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Hebrews 8:1

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Of the things which we have spoken this is the sum - The word κεφαλαιον, which we translate sum, signifies the chief, the principal, or head; or, as St. Chrysostom explains it, κεφαλαιον αει το μεγιστον λεγεται, "that which is greatest is always called kephalaion," i.e. the head, or chief.

Who is set on the right hand of the throne - This is what the apostle states to be the chief or most important point of all that he had yet discussed. His sitting down at the right hand of the throne of God, proves,

  1. That he is higher than all the high priests that ever existed.
  • That the sacrifice which he offered for the sins of the world was sufficient and effectual, and as such accepted by God.
  • That he has all power in the heavens and in the earth, and is able to save and defend to the uttermost all that come to God through him.
  • 4. That he did not, like the Jewish high priest, depart out of the holy of holies, after having offered the atonement; but abides there at the throne of God, as a continual priest, in the permanent act of offering his crucified body unto God, in behalf of all the succeeding generations of mankind. It is no wonder the apostle should call this sitting down at the right hand of the throne of the Divine Majesty, the chief or head of all that he had before spoken.

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    Now of the things which we have spoken - Or, “of the things of which we are speaking” (Stuart); or as we should say, “of what is said.” The Greek does not necessarily mean things that “had been” spoken, but may refer to all that he was saying, taking the whole subject into consideration.

    This is the sum - Or this is the principal thing; referring to what he was about to say, not what he had said. Our translators seem to have understood this as referring to a “summing up,” or recapitulation of what he had said, and there can be no doubt that the Greek would bear this interpretation. But another exposition has been proposed, adopted by Bloomfield, Stuart, Michaelis, and Storr, among the moderns, and found also in Suidas, Theodoret, Theophylact, and others, among the ancients. It is what regards the word rendered “sum” - κεφάλαιον kephalaion- as meaning the “principal thing;” the chief matter; the most important point. The reason for this interpretation is, that the apostle in fact goes into no recapitulation of what he had said, but enters on a new topic relating to the priesthood of Christ. Instead of going over what he had demonstrated, he enters on a more important point, that the priesthood of Christ is performed in heaven, and that he has entered into the true tabernacle there. All which preceded was type and shadow; this was that which the former economy had adumbrated. In the previous chapters the apostle had shown that he who sustained this office was superior in rank to the Jewish priests; that they were frail and dying, and that the office in their hands was changing from one to another, but that that of Christ was permanent and abiding. He now comes to consider the real nature of the office itself; the sacrifice which was offered; the substance of which all in the former dispensation was the type. This was the “principal thing” - κεφάλαιον kephalaion- the “head,” the most important matter; and the consideration of this is pursued through the Hebrews 8:1, Hebrews 9:1, and Hebrews 10:1 chapters Mark 16:19. Of course the language is figurative - as God has no hands literally - but the language conveys an important meaning, that he is near to God; is high in his affection and love, and is raised to the most elevated situation in heaven; see Philemon 2:9; notes Ephesians 1:21-22.

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    The substance, or summary, of what had been declared was, that Christians had such a High Priest as they needed. He took upon himself human nature, appeared on earth, and there gave himself as a sacrifice to God for the sins of his people. We must not dare to approach God, or to present any thing to him, but in and through Christ, depending upon his merits and mediation; for we are accepted only in the Beloved. In all obedience and worship, we should keep close to God's word, which is the only and perfect standard. Christ is the substance and end of the law of righteousness. But the covenant here referred to, was that made with Israel as a nation, securing temporal benefits to them. The promises of all spiritual blessings, and of eternal life, revealed in the gospel, and made sure through Christ, are of infinitely greater value. Let us bless God that we have a High Priest that suits our helpless condition.
    Ellen G. White
    The Desire of Ages, 165-6

    It was for the sake of those who should believe on Him that these words of Christ were spoken. He knew that they would be repeated. Being spoken at the Passover, they would come to the ears of thousands, and be carried to all parts of the world. After He had risen from the dead, their meaning would be made plain. To many they would be conclusive evidence of His divinity. DA 165.1

