3PPPI) perielein (AAN) hamartias: (He 7:27; Exodus 29:38,39; Numbers 28:3,24; 29:6; Ezekiel 45:4; Daniel 8:11; 9:21,27; Daniel 11:31; 12:11; Luke 1:9,10) (4; Psalms 50:8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13; Isaiah 1:11)

Every day, so long as the Temple stood, continual sacrifices had to be carried out

And you shall say to them, 'This is the offering by fire which you shall offer to the LORD; two male lambs one year old without defect as a continual burnt offering every day.

4 'You shall offer the one lamb in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight;

5 also a tenth of an ephah of fine flour for a grain offering, mixed with a fourth of a hin of beaten oil.

6 'It is a continual burnt offering which was ordained in Mount Sinai as a soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the LORD.

7 'Then the libation with it shall be a fourth of a hin for each lamb, in the holy place you shall pour out a libation of strong drink to the LORD.

8 'And the other lamb you shall offer at twilight; as the grain offering of the morning and as its libation, you shall offer it, an offering by fire, a soothing aroma to the LORD. (Numbers 28:3-8).

Every morning and every evening a male lamb of one year old, without spot and blemish, was offered as a burnt-offering. Along with it there was offered a meat-offering, which consisted of one tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with a quarter of a hin of pure oil. There was also a drink-offering, which consisted of a quarter of a hin of wine. Added to that there was the daily meat-offering of the High Priest; it consisted of one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour, mixed with oil, and baked in a flat pan; half was offered in the morning and half in the evening. In addition there was an offering of incense before these offerings in the morning and after them in the evening. There was a kind of priestly tread-mill of sacrifice.

Moffatt speaks of "the Levitical drudges" speaking of the Levitical priests who, day in day out, kept offering these sacrifices.

Stands (2476) (histemi) refers to literally standing and the perfect tense speaks of the continued need to stand (because there was no chair in the Holy Place or the Holy of Holies!).

Wuest - The priests were still ministering in the temple at Jerusalem, which fact shows that the book was written before A.D. 70, at which date Jerusalem was destroyed by Rome. The standing position of the priests is set in vivid contrast to the seated posture of Messiah (Heb 10:12), indicating the fact that the work of the former was never finished and that of the latter was complete. This was apostasy on the part of the leaders of Israel. They had had an unmistakable demonstration of the fact that the First Testament was annulled and fulfilled, and thus set aside by the New Testament (Heb 9:7, 8). Yet in defiance of the clear will of God, they kept on offering sacrifices. (Hebrews Commentary online)

Ministering (3008)(leitourgeo from léïtos of the people + érgon = work) means to minister publicly in sacred office.

Offering (4374) (prosphero from prós = to, toward + phéro = bring) means to carry or bring something into the presence of someone usually implying a transfer of something to that person carry to. It refers to an offering, whether of gifts, prayers, or sacrifices.

As Pastor Ray Stedman says… One peculiarity of the tabernacle was that it contained no chairs. The priests were not permitted to sit, but performed their ministries while standing. Our author maintains in verses 11-12 that this symbolically shows that their work was unfinished, so their repeated sacrifices could not finally remove sins. (Hebrews 10:1-39 Let Us Go On!)

Spurgeon - There were many priests at the same time—the sacrifices of the temple were too numerous to have been all of them performed by one man. All the descendants of Aaron were set apart to this work, and even then they required the aid of the Levites in certain inferior duties. And as there were many priests at one time, so there were many in succession. As a priest died, he was succeeded by his sons. By reason of infirmity, they were not able to continue in their office even through the whole of their lifetime; there was a certain period at which they were commanded to surrender their office to younger men. By reason of mortality the priesthood was perpetually changing—one high priest died, and was succeeded by another. Now the reason for the existence of many priests was this: no one priest had accomplished the work of expiation. The good man has gone to his fathers and offered up the last of the morning lambs—but the morning lambs must still be offered. The high priest is dead, and there shall be no more opportunity for him to enter into that which is within the veil, but there must be a new high priest appointed, for the work is not finished. The sacrifice was offered once, but sin was not put away, and therefore had to be offered again. The great day of atonement came every year, when sin was afresh brought to remembrance. There was a day of atonement last year, but the people are unforgiven, and there must be a day of atonement this year. When that day is over and the priest has come forth in his holy and beautiful apparel, with the breastplate gleaming in the light of God, Israel may rejoice for a while, but there is one thought that will sadden her: there must be an atonement day next year. Sin still remains on Israel, despite all that the house of Aaron can do by all their sacrifices.

THE PRIESTHOOD
CONTRASTED

THE OLD THE NEW
Many priests One Priest
Continually standing Sitting down
Repeated offerings Once-for-all offering
Ineffective sacrifices
Only covered sin
Effective sacrifice
Completely removes sin

Never (3763) (oudepote from oude = not even + poté = ever) not even at any time, never at all, neither at any time, never, nothing at any time.

For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never (oudepote) by the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect those who draw near. (Heb 10:1-note)

Take away (4014) (periaireo from perí = around, suggests completeness + hairéo = in sense of take, seize, grasp) means to take away from around something (picture it binding and constricting movement) and so to remove that which envelops. In secular Greek it was a nautical term meaning to cast lose by taking up the anchors from both sides of the ship in preparation for departing. To take away altogether or entirely. In a secular Greek writing it was used of taking off from oneself, as taking off one's helmet and of taking off the cover of a letter (and thus opening it).

