Hebrews 9:26
For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world has he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
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(26) For then must he often have suffered.—The repeated presentation of Himself to God must imply, as a necessary condition, a repeated “suffering of death; as the high priest’s offering of the blood of expiation in the Holiest Place implied the previous sacrifice of the victim. The writer’s point of view is the time when “Christ entered into heaven itself.” In speaking of the repeated “suffering” (Luke 24:26; Luke 24:46, et al.), he marks the limits within which it must lie, reaching back to the “foundation of the world.” The expression in the second part of the verse is the converse of this: looking forward from the “foundation of the world,” through all the successive periods of human history until the Incarnation, he writes, “Now once at the end of the world”—“at the consummation of the ages”—hath Christ “been manifested.” The words “consummation of the age” occur five times in St. Matthew’s Gospel—Matthew 13:39-40; Matthew 13:49; Matthew 24:3; Matthew 28:20. (See the Notes.) The phrase here is more expressive still. The history of all preceding ages was a preparation for the manifestation of the Christ (“who verily was fore-ordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times” (literally, at the end of the times), 1Peter 1:20; all subsequent history develops the results of that manifestation. A similar thought is contained in St. Paul’s words “the fulness of the seasons” (Ephesians 1:10), “the fulness of the time” (Galatians 4:4). (See further the Note on Hebrews 1:2.)

To put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.—Literally, for the annulling of sin through His sacrifice. The word which in Hebrews 7:18 was used for the abrogation of the command relating to the line of earthly priests, is here applied to the destruction of the power and abolition of the results of sin. As in the manifestation before the face of God we see the proof that the goal which the human high priest failed to reach had been attained, so these words proclaim full deliverance from guilt and penalty, and from the hold of sin itself—a deliverance which the sin-offering could but express in figure.

9:23-28 It is evident that the sacrifices of Christ are infinitely better than those of the law, which could neither procure pardon for sin, nor impart power against it. Sin would still have been upon us, and have had dominion over us; but Jesus Christ, by one sacrifice, has destroyed the works of the devil, that believers may be made righteous, holy, and happy. As no wisdom, learning, virtue, wealth, or power, can keep one of the human race from death, so nothing can deliver a sinner from being condemned at the day of judgment, except the atoning sacrifice of Christ; nor will one be saved from eternal punishment who despises or neglects this great salvation. The believer knows that his Redeemer liveth, and that he shall see him. Here is the faith and patience of the church, of all sincere believers. Hence is their continual prayer as the fruit and expression of their faith, Even so come, Lord Jesus.For then must he often have suffered - That is, if his blood had no more efficacy than what the Jewish high priest offered, and which was so often repeated, it would have been necessary that Christ should have often died.

But now once - Once for all; once in the sense that it is not to be repeated again - ἅπαξ hapax.

In the end of the world - In the last dispensation or economy; that under which the affairs of the world will be wound up; see the phrase fully explained in Hebrews 1:2 note, and Acts 2:17 note; 1 Corinthians 10:11, and Isaiah 2:2.

Hath he appeared - He has been manifested in human form.

To put away sin -

(1) To remove the punishment due to sin, or to provide a way of pardon; and,

(2) to remove the stain of sin from the soul; see the notes on Hebrews 9:14.

By the sacrifice of himself - see the notes on Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 2:14; Hebrews 7:27.

26. then—in that case.

must … have suffered—rather as Greek, "It would have been necessary for Him often to suffer." In order to "offer" (Heb 9:25), or present Himself often before God in the heavenly holiest place, like the legal high priests making fresh renewals of this high priestly function. He would have had, and would have often to suffer. His oblation of Himself before God was once for all (that is, the bringing in of His blood into the heavenly Holy of Holies), and therefore the preliminary suffering was once for all.

since the foundation of the world—The continued sins of men, from their first creation, would entail a continual suffering on earth, and consequent oblation of His blood in the heavenly holiest place, since the foundation of the world, if the one oblation "in the fulness of time" were not sufficient. Philo [The Creation of the World, p. 637], shows that the high priest of the Hebrews offered sacrifices for the whole human race. "If there had been greater efficacy in the repetition of the oblation, Christ necessarily would not have been so long promised, but would have been sent immediately after the foundation of the world to suffer, and offer Himself at successive periods" [Grotius].

