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Hebrews 7:26

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Such a high priest became us - Such a high priest was in every respect suitable to us, every way qualified to accomplish the end for which he came into the world. There is probably here an allusion to the qualifications of the Jewish high priest: -

  1. He was required to be holy, ὁσιος, answering to the Hebrew חסיד chasid, merciful. Holiness was his calling; and, as he was the representative of his brethren, he was required to be merciful and compassionate.
  • He was to be harmless, ακακος, without evil - holy without, and holy within; injuring none, but rather living for the benefit of others.
  • He was undefiled, αμιαντος answering to the Hebrew מום באל baal mum, without blemish - having no bodily imperfection. Nothing low, mean, base, or unbecoming in his conduct.
  • He was separate from sinners, κεχωρισμενος απο των ἁμαρτωλων . By his office he was separated from all men and worldly occupations, and entirely devoted to the service of God. And as to sinners, or heathens, he was never to be found in their society.
  • Higher than the heavens. There may be some reference here to the exceeding dignity of the high priesthood; it was the highest office that could be sustained by man, the high priest himself being the immediate representative of God.
  • But these things suit our Lord in a sense in which they cannot be applied to the high priest of the Jews.

    1. He was holy, infinitely so; and merciful, witness his shedding his blood for the sins of mankind.
  • Harmless - perfectly without sin in his humanity, as well as his divinity.
  • Undefiled - contracted no sinful infirmity in consequence of his dwelling among men.
  • Separate from sinners - absolutely unblamable in the whole of his conduct, so that he could challenge the most inveterate of his enemies with, Which of you convicteth me of sin? Who of you can show in my conduct the slightest deviation from truth and righteousness!
  • Higher than the heavens - more exalted than all the angels of God, than all created beings, whether thrones, dominions, principalities, or powers, because all these were created by him and for him, and derive their continued subsistence from his infinite energy.
  • But how was a person of such infinite dignity suitable to us! His greatness is put in opposition to our meanness. He was holy; We, unholy. He was harmless; We, harmful, injuring both ourselves and others. He was undefiled; We, defiled, most sinfully spotted and impure. He was separate from sinners; We were joined to sinners, companions of the vile, the worthless, the profane, and the wicked. He was higher than the heavens; We, baser and lower than the earth, totally unworthy to be called the creatures of God. And had we not had such a Savior, and had we not been redeemed at an infinite price, we should, to use the nervous language of Milton on another occasion, "after a shameful life and end in this world, have been thrown down eternally into the darkest and deepest gulf of hell, where, under the despiteful control, the trample and spurn, of all the other damned, and in the anguish of their torture should have no other ease than to exercise a raving and bestial tyranny over us as their slaves, we must have remained in that plight for ever, the basest, the lower-most, the most dejected, most under-foot and down-trodden vassals of perdition." Milton on Reformation, in fine.

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    For such an High Priest became us - Was suited to our condition. That is, there was that in our character and circumstances which demanded that a high priest for us should be personally holy. It was not requisite merely that he should have great power; or that he should be of a rank superior to that of the Jewish priesthood; but there was a special propriety that he should surpass all others in “moral” purity. Other priests were mere mortal men, and it was necessary that their office should pass to other hands; they were “sinful” men also, and it was necessary that sacrifices should be made for themselves as well as others. We need, however, a different priest. We need not only one who ever lives, but one who is perfectly holy, and who has no need to bring an offering for himself, and all the merit of whose sacrifice, therefore, may be ours. Such an high priest we have in the person of the Lord Jesus; and there is no truth more interesting, and no proposition more susceptible of proof, than that he is exactly Fitted to man. In his moral character, and in the great work which he has accomplishcd, he is just such a Saviour as is adapted to the wants of ignorant, fallen, wretched, sinful man. He is benevolent, and pities our woes; wise, and is able to enlighten our ignorance; compassionate, and ready to forgive our faults. He has made such a sacrifice as was necessary to put away our guilt, and offers such intercession as we need to have offered for us in order that we may be preserved from falling.

