Hebrews Home Page | Heb Rules Page | Sound of Grace

 

The Hebrews Commentary Project

Contents:

Hebrews 7:25-28

  1. Michael T. Cruz
  2. Kenneth Mick Jr.
  3. James T. McClarty
  4. Maurice Bergeron
  5. Donald E. Blind
  6. Kevin Hartley
  7. Kostas Sarantidis
  8. Tim Clifton

Hebrews 7:25-28

25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. 26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. 28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

[ Top of Page ]


 

1. Michael T. Cruz

 

Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (7:25)

        Since His ministry is eternal there is eternal redemption and intercession for all who believe. This verse gives us a view of Christ's redemptive work which is effectual in time. Where the old covenant priests were bound by death, Christ is not. He now sits at the right hand of His father and gives endless intercession for them. Therefore He saves us completely and maintains it as well. There is no need for a new sacrifice or a new priest.

 

For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; (7:26)

        The type of high priest this verse refers to is, of course, the one we have been exploring in the previous verses. Here we find that he is even more qualified and to our benefit. First of all, he meets our every need. He fills in the great void which our works and the pleasures of this world cannot fill. He gives us life and makes us whole. He is also blameless in the sight of God. It is by His righteousness that we can answer the rhetorical question of Romans 8:33, "Who can lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" We are blameless in God's sight because of Christ's righteousness imputed to us. In the same way, we are also pure and holy by His work of redemption. In the same way we are also God's special people, set apart to show forth His praises. This exalts us above the highest and loftiest plains any man can aspire on his own, and He places our feet on higher ground. Isn't it glorious that Christ's actions could accomplish so many things in the life of a believer? It certainly is the case, and we will see more about this in the next two verses.

 

Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. (7:27)

        Here in verse twenty-seven we have several interesting elements. First we see that Christ's sacrifice was effectual. The sacrifice was not one that has to be repeated as in the old covenant pattern. His was a perfect sacrifice offered by one who is perfect, making it unnecessary to repeat it. In the last part of this verse, we see that the offering of Christ had a "once and for all" effect. Not "once for all" in the sense that the atonement was for every man, woman, and child who ever lived, but in the sense that it was a sacrifice offered and accepted as a finished work for everyone for whom it was intended. Our salvation is secure! Also there is no need to offer a separate sacrifice for the high priest who gave this offering for he was without sin. It was a one time sacrifice that was pleasing to God the father, and it has turned away His wrath from us forever.

 

For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore. (7:28)

        Again we have a reiteration of what I like to call the "upside down principle" mentioned in Matt. 23:12 and several other places in the gospels by our Lord, "He who exalts himself shall be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted." The men of the tribe of Levi were actually weak men. Those special class of priestly men suffered from infirmities. The men that confronted our Lord during His earthly ministry were sinful yet not aware of it. The Jews who in John 8 stated that they had never been slaves of anyone, thus denying their depravity before a holy God, were actually men with a great weakness because they did not recognize their weakness. It is summed up well as Paul states in 2 Corinthians 10:12, "when I am weak then I am strong." By not recognizing their own inability before the saviour, they, in effect, were exalting themselves and making it necessary for God to humble them because He detests those who flaunt their arrogance before Him (Proverbs 18:12). The oath mentioned in this verse refers back to the section of Psalm 110:4 mentioned  in verse seventeen and twenty-one above. This is the appointment of Christ as a priest forever by God the father. Note that this was planned and put into motion before the foundation of the world but became fleshly reality when God proclaimed in Matt 17:12, "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased." And He who has been made perfect forever is our eternal sacrifice. This is the only kind of sacrifice that can take away our sin, and this is the kind we have now in the one offered by our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Michael Cruz
    a_la_cruz@technologist.com

    [ Top of Page ]


    2. Kenneth Mick, Jr.

     

    For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;  (7:26)

