Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
TERROR, BUT THE
1. we also--as well as those recounted in
are compassed about--Greek, "have so great a cloud (a
numberless multitude above us, like a cloud, 'holy and
[CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA]) of
witnesses surrounding us." The image is from a "race," an image common
even in Palestine from the time of the Greco-Macedonian empire, which
introduced such Greek usages as national games. The "witnesses"
answer to the spectators pressing round to see the competitors in their
contest for the prize
Those "witnessed of" (Greek,
Heb 11:5, 39)
become in their turn "witnesses" in a twofold way: (1) attesting by
their own case the faithfulness of God to His people
some of them martyrs in the modern sense; (2) witnessing our
struggle of faith; however, this second sense of "witnesses," though
agreeing with the image here if it is to be pressed, is not
positively, unequivocally, and directly sustained by
Scripture. It gives vividness to the image; as the crowd of spectators
gave additional spirit to the combatants, so the cloud of
witnesses who have themselves been in the same contest, ought to
increase our earnestness, testifying, as they do, to God's
weight--As corporeal unwieldiness was, through a disciplinary
diet, laid aside by candidates for the prize in racing; so carnal and
worldly lusts, and all, whether from without or within, that would
impede the heavenly runner, are the spiritual weight to be laid
aside. "Encumbrance," all superfluous weight; the lust of the
flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, and even harmless
and otherwise useful things which would positively retard us
the blind man casting away his garment to come to Jesus;
Col 3:9, 10).
the sin which doth so easily beset us--Greek, "sin which
easily stands around us"; so LUTHER, "which always
so clings to us": "sinful propensity always surrounding us, ever
present and ready" [WAHL]. It is not primarily
"the sin," &c., but sin in general, with, however,
special reference to "apostasy," against which he had already warned
them, as one to which they might gradually be seduced; the
besetting sin of the Hebrews, UNBELIEF.
with patience--Greek, "in persevering endurance"
On "run" compare
1Co 9:24, 25.
2. Looking unto--literally, "Looking from afar" (see on
fixing the eyes upon Jesus seated on the throne of God.
author--"Prince-leader." The same Greek is translated,
"Captain (of salvation),"
"Prince (of life),"
Going before us as the Originator of our faith, and the Leader whose
matchless example we are to follow always. In this He is distinguished
from all those examples of faith in
On His "faith" compare
Heb 2:13; 3:12.
Believers have ever looked to Him
(Heb 11:26; 13:8).
finisher--Greek, "Perfecter," referring to
of our faith--rather as Greek, "of the faith,"
including both His faith (as exhibited in what follows) and our faith.
He fulfilled the ideal of faith Himself, and so, both as a vicarious
offering and an example, He is the object of our faith.
for the joy . . . set before him--namely, of presently
after sitting down at the right hand of the throne of God;
including besides His own personal joy, the joy of sitting there as a
Prince and Saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins. The
coming joy disarmed of its sting the present pain.
cross . . . shame--the great stumbling-block to the
Hebrews. "Despised," that is, disregarded.
3. For--justifying his exhortation, "Looking unto Jesus."
consider--by way of comparison with yourselves, so the
contradiction--unbelief, and every kind of opposition
sinners--Sin assails us. Not sin, but
sinners, contradicted Christ [BENGEL].
be wearied and faint--Greek, "lest ye weary fainting."
Isa 49:4, 5,
as a specimen of Jesus not being wearied out by the
contradiction and strange unbelief of those among whom He
labored, preaching as never man did, and exhibiting miracles
wrought by His inherent power, as none else could do.
4. not yet resisted unto blood--image from pugilism, as
he previously had the image of a race, both being taken from the
great national Greek games. Ye have suffered the loss of goods,
and been a gazing-stock by reproaches and afflictions; ye have
not shed your blood (see on
"The athlete who hath seen his own blood, and who, though cast
down by his opponent, does not let his spirits be cast down, who as
often as he hath fallen hath risen the more determined, goes down to
the encounter with great hope" [SENECA].
against sin--Sin is personified as an adversary; sin,
whether within you, leading you to spare your blood, or in our
adversaries, leading them to shed it, if they cannot through
your faithfulness even unto blood, induce you to apostatize.
