Hebrews 10:11
Psalm 40:6-8 (taken along with Hebrews 10:5-9)
That some of the psalms are applied to Christ does not warrant us in applying them all to him; and even if some verses of any one psalm are applied to the Messiah, we. are not thereby, warranted in applying all the verses in such psalm to him. There are direct Messianic psalms, which apply only to the Lord Jesus Christ; such are the second and the hundred and tenth psalms. Critics - some of them, at least - demur to this as being contrary to psychological law. But it is not merely by the psychological law of the natural man that these Messianic psalms are declared to have been written. We are pointed, for their origin, to a fourfold divergence from naturalistic psychology.

1. It is not of psychology we have to think, but of pneumatology.

2. Of the pneumatology of the spiritual man.

3. Of the pneumatology of the spiritual man when "borne along" by the Divine Pneuma.

4. Of such action of the Divine Pneuma on the human for a specific Divine purpose. All this is indicated in 2 Peter 1:21; and therefore all such critics as those to which we refer are totally beside the mark (see our remarks on Psalm 32.). But there are also psalms which are indirectly Messianic. They are marked, speaking generally, by the pronoun "I." The writer speaks for himself, in the first instance; but whether he knew or intended it or not, the words had such a far-reachingness about them, that they could only be filled up in their perfect meaning by the Lord Jesus Christ. Such is the case with the verses now before us. They first of all apply to David, and it is quite possible that he intended nothing further; if so, unwittingly to himself, he was borne along to utter words whose fulness of meaning could only be disclosed by the Incarnation, by David's Son, who had eternally been David's Lord; and, as such, the doctrines they contain are truly sublime. There is a somewhat difficult matter, which may be indicated by the questions:

(1) How came the phrase, "Mine ears hast thou opened," to be rendered by the LXX., "A body hast thou prepared me"? and

(2) whether of the two readings is to be accepted? Dean Alford (see his Commentary, in loc.) prefers to leave the difficulties unsolved. Dr. J. Fye Smith ('Script. Test.,' vol. 1. p. 208), Dr. Boothroyd, and others, with little hesitation, express their conviction that the original and correct phrase is that adopted by the LXX. Calmet suggests, "On lit dans l'hebreu antes, peutetre pour corpus autem. Archdeacon Farrar says, in his notes on Hebrews 10:5-7, Finding the rendering in the LXX., believing it to represent the true sense of the original (as it does), and also seeing it to be eminently illustrative of his subject, the writer naturally adopts it." On the whole, then, the variation presents an interesting point in textual criticism, rather than any doctrinal difficulty. Since, in either case, the substantial meaning is, "My bodily frame has been marked out and sealed for the performance of thy will." By the very frequent quotation from the LXX. rather than from the Hebrew, even when they vary, the sacred writers show how much more important in their view was the main thought than the precise form of expression. Having, then, in two separate homilies, dealt with this psalm in its application to David, we will now luxuriate in these verses as finding their highest and noblest application in Christ, and in him alone. In so doing, eight lines of thought require to be laid down.

I. THERE IS A MOMENTOUS PRINCIPLE UNDERLYING BOTH THE HEBREW AND THE CHRISTIAN ECONOMIES. It is this - that sin has disturbed the relations between man and God, so that nothing is right with man till these relations are readjusted and harmony is restored. The whole of the Mosaic economy was an education in the evil of sin. "By Law is the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20); "The Law was our child-guide unto Christ" (Galatians 3:24).

II. UNDER THE LAW, THE PEOPLE WERE TAUGHT THAT SIN MUST BE PUT AWAY BY SACRIFICE. "Without shedding of blood is no remission" (Hebrews 9:22). But there will ever remain this wide, this infinite, difference between Jewish and pagan sacrifices - the pagan sacrifices started from man, and expressed his desire to propitiate God; the Jewish sacrifices were appointed by God himself, as by One pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin, who would cancel guilt only as sin had been condemned.

