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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Hebrews 4

 

 

Verse 12-13

Conclusion to God's Divine Calling: Warning in Failure to Heed the Gospel Call - Hebrews 4:12-13 serves as a conclusion to the opening exhortation to heed God's divine calling given in Hebrews 2:1-4, warning readers not to neglect this heavenly calling. Hebrews 2:1-4 exhorts us to give heed to the things that we have heard, explaining that we shall not escape if we neglect this call to salvation, just as the children of Israel in the wilderness did not escape divine judgment ( Hebrews 3:1 to Hebrews 4:11). Thus, Hebrews 4:12-13 reaches back and grabs Hebrews 2:1-4 as its antecedent, so to speak. The author explains in Hebrews 4:12-13 that the Gospel of Jesus Christ speaks to man's heart, so that God will be able to judge all of mankind based upon their response to the proclamation of the Gospel ( Hebrews 4:12-13).

The Author's Word Play with λό γος - The double use of the Greek word λό γος in Hebrews 4:12-13 is considered by some commentators to be a play on words by the author. λό γος is placed as the second word in Hebrews 4:12 and as the last word in Hebrews 4:13, so that these concluding remarks open and close this passage. In essence, the author tells us that the One who has spoken His Word will require that we answer with a word. 208]

208] David L. Allen, Hebrews , in The New American Commentary: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture, vol 35, ed. E. Ray Clendenen (Nashville, Tennessee: B & H Publishing Group, 2010), 287.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12 — "For the word of God is quick, and powerful" - Comments- Webster says the English word "quick" means, "Alive; living; animate." The Word of God is living and eternal ( 1 Peter 1:23), and gives life to those who hear it. God's Word is also powerful ( ἐ νεργή ς) in that it is actively at work on earth and effective in changing hearts and lives and in bringing mankind to repentance and salvation ( Jeremiah 23:29).

1 Peter 1:23, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."

Jeremiah 23:29, "Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?"

Hebrews 4:12 — "and sharper than any twoedged sword" - Word Study on "sword" - The TDNT translates the Greek word μά χαιρα (G 3162) used in Hebrews 4:12 as the sacrificial knife of the Jewish priest or the surgeon's knife. David Allen says the word is best translated "scalpel" in Hebrews 4:12.

Comments- The Word of God can serve two purposes. It brings health to our own spirits and it cuts down the enemy; thus, the description of the word as "two-edged."

Scripture References- Note similar verses:

Isaiah 49:2, "And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;"

Ephesians 6:17, "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:"

Revelation 1:16, "And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength."

Revelation 19:15, "And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God."

Hebrews 4:12"piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit" - Comments- Even though the natural mind (soul) doesn't see itself as sinful, the Word of God pierces into a wicked heart, showing the man his sinful heart as separate from the rational mind (the soul). This convicts man as a sinner in need of salvation.

Hebrews 4:12"and of the joints and marrow" - Comments- The marrow refers to "the innermost part" of our makeup, which is analogous to the spirit of man.

Hebrews 4:12"and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" - Comments- BDAG says the Greek word "discerner" ( κριτικος) literally means, "able to Judges ," meaning that the Word of God is "able to judge the thoughts and deliberations of the heart." Note John 12:48.

John 12:48, "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day."

We find another example of words judging the heart in 1 Corinthians 14:24-25, when prophecies judge men's hearts, this time using the Greek verb ανακρινω.

1 Corinthians 14:24-25, "But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: — And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth."

Hebrews 4:12Comments- Within the immediate context of Hebrews 4:12, the Word of God that is mentioned in Psalm 95:7-8 warns God's children not to harden their hearts in disobedience to His Word. Thus, the Word of God is defined as an instrument that penetrates man's heart and knows its true motive in this passage. Regarding the issue of a deceptive heart and hidden motives, western civilization is built upon Judeo-Christian values of honesty and integrity. Such people grow up in a culture based upon integrity, honest and transparency of heart. However, Paul was not addressing a Jewish people who lived in such a culture. Rather, he was speaking to Christians who were in the midst of a corrupt culture of cleverness and deceit, where very little of what people say is the truth.

