Hebrews 7:26
For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
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(26) For such an high priest.—Better, For such a one also became us as (our) High Priest. Such a priest as has been portrayed was the High Priest that befitted us—no one less exalted could have met our necessities. The added words carry the description farther still. The thought of high priest immediately brings to mind the annual Day of Atonement, to which belonged the characteristic ministration of the high priest. As we read the following words we cannot doubt their direct reference to the ceremonial observances of that day.

Holy.—Not the word of Hebrews 3:1, but a word seldom used in the New Testament (except in quotations), though of frequent occurrence in the LXX. (as in Deuteronomy 33:8; Psalm 4:3; Psalm 16:10; Psalm 132:9; Psalm 132:16): the idea contained is that of holy purity. The next word may denote either freedom from malice or evil, or freedom from guile (Romans 16:18); the former meaning is more likely here. The three words, denoting personal purity and innocence and freedom from all pollution of sin, present the idea of which the ceremonial purity of the high priest was the type. Seven days before the Day of Atonement the high priest left his house and took up his abode in the Temple, that, thus separated from men and things unclean, he might when the day arrived be found free from all defilement; five washings and ten purifications were required of him on the day itself.

Separate from sinners.—These words may be understood in two ways—as connecting themselves either with what goes before or with the following words. If they extend the idea expressed by “undefined,” they point to the perfect sinlessness of our Lord, who lived amongst sinners and yet was ever separated from their sin—not needing external separation to preserve Him from pollution. If this member is to be joined with the following, it points to the complete severance which now exists: our exalted Lord is for ever removed from a life in the midst of transgressors. The latter view receives some support from Hebrews 9:28, but is on other grounds less probable. With the concluding words comp. Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 8:1; Ephesians 4:10.



Hebrews 7:26‘IT became Him to make the Captain of our salvation perfect through sufferings.’ ‘In all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren.’ ‘Such an High Priest became us.’ In these three sayings Of this Epistle the historical facts of the gospel are considered as corresponding to or in accordance and congruity with, respectively, the divine nature; Christ’s character and purpose; and man’s need. I have considered the two former texts in previous sermons, and now I desire to deal with this latter. It asserts that Jesus Christ, regarded as the High Priest, meets the deepest wants of every heart, and fits human necessity as the glove does the hand. He is the answer to all our questions, the satisfaction of all our wants, the bread for our hunger, the light for our darkness, the strength for our weakness, the medicine for our. sickness, the life for our death. ‘Such a High Priest became us.’

But the other side is quite as true. Christianity is in full accordance with men’s wants, Christianity is in sharp antagonism with a great deal which men suppose to be their wants. Men’s wishes, desires, readings of their necessities and conceptions of what is in accordance with the divine nature, are not to be taken without more ado as being the guides of what a revelation from God ought to be. The two characteristics of correspondence and opposition must both unite, in all that comes to us certified as being from God. There is an ‘offence of the Cross’; and Christ, for all His correspondence with the deepest necessities of human nature, and I might even say just by reason of that correspondence, will be ‘to the Jews a stumbling-block and to the Greeks foolishness.’ If a message professing to be from God had not the discord between man’s expectations and its facts, a message so like a man’s would bear upon its front the evidence that it was of man. It a message professing to be from God had not the correspondence with man’s deepest wants, a message so unlike

men would bear upon its front the evidence that it was not of God.

So then, remembering the necessary complementary thought to this of my text that ‘such a high priest became us,’ there are two or three considerations springing from the words that I desire to suggest.

I. The first of them is this - we all need a priest, and we have the priest we need in Jesus Christ.

The outstanding fact in reference to human nature in this connection is that it is a sinful nature. We have all departed from the path of rectitude and have nourished desires and tastes and purposes which do not rend us apart from God, and between us and Him do interpose a great barrier. Our consciences need a priest, or rather they say ‘Amen’ to the necessity born of our sins, that there shall stand between us and God ‘a great High Priest.’ I need not elaborate or enlarge upon this matter. The necessity of Christ’s sacerdotal character, and the adaptation of that character to men’s deepest wants, are not only to be argued about, but we have to appeal to men’s consciences, and try to waken them to an adequate and profound sense of the reality and significance of the fact of transgression. If once a man comes to feel, what is true about him, that he is in God’s sight a sinful man; to regard that fact in all its breadth, in all its consequences, in all its depth, there will not want any more arguing to make him see that a gospel which deals primarily with the fact of sin, and proclaims a priest whose great work is to offer a sacrifice, is the gospel that he needs.