III. THE VARIED SACRIFICES UNDER THE LAW WERE BUT A "FIGURE FOR THE TIME THEN PRESENT." The doctrine of the insufficiency of fleshly sacrifices is found not only in the Epistle to the Hebrews, but also in the Old Testament (see 1 Samuel 15:22,-23; Psalm 51:16; Psalm 40:6-8; Isaiah 1:11-17; Jeremiah 7:22, 23; Micah 6:6-8). The more discerning and spiritually minded of the Hebrew saints saw and felt how ineffective were all the varied offerings to ensure peace with God; and, because ineffective, they were necessarily typical Hence -

IV. THE OLD TESTAMENT DISPENSATION WAS IN ITS ENTIRETY BUT PROPHETIC OF ONE WHO SHOULD COME. (Cf. Luke 24:44; Acts 17:2, 3; Acts 28:23; Daniel 9:24-27.) The entire argument in Hebrews 9. and Hebrews 10. shows this. From the time when he who saw Messiah's day from afar said, "God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering," the outlook of the Church of God was towards One "who should come into the world."

V. THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, IN THE FACT OF HIS INCARNATION, DECLARED THAT BE HAD COME TO ACCOMPLISH THE UNFULFILLED MEANING OF OLD TESTAMENT SACRIFICES. We are not told here that he said this by his Spirit in the fortieth psalm, but that "when he came into the world" he said it. His entrance into our race was itself the great declaration. That act of "emptying himself" spake volumes then, and will do through all time; and thus he put upon the ancient words the sublimest possible significance.

VI. IN ACCOMPLISHING TYPE AND PROPHECY, JESUS FULFILLED THE WORD OF GOD. His advent to earth was an absolute self-surrender to the Father's will (cf. John 4:34; John 6:38). He fulfilled the Father's will

(1) by revealing the Father;

(2) by honouring the Law;

(3) by condemning sin;

(4) by thus laying a basis for the forgiveness of every penitent.

VII. ON THE GROUND OF THIS SURRENDER OF HIMSELF, SIN IS PUT AWAY. "He put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" (Hebrews 9:26). The absolute surrender of the will of the Eternal Son to the Eternal Father accomplished, in fact, that which all past sacrifices had accomplished only in figure. The surrender of that will ensured the fulfilment of all the purposes for which that will was surrendered. "He hath obtained the eternal redemption for us" (Hebrews 9:12; see John 6:38-40).

VIII. SIN HAVING BEEN PUT AWAY FOR EVER, THE ANCIENT SACRIFICES HAVE CEASED FOR EVER. "He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second" (Hebrews 10:9); "By one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." Any pretended repetition of the Saviour's sacrifice in the Mass is impiety. No repetition of it is possible. All Old Testament sacrifices have ceased; the Old Testament priesthood has ceased, and has never been renewed. Note: What now remains for us? Only

(1) to accept the one offering of the Son of God as all-sufficient; and

(2) to render now the only sacrifice which is possible for us, viz. the loving, the absolute surrender of our will to him who hath loved us, and hath given himself for us, that we may stand perfect add complete in all the will of God. - C.

This Man, after He had offered.
I. THE PAST ERA OF CHRIST'S REDEMPTIVE HISTORY. He has "offered one sacrifice for sins."

1. Christ's death was a self-immolation.

(1)His self-proprietorship.

(2)His unexampled philanthropy.

2. His death was a self-immolation for sin. He died to put away sin: to put it away in its guilt-form — in its idea-form — and in its habit-form. His death was a self-immolation for sin unrepeatable. "One... for ever." Sufficient for all lands and ages.