5. forgotten--"utterly," so the Greek. Compare
in which he implies how utterly some of them had forgotten God's
word. His exhortation ought to have more effect on you than the
cheers and exhortations of the spectators have on the competitors
striving in the games.
which--Greek, "the which," of which the following is a
speaketh unto you--as in a dialogue or discourse,
so the Greek, implying God's loving condescension (compare
despise not--literally, "Do not hold of little account."
Betraying a contumacious spirit of unbelief
as "faint" implies a broken-down, weak, and desponding spirit.
"Chastening" is to be borne with "subjection"
"rebuke" (more severe than chastening) is to be borne with
"Some in adversity kick against God's will, others despond; neither is
to be done by the Christian, who is peculiarly the child of God. To him
such adverse things occur only by the decree of God, and that designed
in kindness, namely, to remove the defilements adhering to the
believer, and to exercise his patience" [GROTIUS].
and--Greek, "yea and," "and moreover"; bringing out an
scourgeth--which draws forth "blood"
receiveth--accepts. Takes to Himself as a son "in whom He
Heb 12:7, 8
the need of "chastening" or "discipline" is inculcated; in
the duty of those to whom it is administered.
If--The oldest manuscripts read, "With a view to chastening
(that is, since God's chastisement is with a view to your chastening,
that is, disciplinary amelioration) endure patiently"; so
Vulgate. ALFORD translates it as
indicative, not so well, "It is for chastisement that ye are
dealeth with you--"beareth Himself toward you" in the very act
what son is he--"What son is there" even in ordinary life? Much
more God as to His sons
The most eminent of God's saints were the most afflicted. God leads
them by a way they know not
We too much look at each trial by itself, instead of taking it in
connection with the whole plan of our salvation, as if a traveller were
to complain of the steepness and roughness of one turn in the path,
without considering that it led him into green pastures, on the direct
road to the city of habitation. The New Testament alone uses the
Greek term for education (paideia), to express
"discipline" or correction, as of a child by a wise
8. if ye be without--excluded from participation in
chastisement, and wishing to be so.
all--all sons: all the worthies enumerated in the
eleventh chapter: all the witnesses
are--Greek, "have been made."
then are ye bastards--of whom their fathers take no care whether
they are educated or not; whereas every right-minded father is
concerned for the moral well-being of his legitimate son. "Since then
not to be chastised is a mark of bastardy, we ought [not to refuse,
but] rejoice in chastisement, as a mark of our genuine sonship"
9. fathers . . . which corrected us--rather as
Greek, "We had the fathers of our flesh as correctors."
subjection--See the punishment of insubordination,
Father of spirits--contrasted with "the fathers of our flesh."
"Generation by men is carnal, by God is spiritual"
[BENGEL]. As "Father of spirits," He is both the
Originator, and the Providential and Gracious Sustainer, at once of
animal and spiritual life. Compare "and LIVE,"
namely, spiritually; also
"that we might be partakers of His holiness"
God is a spirit Himself, and the Creator of spirits like Himself, in
contrast to men who are flesh, and the progenitors of flesh
Jesus our pattern "learned obedience" experimentally by suffering
and live--and so, thereby live spiritually and eternally.
10. Showing wherein the chastisement of our heavenly Father is
preferable to that of earthly fathers.
for a few days--that is, with a view to our well-being in
the few days of our earthly life: so the Greek.
after their own pleasure--Greek, "according to what
seemed fit to themselves." Their rule of chastening is what may seem
fit to their own often erring judgment, temper, or caprice. The two
defects of human education are: (1) the prevalence in it of a view to
the interests of our short earthly term of days; (2) the
absence in parents of the unerring wisdom of our heavenly Father. "They
err much at one time in severity, at another in indulgence
and do not so much chasten as THINK they chasten"
that we might be partakers of his holiness--becoming holy as He
To become holy like God is tantamount to being educated for
passing eternity with God
So this "partaking of God's holiness" stands in contrast to the "few
days" of this life, with a view to which earthly fathers generally
educate their sons.