Metaphorically as used in this verse periaireo means to take away completely that with which one is, as it were, enveloped, which is the guilt of sin. It means to make complete expiation for sin. Picture sin as an anchor of one's soul weighing you down and preventing you from sailing off into the life God has prepared for you in Christ Jesus. Only the blood of Christ sets you free from the heavy weight that binds you!

Beloved in the Lord, is there some "weight" that you have been set free from because of your acceptance of Christ's perfect sacrifice and yet you still cling to so that it envelops and restricts your freedom in Christ? Is there some wrong done to you, some wrong you did to another, some unforgiveness, some ungratefulness, etc that holds you? Christ is the anchor of your soul Who can set you free from that which binds you.

Vincent writes that periaireo… literally means to strip off all round. See Genesis 41:42 (of a ring): Genesis 38:14; Deut 21:13 (of clothes). Comp. euperistatos He 12:1-note, and perikeitai astheneias is compassed about with weakness, He 5:2-note. See also clothed with shame, and with cursing, Ps. 35:26; 109:18. [Comments on periaireo in 2Cor 3:16] The verb occurs twice in Acts [Acts 27:20, 40] of the taking away of hope, and of the unfastening of the anchors in Paul’s shipwreck; and in Heb. 10:11, of the taking away of sins. There is an allusion here [2Cor 3:16] to the removal of the veil from Moses’ face whenever he returned to commune with God. See Ex 34:34. (Vincent, M. R. Word Studies in the New Testament).

Periaireo is used 51 times in the Septuagint (LXX) (Gen. 38:14, 19; 41:42; Exod. 8:8, 11, 31; 10:17; 32:2f, 24; 33:6; 34:34; Lev. 3:4, 9f, 15; 4:8f, 19, 31, 35; 7:4; Num. 17:5; 30:12f, 15; Deut. 7:15; 21:13; Jos. 24:14, 23; 1 Sam. 1:14; 7:3f; 28:3; 2 Sam. 3:10; 1 Chr. 21:8; 2 Chr. 32:12; 33:15; 34:33; Est. 3:10; Ps. 119:22, 39, 43; Prov. 4:24; 27:22; Jer. 4:1; Jon. 3:6; Zeph. 3:11, 15; Zech. 10:11) and 4 times in the NT…

Acts 27:20 And since neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm was assailing us, from then on all hope of our being saved was gradually abandoned (periaireo)… 40 And casting off (they let go the ropes that held the anchors and thus "abandoned" them) the anchors , they left them in the sea while at the same time they were loosening the ropes of the rudders, and hoisting the foresail to the wind, they were heading for the beach.

2Corinthians 3:16 but whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

Hebrews 10:11 And every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;

The point is that animal blood sacrifices could never take away sins. That is what the writer had just explained noting that…

it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. (Heb 10:4-note)

Even the Day of Atonement and the Scapegoat being led away into the wilderness to never be seen again was only a shadow pointing to the reality of the substance of the once for all perfect blood sacrifice of the perfect, sinless Lamb of God, Who Alone forever "takes away the sins of the world" (John 1:29)

In the OT Moses records the necessity of unceasing sacrifices under the Levitical system…

Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two one year old lambs each day, continuously. The one lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight; (Exodus 29:38,39)

And you shall say to them, 'This is the offering by fire which you shall offer to the LORD; two male lambs one year old without defect as a continual burnt offering every day. (Numbers 28:3)

'After this manner you shall present daily, for seven days, the food of the offering by fire, of a soothing aroma to the LORD; it shall be presented with its libation in addition to the continual burnt offering. (Numbers 28:24)

besides the burnt offering of the new moon, and its grain offering, and the continual burnt offering and its grain offering, and their libations, according to their ordinance, for a soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the LORD. (Nu 29:6)

The Lord Jesus Christ our Great High Priest

does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. (see note Hebrews 7:27)

The Psalmist reiterates the problem with the OT sacrifices, noting that the problem was not with the gift per se but with the giver… "I do not reprove you for your sacrifices, And your burnt offerings are continually before Me. I shall take no young bull out of your house, Nor male goats out of your folds. For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, And everything that moves in the field is Mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world is Mine, and all it contains. Shall I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of male goats? (Then what did God want in the OT?) Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High and call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me." (Psalms 50:8-13) (Comment: God did not reprove them for failing to bring their offerings, but in this context for bringing them with the motive of trying to make the God who owns everything dependent on their generosity.)

Spurgeon - There was the lamb for the morning; the innocent victim was slaughtered and burned. But the morning sacrifice did not put away the day’s sin, for as the sun began to descend in the west another victim must be brought, and so on each morning and each night. Victim, victim, victim, sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice, because the expiation was always incomplete. But our blessed Lord, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:19), was sacrificed but once, and that one sacrifice has completed His expiatory work. In every truth, His was a sacrifice of nobler name and richer blood than theirs.How could the blood of bulls and of goats put away sin? What conceivable connection can there be, except in symbol, between the death pangs of a beast and the sin of a man before God? The principle of substitution was by the legal sacrifices clearly set forth, but that was all. Those offerings did not and could not provide the actual substitute. The principle of vicarious sacrifice they plainly unfolded, but they provided no real sin offering. How could they? Where but in the Christ of God could a propitiation be found? Where else is there one who could in our nature make recompense to the injured law of God?