    Who is holy - Not merely “outwardly righteous,” but pure in heart.

    Harmless - Not injuring anyone. To no one did he do wrong. Neither to their name, person, or property, did he ever do injury; nor will he ever. He is the only one who has lived on earth of whom it could be said that he never, in any way, did wrong to another.

    Undefiled - By sin; by any improper desire or passion. He was unstained by crime; “unspotted from the world.” Sin always defiles the soul; but from every such pollution the Lord Jesus was free.

    Separate from sinners - That is, he did not associate with them as such. He did not partake of their feelings, plans, pleasures. Though he mingled with them, yet it was merely to do them good, and in all his life there was an entire separation from the feelings, principles, and views of a sinful world.

    And made higher than the heavens - Exalted above the visible heavens; that is, at the right hand of God; see the Ephesians 1:21 note; Philemon 2:9 note. We needed a high priest who is thus exalted that he may manage our cause before the throne of God.

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    Observe the description of the personal holiness of Christ. He is free from all habits or principles of sin, not having the least disposition to it in his nature. No sin dwells in him, not the least sinful inclination, though such dwells in the best of Christians. He is harmless, free from all actual transgression; he did no violence, nor was there any deceit in his mouth. He is undefiled. It is hard to keep ourselves pure, so as not to partake the guilt of other men's sins. But none need be dismayed who come to God in the name of his beloved Son. Let them be assured that he will deliver them in the time of trial and suffering, in the time of prosperity, in the hour of death, and in the day of judgment.
    Ellen G. White
    SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW), 929-33

    14-16 (chs. 2:17; 7:24-26; Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1). Phases of Christ's Priesthood—[Hebrews 4:15 quoted.] The Son of God ... has fulfilled His pledge, and has passed into the heavens, to take upon Himself the government of the heavenly host. He fulfilled one phase of His priesthood by dying on the cross for the fallen race. He is now fulfilling another phase by pleading before the Father the case of the repenting, believing sinner, presenting to God the offerings of His people. Having taken human nature and in this nature having overcome the temptations of the enemy, and having divine perfection, to Him has been committed the judgment of the world. The case of each one will be brought in review before Him. He will pronounce judgment, rendering to every man according to his works (Manuscript 42, 1901). 7BC 929.1

    15 (ch. 3:14; Matthew 4:1-11; 19:17; John 10:30; 2 Peter 1:4; Revelation 3:21; see EGW on Mark 16:6; John 1:1-3, 14; Romans 5:12-19; Colossians 2:9, 10; 1 John 2:1). No trace of Imperfection in Christ—Those who claim that it was not possible for Christ to sin, cannot believe that He really took upon Himself human nature. But was not Christ actually tempted, not only by Satan in the wilderness, but all through His life, from childhood to manhood? In all points He was tempted as we are, and because He successfully resisted temptation under every form, He gave man the perfect example, and through the ample provision Christ has made, we may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption which is in the world through lust. 7BC 929.2

    Jesus says, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” Here is the beginning of our confidence which we must hold steadfast unto the end. If Jesus resisted Satan's temptations, He will help us to resist. He came to bring divine power to combine with human effort. 7BC 929.3

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    Ellen G. White
    SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1077-8

    13. See EGW on 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. 6BC 1077.1

    15-21 (1 Timothy 1:9, 10; James 1:22-25; see EGW on 2 Corinthians 3:6-9). Not Obedient, but Transgressors, Under Bondage—Paul in his Epistle to Timothy describes the very men who are under the bondage of the law. They are the transgressors of the law. He names them lawless, disobedient, sinners, unholy, profane, murderers, adulterers, liars, and all who depart from sound doctrine. 1 Timothy 1:9, 10. 6BC 1077.2

    The law of God is the mirror to show man the defects in his character. But it is not pleasant to those who take pleasure in unrighteousness to see their moral deformity. They do not prize this faithful mirror, because it reveals to them their sins. Therefore, instead of instituting a war against their carnal minds, they war against the true and faithful mirror, given them by Jehovah for the very purpose that they may not be deceived, but that they may have revealed to them the defects in their character. 6BC 1077.3