II. THE PRESENT:ERA OF CHRIST'S REDEMPTIVE HISTORY. "Sat down at the right hand of God."

1. Rest.

2. Heaven.

III. THE FUTURE ERA OF CHRIST'S REDEMPTIVE HISTORY. "From henceforth expecting," &c.

1. Christ has enemies. Fallen angels and sinful men.

2. These enemies He will subjugate. Some will be subdued by the moral influences of His truth and love; and some by the resistless might of His retributive justice. Lessons:

1. The repugnance with which humanity should regard sin.

2. The true test by which we may determine the worth of our Christianity. The absence of sin.

3. The certainty of Christianity's ultimate triumph.

4. The absurdity of waiting for any further helps to conversion.


I. We see Him ON THE EARTH; and this is what He is said to have done here — "He offered one sacrifice for sins." The apostle, we must remember, is both comparing and contrasting Him with the Jewish priests. His object is to show us that He is all to the Church these priests ever were, and all in a much higher degree. He compares Him with them. Now one part of their office was to make reconciliation or atonement for the sins of the people. Thus far then our Lord resembles the Jewish priests — He really offered a sacrifice. But the apostle also contrasts Him with them. He made, he says, one sacrifice only. There was in His case no perpetual standing by the altar, no daily ministering, no multiplying of victims. His precious blood once shed, all is over; the fire on the altar goes out, and the altar itself is soon thrown down and destroyed. And here become evident; two blessed truths.

1. One sacrifice serves for all God's Church — not only one priest, but one offering.

2. This one offering of Christ serves effectually for all God's Church. Not only are all His people cleansed, they are all fully and eternally cleansed, by it.

II. We must now follow our Lord INTO HEAVEN. The text carries Him there in His human nature; and more than that — in the character He bore here in His human nature, the great Expiator of our sins. The apostle's language intimates to us —

1. The repose of Christ in heaven, a repose indicating the completeness and perfection of the work He had performed on earth.

2. The high exaltation of Christ in heaven.

(C. Bradley, M. A.)

I. THIS GOD-MAN OFFERED ONE SACRIFICE FOR SIN. That was the sacrifice of Himself, which we may consider as implying surrender.

1. He offered His body (Isaiah 1.6; PEa. 69:21; Isaiah 52:14). These were sufferings of no common kind.

2. But, in suffering, He offered His mind. The sufferings of our Redeemer's soul must be considered as the soul of His sufferings.

3. He offered in sacrifice His glory — by which we understand how glory will follow up the shame. Now, our Redeemer's feelings were not blunted or stoical — nay, they were delicately fine; and when they called Him " a deceiver of the people," "a glutton, and a wine-bibber"; when they said He had a devil — that He was not fit to live: He must have felt the indignity with great acuteness.

4. He offered in sacrifice the consolations of heaven's protection (Matthew 27:46).

5. He offered in sacrifice His life (John 15:13; Romans 5:8).

6. He offered in sacrifice His will. He prayed that the cup of suffering might pass from Him (Matthew 26:42); yet He gave His person into the hands of those who put it to torture: He voluntarily resigned Himself to that train of overwhelming and distressing ideas, that threw His mind into an agony and bathed Him in a bloody sweat.

II. FOR WHAT PURPOSE DID HE OFFER THIS SACRIFICE? Whenever we think, or read, about the sufferings of Christ, we are immediately directed to sin (1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 Peter 2:24; Isaiah 53:5). This Man offered Himself a sacrifice for sin —

1. To avert the consequences of it. Jesus Christ paid the penalty, that He might deliver the sinner from the consequences of his sins.

2. He died that He might remove the presence of sin, by doing away the love of it; by cleansing the guilty in the" fountain opened for sin and uncleanness," — rendering the person " without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing."

3. He offered Himself a sacrifice to overcome the forfeiture of sin.


1. This was through the medium of His resurrection.

2. And He has now " sat down at the right hand of God." God is a great and invisible Spirit, with whom literally there can be neither standing nor recumbency. We must, therefore, understand this phrase figuratively; and it is —

(1)Expressive of rest.


(3)Power, authority, dominion.

IV. THE PURPOSES OF HIS WILL SHALL BE FULFILLED. Of the adversaries of Jesus Christ we observe —

1. That Satan is the most subtle, ancient, and formidable.

2. Error. Error may be said to be a hydra with many heads. These systems degrade God's creatures, rob the Redeemer, murder the souls of men; and as such they must come down: by the general diffusion of knowledge, by the spread of the Scriptures, by the piety of God's people.