11. joyous . . . grievous--Greek, "matter of
joy . . . matter of grief." The objection that chastening is
grievous is here anticipated and answered. It only seems so to those
being chastened, whose judgments are confused by the present pain. Its
ultimate fruit amply compensates for any temporary pam. The real
object of the fathers in chastening is not that they find pleasure in
the children's pain. Gratified wishes, our Father knows, would often
be our real curses.
fruit of righteousness--righteousness (in practice,
springing from faith) is the fruit which chastening, the tree
in contrast to the ordeal of conflict by which it has been won. "Fruit
of righteousness to be enjoyed in peace after the conflict"
[THOLUCK]. As the olive garland, the emblem of
peace as well as victory, was put on the victor's brow in
exercised thereby--as athletes exercised in training for a
contest. Chastisement is the exercise to give
experience, and make the spiritual combatant irresistibly victorious
"Oh, happy the servant for whose improvement his Lord is earnest, with
whom he deigns to be angry, whom He does not deceive by dissembling
admonition" (withholding admonition, and so leading the man to think he
needs it not)! [TERTULLIAN, Patience, 11].
Observe the "afterwards"; that is the time often when God
12. He addresses them as runners in a race, and pugilists, and
warriors [CHRYSOSTOM]. The "wherefore" is resumed
from which Paul here quotes, it is, "Strengthen ye the weak
hands." The hand is the symbol of one's strength. ALFORD translates, "Put straight again the relaxed
hands." English Version expresses the sense well.
feeble--literally, "paralyzed"; a word used only by Luke,
Paul's companion, in the New Testament. The exhortation has
three parts: the first relates to ourselves,
Heb 12:12, 13;
the second, to others,
"peace with all men"; the third, to God, "holiness, without
which," &c. The first is referred to in
"test any man fail of the grace of God"; the second in the words, "lest
any root of bitterness," &c.; the third in
"Lest there be any fornicator or profane person," &c. This threefold
relation often occurs in Paul's Epistles. Compare Note,
"soberly, righteously, and godly." The Greek active verb, not
the middle or reflexive, requires the sense to be, Lift up not only
your own hands and knees, but also those of your brethren
13. Quoted from
Septuagint, "Make straight paths for thy feet."
straight--that is, leading by a straight road to joy and grace
(Heb 12:1, 2, 15).
Cease to "halt" between Judaism and Christianity
paths--literally, "wheel tracks." Let your walk be so firm and
so unanimous in the right direction that a plain track and "highway"
may be thereby established for those who accompany and follow you, to
perceive and walk in
that which is lame--those "weak in the faith"
having still Judaizing prejudices.
be turned out of the way--
and, so missing the way, lose the prize of "the race"
rather he healed--Proper exercise of itself contributes to
health; the habit of walking straight onward in the right way tends to
14. follow peace with all men--with the brethren especially
that so the "lame" among them be not "turned out of the way"
and that no one of them "fail of the grace of God"
holiness--a distinct Greek word from God's "holiness"
Translate here "sanctification." His is absolute holiness: our
part is to put on His holiness, becoming "holy as He is holy," by
sanctification. While "following peace with all men," we are not
so to seek to please them, as to make God's will and our sanctification
a secondary object; this latter must be our first aim.
without which--Greek, "apart from which."
no man shall see the Lord--no man as a son; in heavenly
(Re 22:3, 4).
In the East, none but the greatest favorites are admitted to the honor
of seeing the king (compare
The Lord being pure and holy, none but the pure and holy shall see Him
Without holiness in them, they could not enjoy Him who is holiness
The connection of purity with seeing the Lord, appears in
1Jo 3:2, 3;
it is said that all shall see the Lord; but, that shall be as a
Judge, not as their lasting portion and God, which is meant
here. The Greek verb does not denote the mere action of seeing,
but the seer's state of mind to which the object is presented: so in
they shall truly comprehend God [TITTMANN].
None but the holy could appreciate the holy God, none else
therefore shall abide in His presence. "The bad shall only see Him in
His form as Son of man [compare
with Re 1:7;
and Mt 24:30;
Ac 1:11; 17:31];
still it will be in the glory in which He shall judge, not in the
lowliness in which He was judged. His form as God, wherein He is
equal to the Father, without doubt the ungodly shall not see; for it is
only 'the pure in heart who shall see God'" [AUGUSTINE]. "He shall come to judge, who stood before a
judge. He shall come in the form in which He was judged, that they may
see Him whom they pierced: He who was before hidden shall come
manifested in power: He, as Judge, shall condemn the real culprits, who
was Himself falsely made a culprit."
