An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews with a new version.
Not a few works of less or more value have been written on the grand Epistle to the Hebrews. Nevertheless room seemed to be left for an exposition, not occupied with the discussion of details, and demanded more than ever by the unbelieving spread in our day of ritualism, which it was written to supplant by the exhibition of the grace and truth in Christ's person, work, and office as Priest in the heavenly sanctuary. I therefore commend the work, notwithstanding every shortcoming, to Him who sent His Son in pitiful mercy to every creature, and in triumphant blessing for all that believe, awaiting the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
W.K. London, May, 1905.
From the absence of an address it has been doubted whether this is an epistle. The closing chapter however, with not a few confirmations less marked throughout, is proof positive that it has a real epistolary nature, though, like the letter to the saints in Rome, somewhat of a treatise also. Its contents demonstrate beyond just question that the epistle before us was directed to Jews professing the name of the Lord Jesus. For all would be truly applicable if not a Gentile were called at this time to believe. Beyond all other books of the New Testament it is as to every point of doctrine and even exhortation based on the ancient scriptures familiar only to the people chosen of old. And the believing remnant of Jews as being the true "people" is strikingly kept before us throughout in Heb_2:17; Heb_4:9 (as the people of old in Heb_5:3; Heb_7:5; Heb_7:11; Heb_7:27); Heb_8:10; Heb_9:7 (29 bis; Heb_10:30; Heb_11:25; Heb_13:12); as in 1Pe_2:9-10 bis (2Pe_2:1; Jud_1:5). So indeed it is with the apostle Paul (Rom_9:25 bis; Rom. 10:21 Rom_11:1-2; Rom_15:10 (21 pl.); 1Co_10:7; 1Co_14:21; 2Co_6:16). The only exception is Tit_2:14, where "people" is used morally.
This stamps it with a character different, whoever the writer might be, from every other. It appeals to the Old Testament from first to last as no other epistle does. Yet the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets are made to speak, as it were, with new tongues. They all render a distinct, united, and glorious testimony, once earthly in the letter, now heavenly in spirit, to the Lord seated at God's right hand, His proper position for the Christian. To lead on the believing Jew to know and enjoy Christ where He is, to worship and walk in this faith, is the prime object of the bright, glowing, deeply interesting, and instructive Epistle that claims our attention.
It is therefore the inspired exercise of the teacher's gift rather than of the apostle and prophet announcing absolutely new revelations. There is no such language here as "I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery," as in Rom_11:25. There is not a word about his apostleship here, as in the two Epistles to the Corinthians; of the mystery of Christ, as to the Ephesians and the Colossians; nor even "this we say unto you by the word of the Lord," as to the Thessalonians. The writer speaks of others as "those that heard" the Lord; he himself is here a "teacher of" Israelites "in faith and verity." He simply cites and reasons on the ancient oracles as well as histories; he applies prophecies and expounds the types of the law but rarely, if ever, does he unveil the magnificent scenes of the latter day, when Israel shall be blessed, under Messiah and the new covenant, and the nations also in a circle, concentric indeed but not so close. He writes with the utmost fulness of Christ's exaltation on high in view of the heavenly calling and those who now partake of it before that day. In Heb_4:9 he touches on the broad fact of "a sabbatism" which remains for the people of God when the wilderness is past, though without detail, when we who now believe have our "better" portion on high. We may also compare Heb. 12, when the circle of the future glory, earthly and heavenly, is grouped as that to which we have come by faith already, though only to be established and displayed when the Lord appears.
Christ is never spoken of as the Head, nor consequently is. the one body wherein the old differences vanish, nor that new man wherein is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all and in all. The nearest approach to unity is that the Sanctifier and the sanctified are all of one. The assembly is of firstborn ones, viewed as an aggregate of individuals and not as the body of Christ. Those who composed it were heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ; but joined to the Lord as one spirit and of His body is not said here.
This may be conceived by some as implying another hand rather than Paul's. But the inference is baseless. For though he alone develops the mystery concerning Christ and concerning the church, it is only in the Epistles to the Ephesians and the Colossians, with the First to the Corinthians practically and in that to the Romans allusively. In the rest of his epistles we find "the body" no more than in that to the Hebrews; and this as distinctly in the ordering of the Holy Spirit, as in those which contain it fully. Our individual relationships are no less important than our corporate. The divine design regulates the topics introduced as much as their appropriate handling. Each epistle or other book of Scripture is perfect for the purpose God had in view when He inspired each writer. As the main object in that to the Hebrews is Christ's priesthood with its necessary basis, due adjuncts, and suited results, and as this is for the saints individually, the one body of Christ could not fittingly fall within its scope, if it were a divinely inspired composition, whether by Paul or by any other. Its central doctrine is, not we one with Him as members of His body, but He appearing before the face of God fog. us. Abiding for ever, having His priesthood unchangeable, He is able to save to the uttermost those that by Himself approach God, as He always lives to intercede for them. The same persons compose the body of Christ; but the associations are wholly distinct and only compatible through the fulness of Christ.
Some have wondered why Paul, if the writer, should not have given his name at the beginning. The peculiarity is at least equally true of any writer. It would in fact be more strange in one who had written no other epistle. If the great apostle wrote, its analogue is in the First Epistle of John, who does not prefix his name there, though in the two lesser he addresses himself "as elder" in a style unmistakably his own. In the Revelation, where the difference of the subject-matter calls for a manner of writing wholly distinct from either his Gospel or his Epistles, his name appears alike in the preface and in the conclusion. Is not this self-evidently as it should be?
