Hebrews 10:5-7

Hebrews 10:5‑7  •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Intrinsic and everlasting value there was not nor could be in those creature sacrifices, which, far from purging guilt effectually, testified by their necessary repetition that the sins were still there and ever coming into remembrance before God. But He had in His purpose a sacrifice of nobler name and richer blood than they; yea, in the midst of the Levitical system He had expressed His dissatisfaction with what fell so short of His own nature and of His people's need. All really depended on One to come, not the first man but the Second.
“Wherefore, when he entereth into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body didst thou prepare for Me; in whole burnt offerings and [sacrifices] for sin thou tookest no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I am come, in heading (or chapter) of a book it is written of Me, to do Thy will, O God” (Heb. 10:5-75Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. (Hebrews 10:5‑7)).
It was His not only to make known, but to effectuate the will of God. That which had been set out previously was suited to man's estate, partial, earthly, and temporary. From the first God had held out the sure prospect of what was divine and enduring, yet in man and alone perfect for man. This unbelief never saw, because man's will was now opposed to God, dreaded His judgment, believed not His grace, and sought self-satisfaction. But faith looked to Christ and, in the sense of sin and ruin, found rest nowhere else. And when He enters into the world, His eye single, His whole body full of light, according to Psa. 40 He speaks, whatever the cost to Himself; and it cost Him everything. He recognizes that His work, itself the most stupendous of sacrifices, must take the place of those that God had provisionally instituted; more than accomplishing each of them, but superseding them all, because perfection only now was found in it. Peace (or thank-) offerings did not meet God's will any more than oblations, or meal offerings: instead of either He prepared a body for His Son, the Messiah. This exactly suits the revealed facts of the Incarnation. He was to come by the woman, more fully man thus than Adam, but conceived of the Holy Spirit, as was neither Adam nor any other: so truly did God fit a body for the Son, that even in human nature He alone should be the Holy One of God. Nor otherwise would it have suited the Son, either as the constant object of the Father's delight all through the days of His flesh, as the adequate vessel of the Holy Spirit's power in service, or as the sin offering at last. How different from us, who even when born of God are anointed only as under the efficacy of His blood! His body was the temple of God without blood.
Dr. Randolph, unless memory fail me, in his elaborate examination of quotations from the O. T. in the New, gives up the attempt to account for the change in the LXX from the Hebrew form of the last clause in ver. 5; and so does the late Dean Alford “leave the difficulty an unsolved one.” There is no sufficient reason to suppose a misreading gave rise to that Greek version, with Abp. Ussher (vii. 517), followed by Ernesti, Michaelis, Semler, &c., down to Bleek in our day. That the Epistle to the Hebrews adopts it, not as the literal rendering but as the substantial sense, is of deep instruction and interest; and this has commended itself to the most reverent and competent readers to the present time. The allusion is neither to Ex. 21:66Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever. (Exodus 21:6), nor to Isa. 1:55Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. (Isaiah 1:5): Psa. 40:66Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. (Psalm 40:6) (7) is distinct from both, though all three center in the Messiah. (1) The Holy Spirit in the Psalm refers to the assumption of human nature in a condition wholly different from fallen man, even from His virgin mother. Of this the figure of “ears digged,” not merely opened or bored, is the striking expression. Other ears were deaf through sin; His only God dug for Him, as He only ever heard and obeyed, living thus “not by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” “A body didst thou prepare for Me” well answered to that, and gives the meaning which all might not so easily draw from the Hebrew phrase. (2) Then comes the application of the prophet who speaks of the Messiah morning by morning wakened to hear. “The Lord Jehovah hath opened mine ear.” It is not alone holy humanity given Him at the outset, but His habit of daily dependence as “the Servant.” (3) The type in the law completes so far; for this conveys that at the end of faithful service, when He might have gone out free, He, in love to His master, His wife, and His children, submits to have His ear “bored” through with an awl, as the sign of serving forever. It is His death for the glory of God, and the life and blessing of all that believe. Thus consistency marks all, while each is distinct; and our text refers to the divine preparation of a body for Messiah, suited for His work.
“In whole burnt offerings and [sacrifices] for sin thou tookest no pleasure.” The last words are still the energetic rendering of the Septuagint, not an exact reflection of the Hebrew, Thou didst not ask. Men easily satisfied themselves and trusted that God was satisfied with offerings of free will when they prospered, and no flagrant evil required sacrifices for sin. But God ever looked on for His will to be done—the last thing possible to the first man, fallen as he is, and far above him even when unfallen. For this appeared the One Who was alike Son of God and Son of Man according to what was written in a roll familiar to the Father and the Son. It was a purpose indeed before man or the world existed, the fruit of which will abide in the new heaven and new earth, when time melts into eternity for weal and woe.
“Then said I, Lo, I am come (in heading of a book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God” (Heb. 10:77Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. (Hebrews 10:7)).
Such was the place Christ took here below. Adam, surrounded by all that was very good, failed utterly, even when tried by the slenderest test. The race had not even the wish nor yet the notion. Self-will characterized all nations, most strongly (perhaps because we know them best) Greeks and Latins. All sinned; these boldly: nothing more preposterous in the eyes of either than to give up one's own will, to do only God's. And what can we say of English, French, Germans, &c., since Christ marked out that sole path of perfectness for man here below? Ah, the Second man is also the Last Adam. Not that many, many thousands, have not followed His steps in faith and love by Him Who strengthened and directed them; but how feebly and afar off, even those nearest! For, as was the glory of His person, such was His devotedness, whatever the trial. Though He was Son, yet learned He obedience (previously and absolutely new to Him as truly divine) by the things which He suffered. Being in the form of God He counted it not a thing to be grasped to be on equality with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondman, made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, yea, death of the cross. Others had done miracles; to His own He promised works greater than even He had done, because He went to the Father; but what man ever obeyed as He? Who, even as a saint, could say like Him that he had never done his own will? He, and He only, was entitled to say, “Lo, I am come to do thy will, O God.”
As the person was thus glorious, the body fitted as only God could fit by a miracle of holy character and power, we shall find that the end was worthy of that wondrous path, whereon the Spirit of God descended as a dove and came upon Him, and the Father's voice out of the heavens at length saw meet to break His hitherto ineffable silence with the words, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I found My good pleasure.” Freely He had come to glorify His Father; but when He is come, He keeps the position of man unswervingly to do the will of God.