The author uses the example of the children of Israel in the wilderness as an example of a people who were not sincere in serving the Lord under Moses. They may have demonstrated outward signs of service, but they found a number of occasions to rebel against Moses and God's Word.

Comments- The Word of God goes beyond a man's outward actions and into a man's inner soul. Thus, man can be judged by the Word of God ( John 12:48) and he can be judged according to his works ( Revelation 20:13), without these verses being in conflict.

John 12:48, "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day."

Revelation 20:13,"And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works."

Comments - The need to distinguish between the recreated heart of the born-again believer and his unrenewed mind will help these Hebrews understand why they were not walking in the fullness of their Christian life. The author is about to explain to them how the atonement of Jesus Christ paid for all of their sins and brought them into a right standing with God so that they now have free access to the throne of grace, no longer based upon their good works under the Mosaic Law, but based upon His mercy ( Hebrews 4:16); for the blood of their Redeemer has been sprinkled once for all upon the mercy seat.

There are people today who believer that mankind is a two-fold creature and not a three-fold creature. We are made in God's image as a triune man: spirit, soul, and body. Those who believe the spirit and soul of man refer to the same inner make-up of man find themselves struggling with walking in the liberties of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Such a mindset causes Christians to focus upon being led by their minds and academic educations rather than tuning themselves into their distinct spirit-man and learning to be led by their spirit. Such a distinction becomes difficult for those who believe that the spirit and soul are the same. This person has difficulty distinguishing between the voice of his spirit, his inner Prayer of Manasseh , and between his soulish, mental reasonings. Yet, this distinction is critical in order for the author of Hebrews to tell these Hebrew converts "to enter boldly into the inner sanctuary through the blood of Jesus" ( Hebrews 10:19) and to "draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith" ( Hebrews 10:22). Such boldness and confidence cannot be realized in the life of a believer without an understanding of the atonement of Jesus Christ ( Hebrews 7-9) in our spirit man apart from our soulish reasons that focus upon guilt because of failures in the Christian life.

Hebrews 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

Hebrews 4:13"but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him" - Comments- In Hebrews 4:12, God's Holy Scriptures lays our hearts open.

Hebrews 4:13"with whom we have to do" - Comments- Wuest translates this phrase as, "with whom is our reckoning." 209] The NIV reads, "to whom we must give an account." Literally, "to (with) whom for us (is) a reckoning (an account)." The Greek word λογος refers to "an account" in Hebrews 4:13 and Hebrews 13:17, while in the rest of the epistle of Hebrews it is translated in the KJV as "a word" (9 times), "say" (1time), "doctrine" (1time) ( Hebrews 2:2; Hebrews 4:2; Hebrews 4:12; Hebrews 5:11; Hebrews 5:13; Hebrews 6:1; Hebrews 7:28; Hebrews 12:19; Hebrews 13:7; Hebrews 13:22). Luke uses λογος in a similar way in Luke 16:2.

209] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest's Word Studies From the Greek New Testament for the English Reader, vol 2 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, c 1973, 1977), 90.

The pronoun "we" refers specifically to believers. Christians will give an account of their lives unto the Lord whom they have served.

Scripture References- Note similar verses on the topic of man's impending judgment:

Matthew 12:36-37, "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."

Matthew 25:19, "After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them."

2 Corinthians 5:10-11, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences."

Also:

Job 26:6, "Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering." (Job speaking)

Psalm 90:8, "Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance."


