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Chapter 7:27. Who needeth not daily, etc A difficulty has been raised as to this verse. It is said that Christ did not, like the priests, offer up a daily sacrifice, first for his own sins and then for the sins of the people, “for this he did once when he offered up himself.” It seems hence, it is said, that he offered a sacrifice for himself as well as for the people. In order to explain this, it has been proposed to take in the following verse; and it has been said that there is here an arrangement similar to what often occurs in the Prophets; that is, when two things are stated, the last is first referred to, and then the first. The two things here are the priest’s own sins and those of the people. The Apostle is supposed to speak first of what Christ did as to the sins of the people, and then that in the following verse he shews that Christ had no sins of his own, for he became or was made “a perfect priest,” and that “for ever,” being sinless not only when he actually offered the great sacrifice, but also sinless as our intercessor in heaven.
This is the explanation of Bishop Jebb, and is adopted by Bloomfield. That arrangements of this kind are found in the New Testament, and even in this Epistle is what cannot be doubted. But the last word, “perfected,” will not admit of the meaning given to it, “he is and was, and shall be everlastingly perfect and free from sin.” Were this its meaning, there would be a complete correspondence with the former part. Perfection is twice before applied to Christ in this Epistle, (chapter 2:10; 5:9,) but not in the sense above stated. When Christ is said to be perfected or made perfect, the meaning is that he is completely fitted and qualified for his undertaking, or that he has fully completed his work of expiation. Here the meaning seems to be that he is for ever made perfect as a priest, having not only once for all made an adequate atonement for the sins of his people, but also continues a priest for ever.
As to the 27th verse, it may be thus rendered, —
27. “Who has no need daily to offer sacrifices, as the high priests, (first for their own sins, and then for those of the people:) for this he did once for all, when he offered up himself”
“This he did” refers only to the offering of a sacrifice, and “for their own sins,” etc., apply only to the high priests. Thus we avoid the difficulty alluded to.
From an idea that the high priest offered sacrifices only once a year, i.e., on the day of expiation, Macknight renders καθ ἡμέραν “from time to time,” etc. He considers it as equivalent to κατ ἐναυτὸν “from year to year,” in chapter 10:1, and refers to Exodus 13:10, where “from year to year” is in Hebrew from “days to days,” and the same in the Sept., ἀφ᾿ ἡμερῶν εἰς ἡμέρας. Whether the high priest offered sacrifices daily, is what cannot be ascertained from Scripture, though Stuart refers to Leviticus 6:19-22, and Numbers 28:3, 4, where nothing satisfactory is found. He quotes indeed some words from Philo, who says that this was the case. Scott considered that what was done daily by the priests is here attributed to the high priest, they being his coadjutors. But Macknight’s explanation is the most satisfactory, especially as the comparison throughout is between Christ and the high priest.
The 28th verse may be thus rendered,—
“For the law made men high priests, who have infirmity; but the word of the oath, the Son, perfected for ever.”
“Perfected,” or completely qualified, that is, as a priest. The word, perfected, depends as to its specific meaning on the context. The subject here is the perpetuity of the priest. The high priests under the Law did not continue because of death, (verse 23,) and this is the “infirmity” mentioned here, though in another place, (chapter 5:2,) it means sinfulness. Then the perfection of the Son is the perpetuity of his life, referred to in verses 16 and 24. The high priests died, and hence were not fitted for their work; but Christ lives, and therefore continues for ever fully qualified for his office. See verse 26.
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