For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)For then.—Better, otherwise. The very repetition of the annual ceremonial was a testimony to its imperfection. The idea of repetition has been very strikingly brought out in Hebrews 10:1.
Once purged.—Better, because the worshippers, having been once cleansed, would have no more consciousness of sins. “Worshippers,” not the same word as in Hebrews 10:1, but similarly used in Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 9:14; Hebrews 12:28 (Philippians 3:3, et al.): in Hebrews 8:5; Hebrews 13:10, it is applied to priestly service.Hebrews 10:2-3. For then would they not have ceased, &c. — There would not have been need to have offered them more than once: that is, if these sacrifices had made the worshippers perfect, in respect of pardon, they would have ceased to be offered; because the worshippers once purged — Or fully discharged from the guilt of their transgressions; should have had no more conscience of sin — There would have remained no more sense of guilt upon their consciences to have troubled them, and no more fear of future punishment in consequence thereof. But it was not so with them, as appears by the yearly repetition of these sacrifices, wherein there was a continual remembrance made of sin — A consciousness of their sins, as unpardoned, still remained even after those sacrifices were offered, as is evident from this, that in the annual repetition of their sacrifices, the people’s sins, for which atonement had formerly been made, were remembered; that is, confessed as needing a yet further expiation. And, though it is true we are daily to remember and confess our sins, yet that respects only the application of the virtue and efficacy of the atonement already made to our consciences, without the least desire or expectation of a new propitiation.
Because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sin - That is, if their sacrifices had so availed as to remove their past sins, and to procure forgiveness, they would have had no more trouble of conscience on account of them. They would not have felt that it was necessary to make these sacrifices over and over again in order to find peace. When a man has full evidence that an atonement has been made which will meet all the demands of the Law, and which secures the remission of sin, he feels that it is enough. It is all that the case demands, and his conscience may have peace. But when he does "not" feel this, or has not evidence that his sins are all forgiven, those sins will rise to remembrance, and he will be alarmed. He may be punished for them after all. Thence it follows that if a man wants peace he should have good evidence that his sins are forgiven through the blood of the atonement.
No temporary expedient; no attempt to cover them up; no effort to forget them will answer the purpose. They "must be blotted out" if he will have peace - and that can be only through a perfect sacrifice. By the use of the word rendered "conscience" here, it is not meant that he who was pardoned would have no "consciousness" that he was a sinner, or that he would forget it, but that he would have no trouble of conscience; he would have no apprehension of future wrath. The pardon of sin does not cause it to cease to be remembered. He who is forgiven may have a deeper conviction of its evil than he had ever had before. But he will not be troubled or distressed by it as if it were to expose him to the wrath of God. The remembrance of it will humble him; it will serve to exalt his conceptions of the mercy of God and the glory of the atonement, but it will no longer overwhelm the mind with the dread of hell. This effect, the apostle says, was not produced on the minds of those who offered sacrifices every year. The very fact that they did it, showed that the conscience was not at peace.
once purged—IF they were once for all cleansed (Heb 7:27).
conscience—"consciousness of sin" (Heb 9:9).For then would they not have ceased to be offered? for proves the weakness of that shadowy service under the law, because it never ceased, which it would if it had perfected its users; and having reached its end, and done that work, have ceased; for these sacrifices would not of right have been repeated, neither needed they, if they could have justified and sanctified souls for ever.
Because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins: for then this effect would have followed, the worshippers who were to be atoned for or expiated by these sacrifices, if they had perfected them, i.e. pardoned, justified, and acquitted them from guilt of sin and punishment, there would have nothing remained to have troubled, vexed, or tormented their souls, they being no further accused or condemned by their conscience about sin, God having justified and sanctified them, Hebrews 9:14,26,28; compare Romans 5:1,2,11.
