Hebrews 8:3
For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.
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(3) This verse and the three following confirm and illustrate the importance of the statement just made. The general course of thought appears to be as follows:—That which stands “at the head” of what we are saying, and gives completeness to the whole, is, that we have a High Priest who ministers in heaven itself (Hebrews 8:1-2). For, whereas the very conception of high-priestly duty would, were He on earth, exclude Him from being a priest at all (Hebrews 8:3-4), like those who “serve a copy of the heavenly things” (Hebrews 8:5), He in heaven holds and exercises that more excellent ministry of which their service was a shadow and a type (Hebrews 8:6).

That this man have . . .—Better, that this High Priest also have somewhat to offer. If these words refer to the continued ministration in the heavenly sanctuary, the explanation is found in Hebrews 9:24; but the meaning may simply be that every high priest, and therefore the Lord Jesus, must have some sacrifice to present to God, this being (Hebrews 5:1) the very object of his appointment to the office.

Hebrews 8:3-4. For every high-priest, &c. — As if the apostle had said, And it appears that Christ is a minister, or priest, of the true tabernacle, because he offers sacrifice, which none but the priests might do. Wherefore — Greek, οθεν, whence; the whole force of this inference depends on this supposition — that all the old typical institutions did represent what was really to be accomplished in Christ; it is of necessity that this man have somewhat to offer — For whatever otherwise this glorious person might be, yet a high-priest he could not be, unless he had in his possession somewhat to offer in sacrifice to God, and that was his whole human nature, soul and body. For, or, rather, but, if he were on earth — If his priesthood terminated here; he should, or, rather, could, not be a priest — Consistently with the Jewish institutions; seeing that there are priests, other priests, that offer according to the law — To whom alone this office is allotted. As if he had said, It appears further that Christ was a minister of the heavenly sanctuary, and was to execute his office in heaven; 1st, Because he did not execute it on earth. For though his priesthood may be considered as being in some sense begun on earth, by his offering the sacrifice of himself upon the cross, yet the continuance and consummation of all is in heaven, by his representing there the merit of his sacrifice, and his making continual intercession. 2d, Because there was a priesthood settled on earth already, and there could not be two orders of priesthood divinely appointed officiating on earth together.

8:1-6 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.For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices - This is a general statement about the functions of the high priest. It was the uniqueness of the office; it constituted its essence, that some gift or sacrifice was to be presented. This was indisputable in regard to the Jewish high priest, and this is involved in the nature of the priestly office everywhere. A "priest" is one who offers sacrifice, mainly in behalf of others. The principles involved in the office are:

(1) that there is need that some offering or atonement should be made for sin; and,

(2) that there is a fitness or propriety that some one should be designated to do it.

If this idea that a priest must offer sacrifice be correct, then it follows that the name priest should not be given to any one who is not appointed to offer sacrifice. It should not therefore be given to the ministers of the gospel, for it is no part of their work to offer sacrifice - the great sacrifice for sin having been once offered by the Lord Jesus, and not being again to be repeated. Accordingly the writers in the New Testament are perfectly uniform and consistent on this point. The name priest is never once given to the ministers of the gospel there. They are called ministers, ambassadors, pastors, bishops, overseers, etc., but never priests. Nor should they be so called in the Christian church. The name priest as applied to Christian ministers, has been derived from the "papists." They hold that the priest does offer as a sacrifice the real body and blood of Christ in the mass, and holding this, the name priest is given to the minister who does it "consistently." It is not indeed "right or Scriptural" - for the whole doctrine on which it is based is absurd and false, but while that doctrine is held the name is consistent. But with what show of consistency or propriety can the name be given to a Protestant minister of the gospel?

Wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer - That the Lord Jesus should make an offering. That is, since he is declared to be a priest, and since it is essential to the office that a priest should make an offering, it is indispensable that he should bring a sacrifice to God. He could not be a priest on the acknowledged principles on which that office is held, unless he did it. What the offering was which the Lord Jesus made, the apostle specifies more fully in Hebrews 9:11-14, Hebrews 9:25-26.

3. For—assigning his reason for calling him "minister of the sanctuary" (Heb 8:2).

somewhat—He does not offer again His once for all completed sacrifice. But as the high priest did not enter the Holy Place without blood, so Christ has entered the heavenly Holy Place with His own blood. That "blood of sprinkling" is in heaven. And is thence made effectual to sprinkle believers as the end of their election (1Pe 1:2). The term "consecrate" as a priest, is literally, to fill the hand, implying that an offering is given into the hands of the priest, which it is his duty to present to God. If a man be a priest, he must have some gift in his hands to offer. Therefore, Christ, as a priest, has His blood as His oblation to offer before God.