Now supposing Paul to have written the Epistle to the Hebrews, it is not difficult to suggest weighty motives for his putting forward, not his own name and apostolic authority, but such a treatment of the Old Testament scriptures as must carry divine light and firm conviction to all who weigh them before God. That the Hebrew Christians were prejudiced and disputatious even in early days is a fact beyond question for one who reads Acts 11, 15, 21, to cite nothing else. They could not but feel that the doctrine of the apostle had a depth, and height, and comprehensiveness which for those so long swathed in Jewish bands made it a strain to follow him. He was apostle of the uncircumcision, in itself no small trial to ordinary minds of their mould, as we may assuredly conclude even from the apostles Peter and Barnabas, favoured as they had personally been of God toward Gentiles. Therefore does the writer, supposing him to be Paul, approach them with the most consummate delicacy and tact, as his burning love for his brethren - doubly brethren, both after the flesh and now after the Spirit - would dictate. He becomes as a Jew that he might gain the Jews; to them that were under the law as under law, though being himself not under law, that he might gain those under law. The omission of his name had thus at the starting-point a special propriety in his case beyond that of any other man.
Another ground for its omission is plain from the unusual task before him. The force of the appeal lay in its coming from the first and throughout with the authority of God; and to Jewish Christians this could be effected in no way so telling as that here employed. "In many measures and in many manners God, having spoken of old to the fathers in the prophets, spoke to us in a [or, the] Son whom He constituted heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds" (Heb_1:1-2). How enfeebling would have been the apostle's introduction of himself in such a connection! Even we who were of the Gentiles, and who are of the church, would feel it in either way out of place, aesthetically in the one instance, spiritually in the other. For the Hebrew Christian no method so impressive, welcome, and authoritative. It was the true end of controversy. Impossible to evade or to gainsay that which carried in itself the evidence of God's mind revealed in His word - at least to a believer.
Hence all flows on the ground of what is confessedly divine; and any living man's authority, however truly conferred of God and admitted by believers, would be felt rather to interfere than to be seasonable. Therefore we hear in Heb. 2 of the word which, having had its commencement in being spoken "by the Lord," was confirmed to us by those that heard, even thus God also bearing witness both by signs and wonders, and manifold powers and distributions of the Holy Ghost according to His own will. In like beautiful accordance Jesus is shown in Heb. 3 to be the Apostle as well as High Priest of our confession. Clearly therefore it is superficial in the extreme to reason on Heb_2:3-4, as evidence against Paul's authorship. Those who were designated apostles by the Lord on earth are merely "those that heard "; and as Saul then was but an unbeliever of Israel like the mass, he graciously sinks himself among the rest as "to us." Just thus, long after he was an apostle by call, he could say on meet occasion, "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia," and even "I am a Pharisee, son of Pharisees," and "according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee." It would have been self-importance, not gracious wisdom, to have asserted his apostleship in this place, writing as he was by the will and inspiration of God, but evidently outside his special field of the nations, as laid down in Gal_2:7-9 and elsewhere. It was a final warning to the Christian Jews; and who so fitted in love no less than in everything else as one who had ere this testified to the Roman Christians that he loved the ancient people as much as Moses, when he asked Jehovah to blot him out of His book if He would not forgive their sin? As the apostle of the circumcision had been employed, and not Paul, to open the kingdom of heaven to the Gentiles (Acts 10), so did the only wise God use the apostle of the uncircumcision, and not Peter, to summon for the last time the Hebrew Christians, whose attachment to the old and earthly system He had so long borne with, but would not any more.
No doubt there were not a few who had learnt better than the amalgam which had hitherto prevailed in Jerusalem among the baptised. But the time was come, and the most suited instrument ever raised up on earth, to bring to a close a state of things abnormal to the spiritual eye, and dangerous for the carnal: who, even if they love the Lord at bottom, are apt to fluctuate and more prone to palliate and foster natural and educational inclinations than to judge them by the word. Jerusalem was about to pass visibly away with the temple, ritual, and priesthood. It was of moment that, before the external blow of judgment fell, the faithful in Palestine should learn what they had been too slow to apprehend. Jesus is not only the Saviour and the Lord, but the great High Priest Who has passed through the heavens, and to this end both Son of God in the supreme sense, owned as God and as Jehovah by Him Who is God and Jehovah, and thus as both divine and human in one person seated at God's right hand on His throne where no creature ever did or can sit.
Hence the Epistle starts with Christ in that glorious condition; and we know who it was that saw this great sight to his conversion from Judaism as well as sin - who it is that above every other even of inspired men was given to seize and preach and write down permanently the great truth of a Christ known no longer after the flesh, but dead, risen and exalted in heaven; who accordingly writes death on all that flesh and even religious flesh gloried in, that he and we might find life, righteousness, wisdom, sanctification, and redemption, in a word all we and all that God wills us to possess in Christ at His right hand. We are thus heavenly, as is the Heavenly; and have the assurance of safe keeping and ultimate triumph over every foe; for as we have borne the image of the earthly (Adam's), we shall also bear the image of the Heavenly (Christ's).
This was the apostle's great ministry of the church, and thus he was enabled by the Holy Spirit to fill up the word of God, even that blank which was left for the revelation of the mystery that had been hid from all ages and generations. Here it is circumscribed, no doubt, as was necessary because of the infantine state of the believing Jews, who little suspected that their adhesion to the old things, and mingling them with the new, hindered progress more than aught else could. Hence the aim of the Epistle is to show the substance, force, and perfection of all the ancient forms in the truth of Christ's person and office, work and position, thus raising the Jews who believed to heaven in faith, affection, worship, service, and hope, and making it easy and even happy for them to see the old covenant passing away, the Aaronic priesthood giving place to a better, and earthly sacrifices of no account, yea of exceeding peril if they became rivals of that finished work by which the faithful have been and are sanctified, and perfected in perpetuity, as surely as Christ sat down in perpetuity at God's right hand.