For such an high priest became us...   Why is this One so suitable, so right, for us? I am a sinner in need of mercy, grace, and salvation. Aaron, thank you for your priesthood, it makes a lovely shadow and removes the wrath of God from falling on God's people for one more year. But what are you going to do about my sin, my conscience cries out: "You are guilty, guilty, guilty."  The soul that sins shall die, and I deserve to die. Oh, Aaron, what final help can you ever be to a soul? I have harmed myself and others in my thoughts, my words and deeds. Defilement reeks from every pore. But Aaron, look at you! Why you are just as I! What ever will we do? Nothing, nothing, nothing can we do. What is that you say, Aaron? Don't look to you, but look beyond, to a great high priest from David's line, to one from a whole different order of priesthood? Ah, yes, I can see Him. I see Him ever more clearly. The scales have fallen from my eyes and the Damascus road is ever so sweet now. Yes, I see Him. This Man, the God-Man, becomes us for He is holy. Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. You who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ.You, who did no sin, neither was guile found in Your mouth. Oh, harmless One, to whom else can I go? You were oppressed and afflicted, yet You opened not Your mouth. You were brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before it's shearers is dumb, so You opened not Your mouth. You have done no violence, neither was any deceit found in Your mouth. A bruised reed You will not break, and a smoking flax you will not quench. Oh, in You I trust. Undefiled, You heard Your Father say, "I am well-pleased in Him." Yes, You always do that which pleases Your Father. You certainly become Your people.

separate from sinners... You are above us and beyond us; opposite us, and yet one of us, or we have no hope. You are not like Aaron, Moses, or even father Abraham. They were all unable to finally answer the just demands of God.

made higher than the heavens;....  I can trust Your work because the father is satisfied with You and with what You have done. You are alive again and reigning in the heavens FOR ME. You ever live to made intercession for such as me. You will never change nor will Your priesthood. Rather, God has highly exalted You, and given You a name which is above every name. What is that name? Oh it is "Lord." Yes, You are Lord. Every tongue will confess it, whether man, angel, or demon.

 

Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. (7:27)

Once, for Your people.   We know Your work is acceptable, and He who watches over Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. You die not. We are safe. "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by Your own blood You entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption." You offered up Yourself. Yes, this is why it is all complete.  No goat or calf willingly took my place; not even Aaron took the place of any Israelite, but You, without hesitation, stepped in for me and bore the wrath of God which I deserve. No man killed You. You gave up the ghost. You laid down Your life and You took it up again. You are the one Man who would die for the people so that the whole nation perish not.

 

For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore. (7:28)

        How thankful I am for that oath to which we are again referred. "You shall sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool...."  Rule Thou in the midst of Your enemies....  YOUR PEOPLE SHALL BE WILLING IN THE DAY OF YOUR POWER. Amen. The Father has set You upon His holy hill of Zion. I am safe, Yes, safe forever.

Ken Mick, jr.
kmickjr@juno.com

[ Top of Page ]


3. James T. McClarty

 

Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (7:25)

        In order to grasp the force of the conjunction "wherefore," we must connect it to the previous passage. The writer has been building up to this glorious statement. Here's the context:

And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (Heb. 7:21-25)

And now, the Jimbo "paraphrase":

The Levitical priests had no oath from God that their priesthood would be effective, or would remain. However, as evidence of the vast superiority of Christ's own priesthood, God swore an oath back in Psalm 110:4, at the pen of David the King - through whom the King of Kings would come -declaring that the Jesus would be "a priest forever." That's a primary indication of how much better Christ's priestly reign would be.  And, oath in place, Christ paid the price of eternal redemption for His church, becoming the surety, or guarantee, for His people; establishing a new, higher, better covenant agreement between God and man. Meanwhile, the Levitical priests all died, one after the other, giving evidence to the extremely temporal nature of their service. But Christ, being eternal, having conquered death, hell and the grave, remains our high priest -unchanging, unwavering, ever faithful to the One who called Him.

SO! Wherefore!...

        He is able to save "to the uttermost" those who approach the unapproachable God through Him. Now, it's that "to the uttermost" I want to camp on.