For every High Priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: in Christ’s administration for his in heaven, as he is a King, so he is a High Priest; and as such must have service and ministration suitable to himself there, as the Aaronical high priests had on earth; every of which was constituted to stand and minister at God’s altar, and were to offer sacrifices and gifts, as cleared before, Hebrews 5:1.

Wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer; seeing these earthly priests had such service, it would follow thence, if he were earthly and of their order, he should need such too. ’ Anagkaion having no verb expressly joined to it, is variously supplied: some, by

it is; but those who would make the tabernacle his body, do not allow it, that being offered before this, and therefore add, it was, or hath been: but it is best supplied potentially, it would be necessary for this High Priest, if he were so low as those priests, to have something of the like nature or kind of gifts and sacrifices, that he might offer as they did. Now such he needed not, as being utterly inconsistent with his priesthood, as is proved after.

For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices,.... See Gill on Hebrews 5:1.

wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer; or this person; for the word "man" is not in the text, and seems not so proper a word to be supplied, since it was his human nature that it was necessary he should have to offer; he was a person, and existed as a divine person antecedent to his assumption of human nature: as God, he had nothing to offer, or that was capable of being offered; something to offer as a sacrifice was necessary to him as a priest, but not any thing was proper to him; Levitical sacrifices would not do, these could not take away sin; besides, the great high priest was not of the tribe of Levi, nor of the order of Aaron, and therefore could not offer these. An angelic nature would have been improper, that is not capable of dying; and the offering up of such an one would have been of no service to men, for whom priests are ordained; but an human nature is meant, and which it was necessary Christ should have, and offer, for it is for men that he became an high priest; it was human nature that had offended God, and satisfaction must be made in that nature; and this was capable of suffering and dying; yet not human nature under any consideration was necessary for him to have and offer; not merely as in a state of innocence, without any infirmity, nor as sinful, yet as perfect as to parts and qualities; and a nature, and not a person, was necessary to be had, and to be taken into close and inseparable union to his divine person; and of this there was a necessity, not absolute, or a necessity of coaction and force: Christ was not forced unto it; but on the foot of his suretyship engagements, and because of making satisfaction for the sin of man, it was necessary; otherwise Christ voluntarily engaged to be a priest, and willingly became man, and freely offered himself, soul and body, in the room and stead of his people.

{4} For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.

(4) He brings a reason why it must be that Christ should have a body (which he calls a tabernacle which the Lord built, and not man) that is, that he might have that to offer: for otherwise he could not be an High Priest. The body is both the tabernacle and the sacrifice.

Hebrews 8:3. Subsidiary remark in justification of the expression λειτουργός, Hebrews 8:2. The λειτουργεῖν, or the presenting of sacrifices, is just something essential in the fulfilment of the office of every high priest; a λειτουργός, or sacrificing priest, must thus Christ also be.

By the statement, Hebrews 8:3, the argument itself is not interrupted. For enclosing the verse within a parenthesis, with Cameron, Stengel, and others, there exists therefore no reason.

γάρ] the explanatory namely.

On πᾶς γὰρκαθίσταται, comp. Hebrews 8:1 : πᾶς γὰρ ἀρχιερεὺςκαθίσταται τὰ πρὸς τὸν θεόν, ἵνα προσφέρῃ δῶρά τε καὶ θυσίας.

ὅθεν ἀναγκαῖον] sc. ἦν (Syriac, Beza, Piscator, Owen, Bengel, Bleek, de Wette, Hofmann, Komm. p. 306; Woerner), not ἐστίν (Vulgate, Luther, Calvin, Schlichting, Schulz, Böhme, Stuart, Kuinoel, Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 1, 2 Aufl. p. 407; Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 505; Alford, Maier, Moll, Ewald, M‘Caul, al.). For the author knows only one single sacrificial act of Christ, an act performed once for all (not one continually repeated), as is evident partly from the parallel passages, Hebrews 7:27, Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 9:25; Hebrews 9:28, Hebrews 10:10; Hebrews 10:12; Hebrews 10:14, partly from the preterite προσενέγκῃ in our passage.