Hebrews 10:12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: outos de mian uper amartion prosenegkas (AAPMSN) thusian eis to dienekes ekathisen (3SAAI) en decia tou theou

Amplified: Whereas this One [Christ], after He had offered a single sacrifice for our sins [that shall avail] for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Barclay: But he offered one single sacrifice for sin and then took his seat for ever at the right hand of God, (Westminster Press)

NLT: But our High Priest offered himself to God as one sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down at the place of highest honor at God's right hand. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: But this man, after offering one sacrifice for sins for ever, took his seat at God's right hand, (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: But this priest, having offered one sacrifice for sins, sat down in perpetuity on the right hand of God, (Eerdmans)

Young's Literal: And He, for sin one sacrifice having offered -- to the end, did sit down on the right hand of God,--

BUT HE, HAVING OFFERED ONE SACRIFICE FOR SINS FOR ALL TIME SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD: houtos de mian huper hamartion prosenegkas (AAPMSN) thusian eis to dienekes ekathisen en dexia tou theou: (He 1:3; 8:1; 9:12; Acts 2:33,34; Ro 8:34; Col 3:1)

But - Striking contrast with the need for repetitive sacrifices under the Old Covenant. See value of observing and interrogating terms of contrast.

Offered (4374) (prosphero from prós = to, toward + phéro = bring) means to carry or bring something into the presence of someone usually implying a transfer of something to that person carry to. It refers to an offering, whether of gifts, prayers, or sacrifices.

Jesus taking His seat at the right hand of God is taken from Ps 110:1 where David writes…

The LORD (God the Father) says to my Lord (God the Son): "Sit at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet." (Comment: Literally this begins "Jehovah said to Adonai". David records a remarkable conversation between two Persons of the Godhead. This Messianic psalm is quoted as such at least 12 times in the NT. In Mt 22:43-45 Christ specifically applies Psalm 110:1 to Himself claiming that He is not just the son of David but David's Lord. In short, Psalm 110 pictures the Messiah as King, Priest and victorious Warrior.

Psalm 110 verse 1 is quoted 5 times in the NT -- Mk 12:36, Lk 20:42; Acts 2:34, Heb 1:13 and Heb 10:12. There are 15 other Scriptural references to Christ seated at the right hand of God:

Ps 16:11 [KJV "at Thy right hand"], Mt 26:64; Mk 14:62; 16:19; Lk 22:69; Acts 7:55,56, Ro 8:34 [note]; Ep 1:20 [note]; Col 3:1 [note]; 1Pe 3:22 [note] and the 4 verses in Hebrews - see below.)

The writer of Hebrews obviously considers this teaching about the position of Christ Jesus our Great High Priest at the right hand of His Father as very important for he records this truth four times, at the beginning, in the middle and toward the end of his epistle…

Hebrews 1:3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high

Hebrews 1:13 But to which of the angels has He ever said, "SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE THINE ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR THY FEET"?

Hebrews 8:1 Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a High Priest, Who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens

Hebrews 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Considering the importance of the truth (in view of its repetition some 21 times in Scripture) that Christ is now at the right hand of God, it is not surprising that the Antichrist, the counterfeit ''Christ'' sits down' in the Holy of holies where no priest had ever been allowed to sit nor could sit because there was no chair! Paul warns the believers at Thessalonica to…

Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. (2Thes 2:3-4)

In this sense the Antichrist mimics Christ's finished work on the Cross ("It is finished" Jn 19:30) which gives Him Alone the right to be seated at the right hand of God (the Holy of holies symbolizing the throne of God in heaven).

To reiterate the significance of Christ sitting indicates that His work of offering sacrifice is done. He does not stand daily to offer sacrifices for sin. The one sacrifice of Himself was perfectly complete. God is forever satisfied (propitiated by the Lamb's blood on the "mercy seat" Ro 3:24,25) with the sacrifice of His Son. God honors His Son with the seat at His right hand to show how fully He is satisfied with the debt paid for sin. This is a great picture to encourage us that our sins are fully dealt with.

Christ's sitting also indicates that He, together with His Father, is the sovereign ruler over all His enemies.

