Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Holy Ghost This Signifying

These verses are tough.  Hebrews seems to know a change between a first tabernacle, in which multiple priests entered the temple, and a second, in which only the high priest did.  Might this change represent the fault in the "first covenant" he alludes to?

Verse 8 is translated strangely.  "The way into the holiest of all" should be read "the road of the holy ones [saints, angels]."

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Of Which We Cannot Now Speak

Hebrews describes the furniture of the Debir and the Hekal, and then balks at saying more.  It's not clear whether it's specifically about the Cherubim that he won't add detail, or about all the furniture -- the pronouns could mean other.  In either case, it's a curious thing to write.  What more would he have said, particularly?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Wherein Was the Golden Pot

Hebrews knows that the manna was kept inside the ark (there are rabbinical sources that agree).  It also says (in the KJV) that the "shewbread" was in the second room, the Hekal, which seems to imply that the two kinds of bread were different... or else there is a contradiction.

In fact the apparent contradiction may only exist in the English translation.  The Greek of verse 2 doesn't say "the shewbread," but has he prothesis ton arton, which means "the putting forward of the loaves."  Hebrews 9:2, in other words, knows the Hekal as the room where the bread was put out (to be eaten?), but 9:4 may tell us that the same bread was kept with the throne.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Ordinances of Divine Service

"[A]nd a worldly sanctuary" is a terrible translation.  The last words of the verse in Greek are to te hagion kosmikon, which is better read as "and a sacred cosmic thing" or maybe "and its sanctuary [was] cosmic."  The translation "worldly" makes it sound like Hebrews disparages the first temple, but the opposite is true -- Hebrews knows that the temple is the same thing as all of creation, the kosmos.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I Unfold Unto You a Mystery

I read this with the kids this week.  Alma's doctrine of revelation clearly comes from or informs the Worship of the Shalems.  He's unfolding a "mystery," he twice describes resurrection in the language of dressing, and he identifies it as something that doesn't happen until Christ comes.  This corresponds to the action in the Hekal, when the Lord-Melchizedek descends (Christ arrives) and dresses the initiates.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

If that First Covenant Had Been Faultless

Hebrews is very clear.  The problem with the "first covenant" is not that it was incomplete, but that it wasn't kept.  The new covenant is the same as the original covenant, and Hebrews quotes Jeremiah about them both: the law will be written inside them, and they will all know the Lord.

Friday, January 25, 2013

A More Excellent Ministry

Christ's "ministry" is a leitourgia, a "ritual" or "ordinance."  The "promises" upon which it is established are epangelias, things born by angels.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

We Have Such an High Priest

Jesus is the heavenly high priest.  Also, Hebrews indicts the earthly temple priesthood (the New Testament's "hypocrites") in verse 5.  "Serve" is latreuousin, meaning "they worship."  The Jerusalem hierarchy has lost the true substance of its worship, and though it still retains the rooms and some of the temple's furnishings, their temple cultus is focused on the type and shadow rather than the reality.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Not Without an Oath

The "law" makes priests without an oath, by mere blood descent.  Jesus, a high priest after the order of Melchizedek, is installed in his priestly office by oath.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Abideth a Priest Continually

Hebrews tells us that Salem isn't to be understood as a place -- it means "peace," confirming our reading that Melchizedek is the shalem king (Alma says a similar thing).  Hebrews knows that Melchizedek isn't a mortal; he's a Son of God, a priesthood office.

Friday, January 18, 2013

By Two Immutable Things

In this course Hebrews describes, God and man swear mutual oaths.  This is because God wants to show man the unchangeability of his "counsel."  In Greek this is boule, which is the word used in Isaiah to translate the Hebrew etza, where it manifestly means the tree of the temple menorah (for instance, Isaiah 11:2 and 5:18-19).  See also Isaiah 9:6, where the Greek LXX provides as the sole title of the descending Melchizedek priest the "angel of great counsel."  The course ends with grasping something described as "hope" and entering within the veil, where one has been preceded by Jesus, the Melchizedek priest.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Shew the Same Diligence

Hebrews urges readers to persevere in a course that requires faith and hope, and results in inheriting the promises of Abraham.  This is the same course already described, which if one falls away from, one cannot repent.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

If They Shall Fall Away

Hebrews exhorts us to leave behind the world beneath the veil, and dwell in the Holy of Holies forever.    Part of that exhortation is a warning not to apostatize -- those who have seen the light, received the heavenly gift, received the Holy Ghost, tasted the "word" of God and the powers (remember that power, dynamis, is one of the markers of the Melchizedek priest), and "fall away" cannot repent, Hebrews says.