ἔχειν τι καὶ τοῦτον, ὃ προσενέγκῃ] that also this (High Priest) should have somewhat that He might offer up. By the τί the author understands Christ’s own body, which He gave up to death as a propitiatory sacrifice for the sinful world. The indefinite mode of expression by τί, however, was chosen just because the reference to the sacrifice in this place was only an incidental one, and that which was intended could the less be misunderstood by the readers, in that immediately before, Hebrews 7:27, it had been declared by means of ἑαυτὸν ἀνενέγκας in what the sacrifice of Christ consisted.

Hebrews 8:3. πᾶς γὰρ ἀρχιερεὺς.… “For every High Priest is appointed for the offering of gifts and sacrifices, and therefore it was necessary that this man also have something to offer”. That Christ is in heaven as a λειτουργός, as an active minister in holy things, is proved by the universal law, that every High Priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices. Christ is not idle in heaven, but being there as High Priest He must be offering something; what that is, He has told us in Hebrews 7:27, but here no emphasis is on the what, but merely on the fact that He must be offering something, must be actively ministering in heaven as a λειτουργός. [Bruce therefore overlooks Hebrews 7:27 in his interpretation: “He is content for the present to throw out the remark: ‘This man must have something to offer,’ and to leave his readers for a while to puzzle over the question, What is it?”] With ἀναγκαῖον some have understood ἦν rather than ἐστὶ “necesse fuit habere quod offerret” (Beza) followed by Westcott, etc., on the ground that the reference is to our Lord’s presentation to the Father of His finished sacrifice. But it is better to give the word a merely logical and subjective force; it is a necessary inference that this man, etc. Behind and beyond this lies no doubt the reference to Christ’s sacrifice. As the High Priest could not enter into the Holiest without the blood of the victim (Hebrews 9:7), so must Jesus accomplish His priestly office by offering His own blood (Hebrews 9:12). For the words of the former part of the verse see note on Hebrews 6:1.

3. is ordained] Rather, “is appointed.”

gifts and sacrifices] See note on Hebrews 5:1.

that this man] It would be better as in the R. V. to avoid introducing the word “man” which is not in the original, and to say “that this High Priest.”

have somewhat also to offer] Namely, the Blood of His one sacrifice. The point is one of the extremest importance, and though the writer does not pause to explain what was the sacrifice which Christ offered as High Priest, he purposely introduces the subject here to prepare for his subsequent development of it in Hebrews 9:12, Hebrews 10:5-7; Hebrews 10:11-12. Similarly St Paul tells us “Christ … hath given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour” (Ephesians 5:2).

Hebrews 8:3. Γὰρ, for) The reason why he called Him λειτουργὸν, Hebrews 8:2.—ἀναγκαῖον, necessary) viz. was; for the aorist follows, προσενέγκῃ, should offer.

Verses 3, 4. - For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this one also have somewhat to offer. For (rather, nay; the reading μὲν οῦν being better supported than the Textus Receptus μὲν γὰρ) if he were on earth, he would not even be a priest, seeing there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law. These verses are in proof of the assertion of ver. 2, viz. that Christ has his ministry in the heavenly tabernacle. He has been shown to be a High Priest: therefore he must make some offering, this being the very purpose of a high priest's office (cf. Hebrews 5:1). But where? Not certainly in the earthly tabernacle, this being served already, and exclusively served, by the sons of Aaron. Therefore it must be in the heavenly sphere symbolized by the earthly tabernacle. And then, in ver. 5, that there is a heavenly reality, of which the earthly tabernacle is but a shadow, is shown by what was said of the latter when it was made. (What Christ offers in the heavenly sphere is surely his own atoning sacrifice. Some commentators have found a difficulty in this conception on the ground that this his sacrifice had been completed once for all before his ascension. True; but he is regarded as carrying its efficacy with him to the mercy-seat above, and so for ever offering it; even as it is continually commemorated and pleaded in the Eucharist by the Church below. And thus, be it observed, the symbolism of the Day of Atonement is accurately fulfilled. For the high priest did not sacrifice within the tabernacle; he only carried to the holy of holies the blood, representing the atoning efficacy of the sacrifice made outside before his entrance.) Hebrews 8:3A priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices. Therefore Christ, a high priest, must have gifts and sacrifices to offer, and a sanctuary in which to offer them.

Wherefore it is of necessity (ὅεν ἀναγκαῖον)

Rend. wherefore it is necessary.

Somewhat to offer (ὃ προσενέγκῃ)

Lit. what he may offer. The construction is unusual. Comp. Acts 21:16. The statement is a truism, unless it be assumed that the Hebrew Christians were ignorant of the doctrine of Christ's priesthood.

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