Thus again "the camp," once the place so favoured of God's people, is a place for the Christian Jew to leave. For the blood of atonement has been carried into the holiest for us, and He Who shed it suffered "without the gate." Our place therefore is now within the holiest before God, and without the camp before man; for it is effectively and ought to be only with Christ in both. "Having therefore, brethren, boldness for the entering into the holies by the blood of Jesus, a new and living way, which he inaugurated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having a great priest over the house of God; let us approach with true heart in full assurance of faith, sprinkled as to our hearts from an evil conscience, and washed as to our body with pure water" (Heb_10:19-22). But let us not forget the other side and present duty: "Let us go forth unto him without the camp bearing his reproach; for here we have not an abiding city, but we seek after the coming one" (Heb_13:13-14).
It is impossible to conceive anything equal to this Epistle, whether in the most winning approach to the Jewish Christians where they were, or in the no less admirable deliverance from the ritual yoke, by the proof from God's word that Christianity alone yields the true and intended and complete meaning of all they had been well-nigh idolising in the letter.
It ought not to surprise any that scripture has settled the authorship of the Epistle; and this not by men reasoning on the reference to imprisonment and release in Italy, and the relationship to Timothy, but by a sufficiently determinate statement of Peter in his Second Epistle, addressed as we know it is to the elect Jews of the dispersion (cf. 1Pe_1:1-2; and 2Pe_3:1), as the Epistle to the Hebrews contemplates those in the land. In either case believing Jews are contemplated. What then can be plainer than the apostle Peter's word? "Even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given to him, wrote to you; as also in all epistles speaking in them of these things" (2Pe_3:15-16). Now this Epistle repeatedly speaks of the day of the Lord, with some things as usual hard, especially for Jewish minds, to understand, as in 9, 10, 12. Thus it is certain that Paul as well as Peter wrote to the Hebrew Christians; and that these are spoken of as "scriptures" by implication in the words that follow. Either then the Epistle to the Hebrews is what Paul wrote to them - or that portion of the "scriptures" is lost. It has been shown already that the scope of truth is eminently that of Paul; and the peculiarity of his task to any reflecting mind would readily account for an elaborate handling of types, most desirable for Jews but out of place in his writing to Gentile saints.
The contents and connection of the Epistle are plainly defined; which from its nature is less coloured with personalia than the other letters of the writer. The personal glory of the Lord Jesus is the basis of all, Heb. 1 Son of God, Heb. 2 Son of man. Thence follows in Heb. 3 the superiority of the Apostle and High Priest of the Christian confession to Moses and Aaron. He was the divine Builder of all, Son over God's house, Moses being but a ministering servant, though faithful. And this introduces the wilderness as the scene through which we are tried, with promise of entering into God's rest - glory at Christ's return. Hence not only is God's word needed by us, but a great high priest able to sympathise with our infirmities, as in Heb. 4. This leads in Heb. 5: to the contrast of Christ's priesthood, God's Son according to the order of Melchizedek, with that of Aaron taken from among men, and able to exercise forbearance toward the ignorant and erring, since he himself was clothed with infirmity, and was bound to offer for sins, as for the people, so also for himself.
But here the apostle turns aside, as his manner is, to lay bare the hindrance through Jewish elements, still pertinaciously clung to, yet incompatible with the everlasting and heavenly things which suit our relation to that great High Priest Who has passed through the heavens and set Himself in a seat so glorious. The word of the beginning of Christ, however good, is quite insufficient; and the Christian must go on to full growth (Heb. 6); for as it is expressed elsewhere, we are no longer under law, suited and given as it was to man in flesh, but under grace, as should be self-evident. How else could we be heavenly, as is the Heavenly? Sovereign grace, reigning through righteousness, alone accounts for it. And hence the danger of going back from the heavenly privileges now revealed to those elements which are nailed to the cross and vanished away to faith in the light of Christ on high: a danger to which none were so exposed as Hebrews. He therefore desires that each might show diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end, having God's oath as well as word with a forerunner in Christ within the veil.
Heb. 7 proves how immeasurably and in all respects the priesthood of Jesus, the Son of God, surpasses that of Aaron bound up as it was with the law which made nothing perfect. The ancient oracles which fully prepare for it intimate also a new and better covenant (Heb. 8), before which the first grows old and ready to vanish away, instead of possessing that immutability with which rabbinical pride and imagination clothed it. And this leads to the great truth of sacrifice according to God's mind and will (Heb. 9, 10), which has found alone its adequate force in the blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself spotless to God. Therefore its unity is insisted on, as its completeness is attested by His sitting in perpetuity on God's right hand, the work finished, and those that are sanctified perfected, not merely for ever but in perpetuity or without break also, by that one offering. Here too the warning of abandoning for sin such a sacrifice is solemnly rendered, while it is allowed that we have need of patience in faith, till Jesus come.
This is followed (Heb. 11) by the striking roll of Gods worthies, all being testified of for their faith, before the law and during it, culminating in Jesus the Leader and Completer of faith, Who, infinitely above all in person, suffered immeasurably more and differently, and is alone now in commensurate glory at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb. 12). And here is beautifully shown that for believers suffering flows from His love as the Father of our spirits, and not now of a nation. Our standing is in His grace, not the law of Sinai; and we are come in faith to the glorious results anticipated for heaven and earth, as the kingdom will display when at His appearing He will cause not the earth only but the heaven to tremble and shake.
Brotherly love, hospitality, and compassion are urged, with the sanctity of marriage, and freedom from avarice through trust in the Lord (Heb. 13). Departed leaders are to be remembered, as living ones to be obeyed. Jesus abides the same. Serving the tabernacle has no more value: all is found in Him, His work, and His offices. "Let us therefore go forth unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach." Such is Christianity as here shown from divinely handled Jewish types and Old Testament teaching. Prayer for the writer and those with him is asked, as he beseeches of the Lord peace for them, saluting all their leaders and all the saints.
THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS.