now—as the case is,

once—for all; without need of renewal. Rome's fiction of an UNBLOODY sacrifice in the mass, contradicts her assertion that the blood of Christ is present in the wine; and also confutes her assertion that the mass is propitiatory; for, if unbloody, it cannot be propitiatory; for without shedding of blood there is no remission (Heb 9:22). Moreover, the expression "once" for all here, and in Heb 9:28, and Heb 10:10, 12, proves the falsity of her view that there is a continually repeated offering of Christ in the Eucharist or mass. The offering of Christ was a thing once done that it might be thought of for ever (compare Note, see on [2572]Heb 10:12).

in the end of the world—Greek, "at the consummation of the ages"; the winding up of all the previous ages from the foundation of the world; to be followed by a new age (Heb 1:1, 2). The last age, beyond which no further age is to be expected before Christ's speedy second coming, which is the complement of the first coming; literally, "the ends of the ages"; Mt 28:20 is literally, "the consummation of the age," or world (singular; not as here, plural, ages). Compare "the fulness of times," Eph 1:10.

appeared—Greek, "been manifested" on earth (1Ti 3:16; 1Pe 1:20). English Version has confounded three distinct Greek verbs, by translating all alike, Heb 9:24, 26, 28, "appear." But, in Heb 9:24, it is "to present Himself," namely, before God in the heavenly sanctuary; in Heb 9:26, "been manifested" on earth: in Heb 9:28, "shall be seen" by all, and especially believers.

put away—abolish; doing away sin's power as well by delivering men from its guilt and penalty, so that it should be powerless to condemn men, as also from its yoke, so that they shall at last sin no more.

sin—singular number; all the sins of men of every age are regarded as one mass laid on Christ. He hath not only droned for all actual sins, but destroyed sin itself. Joh 1:29, "Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin (not merely the sins: singular, not plural) of the world."

by the sacrifice of himself—Greek, "by (through) His own sacrifice"; not by "blood of others" (Heb 9:25). Alford loses this contrast in translating, "by His sacrifice."

For then must he often have suffered; epei the consequent is drawn ab impossibili; if he had often offered himself, he must have often suffered, but he could not suffer often. For where there was offering, there must be a sacrifice, and so suffering. Now that Christ should do so in his own person, was impossible and absurd, for God to have put his Son on suffering so cruel a death so often.

Since the foundation of the world; from the fall of Adam at the beginning of the world, ever since sin needed a sacrifice: but his once suffering as a sacrifice for it was of eternal virtue in God’s purpose, answering and satisfying God’s justice; one death of the Second Adam for the sin said penalty of the first, in the efficacy and virtue of his death, which was everlasting. The often and annual sacrificing of the Aaronical priests, and entering of the holy of holiest with the blood of beasts, was to show the Jews their weakness, and to instruct them in, and lead them to, this one sacrifice once to be offered, of eternal avail, as is subjoined.

But now: but Christ the gospel High Priest was not only God-man, manifested to be so, and exhibited as such an officer by his work, but was manifested to be such by promise, and in types and figures from Adam’s fall; but now showed it clearly in his suffering work, 1 Timothy 3:16.

Once in the end of the world; the days of Christ’s ministry on earth under the fourth monarchy, called the last time, 1Jo 2:18, the ends of the world, 1 Corinthians 10:11, the fulness of the time, Galatians 4:4, God’s set and best time for his appearance; and it was but once that he appeared in these days, performing this work.

Hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself; then he sacrificed himself, offered up his blood to God within the veil, taking away by his own blood, which God required, the guilt, stain, and power of all sin, justifying believers from any condemnation by it, by what he did and suffered in their stead for their good, who fly from it for refuge to him, Isaiah 53:1-12 Daniel 9:24 Romans 7:24,25 1Jo 3:5. For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world,.... For if it was necessary that he should often offer up himself now, which is the same as to suffer, since the sacrifice of himself, the same was necessary before; seeing sin was in the world from the beginning, and the saints from the foundation of the world had their sins expiated by the sacrifice of Christ; but the truth is, Christ's sufferings were but once, though the virtue of them is always, both before and after; nor can he suffer more, or again, because of his power over death and the grave, and because he has effectually obtained what he suffered for:

but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself; this is to be understood, not of his appearance in heaven, of which mention is made in Hebrews 9:24 but of his incarnation on earth, called an appearance; not as though his human nature was a mere phantom or apparition, for it was a real thing; or as if he was then manifested to be what he really was before; for before his incarnation he was not truly and actually man; but this is said with respect to the manifestation of his invisible deity; or of him as the Son of God in human nature; and in regard to the types of the old law, under which he was hid; and with respect to the prophecies of his coming; and it designs the same thing with his descent from heaven, and coming into this world, in which he appeared in fashion as a man, as a mean man, as an afflicted one; yea, he looked like a sinful man, bearing the infirmities and sins of his people; his appearance was but to a very few, and for a little time; and the time of it was, "in the end of the world"; the same with the last days; the last age of the world; the end of the Jewish economy; at the close of their civil and ecclesiastical state, according to Habakkuk 2:3 & so the Jews expect their Messiah , "at the end of days" (n): and this appearance was but "once"; there were many appearances of him in an human form, under the Old Testament dispensation; and there were many after his resurrection; but this is said to be but once, in opposition to the many types and sacrifices under the law, and agrees with his one oblation, and once suffering: the end of his appearance was, to put away sin; the filth of it, by his blood; the guilt of it, by his atoning sacrifice; and the punishment of it, by his sufferings and death, the penalty of the law; and in consequence of all this, the dominion of it by the power of his grace, and the very being of it hereafter: and this putting it away is signified by his bearing, carrying, and taking it away; by removing it as far as the east is from the west; by finishing and making an end of it; by crucifying the old man, destroying the body of sin, and by an utter disannulling and abolishing it, as a debt, and as a law; and all this is done by the sacrifice of himself; by the offering up of his body and soul an offering for sin; as in Hebrews 9:14.

(n) Seder Tephillot, Ed. Amstelod. fol. 2. 1.

{15} For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the {p} end of the world hath he appeared to put away {q} sin by the sacrifice of himself.

(15) An argument to prove that Christ's offering should not be repeated: seeing that sins were to be purged from the beginning of the world, and it is proved that sins cannot be purged, but by the blood of Christ: he would have needed to have died repeatedly, since the beginning of the world. But a man can die only once: therefore Christ's sacrifice which was once done in the later days, neither could nor can be repeated. Seeing that it is so, surely the power of it extends both to sins that were before, and to sins that are after his coming.

(p) In the later days.

(q) That whole root of sin.

Hebrews 9:26. Proof of the necessity that Christ’s sacrifice should take place only once for all, from the non-reasonableness of the opposite. For if the sacrifice of Christ sufficed not once for all for the cancelling of sin, He must oftentimes in succession—because no generation of mankind, so long as the world has endured, has been free from sin—have undergone death since the beginning of the world. But now, seeing this is contrary to reason, the matter stands in reality quite otherwise. From this reasoning it is evident that the author supposed an expiation of the sins of all the earlier generations of mankind too, by virtue of the sacrificial death of Christ. An erroneous statement of the connection of thought is given by Hofmann (Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 441), Delitzsch, and Alford. See, on the other hand, Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 552, Obs.

ἐπεί] since otherwise, alioquin. Comp. 1 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 7:14, al.

ἔδει αὐτὸν πολλάκις παθεῖν] it were needful that He should often suffer.

On ἔδει without ἄν, see Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 266.

παθεῖν specially of the suffering of death, as Hebrews 13:12.

ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμον] from the foundation or creation of the world onwards (comp. Hebrews 4:3), i.e. here: so long as there are men in the world.

νυνὶ δέ] as Hebrews 8:6, in the logical sense: but now. Opposition to ἐπεὶ κ.τ.λ.

ἐπὶ συντελείᾳ τῶν αἰώνων] in the end of the ages, periods of time. Antithesis to ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου, and equivalent in signification to ἐπ ̓ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων, Hebrews 1:1. Comp. also ἐν τῇ συντελείᾳ τοῦ αἰῶνος, Matthew 13:40; Matthew 13:49.