        How far did he come to get us? All the way from Heaven's throne room, down into the depths of the earth. All the way from glorious light down into the darkness of men's hearts. All the way from eternal spiritual life down into a tired, hungry, thirsty, weary, painful physical body. All the way from absolute Holiness and perfection down to bear the sin of every last one of His people. All the way from Heaven down into Hell.

        But, He rose again. He conquered the forces of evil that would have kept Him in the grave - and He began to ascend - all the way from the "belly of the earth" up to the Father's right hand. All the way from the grave up to the clouds of glory. All the way from a dead, decaying body of flesh up to a victorious, resurrected form who could transverse the gulf from Heaven to earth in an instant, who could pass through sealed stones and locked doors, and rise uncontested to the throne of Majesty.

        As such, He is able to reach as far down as you are. And, He is able to bring you all the way up to where He is.

        Let's put it another way - what horrible misdeed can we do that our Redeemer didn't know we would do when He spilled His blood for us? How far must we run in order that we are completely beyond His reach? How corrupt must our hearts be in order for Him to write us off as "beyond hope"? How deeply blood-red must our sins be before it is impossible for Him to make them "white as snow"?

       "To the uttermost."   That's how capable He is of saving us. "To the uttermost."  It's not just a partial salvation, or a hopeful salvation. It's not a possible salvation, or an "almost" salvation. "To the uttermost." All the way and completely! Body, soul and spirit! Now and forever! Without fear of failure! "To the uttermost."

        You see, the reason I'm so hung up on this phrase is that I am (I was tempted to say "I was," but that wouldn't be true) a sinner "to the uttermost." I've sinned "to the uttermost." I've rebelled against God "to the uttermost." I've denied Him "to the uttermost." And, I know down in my heart of hearts that I deserve judgment "to the uttermost."

        But that's not what my gracious Lord has declared for me! No, instead He is capable of saving me "to the uttermost," as I come to God through Him. I, far and away, prefer His "uttermost" salvation to my "uttermost" sin.

        Thank God our Savior saves utterly and completely. Not a single, little trespass will be retained on my record. Not the slightest hint of my rebellion will be found in the high court of Heaven. Not a single word of my treason will be recounted. I will stand before the throne of the brilliant God clean and undefiled. I will be redeemed "to the uttermost."

Why? How's this possible?

        Because my eternal priest is ever alive to intercede on my behalf! Every time I fall, my faithful priest reminds the Judge of all the universe that I've been bought and paid for. With His nail-scarred hands, He pleads my case, and He always wins! My advocate only takes the hard cases, and He's never lost a case.

        My lawyer is the judge's Son. My priest sacrificed His own blood. My older brother sits on the King's throne. My God died for me.

        That, my friends, is "to the uttermost."

 

For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; (7:26)

        The NIV renders that verse, "Such a high priest meets our need." Our need was so deep and our condition was so desperate that we needed a priest who embodied the very essential character of God in order to satisfy God on our behalf.

        He was "holy." He retained a Heavenly perfection. He was "harmless." He was blameless, or completely innocent. He was "undefiled." He was pure and spotless. He was "separate from sinners."  He didn't share in Adam's fallen nature and common bloodline. He was born in perfection and remained separate from the bondage of sin which had engulfed mankind. And, He was "made higher than the Heavens."  He reigns supreme over the residents of glory. He attained a position of authority over the angelic host and the armies of Heaven.

        That's what it took! That's what kind of priest was required to save creatures as despicable as we.  But, what a blessed reality - God provided just such a One.

 

Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. (7:27)

        The contrast continues. The Levitical priests offered animal sacrifices daily, weekly, monthly. Every High Day, every Feast, and every Sabbath, they slit the necks and drew the blood. Just as the sins of Israel flowed, the blood flowed continually over the Mercy Seat.

        But even before the high priest could enter the tabernacle to make the sacrifices for the people, he was required to sacrifice for his own sins. He had to be ceremonially purified before He could enter service on behalf of anyone else.

        But not our priest. He had no need of a personal sacrifice. He was pure and undefiled. He was spotless and holy. So, the final sacrifice on behalf of His people was made when He laid down His own life.