3. Another enemy is to be found in wicked, unconverted men. But these enemies shall be the footstool of the "Lion of the tribe of Judah." Upon unconverted men, Jesus Christ will employ His gospel on their understandings, and His Spirit on their consciences, and His providence on their circumstances and their bodies; and these weapons shall be " mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds."

4. Another enemy of Christ is death. He is said to be the last enemy that shall be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26).

5. All these enemies have been made by one worse than the devil himself, and that enemy is sin. To destroy sin the Son of God was manifested — for this purpose He offered Himself a sacrifice — for this purpose He has commanded His gospel to be preached to every creature — for this purpose He is, at this moment, seated at the right hand of God, invested with all power, to employ whatever instrument He thinks proper, and to give a blessing to those means that they may be effectual.Application:

1. Here we discover the character of sinners. They are said to be enemies to Christ.

2. We learn, again, that these unconverted persons must be His footstool, whether at home or abroad. Will you be conquered by the sceptre of His grace; or will you be broken in pieces by the iron rod of His wrath?

3. We see the duty of the people to extend by conquest the triumphs of the Redeemer: to bring home His rebel outcasts, that they may be saved from sin and Satan's snare.

(W. Atherton.)


1. He accomplished what all others failed to do.

2. He accomplished what none others need attempt after Him.


1. Enjoyment of tranquil repose.

2. Elevation to highest honour.

3. Execution of universal power.


1. He has opponents.

2. His enemies are in process of subjugation.

3. His ultimate supremacy will be complete.

(B. D. Johns.)

I. THE PERMANENCE OF THE REPETITION OF CHRIST'S SUFFERINGS IS NOT NECESSARY FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE ATONEMENT. If we look at the influence of it on other beings, good and bad, we can see that the transient acts of Christ's life, and the permanent assumption of our nature for our redemption, are an eternal guarantee of His love of the law. If we look at its effects on the pardoned, it is sufficient that Christ lived here thirty-three years, and died once. The mother that bore you, and cherished you in infancy's helpless years, needs not repeat all that, in order to convince you of her love, or to strengthen her claims upon your love. A stranger rushed into the flames, and saved you from a horrid death, when you were a child. Will you ever forget it? God needed only to express once, in this form, His unvarying grief at our sins — His uncompromising opposition to them. Nay, more:

II. THE PERMANENT SUFFERING OF THE INNOCENT AND BENEVOLENT REDEEMER WOULD DEFEAT THE VERY END OF ATONEMENT. That end is, to diminish suffering in the universe. If we are to be saved at the eternal expense of such a Being; if He is to be for ever buffeted and spit upon, while we are crowned with glory; if He is to sink under the Father's frown, while we rejoice in the light of His countenance — then the cost is too great. To awaken the most generous sentiments in the hearts of the redeemed, and to sustain them, Christ must be rewarded with everlasting honour and joy. To enjoy heaven by the continued sufferings of our Friend and Redeemer, would make us selfish; to see His sufferings, and not be selfish, would make our own happiness impossible.

(E. N. Kirk, D. D.)

When Renan was once asked what he did with sin in his philosophy, he shrugged his shoulders, and laughed and said, "I suppress it."

(W. J. Dawson.)

Sat down on the right hand of God.

1. He has done all that was necessary to make an atonement and an end of sin. He has done so much, that it never will be needful for Him again to be crucified. Oh! if the last thread had not been woven in the great garment of our righteousness, He would be spinning it now; if the last particle of our .debt had not been paid, He would be counting it down now; and if all were not complete, He would never rest, until, like a wise builder, He had laid the top-stone of the temple of our salvation. No; the very fact that He sits still, and rests, proves that His work is finished.

2. And then note again, that His sitting at the right hand of God implies that He enjoys pleasure; for at God's right hand "there are pleasures for evermore." Now I think the fact that Christ enjoys infinite pleasure has in it some degree of proof that He must have finished His work. He has joys as God; but as the man-God, His joys spring from the salvation of the souls of men. That is His joy, which is full, in the thought that He has finished His work and has cut it short in righteousness. I think there is some degree of proof, although not, perhaps, positive proof there, that Jesus must have finished His work.