Spurgeon - You see the stars and the moon in their brightness, but suddenly they are all eclipsed and lost in a superior light. What can this glory be, which has paled their fires? It is the sun rising in His strength. So while we are beholding the priesthood of Aaron with all its excellence, it suddenly ceases to shine, because of the glory that excels—the radiant presence of one for whom, like heaven’s manna, it is not easy to find one fully descriptive name. Shall we call Him “man”? Blessed be His name; He is so, our near kinsman, the “Son of Man.” Shall we call Him “priest”? He is so. Blessed be His name; He is the true Melchizedek. Shall we call Him “God”? Well may we do so, for He counts it not robbery to be equal with God. But this one divinely mysterious person, this unique and solitary high-priest, accomplishes what the many priests of Aaron’s race could not compass. They were weak, but He is all-sufficient. He has wrought out eternal redemption, and made an end of sin. What a blessed doctrine this is—that the one offering of Christ has done what the tens of thousands of offerings under the old law never could accomplish! All the work of man is but the spinning of a righteousness that is undone as quickly as it is spun. But Christ has finished the seamless and spotless robe of His righteousness that is to last forever. By His one sacrifice, He has ended all the fruitless labor of the ages. And now as many of us as have received Him have all the benefits of His perfect work. On Him their sins were laid, and He was numbered with the transgressors. (Isa 53:12KJV) There He, in their stead, suffered what was due to the righteousness of God and made atonement to divine justice for the sins of His people. This was done, not by many offerings, but by one sacrifice, and that one alone. Jesus offered no other sacrifice: He had never made one before, nor since, nor will He present another sacrifice in the future. His sin offering is one. Our Lord sits down because there is no more sacrificial work to do. Atonement is complete; He has finished his task. There were no seats in the tabernacle. Observe the Levitical descriptions and you will see that there were no resting places for the priests in the holy place. Not only were none allowed to sit, but there was nothing whatever to sit upon. According to the rabbis, the king might sit in the holy places, and perhaps David did sit there; if so, he was a striking type of Christ sitting as king. A priest never sat in the tabernacle. He was under a dispensation that did not afford rest and was not intended to give it, a covenant of works that gives the soul no repose. Jesus sits in the holy of holies, and herein we see that His work is finished.

Wuest on for all time - Greek authorities are divided as to whether the word “forever” (Heb 10:12KJV) is to be construed with the offering of one sacrifice, or to the act of Messiah sitting down on the right hand of God. Both facts are true. His offering of Himself on the Cross was an act that has never-ending results and that needs no repetition. This is in contrast to the oft-repeated offerings of the Levitical priests. It is also true that our Lord seated Himself forever at the right hand of God. This is in contrast to the perpetual standing posture of the First Testament priests. Without insisting upon his opinion, the present writer leans toward the latter meaning, since the word “one” modifying the word “sacrifice,” is enough to contrast Messiah’s one sacrifice with the many offerings of the Aaronic priests. (Hebrews Commentary online)

All time (1336) (dienekes from dia = through + phéro = carry, bear) means carried through. It is used in the Greek idiomatic phrase "eis to dienekes" which means unlimited duration of time with particular focus upon the future, and therefore means always, forever, forever and ever, eternally, continually. The writer used this same phrase earlier in his description of the priesthood of Melchizedek writing…

Hebrews 7:3 Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he abides a priest perpetually. (Comment: No mere earthly king was ever "made like unto the Son of God," nor was there ever one who "abides a priest perpetually" or "forever". These descriptions strongly suggest that the Lord Jesus Christ came to encourage Abraham in a unique, pre-incarnate experience, assuming a human form "made like" that which He would assume forever when He became the incarnate Son of God.)

This phrase eis to dienekes is used two other times in Hebrews 10…

Hebrews 10:1 For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.

Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

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In an Our Daily Bread devotional entitled "A Unique Sacrifice" we read… What do you think of when you hear the word sacrifice? We may use the term when we see parents who follow a strict budget and drive an old car so they can send their children to college. It certainly is a good word to describe the selfless action of a soldier who throws himself on a live grenade to take the full brunt of the explosion and save the lives of his companions.

Such noble sacrifices, however, pale when compared to what our Savior did for us on the cross. His sacrifice was unique. Jesus suffered and died "for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world" (1Jn. 2:2). Because of His death and resurrection, all who accept His offer of salvation receive complete forgiveness and eternal life (Jn. 3:16).

In Hebrews 10, the Bible speaks about the animal offerings of the Old Testament and compares them to the death of Jesus. Verse 4 states, "It is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins." Those sacrifices pointed to the need for Christ's death.

The substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ provides full salvation to all who have placed their trust in Him. Hallelujah, what a Savior! --H V Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood,
Hallelujah! What a Savior! --Bliss
(Play Hallelujah! What a Savior)

Believing Christ died--that's history;
believing He died for me--that's salvation!

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Today in the Word - A recent television commercial for a cleanser boasted that this product could remove stains with one application. Why, the commercial hinted, would anyone choose another product that required repeated washing and scrubbing when one time was enough with this detergent? Hebrews asks us a similar question regarding Jesus’ sacrifice. His sacrifice is superior because it had to be offered only one time and was powerful enough to cleanse us all. (MBI - Today in the Word)

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Alexander Maclaren

The Enthroned Christ
Heb. 10:12

To that tremendous assertion the whole New Testament is committed. Peter, Paul, John, the writer of this book—all teach that the Jesus who died on Calvary now sits at the right hand of God. This is no case of distance casting a halo round the person of a simple teacher, for six weeks after Calvary, on the Day of Pentecost, Peter declared that Jesus, ‘exalted at the right hand of God,’ had ‘shed forth this,’ the gift of that Divine Spirit. This is no case of enthusiastic disciples going beyond their Master’s teaching, for all the evangelists who record our Lord’s trial before the Sanhedrin concur in saying that the turning-point of it, which led to His condemnation, was the declaration, ‘Ye shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power.’ The rulers interpreted the assertion to mean an assertion of divinity, and therefore condemned Him to death. Christ was silent, and the silence witnessed that they interpreted His meaning aright. So, then, for good or evil, we have Jesus making the tremendous assertion, which His followers but repeated. Let us try to look at these words, and draw from them some of the rich fulness of their meaning. Communion, calm repose, participation in divine power and dominion, and much besides, are implied in this great symbol. And I desire to dwell upon the various aspects of it for a few moments now.

