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[Heb 10:5 RSV] (5) Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, "Sacrifices and offerings thou hast not desired, but a body hast thou prepared for me;

[Heb 10:5 MGNT] (5) διὸ εἰσερχόμενος εἰς τὸν κόσμον λέγει θυσίαν καὶ προσφορὰν οὐκ ἠθέλησας σῶμα δὲ κατηρτίσω μοι

The interesting textual history of this passage is discussed in another question.

My question is,

What is the meaning of "a body you have prepared for me"?

NOTE:

It is expected that one would refer to a Koine lexicon to answer this question properly. Please do not appeal to any creedal assumptions as this is an exegetical site.

Usage of καταρτίζω

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In Hebrews 10:5 what does “a body you have prepared for me” mean?

Hebrews 10:5-9 (NASB)

5 Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says,“Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, But a body You have prepared for Me;6 In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have taken no pleasure. 7 “Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (In the scroll of the book it is written of Me)To do Your will, O God.’”

8 "After saying above, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have not desired, nor have You taken pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the Law), 9 then He [a]said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second."

The parallel is between the animal sacrifices and offerings you did not want, but you prepared a body for Me. Jesus was a Jew, a member of the Jewish nation that was in covenant with God. So when Jesus was baptized, he was in effect presenting himself to do his Father's will, with regards to the offering of his own body and to do away with the animal sacrifices under the Law.

For this reason Paul wrote: "By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." (Hebrews 10:10 NASB). God acknowledged and approved the presentation of his son by anointing him with holy spirit.

Mark 1:9-11 (NASB)

The Baptism of Jesus

9 "In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens [a]opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; 11 and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”

  • So are you saying that holy spirit descended on a prepared body at his mikveh/baptism? And that that body was not "fully human"? – Ruminator Apr 12 at 9:06
  • Ruminator : To the contrary the Word became flesh, anyone denying it, is an Antichrist. (1 John 4:2-3 John 1:14, 1 Timothy 3:16, and 1 Peter 3:18) – Ozzie Nicolas Apr 14 at 17:53
  • I don't see the word (or the concept) "fully" in those passages. I do, however, see "likeness" twice and "modified" once elsewhere. The word "fully" is from the Catholic Creeds, not from the scriptures. – Ruminator Apr 14 at 18:00
  • Ruminator : No quite clear what you mean. John's baptism of Jesus was different to that of the Jews who submitted themselves for repentance of sins against the law. Jesus "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” Hebrews 10:5-9 – Ozzie Nicolas Apr 14 at 20:03
  • Jesus was not filled with the spirit until it descended on him in the form of a dove as he came up out of the waters and the heavens opened. From there he was led by the spirit to be tested and then we see him saying "the spirit of the LORD is upon me because he has anointed (publicly recognized) him to preach, etc.". Before that, [Luk 2:40 KJV] (40) And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.. – Ruminator Apr 14 at 20:10
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It could simply mean that a biological male body was prepared in advance for Him to inhabit, such that He remained fully God and now also fully human(see below), meaning having a human body.

When I read this passage

“But a body You have prepared for Me.” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:5‬

I also consider the fact that Jesus did not inherit the exact fleshly body as we inherit from our parents.

“but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:7‬

The likeness of men, or not identical to men but in men’s likeness. His body was biological, it carried all the markers genetically that would make him a homo sapien / human being but His body did not carry the corruption of Adam, whether that be carried genetically or otherwise.

And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:8

Apostle Paul goes further

“So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” ‭‭I Corinthians‬ ‭15:42-44‬

The natural body we have is corrupted. Is mortal, yes, (but so was Adam’s even before eating of the forbidden fruit) but it’s also corrupted, by sin.

“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.” ‭‭I Corinthians‬ ‭15:50‬

Whatever body Christ had received it was uncorrupted by sin and it had to be. He had to be an undefiled sacrificial lamb. And when He drank the cup, He drank the wrath of God, not our sins.

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us(propitiation), that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” ‭‭II Corinthians‬ ‭5:21‬

If He inherently had a body that was corrupted by sin, then He could not be a righteous sacrifice.

—————————————

Jesus had a very curious way of describing Himself.

“For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:11‬ ‭

He used it so often it was almost as if He was excited to have taken on human form.