3. The fact that it is said He has sat down for ever proves that He must have. done it. Christ has undertaken it to save all the souls of the elect. If He has not already saved them, He is bound to do something that will save them, for He has given solemn promise to His Father, that He will bring many souls unto glory.

4. Yet, the best proof is, that Christ sits at His Father's right hand at all. For the very fact that Christ is in heaven, accepted by His Father, proves that His work must be alone. Why, as long as an ambassador from our country is at a foreign court, there must be peace; and as long as Jesus Christ our Saviour is at His Father's court, it shows that there is real peace between His people and His Father. Well, as He will be there for ever, that shows that our peace must be continual. But that peace could not have been continual, unless the atonement had been wholly made, unless justice had been entirely satisfied; and, therefore, from that very fact it becomes certain that the work of Christ must be done.

II. THE GLORY WHICH HE HAS ASSUMED. "After He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right-hand of God." Now, by this you are to understand the complex person of Christ; for Christ, as God, always was on His Father's throne; He always was God; and even when He was on earth He was still in heaven. But Jesus Christ, as the man-God, has assumed honours which once He had not; for as man, He did not at one time sit on His Father's throne; He was a suffering man; but as God-man He has assumed a dignity next to God; He sits at the right hand of the glorious Trinity.

1. From this we gather, that the dignity which Christ now enjoys is surpassing dignity. There is no dignity to be compared to that of Christ.

2. In the next place, Christ has real dignity. Some persons have mere empty titles, which confer but little authority. But the man-Christ Jesus, while He has many crowns and many titles, has not one tinsel crown or one empty title. He overruleth all mortal things, making the evil work a good, and the good produce a better, and a better still, in infinite progression.

3. And once more: this honour that Christ hath received (I mean the Man-God Christ) was deserved honour; that dignity which His Father gave Him He well deserved.

4. We must consider the exaltation of Christ in heaven as being in some degree a representative exaltation. Christ Jesus exalted at the Father's right hand, though He has eminent glories, in which the saints must not expect to share, essentially He is the express image of the person of God, and the brightness of His Father's glory, yet, to a very great degree, the honours which Christ has in heaven He has as our representative there.


1. We are told, He expects that His enemies shall be made His footstool. In some sense that is already done; the foes of Christ are, in some sense, His footstool now. What is the devil but the very slave of Christ, for he doth no more than he is permitted against God's children? What are wicked men but the servants of God's providence, unwittingly to themselves? In that sense all things are now Christ's.

2. But we expect greater things than these at His coming, when all enemies shall be beneath Christ's feet upon earth. We are, therefore, many of us, "looking for that blessed hope; that glorious appearing of the kingdom of our Saviour Jesus Christ"; many of us are expecting that Christ will come; we cannot tell you when; we believe it to be folly to pretend to guess the time, but we are expecting that even in our life the Son of God will appear, and we know that when He shall appear He will tread His foes beneath His feet, and reign from pole to pole, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.

3. Christ will have all His enemies put beneath His feet, in that great day of judgment. Oh I that will be a terrible putting of His foes beneath His feet, when at the second resurrection the wicked dead shall rise; when the ungodly shall stand before His throne, and His voice shall say, "Depart, ye cursed."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

That the ministry of the priests under the law is ineffectual is seen from their continual standing and offering (comp. ver. 2). That the Son's is effectual appears from the fact which we know from prophecy fulfilled (Psalm 110:1; chaps, 2:9, 8:1) in Him, that having made His one offering He sat down. He ceased, and no more offers, but awaits the final issue of His one offering, which shall be when He appears a second time unto salvation (Hebrews 9:28).

(A. B. Davidson, LL. D.)

From henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool.
The Being presented by this inspired declaration is Jesus Christ; and Christianity is the system of truth of which He is the centre — its Alpha and Omega. Its supremacy is inferred —

1. From the fact that God has established and introduced it to human knowledge.

2. From its interior structure, its fitness to man, the reply which it gives to His deepest demands.

3. From the fact that the supremacy of Christianity will nobly complete the circle of history; will give unity, wholeness to the annals of the race, and will show through their courses a sublime method.

4. The specific declarations of God in the Scriptures assure us of that result.

5. The historic progress of Christianity among men, with the nature of the arena on which it now acts, gives assurance of its supremacy. How then ought its friends to labour for Christianity, to spread its truth, its promise, and life I How vividly also does this last thought come to us: the personal obligation of each of us to submit from the heart to Christ's dominion. The ancient legend of the Church, that Julian died exclaiming as he expired, "Galilean, Thou hast conquered," is certain to be realised in the substance of its history in every soul not submitted to Christ. His rule at last shall be complete, and the period of that sway shall compass eternity. In that last and glorious age there will be found no place on earth, no place in heaven for him who hath not bowed to Christ! The dominion of Messiah hath no promises for him.

(R. S. Storrs, D. D.)

I know nothing more sublime in the inspired writings than that representation of the Lord given us in the Epistle to the Hebrews, in which He is depicted as "seated upon His throne at His Father's right hand, expecting till His enemies become His footstool." Reflect for a moment upon the sight that must meet that omniscient gaze! A world black with appalling crime and hideous depravity. A world reeking with drunkenness, and lust, and violence, and bloodshed. A world wrapped in the night of spiritual ignorance and heathen darkness. Angels beholding it, in ignorance of the Divine purpose, might well have despaired of it as a world too sunken to raise, too hopeless to deliver. Yet it is upon this sad world that the Saviour's eye is fixed with such confident anticipation. No fear agitates His mind, no doubt breaks His rest. In His view nothing hangs in uncertainty or remains in jeopardy. To Him the fulfilment is as sure as though it were already realised. Fixing our eyes upon intervening and secondary things, our heart often fails us; but He looks right on through present conflict to the victory beyond; He knows there can be but one result — "His enemies shall lick the dust." "All kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him."

(A. Bax.)

Just as a man in early spring will fall down on some mossy bank over a pale primrose, with a keen joy in his heart, not so much for what it is in itself, but as the harbinger of the great glowing summer so surely advancing. As he looks at it, the leaden skies grow into sapphire clearness, the naked woodlands are once more dressed in living green, and the long winter silence is broken by the wild gushes of sweetest bird-music. He knows that behind that tender plant lies God's immutable covenant, that, "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter shall not cease" — lie those omnific forces that will soon fulfil all the promise of this prophetic flower. So Christ welcomed each little sign of His advancing victory. A few Samaritans, returning with the woman with whom He had previously conversed at the well of Sychar, drew from Him the exultant utterance, "Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest." The faith of one centurion is regarded at once as the earnest of the whole Gentile world" "And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven." On another occasion two or three Greeks express a desire to see Him, and that desire fills Him with a holy transport. "The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified .... Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the Prince of this world be cast out." Aa eloquent expositor has said that "they were to Him as the first-fruits of the great flock of humanity; and their presence as the first stroke of the bell which sounded the fatal but glorious hour." And His attitude to-day upon His throne is still that of calm, quiet, confident expectation.

(A. Bax.)

It is on record that, during the late civil war in America, and when victory was swaying from side to side, that commissioners from the Confederate States sought and obtained an interview with President Lincoln, with the view of trying to effect an arrangement for the independence of the territory they represented. They knew the tender-heartedness of Mr. Lincoln, and appealed to him to stay the effusion of blood which, at the moment, was flowing in torrents. They were willing to forego several of the States for which they had hitherto fought, if he would consent to the remainder being independent. They pleaded with him for hours, and made use of the strongest arguments and considerations they could adduce to gain their object. When they had finished, the President, who had patiently and attentively listened to all that had been said, raised his hand, and then bringing it down with emphasis on the map which lay before him, replied, "Gentlemen, this Government must have the whole."

(J. Fleming, D. D.)

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