I. Here We Have The Attestation Of The Completeness, The Sufficiency, And The Perpetuity Of Christ’s Sacrifice.

Look at the context. Mark the strong words which immediately precede the last clause of my text. ‘This Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.’ The writer has just been arguing that all Jewish sacrifice, which he regarded as being of divine appointment, was inadequate, and derived its whole importance from being a prophetic shadow of the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ. And he points, first, in proof of his thesis, to the entire disparity of the two things—the taking away of sin, and the blood of bulls and of goats. And then he adds a subsidiary consideration, saying in effect,’ The very fact that day after day the sacrifices are continued, shows that they had no power to do the thing for which they were offered—viz., to quiet consciences.’ For, if the consciences were quieted, then the sacrifice would cease to be offered. And so he draws a sharp contrast between the priests who stand daily ministering and ‘offering oftentimes the same sacrifice,’ which by their very repetition are demonstrated to be inadequate to effect their purpose, and Jesus. Instead of these priests standing, offering, and doing over and over again their impotent sacrifices, ‘this Man’ offered His once. That was enough, and for ever. And the token that the one sacrifice was adequate, really could take away sin, would never, through all the rolling ages of the world’s history, lose its efficacy, lies here—He sits at the right hand of God.

Brethren, in that session, which the Lord Himself commanded us to believe, is the divine answer and endorsement of the triumphant cry upon the Cross, ‘It is finished,’ and it is God’s last, loudest, and ever-reverberating proclamation to all the world, in all its generations, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’

Do you think of Christ’s mission and Christ’s work as this writer thought of it, finding the vital centre in its sacrificial efficacy, seeing it as being mainly a work caused by, in relation to, and victorious over, man’s sin and my sin, and as attested as sufficient for all sin, for the sins of the world, in all generations, by the fact that, having offered it once, the High Priest, as this same writer says in another place, sat at the right hand of God? These two things, the high Scriptural notion of the essential characteristic and efficacy of Christ’s work as being sacrificial, and the high Scriptural notion of His present session at the right hand of God; these two things are correlated and bound inseparably together. If you only think of Jesus Christ as being a great teacher, a blessed example, the very flower and crown of immaculate humanity, if you listen go His words, and rejoice over the beauty of His character, but do not see that the thing which He, and He alone, does, is to deal with the tremendous reality of human transgression, and to annihilate it, both in regard of its guilt and of its power, then the notion of His session at the right hand of God becomes surplusage and superstition. But if we see, as I pray God that we may each see for ourselves, that when He came, He ‘came not to be ministered unto, but to minister,’ and that even that does not exhaust the significance of His Person, and the purpose of His mission, but that He came ‘to give His life a ransom for many,’ then, oh! then, when my conscience asks in agony,’ Is there a way of getting rid of my transgressions?’ and when my weak will asks, in tremulous indecision, ‘Is there a way by which I can shake off the tyranny of this usurping evil power that has fixed its claws in my character and my habits?’ then I turn and look to the Christ enthroned at the right hand of power, and I say, ‘This Man has offered one sacrifice for sins for ever’; and there, in that calm session at God’s right hand, is the attestation that His sacrifice is complete, is sufficient, and is perpetual.

II. We Have Here The Revelation Of Our Lord’s Calm Repose.

That is expressed, of course, by the very attitude in which, in the symbol, He is represented. Away down in the Egyptian desert there sit, moulded in colossal calm, two giant figures, with hands laid restfully in their laps, and wide-open eyes gazing out over the world. There they have sat for millenniums, the embodiment of majestic repose. So Christ ‘sitteth at the right hand of God’ rapt in the fulness of eternal calm. But that tranquillity is parallel with the Scriptural representation of the rest of God after creation, which neither indicates previous exhaustion nor connotes present idleness, but expresses the completion of the work and the correspondence of the reality with the ideal which was in the Maker’s mind.

In like manner, as I have been trying to point out to you, Christ’s rest means the completeness of His finished work, and carries along with it, as that divine rest after creation does in its region, the conception of continuous activity, for just as little as the continuous phenomena of nature can be conceived of, apart from the immanent activity of the ever-working God, and just as the last word of all physical science is that, beneath the so-called causes and so-called forces there must lie a personal will, the only cause known to man, and preservation is a continuous creation, and the changes in nature are the result of the will of the active God, so the past work of Christ, of which He said, when He died, ‘It is finished!’ is prolonged into, and carried on through, the ages by the continuous activity of the ever-working Christ. ‘He sitteth at the right hand of God’; and to that session may be applied in full truth what He said Himself, in the vindication of His work on the Sabbath day—‘My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.’

