FALL BIBLE STUDY RESOURCES:
Cockerill, Gareth Lee. The Epistle to the Hebrews. Part of the New International Commentary on the New Testament edited by Ned B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, and Gordon D. Fee. (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 2012).
Harrington, Daniel J., S.J. Jude and 2 Peter. Part of the Sacra Pagina commentary series edited by Daniel J. Harrington S. J.. (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2003).
Elliott, John H.. 1 Peter: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. Part of the Anchor Bible Commentary series edited by William Foxwell Albright and David Noel Freedman. (Doubleday, New York, 2000).
Harten, Patrick J. James. Part of the Sacra Pagina commentary series edited by Daniel J. Harrington S. J.. (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2003).
Koester, Craig R. Hebrews: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. Part of the Anchor Bible commentary series edited by William Foxwell Albright and David Noel Freedman. (Doubleday, New York, 2001).
Long, Thomas G. Hebrews. Part of the Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching series edited by James Luther Mays. (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 1997).
Mitchell, Alan C. Hebrews. Part of the Sacra Pagina commentary series edited by Daniel J. Harrington S. J.. (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2007).
Perkins, Pheme. First and Second Peter, James, and Jude. Part of the Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching series edited by James Luther Mays. (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 1995).
Senior, Donald P., C.P. 1 Peter. Part of the Sacra Pagina commentary series edited by Daniel J. Harrington S. J.. (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2003).
Wright, N. T. Hebrews for Everyone. Part of the New Testament for Everyone series edited by N. T. Wright. (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2003).
Better Ministry, Better Covenant Hebrews 8:1-6
Wright p. 82: “…the Israelites believed that the Temple in Jerusalem was the place above all where heaven and earth met, quite literally. When you went into the Temple, especially when you went into the holy of holies in the middle of it, you were actually going into heaven itself.”
The author of Hebrews holds that the earthly temple in Jerusalem was a copy, as best as man could make, of the heavenly and true temple. The priests in Jerusalem’s temple offer sacrifices in the earthly temple, as best as man can make, in it – but Jesus offers in the heavenly temple the one perfect sacrifice.
Given that Judaism was fully centered on the temple and its sacrifices up to its destruction in 70AD this would appear to Jewish Christians to a sharp and complete break with all they had known beforehand.
The Promise of a New Covenant Hebrews 8:7-13
Wright points out on page 87 that this section contains the longest biblical quote of all of them. It is a hint that this is most important for understanding the letter.
What came before, in the past, was good. But now God has done something better.
Wright p. 89: “And the point Hebrews wishes above all to make about the new covenant, as we see in verse 12, is that through it sins have at last been forgiven. With this, the previous covenant, Temple, priesthood and all, are ‘out of date’ and ‘about to disappear’ (verse 13). This is the most powerful argument yet for the importance of holding on to Jesus instead of going back to the apparent safety of Judaism. If god has established the new thing he had always promised, to go back to the old is foolish as well as disloyal.”
The Old Tabernacle points to the New Hebrews 9:1-10
Wright, on page 90, offers a good example: nothing we do here on earth is ever perfect and complete. It’s like the ‘big dig’ in Boston. Huge public works disrupted the city for years as new roads were dug under the city to handle traffic. Huge traffic jams. Temporary roads built. Finally the new opens up.
Wright p. 91: “God has a master plan. … Temporary arrangements have to be made to keep things flowing, to regulate ongoing human life, until the appointed time.”
The inner and outer chambers of the Temple reflect the idea of temporary and permanent covenants, arrangements, present and future.
Once the new is open and ready to be used, some will cling to the temporary roads. But why?
The Sacrifice of the Messiah Hebrews 9:11-14
Wright p. 94: “Here he makes the point to which the previous section was building up: that, with the Messiah’s arrival, the promised new world has been opened up, and it is better in every way.”
A temporary temple with temporary priests and temporary sacrifices is now replaced by the permanent temple with permanent priest (messiah, Jesus) and the one permanent sacrifice.
Wright p. 95/96: a deep mystery. 3 elements. “First there is the sense of humans offering to God something valuable and pure as a sign of their grateful offering of their whole lives to him and his service. Second, there is a sense of the life of the sacrificial animal, symbolized by the blood, being poured out in death as a sign that, though our lives are indeed forfeit because of our wickedness and impurity, God will rescue us by providing a life-given-in-death instead of ours. Third, there is a sense that through these two signs our present state of uncleanness can be washed away so that we can start afresh, cleansed and fit for God’s service.”
Dead works – pagan sacrifices and those of the Temple
The Purpose of the Blood Hebrews 9:15-22
Wright p. 99: “With great daring, it seems, the writer now proposes that the new covenant itself only comes into force after the relevant death … which means, of course, the death of Jesus.”
Wright p. 100: “Yet the idea of God shedding his blood, powerfully paradoxical though it is, is central to other new testament texts as well, such as Paul’s speech to the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:28). Until something like this has been said, we have not done justice to the meaning of Jesus’ death as seen by the very earliest Christians.”
It is, and always has been, about God’s grace. Even the sacrifices of the old system. Especially the sacrifice in the new.
The Messiah’s work in the Heavenly Sanctuary Hebrews 9:23-28
Wright p. 104: “Jews of the first century would have been familiar with how the ritual of the Day of Atonement worked. After the preliminaries had been completed, the high priest would go into the holy of holies with the sacrificial blood, to make the annual atonement for the people. He would then re-emerge, both to declare that the sign of forgiveness had once again been performed, and to set about the work of dealing with the problems that remained in the community, the practical outworking of the ritual. … Jesus, the true high priest, has gone into the heavenly sanctuary and will reappear. …”
Stopping the Sacrifices Hebrews 10:1-10
You, yes you, O LORD, my God,
have done many wondrous deeds!
And in your plans for us
there is none to equal you.
Should I wish to declare or tell them,
too many are they to recount.
Sacrifice and offering you do not want;
you opened my ears.
Holocaust and sin-offering you do not request;
so I said, “See; I come
with an inscribed scroll written upon me.
I delight to do your will, my God;
your law is in my inner being!”
Wright p. 107: “What was wrong with the sacrifices and offerings of the old covenant, says Hebrews, wasn’t that they were physical, ‘earthly’ in that sense. Jesus’ own sacrifice was just as earthly, just as much a matter of physical reality, as the animal sacrifices in the Temple. That always was part of the truth of Christianity, however scandalous it may seem to tender-minded Platonists in the ancient or the modern world. What was wrong was that the old sacrifices needed to be done over and over again, thus demonstrating that they hadn’t really dealt with the problem. If I have to take my car back to the mechanic every week with the same problem, that’s a fair indication that he hasn’t succeeded in fixing it.”
Wright p. 109: “To agree with Psalm 40 is not, therefore, to say that there is anything wrong with the Old Testament, or the system it put in place. That system itself declared itself to be temporary. Now that the proper replacement has come, nobody in their right mind would stay with the temporary one, let alone go back to it having once experienced the new, and permanent, dispensation which has come to birth.”
The Finished Achievement of the Messiah Hebrews 10:11-18
Jesus is sitting down (at the right hand of the Father) because His task has been completed and is accepted.