Verse 14

Justification: Jesus Christ is the High Priest of Our Confession - In Hebrews 4:14 to Hebrews 5:14 we find the third literary section. This passage contains the second exhortation in the epistle of Hebrews , exhorting us to hold fast to our confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ by coming boldly to God's throne in order to find grace and mercy to persevere; for the Jesus Christ our Great High Priest maintains our position of justification before God. Those who reject the Gospel will receive damnation, as stated in the conclusion of the previous section ( Hebrews 4:12-13), but those who accept it will find access to God's throne of grace ( Hebrews 4:14-16). The author will then briefly mention the faithfulness of Jesus Christ as our Great High Priest ( Hebrews 5:1-10) and conclude this section with a rebuke for their lack of spiritual growth ( Hebrews 5:11-14).

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. 2nd Exhortation: Hold Fast Confession of Faith in Christ — Hebrews 4:14-16

2. 2nd Doctrinal Discourse: The Priesthood of Jesus — Hebrews 5:1-10

1. The High Priest Must Be a Man — Hebrews 5:1-3

2. The High Priest Must Be Ordained by God — Hebrews 5:4-10

3. Conclusion: Warning for Failure to Grow in Maturity — Hebrews 5:11-14

The Theme of the Believer's Perseverance in the Faith- Hebrews 4:14 to Hebrews 5:14 exhorts us to maintain the confession of our faith in Jesus Christ. However, this passage of Scripture regarding our faith in Jesus is described from the perspective of our need to persevere in the faith in order to obtain this redemption. Thus, the theme of the believer's perseverance in the faith is emphasized. In contrast, the lengthy discourse in the epistle of Romans , which emphasizes Church doctrine, discusses our secure position of justification through faith in Jesus Christ once we believe the message of the Gospel. However, in Hebrews 3:7 to Hebrews 4:11 we are told that our justification is dependent upon our willingness to persevere in faith and not turn back in rebellion, as did the children of Israel in the wilderness.


Verses 14-16

Second Exhortation to Holdfast a Profession of Faith in Jesus Christ- Hebrews 4:14-16 contains the second exhortation of the epistle of Hebrews , encouraging us holdfast our profession of faith in Jesus Christ, and to come boldly to God's throne in order to find grace and mercy to persevere.

The Passion of Christ- After having watched Mel Gibson's movie for the first time today called The Passion of the Christ, 210] I was overwhelmed as were all who have seen this drama of Christ Jesus' Suffering and Death, of the pain He suffered at the hands of cruel men. How much does He now have compassion upon us when we are tempted into sin. He understands every ounce of emotions and temptation that we endure. He is willing to have compassion upon us when we fall and stumble for the price He paid through His suffering was incredible. The amount of effort and sacrifice He endured to purchase us as His possession will take eternity to be fully told to us. Remember in Proverbs 12:27 how we are told that to a diligent man his substance is precious. He was diligent to purchase us through His shed blood, so how much more precious we are to Him as His purchased possession.

210] The Passion of the Christ, directed by Mel Gibson, 2004, Los Angeles, California: Newmarket Films.

Proverbs 12:27, "The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious."

Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

Hebrews 4:14 — "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God" - Comments- There are three heavens in Hebrew thought ( 2 Corinthians 12:2). Some scholars define the three heavens as (1) Heaven of clouds- Earth's atmosphere, (2) Heaven of stars, etc - outer space - seems to be Heaven of Heaven, (3) Heaven of His Abode- God's supernatural abiding place. Other scholars say that the first heaven is before the fall, the second heaven is since the fall, and the third heaven will be the eternal heaven above earth.

2 Corinthians 12:2, "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven."

The author words this phrase in Hebrews 4:14 in such a way as to remind his readers of the annual Jewish event when the high priest passed beyond the veil into the Holy of Holies. The veil itself was decorated with heavenly designs. Josephus describes this Temple veil with its heavenly symbolism.