15. lest any . . . fall--Greek, "lest any
(namely, through sloth in running) failing," or "falling
short of the grace of God . . . trouble you." The
image is taken from a company of travellers, one of whom lags behind,
and so never reaches the end of the long and laborious journey
root of bitterness--not merely a "bitter root," which
might possibly bring forth sweet fruits; this, a root whose
essence is "bitterness," never could. Paul here refers to
"Lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood"
Root of bitterness comprehends every person (compare
and every principle of doctrine or practice so radically corrupt
as to spread corruption all around. The only safety is in rooting out
such a root of bitterness.
many--rather, "the many," that is, the whole
congregation. So long as it is hidden under the earth it cannot be
remedied, but when it "springs up," it must be dealt with boldly. Still
remember the caution
as to rooting out persons. No such danger can arise in rooting
out bad principles.
or profane--Fornication is nearly akin to gluttony,
Esau's sin. He profanely cast away his spiritual privilege for
the gratification of his palate.
graphically portrays him. An example well fitted to strike needful
horror into the Hebrews, whosoever of them, like Esau, were only sons
of Isaac according to the flesh [BENGEL].
for one morsel--The smallness of the inducement only aggravates
the guilt of casting away eternity for such a trifle, so far is it from
being a claim for mercy (compare
One single act has often the greatest power either for good or
for evil. So in the cases of Reuben and Saul, for evil
and, on the other hand, for good, Abraham and Phinehas
&c.; Ge 15:5, 6;
his birthright--Greek, "his own (so the oldest
manuscripts read, intensifying the suicidal folly and sin of the act)
rights of primogeniture," involving the high spiritual privilege of
being ancestor of the promised seed, and heir of the promises in Him.
The Hebrews whom Paul addressed, had, as Christians, the spiritual
rights of primogeniture (compare
he intimates that they must exercise holy self-control, if they wish
not, like Esau, to forfeit them.
17. afterwards--Greek, "even afterward." He
despised his birthright, accordingly also he was despised and
rejected when he wished to have the blessing. As in the believer's
case, so in the unbeliever's, there is an "afterwards" coming, when the
believer shall look on his past griefs, and the unbeliever on his past
joys, in a very different light from that in which they were
respectively viewed at the time. Compare "Nevertheless afterward," &c.
with the "afterward" here.
when he would--when he wished to have. "He that will not
when he may, when he will, shall have nay"
Lu 13:34, 35; 19:42).
he was rejected--not as to every blessing, but only that which
would have followed the primogeniture.
he found no place of repentance--The cause is here put
for the effect, "repentance" for the object which Esau aimed at
in his so-called repentance, namely, the change of his
father's determination to give the chief blessing to Jacob. Had he
sought real repentance with tears he would have
But he did not find it because this was not what he sought. What proves
his tears were not those of one seeking true repentance is,
immediately after he was foiled in his desire, he resolved to murder
Jacob! He shed tears, not for his sin, but for his suffering the
penalty of his sin. His were tears of vain regret and remorse, not of
repentance. "Before, he might have had the blessing without tears;
afterwards, no matter how many tears he shed, he was rejected. Let us
use the time"
[BENGEL]. ALFORD explains
"repentance" here, a chance, by repenting, to repair (that is,
to regain the lost blessing). I agree with him that the translation,
instead of "repentance," "no place for changing HIS FATHER'S mind," is forced; though doubtless
this is what was the true aim of the "repentance" which he sought. The
language is framed to apply to profane despisers who wilfully
cast away grace and seek repentance (that is, not real; but
escape from the penalty of their sin), but in vain. Compare
Mt 25:11, 12.
Tears are no proof of real repentance
(1Sa 24:16, 17;
it--the blessing, which was the real object of Esau,
though ostensibly seeking "repentance."
18. For--The fact that we are not under the law, but under a
higher, and that the last dispensation, the Gospel, with its glorious
privileges, is the reason why especially the Hebrew Christians should
"look diligently," &c.
(Heb 12:15, 16).
are not come--Greek, "have not come near to." Alluding to
"Ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain
burned with fire . . . with darkness, clouds, and thick
darkness." "In your coming near unto God, it has not been
the mount--The oldest manuscripts and Vulgate omit "the
mount." But still, "the mount" must be supplied from
that might be touched--palpable and material. Not that any save
Moses was allowed to touch it
(Ex 19:12, 13).
