Christology in Hebrews

2 February 2017

The author of Hebrews contributes several unique portraits of Jesus Christ some of which are not found in any of the other epistles in the New Testament. The two main portraits that are presented in Hebrews is Jesus Christ as the High Priest and his Sonship in relation to God. This is then supported by a number of smaller portraits pertaining to his character, priestly functions and his soteriological role in relation to the new covenant.

His thesis is well thought out and presented in the manner of a theologian. 1 One will notice that the author displays a strong Jewish background as he employs his keen understanding of the Old Testament right throughout his thesis. He does this by using metaphors and highly symbolic themes that hark back to time itself founded on God’s promises in the Old Testament. The author compares and contrasts continually between the types, anti types and shadows of the messiah as represented in the Mosaic covenant Heb 7:1 – 10:18.

Christology in Hebrews Essay Example

Including the roles pertaining to the tabernacle and Levitical priesthood compared to that of the perfect heavenly expression which according to the author finds its full realisation in the Royal High Priesthood of Jesus Christ. Some scholars like James D. G. Dunn perceive this to be a signature of ‘. . . Platonic Dualism . . . ’. 2 However, this argument seems to me to have some problems, since we find symbolism right throughout the bible and is clearly demonstrated in Gen 1:14b. According to F. E. Gaebelein ‘Symbolism is as old as humanity’. 3 In addition Donald Macleod states that ‘ . .

According to the author we find the prototype in Melchizedek who was made ‘. . . like the Son of God . . . ’ in Heb 7:3b. Notice the order: Jesus was not made after the order of Melchizedek, but the other way around. Unfortunately, this essay is too short to highlight all the various aspects; hence, only the main criteria required for one to become a High Priest will be considered. The first qualification for becoming a High Priest is to be fully human and not just pretending to be human.

This could be one of the many and varied reasons as to why the author utilised ‘adoptionist terms’ According to the author, Jesus demonstrated his humanity in its fullest form by emphasising his; suffering in Heb 2:10; 2:18; consisting of flesh and blood and experiencing death Heb 2:14; made like his brethren Heb 2:12; 2:17; displaying emotions Heb 5:7; exhibiting compassion Heb 4:15a; and experienced temptation like all people Heb 4:15b The second qualification was to be of the tribe of Levi according to the old covenant, but Jesus belonged to the Tribe of Judah Heb 7:14.

In addition, one can only be appointed by God which is why the author draws the recipient’s attention to Heb 5:1-10 including verses 5b and 6. The author stresses that Jesus was called by God Himself to be a High Priest and as such Jesus Christ is ultimate fulfilment in him. 12. Harvill, Focus on Jesus pp. 336-347 The last requirement of a High Priest is to offer sacrifices on behalf of the people unto God as atonement, but the old system was insufficient and not God’s final revelation but was just a shadow as pointed out by the author in Heb 7:11, 27; 8:7-9; 9:6-23.

But Jesus according the author is both God and fully human being without spot or wrinkle offered a perfect sacrifice by dying on the cross 9:14-28. Some of the supporting titles that the author uses to point out the efficacy of the Royal High Priesthood of Jesus Christ include; Mediator Heb 8:6; 9:15; 24; 12:24. God’s Shepherd applying Old Testament prophesies from Ezek 34:22-24, in Heb 13:20, Author and Captain of our Salvation Heb 2:10; Apostle of our Confession Heb 1:3; Forerunner Heb 6:20; Heir of All Things Heb:1:2; Source of Eternal Salvation Heb; 5:9; Guarantor of the New Covenant Heb 7:22;

Jesus as the Christ For the author there is no doubt as to whom Jesus Christ was for him; He is the long awaited Messiah but not from the perspective of the general populace. They were awaiting a kingly Messiah, one of power and might who would rid the land of the oppressors restoring the throne re-establishing the Kingdom of David. 13 However, there is not just one stream of Messianic prophesies but two. The other stream forecasts the coming of a suffering Messiah.

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