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Sanctuary Typology in Hebrews

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1 Sanctuary Typology in Hebrews
Richard M. Davidson Andrews University Theological Seminary

2 The Book of Hebrews: Authorship
No author mentioned in the Epistle Critical scholars deny Pauline authorship Evidence for Pauline authorship: SDA Bible Commentary and John Lee Testimony of Albert VanHoye Perhaps Paul’s scholarly “Magnum Opus” to the Jews (in contrast to his occasional letters dashed off spontaneously)

3 Target Audience of Hebrews
Jewish Christians in the Diaspora (Greek speaking, who had LXX [Septuagint, or Greek translation of the OT] as their Bible) Problem: They were tempted to forsake Christianity and return to Judaism

4 Central Theme of Hebrews
Don’t Forsake Jesus! If they forsook Jesus, where could they go? The OT types pointing to Jesus have met their reality in Him He is the Better Joshua, Moses, blood, covenant, priest, sacrifice, sanctuary, etc.

5 Basic Contours of Sanctuary Typology in Hebrews
Christ’s Death = the Antitypical Fulfillment of the entire OT sacrificial system The daily (tamid): (Heb 10:1-4,11-12) The red heifer (Heb 9:13) “bulls and goats” (9:13;10:4) = summary of entire sacrificial system in OT (Psalm 50 [49 LXX]:13; Isa 1:11) Even the Day of Atonement sacrifices (Heb 9:25-26) All OT sacrifices coalesce into the One once-for-all sacrifice of Christ, BASED UPON Psalm 40:6-8

6 Basic Contours of Sanctuary Typology in Hebrews
II. Christ’s Ascension to Heaven (31 AD) Traditional SDA Position: Christ Began His High Priestly Intercessory Ministry (in the Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary) Albion Ballenger ( ), evangelist in Great Britain, president of Welsh and Irish Missions Ballenger taught that Christ entered the Most Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary in 31 AD and began the Day of Atonement ministry Ballenger’s key text was Heb 6:19-20

7 Basic Contours of Sanctuary Typology in Hebrews
When Christ Ascended to Heaven in 31 A.D.: --Was it to start the Day of Atonement, as Albion Ballenger claimed (based upon Heb 6:19-20) or as Desmond Ford claims (based upon Heb 9:12)? --Or is there evidence within the text for a different typological background?

8 Basic Contours of Sanctuary Typology in Hebrews
Christ’s Ascension: --Three main passages in Hebrews speaking of Jesus’ “entering” the sanctuary: Heb 6:19-20; 9:12; and 10:19-20 --The literary structure of the central section of Hebrews shows the relationship of these passages to each other

9 Chiastic Literary Structure of Heb 6:19-10:20
The Veil (6:19-20) The Priesthood (7:1-25) The Sacrifice (7:26-28) The Sanctuary (8:1-5) The Covenant (8:6-13 F. The Sanctuary (9:1-10) F. The Sanctuary (9:11-14) The Covenant (9:15-22) D. The Sanctuary (9:23-28) C. The Sacrifice (10:1-10) B. The Priesthood (10:11-18) A. The Veil (10:19-20)

10 Chiastic Literary Structure of Hebrews 6:19 – 10:20
This structure was adapted from an unpublished paper by William Shea Note how the two entrance passages of Heb 6:19-20 and Heb 10:19-20 match each other as parallel “A” members in the chiasm. Heb 6: = Heb 10:19-20 Scholars generally recognize that these two passages refer to the same event But scholars almost always see this event as the antitype of the OT Day of Atonement, when Jesus entered within the veil of the Most Holy Place Is the majority opinion of scholars correct?

11 Chiastic Literary Structure of Hebrews 6:19 – 10:20
What is the OT background event? Heb 6:19-20 does not tell us explicitly But Heb 10:19-20 is the KEY! This passage identifies Christ’s work as He enters as egkaini,zw (enkainizo, v. 20) = “to inaugurate”! This word group egkaini,zw [enkainizo] is used in a technical sense in the Septuagint (LXX) which was the version of the OT from which the author of Hebrews consistently quoted

12 The Inauguration of the Sanctuary
Egkainizw Throughout the Pentateuchal references to sacrifices (LXX), the word group Egkaini,zw [enkainizo] is found in only ONE chapter: Numbers 7 (vv. 10, 11, 84, 88) –which describes the INAUGURATION of the sanctuary, as its services started up. The word Egkaini,zw [enkainizo] NEVER refers to the Day of Atonement in the OT!

