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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Surety

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in common speech, is one who gives security for another; and hence it has become prevalent among theological writers to confound it with the terms substitute and representative, when applied to Christ. In fact, the word "surety" occurs only once in our translation of the Scriptures, namely, Hebrews 7:22 : "By so much was Jesus made the surety of a better covenant." It is certainly true that the Son of God, in all that he has done or is still doing as Mediator, may be justly viewed as the surety of the new and everlasting covenant, and as affording the utmost security to believers that, as the Father hath given all things into his hands, they wilt be conducted with effect, and all the exceeding great and precious promises of that covenant assuredly be accomplished. But this does not appear to be the precise idea which the Apostle has in view in the above passage. This has been sufficiently evinced by many critics and commentators, particularly by Pierce, Macknight, and M'Lean, in their notes on the place. The substance of their remarks is, that the original term employed by the Apostle, and which occurs no where else in Scripture, is εγγυος , which is derived from εγγυς , near, and signifies one who draws near, or who brings others near; which sense of the word will not very well accord with that of a substitute or representative The Greek commentators very properly explain, the word by μεσιτης , a mediator. Now, as in this passage a comparison is stated between Jesus, as a high priest, and the Levitical high priests; and as the latter were considered by the Apostle to be the mediators of the Sinai covenant, because through their mediation the Israelites worshipped God with sacrifices; it is evident that the Apostle in this passage terms Jesus the High Priest or Mediator of the better covenant, because, through his mediation, or in virtue of the sacrifice which he offered of himself to God, believers receive all the blessings of the new covenant. And as in Hebrews 7:16 the Apostle had said that "by the introduction of a better hope we draw near to God," he, in Hebrews 7:22 , very properly calls Jesus εγγυος , "he by whom we draw nigh," thereby denoting the effect of his mediation. From the whole, therefore, it is plain that the word "surety" in this place is equivalent with that of mediator or high priest.


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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Surety'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/wtd/s/surety.html. 1831-2.

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