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IIIM STUDY BIBLE
<< Previous Note(s) Hebrews Main Page Next Note(s) >>

Third Millennium Study Bible
Notes on Hebrews 10:5-9

A body you prepared for me - Hebrews 10:5-6

The Hebrew text of Psalm 40:6 reads "my ears you have pierced" (i.e., "you have made me ready to obey; cf. Isa. 50:5). In the Septuagint (LXX, the Greek translation of the Old Testament), which the author follows, this psalm speaks of the readiness of the whole person ("the body"), not just a part (the "ears") of the person. Thus, the "body prepared for me" refers to Jesus' readiness to become human and to suffer death on our behalf (Heb. 2:14; 5:8). See WSC 22. As Hawker states:

CHRIST saith, a body hast thou prepared me; or, as the other scripture hath rendered the phrase, mine ears hast thou opened, or digged; Psa. 40:6 alluding to the servant in Israel, who, when offering to serve his master for ever, had his ear bored at the door post; and for the love he bore his master, and his wife and children, thereby declared himself to be his servant for ever. Exod. 21:5-6. What a sweet thought the whole furnisheth! CHRIST, as GOD-Man-Mediator, having betrothed himself to our nature, becomes the Surety, and Sponsor to JEHOVAH, for the redemption of his Wife and Children, the Church. Hence he cries, Lo! I come to do thy will, O GOD! Mine ears hast thou opened! Isaiah 50:5.

The scroll - Hebrews 10:7

Probably a reference to the scrolls of the law that the kings of Israel were to hold to express their submission to God (Deut. 17:18-20; 2 Kings 11:12). Guthrie states, "The phrase roll of the book apparently refers to some authoritative instructions which governed the behaviour and activities of the psalmist-king." Note that the passage is in the first person singular highlighting the personal redemptive work of Christ alone.

Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings - Hebrews 10:8

Bruce suggests that it is "probable that the four terms which the psalmist uses for sacrifice are intended to cover all the main types of offering prescribed in the levitical ritual." So, in essence the whole Levitcal sacrificial system is in view. Over against all of this (called "the first" in Heb. 10:9), Christ has offered another sacrifice (called "the second" in Heb. 10:9). Although instituted by God in the law (Heb. 2:2; 8:9; 12:18-21, 25), the Levitical system was not ever meant to be the means willed by God to remove his people's sin. Kistemaker explains and summarizes saying:

But let us go back to the beginning of human history recorded in Genesis. God looked with favor on the offering that Abel brought him, but with disfavor on Cain's offering. Why was Abel's offering "fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock" - acceptable, and the offering of Cain - "some of the fruits of the soil" - unacceptable (Gen. 4:3-5)? The writer of Hebrews answers by saying, "By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings" (Heb. 11:4).

The author of Hebrews asserts not that God has an aversion to offerings presented to him, but that sacrifices offered without faith and obedience are an abomination (Isa. 1:11-14; Amos 5:21-22).

To do your will - Hebrews 10:9

Jesus was obedient through suffering (Heb. 2:10; 5:8). He performed the ultimate act of sacrificial obedience: atoning for the elect's sin in through his own death (Heb. 10:10). Owen commenting on "I have come to do your will" says:

Christ came to do God's will. The will of God is taken in two ways: first, for his eternal purpose and design, called "the purpose of his will" (Ephesians 1:11); and most often his will itself, that is, God's will being done. Second, the will of God means the declaration of his will and pleasure about what he wants us to do in obeying him. It is the will of God in the former sense in this verse. This is evident from verse 10, which says, "by that will, we have been made holy"; that is, our sins were expiated according to God's will. But the second sense is not totally excluded, for the Lord Christ came to fulfill God's will, in that we may be enabled to fulfill his command. Yes, and Christ himself had a command from God to lay down his life for the accomplishment of this work.

"Sets aside the first" refers to the Levitical sacrificial system of the Old Testament (cf. Heb. 8:7, 13). Lenski states, "The first testament yields to the second, God himself has said so (Heb. 8:14); the old sacrifices disappear before what God has willed as the final thing, which the Messiah comes to do."

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