I. In many measures and in many manners of old God having spoken to the fathers in the prophets 2 at [the] end of these days spoke to us in a (or, the) Son, whom he constituted heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 who being effulgence of his glory and expression of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, having made [by himself] purification of our, sins sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become by so much better than the angels as he hath by inheritance a name more excellent than they. 5 For to which of the angels did he ever say, My Son art thou: I this day have begotten thee? and again, I will be to him for father, and he shall be to me for Son? 6 But again, when he bringeth in the firstborn into the inhabited earth, he saith, And let all God's angels worship him. 7 And indeed as to the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels winds and his ministers a flame of fire 8 but as to the Son, Thy throne, O God, [is] for ever and ever (or, unto the age of the age); a sceptre of righteousness [is] the sceptre of thy kingdom. 9 Thou lovedst righteousness and hatedst lawlessness: for this reason, God, thy God, anointed thee with oil of gladness above thy companions. 10 And, Thou in the beginning, Lord, foundedst the earth, and the heavens are works Of thy hands. 11 They shall perish, but thou continuest; and they all shall grow old as a garment, 12 and as a covering thou shalt roll them up, and they shall be changed; but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. 13 But as to which of the angels hath he ever said, Sit at my right hand until I set thine enemies a footstool of thy feet? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth for service on account of those who are about to inherit salvation?
II. For this reason we ought to give heed more abundantly to the things heard, lest in any way we should be carried (or, slip) away. 2 For if the word spoken by angels was made firm, and every transgrression and disobedience received just retribution, 3 how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation, which, having begun to be spoken by the Lord, was confirmed unto us by those that heard 4 God joining witness with both signs and wonders, and various powers, and distributions of the Holy Spirit according to his will.
5 For not to angels he subjected the inhabited earth that is to come whereof we speak; 6 but one somewhere testified, saying, What is man that thou rememberest him? or son of man that thou visitest him? 7 Thou madest him some little less than angels; thou crownest him with glory and honour land didst set him over the works of thy hands]; 8 thou didst subject all things under his feet. For in subjecting all things to him, he left nothing unsubject to him. But now we see not yet all things subjected to him; 9 but we behold Jesus that was made some little less than angels on account of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour; so that by God's grace he should taste of death for every thing (or, one). 10 For it became him for whom [are] all things and by whom [are] all things in bringing many sons unto glory, to perfect through sufferings the leader of their salvation. 11 For both he that sanctifieth and those sanctified [are] all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, 12 I will declare thy name to my brethren, amidst the congregation (or, church) will I sing thy praise. 13 And again, I will trust in him; and again, Behold, I and the little children which God crave to me. 14 Since then the little children are partakers of blood and flesh, he also in like manner took part of the same, that through death he might annul him that hath the might of death, that is, the devil; 15 and might set free all those who through fear of death were through all their life subject to bondage. 16 For verily not of angels doth he take hold but of Abraham's seed he taketh hold. 17 Wherefore it behoved him in all things to be made like to his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things relating to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people; 18 for in that himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to help those that are tempted.
III. Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus, 2 faithful as he was to him that appointed him, as also Moses in all his house. 3 For he hath been accounted worthy of more glory than Moses by how much he that built it hath more honour than the house. 4 For every house is builded by some one; but he that built all things [is] God. 5 And Moses indeed [was] faithful in all his house as an attendant, for a testimony of the things to be spoken, 6 but Christ as Son over his house, whose house are we if indeed we hold fast the boldness and the boast of the hope firm unto the end. 7 Wherefore even as the Holy Spirit saith, Today, if ye will hear his voice, 8 harden not your hearts as in the provocation, through the day of temptation in the wilderness 9 when your fathers tempted [me], proved [me], and saw my works forty years. 10 Wherefore I was wroth with this generation and said, They always err in their heart, and they knew not my ways: 11 as I swore in my wrath, If they shall (or, They shall not) enter into my rest. 12 See, brethren, lest haply there shall be in any one of you a wicked heart of unbelief in falling away from a living God. 13 But encourage yourselves each day while it is called Today, that none of you be hardened by [the] deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we are become companions of Christ if indeed we hold fast the beginning of the confidence firm unto the end. 15 In that it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts as in the provocation. 16 For who having heard provoked? But did not all that came out of Egypt by Moses? 17 And with whom was he wroth forty Years? [Was it] not with those that sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom swore he that they should not enter into his rest but to those that disobeyed? 19 And we see that they could not enter in on account of unbelief.
IV. Let us therefore fear lest haply, a promise being left of entering into his rest, any one of you might seem to have failed (or, come short) of it. 2 For indeed we have had glad tidings presented to us, just as they also; but the word of the report did not profit them, not having been mixed with faith in those that heard. 3 For we that believed enter into the rest, even as he hath said, As I swore in my wrath, If they shall enter into my rest, although the works were done from the world's foundation. 4 For he hath said somewhere of the seventh [day] thus, And God rested on the seventh day from all his works; 5 and in this again If they shall enter into my rest. 6 Since therefore it remaineth that some enter into it, and those who first had the glad tidings entered not on account of disobedience, 7 again he determineth a certain day, saying in David, Today after so long a time, even as it hath been said before, Today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. 8 For if Joshua (or, Jesus) had given them rest, he would not have spoken afterward of another day. 9 There remaineth therefore a sabbatism for the people of God. 10 For he that entered into his rest himself also rested from his works as God from his own. 11 Let us therefore use diligence to enter into that rest that no one fall in (or, after) the same example of disobedience. 12 For living [is] the word of God, and effectual, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge heart's thoughts and intents. 13 And not a creature is unmanifest in his sight; but all things [are] naked and laid bare to his eyes with whom [is] our account. 14 Having therefore a great high priest, passed as he hath through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast the (or, our) confession. 15 For we have not a high priest unable to sympathise with our infirmities, but tempted as he hath been in all things alike apart from sin. 16 Let us approach therefore with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and find grace for seasonable help.