The Hebrews drew near to the material Mount Sinai with material bodies;
we, to the spiritual mount in the spirit. The "darkness" was that
formed by the clouds hanging round the mount; the "tempest" accompanied
19. trumpet--to rouse attention, and herald God's approach
entreated that the word should not be spoken--literally, "that
speech should not be added to them"; not that they refused to hear the
word of God, but they wished that God should not Himself speak, but
employ Moses as His mediating spokesman. "The voice of words" was the
Decalogue, spoken by God Himself, a voice issuing forth, without
any form being seen: after which "He added no more"
20. that which was commanded--"the interdict"
[TITTMANN]. A stern interdictory mandate is
And--rather, "Even if a beast (much more a man) touch," &c.
or thrust through with a dart--omitted in the oldest
manuscripts. The full interdict in
Ex 19:12, 13
is abbreviated here; the beast alone, being put for "whether man or
beast"; the stoning, which applies to the human offender,
alone being specified, the beast's punishment, namely, the being
thrust through with a dart, being left to be understood.
21. the sight--the vision of God's majesty.
quake--Greek, "I am in trembling"; "fear" affected his
mind: "trembling," his body. Moses is not recorded in Exodus to
have used these words. But Paul, by inspiration, supplies (compare
this detail. We read in
Septuagint, of similar words used by Moses after breaking the
two tables, through fear of God's anger at the people's sin in making
the golden calves. He doubtless similarly "feared" in hearing the ten
commandments spoken by the voice of Jehovah.
22. are come--Greek, "have come near unto" (compare
Not merely, ye shall come, but, ye have already come.
Mount Sion--antitypical Sion, the heavenly Jerusalem, of which
the spiritual invisible Church (of which the first foundation was laid
in literal Zion,
is now the earnest; and of which the restored literal Jerusalem
hereafter shall be the earthly representative, to be succeeded by the
everlasting and "new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven"
22, 23. to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly
and church--The city of God having been mentioned, the
mention of its citizens follows. Believers being like the angels
(Job 1:6; 38:7),
"sons of God," are so their "equals"
and being reconciled through Christ, are adopted into God's great and
blessed family. For the full completion of this we pray
English Version arrangement is opposed: (1) by "and" always
beginning each new member of the whole sentence; (2) "general assembly
and Church," form a kind of tautology; (3) "general assembly," or
rather, "festal full assembly," "the jubilant full company"
(such as were the Olympic games, celebrated with joyous singing,
dancing, &c.), applies better to the angels above, ever hymning
God's praises, than to the Church, of which a considerable part is now
militant on earth. Translate therefore, "to myriads (ten thousands,
namely), the full festal assembly of angels, and the Church of the
first-born." Angels and saints together constitute the ten
thousands. Compare "all angels, all nations"
Mt 25:31, 32.
Messiah is pre-eminently "the First-born," or "First-begotten"
and all believers become so by adoption. Compare the type,
Nu 3:12, 45, 50;
As the kingly and priestly succession was in the first-born, and as
Israel was God's "first-born"
and a "kingdom of priests" to God
23. written in heaven--enrolled as citizens there. All
those who at the coming of "God the Judge of all" (which clause
therefore naturally follows), shall be found "written in heaven," that
is, in the Lamb's book of life
Though still fighting the good fight on earth, still, in respect to
your destiny, and present life of faith which substantiates
things hoped for, ye are already members of the heavenly
citizenship. "We are one citizenship with angels; to which it is said
in the psalm, Glorious things are spoken of thee, thou city of
God" [AUGUSTINE]. I think ALFORD wrong in restricting "the Church of the
first-born written in heaven," to those militant on earth; it is
rather, all those who at the Judge's coming shall be
found written in heaven (the true patent of heavenly nobility; contrast
"written in the earth,"
and Esau's profane sale of his birthright,
these all, from the beginning to the end of the world, forming
one Church to which every believer is already come. The
first-born of Israel were "written" in a roll
the spirits of just men made perfect--at the resurrection, when
the "JUDGE" shall appear, and believers' bliss
shall be consummated by the union of the glorified body with the
spirit; the great hope of the New Testament
The place of this clause after "the
JUDGE OF ALL," is my objection to
BENGEL and ALFORD'S
explanation, the souls of the just in their separate state
perfected. Compare Notes, see on
Heb 11:39, 40,
to which he refers here, and which I think confirms my view; those
heretofore spirits, but now to be perfected by being clothed
upon with the body. Still the phrase, "spirits of just men made
perfect," not merely "just men made perfect," may favor the reference
to the happy spirits in their separate state. The Greek is not
"the perfected spirits," but "the spirits of the perfected
just." In no other passage are the just said to be
perfected before the resurrection, and the completion of the
full number of the elect
I think, therefore, "spirits of the just," may here be used to express
the just whose predominant element in their perfected state shall be
spirit. So spirit and spirits are used of a
man or men in the body, under the influence of the spirit,
the opposite of flesh
The resurrection bodies of the saints shall be bodies in which
the spirit shall altogether preponderate over the animal
soul (see on
24. new--not the usual term (kaine) applied to the
which would mean new as different from, and superseding
the old; but Greek, "nea," "recent," "lately
established," having the "freshness of youth," as opposed to age. The
mention of Jesus, the Perfecter of our faith
and Himself perfected through sufferings and death, in His resurrection
(Heb 2:10; 5:9),
is naturally suggested by the mention of "the just made perfect"
at their resurrection (compare
Paul uses "Jesus," dwelling here on Him as the Person realized as our
loving friend, not merely in His official character as the
and to the blood of sprinkling--here enumerated as distinct from
"Jesus." BENGEL reasonably argues as follows: His
blood was entirely "poured out" of His body by the various ways in
which it was shed, His bloody sweat, the crown of thorns, the
scourging, the nails, and after death the spear, just as the blood was
entirely poured out and extravasated from the animal sacrifices of the
law. It was incorruptible
(1Pe 1:18, 19).
