Hebrews 10:12
But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) But this man.—Rather, but He. In the main this verse is a combination of Hebrews 7:27 (Hebrews 9:26) and Hebrews 8:1. One addition is made, in the words, “for ever.” These words (which occur in three other places, Hebrews 7:3; Hebrews 10:1; Hebrews 10:14) are by many joined with what precedes, by others with the latter part of the sentence, “it down on the right hand of God.” The different editions of our Bible and Prayer Book (Epistle for Good Friday) are divided, some (including the earliest) having a comma at the word “ever,” others at “sins.” In most of our earlier English versions the construction adopted was shown by the arrangement of the words. Thus Tyndale has, “sat him down for ever;” and the Bishops’ Bible, “is set down for ever.” Coverdale (following Luther) is very clear on the other side: “when He had offered for sins one sacrifice which is of value for ever.” Most modern commentators seem to adopt the latter view (“for ever sat down”), but hardly, perhaps, with sufficient reason. The analogy of Hebrews 10:14 is distinctly on the other side; and the Greek phrase rendered “for ever” is more suitably applied to the offering of a sacrifice than to the thought of the following words. The contrast to Hebrews 10:11 is strongly marked. The sacrificial work has been performed, and the High Priest no longer “standeth ministering.” The words “sat down” (Psalm 110:1) add to the priestly imagery that of kingly state.

Hebrews

THE ENTHRONED CHRIST

Hebrews 10:12To 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 demon-strafed 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 to 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 over’; 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-celled 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 together 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 in that this sitting at God’s right hand is to be interpreted as purely symbolical. For you cannot localize ‘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 localization 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.’

10:11-18 Under the new covenant, or gospel dispensation, full and final pardon is to be had. This makes a vast difference between the new covenant and the old one. Under the old, sacrifices must be often repeated, and after all, only pardon as to this world was to be obtained by them. Under the new, one Sacrifice is enough to procure for all nations and ages, spiritual pardon, or being freed from punishment in the world to come. Well might this be called a new covenant. Let none suppose that human inventions can avail those who put them in the place of the sacrifice of the Son of God. What then remains, but that we seek an interest in this Sacrifice by faith; and the seal of it to our souls, by the sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience? So that by the law being written in our hearts, we may know that we are justified, and that God will no more remember our sins.But this man - The Lord Jesus. The word "man" is not in the original here. The Greek is literally "but this;" to wit, this priest. The apostle does not state here whether he was a man, or a being of a higher order. He merely mentions him as a priest in contradistinction from the Jewish priests.

After he had offered one sacrifice for sins - By dying on the cross. This he did but once; this could not be repeated; and need not be repeated, for it was sufficient for the sins of the world.

For ever sat down - That is, he sat down then to return no more for the purpose of offering sacrifice for sin. He will no more submit himself to scenes of suffering and death to expiate human guilt.

On the right hand of God - see the notes on Mark 16:19; compare the notes on Ephesians 1:20-22.

12. this man—emphatic (Heb 3:3).

for ever—joined in English Version with "offered one sacrifice"; offered one sacrifice, the efficacy of which endures for ever; literally. "continuously," (compare Heb 10:14). "The offering of Christ, once for all made, will continue the one and only oblation for ever; no other will supersede it" [Bengel]. The mass, which professes to be the frequent repetition of one and the same sacrifice of Christ's body, is hence disproved. For not only is Christ's body one, but also His offering is one, and that inseparable from His suffering (Heb 9:26). The mass would be much the same as the Jewish sacrifices which Paul sets aside as abrogated, for they were anticipations of the one sacrifice, just as Rome makes masses continuations of it, in opposition to Paul's argument. A repetition would imply that the former once-for-all offering of the one sacrifice was imperfect, and so would be dishonoring to it (Heb 10:2, 18). Heb 10:14, on the contrary, says, "He hath PERFECTED FOR EVER them that are sanctified." If Christ offered Himself at the last supper, then He offered Himself again on the cross, and there would be two offerings; but Paul says there was only one, once for all. Compare Note, see on [2577]Heb 9:26. English Version is favored by the usage in this Epistle, of putting the Greek "for ever" after that which it qualifies. Also, "one sacrifice for ever," stands in contrast to "the same sacrifices oftentimes" (Heb 10:11). Also, 1Co 15:25, 28, agrees with Heb 10:12, 13, taken as English Version, not joining, as Alford does, "for ever" with "sat down," for Jesus is to give up the mediatorial throne "when all things shall be subdued unto Him," and not to sit on it for ever.