In fair weather, when the summer seas are sunny and smooth, and all the winds are sleeping in their caves, the life-belts on the deck of a steamer may be thought to be unnecessary, but when she strikes on the black- toothed rocks, and all about is a hell of noise and despair, then the meaning of them is understood, When you are amongst the breakers you will need a life-buoy. When the flames are flickering round you, you will understand the use and worth of a fire-escape, and when you have learned what sort of a man you are, and what that involves in regard of your relations to God, then the mysteries which surround the thought of the high priesthood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ will be accepted as mysteries, and left where they are, and the fact will be grasped with all the tendrils of your soul as the one hope for you in life and in death.

I do not care to argue a man out of his imperfect apprehensions, if he have them, of the mission and work of Jesus Christ. But oh, dear friends! you for whose blood I am in some sense responsible, let me plead with you this one thought - you have not taken the point of view from which to judge of the gospel until you have stood in the perfect rectitude of heaven and contrasted your blackness with its stainless purity, and its solemn requirements; and have looked all round the horizon to see if anywhere there is a means by which a sinful soul can be liberated from the dragon’s sting of conscience, and from the crushing burden of guilt, and set upon a rock, emancipated and cleansed. We need a priest because we are sinful men, and sin means separation in fact and alienation in spirit, and the entail of dreadful consequences, which, as far as Nature is concerned, cannot be prevented from coming. And so sin means that if men are to be brought again into the fellowship and the family of God, it must be through One who, being a true priest, offers a real sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.

The new science of comparative religion has been made by some of its adepts to bear witness unfavorably to the claims of Christianity. A far truer use of it would be this - Wherever men have worshipped, they have worshipped at an altar, there has been on it a sacrifice offered by a purged hand that symbol seal moral purity. And all these are witnesses that humanity recognises the necessity which my text Affirms has been met in Christ. Some people would say ‘Yes! and your doctrine of a Christ who is sacrifice and priest, has precisely the same origin as those altars, many smoking with sacrifices to tyrannical gods.’ But to me the relation between the faiths of the world and the gospel of Christ, in reference to this matter, is much rather this, that they proclaim a want, and that Christ brings the satisfaction of it; that they with one voice cry, ‘Oh! that I knew where I might find Him! How shall a man be just with God?’ and that the Cross of Christ answers their longings, and offers the means by which we may draw nigh to God. ‘Such a High Priest became us.’

II. We may take another consideration from these words, viz. - We need for a priest a perfect man, and we have the perfect priest whom we need, in Jesus Christ.

The writer goes on to enumerate a series of qualifies by which our Lord is constituted the priest we need. Of these five qualities which follow in my text, the three former are those to which I now refer. ‘He is holy, harmless, undefiled.’

Now I do not need to spend time in discussing the precise meaning of these words, but a remark or two about each of them may perhaps .be admissible. Taken generally, these three characteristics refer to the priest’s relation to God, to other men, and to the law of purity. ‘He is holy’; that is to say, not so much morally free from guilt as standing in a certain relation to God. The word here used for ‘holy’ has a special meaning. It is the representative of an old Testament word, which seems to mean ‘Devoted to God in love.’ And it expresses not merely the fact of consecration, but the motive and the means of that consecration, as being the result of God’s love or mercy which kindles self-surrendering love in the recipient. Such is the first qualification for a priest, that he shall be knit to God by loving devotion, and have a heart throbbing in unison with the divine heart in all its tenderness of pity and in all its nobleness and loftiness of purity.

And, besides being thus the earthly echo and representative of the whole sweetness of the divine nature, so, in the next place, the priest we need must, in relation to men, be harmless - without malice, guile, unkindness; a Lamb of God, with neither horns to butt, nor teeth to tear, nor claws to wound, but gentle and gracious, sweet and compassionate; or, as we read in another place in this same letter, ‘a merciful High Priest in things pertaining to God.’ And the priest that we need to bridge over the gulf between us sinful and alienated men and God, must not only be one knit to God in all sympathy, and representing His purity and tenderness amongst us; nor must the priest that we need by reason of our miseries, our sorrows, our weaknesses, our bleeding wounds, our broken hearts, be only a priest filled with compassion and merciful, who can lay a gentle hand upon our sore and sensitive spirits, but the priest that we men, spattered and befouled with the mire and filth of sin, which has left deep stains upon our whole nature, need, must be one ‘undefiled,’ on whose white garments there shall be no speck; on the virgin purity of whose nature there shall be no stain; who shall stand above us, though He be one of us, and whilst ‘ it behoves Him to be made in all points like unto His brethren,’ shall yet be ‘without blemish and without spot.’