        And, how effective was it? It was so complete that it only had to be done once.

        That's it, just once.

 

For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore. (7:28)

        The Mosaic law established an order of priests who suffered the guilt of sin, became weak and sickly, struggled to continue their fleshly service, and ultimately died. It was inadequate to save the least person and offered no hope to the priest, himself. Something more rigorous was required. Something with a firm foundation was necessary. Something wholly acceptable in Heaven had to be found if any sinner was going to stand unpunished before God's Holy Righteousness.

        I don't want to miss this point:  It was the very same God who stood as unbending judge in accordance with the Levitical law who promised, by an oath, to supply a way of reconciliation. The same God, who set the standard which could never save, declared the eternal Priest who would never fail to save.

        First came the law at Sinai, then came the oath at the pen of David. That oath "consecrated," or appointed, the Son as high priest forevermore. That was the plan from the beginning. "The lamb slain from the foundation of the world" was the eternal surety for His people.

        So then, at the risk the risk of being redundant, how sure is our salvation?

        It's based on an eternal priesthood, bought with an eternal price and guaranteed with an oath from God, His own son being the "surety." Sounds pretty secure to me.

        It's a great plan we're part of, eh?

        It's a great God who devised it.

Jim McClarty
McClartyfam@juno.com

[ Top of Page ]


4. Maurice Bergeron

 

Wherefore he is able also to save.... (7:25a)

        To the Hebrew Christian readers of this letter, this was a reinforcement of something which they already knew firsthand through the new birth, but it was now being revealed by the inspired writer that this salvation they received through Messiah is the product of Jesus's office and service as their High Priest. In so doing, Jesus Christ accomplished what no Levite could ever accomplish--the saved life of a poor sinner. Could it be that this was the very first time they were shown the connection of their salvation to the work and office of Jesus as their High Priest and King?

 

...(to save) them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, (7:25b)

        Here was their assurance, as well as ours, that He is able to permanently save those who pray to God through Him, since He is alive and always ready to intercede with God on behalf of those who turn to Him. Never before was there a priest so capable and so compassionate toward sinners.

 

Such an high priest became us,  (7:26a)

        The translation here is a bit muddied, to say the least, but the thought is that Christ was exactly the High Priest needed for those in need, even us. This revelation had to have impacted these Hebrew Christians, and it ought to impact any in Christ who happens upon this commentary. (Stranger, have you need of God's Christ to intercede on your behalf? Are you the sinner who is in need of cleansing and comfort? Why not call upon Jesus now and leave your burden with Him? He is able!)

 

...[who is] holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, (7:26b)

        These Hebrew Christians needed someone to stand before God as their representative; they needed One who was full of holiness, free of all evil, unblemished, and fit to serve; they needed someone who had not a taint of wrongdoing attached to His name, someone who was higher than the heavens and in the presence and at the center of God's attention. Thus Jesus is described, to these readers, as perfectly fitted to the office to which He was appointed. We share their need.

 

Who needeth not daily . . . to offer up sacrifices . . .for this he did once, when he offered up himself. (7:27)

        Jesus had no daily need, as did the Levites, to continually offer a sin offering for His own sin, for He had no sin. As for the nation that He represented, He offered only one sacrifice--even Himself as a Lamb without spot or blemish and fully acceptable to God. Of a truth His offering was the only perfectly acceptable offering of any lasting value for sinners in need. Christ as the perfect High Priest, and through the offering of His sinless life, established the new and better agreement (covenant).

