The Blood of Jesus and His Heavenly Priesthood in Hebrews Part II: The High-Priestly Sacrifice of Christ -- By: Philip Edgcumbe Hughes

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 130:519 (Jul 1973)
Article: The Blood of Jesus and His Heavenly Priesthood in Hebrews Part II: The High-Priestly Sacrifice of Christ
Author: Philip Edgcumbe Hughes


The Blood of Jesus and His Heavenly Priesthood in Hebrews
Part II:
The High-Priestly Sacrifice of Christ

Philip Edgcumbe Hughes

[Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, Visiting Professor of New Testament, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.]

[Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of articles entitled “The Blood of Jesus and His Heavenly Priesthood in the Epistle to the Hebrews,” which were the W. H. Griffith Thomas Memorial Lectures given by Dr. Philip Edgcumbe Hughes at Dallas Theological Seminary on November 14–17, 1972.]

Historical Views of the Heavenly Sacrifice of Christ

The view that it is in heaven, rather than on earth, that our High Priest offers the sacrifice of Himself was propounded in the seventeenth century by the Socinians on the basis of their own characteristic interpretation of Hebrews 9:12–14, which speaks of Christ’s entry into the heavenly sanctuary and of His offering of Himself to God. There is no mention here, they argue, of the offering of His blood or of the cross, and this is sufficient for them to conclude that this self-oblation of Christ takes place, not on earth, but in the heavenly sanctuary. John Owen objects, however, that it was precisely in the offering of His blood that Christ offered Himself, and to suggest that the sacrifice of Christ took place or takes place in heaven “utterly overthrows the whole nature of his sacrifice”; furthermore, “our redemption is everywhere constantly in the Scripture assigned unto the blood of Christ and that alone—Eph i.7; Col. i.14; 1 Pet. i.18, 19; Rev. v.9 .”1 As Owens observes, nowhere is the appearance of Christ in heaven called His sacrifice or offering of Himself. The Socinian interpretation destroys the analogy of the tabernacle ceremonial, in accordance with which the sacrifice at the altar preceded the entry into the holy of holies; it overthrows the true notion and nature of the priesthood of Christ; indeed, it robs the incarnation of its primary purpose, the substitutionary atonement accomplished at

Calvary.2 And it does violence to the text, which declares that it was after he had secured (εὑράμενος, aorist) our eternal redemption, and through or by virtue of (διά) His own blood shed ...

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