So the dying martyr looked up in the council chamber, and beyond the vaulted roof saw the heavens opened, and with a significant variation in the symbolical attitude, saw ‘the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ The seated Christ, we might say, had sprung to His feet, in answer to the dying martyr’s faith and prayer, and granted him the vision, not of calm repose, but of intensest activity for his help and sustaining.

The appendix to Mark’s Gospel, in like manner, unites these two conceptions of undisturbed tranquillity and of energetic work. For he says that the Lord ‘was received up into heaven, and sat at the right hand of God, and they went everywhere preaching the word.’ Then did the Commander-in-chief send His soldiers out into the battlefield, and Himself retire to the safe shelter of the hill? By no means. For the two halves of the picture which look so unlike one another—the Lord seated there, and the servants wandering about and toiling here—are brought to-gether into the one solid reality, ‘they went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord ’—seated up yonder—‘working with them.’ So constant activity is the very essence and inseparable accompaniment of the undisturbed tranquillity of the seated Christ. In other places in Scripture we get the same blending together of the two ideas, as, for instance, when Paul says ‘It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.’ And in like manner, in Peter’s utterance upon Pentecost, already referred to, you find the same idea. ‘Being at the right hand of God exalted, He hath showed forth this which ye now see and hear.’ So, working with us, working in us, working for us, working through us, the ever active Christ is with His people, and seated at the right hand of God, shares in all their labours, in all their difficulties, in all their warfare.

III. Lastly, We Have Here The Revelation Of Christ’s Participation In Divine Power And Dominion.

There is a very remarkable and instructive variety in the forms of expression conveying this idea in various parts of the New Testament. We read from His own lips, ‘seated at the right hand of power.’ We read usually ‘at the right hand of God.’ We read in this Epistle ‘at the right hand of the Majesty of the Highest,’ and also ‘at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.’ So you see our Lord Himself dwelt mainly on the conception of participation in power. And these other passages which I have quoted deal mainly with the conception of the participation in royal authority and dominion. And these two go together.

Then there is another observation to be made, and that is that this sitting at God’s right hand is to be interpreted as purely symbolical. For you cannot localise ‘the right hand of God.’ That ‘right hand’ is everywhere, wherever the divine power is working. So that, though I, for my part, believe that the human corporeity of Jesus Christ, with which He ascended into the heavens, does abide in a locality, it is not that localisation which is meant by this great symbol of my text, but it is the declaration of a state, rather than of a place—participation in the power that belongs to God, and not a session in a given locality.

There is another remark also to be made, and that is that, according to the full-toned belief of the Christian Church when Jesus Christ in His ascension returned to the Father, from whom He had come, He carried with Him this great difference between His then—that is to say, His present,-state, and the pre-incarnate state, viz., that now He has carried into unity with the Father the glorified manhood which He assumed on earth, and there is no difference between the glory which He had with the Father before the world was, and the glory in which He now sits. Humanity is thus gathered into divinity.

Now, brethren, I am not going to dwell upon these thoughts, for they go far beyond the powers of my speech; but I am bound by my own conceptions of what Christ Himself has taught us, to reiterate that here we have the plainest teaching, founded on His Own express statement, that He is participant of divine fellowship, so close as that it is represented either by being in the bosom of the Father, or by sitting at the right hand of God, and that ‘all power is given unto Him in heaven and on earth,’ so as that He is the Administrator of the universe. The hands that were pierced with the nails, and into one of which was thrust, in mockery, the reed for a sceptre, now carry the sceptre of the universe, and He is ‘King of kings and Lord of lords.’ ‘He sitteth at the right hand of the Throne of the Majesty in the heavens.’

Now all this should have a very strong practical effect upon us. ‘If ye then be risen with Christ, seek the things where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.’ Oh, brethren! if we carried with us day by day into all our difficulties and struggles, and amidst the glittering fascinations and temptations of this earthly life that great thought, and if we kept the heavens open—for we can do so—and keep before our eyes that vision, how small the difficulties, what molehills the mountains, and how void of charm the seducing temptations would then be! Christ seen—like the popular idea of the sunshine streaming down upon a coal fire—puts out the fuliginous flame of earth’s temptations, and dims the kindled brightness of earth’s light. And if we really, and not as a mere dogma, had incorporated this faith into our lives, how different that last moment, and what lies beyond it, would look. I do not know how it may be with others, but to me the conception of eternity is chill and awful and repellent; it seems no blessing to live for ever. But if we people the waste future with the one figure of the living Christ exalted for us, it all becomes different, and, like the sunrise on snowy summits, the chill heights, not to be trodden by human foot, flash up into rosy beauty that draws men’s desires. ‘I go to prepare a place for you’; and He prepares it by being there Himself, for then, then it becomes Home. ‘And if I go to prepare a place for you I will come again, and receive you to Myself, that where I am there ye may be also’—‘sitting on My throne, as I overcame, and am sat down with My Father on His throne.’