No Scripture states it was again put into the Lord's body. At His
ascension, as our great High Priest, He entered the heavenly holiest
place "BY His own blood" (not after
shedding His blood, nor with the blood in His body, but),
carrying it separately from his body (compare the type,
Heb 9:7, 12, 25; 13:11).
Paul does not say, by the efficacy of His blood, but, "by His own
not MATERIAL blood, but "the blood of Him who,
through the eternal Spirit, offered Himself without spot unto God"
the Son of God and the blood of the covenant wherewith he
(the professor) was sanctified, are mentioned separately. Also
Heb 13:12, 20;
with Heb 10:21.
So in the Lord's Supper
(1Co 10:16; 11:24-26),
the body and blood are separately represented. The blood
itself, therefore, continues still in heaven before God, the perpetual
ransom price of "the eternal covenant"
Once for all Christ sprinkled the blood peculiarly for us at His
But it is called "the blood of sprinkling," on account also of its
continued use in heaven, and in the consciences of the saints on earth
(Heb 9:14; 10:22;
This sprinkling is analogous to the sprinkled blood of the Passover.
"In the midst of the throne, a Lamb as it had been slain." His
glorified body does not require meat, nor the circulation of the blood.
His blood introduced into heaven took away the dragon's right to
accuse. Thus Rome's theory of concomitancy of the blood with the
body, the excuse for giving only the bread to the laity, falls to the
ground. The mention of "the blood of sprinkling" naturally follows the
mention of the "covenant," which could not be consecrated without
(Heb 9:18, 22).
speaketh better things than that of Abel--namely, than the
sprinkling (the best manuscripts read the article masculine,
which refers to "sprinkling," not to "blood," which last is neuter) of
blood by Abel in his sacrifice spake. This comparison between two
things of the same kind (namely, Christ's sacrifice, and Abel's
sacrifice) is more natural, than between two things different in kind
and in results (namely, Christ's sacrifice, and Abel's own blood
[ALFORD], which was not a sacrifice at all);
This accords with the whole tenor of the Epistle, and of this passage
which is to show the superiority of Christ's sacrifice and the new
covenant, to the Old Testament sacrifices (of which Abel's is the first
recorded; it, moreover, was testified to by God as acceptable to Him
above Cain's), compare
The word "better" implies superiority to something that is good: but
Abel's own blood was not at all good for the purpose for which Christ's
blood was efficacious; nay, it cried for vengeance. So ARCHBISHOP MAGEE, HAMMOND, and KNATCHBULL. BENGEL takes "the blood of Abel" as put for all
the blood shed on earth crying for vengeance, and greatly increasing
the other cries raised by sin in the world; counteracted by the blood
of Christ calmly speaking in heaven for us, and from heaven to us. I
prefer MAGEE'S view. Be this as it may, to deny
that Christ's atonement is truly a propitiation, overthrows Christ's
priesthood, makes the sacrifices of Moses' law an unmeaning mummery,
and represents Cain's sacrifice as good as that of Abel.
