The Warning Passages in Hebrews Part 4: The Danger of Willful Sin in Hebrews 10:26-39 -- By: Thomas Kem Oberholtzer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 145:580 (Oct 1988)
Article: The Warning Passages in Hebrews Part 4: The Danger of Willful Sin in Hebrews 10:26-39
Author: Thomas Kem Oberholtzer


The Warning Passages in Hebrews
Part 4:
The Danger of Willful Sin in Hebrews 10:26-39

Thomas Kem Oberholtzer

Pastor
Victoria Bible Church, Victoria, Texas

Hebrews 10:26–39 is the fourth warning passage in this epistle. The severity and intensity in this caveat are greater than in the previous three. It focuses on the topics of willful sin, consuming fire, and shrinking back to destruction. The passage contains important present and eschatological instructions for the addressees.

The Relationship of Hebrews 10:26-39 to 10:19-25

Hebrews 7:1–10:18 forms the key doctrinal section of the epistle.1 Chapter 7 affirms the superiority of the priesthood of Christ to that of Aaron. Hebrews 8:1–9:15 delineates the superior priestly service of Jesus, and 9:16–28 explains the necessity of the Son’s sacrifice. The final division of this main doctrinal exposition is 10:1–18, which presents the results of the superior sacrifice for the New Covenant worshipers. The section then merges into the fourth warning, “Now where there is forgiveness of these things there is no longer any offering for sin” (10:18).

The immediate context of the admonition is 10:19–25. A transition from the previous doctrinal section is seen in verse 19 in the conjunction οὖν (“therefore”).2 The readers are again referred to as

ἀδελφοί (“brethren”), pointing to the fact that they are related to the New Covenant blood, that is, they are believers. They were to have confidence to enter the very presence of God, the ἁγίων (“holy place”), through the blood of Christ. Through the blood of Christ the Christian obtains confidence.3

In the Old Testament tabernacle the veil separated the holy of holies from the holy place. The veil barred all the priests (except the high priest) and all the people from access to God’s presence in the holy of holies. The veil was a symbol of Christ’s flesh.4 When...

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