My guess is Jesus was given a body like Adam, God (Jesus) fashioned Adam’s body (without sin, uncorrupted) and the Holy Spirit fashioned a body for Jesus in the womb of Mary (without sin and uncorrupted).

Fully human

“By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,” ‭‭I John‬ ‭4:2‬

Meaning he had a body made of meat

“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,” ‭‭I Timothy‬ ‭2:5‬

He was a male huMAN.

“But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this.” ‭‭John‬ ‭8:40‬

He himself calls himself a human in the Greek

”Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” Hebrews 2:14-17

He was human in all ways except without sin

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” ‭‭John‬ ‭1:14‬

The Word or the et became a human and lived among humans as a human

“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭2:7‬ ‭

He was born from a female woman, meaning he had to have commonality with her organs to develop and be delivered from the womb.

And just to be clear even further, Jesus has an identical body to Adam, sinless, meat, bones, blood, skin with organs and nervous system and all that the human biological machine entails. It was human in every possible way, just that He didn’t inherit the genes or the markers of sin that altered the genome from generation to generation much like Adam (and Eve, not Cain and Abel) has genetically perfect bodies. Jesus too the second Adam was given a sin free human body.

  • @Ruminator just because the Catholics use a terms doesn’t mean I can’t also use a term, especially if it conveys much in a few words. When I say he was fully human I mean he was fully human, he had a human body, a spirit and was a living soul with emotions and intelligence. What made him fully God was His personal Spirit, which was eternal, his core was God, our core the spirit is not God. I’ll add some verses to show that the Bible says he was a man. – Nihil Sine Deo Apr 12 at 11:07
  • Was it a modified Adamic body? Or a completely other creation implanted into Mary? Conceived by adding DNA? Artificial insemination? Or was Jesus born again at his mikveh/baptism? – Ruminator Apr 12 at 11:13
  • @Ruminator I’ve edited my posts and added verses on His humanity, he was born of a woman, he calls himself a human, he suffered and learned obedience like a human, he was in all things like a human. Fully human. What made Him fully God was that His Spirit, was HIS Spirit, that was His identity. Just like Genesis 6 the sons of Elohim incarnating, but their spirit was still the same spirit. But in the case of the sons of God they had a different seed (genetic make up), and it didn’t have the human markers (genetically) Genesis 3:15. The two seeds were made compatible genetically by them. – Nihil Sine Deo Apr 12 at 11:39
  • Thank you. By "in the likeness of men" do you mean "he was a man like everybody else"? Or that he was "similar"? ("Likeness" I believe means "similar"). – Ruminator Apr 12 at 11:45
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    @Ruminator, yes I do appreciate you pointing it out. It’s something I am still working on, namely improving my communication skills, but I don’t always know what is commonly accepted and who is in my audience. Appreciate you requesting my input further and I’m glad I had a little time to spare to respond once I saw your comment. – Nihil Sine Deo Apr 12 at 11:49
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Q. In Hebrews 10:5 what does "a body you have prepared for me" mean?

My answer:

If we take the Psalm uncritically as applying to the Messiah we must likewise understand the author's words about Christ to indicate that the author thinks that Christ's sins are catching up to him:

Psalm 40: BSB For the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; He inclined to me and heard my cry. 2He lifted me up from the pit of despair, out of the miry clay; He set my feet upon a rock, and made my footsteps firm. 3He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD. 4Blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust, who has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood! 5Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders You have done, and the plans You have for us— none can compare to You— if I proclaim and declare them, they are more than I can count. 6Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but my ears You have opened. (a OR, Burnt offerings and sin offerings You did not require.** 7Then I said, “Here I am, I have come— it is written about me in the scroll: 8I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your law is within my heart.” 9I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly; behold, I do not seal my lips, as You, O LORD, do know. 10I have not covered up Your righteousness in my heart; I have declared Your faithfulness and salvation; I have not concealed Your loving devotion and faithfulness from the great assembly. 11O LORD, do not withhold Your mercy from me; Your loving devotion and faithfulness will always guard me. 12For evils without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, so that I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart has failed within me. 13Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me; hurry, O LORD, to help me. 14May those who seek my life be ashamed and confounded; may those who wish me harm be repelled and humiliated. 15May those who say to me, “Aha, aha!” be appalled at their own shame. 16May all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; may those who love Your salvation always say, “The LORD be magnified!” 17But I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my helper and deliverer; O my God, do not delay.

