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Hebrews 4:14

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Seeing then that we have a great high priest - It is contended, and very properly, that the particle ουν, which we translate seeing, as if what followed was an immediate inference from what the apostle had been speaking, should be translated now; for the apostle, though he had before mentioned Christ as the High Priest of our profession, Hebrews 3:1, and as the High Priest who made reconciliation for the sins of the people, Hebrews 2:17, does not attempt to prove this in any of the preceding chapters, but now enters upon that point, and discusses it at great length to the end of chap. 10.

After all, it is possible that this may be a resumption of the discourse from Hebrews 3:6; the rest of that chapter, and the preceding thirteen verses of this, being considered as a parenthesis. These parts left out, the discourse runs on with perfect connection. It is very likely that the words, here, are spoken to meet an objection of those Jews who wished the Christians of Palestine to apostatize: "You have no tabernacle - no temple - no high priest - no sacrifice for sin. Without these there can be no religion; return therefore to us, who have the perfect temple service appointed - by God." To these he answers: We have a High Priest who is passed into the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God; therefore let us hold fast our profession. See on Hebrews 3:1; (note), to which this verse seems immediately to refer.

Three things the apostle professes to prove in this epistle: -

  1. That Christ is greater than the angels.
  • That he is greater than Moses.
  • That he is greater than Aaron, and all high priests.
  • The two former arguments, with their applications and illustrations, he has already despatched; and now he enters on the third. See the preface to this epistle.

    The apostle states,

    1. That we have a high priest.
  • That this high priest is Jesus, the Son of God; not a son or descendant of Aaron, nor coming in that way, but in a more transcendent line.
  • Aaron and his successors could only pass into the holy of holies, and that once a year; but our High Priest has passed into the heavens, of which that was only the type. There is an allusion here to the high priest going into the holy of holies on the great day of atonement.
  • He left the congregation of the people.
  • He passed through the veil into the holy place, and was not seen even by the priests.
  • He entered through the second veil into the holy of holies, where was the symbol of the majesty of God. Jesus, our High Priest,
  • Left the people at large.
  • He left his disciples by ascending up through the visible heavens, the clouds, as a veil, screening him from their sight.
  • 3. Having passed through these veils, he went immediately to be our Intercessor: thus he passed ουρανους, the visible or ethereal heavens, into the presence of the Divine Majesty; through the heavens, διεληλυθοτα τους ουρανους, and the empyreum, or heaven of heavens.

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    Seeing then that we have a great high priest - The apostle here resumes the subject which had been slightly hinted at in Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 3:1, and pursues it to the end of Luke 1:5 note; Matthew 26:3 note. The name “great high priest” would designate him who actually held the office, and was at the head of all the other priests; and the idea here is, not merely that the Lord Jesus was “a priest,” but that he was at the head of all: in the Christian economy he sustained a rank that corresponded with that of the great high priest in the Jewish.

    That is passed into the heavens - Hebrews 9:12, Hebrews 9:24. The Jewish high priest went once a year into the most holy place in the temple, to offer the blood of the atonement; see the notes on Hebrews 9:7. Paul says that the Christian High Priest has gone into heaven. He has gone there also to make intercession, and to sprinkle the blood of the atonement on the mercy-seat; see the notes at Hebrews 9:24-25.

    Jesus the Son of God - Not a descendant of Aaron, but one much greater - the Son of God; see the notes at Hebrews 1:2.

    Let us hold fast our profession - see the notes at Hebrews 10:23; Hebrews 3:14; see the note, Hebrews 3:1. This is the drift and scope of the Epistle - to show that Christians should hold fast their profession, and not apostatize. The object of the apostle now is to show why the fact that we have such a High Priest, is a reason why we should hold fast our professed attachment to him. These reasons - which are drawn out in the succeeding chapters - are such as the following:

    (1)We may look to him for assistance - since he can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; Hebrews 4:15-16.

    (2)the impossibility of being renewed again if we should fall away from him, since there is but “one” such High Priest, and since the sacrifice for sin can never be repeated; Hebrews 10:27-30.

    By considerations such as these, the apostle aims to show them the danger of apostasy, and to urge them to a faithful adherence to their Christian profession.