εἰς ἀθέτησιν ἁμαρτίας διὰ τῆς θυσίας αὐτοῦ] for the cancelling of sin by His sacrifice. These words belong together. The conjoining of διὰ τῆς θυσίας αὐτοῦ with πεφανέρωται, which has been preferred by Jac. Cappellus, Grotius, Carpzov, Heinrichs, Schulz, Böhme, Tholuck, and others, is, in connection with the right determination of the sense of the verb (vid. infra), harsh and unnatural, and not at all justified by the alleged analogon: ὁ ἐλθὼν δι ̓ ὕδατος καὶ αἵματος, 1 John 5:6. Tholuck’s objection, however, that ἅπαξαἰώνων is antithetically opposed to the κατ ̓ ἐνιαυτόν, Hebrews 9:25, and πεφανέρωται διὰ τῆς θυσίας to the εἰσέρχεται ἐν αἵματι ἀλλοτρίῳ, does not apply, inasmuch as the second clause of Hebrews 9:26 forms the antithesis to the first clause of that verse, but not to Hebrews 9:25; on which account also ἐπεὶκόσμου is not, with Beza, Mill, Griesbach, Carpzov, Schulz, Bloomfield, and others, to be enclosed within a parenthesis.

No emphasis for the rest falls upon the personal pronoun employed with θυσίας, in such wise that the sense would be: by the sacrifice of Himself (so Erasmus, Calvin, Beza, in their translations, Piscator, Jac. Cappellus, Owen, Limborch, Schulz, Heinrichs, Böhme, Stuart, Stengel, Tholuck, Ebrard, Conybeare, and others). It means simply: by His sacrifice (Bleek, de Wette), so that not αὑτοῦ, but αὑτοῦ is to be written. The contrast between His own blood and the blood of other victims was already sufficiently brought out afresh at Hebrews 9:25.

πεφανέρωται] He has been manifested, i.e. He has appeared or come forth before the sight of men upon earth. Comp. 1 Peter 1:20; 1 John 3:5; 1 John 3:8; also Colossians 3:4; 1 John 2:28; 1 Peter 5:4 [1 Timothy 3:16]. To explain the expression of the appearing before God, and to make it of like import with ἐμφανισθῆναι τῷ προσώτῳ τοῦ θεοῦ, Hebrews 9:24 (Jac. Cappellus, Heinrichs, Schulz, al.), is forbidden alike by the absence of the, in that case indispensable, addition τῷ θεῷ, as by the ἐκ δευτέρου ὀφθήσεται, Hebrews 9:28, corresponding as it does to the πεφανέρωται.Hebrews 9:26. ἐπεὶ ἔδει αὐτὸν … “Since in that case he must often have suffered since the creation.” If Christ’s one offering of Himself were not eternally efficacious, if it required periodical renewal, then this demanded periodical sacrifice. It was “not without blood” the entrance was made, and if the entrance required repetition, so must the sacrifice be repeated. And as sin prevailed ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου, the παθεῖν must also date from the first. The contrast is with the one offering ἐπὶ συντελείᾳ κ.τ.λ. “If his offering of Himself were not independent of time and valid as a single act, if it were valid only for the generation for whom it is immediately made, then in order to benefit men in the past, He must have suffered often, indeed in each generation of the past” (Davidson). νυνὶ δὲ ἅπαξ … “But now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested for sin’s abolition by His sacrifice”, νυνὶ, “as things are,” in contrast to the case supposed in Hebrews 9:25, the possibility of His repeated entrance and sacrifice. For the word, see Hebrews 8:6. ἅπαξ not πολλάκις, Hebrews 9:25-26; and this, ἐπὶ συντελίᾳ τῶν αἰώνεν [for ἐπὶ in this use see Winer, p. 489] at that period of history in which all that has happened since the foundation of the world (ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου) finds its interpretation and adjustment. If there was to be one sacrifice for all generations, the occurrence of that sacrifice itself marked the period as the consummation. It closes the periods of symbolism, expectation and doubt, suggesting, perhaps, the word πεφανέρωται for Christ’s appearance, as that which was dimly foreshadowed, blindly longed for. εἰς ἀθέτησιν τῆς ἁμαρτίας, The object of Christ’s appearance, the abolition of sin, made the repetition of His sacrifice unnecessary. In Hebrews 7:18 ἀθέτησις is used of permanent displacement, removal, or setting aside, that is, abolition, τῆς ἁμαρτίας of sin, in its most general and comprehensive sense, all sin. This was the great object of Christ’s manifestation, the annulling of sin, its total destruction, the counteraction of all its effects. This was to be accomplished διὰ τῆς θυσίας αὐτοῦ “through His sacrifice,” the simple subjective genitive. The sentence draws attention not to the nature of the sacrifice, but to its three characteristics, that it was made once for tall, in the consummation, for sin’s abolition.26. for then must he often have suffered] Since He could not have entered the Sanctuary of God’s Holiest in the Heavens without some offering of atoning blood.

