And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant - The old covenant and its mediator, Moses, are passed away. See Hebrews 8:13. The new covenant, i.e. the Gospel, is now in force, and will be to the end of the world; and Jesus, the Son of God, the brightness of the Father's glory, the Maker and Preserver of all things, the Savior and the Judge of all men, is its mediator. Both the covenant and its mediator are infinitely superior to those of the Jews, and they are very properly set down here among the superior benefits and glories of Christianity.
To the blood of sprinkling - This is an allusion, as was before observed, to the sprinkling of the blood of the covenant sacrifice upon the people, when that covenant was made upon Mount Sinai; to the sprinkling of the blood of the sin-offerings before the mercy-seat; and probably to the sprinkling of the blood of the paschal lamb on their houses, to prevent their destruction by the destroying angel. But all these sprinklings were partial and inefficacious, and had no meaning but as they referred to this: the blood of sprinkling under the new covenant is ever ready; all may have it applied; it continues through ages; and is the highest glory of Christianity, because by it we draw nigh to God, and through it get our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience; and, in a word, have an entrance unto the holiest by the blood of Jesus.
Better things than that of Abel - God accepted Abel's sacrifice, and, was well pleased with it; for Abel was a righteous man, and offered his sacrifice by faith in the great promise. But the blood of Christ's sacrifice was infinitely more precious than the blood of Abel's sacrifice, as Jesus is infinitely greater than Abel; and the blood of Christ avails for the sins of the whole world, whereas the blood of Abel's sacrifice could avail only for himself.
Many have supposed that the blood of Abel means here the blood that was shed by Cain in the murder of this holy man, and that the blood of Jesus speaks better things than it does, because the blood of Abel called for vengeance, but the blood of Christ for pardon; this interpretation reflects little credit on the understanding of the apostle. To say that the blood of Christ spoke better things than that of Abel is saying little indeed; it might speak very little good to any soul of man, and yet speak better things than that blood of Abel which spoke no kind of good to any human creature, and only called for vengeance against him that shed it. The truth is, the sacrifice offered by Abel is that which is intended; that, as we have already seen, was pleasing in the sight of God, and was accepted in behalf of him who offered it: but the blood of Christ is infinitely more acceptable with God; it was shed for the whole human race, and cleanses all who believe from all unrighteousness.
And to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant - This was the crowning excellence of the new dispensation in contradistinction from the old. They had been made acquainted with the true Messiah; they were united to him by faith; they had been sprinkled with his blood; see the notes on Hebrews 7:22, and Hebrews 8:6. The highest consideration which can be urged to induce anyone to persevere in a life of piety is the fact that the Son of God has come into the world and died to save sinners; compare notes on Hebrews 12:2-4 of this chapter.
And to the blood of sprinkling - The blood which Jesus shed, and which is sprinkled upon us to ratify the covenant; see notes on Hebrews 9:18-23.
That speaketh better things than that of Abel - Greek “Than Abel;” the words “that of” being supplied by the translators. In the original there is no reference to the blood of Abel shed by Cain, as our translators seem to have supposed, but the allusion is to the faith of Abel, or to the testimony which he bore to a great and vital truth of religion. The meaning here is, that the blood of Jesus speaks better things than Abel did; that is, that the blood of Jesus is the “reality” of which the offering of Abel was a “type.” Abel proclaimed by the sacrifice which he made the great truth that salvation could be only by a bloody offering - but he did this only in a typical and obscure manner; Jesus proclaimed it in a more distinct and better manner by the reality. The object here is to compare the Redeemer with Abel, not in the sense that the blood shed in either case calls for vengeance, but that salvation by blood is more clearly revealed in the Christian plan than in the ancient history; and hence illustrating, in accordance with the design of this Epistle, the superior excellency of the Christian scheme over all which had preceded it.
There were other points of resemblance between Abel and the Redeemer, but on them the apostle does not insist. Abel was a martyr, and so was Christ; Abel was cruelly murdered, and so was Christ; there was aggravated guilt in the murder of Abel by his brother, and so there was in that of Jesus by his brethren - his own countrymen; the blood of Abel called for vengeance, and was followed by a fearful penalty on Cain, and so was the death of the Redeemer on his murderers - for they said, “his blood be on us and on our children,” and are yet suffering under the fearful malediction then invoked; but the point of contrast here is, that the blood of Jesus makes a more full, distinct, and clear proclamation of the truth that salvation is by blood than the offering made by Abel did. The apostle alludes here to what he had said in Hebrews 11:4; see the notes on that verse. Such is the contrast between the former and the latter dispensations; and such the motives to perseverance presented by both.
In the former, the Jewish, all was imperfect, terrible, and alarming. In the latter, everything was comparatively mild, winning, alluring, animating. Terror was not the principal element, but heaven was opened to the eye of faith, and the Christian was permitted to survey the Mount Zion; the New Jerusalem; the angels; the redeemed; the blessed God; the glorious Mediator, and to feel that that blessed abode was to be his home. To that happy world he was tending; and with all these pure and glorious beings he was identified. Having stated and urged this argument, the apostle in the remainder of the chapter warns those whom he addressed in a most solemn manner against a renunciation of their Christian faith.