V. For every high priest taken from among men is constituted for men in things relating to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; 2 being able to forbear with the ignorant and erring, since himself also is compassed with infirmity; 3 and on account of this he ought, even as for the people, so also for himself to offer for sins. 4 And no one taketh the honour to himself but called by God, just as Aaron also. 5 So the Christ also glorified not himself to be made high priest; but he that spoke unto him, My Son art thou: I today have begotten thee; 6 even as also in another [place] he saith, Thou [art] priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedek; 7 who in the days of his flesh having offered up both supplications and entreaties to him that was able to save him out of death, with strong crying and tears, and having been heard because of his godly fear, 8 though being Son, he learned obedience from the things which he suffered, 9 and, perfected, he became to all those that obey him author of salvation everlasting, 10 addressed by God high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. 11 Of whom we have much to say and hard to be interpreted in speaking, 12 since ye have become dull of hearing. For when on account of the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that some one teach you the elements of the beginning of the oracles of God, and have become such as have need of milk, not of solid food. 13 For every one that partaketh of milk [is] unskilled in the word of righteousness for he is an infant. 14 But solid food belongeth to perfect (or, full-grown), those that on account of habit have their senses exercised for distinguishing both good and evil.
VI. Wherefore leaving the word of the beginning of the Christ, let us go on to perfection (or, full growth), not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith Godward, 2 of teaching of washings, and of imposition of hands, and of resurrection of dead [men], and of judgment everlasting; 3 and this will we do if God permit. 4 For [it is] impossible to renew again unto repentance those that were once enlightened 5 and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit and tasted God's good word, and powers of an age to come, 6 and have fallen away, while for themselves crucifying and making a show of the Son of God. 7 For ground (or, land) that drank the rain coming oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for those for whose sake also it is tilled, participateth in blessing from God; 8 but if bringing forth thorns and briars, [is] worthless and near a curse, whose end [is] for burning. 9 But of you, beloved, we are persuaded things better and connected with salvation, if even thus we speak. 10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work, and the love which ye showed unto his name, in that ye ministered to his saints and do minister. 11 But we desire earnestly that each of you should show the same diligence unto the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that ye become not sluggish but imitators of those who through faith and long-suffering inherit the promises. 13 For God when he made promise to Abraham, since he had no greater to swear by, swore by himself, 14 saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee, 15 and thus after long-suffering he obtained the promise. 16 For men, indeed, swear by the greater, and to them the oath for confirmation [is] an end of all dispute. 17 Wherein God willing to show more abundantly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of his counsel, 18 intervened by an oath, that by two unchangeable things in which [it was] impossible that God should lie we might have strong encouragement that fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us, 19 which we have as the soul's anchor both secure and firm and entering into the inner [side] of the veil, 20 where entered forerunner for us Jesus, become for ever high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.
VII. For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, that met Abraham returning from smiting the kings, and blessed him; 2 to whom also Abraham divided a tenth from all, first being interpreted King of righteousness, and then also King of Salem, which is peace, 3 without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but assimilated to the Son of God, abideth a priest continuously. 4 Now consider how great he [was] to whom the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth out of the spoils. 5 And they indeed from among the sons of Levi that receive the priesthood have commandment to take tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though these have come out of the loins of Abraham; 6 but he who hath no genealogy from them hath tithed Abraham, and hath blessed him that hath the promises. 7 Now apart from all dispute the less is blessed by the better. 8 And here dying men receive tithes, but there one witnessed of that he liveth; 9 and, so to speak, through Abraham even Levi that receiveth tithes hath been tithed. 10 For he was yet in the loins of his father when Melchizedek. met him. 11 If therefore perfection were through the Levitical priesthood, for [based] on it the people had the law, what further need that a different priest should arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be said according to the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed there cometh of necessity a change of law also. 13 For he of whom these things are said hath part in a different tribe from which no one hath attended to the altar; 14 for [it is] evident beforehand that our Lord hath sprung out of Judah, as to which tribe Moses spoke nothing about priests. 15 And it is yet more abundantly evident if according to the similitude of Melchizedek there ariseth a different priest 16 who hath been made not according to law of fleshly commandment but according to power of indissoluble life. 17 For the witness is, Thou [art] priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedek. 18 For there cometh a setting aside of foregoing commandment on account of its weakness and unprofitableness 19 (for the law perfected nothing), and an introduction of a better hope through which we draw near to God. 20 And by how much not apart from oath-swearing 21 (for they indeed apart from oath-swearing are become priests, but he with oath-swearing by him that saith unto him, The LORD (Jehovah) swore and will not repent, Thou [art] priest for ever [according to the order of Melchizedek]), 22 by so much Jesus hath become surety of a better covenant. 23 And they indeed are become many more priests, because by death they are hindered from continuing; 24 but he because of his abiding for ever hath the priesthood untransferable. 25 Whence also he is able to save completely those that approach God through him, as ever living to intercede for them. 26 For such a high priest became us, holy (or, pious), guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and become higher than the heavens, 27 who hath no need day by day as the high priests, first to offer up sacrifices for his own sins then [for] those of the people; for this he did once for all when he offered up himself. 28 For the law constituteth men high priests, having infirmity; but the word of the oath-swearing that [was] after the law, a Son perfected for ever.
VIII. Now a chief point [in connection] with the things said [is]: We have such a high priest who sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; 2 minister of the holies and of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, not man. 3 For every high priest is constituted for the offering both gifts and sacrifices, whence necessity [is] that The also have something which he may offer. 4 If then indeed he were on earth, he would not even be a priest, as there are those that offer the gifts according to law; 5 being such as serve for example and shadow of the heavenly things even as Moses is oracularly told when about to make (or, effect) the tabernacle, for, See, saith he, thou shalt make all things according to the pattern that was shown to thee in the mountain. 6 But now he hath obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is mediator of a better covenant which hath been enacted upon better promises. 7 For if that first was faultless, no place had been sought for a second. 8 For finding fault he saith to them, Behold, days come, saith Jehovah, and (or, that) I will make (or, consummate) a new covenant on (or, with) the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; 9 not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers in a day when I took their hand to lead them out of Egypt's land; because they continued not in my covenant, and I disregarded them, saith Jehovah. 10 Because this [is] the covenant which I will covenant to the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah, giving my laws into their mind, I will also write them upon their hearts, and I will be to them for God, and they shall be to me for people. 11 And they shall not teach each his fellow-citizen and each his brother, saying, Know the Lord, because all shall inwardly know me from little of them unto great of them; 12 because I will be merciful to their unrighteousnesses, and their sins and their lawlessnesses I will never remember more. 13 In his saying, New, he hath made the first old; but that which groweth old and aged [is] near disappearing.