 

For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; (7:28a)

        The old law [which was, for these Hebrew Christians, about to pass away] had installed high priests who were constituted with the same weaknesses and human frailty as those for whom they would represent before a holy and righteous God. Surely that economy was doomed to fail because of the weakness of their flesh

 

But the word of the oath which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore. (7:28b)

        Thanks be to God for He has established through an oath (after the change of Law) His perfect Son as the eternal High Priest. It is for this reason the Elect of God may look unto Jesus Christ and find eternal rest.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink (John 7:37)

And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. (Hebrews 8:11-12)

Maurice Bergeron
ic@mdc.net

[ Top of Page ]


5. Donald E. Blind


        The main concept is in vs 26, "made higher than the heavens." This really answers the whole epistle. The writer is speaking of beyond "infirmity" of vs 28. The thought is to bring salvation past the realm of the flesh, 2Cor 5:16 "Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more." Implied in all of this is the perfect substitute; the plenary one. It is beyond comprehension to think of perfection. Christ is the who consummates all things. He brings all of God's purposes to their absolute completion. There is absolutely no other place to go nor anything else to accomplish. When Christ said "it is finished," He meant it. The Lord Jesus is exhaustively suited to the needs of His saved people.

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (Eph. 2: 6,7)

Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:   (Col. 2:15,16).

What else is left to do? The oath was since the law. We, those beloved of the fathers; the Jews, and those afar off, have all been brought as close to Him as a hand's breath, why, even in Him. There is nothing left except-- face to face.

Donald E. Blind
dblind@erols.com

[ Top of Page ]


6. Kevin Hartley


        Aaron was an honorable high priest. He was clad in white robes; he was washed with water and anointed with oil. He was given garments of a king: stones, gems, and a breastplate of golden trim. He was rich in purple, and upon his own head sat a gloriously glistening crown, with the words "Holiness to the Lord," evidencing his prized position before the Lord. What an honor was his, as he alone was draped with the blessed privilege of entering into a room where no other man could enter. He was privileged to bear the weight of his people upon his shoulders and to sprinkle sacrificial blood on their behalf. He was a man of mystery, a man of wonder, and of striking renown. But he was no match for Jesus Christ, for even when robed in splendor, his glorious garments are but earthly rags. For Jesus is a high priest, clad unlike any other.

        What makes Jesus a better high priest than the multitudes of men that preceded Him? What makes His person so glorious? It is not His clothes that anointed craftsmen have sewn together; it is not the golden crown forged in Egypt's treasures, nor is it the mixture of pure earthly oils that run down His beard that make Him a superior priest to Aaron. Ah, what then makes this man a superior high priest? It is His own person that exalts the office to a place never before made known: flesh and deity, intricately woven, warp and woof, woven in the glorious tapestry of the incarnation.

        Consider Him when He comes; look upon Him in wonder: a plain man, an unwanted man, a man of our disdain. At the height of his priestly service His crown did not glisten with gold, but was veiled and tarnished with blood red streams. At the height of his priestly service, greedy men parted His garments. At the height of His priestly service He had no bowl of gathered blood, none that is but the ground beneath His cross that gathered no blood but His own. At the Height of His priestly service He interceded alone. Ah mystery divine that the Son of God Himself is both our priest and sacrificial lamb. Where was His splendor? Where was His glory? I will tell you, listener of the man.

        Let me tell you of His day of dressing and where His glory is to be found. God the Father, "he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him." Thus does His Son, "put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke." Jesus Christ our Lord is the glory of the priesthood. His impeccable character, His immutable righteousness, His strong arm of mercy and grace, He alone is what makes this covenant, this priesthood, this sacrifice, and this salvation so much better. For it was not craftsmen's clothes woven upon earthly looms that made Him glorious; it was deity incarnate in pure flesh, the righteous dying for the unrighteous elect that made His service glorious. It was not a crown made with men's hands that set upon His head, but His was a crown and helmet of justice and mercy that declares, "Holiness to the Lord."

        Hear how the author of Hebrews accentuates this point, as he writes, "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." What makes Him an effectual, sufficient, better high priest than any other man from the loins of Levi and Aaron, is this fact: because, "he continueth ever." He has, "an unchangeable priesthood." He alone makes this priesthood superior. His eternal nature, the fact that He abides forever a high priest, who shall not die, assures us of our lasting salvation.