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    Ellen G. White
    That I May Know Him, 73

    And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Romans 5:11. TMK 73.1

    Our great High Priest completed the sacrificial offering of Himself when He suffered without the gate. Then a perfect atonement was made for the sins of the people. Jesus is our Advocate, our High Priest, our Intercessor. Our present position therefore is like that of the Israelites, standing in the outer court, waiting and looking for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.... TMK 73.2

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    Ellen G. White
    The Acts of the Apostles, 570

    John was cast into a caldron of boiling oil; but the Lord preserved the life of His faithful servant, even as He preserved the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace. As the words were spoken, Thus perish all who believe in that deceiver, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, John declared, My Master patiently submitted to all that Satan and his angels could devise to humiliate and torture Him. He gave His life to save the world. I am honored in being permitted to suffer for His sake. I am a weak, sinful man. Christ was holy, harmless, undefiled. He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth. AA 570.1

    These words had their influence, and John was removed from the caldron by the very men who had cast him in. AA 570.2

    Again the hand of persecution fell heavily upon the apostle. By the emperor's decree John was banished to the Isle of Patmos, condemned “for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 1:9. Here, his enemies thought, his influence would no longer be felt, and he must finally die of hardship and distress. AA 570.3

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    Ellen G. White
    The Desire of Ages, 25

    In stooping to take upon Himself humanity, Christ revealed a character the opposite of the character of Satan. But He stepped still lower in the path of humiliation. “Being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:8. As the high priest laid aside his gorgeous pontifical robes, and officiated in the white linen dress of the common priest, so Christ took the form of a servant, and offered sacrifice, Himself the priest, Himself the victim. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him.” Isaiah 53:5. DA 25.1

    Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. “With His stripes we are healed.” DA 25.2

    By His life and His death, Christ has achieved even more than recovery from the ruin wrought through sin. It was Satan's purpose to bring about an eternal separation between God and man; but in Christ we become more closely united to God than if we had never fallen. In taking our nature, the Saviour has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken. Through the eternal ages He is linked with us. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son.” John 3:16. He gave Him not only to bear our sins, and to die as our sacrifice; He gave Him to the fallen race. To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace, God gave His only-begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature. This is the pledge that God will fulfill His word. “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder.” God has adopted human nature in the person of His Son, and has carried the same into the highest heaven. It is the “Son of man” who shares the throne of the universe. It is the “Son of man” whose name shall be called, “Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6. The I AM is the Daysman between God and humanity, laying His hand upon both. He who is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,” is not ashamed to call us brethren. Hebrews 7:26; 2:11. In Christ the family of earth and the family of heaven are bound together. Christ glorified is our brother. Heaven is enshrined in humanity, and humanity is enfolded in the bosom of Infinite Love. DA 25.3

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    Ellen G. White
    The Faith I Live By, 195.1

    For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens. Hebrews 7:26. FLB 195.1

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    Ellen G. White
    In Heavenly Places, 160.5

    Cultivate whatever in your character is in harmony with the character of Christ. Cherish those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report; but put away whatever is unlike our Redeemer.... Every soul that gains eternal life must be like Christ, “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Hebrews 7:26). HP 160.5

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    Ellen G. White
    In Heavenly Places, 181.2

    What Christ was in His life on this earth, that every Christian is to be. He is our example, not only in His spotless purity, but in His patience, gentleness, and winsomeness of disposition. He was firm as a rock where truth and duty were concerned, but He was invariably kind and courteous. His life was a perfect illustration of true courtesy.... His presence brought a purer atmosphere into the home, and His life was as leaven working amid the elements of society. Harmless and undefiled, He walked among the thoughtless, the rude, the uncourteous; amid the unjust publicans, the unrighteous Samaritans, the heathen soldiers, the rough peasants, and the mixed multitude. HP 181.2

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    Ellen G. White
    Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, 32.1