IX. The first then also had ordinances of service, and its sanctuary worldly. 2 For a tabernacle was constituted, the first, in which [were, or are] both the candlestick and the table and the setting forth of the loaves, which is called Holy; 3 but after the second veil a tabernacle that is called Holy of holies, 4 having a golden censer and the ark of the covenant covered round everywhere with gold, in which [were] a golden pot having the manna, and the rod of Aaron that sprouted, and the tables of the covenant, 5 and above over it cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy-seat, concerning which things it is not now [opportune] to speak in detail (or, severally). 6 Now these things having been thus constituted, into the first tabernacle indeed the priests enter at all times accomplishing the services, 7 but into the second the high priest alone once the year, not apart from blood, which he offereth for himself and for the errors (or, ignorances) of the people: 8 the Holy Spirit showing this that the way of the holies hath not yet been manifested, while yet the first tabernacle hath a standing: 9 the which [is] a parable for the time present, according to which are offered both gifts and sacrifices, unable as to conscience to perfect the worshipper (or, him that serveth), 10 only with meats and drinks and different (or, divers) washings, ordinances of flesh imposed until a season of rectification.
11 But Christ having come high priest of the good things to come by the better and more perfect tabernacle, not handmade (that is, not of this creation), 12 neither by blood of coats and calves but by his own blood, entered once for all into the holies, having found an everlasting redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and 'bulls and a heifer's ashes sprinkling the defiled sanctifieth for the purity of the flesh, 14 by how much rather shall the blood of the Christ, who by [the] eternal Spirit offered himself spotless to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve (or, worship) a living God? 15 And for this reason he is mediator of a new covenant, so that, death having taken place for redemption of the transgressions under (or, upon) the first covenant, those that are called might receive the promise of the everlasting inheritance. 16 For where a testament [is], the death of the testator must be brought in; 17 for a testament [is] valid after men [are] dead: since it in no wise hath force while the testator liveth. 18 Whence neither the first hath been inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment was spoken according to law by Moses to all the people, having taken the blood of calves and of coats with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, he sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, This [is] the blood of the covenant which God enjoined on you. 21 And the tabernacle too, and all the vessels of service he sprinkled alike with the blood; 22 and almost all things are purified with blood according to the law, and apart from blood-shedding cometh no remission. 23 Necessity therefore [was] that the examples of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For the Christ entered not into handmade holies, figures of the true, but into the heaven itself now to appear to the face of God for us; 25 neither that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holies yearly with blood not his own, 26 since he were bound often to suffer from [the] world's foundation. But now once on consummation of the ages he hath been manifested for putting away of sin by his sacrifice. 27 And forasmuch as it is appointed to men once to die, and, after this, judgment; 28 so also the Christ, having been once offered to bear sins of many, shall appear a second time apart from, sin to those that look for him unto salvation.
X. For the law, having a shadow of the coming good things, not the image itself of the things, can never by the same sacrifices, which they offer yearly continuously, perfect those that approach. 2 Since would they not have ceased being offered on account of the worshippers once purified having no longer any conscience of sins? 3 But in these [is] a calling to mind of sins yearly. 4 For blood of bulls and goats [is] incapable of taking away sins. 5Wherefore entering into the world he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou willedst not, but a body thou preparedst for me: 6 in whole burnt-offerings and [sacrifices] for sin thou hadst no pleasure. 7 Then I said, Lo, I am come (in the book-roll it is written of me) to do thy will, O God. 8 Above saying Sacrifice and offering and whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin thou willedst not nor hadst pleasure in (the which are offered according to the law), 9 then he hath said, Lo, I am come to do thy will. He taketh away the first that he may establish the second; 10 by which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest indeed standeth daily ministering and offering often the same sacrifices, the which can never take away sins; 12 but he having offered one sacrifice for sins, continuously sat down on God's right hand, 13 henceforth waiting until his enemies be set as footstool of his feet. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected continuously the sanctified. 15 And the Holy Spirit also witnesseth to us; for after he had said, 16 This [is] the covenant which I will covenant unto them after those days, saith Jehovah, Giving my laws on their hearts, I will also write them on their understanding; 17 and their sins and their lawlessnesses I will never remember more. 18 But where remission of these [is] [there is] no longer an offering for sin.
19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness for the entrance into the holies by the blood of Jesus, 20 a new and living way which he inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, his flesh, 21 and having a great priest over the house of God 22 let us approach with true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from a wicked conscience, and our body washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of the hope unwavering, for [he is] faithful that promised; 24 and let us consider one another for provoking love and good works, 25 not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together as [is] a custom for some, but encouraging, and by so much rather as ye see the day drawing near. 26 For if we sin wilfully after receiving the full knowledge of the truth, there no longer remaineth a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful. expectation of judgment and heat of fire about to devour the adversaries. 28 Any one if he set at nought Moses' law dieth apart from mercy on two or three witnesses: 29 of how much worse punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy that trod down the Son of God, and counted common the blood of the covenant whereby he was sanctified, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that said, To me [is] vengeance; I will recompense, saith Jehovah; and again, Jehovah shall judge his people. 31 Fearful [it is] to fall into a living God's hands.