Hebrews 10:13 waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: to loipon ekdechomenos (PMPMSN) eos tethosin (3PAPS) oi echthroi autou upopodion ton podon autou

Amplified: Then to wait until His enemies should be made a stool beneath His feet. [Ps. 110:1.] (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Barclay: and for the future he waits until his enemies are made the footstool of his feet. (Westminster Press)

NLT: There he waits until his enemies are humbled as a footstool under his feet. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: from that time offering no more sacrifice, but waiting until "his enemies be made his footstool". (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: from henceforth expecting until His enemies be set down as a footstool for His feet, (Eerdmans)

Young's Literal: as to the rest, expecting till He may place his enemies as his footstool,

WAITING FROM THAT TIME ONWARD UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET: to loipon ekdechomenos (PMPMSN) eos tethossin (3PAPS) oi echthroi autou eos tethossin (3PAPS) oi echthroi autou hupopodion ton podon autou: (He 1:13; Psalms 110:1; Daniel 2:44; Matthew 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:43; Acts 2:35; 1Corinthians 15:25)

The writer is quoting Ps 110:1 - "The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at My right hand, Until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet."

Waiting (1551) (ekdechomai from ek = from + dechomai [word study] = receive kindly, accept deliberately and readily) (see related verb prosdechomai) means literally to receive or accept from some source. The preposition ek in this compound may have a perfective idea indicating that one is read and prepared to deal with the situation when it arrives. It means to remain in a place or state and await an event or the arrival of someone. The idea is to look or tarry for, to watch for, expect, be about to receive from any quarter. In regard to of future events it means to wait for them expecting them to happen.

Ekdechomai is used 8 times in the Septuagint (LXX) (Ge 43:9; 44:32; Ps. 119:122; Is 57:1; Ho 8:7; 9:6; Mic. 2:12; Nah. 3:18) and 7 times in the NT…

John 5:3 In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, waiting for the moving of the waters;

Acts 17:16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was beholding the city full of idols.

1 Corinthians 11:33 So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.

1 Corinthians 16:11 Let no one therefore despise him. But send him on his way in peace, so that he may come to me; for I expect him with the brethren.

Hebrews 10:13 waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.

Hebrews 11:10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

James 5:7 Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains.

Enemies (2190) (echthros [word study] from échthos = hatred, enmity) means (in the active sense) to be hateful, hostile toward, at enmity with or adversary of someone. In the passive sense echthros pertains to being subjected to hostility, to be hated or to be regarded as an enemy. An enemy is one that is antagonistic to another; especially seeking to injure, overthrow, or confound the opponent. Scripture often uses echthros as a noun describing "the adversary", Satan! Like father like son!

We were all enemies of God, we toward Him in rebellion, and He toward us in wrath, and therefore we all needed to be reconciled to God. There would be no hope without the removal of His wrath and our rebellion. Man is the enemy of God, not the reverse. Thus the hostility must be removed from man if reconciliation is to be accomplished. God took the initiative in bringing this about through the death of his Son.

In Colossians Paul uses echthros to explain that… although you were formerly alienated (estranged - and hostile in mind, the antonym of reconciled) , engaged in evil deeds (echthros), yet He has now reconciled (apokatallasso = reconcile fully, thoroughly, completely, change thoroughly, of bringing together friends who have been estranged) you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before (Literally = down in the eye of God ~ Coram Deo = before the face of God) Him holy and blameless (amomos) and beyond reproach (anegkletos ) (see note Colossians 1:21-22)

Spurgeon - They are crushed already. Sin, which is the sting of death, has been removed, and the law, which was the strength of sin, has been satisfied. Sin being put away by Christ’s death, He has effectually broken the teeth of all His enemies. When Jesus Christ offered Himself unto God He fulfilled that ancient promise, “The offspring of the woman will strike the serpent’s head” (Gen 3:15). Christ has set His foot upon the old dragon’s head and crushed out His power. Still, however, a feeble fight is kept up. Feeble, I say, for so it is to Christ, though to us it seems vigorous. Sin and Satan within us, and all Christ’s enemies without us, including death itself, are vainly raging against the Christ of God, for every day they are being put beneath His feet. Every day as the battle rages the victory turns unto the enthroned Christ.

Footstool (5286) (hupopodion from hupopódios = underfoot from hupo = under + pous = foot) is literally something under the feet and thus a foot rest or foot stool. The Jewish synagogue in the 2-3rd century had a stone bench running along the walls, with a lower tier or footstool for the feet of those sitting on the bench.

Hupopodion is used 4 times in the Septuagint (LXX) (Ps. 99:5; Psalm 110:1; Is 66:1; Lam. 2:1)…

Psalm 99:5 Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.

Lamentations 2:1 How the Lord has covered the daughter of Zion With a cloud in His anger! He has cast from heaven to earth The glory of Israel, And has not remembered His footstool In the day of His anger.

Isaiah 66:1 Thus says the LORD, "Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest?

Hupopodion is used 9 times in the NT…

Matthew 5:35 or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.

Matthew 22:44 'The Lord said to my LORD, "Sit at My right hand, Until I put Thine enemies beneath Thy feet "'?

Mark 12:36 "David himself said in the Holy Spirit, 'The Lord said to my LORD, "Sit at My right hand, Until I put Thine enemies beneath Thy feet.'"

Luke 20:43 Until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet."'

Acts 2:35 Until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet."'

Acts 7:49 'Heaven is My throne, And earth is the footstool of My feet; What kind of house will you build for Me?' says the Lord; 'Or what place is there for My repose?

