CONTINUING THE INVESTIGATION OF SOME HELPFUL INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPHS TO CHAPTER 8 FROM A NUMBER OF THE OUTSTANDING COMMENTARIES I HAVE IN MY PERSONAL LIBRARY. In no particular order we are first studying verses 1-6…
AS YOU WILL SEE, THE MAIN MESSAGE CONTINUES TO BE IN JESUS, THE HEAVENLY HIGH PRIEST, THERE IS A BETTER COVENANT…
NAS Hebrews 8:1-6 Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2 a minister in the sanctuary, and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; hence it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer. 4 Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law; 5 who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, “See,” He says, “that you make all things according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.” 6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on Better promises.
“THE TRANSITION TO THE CENTRAL SECTION WAS CAREFULLY PREPARED. The description of the high priest who is appropriate to the Christian community in 7:26-28 is presupposed in the triumphant announcement, ‘WE DO HAVE SUCH A HIGH PRIEST,’ in 8:1. The contrast drawn in 7:27 between the Levitical high priests, who were obliged to make repeated offerings for sins, and Jesus, whose single offering brought an end to the Levitical arrangement, is resumed. It is also amplified in the distinction between those who offer gifts and sacrifices on earth (8:3-5; 9:9) and the eschatological high priest whose redemptive sacrifice was presented in heaven (8:3, 6; 9:14, 25, 28). THE SOLEMN APPOINTMENT OF THE SON AS HIGH PRIEST WHO HAS ‘BEEN MADE
PERFECT FOREVER’ ASSERTED IN 7:28 IS TAKEN UP AND EXPOUNDED IN TERMS OF THE DEFINITE SACRIFICE THAT CHRIST OFFERED TO GOD WHEN HE ENTERED THE HEAVENLY SANCTUARY (8:1-2; 9:11-28). THE TOPICS ANNOUNCED THEMATICALLY IN 7:26-28 ARE TAKEN UP AND DEVELOPED IN THE COURSE OF THE EXPOSITION IN 8:1 – 9:28.” – Lane
AT THIS POINT IN HIS COMMENTARY LANE EXPLAINS THE DIFFERENT VIEW HE HAS WITH VANHOYE’S TAKE ON HEBREWS 8. I found it interesting enough to include in this week’s study…
“IN HIS ANALYSIS OF THE CENTRAL SECTION, VANHOYE FOUND AN ACCUMULATION OF LITERARY INDICATIONS OF TIGHTLY UNIFIED STRUCTURE. He appealed to various compositional elements as the basis for dividing and subdividing 8:1 – 9:28. He demonstrated that the function of 8:1-2 was to introduce the section and to anticipate the development of Christ’s ministry in 9:11-28. He then argued that the section should be divided into two units, the first of which extends from 8:3 to 9:10. This unit is essentially negative in cast and exposes the deficiency and dis placement of the old arrangement. The second unit, extending from 9:11 to 9:28, is positive in its evaluation of the effectiveness of Christ’s sacrifice. Within the first unit he was able to distinguish three paragraphs marked off by distinctive vocabulary or phrases, to which correspond to three paragraphs in the second unit as well.
“VANHOYE’S ANALYSIS CAN BE SUMMARIZED SCHEMATICALLY IN THE FOLLOWING TABLE:
A The earthly sanctuary and its ministry 8:3-6
B The first covenant 8:7-13
C Worship under the old arrangement 9:1-10
C2 Worship under the new arrangement 9:11-14
B2 The NEW COVENANT 9:15-23
A2 The heavenly sanctuary and its ministry 9:24-28
I VERY MUCH APPRECIATED THE SIMPLICITY AND CLARITY OF LANE’S OUTLINE. WOULD ALL THEOLOGICAL ILLUSTRATIONS BE SO EASY TO FOLLOW.
“THE CORRESPONDING PARALLELISM OF THE SIX SECTIONS, ARRANGED IN CONCENTRIC (OR CHIASTIC – TAR) SYMMETRY, CONFIRMS TO VANHOYE’S SATISFACTION THAT HE HAS UNCOVERED THE COMPOSITIONAL SCHEME FOR THE CENTRAL SECTION.
“ALTHOUGH IT IS NOT NECESSARY HERE TO RESPOND IN DETAIL TO THIS ANALYSIS, ISSUE MUST BE TAKEN WITH VANHOYES’S CONTENTION THAT THE FIRST UNIT IN THE CENTRAL SECTION EXTENDS FROM 8:1 TO 9:10. When analyzing the course of the exposition, it is imperative to take into account a fundamental difference between 8:1-13 and 9:1-10. In 8:1-13 the writer draws attention to Jesus’ ministry to heighten the contrast with the Levitical arrangement under the old covenant. The argument proceeds by comparison. In 9:1-10 the writer concentrates narrowly upon the arrangement of the tabernacle and its provision for ministry. THE COMPONENT OF COMPARISON IS NOT INTRODUCED UNTIL 9:11. IN THE LIGHT OF THIS DIFFERENCE, IT SEEMS PREFERABLE TO TREAT 8:1-13 AND 9:1-10 AS DIFFERENT UNITS. THE PRESENTATION OF JESUS AS PRIESTLY MINISTERANT AND MEDIATOR OF A ‘BETTER COVENANT’ IN 8:1-13 ESTABLISHES A CONTEXT FOR THE DISCUSSION OF CULTIC (ORGANIZED RELIGION AND PUBLIC WORSHIP – TAR) WORSHIP IN 9:1-10 AND 9:11-28 RESPECTIVELY. FROM THIS PERSPECTIVE, 8:1-13 IS A TRANSITIONAL PASSAGE TO THE EXPOSITION THAT FOLLOWS. THE CONCEPTUAL UNITY OF 8:1-13 IS EXHIBITED IN THE FOLLOWING OUTLINE:
A CHRIST, THE MINISTERING PRIEST 8:1-5
1. A new ministry 8:1-2
2. Which is set in opposition to the old 8:3-5
B CHRIST, THE MEDIATOR OF THE NEW COVENANT 8:6-13
1. The new ministry is associated with a better covenant 8:6
2. Which is set in opposition to the old 8:7-13
“IN THIS CASE, CONSIDERATIONS OF CONTENT MUST TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER MERELY FORMAL INDICATIONS OF LITERARY STRUCTURE.” – Lane
WHILE I TEND TO FAVOR LANE’S VIEW, I WOULD SUBMIT THAT WE CANNOT BE CONFIDENT THIS IS THE BETTER WAY TO TREAT THIS SECTION UNTIL WE STUDY EXHAUSTIVELY THROUGH IT.
– Professor Thomas A. Rohm