Hebrews 10:12 - [Christ] sat down

Struggling to explain this to my girlfriend.

Hebrews 10:12 - “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God…” (RSV-2CE)

The footnote in the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible reads, “[The author’s] point: the work of the the former [the Levitical priests in 10:11] was perpetually unfinished, while the work of the latter [Christ] has been definitively accomplished. This applies to the earthly dimension of Christ’s priesthood, since his ministry as a heavenly priest and intercessor is ongoing (7:25; 8:2).”

What I get back is that “He sat down. His work is done. There is no more sacrifice because it was accomplished.” I’m having trouble with the idea that the earthly sacrifice was indeed one time in the past, but the eternal sacrifice is one time and, well, eternal, i.e., always and forever being offered. 7:25 seems a good reference to Christ’s eternal, ongoing work. 8:2 somewhat less so (again, she’ll say, “he’s sitting; his work is totally accomplished”). Are there other mentions in Scripture of Christ’s eternal priesthood and the eternal sacrifice being offered to the Father?

Anyone else run into this argument? How did you handle it?

Eruorto. You mentioned:

I’m having trouble with the idea that the earthly sacrifice was indeed one time in the past, but the eternal sacrifice is one time and, well, eternal, i.e., always and forever being offered.

In a sense Jesus sacrifice is a moment in time. But in another sense, because Jesus is not only true man but also true God, His sacrifice transcends time (that’s also why it is reasonable Jesus can confect the Eucharist during the Last Supper for example).

Even the Old Covenant Saints were finally allowed to come into Heaven on account of the work of Christ Jesus’ sacrifice, which transcended time.

That’s WHY Scripture says Jesus sacrifice was before the foundation or beginning of the world.

REVELATION 13:8b the book of life of the Lamb, which was slain from the beginning of the world.

This is tied into the mystery of who Jesus is.

Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man. (from the Divine Praises)

Hope this helps.

God bless.


I have never heard this verse used in that way; but several thoughts immediately come to mind, in light of the context of the verse.

Firstly, the verse must be read in context. The point of the passage is to contrast the once and for all sacrifice of Christ, which has the power to forgive sins, and the daily sacrifice of the Levitical priesthood (mentioned in v. 10), that “can never take away sins”. This verse is not stating that Christ is now immobile in any way; it is not stating that role as High Priest is finished–in fact, we know that Our Lord is a priest forever (5:6;7:20 etc.). What we have, in effect, is a sacrifice that is perpetually efficacious, made once for all time and is superabundant in merit and grace, yet is applied continuously by the great High Priest, Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of the Father.

Secondly, the portrayal of Christ as seated at the right hand of God, in addition to speaking of the singularity of the sacrifice, is to demonstrate the power and glory that the Father has crowned Him with and to place Our Lord in a position in which He can use His enemies as a footstool (cf. 10:13).

Lastly, there is a great danger in excising certain verses from their context and divorcing them from the overall message of The Gospels and the whole of Sacred Scripture to attempt to drive home an unorthodox doctrine. Matt. 11:11 comes to mind; if I were to pluck that verse from its home and take it at face value, according to whatever point I wanted to drive home, then I could make a case that John the Baptist was greater than Jesus or I could state that I am greater than John the Baptist–both of which are ridiculous statements–but this is the problem with cherry-picking verses, employing eisegesis rather than exegesis.

10:19 And so, brothers, have faith in the entrance into the Holy of Holies by the blood of Christ, 10:20 and in the new and living Way, which he has initiated for us by the veil, that is, by his flesh, 10:21 and in the Great Priest over the house of God.

What are they talking in the following passages to the one your friend referred to?

What blood? A veil that IS HIS FLESH?

The author clearly is pointing to the Eucharist, the TRUE Blood, Flesh, Soul and Divinity of OUR LORD!

Bread that looks like bread and yet it truly is HIS flesh “A Veil” indeed.

For HE did say “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you.”

Jesus sacrifice, by the fact it was made by GOD himself (Jesus IS GOD) cannot be reduced to a single point in time occurrence, like the sacrifices offered by all the other humans who offer sacrifice to GOD. As the offerer was human his sacrifice WAS a single point in time occurrence that was worthless when trying to repay the insult to an eternal being.
only an eternal sacrifice can suffice to repair the breach to GOD.
Because GOD offered the sacrifice as a human! it APPEARS as a single point in time occurrence. There is a veil here! We KNOW Jesus IS GOD!
GOD is eternal! HIS sacrifice IS eternal.

As the other poster correctly pointed out.

REVELATION 13:8b the book of life of the Lamb, which was slain from the beginning of the world.

By the way I believe your friend is trying to use this verse to justify a common protestant doctrine that we do not need to do anything to achieve OUR own salvation.
Since Jesus sacrifice was done we can USE his work to enter Heaven.

Of course this can be refuted starting from the fact that faith alone will NOT get you saved! :smiley: James 2:24
And hundreds of other verses that show that this is NOT the case!

Sitting down was a posture assumed by rabbis when they taught and rulers when they passed judgement.

*Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. (Luke 5:3)

Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. (John 8:2)

When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, and in Hebrew, Gab’batha. (John 19:3)

He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:21)*

Sitting down at the right hand of God has little to do with finishing something, as if Jesus was tired after completing a days work. Sitting down on the throne was Jesus assuming his rightful place as judge.

The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, (John 5:22)

I sometimes wonder if Ignatius simply pulled some of their footnotes out of thin air.


Did she talk to you? :wink: That’s exactly what she was talking about.

I see that, but it’s rough going…

That’s seems silly, Jesus “sat down” at table, at the left hand of Peter, and right hand of James, at the last supper by inferences of the accounts; or Perhaps, Peter ‘sat’ down at the right hand of Jesus… or whatever. But Jesus’ task was just beginning at the last supper, as was Peter’s, and Jamese’s…

So – Sitting or reclining, by itself, has little or nothing to do with a task being accomplished and finished, and everything to do with Jesus having to wait on the Father who is the source of origin of power and authority. For, if a sacrifice is made – you ‘eat’ it at table with your superior, and you are the right hand man of the one you serve.

The task in heaven is clearly beginning when Jesus sits down, for scripture says “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.”; which indicates that the Father is still doing a task which the son Began by sitting down in the first place. ( Matthew 22:44 ) And there is nothing (in the Trinity) that the Father is doing, that the son is not also doing likewise: ( John 5:19 )

So, the butchering of the Lamb is consummated; but the death and resurrection will remain with out more killing of Jesus in the body which he came to earth in. He does not die again, and descend to the dead – again. But the sacrafice (immolata/immolation) does remain, for we (and he) eats it with us in the Kingdom – and we eat it under the sign of bread, with our molars. (im-mol-ation).

Jesus also says: I will not drink from this cup again, until I drink it with you new in the Kingdom. And that can’t possibly be said to have been fully - fulfilled until he had died and risen once, eg: upon the road to ?Emmaeus?, where the disciples recognized him in the breaking of the bread.

So the application of the sacrifice, in the form of a meal, is ongoing; but the butchering of Jesus the Christ in a bloody manner, is not.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.