13 The Inauguration of the Sanctuary
The immediate context of Egkainizw [enkainizo] in Heb 10:20 verifies this identification Heb 9:18: Egkaini,zw [enkainizo] clearly means “inaugurate” or “dedicate” and describes the setting up of the sanctuary services and NOT the Day of Atonement Thus Heb 10:19-20 and its chiastic parallel passage (Heb 6:19-20) refer to INAUGURATION and not Day of Atonement

14 The Inauguration of the Sanctuary
This is a fulfillment of Dan 9:24: “anoint the Most Holy Place” It doesn’t matter which veil Heb 6:19-20 and Heb 10:20 refer to (second or first), contra Ballenger and Ford, since at the inauguration of the sanctuary Moses (acting in his priestly function before the ordaining of Aaron) went into both the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place (Exod 40:9-10; Num 7:1)

15 The Inauguration of the Sanctuary
Heb 9:12 “The Blood of goats and calves” –what does this refer to? A goat and (bull) calf were indeed sacrificed at the time of Day of Atonement (Lev 16:6, 15) Does Heb 9:12 therefore refer to the Day of Atonement? NO! Not if one looks at the original Greek

16 The Inauguration of the Sanctuary
Heb 9:12 “Goat” = tra,goj [tragos] “Calf” = mo,scoj [moschos] In the LXX the word mo,scoj [moschos] is used for both the inauguration and the Day of Atonement (7 times in Lev 16 and 17 times in Num 7 & 8) In the LXX there are TWO words for “goat” used in reference to the sacrificial system: Tra,goj [tragos] and ci,maroj [chimaros] Which one is used for the Day of Atonement in Lev 16? Ci,maroj [chimaros]! Not tra,goj [tragos]

17 The Inauguration of the Sanctuary
Tra,goj [tragos](The “Goat” of Heb 9:12) In the LXX the word appears in only ONE chapter of the Pentateuchal material describing sanctuary rituals: Numbers 7 (13 times) The setting of Num 7 = Inauguration of the sanctuary! Heb 9:19 verifies this interpretation of Heb 9:12, as it uses the same two words “calves” and “goats,” (mo,scoj [moschos] and tra,goj [tragos]) clearly in the context of the inauguration of the covenant (v. 18)

18 The Inauguration of the Sanctuary
Heb 9:12 and the Word ta `agia (“The Holies”) The term ta hagia does not refer to the Most Holy Place by itself In LXX usage (also Pseudepigrapha, Philo, and Josephus) ta hagia NEVER refers to the Most Holy Place by itself It is the regular term for the entire sanctuary as a whole In the LXX ta hagia appears109 times referring to the sanctuary, and 106 times refers to the entire sanctuary, and 3 times refers to the Holy Place (1 Ki 8:8; 2 Chr 5:9,11) See Carl Cosaert, “A Study of ta `agia in the LXX, Pseudepigrapha, Philo, and Josephus, and Its Implications in Hebrews,” Nazarene Theological Seminary, 2000

19 The Inauguration of the Sanctuary
Summary: When Christ entered the heavenly sanctuary, He entered to inaugurate it, to officially start up the services as Priest-King. He went into the entire sanctuary, as in the type (Num 7:1; Exod 40)

20 The Inauguration of the Sanctuary
He “sat down at the right hand of the Father” (Heb 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2) This is a description based upon Ps 110:1: “Sit at My right hand until I make your enemies a footstool.” This is clearly a FUNCTIONAL description and not primarily locational, since in v. 5, the Father is at the Son’s right hand!

21 The Inauguration of the Sanctuary
To “sit at the right hand” or to “sit on the throne” is the biblical way of indicating royal STATUS See 1 Kgs 8:14-15, 20: The king is standing (blessing the people) but says, “I sit on the throne of Israel” Cf. 1 Kgs 1:35,46; 2:12;1 Chr 29:23; Jer 17:25 Christ’s “sitting at the right hand” of the Father in the heavenly sanctuary is a statement of His kingly status, and does not box Him in the Most Holy Place Christ was installed as both King and Priest

22 The Basic Contours of Sanctuary Typology in Hebrews
Christ’s Ongoing Priestly Work in the Heavenly Sanctuary in the First Century ( When the Epistle to the Hebrews Was Written) = the antitypical equivalent of the tamid (regular/continual) Holy Place ministry Heb 7: “Intercession” (=tamid) Heb 10:11-14 “daily” (=tamid) Heb 13:10-12 “daily” (=tamid)

23 The Basic Contours of Sanctuary Typology in Hebrews
Christ’s Future Work (from the Perspective of the First Century A.D.) = the work of Day of Atonement Heb 9:23-27: Judgment is still future Heb 10:25-31 Future Investigative followed by Executive judgment God’s professed people are judged Yoma = “The Day [of Atonement]” (v. 25)! Cf. the tractate of the Jewish Mishnah on the Day of Atonement entitled Yoma

24 The Basic Contours of Sanctuary Typology in Hebrews
Conclusions: The basic contours of sanctuary typology in Hebrews are consistent with Leviticus, with Daniel, with Revelation, and with the SDA doctrine of the investigative judgment based on these passages The author of Hebrews does not indicate the exact time of the future Day of Atonement judgment; for this we need to go to Daniel 8 & 9

25 The Practical Message of Hebrews Sanctuary Typology
We can NOW enter by faith into the heavenly sanctuary!! Heb 4:16 Heb 6: 19 Heb 10:19-20 Heb 12:22-24 Christ invites us to His house, and we may come with boldness!

26 The Practical Message of Hebrews Sanctuary Typology
Not just sanctuary prayer Sanctuary Life!!!

27 Resources Richard M. Davidson, “Christ’s Entry ‘Within the Veil’ in Hebrews 6:19-20: The Old Testament Background, Andrews University Seminary Studies 39 (2001): See also “Inauguration or Day of Atonement?” AUSS 40 (2002): Website: address:

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