This is represented as the pardoning blood, inseparably connected with the resurrection and life of our Redeemer, illustrated by the ever-flowing stream that proceeds from the throne of God, the water of the river of life (Letter 87, 1894). 7BC 948.1
1 (Romans 8:34; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 2:18; 7:25; 9:24; see EGW on John 17:5, 24). Fenced From Satan's Attacks—“If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.” How careful is the Lord Jesus to give no occasion for a soul to despair. How He fences about the soul from Satan's fierce attacks. If through manifold temptations we are surprised or deceived into sin, He does not turn from us and leave us to perish. No, no, that is not our Saviour. Christ prayed for us. He was tempted in all points like as we are; and having been tempted, He knows how to succor those who are tempted. 7BC 948.2Read in context »
Christ is able to save to the uttermost all who come to Him in faith. He will cleanse them from all defilement if they will let Him. But if they cling to their sins, they cannot possibly be saved; for Christ's righteousness covers no sin unrepented of. God has declared that those who receive Christ as their Redeemer, accepting Him as the One who takes away all sin, will receive pardon for their transgressions. These are the terms of our election. Man's salvation depends upon his receiving Christ by faith. Those who will not receive Him lose eternal life because they refused to avail themselves of the only means provided by the Father and the Son for the salvation of a perishing world (Manuscript 142, 1899). 7BC 931.1
Personal Character of Christ's Intercession—Christ is watching. He knows all about our burdens, our dangers, and our difficulties; and He fills His mouth with arguments in our behalf. He fits His intercessions to the needs of each soul, as He did in the case of Peter.... Our Advocate fills His mouth with arguments to teach His tried, tempted ones to brace against Satan's temptations. He interprets every movement of the enemy. He orders events (Letter 90, 1906). 7BC 931.2Read in context »
I am asked concerning the law in Galatians. What law is the schoolmaster to bring us to Christ? I answer: Both the ceremonial and the moral code of ten commandments. 1SM 233.1
Christ was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy. The death of Abel was in consequence of Cain's refusing to accept God's plan in the school of obedience to be saved by the blood of Jesus Christ typified by the sacrificial offerings pointing to Christ. Cain refused the shedding of blood which symbolized the blood of Christ to be shed for the world. This whole ceremony was prepared by God, and Christ became the foundation of the whole system. This is the beginning of its work as the schoolmaster to bring sinful human agents to a consideration of Christ the Foundation of the whole Jewish economy. 1SM 233.2
All who did service in connection with the sanctuary were being educated constantly in regard to the intervention of Christ in behalf of the human race. This service was designed to create in every heart a love for the law of God, which is the law of His kingdom. The sacrificial offering was to be an object lesson of the love of God revealed in Christ—in the suffering, dying victim, who took upon Himself the sin of which man was guilty, the innocent being made sin for us. 1SM 233.3Read in context »
You and your wife have another golden opportunity to suffer for Christ's sake. If you do this complainingly you will have no reward; if willingly, gladly, having the same spirit which Peter possessed after his apostasy, you will be victors. He felt a sense of his cowardly denial of Christ throughout his lifetime; and when called to suffer martyrdom for his faith, this humiliating fact was ever before him, and he begged that he might not be crucified in the exact manner in which his Lord suffered, fearing that it would be too great an honor after his apostasy. His request was that he might be crucified with his head downward. What a sense did Peter have of his sin in denying his Lord! What a conversion he experienced! His life ever after was a life of repentance and humiliation. 4T 342.1
You may have cause to tremble when you see God through His law. When Moses thus saw the majesty of God, he exclaimed: “I exceedingly fear and quake.” The law pronounced death upon the transgressor; then the atoning sacrifice was presented before Moses. The cleansing blood of Christ was revealed to purify the sinner, and his fears were swept away, as the morning fog before the beams of the rising sun. Thus he saw it might be with the sinner. Through repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, pardon is written, and the Sun of Righteousness sheds His bright, healing beams upon him, dispelling the doubt and fear that befog the soul. Moses came down from the mount where he had been in converse with God, his face shining with a heavenly luster which was reflected upon the people. He appeared to them like an angel direct from glory. That divine brightness was painful to those sinners; they fled from Moses and begged that the bright glory might be covered from their sight lest it slay them if they came near him. 4T 342.2
Moses had been a student. He was well educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, but this was not the only qualification which he needed to prepare him for his work. He was, in the providence of God, to learn patience, to temper his passions. In a school of self-denial and hardships he was to receive an education which would be of the utmost importance to him. These trials would prepare him to exercise a fatherly care over all who needed his help. No knowledge, no study, no eloquence, could be a substitute for this experience in trials to one who was to watch for souls as they that must give an account. In doing the work of a humble shepherd, in being forgetful of self and interested for the flock given to his charge, he was to become fitted for the most exalted work ever entrusted to mortals, that of being a shepherd of the sheep of the Lord's pasture. Those who fear God in the world must be connected with Him. Christ is the most perfect educator the world ever knew. To receive wisdom and knowledge from Him was more valuable to Moses than all the learning of the Egyptians. 4T 343.1Read in context »