The Doctrine Of The Apostles -- By: S. R. Asbury

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 027:107 (Jul 1870)
Article: The Doctrine Of The Apostles
Author: S. R. Asbury


The Doctrine Of The Apostles

S. R. Asbury

[Continued.]

The doctrine of the Epistle to the Hebrews

Introduction

The Author. This Epistle does not bear the name of Paul at its head — a circumstance which admits of no satisfactory explanation. On the contrary, the author intimates, in 2:3, a decided dependence on the immediate eye-witnesses of the life of Christ. In such a letter, we should have expected Paul to defend himself from the attacks of his Judaistic opponents, and to discuss in detail the relation of the law to the new covenant, and of the Jewish to the heathen Christians. The unmistakable relationship of this to the Pauline Epistles is satisfactorily explained on the hypothesis that the author stood in intimate connection with the Apostle Paul. The external testimony is indecisive. Who the author was — Apollos or Barnabas — is not to be determined; but he is certainly not to be regarded as the Apostle Paul.

The condition of the readers appears to have been one of vacillation between the Old and New Testament worship, and the object of the letter is to show them the greatness of the danger thus arising. It is clear that the continuance of the Old Testament ritual is thus presupposed. Passages which intimate this (e.g. 8:4) are not to be explained as a vivid reproduction of the past. Had the object been, as Schmid states, to show the fulfilment of the law, now abolished, in Christianity, some definite statement to this effect must have been made. The readers were evidently Jewish Christians, in daily observance of the Mosaic ritual.

The Arrangement The superiority of the divine revelation in Christ to that of the Old Testament is the main thought of the Epistle. The fact that this is exhibited in the perfection of the New Testament worship, in comparison with that of the Old, indicates a peculiar doctrinal system. This is based, first, on the superiority of the Priest of the new covenant; then, on that of the Sacrifice. In the prominence of the Christological element, this Epistle approaches the doctrine of John. Its anthropological ideas are in essential agreement with those of Paul; but are simply presupposed, not developed.

The Priest and Sacrifice of the New Covenant

Christ is regarded as entering on his priestly work only after his death, and by the offering of his blood in the sanctuary of heaven. He is, however, in a specific sense, the Son of God, which presupposes his possession of divine glory before his incarnation. He is designated as superior to the angels, because, according to the view shared by the aut...

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