once] “Once for all.”

in the end of the world] This phrase does not convey the meaning of the Greek which has “at the consummation of the ages” (Matthew 13:39; Matthew 13:49; Matthew 24:3; Matthew 28:20), in other words “when God’s full time was come for the revelation of the Gospel” (comp. Hebrews 1:1; 1 Corinthians 10:11).

hath he appeared] Lit., “He has been manifested”—namely, “in the flesh” at the Incarnation (1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 1:20, &c.).

to put away sin] The word is stronger—“for the annulment of sin.” Into this one word is concentrated the infinite superiority of the work of Christ. The High Priest even on the Day of Atonement could offer no sacrifice which could put away sin (Hebrews 10:4), but Christ’s sacrifice was able to annul sin altogether.

by the sacrifice of himself] The object of which was, as St Peter tells us, “to bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).Hebrews 9:26. Ἐπεὶ ἔδει, for then it would have been necessary) Here it is taken for granted that Christ suffered for the sins committed from the beginning of the world: Hebrews 9:15. Christ in the beginning already was He who is according to the divine nature.[53] Philo shows that the high priest of the Hebrews offered sacrifices for the whole human race, de mon., p. 637.—παθεῖν, that He should often have suffered) Therefore the offering is not (there can be no oblation) without suffering.—ἅπαξ, once) This once is absolute, being shadowed forth in the once, relative, which was Levitical: Hebrews 9:7.—ἐπὶ συντελείᾳ, at the consummation) when sin had reached its height; comp. note to John 1:10.—τῶν αἰώνων, of ages) The beginning of these ages is not to be computed from the time of Moses, but from the foundation of the world: comp. ch. Hebrews 1:2, note: and therefore the consummation here is not the end of the Old Testament, but of the world. Ἡ συντέλεια τοῦ αἰῶνος, is the very consummation of the world or age (seculi), a phrase which we often find in Matthew: ἡ συντέλεια τῶν αἰώνων in this passage includes times nearer our own, as being in the plural number. The sacrifice of Christ divides the age of the world into two portions, of which the first is certainly not shorter than the second.—ἉΜΑΡΤΊΑς, of sin) The singular, with great force.[54]—πεφανέρωται, has been manifested) in the world.

[53] Beng. seems to mean, that Christ from the very beginning sustained His character as the Word of God, John 1:1—a title implying His divine nature, at the same time implying also His coming into the world, as seat by the Father, to be its Saviour.—ED.

[54] All the sins of all men of every age are regarded as one mass laid on Christ. Sin is here put in the abstract, to express that He destroyed sin itself, as well as atoned for actual sins.—ED.Since the foundation of the world (ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου)

For, from the foundation of the world, sin required atonement by sacrifice; and, therefore, if Christ had been a victim like others, which must be offered repeatedly, he would have had to suffer repeatedly from the foundation of the world. If his sacrifice, like the animal atonements, had availed for a time only, he would have been obliged to repeat his offering whenever that time expired; and, since his atonement was designed to be universal, it would have been necessary for him to appear repeatedly upon earth, and to die repeatedly from the foundation of the world. Comp. 1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8.

In the end of the world (ἐπὶ συντελείᾳ τῶν αἰώνων)

In N.T συντέλεια consummation, always with αἰὼν age. With the plural αἰώσων only here. Everywhere else συντέλεια αἰῶνος. The A.V. gives a wrong impression as of the end of this visible world. The true sense is the consummation of the ages: that is to say, Christ appeared when the former ages had reached their moral consummation under the old Levitical economy. Comp. Hebrews 1:2.

To put away sin (εἰς ἀθίτησιν τῆς ἁμαρτίας)

Lit. for the putting away of sin. For ἀθέτησις see on Hebrews 7:18. Note the singular number, sin. The sacrifice of Christ dealt with sin as a principle: the Levitical sacrifices with individual transgressions.

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