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    Observe the end proposed: rest spiritual and eternal; the rest of grace here, and glory hereafter; in Christ on earth, with Christ in heaven. After due and diligent labour, sweet and satisfying rest shall follow; and labour now, will make that rest more pleasant when it comes. Let us labour, and quicken each other to be diligent in duty. The Holy Scriptures are the word of God. When God sets it home by his Spirit, it convinces powerfully, converts powerfully, and comforts powerfully. It makes a soul that has long been proud, to be humble; and a perverse spirit, to be meek and obedient. Sinful habits, that are become as it were natural to the soul, and rooted deeply in it, are separated and cut off by this sword. It will discover to men their thoughts and purposes, the vileness of many, the bad principles they are moved by, the sinful ends they act to. The word will show the sinner all that is in his heart. Let us hold fast the doctrines of Christian faith in our heads, its enlivening principles in our hearts, the open profession of it in our lips, and be subject to it in our lives. Christ executed one part of his priesthood on earth, in dying for us; the other he executes in heaven, pleading the cause, and presenting the offerings of his people. In the sight of Infinite Wisdom, it was needful that the Saviour of men should be one who has the fellow-feeling which no being but a fellow-creature could possibly have; and therefore it was necessary he should actual experience of all the effects of sin that could be separated from its actual guilt. God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, Ro 8:3; but the more holy and pure he was, the more he must have been unwilling in his nature to sin, and must have had deeper impression of its evil; consequently the more must he be concerned to deliver his people from its guilt and power. We should encourage ourselves by the excellence of our High Priest, to come boldly to the throne of grace. Mercy and grace are the things we want; mercy to pardon all our sins, and grace to purify our souls. Besides our daily dependence upon God for present supplies, there are seasons for which we should provide in our prayers; times of temptation, either by adversity or prosperity, and especially our dying time. We are to come with reverence and godly fear, yet not as if dragged to the seat of justice, but as kindly invited to the mercy-seat, where grace reigns. We have boldness to enter into the holiest only by the blood of Jesus; he is our Advocate, and has purchased all our souls want or can desire.
    Ellen G. White
    The Upward Look, 343.6

    Some, like yourself, feel the responsibility of trading upon the goods of heaven committed to them. You long to bring a greater income to your Lord. You are unreconciled to the smallness of the largest gifts which you can lay on the altar for Christ; the utmost of time and effort you can give to the Master seems all too little, and you bemoan the imperfect service. Look to the uplifted Saviour. He is not dead and in Joseph's new tomb, with a great stone rolled before it. He has risen!...He stands as our great high priest! He maketh intercession for you. UL 343.6

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    Ellen G. White
    This Day With God, 297.2

    To Christ, and to Christ alone, is given the right of authority over all things. Those who put their trust in Him, and will hold fast the profession of their faith firm unto the end, will be protected. As Christ's disciples, as laborers together with Him, there must be united action among all the laborers. Some are converted to the truth in one way, others are best reached by a different method. So the laborers will act, some in one line, others in another, but all may blend unitedly. To every man is given his work. TDG 297.2

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    Ellen G. White
    SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW), 959

    “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die.” This is our work. There are many ready to die spiritually, and the Lord calls upon us to strengthen them. God's people are to be firmly united in the bonds of Christian fellowship, and are to be strengthened in the faith by speaking often to one another about the precious truths entrusted to them. Never are they to spend their time in accusing and condemning one another (The Review and Herald, August 10, 1905). 7BC 959.1

    1-4 (Hebrews 4:13). Weighing the Character—[Revelation 3:1-3 quoted.] The discrimination revealed by Christ in weighing the characters of those who have taken to themselves His name, as Christians, leads us to realize more fully that every individual is under His supervision. He is acquainted with the thoughts and intents of the heart, as well as with every word and act. He knows all about our religious experience; He knows whom we love and serve (Manuscript 81, 1900). 7BC 959.2

    1-5 (Matthew 22:14). A Few Faithful Ones in Sardis—The church of Sardis is represented as having in it a few faithful ones among the many who had become, as it were, careless and insensible of their obligations to God. “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.” Who is so favored as to be numbered among these few in Sardis? Are you? Am I? Who are among this number? Is it not best for us to inquire into this matter, in order that we may learn to whom the Lord refers when He says that a few have not stained their white robes of character (Manuscript 81, 1900)? 7BC 959.3

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    Ellen G. White
    SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW), 928-9

    3. See EGW on John 1:14. 7BC 928.1

    6. See EGW on ch. 4:14; Revelation 3:3. 7BC 928.2

    12 (ch. 11:6). No Encouragement Given for Unbelief—There is no encouragement given for unbelief. The Lord manifests His grace and His power over and over again, and this should teach us that it is always profitable under all circumstances to cherish faith, to talk faith, to act faith. We are not to have our hearts and hands weakened by allowing the suggestions of suspicious minds to plant in our hearts the seeds of doubt and distrust [Hebrews 3:12 quoted] (Letter 97, 1898). 7BC 928.3

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