Hebrews 1:13 But to which of the angels has He ever said, "Sit at My right hand, Until I make Thine enemies A footstool for Thy feet "?

Hebrews 10:13 waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.

James 2:3 and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, "You sit here in a good place," and you say to the poor man, "You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,"

Who are His enemies (He 2:14, 15-note) for one enemy rendered powerless. 1Cor 15:26 describes the last enemy, death. Satan, who now has "the power of death" over sinners will finally be incarcerated and punished forever in the "lake of fire" (Rev 20:10-note).

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Andrew Murray

ONCE AND FOR EVER

Hebrews 10:11-14

IN the last verses of Hebrews 7., where the eternal priesthood of Jesus had been set forth, He was spoken of as one who needeth not daily to offer, for this He did once for all, when He offered up Himself--a Son, perfected for evermore. And so in Hebrews 9., with its teaching of the efficacy of His blood, we had the thought repeated, Christ entered in once for all. Not that He should offer Himself often, else must He have often suffered; now once hath He been manifested; Christ once offered shall appear a second time. The contrast is put as strongly as possible between the sacrifices ever repeated, and the offering of Christ once for all. So, too, in the beginning of our chapter the impotence of the sacrifices year by year continually is proved from the fact, that the conscience once cleansed would need no new sacrifice; as a fact, they only renewed the remembrance of sins. And now, in the concluding verses of the argument, the thought is summed up and pressed home anew. The priest standeth day by day offering often-times; Christ offered one sacrifice for ever. By one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. The once of Christ's work is the secret of its being for ever: the more clear the acceptance of that divine once for all, the more sure the experience of that divine for ever, the continually abiding working of the power of the endless life.

Once and for ever: see how the two go together in the work of Christ in its two principal manifestations. In His death, His sacrifice, His blood-shedding, it is once for all. The propitiation for sin, the bearing and the putting away of it, was so complete that of His suffering again, or offering Himself again, there never can be any thought. God now remembers the sin no more for ever. He has offered one sacrifice for ever; He hath perfected us for ever. No less is it so in His resurrection and ascension into heaven. He entered once for all through His blood into the Holiest. When He had offered one sacrifice for ever, He sat down on the right hand of God. The once for all of His death is the secret of the for ever of the power of His sacrifice. The once for all of His entering through the blood, the power of the for ever of His sitting on the throne.

What is true of Christ is true of His people. The law of His life is the law of theirs. Of the once for all and the for ever of His work on earth and in heaven, their lives and spiritual experience will feel the power and bear the mark. See it in conversion. How many have struggled for years in doubt and fear, simply because they did not apprehend the once for all of Christ's atonement. They could not understand how it was possible for a sinner once for all to believe and be saved. No sooner was it made plain to them that the punishment was borne, that the debt was paid, once for all, all became clear and they counted it their duty and joy at once to accept what was so finished and so sure. And they could see, too, how the once was for ever--the power of the endless life bearing them on into the for ever of God's presence.

And no otherwise is it with the believers entering within the veil, into a life of unclouded and unbroken fellowship. We saw in Christ's work the two manifestations of the once and the for ever. It was not only in the death and blood-shedding, but in the entering into the Holiest and the blood-sprinkling in heaven. To many it appears at variance with all the laws of growth and development, that there should be a once for all of an entrance within the veil. And yet there are witnesses not a few who can testify that when the once of Christ's entering in was revealed in its infinite power as theirs, all doubt vanished, and not only boldness but power of access was given, which brought them into an experience of the eternal and unchanging power of the heavenly priesthood, and of the kingdom within as set up and kept by the Holy Spirit, which they never had thought of. And that once was followed by the for ever of the continually abiding, which the priesthood of Jesus was meant to secure.

But He, when He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made the footstool of His feet. We have said before, the Epistle would fill us with the thought of a heavenly Christ; nothing less than the knowledge of that can enable us to live as the partakers of a heavenly calling. Let us fix our eyes here again upon Christ as King. The once of sacrifice and death issues in the for ever of the nearness and the power of God. The once of our entrance into the death of Christ and His life, brings us back to the fellowship with Christ in the love and power of the Father in heaven. His for ever is one of victory', and of the blessed expectation of its full manifestation in the subjugation of every enemy. Our life within the veil may he one too of possession and expectation combined; the enjoyment of the overcoming life, with the going on from strength to strength in the victory over every foe. Between these two pillars--on the one hand, this ONCE FOR ALL, on the other this FOR EVER, the way into the Holiest passes and brings us to the throne of God and of the Lamb.

1. The time when the long and patient preparation was perfected in this once for all was in God's hands. Christ waited on the Father. Even so, our full participation in it is not something we can count a thing to be grasped; in the faith of it we bide God's time, seeking each day to live in a redemption that is perfected and eternal. Through faith and longsuffering we inherit the promises.

2. Once for all. That covers my past completely--my past not only of guilt, but of sin with all its consequences. For ever. That covers my future, with all its possible needs. Between these two, in the present moment, the Now of daily life, I am saved with an everlasting salvation; the To-day of the Eternal Spirit, even as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day--makes the Once and the for ever a daily present reality.

Andrew Murray. The Holiest of All

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