25. refuse not--through unbelief.
him that speaketh--God in Christ. As the blood of
sprinkling is represented as speaking to God for us,
so here God is represented as speaking to us
(Heb 1:1, 2).
His word now is the prelude of the last "shaking" of all things
The same word which is heard in the Gospel from heaven, will
shake heaven and earth
who refused him--Greek, "refusing as they did." Their
seemingly submissive entreaty that the word should not be spoken to
them by God any more
covered over refractory hearts, as their subsequent deeds showed
that spake--revealing with oracular warnings His divine
will: so the Greek.
if we turn away--Greek, "we who turn away." The word
implies greater refractoriness than "refused," or "declined."
him that speaketh from heaven--God, by His Son in the Gospel,
speaking from His heavenly throne. Hence, in Christ's preaching
frequent mention is made of "the kingdom of the heavens"
In the giving of the law God spake on earth (namely, Mount Sinai) by
when God says, "I talked with you from heaven," this passage in
Hebrews shows that not the highest heavens, but the visible heavens,
the clouds and darkness, are meant, out of which God by angels
proclaimed the law on Sinai.
26. then shook--when He gave the law on Sinai.
now--under the Gospel.
promised--The announcement of His coming to break up the present
order of things, is to the ungodly a terror, to the godly a promise,
the fulfilment of which they look for with joyful hope.
Yet once more--Compare Notes, see on
Hag 2:21, 22,
both of which passages are condensed into one here. The shaking began
at the first coming of Messiah; it will be completed at His second
coming, prodigies in the world of nature accompanying the overthrow of
all kingdoms that oppose Messiah. The Hebrew is literally, "it
is yet one little," that is, a single brief space till the series of
movements begins ending in the advent of Messiah. Not merely the earth,
as at the establishment of the Sinaitic covenant, but heaven also is to
be shaken. The two advents of Messiah are regarded as one, the complete
shaking belonging to the second advent, of which the presage was given
in the shakings at the first advent: the convulsions connected with the
overthrow of Jerusalem shadowing forth those about to be at the
overthrow of all the God-opposed kingdoms by the coming Messiah.
27. this word, Yet once more--So Paul, by the Spirit,
sanctions the Septuagint rendering of
giving an additional feature to the prophecy in the Hebrew, as
rendered in English Version, not merely that it shall be in a
little while, but that it is to be "once more" as the final
act. The stress of his argument is on the "ONCE."
Once for all; once and for ever. "In saying 'once more,' the
Spirit implies that something has already passed, and something else
shall be which is to remain, and is no more to be changed to something
else; for the once is exclusive, that is, not many times"
those things that are shaken--the heaven and the earth. As the
shaking is to be total, so shall the removal be, making way for
the better things that are unremovable. Compare the Jewish economy (the
type of the whole present order of things) giving way to the new and
abiding covenant: the forerunner of the everlasting state of bliss.
as of things . . . made--namely, of this present
visible creation: compare
"made with hands . . . of this creation," that is, things so
made at creation that they would not remain of themselves, but
be removed. The new abiding heaven and earth are also made by
God, but they are of a higher nature than the material creation, being
made to partake of the divine nature of Him who is not made: so
in this relation, as one with the uncreated God, they are regarded as
not of the same class as the things made. The things made
in the former sense do not remain; the things of the new heaven
and earth, like the uncreated God, "shall REMAIN
The Spirit, the seed of the new and heavenly being, not only of the
believer's soul, but also of the future body, is an uncreated
and immortal principle.
28. receiving--as we do, in prospect and sure hope, also in the
possession of the Spirit the first-fruits. This is our privilege as
let us have grace--"let us have thankfulness"
[ALFORD after CHRYSOSTOM].
But (1) this translation is according to classical Greek, not
Paul's phraseology for "to be thankful." (2) "To God" would have been
in that case added. (3) "Whereby we may serve God," suits the
English Version "grace" (that is Gospel grace, the work of the
Spirit, producing faith exhibited in serving God), but does not
reverence and godly fear--The oldest manuscripts read, "reverent
caution and fear." Reverent caution (same Greek as in
lest we should offend God, who is of purer eyes than to behold
iniquity. Fear lest we should bring destruction on
29. Greek, "For even": "for also"; introducing an
additional solemn incentive to diligence. Quoted from
our God--in whom we hope, is also to be feared. He
(1Jo 4:8, 16);
yet there is another side of His character; God has wrath
(Heb 10:27, 31).