But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins: opposed to the legal priests is this Priest, God-man, an almighty Minister, having once offered, and no more, one sacrifice of his body for the sins of others, (he had none of his own, as every other priest had), that they might be pardoned and remembered no more, it being of eternal virtue and efficacy.

For ever must be joined to the sacrifice to complete the opposition, Hebrews 10:11. The legal one could never take away sins, but his one sacrifice could take them away for ever.

Sat down on the right hand of God; he ceased from sacrificing any more, and ascended up to heaven, and there he sat himself down (having abolished sin, and finished his work as a servant for ever) in the highest place of dominion and power at God’s right hand, while the Aaronites stood trembling and waiting at God’s foot-stool: and thence he powerfully and efficaciously commands the blotting out of sins, applieth his merits, and dispenseth to his servants the covenant mercies which he purchased by his own blood for them, Hebrews 1:3 2:9 8:2.

But this man,.... Jesus Christ, for he is a man, though not a mere man; or this great high priest, who came to do the will of God, and whose body was offered once for all:

after he had offered one sacrifice for sins; the sacrifice of himself, body and soul, and this but once:

for ever sat down on the right hand of God; as having done his work effectually, and that with acceptance; and therefore is placed as a token of honour at the right hand of God, where he sits enjoying rest, ease, and pleasure, and that for ever; all which is opposed to the priests under the law; they were many, he but one; they offered many sacrifices, he but one; they offered theirs often, every day, he but once; they stood ministering, he sat down; his sacrifice being effectual to take away sin, when theirs was not.

But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Hebrews 10:12. Οὗτος] comp. Hebrews 3:3.

εἰς τὸ διηνεκές] belongs to ἐκάθισεν.

With that which precedes is it conjoined by Oecumenius, Theophylact, Luther, Bengel, Böhme, Stein, Ewald, and others; whereby, however, the manifest antithesis, which εἰς τὸ διηνεκὲς ἐκάθισεν forms to ἕστηκεν καθʼ ἡμέραν, Hebrews 10:11, is destroyed, and the symmetry of the proposition, Hebrews 10:12, is lost.

12. on the right hand of God] Hebrews 8:1, Hebrews 1:13.

Hebrews 10:12. [61] ΟὝΤΟς) So ch. Hebrews 3:3. Others read ΑὐΤῸς by an easy alliteration.[62]—ΜΊΑΝ, one) The antithesis is, the same sacrifices often, Hebrews 10:11.—εἰς τὸ διηνεκὲς, continually) The offering of Christ, once for all made, will continue the one and only oblation for ever: no other will supersede it.—ἐκάθισεν, sat down) The antithesis is ἕστηκε, is wont to stand or standeth, Hebrews 10:11. The sacrifice of the mass is inconsistent with sitting at the right hand of GOD: for the sacrifice of Christ is neither continued nor repeated in the mass. The apostle not only urges the identity, but also the word ἅπαξ, once, once for all, concerning the sacrifice of Christ, in antithesis to the Levitical sacrifices, often offered, although they were the same. A sacrifice which is often repeated, although it be the same, does not satisfy or make atonement to GOD. Not only is the body of Christ one, but also His offering is one, and that too inseparable from His passion: ch. Hebrews 9:26. Every later oblation shows that the former is of no value; every former one proves that the later one is superfluous: ch. Hebrews 10:2; Hebrews 10:18.

[61] Hebrews 10:11. πᾶς ἱερεὺς, every priest) especially every high priest.—V. g.

[62] The older Ed. had preferred αὐτὸς, but the margin of the 2d Ed. and the Germ. Vers. agree with the Gnomon.—E. B.

ACD(Δ) corrected f Vulg. read οὗτος: and so Lachm. Tisch., with no good authority, reads αὐτὸς, as Rec. Text.—ED.

Hebrews 10:12Forever (εἰς τὸ διηνεκὲς)

Const. with offered. The reason appears in Hebrews 10:14. It is according to the usage of the epistle to place this phrase after that which it qualifies. Thus one sacrifice forever is contrasted with the same sacrifices often. This agrees also with what follows. He offered one sacrifice forever, and then sat down, awaiting its eternal result.

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