        It is because He continues forever that He is able to save to the uttermost. Thus the New Covenant is a covenant of perseverance and Christ's priesthood is unchangeable. We need not look for another, as there shall be none other. Notice how He is willing, how He is able, how He is capable, to save to the uttermost all those whom He brings before God. For He, their representative, is ever found by His name interceding on their behalf. When the accuser of the brethren cries from his bondage here below, when he rails against the godly, when the saints of God are pursued by that old ruthless dragon, there is a man in heaven that abides forever and does bear their precious names upon His chest. When they are weak, when they are infirmed, when their affections for this world grow strong, when sin besets them, when weak arms grow more frail, when feeble knees begin to tremble, there abides an able and faithful high priest, an intercessor in heaven, who sends forth strength and perseverance to the weak of faith. With a strong arm He does extend sustaining mercy to the elect; He does reach out and raise the drowning fool, when faith is little.  He does calm the storms of life when providence sets a difficult course. He does so readily still the violent storm. He does rebuke; He does chastise; He does comfort; He does nurture; He does lift up His voice unto His own.

        When Aaron's dead and rotten corpse no longer pleads for mercy for his Israel, when his dust-born arms no longer raise up a vile of blood, when his garments have been taken from off his person before death overcomes him, when he is laid in a the grave, when pleas on Israel's behalf are silenced from mortal lips and no man stands before a mercy seat, then, there remains another. For "this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." How sure is your salvation Christian? As sure as He remains.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Kevin Hartley
kevinhartley@erols.com

[ Top of Page ]


7. Kostas Sarantidis


        There are no textual problems in this section of Hebrews. All Greek manuscripts are in agreement.

        The Hebrews writer comes to a climax in this passage, and rightly is it counted as the conclusion of a "chapter" - and a very impressive chapter it has been.

 

Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (7:25)

        The Greek word "panteles" can be translated as "completely" or "forever."  Both translations are equally justifiable. The NASB and RSV prefer the "forever" option. Other major versions prefer "completely" or "uttermost."  In English we have to choose between translations, but in Greek we don't have to restrict ourselves. The Greek text undoubtedly comprehends both major meanings of the word. Jesus is our complete savior - outside of him we need no one and nothing else, and he secures our salvation forever -there is never the possibility that someone he has saved will fall away and be lost. Thus, here the writer lays to rest any doubts that may have arisen in connection with his statement in 6:4-6. The possibility of falling away remains a possibility in theory, and it serves the purpose of exhorting believers to test themselves whether they are in the faith. But in reality, the possibility is an impossibility, because Jesus secures a complete salvation which is forever. Hebrews 10:14 uses a similar phrase, "eis to dienekes," to express another powerful consequence of Christ's complete salvation.

        This salvation is complete because it is "through him," and it is forever because he lives forever to intercede for those who are saved. Here is the double anchor of our assurance: Our salvation needs nothing outside of Christ's finished work - it is not contingent on anything we can add to that salvation, it is "once for all" (v. 27), and it lasts forever, secure in the continuing intercession of our great high priest. We can only "come to God through him." There is no other name under heaven by which a person can be saved (Acts 4:12).

        The high priesthood of our Lord is not just a theological quirk of the epistle to the Hebrews. It is a fundamental aspect of our Lord's person and finished work. The Hebrews writer has chosen to cast his whole christological and soteriological exposition in terms which would be understandable to a "religious" person of the ancient world - both Jew and Gentile. To be sure, his arguments derive from the old covenant regulations, but a Gentile believer would have little difficulty understanding the priestly language, for all religions have priests and priestesses. The Christian message is not the preaching of another religion, but the preaching about a person who is above all priests and priestly sacrifices.

        "He always lives."  As the writer will say later, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (13:8).  He is not the teacher of a higher way; he is not a spirit that animates people in some sort of mystical union; he is not a deified man showing us how we are all "gods." No, he is alive! He was dead, but is now alive forever (Rev. 1:18). He is not an observer of our trials, waiting for us to prove ourselves worthy of the same salvation which he earned, as liberal theology would have us believe. He is not an observer at all! Having saved his people with a complete salvation, once for all, he now actively intercedes for them. Their salvation does not depend on them, but on him!