    Because of their spiritual darkness, even the disciples of Jesus often failed of comprehending His lessons. But many of these lessons were made plain to them by subsequent events. When He walked no more with them, His words were a stay to their hearts. DA 165.2

    As referring to the temple at Jerusalem, the Saviour's words, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up,” had a deeper meaning than the hearers perceived. Christ was the foundation and life of the temple. Its services were typical of the sacrifice of the Son of God. The priesthood was established to represent the mediatorial character and work of Christ. The entire plan of sacrificial worship was a foreshadowing of the Saviour's death to redeem the world. There would be no efficacy in these offerings when the great event toward which they had pointed for ages was consummated. DA 165.3

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    Ellen G. White
    The Acts of the Apostles, 33

    The disciples were still looking earnestly toward heaven when, “behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:10, 11. AA 33.1

    The promise of Christ's second coming was ever to be kept fresh in the minds of His disciples. The same Jesus whom they had seen ascending into heaven, would come again, to take to Himself those who here below give themselves to His service. The same voice that had said to them, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end,” would bid them welcome to His presence in the heavenly kingdom. AA 33.2

    As in the typical service the high priest laid aside his pontifical robes and officiated in the white linen dress of an ordinary priest; so Christ laid aside His royal robes and garbed Himself with humanity and offered sacrifice, Himself the priest, Himself the victim. As the high priest, after performing his service in the holy of holies, came forth to the waiting congregation in his pontifical robes; so Christ will come the second time, clothed in garments of whitest white, “so as no fuller on earth can white them.” Mark 9:3. He will come in His own glory, and in the glory of His Father, and all the angelic host will escort Him on His way. AA 33.3

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    Ellen G. White
    SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW), 930-1

    It was a difficult task for the Prince of life to carry out the plan which He had undertaken for the salvation of man, in clothing His divinity with humanity. He had received honor in the heavenly courts, and was familiar with absolute power. It was as difficult for Him to keep the level of humanity as for men to rise above the low level of their depraved natures, and be partakers of the divine nature. 7BC 930.1

    Christ was put to the closest test, requiring the strength of all His faculties to resist the inclination when in danger, to use His power to deliver Himself from peril, and triumph over the power of the prince of darkness. Satan showed his knowledge of the weak points of the human heart, and put forth his utmost power to take advantage of the weakness of the humanity which Christ had assumed in order to overcome his temptations on man's account (The Review and Herald, April 1, 1875). 7BC 930.2

    No Particular Adaptation for Obedience—We need not place the obedience of Christ by itself, as something for which He was particularly adapted, by His particular divine nature, for He stood before God as man's representative and was tempted as man's substitute and surety. If Christ had a special power which it is not the privilege of man to have, Satan would have made capital of this matter. The work of Christ was to take from the claims of Satan his control of man, and He could do this only in the way that He came—a man, tempted as a man, rendering the obedience of a man (Manuscript 1, 1892). 7BC 930.3

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    Ellen G. White
    SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW), 913

    These lessons were taught to the chosen people of God thousands of years ago, and repeated in various symbols and figures, that the work of truth might be riveted in every heart, that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. The great lesson embodied in the sacrifice of every bleeding victim, impressed in every ceremony, inculcated by God Himself, was that through the blood of Christ alone is forgiveness of sins; yet how many carry the galling yoke and how few feel the force of this truth and act upon it personally, and derive the blessings they might receive through a perfect faith in the blood of the Lamb of God.... 7BC 913.1

    Justice demanded the sufferings of man; but Christ rendered the sufferings of a God. He needed no atonement of suffering for Himself; all His sufferings were for us; all His merits and holiness were open to fallen man, presented as a gift (Letter 12, 1892). 7BC 913.2

    (Matthew 11:27; John 14:9; 17:19-26; 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4; Hebrews 8:1; 9:11-14, 24; Hebrews 13:12; 1 John 2:1.) Christ the One True Mediator—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.... Type met antitype in the death of Christ, the Lamb slain for the sins of the world. The great High Priest has made the only sacrifice that will be of any value. 7BC 913.3

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