‘It behoved Him to be made like unto HIS brethren.’ The priest of the world must be like the world. My text says, ‘Yes! and He must be absolutely unlike the world.’ Now, is this not a strange thing - this is a disgression, but it may be allowed for one moment - is it not a strange thing that in these four little tracts which we call gospels, that might all be printed upon two sides of a penny newspaper, you get drawn; with such few strokes, a picture which harmonises, in a possible person, these two opposite requirements, the absolute unlikeness and the perfect likeness? Think of how difficult it would be if it was not a copy from life, to draw a figure with these two characteristics harmonised. What geniuses the men must have been that wrote the gospels, if they were not something much simpler than that, honest witnesses who told exactly what they saw! The fact that the life and death of Jesus Christ, as recorded in Scripture, present this strange combination of two opposite requirements in the most perfect harmony and beauty, is in my eyes no contemptible proof of the historical veracity of the picture which is presented to us. If the life was not lived I, for one, do not believe that it ever could have been invented.

But that, as I said, has nothing to do with my present subject. And so I pass on just to notice, in a word, how this assemblage of qualifications which, taken together, make up the idea of a perfect man, is found in Jesus Christ for a certain purpose, and a purpose beyond that which some of you, I am afraid, are accustomed to regard. Why this innocence; this God- devotedness; this blamelessness; this absence of all selfish antagonism?

Why this life, so sweet, so pure, so gentle, so running over with untainted and ungrudging compassion, so conscious of unbroken and perfect communion and sympathy with God? Why? That He might, ‘through the Eternal Spirit, offer Himself without spot unto God’; and that by His one offering He might perfect for ever all them that put their trust in Him.

Oh, brother! you do not understand the meaning of Christ’s innocence unless you see in it the condition of efficiency of His sacrifice. It is that He might be the priest of the world that He wears this fine linen clean and white, the righteousness of a pure and perfect soul.

I beseech you, then, ponder for yourselves the meaning of this admitted fact. We all acknowledge His purity. We all adore, in some sense of the word, His perfect manhood. If the one stainless and sinless man that the world has ever seen had such a life and such a death as is told in these gospels, they are no gospels, except on one supposition. But for it they are the most despairing proclamation of the old miserable fact that righteousness suffers in the world. The life of Christ, if He be the pure and perfect man that we believe Him to be, and not the perfect priest offering up a pure sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, is the most damning indictment that was ever drawn up against the blunders of a Providence that so misgoverns the world.

‘He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.’ And, therefore, when we look upon His sufferings, in life and in death, we can only understand them and the relation of His innocence to the divine heart when we say: ‘Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him. He hath put Him to grief,’ ‘by His stripes we are healed. Such a priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled’; the sacrificial Lamb, without blemish and without spot.

III. Lastly, my text suggests that we need a priest in the heavens, and we have in Christ the heavenly priest whom we need.

The two last qualifications for the priestly office included in my text are, ‘separate from sinners; made higher than the heavens.’ Now, the ‘separation’ intended, is not, as I suppose, Christ’s moral distance from evil-doers, but has what I may call a kind of half-local signification, and is explained by the next clause. He is ‘separate from sinners’ not because He is pure and they foul, but because having offered His sacrifice He has ascended up on high.

He is ‘made higher than the heavens.’ Scripture sometimes speaks of the living Christ as at present in the heavens, and at others as having ‘passed through’ and being ‘high above all heavens’; in the former ease simply giving the more general idea of exaltation, in the latter the thought that He is lifted, in His manhood and as our priest, above the bounds of the material and visible creation, and ‘set at the right hand of the Majesty on high.’

Such a priest we need. His elevation and separation from us upon earth is essential to that great and continual work of His which we call, for want of any more definite name, His intercession. The High Priest in the heavens presents His sacrifice there for ever. The past fact of His death on the Cross for the sins of the whole world is ever present as an element determining the direction of the divine dealings with all them that put their trust in Him. That sacrifice was not once only offered upon the Cross, but is ever, in the symbolical language of Scripture, presented anew in the heavens by Him. No time avails to corrupt or weaken the efficacy of that blood; and He has offered one sacrifice for Sins for ever. Such a priest we need, to-day, presenting the sacrifice which, today, in our weakness and sinfulness, we require.