 

For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; (7:26)

        Thus the writer is able to say that our high priest "meets our need." He is "such an high priest" as is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, having become higher than the heavens. This is further ground for assurance. Our salvation does not depend on our purity, our holiness, but on his purity and holiness, his separation from sin and exaltation to the highest place above the heavens. "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place" (Phil 2:9). He is adequate to all our needs!

 

Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. (7:27)

        Because he is separate from sin, he has no need to offer repeated sacrifices for the sins of the people and for his own sins as well. No, he offered himself as a sacrifice for the sins of others, "once for all" - that magical Greek word, EPHAPAX.  It's a word that we also find with similar usage in Romans 6:10, and Hebrews 9:12 & 10:10. The definitiveness of our salvation and everything that accompanies salvation is precisely due to Christ's self-offering being EPHAPAX - unique, unrepeatable, final, complete in itself and its consequences! Thus in Hebrews 10:10, our sanctification is complete because of Christ's EPHAPAX.

 

For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore. (7:28)

        The oath of God which establishes the priesthood of "the Son" came after the law and thus supersedes and replaces the law. As we've seen already, a change of priesthood requires a change of law. God spoke the law to Moses; God indeed spoke promises to the fathers. But God's oath to his Son supersedes them all. There remains now the oath and its fulfillment in the priesthood of our Lord. He is perfected and he remains a priest forever for his people. What need for the law and the promises to Israel? None whatsoever!

        The Hebrews writer has reached a sort of temporary climax in this concluding section to our chapter 7 ("our" chapter 7, not the writer's). In the next three chapters the writer will go on to develop a soteriology along the types of the old covenant but revealing the incomparable glory of the salvation won by our high priest. This is an astonishing part of Scripture!

Kostas Sarantidis
ksarant1@maine.rr.com

[ Top of Page ]


8. Tim Clifton


Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (7:25)

"...he is able..." "He is able to succour them that are tempted" (2:18), He "was able to save him from death" (5:7), and here we see that Jesus our Messiah 'is' able to the uttermost to save them who "come to God by Him." It reminds me of some of the most powerful words in the Bible: "he that believeth on Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." Christ is able to save us completely, to save us utterly, and to save us perfectly, because He has done it ALL, and we shall indeed live! And why … here we have in sight the eternal priesthood of Melchisedec, which the author has taken much care to establish as better due to it's everlasting nature. Therefore, that's how long you will be saved, because our high priest is ever there for us.

 

For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; (7:26)

"...separate from sinners,"   It is with the greatest joy to all believers that this little phrase is in the Book. What if He weren't??!!  We would have no hope, and this high priest would be only relatively holy - temporarily holy, just like the rest of us. But there was no iniquity found in Him, and He was, and is, truly holy, harmless, and undefiled. Yes, Jesus Christ is separate and knew no sin, and because of this God has "made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him'" (2Cor.5:21). A better and a more perfect high priest, there could never be.

 

Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, [maketh] the Son, who is consecrated for evermore. (7:27-28)

"...for evermore."   This theme of the eternal nature of Messiah, and specifically His priesthood, is pressed onto the Hebrew audience to the utmost degree. He is different in all the ways that insure a perfect and acceptable sacrifice before God the Father. There was no sacrifice for His own sins - He had none! Our assurance in Him is as sure as the oath of God Almighty to His sinless and perfect and eternal Son. We may conclude at this point in Hebrews that Christ is as much better than the old priesthood (and the law that was under it), as the heavens are higher than the earth. We also might conclude that this sinless superiority as a high priest is directed toward His people, for Christ "gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works" Titus 2:14.

In Christ, Tim Clifton
Tclifton@hotmail.com

[ Top of Page ]


    Go to Chapter Eight Verses 1 through 5
    Hebrews Home Page | Heb Rules Page | Sound of Grace
    A Friends of John Bunyan Internet Project
     

    Copyright 1998 Sound of Grace
    Hebrews Online Project