"As to the holy house itself, which was placed in the midst [of the inmost court], that most sacred part of the temple….Its first gate was seventy cubits high, and twenty-five cubits broad; but this gate had no doors; for it represented the universal visibility of heaven, and that it cannot be excluded from any place….But then this house, as it was divided into two parts, the inner part was lower than the appearance of the outer, and had golden doors of fifty-five cubits altitude, and sixteen in breadth; but before these doors there was a veil of equal largeness with the doors. It was a Babylonian curtain, embroidered with blue, and fine linen, and scarlet, and purple, and of a contexture that was truly wonderful. Nor was this mixture of colors without its mystical interpretation, but was a kind of image of the universe; for by the scarlet there seemed to be enigmatically signified fire, by the fine flax the earth, by the blue the air, and by the purple the sea; two of them having their colors the foundation of this resemblance; but the fine flax and the purple have their own origin for that foundation, the earth producing the one, and the sea the other. This curtain had also embroidered upon it all that was mystical in the heavens, excepting that of the [twelve] signs, representing living creatures." (Wars 554)

The image of Jesus Christ "passing through the heavens" suggests His resurrection from the grave, and His passing through the three heavens into Heaven itself. The phrase "Son of God" further suggests His exaltation above the angels ( Hebrews 1:1-14), and His seating at the right hand of God the Father.

The major significance of Hebrews 4:14 and a similar phrase found in Hebrews 9:24, "but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us," is that Christ is now our intercessor. Jesus entered with His resurrection body, because flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God ( 1 Corinthians 15:50).

1 Corinthians 15:50, "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption."

Jesus has become our high priest:

Hebrews 3:1, "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;"

Hebrews 6:20, "Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec."

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

Hebrews 8:1, "Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;"

Hebrews 9:11, "But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;"

Scripture References- Note similar verses to the phrase "that is passed into the heavens":

Luke 24:51, "And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven."

Acts 1:9, "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight."

Ephesians 1:20, "Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,"

Ephesians 4:10, "He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)"

1 Timothy 3:16, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."

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

Hebrews 8:1, "Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;"

Hebrews 9:24, "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:"

In addition, we have the phrase "the heavens and the heaven of heavens" used in Scripture:

Deuteronomy 10:14, "Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD"S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is."

1 Kings 8:27, "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?"

2 Chronicles 2:6, "But who is able to build him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him? who am I then, that I should build him an house, save only to burn sacrifice before him?"

2 Chronicles 6:18, "But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!"

Psalm 68:33, "To him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old; lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice."

Psalm 68:33, "To him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old; lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice."

Psalm 148:4, "Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens."

Hebrews 4:14"let us hold fast our profession" - Comments- The phrase "let us hold fast" places emphasis upon the efforts that a believer must exert in order to persevere and have eternal life. The author of Hebrews weaves this type of wording within this epistle because the theme of the perseverance of the saints is woven throughout Hebrews and the General Epistles using the Greek words κρατέ ω (G 2902) ( Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 6:18) and κατέ χω (G 2722) ( Hebrews 3:6; Hebrews 3:14; Hebrews 10:23).

Hebrews 3:6, "But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end."

Hebrews 3:14, "For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;"

Hebrews 4:14, "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession."

Hebrews 6:18, "That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:"

Hebrews 10:23, "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)"

The phrase "our profession" refers to a believer's confession, or acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as the Son of God. The believers were to make this confession in a time when the Roman Emperor was to be acknowledged as a god, so that it was a bold step to confess Jesus Christ as Lord.

Hebrews 4:14Comments- Hebrews 4:14 seems to serve as a better break to begin a new section than Hebrews 5:1.

Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Hebrews 4:15"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities" - Word Study on "be touched with" - BDAG says the Greek word "be touched with" συμπαθέ ω (G 4834) literally means, "to sympathize with, have or show sympathy with"; which is the ability to be moved with someone's sufferings because of going through a similar experience. This Greek work can be transliterated, "sympathize."

Comments- "the feeling of our infirmities" - The phrase "the feeling of our infirmities" means that Jesus felt all of the pain and sorrow that we feel on earth. This is testified in Isaiah 53:3, "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not."

Our spirit is often willing, but our flesh is weak ( Matthew 26:41).