We need a priest who in the heavens bears us in His heart. As His type in the Old Testament economy entered within the veil with the blood; and when he passed within the curtain and stood before the Light of the Shekinah, had on his breast and on his shoulders, - the home of love, the seat of strength - the names of the tribes, graven on flashing stones, so our priest within the veil has your name and mine, if we love Him, close by His heart, governing the flow of His love, and written on His shoulders, and on the palms of His pierced hands, that all His strength may be granted to us. ‘Such a priest became us.’

And we need a priest separated from the world, lifted above the limitations of earth and time, wielding the powers of divinity in the hands that once were laid in blessing on the little children’s heads. And such a priest we have. We need a priest in the heavens, whose presence there makes that strange country our home; and by whose footstep, passing through the gates and on to the golden pavements, the gate is open for us, and our faltering poor feet can tread there. And such a priest we have, passed within the veil, that to-day, in aspiration and prayer; and to-morrow in reality and person, where He is, there we may be also. ‘Such a priest became us.’

We need no other; we do need .Him. Oh, friend! are you resting on that sacrifice? Have you given Tour cause into His hands to plead? Then the great High Priest will make you too His priest to offer a thank-offering, and Himself will present for ever the sacrifice that takes away your sin and brings you near to God. ‘It is Christ that died, yea I rather, that is risen again’; and whose death and resurrection alike led on to His ascension to the right hand of God, where for ever ‘He maketh intercession for us.’

Hebrews 7:26-28. Such a High-Priest became us — Or rather, was suited to us, who are unholy, mischievous, defiled sinners; who is holy — With respect to God; harmless — With respect to men; undefiled — In himself by any sin; separate from sinners — That is, from all defiling society of sinners, though mercifully conversant among them; and, to complete all, made higher — Even in his human nature, than the heavens, and than all their inhabitants; being far more superior to the noblest of them than Aaron was to the meanest Levite who ministered in the temple. Who needeth not daily — That is, on every yearly day of expiation; as those high-priests, to offer sacrifice, first for his own sins — For he had no sins of his own; and then for the people’s — Which last he did once for all, when he offered up himself — A spotless and acceptable sacrifice to God. “In this passage,” says Macknight, “the apostle notices three particulars, which distinguish the sacrifice offered by Christ from those offered by the Jewish high- priests: 1st, He offered no sacrifice for himself, but only for the people. 2d, He did not offer that sacrifice annually, but once for all. 3d, The sacrifice which he offered was not of calves and goats, but of himself.” For the law maketh men high-priests which have infirmity — Who are weak, sinful, and mortal; but the oath which was since the law — Namely, in the time of David; maketh the Son — A priest; who is consecrated — Or perfected, as τετελειωμενον properly signifies; see note on Hebrews 5:9; for evermore — Who, having finished his whole process, undertaken and accomplished to effect the work of our redemption, and being without blemish, and perfectly free from every natural and moral infirmity, and invested with all authority and power in heaven and on earth, remaineth a priest for ever.

7:26-28 Observe the description of the personal holiness of Christ. He is free from all habits or principles of sin, not having the least disposition to it in his nature. No sin dwells in him, not the least sinful inclination, though such dwells in the best of Christians. He is harmless, free from all actual transgression; he did no violence, nor was there any deceit in his mouth. He is undefiled. It is hard to keep ourselves pure, so as not to partake the guilt of other men's sins. But none need be dismayed who come to God in the name of his beloved Son. Let them be assured that he will deliver them in the time of trial and suffering, in the time of prosperity, in the hour of death, and in the day of judgment.For such an High Priest became us - Was suited to our condition. That is, there was that in our character and circumstances which demanded that a high priest for us should be personally holy. It was not requisite merely that he should have great power; or that he should be of a rank superior to that of the Jewish priesthood; but there was a special propriety that he should surpass all others in "moral" purity. Other priests were mere mortal men, and it was necessary that their office should pass to other hands; they were "sinful" men also, and it was necessary that sacrifices should be made for themselves as well as others. We need, however, a different priest. We need not only one who ever lives, but one who is perfectly holy, and who has no need to bring an offering for himself, and all the merit of whose sacrifice, therefore, may be ours. Such an high priest we have in the person of the Lord Jesus; and there is no truth more interesting, and no proposition more susceptible of proof, than that he is exactly Fitted to man. In his moral character, and in the great work which he has accomplishcd, he is just such a Saviour as is adapted to the wants of ignorant, fallen, wretched, sinful man. He is benevolent, and pities our woes; wise, and is able to enlighten our ignorance; compassionate, and ready to forgive our faults. He has made such a sacrifice as was necessary to put away our guilt, and offers such intercession as we need to have offered for us in order that we may be preserved from falling.

