CONCLUDING SUMMARY OF THE ARGUMENT WITH RESPECT TO CHRIST 'S ETERNAL PRIESTHOOD .
And the Holy Ghost also testifieth to us: for after that he hath said, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; (then saith he), And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. The apodosis to "after that he hath said," not distinctly marked in the Greek or in the A.V., is denoted in the above rendering by " then saith he " before Hebrews 10:17 . Another view is that it begins earlier in the sentence, being introduced by "saith the Lord," which occurs in the quotation from Jeremiah. But this is improbable, since
Close of the argument.
This concluding passage presents little more than a re-statement of some points which have been already marked in the discussion which occupies the three preceding chapters. The kernel-thought of the paragraph is expressed in Hebrews 10:9 : "He taketh away the first" (the Jewish sacrifices), "that he may establish the second" (redemption by the sacrifice of himself).
I. THE INHERENT WORTHLESSNESS OF THE LEVITICAL SACRIFICES , ( Hebrews 10:1-4 ) Although these availed to remove ceremonial uncleanness, and were the appointed types of the offering of Christ, they were literally useless in relation to the highest ends of sacrifice. The apostle notes three points.
1. The Levitical offerings were inadequate even as representations of the true Sacrifice. ( Hebrews 10:1 ) The entire Jewish ceremonial-tabernacle, priest, victim—was "a shadow" of the coming blessings of the gospel dispensation. But it was "not the very image of the things;" it presented only a rude and incomplete sketch of the great facts and doctrines of Christianity. Take one point as an example. The victims under the Law were dragged unwillingly to the altar;—how inaccurate this feature as compared with the loving obedience and the voluntary self-sacrifice of the Lord Jesus!
2. They were of no use whatever for the removal of guilt. The necessity constantly to repeat them showed this ( Hebrews 10:1 , Hebrews 10:2 ). And so did the nature of the sacrifices themselves. Our reason readily assents to the declaration ( Hebrews 10:4 ) that the blood of beasts can never expiate the sins of men. Brute nature is incapable of spiritual suffering. Animal sacrifices could not adequately reflect God's hatred of sin. They could not vindicate his justice, or recompense his Law. Such blood has no virtue to pacify the conscience, or to purify the soul.
3. Their influence went to perpetuate the remembrance of sins. ( Hebrews 10:3 ) The divinely appointed repetition of the Levitical sacrifices showed that God could not accept them as a real atonement, and therefore could not forget the offences of the worshippers. It was intended also to press home upon the consciences of the people the thought of the accumulated arrears of unexpiated sin.
II. THE INHERENT VALUE OF THE SATISFACTION OF CHRIST . ( Hebrews 10:5-18 ) Throughout these verses two passages are cited from the Old Testament, to illustrate the contrast between the legal offerings and the atonement of the Lord Jesus. The infinite merit of his sacrifice is conspicuous, whatever the aspect in which it is viewed.
1. Christ ' s satisfaction has shown that obedience is the true sacrifice. ( Hebrews 10:5-9 ) To illustrate this point the writer quotes from a Messianic psalm ( Psalms 40:6-8 ). God "delights not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he-goats." The legal sacrifices were useful only as types of the sacrifice of Christ, and his blood is the symbol of his own perfect obedience as our Substitute. His sacrifice of himself was the offering of an obedient will. He was "obedient unto death." The" cars" which God had pierced for him ( Psalms 40:6 ) were ever swift to hear the Divine commands, and the "body" which he had prepared for him ( Hebrews 10:5 ) readily submitted itself to the Divine will. In coming to the world, and in dying for man's redemption, Jesus was "doing the will" of his Father. His voluntary "obedience unto death" has swept away for ever the Levitical sin offerings, and his people can now serve God acceptably only by sprinkling themselves with his blood, and then "presenting their bodies a living sacrifice."
2. Christ ' s satisfaction has accomplished the removal of guilt. ( Hebrews 10:10-14 ) His people are "sanctified," i.e. cleansed from guilt, "through the offering of his body once for all." The Aaronical priests always stood at their work; they never sat down in the tabernacle. Indeed, no seats were provided for them there. Their constant standing was suggestive of the fact that the ever-repeated sacrifices were of no avail for the pardon of transgression. But our high Priest, after his one offering of himself as a sacrificial Victim, sat down in the most honorable place of the heavenly holy of holies, and still continues to sit there. His very attitude shows that he has fully accomplished the end contemplated by his sacrifice. His completed atonement, besides being the purchase of his mediatorial royalty and the pledge of his final victory over his enemies, has also "perfected" his people "forever" as regards their justification.
3. Christ ' s satisfaction takes away the remembrance of sin. ( Hebrews 10:15-18 ) The Prophet Jeremiah, in his oracle about the new covenant, had predicted this ( Jeremiah 31:34 ). After the sacrifice of Calvary, there would be no more need for the annual expiatory rite on the Day of Atonement—a ceremony which, in fact, had only served to bring sins to remembrance. Now that the great redemption has been accomplished, the iniquities of the believer are really swept away and put an end to. God blots them out. He casts them behind his back. He makes them as though they had never been. And this obliteration evinces the absolute perfection of the atonement, and certifies the abolition of the Hebrew sacrifices.