This may or may not be rhetorical exaggeration, but notice that all the activities are actions in the Worship of the Shalems.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Let Us Go On Unto Perfection

This verse is hard to understand in English.  In Greek it's also tricky, but the imagery is clearer: a literal translation of the first clause would be "therefore letting go of the word (Word?) of the dominion of Christ let us be borne upon perfection (ten teleioteta)..."

And verse two should be read "of baptisms, of teaching..."  The appearance of the word "doctrine" in both verses 1 and 2 of the KJV makes it appear that both instances translate a single underlying word, but they don't.  And I think they're a wrong insertion both times.

The imagery, though, is an exhortation to progress forward from the moment of grasping the Lord at the veil and build upon the rock.  Baptism, teaching, laying on of hands, and even judgment are identified as things that do not exist within the veil.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Seeing Ye Are Dull of Hearing

The audience is dull of hearing, like those who will not understand the writings of Isaiah.  Milk is for those who don't understand the "word of righteousness," and "unskilful" here is the Greek apeiros, meaning "inexperienced."  Those who will get strong meat are those who "by reason of use have their senses exercised."  Like Nephi, Isaiah, and John, the author of Hebrews proposes that sensory experience of the temple is key to being able to receive and understand stronger doctrine.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Being Made Perfect in Greek teleiotheis, the same root as underlies Matthew 5:48.  Jesus, having been chosen from among men to be placed above men, has to make the ascent to the throne like anyone else... by becoming a shalem.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Thou Art My Son

The quotations are from Psalms 2 and 110, royal-priestly psalms about the king being begotten of the Lord and becoming a priest of the order of Melchizedek.  The implication seems to be that the Gospel accounts of the voice from heaven identifying Jesus as God's (?) son should be understood as recounting the moment of his ordination as high priest (e.g. Matthew, Mark, Luke).

Thursday, January 10, 2013

No Man Taketh

The temple hierarchy at the end of the Second Temple are for the writers of the Gospels "actors," hypokriteis, for precisely this reason -- they take upon themselves offices and titles that can only be bestowed by God.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Every High Priest Taken From Among Men

This verse needs unpacking.  First, if he's taken from among men, that means he ceases to be a man -- he is now divine.  Second, the Greek says he's "ordained [appointed, placed] above men."  This is explicit temple imagery, the image of a man ascending to sit on God's throne in the Holy of Holies.  Third, from there he does two things: he brings gifts (the feast of bread and wine and the clothing of the Worship of the Shalems) and he makes sacrifice for sin (the Day of Atonement).

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

We Have a Great High Priest

In Greek, Hebrews doesn't say that Jesus has entered heaven, but that he has passed through the heavens.  The heavens here are the veil, so the reference could be either to Jesus entering the Holy of Holies, or to Jesus emerging from the same.

Monday, January 7, 2013

And in This Place Again

Hebrews identifies Genesis 2 and Psalms 95 both as texts being spoken in the same place.  This is yet another confirmation that the Genesis creation account is part of the script of the Worship of the Shalems.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

As Well as Unto Them

For the author of Hebrews, the Israelites of the Exodus received the same covenant offer as the first Christians and failed to accept it.

Verse 2 is hard to read and translated badly: the Logos (Word) by hearing didn't help the Israelites,  because the Israelites were not mixed together in faith with the ones who heard.  Is this a reference to the esoteric nature of temple worship -- that the Israelites broadly were unaware of the temple worshippers among them?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Thursday, January 3, 2013

If Ye Will Hear His Voice

Hebrews now quotes another liturgical psalm.  This is a song of joy sung by people bowing to worship the Lord their "rock," planning to enter into his "presence" and his "rest."

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christ as a Son

Christ is also a temple figure, inside a house.  He is categorically different from Moses: Moses serves and witnesses, but Christ rules as the son.  The difference between Christ and other priest figures is a central theme of Hebrews.