Monday, June 06, 2016

Notes on the Epistle to the Hebrews With a Focus on Chapter 9: Part 6

[This is the sixth section of  a paper I wrote for the Great Plains Pastors' Conference (of Circuits 7, 8, & 9) which is titled Notes on Reading the Letter to the Hebrews With a Focus on Chapter 9. It was delivered at Bethany Lutheran College on Wednesday, May 25th
 τὸν τῆς πίστεως ἀρχηγὸν καὶ τελειωτὴν Ἰησοῦν]

The Explicit Use of Old Covenant Liturgical Texts and Themes.

Another way in which the use of Old Testament quotations is significant in the Letter to the Hebrews is that the texts quoted mainly consist of either liturgical texts or texts that describe a liturgical practice.



The Psalms are liturgical texts. The Psalms were an integral part of worship. The frequency and number of uses of Psalms in Hebrews (21 uses) is second only to Paul's use in the Letter to the Romans (23 uses). 

The Author uses the Psalms. They are part of the Divine Service as it was performed under the Old Covenant. He uses these texts to highlight what that the readers should have been hearing during the Divine Service. The Old Covenant Divine Service was already proclaiming clearly: Who the Christ is and what the Christ would become; and the Work He would perform. But the Author's exposition also teaches the readers how we now benefit from His Work in the Divine Service under the New Covenant.
Passage in Hebrews
Other NT Citations
Use in Hebrews
Ps 2:7
Christmas Vigil

Acts 13:33, He 5:5
Proclaimed: Jesus is God, begotten by the Father
Ps 104:4
Pentecost 1st Service

Proclaimed: Jesus is God, The Son of the Father
Ps 45:6-7
Last Sunday of the Church Year
sons of Korah.

Proclaimed: Angels worship Jesus as God, the Savior:
Korah, the great grandson of Aaron was destroyed by God after the rebellion he fomented (Num 16). But his descendants were the caretakers of the articles for the Sanctuary (Num 4:15). It is these liturgical articles in particular that are the focus of He 9.
Ps 102:25-27
Epiphany 4
Trinity 16

Proclaimed: Jesus is God, the Eternal Creator and Ruler
Ps 110:1
Christmas Day Gradual
Old Vespers
Mt 22:44, 26:44; Mk 12:36; 14:62; 16:19; Lk 20:42f; Ac 2:24f; Col 3:1;
Proclaimed: Jesus is the LORD above the angels, ruler of all at the Right Hand of the Father.
Ps 8:4-6 LXX
Name of Jesus
1Corinthians 15:25-28
Proclaimed: The Son would become fully Human. Humbled and Exalted.
Ps 22:22
Palm Sunday

Proclaimed: The Son, as also fully Human would suffer the punishment sinners deserved.
Ps 95:7-11 Venite

He 4:7
[The Venite] Proclaimed: The Sabbath as promise, and Listening to the Divine-Human Son of God, the warning of not listening shown by the Trial in the Wilderness.
Ps 95:7-8 Venite

Proclaimed: The Christ as the true Sabbath: Exhorting, proclaiming Christ daily.
Ps 95:11 Venite

Proclaimed: The Christ as the true Sabbath
Ps 95:11 Venite

Proclaimed: The Christ as the true Sabbath
Ps 95:7-8 Venite

He 3:7-11
Proclaimed: The Christ as the true Sabbath
Ps 2:7
Christmas Vigil

Acts 13:33, He 1:5
Proclaimed: The Christ is Divine-Human High Priest of the New Covenant, not a sinner under the Old Covenant.
Ps 110:4
Vespers Collect
of David

Melchizedek's priesthood was a proclamation to recognize the Christ.
Ps 110:4
Vespers Collect
of David

Melchizedek's priesthood was a proclamation to recognize the Christ.
Ps 40:6-8
of David

Proclaimed: The incarnation of the Son of God the fulfillment of the Written Word, the fulfillment of the Promise and of the First Covenant
Ps 118:6
Easter Day 1st Service

Proclaimed: Exhortation to listen to the Word through the Preachers because they preach the Christ.

We can note that (except for chapters 8 and 9) exegesis of Psalms which were used in the Divine Service permeates the Letter to the Hebrews. Chapters 8 and 9 are also explicitly liturgical in focus. But they focus on the persons, structures, articles and details in liturgical function of the Old Covenant Divine Service and its relationship to the New Covenant. And it is the heart of the Epistle.


Davidic Covenant

There is ample evidence from the Psalms above that the Davidic Covenant is one of the Promises wrapped together in properly hearing the Word of God to recognize the Christ. But in case we are too dull of hearing, early in Hebrews the Davidic Covenant is explicitly quoted as a demonstration that Jesus is the eternal Son of God.
Hebrews 1.5b [“To which of the angels did He say:”]
καὶ πάλιν· Ἐγὼ ἔσομαι αὐτῷ εἰς πατέρα, καὶ αὐτὸς ἔσται μοι εἰς υἱόν;
And again:
“I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son”?
The words are from 2 Sm 7:14 [Parallel text: 1 Chr 17:13] where the word of the Lord came to Nathan the Prophet to declare to David. David was directed to begin planning a permanent temple for the Lord, to replace the mobile Tent of Meeting. The topic of the context is explicitly liturgical, related directly to the Divine Service both ritually and materially. This ties together the Epistle to the Hebrews with the promise in Jeremiah 33:14-21 [Advent 1]. That is to say, the use of 2 Sm 7:14 was deliberately chosen because it is a liturgical text: about the Divine Service and for the Divine Service.
The kingship of David's son, Solomon, is proclaimed a picture of David's greater son, Jesus Christ, through the liturgy. And the promise is to be heard:
When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.”’” [2 Sm 7:12-16]
The promise made there is repeated elsewhere. Indeed the passage from Jeremiah 33 would be evoked in the memory of the reader so that the reader learns to listen to the Liturgy properly. This promise of the Davidic Covenant states:
Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah:
‘In those days and at that time
I will cause to grow up to David
A Branch of righteousness;
He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
In those days Judah will be saved,
And Jerusalem will dwell safely.
And this is the name by which she will be called:
“For thus says the Lord: ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel;
nor shall the priests, the Levites, lack a man to offer burnt offerings before Me, to kindle grain offerings, and to sacrifice continually.’” [Jeremiah 33:14-21 Advent 1]
Jeremiah 33 is also very close in content as well as historical context to the passage chosen for exposition in Hebrews 8-9: Jeremiah 31:31-34 [Trinity 7]. This we will discuss later.