    Partaker of Sin Through Association—The soul that has been misled by wrong influences and has become a partaker of sin through association with others, to do contrary to the mind and character of God, need not despair. “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens” (Hebrews 7:26). Christ is not only priest and intercessor for our sins, but the offering. He offered Himself once for all.—Letter 11, 1897 1MCP 32.1

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    Ellen G. White
    Our High Calling, 59

    For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens. Hebrews 7:26. OHC 59.1

    The character of Christ was one of unexampled excellence, embracing everything pure, true, lovely, and of good report. We have no knowledge of His ever visiting a party of pleasure or a dance hall, and yet He was the perfection of grace and courtly bearing. Christ was no novice; He was distinguished for the high intellectual powers He possessed even in the morning of His life. His youth was not wasted in indolence, neither was it wasted in sensual pleasure, self-indulgence, or frittered away in things of no profit. Not one of His hours from childhood to manhood was misspent, none were misappropriated.... OHC 59.2

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    Ellen G. White
    Our High Calling, 234.3

    O that such would become changed by beholding Christ! O that they would become meek and lowly by learning of Him! Then they would go forth, not as missionaries for Satan, to cause disunion and alienation, to bruise and mangle character, but as missionaries for Christ, to be peacemakers and to restore. Let the Holy Spirit come in and expel this unholy passion, which cannot survive in heaven. Let it die; let it be crucified. Open the heart to the attributes of Christ, who was holy, harmless, undefiled.... OHC 234.3

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    Ellen G. White
    Our High Calling, 264.2

    Jesus has given to childhood and youth a perfect example. Study the Pattern, Christ Jesus, and copy it if you would be like Him—pure, holy, sinless, and undefiled. Study the childhood of Christ. He was the Son of God, yet the Bible record tells us He returned from Jerusalem and was subject unto His parents.... OHC 264.2

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    Ellen G. White
    Selected Messages Book 3, 131.1

    Two Natures Blended in Christ—Through being partakers of the divine nature we may stand pure and holy and undefiled. The Godhead was not made human, and the human was not deified by the blending together of the two natures. Christ did not possess the same sinful, corrupt, fallen disloyalty we possess, for then He could not be a perfect offering.—Manuscript 94, 1893. 3SM 131.1

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    Ellen G. White
    Selected Messages Book 3, 133

    In the councils of heaven God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.... So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him” (Genesis 1:26, 27). The Lord created man's moral faculties and his physical powers. All was a sinless transcript of Himself. God endowed man with holy attributes, and placed him in a garden made expressly for him. Sin alone could ruin the beings created by the hand of the Almighty.—The Youth's Instructor, July 20, 1899. 3SM 133.1

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    Ellen G. White
    Selected Messages Book 3, 134.1

    Christ was the only one who walked the earth upon whom there rested no taint of sin. He was pure, spotless, and undefiled. That there should be One without the defilement of sin upon the earth, greatly disturbed the author of sin, and he left no means untried to overcome Christ with his wily, deceptive power. But our Saviour relied upon His heavenly Father for wisdom and strength to resist and overcome the tempter. The Spirit of His heavenly Father animated and regulated His life. He was sinless. Virtue and purity characterized His life.—The Youth's Instructor, February, 1873. 3SM 134.1

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    Ellen G. White
    Selected Messages Book 3, 429.1

    A voice said, “Jesus, who is seated upon the throne, has so loved man that He gave His life a sacrifice to redeem him from the power of Satan, and to exalt him to His throne. He who is above all powers, He who has the greatest influence in heaven and in earth, He to whom every soul is indebted for every favor he has received, was meek and lowly in disposition, holy, harmless, and undefiled in life. 3SM 429.1

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    Ellen G. White
    SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 4 (EGW), 1148

    7, 9. Satan Assailed Christ, Provoked No Retaliation—Satan assailed Him [Christ] in every point, yet He sinned not in thought, word, or deed. He did no violence, neither was guile found in His mouth. Walking in the midst of sin, He was holy, harmless, undefiled. He was wrongfully accused, yet He opened not His mouth to justify Himself. How many now, when accused of that of which they are not guilty, feel that there is a time when forbearance ceases to be a virtue, and losing their temper, speak words which grieve the Holy Spirit (Manuscript 42, 1901)? 4BC 1148.1