Because the worshippers, once purged, would have had no more conscience of sins; there are external and internal worshippers; the latter are such who worship God in Spirit and in truth: but here ceremonial worshippers are meant, who, if they had been really purged from sin by legal sacrifices, and purifications, would have had no more conscience of sins, and so have had no need to have repeated them; as such spiritual worshippers, who are once purged from sin by the blood and sacrifice of Christ; not that they have no sin, or no sense of sin, or that their consciences are seared, or that they never accuse for sin, or that they are to make no confession and acknowledgment of sin; but that they are discharged from the guilt of sin, and are not liable to condemnation for it; and through the application of the blood of Christ to them, have peace with God, and joy in the Holy Ghost.For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Hebrews 10:2. Proof for the κατʼ ἐνιαυτὸν ταῖς αὐτ. θυσ. οὐδέποτε δύναται τοὺς προσερχομένους τελειῶσαι in the form of a question: for otherwise would not their presentation have ceased? because the worshippers, so soon as they have once been really purged from sin, have no more consciousness of sins, and thus no more need of an expiatory sacrifice. In connection with the Recepta ἐπεὶ ἂν ἐπαύσαντο, the sense itself would remain unchanged, only the words would then have to be taken as an assertory statement (“for their presentation would have come to an end, because,” etc.); by which, however, the discourse would suffer in point of vivacity (observe also the ἀλλά, Hebrews 10:3, corresponding to the question of Hebrews 10:2). But the process is not a natural one, when Beza, edd. 1 and 2, Wetstein, Matthaei, Stein, and others (comp. already Theodoret) will have the proposition of Hebrews 10:2 regarded as an assertory statement, even with the retention of the οὐκ. They then explain either (and thus ordinarily): for otherwise their presentation would not have ceased, sc. by the coming in of the New Covenant (Beza: alioqui non desiissent offerri; Matthaei: non cessavissent, non sublata essent; comp. Theodoret: Διὰ τοῦτο τέλος ἐκεῖνα λαμβάνει, ὡς οὐ δυνάμενα συνείδησιν καθαρὰν ἀποφῆναι), or, in that ἐπεὶ … προσφερόμεναι, is closely attached to the main verb of Hebrews 10:1, and διὰ τὸ μηδεμίαν κ.τ.λ. is regarded as belonging to the whole proposition, Hebrews 10:1-2 : the law was not able by its sacrifices to lead to perfection, since their presentation was an endless one; because those who are once purified have no longer any consciousness of sins. So Wetstein, who, however, will write—what in that case, no doubt, would be necessary and perfectly justified
οὐκ ἀνεπαύσαντο instead of οὐκ ἂν ἐπαύσαντο (… “quum non cessarent offerri. Ita quidem, ut haec verba, sublata distinctione majori, jungantur iis, quae praecedunt, deinde sequatur totius sententiae confirmatio: quia sacrificantes,” etc.). But against the last-mentioned mode of explanation it is decisive, that the relation of the members of the sentence to each other would become obscure, and the arrangement cumbrous; against the first-mentioned, the presupposition, underlying the ἃς προσφέρουσιν εἰς τὸ διηνεκές, Hebrews 10:1, as well as the epistle in general (Hebrews 9:9, al.), that the Jewish sacrificial ritual was still in continuance at the time of our author’s writing.
ἐπαύσαντο προσφερόμεναι] sc. αἱ θυσίαι. The construction of παύεσθαι, with the participle is the ordinary one, in classic as well as in Hellenistic Greek. Comp. Ephesians 1:16; Colossians 1:9; Acts 5:42, al.; Hermann, ad Viger. p. 771; Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 323 f.
τοὺς λατρεύοντας] see at Hebrews 9:9.2. once purged] having been cleansed, by these sacrifices, once for all.
conscience] Rather, “consciousness.”Hebrews 10:2. Ἐπεὶ) So, altogether, ἐπεὶ, with an interrogation, in ch. Hebrews 9:17, note.Verses 2, 3. - For then (i.e. had it been so able) would they (the sacrifices) not have ceased to be offered, because that the worshippers, having been once purged, should have had no more conscience of sins? But (on the contrary) in those sacrifices there is a remembrance made of sins year by year. The very annual repetition of the same expiatory rites on the Day of Atonement expressed in itself the idea, not of the putting away (ἀθέτησις, Hebrews 9:26) or oblivion, (Hebrews 10:17) of sin, but a recalling to mind of its continual presence. In the following verse the reason of this is found in the nature of the sacrifices themselves; it being impossible for the blood of irrational animals to cleanse moral guilt: it could only avail for the "passing over" (πάρεσιν, Romans 3:25) of sins, as symbolizing an effectual atonement to come in the spiritual sphere of things.
The present participle brings out more forcibly the continuous repetition: "Ceased being offered."
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