Who is holy - Not merely "outwardly righteous," but pure in heart.

Harmless - Not injuring anyone. To no one did he do wrong. Neither to their name, person, or property, did he ever do injury; nor will he ever. He is the only one who has lived on earth of whom it could be said that he never, in any way, did wrong to another.

Undefiled - By sin; by any improper desire or passion. He was unstained by crime; "unspotted from the world." Sin always defiles the soul; but from every such pollution the Lord Jesus was free.

Separate from sinners - That is, he did not associate with them as such. He did not partake of their feelings, plans, pleasures. Though he mingled with them, yet it was merely to do them good, and in all his life there was an entire separation from the feelings, principles, and views of a sinful world.

And made higher than the heavens - Exalted above the visible heavens; that is, at the right hand of God; see the Ephesians 1:21 note; Philippians 2:9 note. We needed a high priest who is thus exalted that he may manage our cause before the throne of God.

26. such—as is above described. The oldest manuscripts read, "also." "For to US (as sinners; emphatical) there was also becoming (besides the other excellencies of our High Priest) such an High Priest."

holy—"pious" (a distinct Greek word from that for holy, which latter implies consecration) towards God; perfectly answering God's will in reverent piety (Ps 16:10).

harmless—literally, "free from evil" and guile, in relation to Himself.

undefiled—not defiled by stain contracted from others, in relation to men. Temptation, to which He was exposed, left no trace of evil in Him.

separate—rather, "separated from sinners," namely, in His heavenly state as our High Priest above, after He had been parted from the earth, as the Levitical high priest was separated from the people in the sanctuary (whence he was not to go out), Le 21:12. Though justifying through faith the ungodly, He hath no contact with them as such. He is lifted above our sinful community, being "made higher than the heavens," at the same time that He makes believers as such (not as sinners), "to sit together (with Him) in heavenly places" (Eph 2:6). Just as Moses on the mount was separated from and above the people, and alone with God. This proves Jesus is God. "Though innumerable lies have been forged against the venerable Jesus, none dared to charge Him with any intemperance" [Origen].

made—Jesus was higher before (Joh 17:5), and as the God-MAN was made so by the Father after His humiliation (compare Heb 1:4).

higher than the heavens—for "He passed through [so the Greek] the heavens" (Heb 4:14).

The last excellency of the gospel High Priest, preferring him to Aaron’s order, is the qualification of his person, by which he is described in himself, distinguished from and set above all others, and is that which remained out of David’s proof to be cleared, who this person was, who was different from Melchisedec, though after his order, to take place after Aaron’s was expired, who was immortal, and constituted an everlasting Priest by God’s oath.

For such an High Priest became us, who is holy: this was God-man, the Messiah, and gospel High Priest, who was convenient, congruous, suitable, useful, and necessary, for us guilty, filthy, miserable sinners, in respect of ourselves hopeless and helpless, and cannot approach God without consumption; and, unless we have a person who can manage our cause with God, are lost for ever. To such is he agreeable and necessary, who only can help and save us. This the titles given him evince, showing all the perfections of a priest, of which others were dark shadows and types; as he was not only externally and relatively by office, but internally and morally holy. His essence as God was holiness; as man his nature was entirely agreeable to God’s will; he was that holy thing, Luke 1:35; not having holiness engraven on a mitre, as Aaron, Exodus 39:30,31, but in his person; holy in his conception, birth, life, and death. The devil could find nothing but holiness in him, John 14:30. Pure in his soul, in his body, transcendently beyond his type, Leviticus 21:17-23; not a creature, angel or man, so holy as he, the most like to God of any, John 1:14.

Harmless; akakov, void of all natural evil in his spirit and flesh, no lust, no disposition to evil, not injurious to any, having no guile, an Israelite indeed beyond a Nathanael, of the most simple, pure, and innocent nature; he was good, and all his work was good, Acts 10:38.

Undefiled; amiantov, without any spot, not soiled or stained without or within; the angels and heavens are not so clean in God’s sight, as lifts Priest of his; he was never tainted with the appearance of sin: if his church be so pure, what must himself be! Ephesians 5:27.

Separate from sinners; free from all vicious habit, quality, act, or stain, by what was in sinners, or by his converse with them; as separate from guilt or stain, as if he had never been with them; conjoined with God in being and fulness of righteousness, making sinners righteous, but contracting nothing from them.