Matthew 26:41, "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

Illustration:

1 Samuel 30:6, "And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God."

God understands everything that we are going through. He desires to comfort us during these trials. The Scriptures tell us that He will comfort us in every tribulation.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4, "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."

Hebrews 4:15 means that He is always there with us.

Hebrews 4:15"but was in all points tempted like as we are" - Comments- Jesus was fully aware of His temptations ( Psalm 22:6-8, Isaiah 53:3, Luke 22:28). Jesus was fully human as well as fully God ( Hebrews 2:14; Hebrews 2:17), or this could not have been so.

Psalm 22:6-8, "But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him."

Isaiah 53:3, "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not."

Luke 22:28, "Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations."

Hebrews 2:14, "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that Isaiah , the devil;"

Hebrews 2:17, "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people."

Jesus, having been tempted, is able to sympathize with us in the flesh. He is our example of how overcome temptation ( Revelation 12:11). In every temptation, Jesus used the Scriptures. Some of Jesus' temptations are:

1. The forty-days of temptation in the wilderness by Satan himself ( Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13)

2. Render to Caesar his things and to God His Things ( Matthew 22:15-22, Mark 12:13-17)

3. Jesus at the Last Supper- Disciples had continued with Jesus in His temptations. His life was full of them ( Luke 22:28)

4. The question by lawyer concerning how to be saved ( Luke 10:25-37)

5. Asking for a sign ( Matthew 16:1-4, Mark 8:11)

6. Asking about divorce ( Matthew 19:3-9, Mark 10:2)

7. Question about greatest commandment ( Matthew 22:34-40)

8. Adulterous woman ( John 8:1-11)

Why was Jesus tempted? See Hebrews 2:18, "For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted."

1. To sympathize with us, so that

2. Jesus might help us who are tempted

How does Jesus help us who are tempted? By us coming to Him boldly in prayer ( Hebrews 4:16).

Matthew 26:41, "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

Hebrews 4:16, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

Likewise, God will use us to sympathize with and help others who are sufferings because of the trials that we have overcome. Jesus is our example.

2 Corinthians 1:6, "And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation."

Hebrews 4:15 — "yet without sin" - Comments- Jesus lived His lifetime have one earth without sinning once ( 2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 7:26, 1 Peter 2:21-22, 1 John 3:5).

2 Corinthians 5:21, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

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

1 Peter 2:21-22, "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:"

1 John 3:5, "And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin."

Hebrews 4:15Comments- Satan is the tempter ( Matthew 4:3, 1 Thessalonians 3:5). The result of yielding to temptation is found in James 1:13-16.

Matthew 4:3, "And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread."

1 Thessalonians 3:5, "For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain."

James 1:13-16, "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren."

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16 — "Let us therefore come boldly" - Comments - Hebrews 4:16 is an exhortation encouraging us to come to Jesus Christ with boldness and confidence in contrast to the fear and trembling that the children of Israel felt at Mount Sinai ( Hebrews 12:18-24). (The writer describes this epistle as "a word of "exhortation" in Hebrews 13:22.) Hebrews 4:14 refers to the deity of Jesus, which is described in Hebrews 1:1-14. Hebrews 4:15 refers to the humanity of Jesus, which is described in Hebrews 2:1-18. Therefore, Jesus has become approachable for us ( Hebrews 4:16).

Hebrews 13:22, "And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words."

"unto the throne of grace" - Comments - The throne of God is mentioned throughout the Scriptures, with its most frequent references being found thirty-nine (39) times in the book of Revelation. Perhaps its earliest reference to God's glorious throne is found in the book of Job , who lived during the time of the Patriarchs. In his weakness, Job saw the throne of God as a place where he compares his frailness to the Almighty Creator of the universe. For Job , God's throne was a place where no one could contend with God and prevail.

Job 26:9, "He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it."