32 But call to mind the former days, in which enlightened as ye were ye endured a great fight of afflictions, 33 on this side made a spectacle in both reproaches and afflictions, and on that 'become companions of those so used; 34 for ye both sympathised with prisoners and accepted with joy the plunder of your goods, knowing that ye have for yourselves a better and abiding substance. 35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, the which hath great recompence. 36 For ye have need of endurance, that having done the will of God ye may receive the promise. 37 For yet a very little while: he that cometh will have come and will not delay. 38 But the (or, my) just shall live by faith; and if he (or, one) draw back, my soul hath no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of drawing back unto perdition but of faith unto soul-saving.
XI. Now faith is substance (or, substantiating) of [things] hoped for, demonstration (or, test) of things not seen. 2For in (virtue of) this the elders were witnessed of. 3 By faith we apprehend that the worlds were framed by God's word, so that the [things] beheld have not derived their being out of [things] apparent (or, phenomena). 4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain by which it was witnessed that he was righteous, God witnessing in respect of his gifts; and through it he, having died, yet speaketh. 5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death, and was not found because God translated him; for before the translation, it hath been witnessed that he had pleased God. 6 But apart from faith [it is] impossible to please [him], for he that approacheth to God must believe that he is, and becometh a rewarder of those that seek him out. 7 By faith Noah, oracularly warned of things not yet beheld, moved with fear, constructed an ark for saving his house, by which he condemned the world and became heir of righteousness that is according to faith.
8 By faith Abraham, when called, obeyed to go out into a place which he was to receive for an inheritance, and went out not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise as not his own, dwelling as he did in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the joint-heirs of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city that hath the foundations, of which God is architect and master-builder. 11 By faith also Sarah herself received power for deposition of seed even beyond season of age, since she counted faithful him that promised. 12 Wherefore also there were born from one, and that one become dead, even as the stars of the heaven in multitude, and as the countless sand that is by the sea-shore. 13 All these died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them from afar, and greeted (or, embraced), and confessed that they were strangers and sojourners on the earth. 14 For they that say such things make plain that they seek out a country. 15 And if indeed they called to mind that from which they went out, they might have had opportunity to return; 16 but now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God, for he prepared for them a city. 17 By faith Abraham when tried offered up Isaac, and he that received to himself the promises was offering his only-begotten 18 as to whom it was spoken, In Isaac shall thy seed be called; 19 accounting that God [is] able to raise even from out of dead [men], whence also he received him back in parable (or, figure). 20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. 21 By faith Jacob when dying blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshipped on the top of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph when ending life called to mind the going forth of the sons of Israel and gave commandment concerning his bones.
23 By faith Moses when born was hid three months by his parents, because they saw the child beautiful; and they did not fear the order of the king. 24 By faith Moses when become great refused to be called son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 choosing rather to be ill-treated with the people of God than to have temporary pleasure of sin, 26 counting the Christ's reproach greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, for he looked off unto the recompence. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not afraid of the wrath of the king; for he persevered as seeing the Invisible. 28 By faith he hath celebrated the passover and the sprinkling of the blood, that the destroyer of the firstborn should not touch them. 29 By faith they passed through the Fed Sea, as through dry land, of which the Egyptians made trial and were swallowed up. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, having been encircled seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the harlot perished not along with the disobedient, having received the spies with peace. 32 And what more do I say? For the time would fail me telling of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped lions' mouths, 34 quenched fire's power, escaped sword's edge, were strengthened from weakness, became mighty in war, put to flight armies of aliens. 35 Women received their dead again by (or, out of) resurrection; and others were tortured, not having accepted their deliverance that they might obtain a better resurrection; 36 and others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yea and of bonds and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, they were tempted, they died by slaughter of sword. They went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and the chinks of the earth. 39 And these all having been witnessed of through their faith received not the promise, 40 God having foreseen some better thing concerning us, that apart from us they should not be perfected.
XII. Therefore let us also, having so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, laying aside every weight and the readily besetting sin, run with (or, through) endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking, off unto Jesus the leader and completer of (or, the) faith; who for the joy set before him endured cross, despising shame, and is set down on the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider well him that endured so great contradiction by sinners against himself, that ye weary not, fainting in your souls. 4 Not yet unto blood resisted ye, wrestling against sin. 5 And ye have quite forgotten the exhortation the which discourseth with you as sons, My son, regard not lightly Jehovah's chastening, nor faint when reproved of him: 6 for whom Jehovah loveth, he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 For chastisement ye are enduring: God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son [is he] whom a father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye are apart from chastisement of which all have been made partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons. 9 Then indeed we had fathers of our flesh as chasteners, and we reverenced them: shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of the spirits and live? 10 For they indeed chastened for a few days, as seemed good to them; but he for profit in order to the partaking of his holiness. 11 Now no chastisement for the time seemeth to be of joy but of grief; yet afterward it yieldeth peaceable fruit of righteousness to those that have been exercised thereby. 12 Wherefore lift up the exhausted hands and the enfeebled knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet that what is lame be not turned out of the way but rather be healed. 14 Pursue peace with all, and holiness apart from which no one shall see the Lord, 15 looking carefully lest [there be] any one falling short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up give trouble and through it [the] many be defiled; 16 lest [there be] any fornicator or profane one as Esau who for one meal sold his own birthright; 17 for ye know that even when afterward desiring to inherit the blessing he was rejected (for he found no place of repentance), though he sought it earnestly with tears.