And made higher than the heavens; by the constitution of God, after his sacrifice, mentioned Hebrews 7:27, he ascended far above all heavens, Ephesians 4:10, and is settled on God’s throne at his right hand, having all principalities, powers, might and dominion, and every name, subjected to him, and all things put under his feet, Ephesians 1:21,22. Never priest can reach where he is; this is his supereminent excellency, Hebrews 4:14 8:1 9:11. How able, mighty, and successful is he for managing all for his clients there! His work now is intercession.

For such an high priest became us,.... Is suitable to us, answers to our cases and necessities, is every way such an one as is wanted:

who is holy; by nature, originally and underivatively, perfectly and completely, internally as well as externally; he was typified by the high priest, who had holiness to the Lord written on his forehead, and far exceeds any of the priests in holiness; and such an one becomes us, for had he not been holy he could not have entered into the holy place for us, or have appeared there on our account, or have been our sanctification; so Philo the Jew speaks of the true priest as being not man, but the divine Word, and as free from all sin voluntary and involuntary (x).

harmless; without any vitiosity in his nature, without guile in his mouth, or malice in his heart; doing no injury to any man's person or property: the character chiefly regards the innocence and holiness of his life and conversation; and in which he exceeded the priests under the law; and is a suitable one for us, for hereby he was fit to be made sin, and to take it away:

undefiled; with the sin of Adam, with which all mankind are defiled; with the blood of slain beasts, with which the priests under the law were sprinkled; with the filthy conversation of the wicked, which affects good men: hence he was more excellent than the priests under the law; and one that becomes us, since his blood is the blood of a lamb, without spot and blemish: the high priests under the law, according to the Jews (y), were to excel their brethren in knowledge, beauty, and riches; but the distinguishing character of our high priest is purity and holiness:

separate from sinners; not but that he took the nature of sinners, though not a sinful nature; and he was often in the company of sinners, when on earth, and was reckoned among them, and as one of them; but he was separated from them in Adam; he was not among the individuals of human nature that sinned in him; and he was brought into the world in a different manner from them, not descending from Adam by ordinary generation; and he had no communion with them in sin; nor did he encourage them to it in the days of his flesh; and now he is removed far from them; and herein he exceeds the priests under the law, and is suitable to us: the Syriac and Ethiopic versions read, "separate from sins"; the allusion seems to be, to the separating of the high priest from his own house to one of the courts of the temple seven days before the day of atonement (z), and so before the burning of the heifers (a):

and made higher than the heavens; than the visible heavens, the airy and starry heavens, and than the angels in heaven; and so preferable to the high priests, and exceedingly agreeable to us, Hebrews 4:14 the allusion may be to the carrying of the high priest on the day of atonement to an upper chamber in the temple, called the chamber of Abtines (b): this may be understood either of Christ's exaltation in heaven, where angels are subject to him, and his priesthood is completed; or of his excelling the angels in the holiness of his nature, which agrees with the other characters in the text, and stands opposed to the infirmities of the priests.

(x) De Profugis, p. 466, 467. & de Victimis, p. 843. (y) Maimon, & Bartenora in Misn, Yoma, c, 1. sect. 3.((z) Misn. Yoma, c. 1. sect. 1.((a) Misn. Parah, c. 3. sect. 1.((b) Misn. Yoma, c. 1. sect. 5.

{12} For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

(12) Another argument: There are required in an high priest innocency and perfect pureness, which may separate him from sinners, for whom he offers. The Levitical high priests are not found to be such, for they offer first for their own sins: but only Christ is such a one, and therefore the only true High Priest.

Hebrews 7:26. Proof for the actual existence of a high priest who is able in a perfect manner to procure salvation, since He ever liveth to represent in the presence of God those who believe in Him (Hebrews 7:25), derived from the meetness and adaptedness to our need of just such a high priest: for such a high priest (as had just been described, Hebrews 7:25) also beseemed us. τοιοῦτος begins no parenthesis, so that ὅσιος κ.τ.λ. were only “the continuation of a series begun with πάντοτε ζῶν εἰς τὸ ἐντυγχάνειν ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν” (Hofmann), nor is “οἷος ὁ Ἰησοῦς to be supplemented from Hebrews 7:22” (Woerner), nor does it serve for the introducing or preparing the way for the following predicates, ὅσιος κ.τ.λ. (Grotius, Tholuck, al.), but refers back to the characterization, Hebrews 7:25; while, then, with ὅσιος κ.τ.λ. a newly beginning further description of this so constituted high priest, or a further unfolding of the τοιοῦτος, follows, in such wise that the ὅσιος κ.τ.λ. thus attached is best rendered by: He, since He is holy, etc., beseemed us.