    11. See EGW on Zechariah 9:16. 4BC 1148.2

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    Ellen G. White
    SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5 (EGW), 1105

    Christ's Heart Rent—How different was the true High Priest from the false and corrupted Caiaphas. Christ stood before the false high priest, pure and undefiled, without a taint of sin. 5BC 1105.1

    Christ mourned for the transgression of every human being. He bore even the guiltiness of Caiaphas, knowing the hypocrisy that dwelt in his soul, while for pretense he rent his robe. Christ did not rend His robe, but His soul was rent. His garment of human flesh was rent as He hung on the cross, the sin-bearer of the race. By His suffering and death a new and living way was opened (The Review and Herald, June 12, 1900). 5BC 1105.2

    (Leviticus 10:6.) A Positive Prohibition—It was the general custom for the garments to be rent at the death of friends. The only exception to this was in the case of the high priest. Even Aaron, when he lost his two sons because they did not glorify God as had been specified, was forbidden to show sorrow and mourning by rending his garments. The prohibition was positive [Leviticus 10:6 quoted] (Manuscript 102, 1897). 5BC 1105.3

    The Condemned Pronounced Sentence on the Innocent—For thus rending his garment in pretended zeal, the high priest might have been arraigned before the Sanhedrin. He had done the very thing that the Lord had commanded should not be done. Standing under the condemnation of God, he pronounced sentence on Christ as a blasphemer. He performed all his actions toward Christ as a priestly judge, as an officiating high priest, but he was not this by the appointment of God. The priestly robe he rent in order to impress the people with his horror of the sin of blasphemy covered a heart full of wickedness. He was acting under the inspiration of Satan. Under a gorgeous priestly dress, he was fulfilling the work of the enemy of God. This has been done again and again by priests and rulers. 5BC 1105.4

    The rent garment ended Caiaphas’ priesthood. By his own action he disqualified himself for the priestly office. After the condemnation of Christ he was unable to act without showing the most unreasonable passion. His tortured conscience scourged him, but he did not feel that sorrow that leads to repentance. 5BC 1105.5

    The religion of those that crucified Christ was a pretense. The supposed holy vestments of the priests covered hearts that were full of corruption, malignity, and crime. They interpreted gain to be godliness. The priests were appointed, not by God, but by an unbelieving government. The position of priest was bought and sold like goods of merchandise. Thus it was that Caiaphas obtained the office. He was not a priest after the order of Melchisedec, by God's appointment. He was bought and sold to work wickedness. He never knew what it was to be obedient to God. He had the form of godliness, and this gave him the power to oppress (Manuscript 102, 1897). 5BC 1105.6

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    Ellen G. White
    SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW), 977

    Not a move has been made in exalting the idol sabbath, in bringing around Sunday observance through legislation, but Satan has been behind it, and has been the chief worker; but the conscience should not be compelled even for the observance of the genuine Sabbath, for God will accept only willing service (The Review and Herald, April 15, 1890). 7BC 977.1

    The Law of God Made Void—A time is coming when the law of God is, in a special sense, to be made void in our land. The rulers of our nation will, by legislative enactments, enforce the Sunday law, and thus God's people be brought into great peril. When our nation, in its legislative councils, shall enact laws to bind the consciences of men in regard to their religious privileges, enforcing Sunday observance, and bringing oppressive power to bear against those who keep the seventh-day Sabbath, the law of God will, to all intents and purposes, be made void in our land; and national apostasy will be followed by national ruin (The Review and Herald, December 18, 1888). 7BC 977.2

    Contempt for the Great Lawgiver—The sins of the world will have reached unto heaven when the law of God is made void; when the Sabbath of the Lord is trampled in the dust, and men are compelled to accept in its stead an institution of the papacy through the strong hand of the law of the land. In exalting an institution of man above the institution ordained of God, they show contempt for the great Lawgiver, and refuse His sign or seal (The Review and Herald, November 5, 1889). 7BC 977.3

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