Footnotes: 6 a Hebrew; some LXX manuscripts but a body you prepared for me

As it appears in the Hebrew:

  • the person praying is David
  • he asserts that he trusts in God and there is no one comparable to his God (including himself)
  • he bemoans his sins and appeals to God for mercy

This is discussed and resolved in one of my earlier questions.


Alternatively, the Psalm may be suggesting that David was professing to be a slave who had his ear pierced to show it was a permanent commitment:

[Exo 21:5-6 KJV] (5) And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: (6) Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.

Gesenius


The word translated as "prepared" in pretty much every extant English translation is not the word people familiar with the scriptures might expect. As is evident in the original question, the word actually used, even when it is translated as "prepare" has the sense of modifying, adjusting, fixing, furnishing, etc. something that already exists. It is NOT simply talking about "supplying" a body:

Psalm 40:6 (LXX 39:7) θυσίαν καὶ προσφορὰν οὐκ ἠθέλησας ὠτία δὲ κατηρτίσω μοι ὁλοκαύτωμα καὶ περὶ ἁμαρτίας οὐκ ᾔτησας

The author uses the same word in two other places:

Hebrews 11:3 V-RNM/P GRK: Πίστει νοοῦμεν κατηρτίσθαι τοὺς αἰῶνας NAS: that the worlds were prepared by the word KJV: that the worlds were framed by the word INT: By faith we understand to have been formed the worlds

Hebrews 13:21 V-AOA-3S GRK: καταρτίσαι ὑμᾶς ἐν NAS: equip you in every good thing KJV: Make you perfect in every INT: perfect you in

I have long argued that Hebrews 11:3 is not about "making the worlds" (whatever "the worlds" to which he might be referring) but rather to "delineating the ages".

So taken as straightforwardly as I know how to do it appears to me that what the author is saying is this:

"You have repaired a body for me"

My somewhat tentative conclusion is that he is saying that while Jesus' zygote underwent some divine modification ala CRISPR to correct the Adamic malfunction. I suggest that this might be Adam's own DNA since Jesus is "the second Adam". This is tantalizing and I am very open but I'm not going to "embrace" that without more corroboration, but I do think Hebrews does seem to have a repaired body in mind.

I am further convinced that Jesus did not become "the utterance in flesh" until his mikveh/anointing by John the baptizer. That is, the body was modified/"fitted" in vitro while he did not receive the infilling of holy spirit until his mikveh by John. (Unlike John who had been filled with holy spirit from the time that he was in his mother's womb and Mary greeted him).

NOTE:

From what I understand the immaculate conception was created by the Catholics to address the problem of Jesus being born with corrupt DNA. I think this is a more scriptural solution to that problem.

  • I’m going to have to reread it before I respond but for now I’m not suggesting Jesus had the identical copy of Adam’s genome. If he did then he’d look exactly like Adam more or less minus environmental factors that cause certain gene expressions. I’m saying he had a sinless, uncontaminated, uncorrupted genome. In that sense it’s the same but the content like hair color, height, shape of eyes, chin et cetera they would have to have been different from Adam especially since he is not described as attractive Isaiah 53 whereas Adam and Eve would have been extremely attractive physically. – Nihil Sine Deo Apr 14 at 14:08
  • yes I suppose I can see the commonality. The details I’m not certain about, such as was it a repaired genome (sin markers removed, corrected, replaced) or whether it was entirely new or whether in the process of mitosis of the zygote between the chromosomes of Mary (if indeed her chromosomes were used at all) and (going out on a limb) the original Adamic genome the Holy Spirit selected for the non sinful alleles and left Mary’s alleles where sin was not an issue in the genomic sequence. I can’t be dogmatic on this because I don’t have access to his blood and Mary’s to compare. – Nihil Sine Deo Apr 14 at 18:59
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    I think being too scientific in the analysis of the scriptures is generally akin to trying to read an inventory as poetry or vice versa and I would want to know a thing or two about genetics which I don't. But the general idea that Jesus had a modified body so it didn't have any moral defect seems to find support in "a prepared body". – Ruminator Apr 14 at 19:06

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