καί] also, i.e. exactly. See Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 408.

ὅσιος] holy or pure. In regard to the relation towards God. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:10; Ephesians 4:24; 1 Timothy 2:8; Titus 1:8. With the LXX. for the most part translation of חָסִיד, e.g. Psalm 4:4 (3), Psalm 16:10 (Acts 2:27; Acts 13:35), Psalm 30:5 (4).

ἄκακος] free from κακία, from craft and malice. In regard to the relation towards men. Chrysostom: Ἄκακος τί ἐστιν; Ἀπόνηρος, οὐχ ὕπουλος· καὶ ὅτι τοιοῦτος, ἄκουε τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος· Οὐδὲ εὑρέθη δόλος ἐν τῷ στόματι αὐτοῦ (Isaiah 53:9).

ἀμίαντος] unstained by any kind of impurity. In regard to the relation towards Himself. Comp. Jam 1:27; 1 Peter 1:4.

κεχωρισμένος ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν] separated from the sinners, i.e. not: different from them by reason of His sinlessness (so the Peshito, separatus a peccatis; Vatablus, Calvin, Cameron, Carpzov, Owen, Böhme, Kuinoel, Stuart, Klee, Ebrard, Bloomfield, Kurtz, and others), but—as is evident from the member immediately following—withdrawn by His exaltation to heaven from all contact with the sinners, so that He cannot be defiled by them. As the Levitical priests in general, so must very specially the high priest preserve himself free from defilement (Leviticus 21:10 ff.); before the great day of atonement he must, according to the Talmud, spend seven days in the temple, apart from his family, in order to be secured against defilement. See Tract. Joma, i. 1. Comp. also Schöttgen, Horae Hebraicae, p. 963 f.

καὶ ὑψηλότερος τῶν οὐρανῶν γενόμενος] and (not “also” or “even,” as Hofmann contends) raised above the heavens, inasmuch, namely, as He διελήλυθε τοὺς οὐρανούς, Hebrews 4:14. Comp. Ephesians 4:10 : ὁ ἀναβὰς ὑπεράνω πάντων τῶν οὐρανῶν.

Hebrews 7:26-28. Fourth point of superiority of the priesthood of Christ over the Levitical priesthood, in the form of an establishing of Hebrews 7:25. The Levitical priests are sinful men, who need daily to offer for their own sins and the sins of the people; Christ is the sinless Son of God, who once for all has offered up Himself as a sacrifice.

Hebrews 7:26-28. A summary description of the Melchizedek ideal priest, drawn in contrast to the Levitical High Priest, and realised in the Son who has been perfected as Priest for ever. Melchizedek is here dropped, and the priesthood of the Son is now directly contrasted with that of the Aaronic High Priest.

26. For such a high priest became us] The “for” clinches the whole argument with a moral consideration. There was a spiritual fitness in this annulment of the imperfect Law and Priesthood, and the introduction of a better hope and covenant. So great and so sympathetic and so innocent an High Priest was suited to our necessities. There is much rhetorical beauty in the order of the Greek. He might have written it in the order of the English, but he keeps the word “Priest” by way of emphasis as the last word of the clause, and then substitutes High Priest for it.

holy] towards God (Leviticus 20:26; Leviticus 21:1; Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:27). He bore “holiness to the Lord” not on a golden mitre-plate, but as the inscription of all His life as “the Holy One of God” (Mark 1:24).

harmless] as regards men.

undefiled] Not stained, Isaiah 53:9 (and as the word implies unstainable) with any of the defilements which belonged to the Levitic priests from their confessed sinfulness. Christ was “without sin” (Hebrews 4:15); “without spot” (Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 1:19). He “knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

separate from sinners] Lit., “Having been separated from sinners.” The writer is already beginning to introduce the subject of the Day of Atonement on which be proceeds to speak. To enable the High Priest to perform the functions of that day aright the most scrupulous precautions were taken to obviate the smallest chance of ceremonial pollution (Leviticus 21:10-15); yet even these rigid precautions had at least once in living memory been frustrated—when the High Priest Ishmael ben Phabi had been incapacitated from his duties because in conversing with Hareth (Aretas) Emir of Arabia, a speck of the Emir’s saliva had fallen upon the High Priest’s beard. But Christ was free not only from ceremonial pollution, but from that far graver moral stain of which the ceremonial was a mere external figure; and had now been exalted above all contact with sin in the Heaven of Heavens (Hebrews 4:14).

made higher than the heavens] Having “ascended up far above all heavens” (Ephesians 4:10).