The next references come from the mouth of King David in the book of Psalm , who spoke of His throne a number of times. To David, God's throne was an eternal throne where righteousness and judgment are found, and mercy and truth prevail. For David, it was a throne by which he modeled his ministry to the kingdom of Israel.

Psalm 89:14, "Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face."

We then have the prophet Micaiah who prophesied to King Ahab, the wicked king of Israel. For Micaiah, the throne of God was a place where all heaven stood to hear God's judgment upon kings and nations. For Micaiah's words came forth as a judgment upon King Ahab.

1 Kings 22:19, "And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left."

One of the most dramatic Old Testament visions of God's throne took place in the life of Isaiah. For Isaiah , the throne of God was the place where his sins were cleansed and where he received his commission as a prophet of the God to Israel.

Isaiah 6:1, "In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple."

For Jeremiah , who witnessed the destruction of the nation of Judah and whose people saw the end of all hope, God's throne continued from one generation to the next. Thus, Jeremiah was able to say that his nation would be restore in the following generation because God was on the throne overseeing His people Israel.

Lamentations 5:19, "Thou, O LORD, remainest for ever; thy throne from generation to generation."

Ezekiel also witnesses a vision of the throne of God during his commission as a priest and prophet to Israel at the age of thirty. For him, the throne of God was a glorious place where His heavenly angels came forth to set in motion the judgment of the nations and the restoration of Israel and the rebuilding of a more glorious Temple.

For the saints of God, whose hope is in Christ Jesus, who now understands our weaknesses, the throne of God is the place from which we receive our help in times of need so that we can persevere during the trials of life. We see His throne as a throne of grace where we receive mercy and help for which we have not earned by good works, but because His Son and our Great High Priest ever lives to make intercession in our behalf. For us, a throne of grace is the simplest description of what takes place when we approach Him.

The writer of Hebrews has just said that only Jesus is without sin ( Hebrews 4:15). Thus, God's throne is accessible to us only by God's grace. This need for the high priest to bring gifts in behalf of our sins is explained in the following verses, and reveals that Jesus has offered His gift, His precious blood, once for all in our behalf, which explains how we have access to God's throne of grace.

"that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" - Comments- Andrew Wommack says mercy is not getting what one deserves, while grace is getting what one does not deserve. 211]

211] Andrew Wommack, "Enter Boldly," in "Hebrew Highlights," [on-line]: accessed 4June 2011; available from http://www.awmi.net/extra/audio/1061; Internet.

Hebrews 4:16Comments - In the mid-1980's the Lord gave me a dream in which I asked a local pastor how to pray for people with sin in their lives. Shortly afterwards, the Lord laid on my heart to visit the hospital after work and pray for a close relative of mine that had been admitted for kidney stones. This individual had been raised in church, but was not serving the Lord very well. A lifestyle of sensual living had darkened her senses of God's Word, so it could not work in her life. I entered the hospital room and found this person alone, since her parents had stepped out for a while. I sat down and asked her what she wanted God to do for her. She replied that she wanted the x-rays that would be taken in the morning to show that the kidney stones were no longer there, and that she would not suffer with them anymore. Before praying, I used Hebrews 4:16 to tell her that we were going to God's throne together in prayer. However, we were not coming based upon her good works, for she would fail. Instead, we were coming before God's throne based upon His mercy and grace. If we obtained His mercy and grace, then we would get our help in this time of need. I prayed a prayer of agreement with her. I then exhorted her to hold fast her confession of faith without wavering, for God was faithful who promised ( Hebrews 10:23). I left the room. The next morning I received a call from my mother, who told me that this relative had been dismissed from the hospital because the x-rays showed no kidney stones. What a lesson I learned in how to pray for someone with sin in his or her life.

Hebrews 4:16Scripture References- Note similar verses:

Psalm 69:13, "But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation."

2 Corinthians 6:1-2, "We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)"

Hebrews 7:25, "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."

Hebrews 10:22, "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Hebrews 4:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/hebrews-4.html. 2013.

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