18 For ye have not approached to a palpable thing and all aglow with fire, and to obscurity and gloom and tempest, 19 and to trumpet's sound, and a voice of words, which those that heard deprecated that a word more should be addressed to them; 20 for they could not bear what was enjoined, And if a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned; 21 and, so fearful was the appearance, Moses said, I am affrighted and trembling all over. 22 But ye have approached to mount Zion; and to a living God's city, heavenly Jerusalem; and to myriads of angels, a universal assemblage; 23 and to an assembly of firstborns, enrolled in heavens; and to God judge of all; and to spirits of just ones made perfect; 24 and to Jesus mediator of a new covenant, and to blood of sprinkling speaking better than Abel. 25 Look that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if those did not escape, refusing as they did him speaking oracularly on earth, much more we that turn away from him from [the] heavens; 26 whose voice then shook the earth, but now hath he promised, saying, Yet once will I shake not only the earth but also the heaven. 27 But this Yet once signifieth the removing of what are shaken as being made that what are not shaken may remain. 28 Wherefore let us, receiving a kingdom not to be shaken, have grace by which we may (or, let us) serve God acceptably with reverence and fear. 29 For also our God is a consuming fire.
XIII. Let brotherly love abide. 2 Be not forgetful of hospitality; for by it some unawares entertained angels. 3 Remember prisoners as bound with [them]; the ill-treated, as being yourselves also in a body. 4 [Be] marriage in all [things] held in honour, and the bed undefiled; but (or, for) fornicators and adulterers God will judge. 5 Free from love of money [be] your course of life, satisfied with present things for he hath said, I will not leave thee, neither will I in any wise forsake thee: 6 so that we courageously say, Jehovah [is] my helper, and I will not be afraid: what shall man do to me? 7 Remember your leaders the which spoke to you the word of God; and considering the issue of their conduct imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday and today, and unto the ages (or, for ever). 9 Be not carried away with divers and strange doctrines. for [it is] good that the heart be confirmed with grace; not with meats, in which those that walked were not profited. 10 We have an altar of which they have no right to eat that serve the tabernacle. 11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the holies for sin, are burned without the camp. 12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered without the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. 14 For here we have not an abiding city, but we seek after the coming one. 15 Through him then let us offer sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, fruit of lips confessing his name. 16 But to do good and communicate forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. 17 Obey your leaders, and be submissive, for they watch over (or, in behalf of) your souls, as those that shall give account; that they may do this with joy, and not groaning, for this [were] unprofitable for you.
18 Pray for us: for we persuade ourselves that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to walk well (or, honourably). 19 And more exceedingly I exhort [you] to do this, that I may be more quickly restored to you. 20 But the God of peace, that brought again from among [the] dead our Lord Jesus the great Shepherd of the sheep in virtue of blood of an everlasting covenant, 21 perfect you in every good work unto the (loin(, of his will, working in you [or, us] what is well-pleasing in his sight through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] the glory unto the ages of the ages (or, for ever and ever). Amen. 22 But I exhort you, brethren, bear with the word of exhortation, for also briefly do I write to you. 23 Know that our brother Timothy is set at liberty (or, let go); with whom if he come soon I will see you. 24 Salute all your leaders, and all the saints. They from Italy salute you. 25 Grace [be] with you all. Amen.
THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS
The opening words are worthy of the great theme. In Christ only is the perfection of all that Israel gloried in. Every other person and office, every other walk or object, honoured in God's living oracles, had it most of all in and for preparing the way for Him. He is the one comprehensive aim of the Holy Spirit, open or understood, positively or negatively by contrast, throughout scripture.
Here that which was comparatively obscure of old is set in the light; for Christ is the true light. It is He who, once dimly discerned, now stands fully revealed, and thus illumines what once seemed dark, what without Him is and must be dark indeed still. Thus is all scripture knit together into one whole. There is the Old Testament; there is also what is called the New Testament, even if the Spirit avoid so characterising it. Together they constitute the Bible, whose unity turns on Christ, once promised, now come and, after accomplishing His work on earth, exalted at God's right hand in heaven. It is above all God revealed in the Son.
Hence it will be apparent, when once pointed out, why this Epistle does not unfold the mystery of Christ; for this would involve the introduction of what was absolutely unknown to Israel, yea, not then revealed by God. The revelation of the mystery supposes the rejection of the people of God, to make way for an entirely new and distinct purpose where a Jew as such is no more than a Gentile; and the church of God becomes the absorbing scene of the Holy Spirit's operation to the present exclusion of Israel. The church therefore in its full character implies a break in God's dealings with His ancient people, not merely because of idolatry which let in the times of the Gentiles, but because of the rejection and cross of the Messiah, His only-begotten Son, which let in the new and heavenly purpose of God in the church, Christ's body.
Here it is rather the continuity of divine testimony culminating in Christ, Who has laid in His blood and death the unchangeable basis for everlasting blessing, and gives the most glorious expression to its character in His own session as man on the throne of the Majesty in the heavens. For this reason, from the first chapter to the last of this Epistle to the Hebrews, we have the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets cited more fully than in any other part of the N.T. So also the ritualistic services, the vessels, and the holy places are turned to direct account in an elaborate way; and the persons whom the Holy Spirit could employ from the beginning are either detailed or taken in the gross (Heb. 11) till we are brought to Christ, the crown and fulness of all. With this will be found to agree the particulars, which we now proceed to consider.
"In many measures and in many manners God, having spoken of old to the fathers in the prophets, spoke to us at [the] end of these days in a Son."
The words that compose this grand exordium are most pregnant, as well as undeniable truth. They briefly, yet distinctly, convey the character of the O.T. communications. It was not in their nature to be complete or final. They were essentially piecemeal. No doubt the prophets wrought "at sundry times," and the modes in which God dealt were "divers": but neither phrase of the A.V. conveys the force of πολυμερῶς καὶ πολυτρόπως. The common translation is borrowed from the Version of Geneva in 1539. Wiclif, in this not faithful to the Vulgate, had dropped altogether the first words, though he rightly gave "in many manners." Tyndale and Cranmer unite in "diversly and many wayes," as does the Rhemish with a chance in the order. "In time past," or "of old," πάλαι, is the sole expression of time. It was the same God and the same Christ; yet the object is to prove an immense change of His dealing: God speaking in a Son, after