Hebrews 7:26. Τοιοῦτος, such) From what goes before, great exultation and holy boasting are diffused into this and the following verse.—ἔπρεπεν ἡμῖν, became us) who were by no means godly, etc. Thus the verb, became, renders the expression a paradox, such as Paul loves, when he kindles into applause. The same word occurs, ch. Hebrews 2:10.—ὅσιος, pious) with respect to GOD.—ἄκακος, harmless, without a fault) with respect to Himself. תמים, LXX., ἄκακος.—ἀμίαντος) undefiled, deriving no stain from other men. The same word is found at ch. Hebrews 13:4. All these predicates conjointly make the periphrasis of the word, ἅγιος, holy, and are illustrated by the preparation of the Levitical high priest for the feast of expiation, when he also was bound to remain in solitude, and in the high place [as Jesus was separate and made higher, Hebrews 7:26]. Our High Priest must be entirely free from sin, and, after He had tasted death once for all, also from death.—κεχωρισμένος ἀπὸ τῶν ἀμαρτωλῶν) not only free from sin, but also separate from sinners. He was separated when He left the world. Examine the following clause, and John 16:10; 1 John 2:1.—ὑψηλότερος τῶν οὐρανῶν) higher than the heavens, and therefore than the inhabitants of the heavens. [He is therefore the true GOD: comp. Job 22:12; Psalm 57:6; Proverbs 30:4.—V. g.] Ephesians 1:21; Ephesians 4:10.—γένομενος, made) Christ both was formerly higher than the heavens, and was made so afterwards; comp. γένομενος, being made, ch. Hebrews 1:4. We have the same force in the participle, τετελειωμένον, made perfect, at Hebrews 7:28.

Verse 26. - For such a High Priest became us, holy, harmless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens. Such a High Priest, it is said, for us was fitting. The same word ἔπρεπε was used in Hebrews 2:10, where the humiliation of Christ was spoken cf. It was there said that to make the Captain of our salvation perfect through suffering "became" God - was befitting to what we conceive of the Divine nature. It is now said that our High Priest's being such as is here described "became" us - was befitting to our state and needs. That he should be both human and superhuman was in all respects fitting - the one that he might be our sympathizing brother; the other that his intercession might avail. The further description of him in this verse is suggested by the qualifications of the Aaronic high priest, what they typified being realized in Christ. The high priest was by his consecration a holy person, ἅγιος (Leviticus 21:6, 8, etc.); he bore on his miter "Holiness to the Lord" (Exodus 39:30); he must be without personal blemish (Leviticus 21:17, etc.); he must keep himself continually from all ceremonial pollution (Leviticus 21. and 22.); he must purify himself by a sacrifice for himself and by special ablutions before entering the holy of holies (Leviticus 16.); when there, he was conceived as in God's presence, apart from the world of sinners outside. Christ was not only ἅγιος, but ὅσιος, personally and inwardly holy (Christians in the New Testament are all called ἅγιος, but not all ὁσίοι: for the use of which word, el. Titus 1:8; Acts 2:27; Acts 13:34, where it is applied to Christ, τὸν ὅσιον σου: and Revelation 15:4-16:5, where it is applied to God as his special attribute, ὅτι μόνος ὅσιος); Christ was actually free from evil (ἄκακος) and undefiled (ἀμίαντος). by any contact of sin; and as such he has passed to God's actual presence (cf. διελελύθοτα τοὺς οὐρανοὺς, Hebrews 4:14), separated forever from the world of sinners. Hebrews 7:26Became us (ἡμῖν ἔπρεπεν)

See on Hebrews 2:10. For the verb see on Titus 2:1. There was an essential fitness in the gift of our great high priest. Comp. Hebrews 2:17.

Holy (ὅσιος)

See on Luke 1:75. Always with a relation to God; never of moral excellence as related to men. Of Christ, Acts 2:27; Acts 13:35; of a bishop, Titus 1:8.

Harmless (ἄκακος)

Rend. guileless. Free from malice and craft. Only here and Romans 16:18. Undefiled (ἀμίαντος), see on 1 Peter 1:4.

Separate (κεχωρισμένος)

Rend. separated: denoting a condition realized in Christ's exaltation. Comp. Romans 6:10.

Higher than the heavens (ὑψηλότερος τῶν οὐρανῶν)

Comp. Ephesians 4:10, Hebrews 4:14.

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