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A Case for the Existence of the Trinity in the Book of Hebrews
This section will focus on what the Epistle of Hebrews displays concerning the triune God. First, each Person of the Trinity will be surveyed to find out a common ground that speaks of the Trinitarian presence in Hebrews. Due to the author’s Christological emphasis, God the Son1 will be discussed extensively. Then, the analysis will concentrate on God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit, respectively. How does the Book of Hebrews speak of the second Person of the triune God?
God the Son
From the very outset, Hebrews speaks of Jesus Christ as God’s Son, Heir, Creator, Sustainer, Savior, and Ruler, who sits at the right hand of God (1:2–3). Heb. 1:1–2 introduces a contrast of God’s revelation to the fathers in the prophets (ἐν τοῖς προφήταις), and His revelation “to us in His Son” (ἐν υἰῶ). This
contrast, according to James Moffatt, does not represent the inferior status of the prophets of the Old Testament, because there is a “unity and continuity of revelation then and now.” Instead, it suggests the finality of God’s revelation in the Son.2 David Alan Black goes a step further in affirming God’s definitive revelation in the Son as he distinguishes through “discourse analysis” that Heb. 1:1–4 is schematized in light of its “colon structure.”3 Black indicates that the first part of the colon (l:l-2a) provides ὁ θεός as the nominal element and ἐλάλησεν as the verbal element, along with four primary elements dependent upon the central matrix.4 However, Black argues that God is not the focus of Heb. 1:1–4 because, though He “is the one who is speaking, the author immediately turns to God’s revelation in his Son [l:2b–4], making the Son the main feature of the colon.”5
George Guthrie also uses the terminology of discourse analysis as he divides Heb. 1:1–4 into two main colons. While Guthrie, like Black, employs ὁ θεός and ἐλάλησεν as the central matrix for the first colon (1:1–2), he goes beyond Black’s analysis explicating that the second colon (1:3–4) revolves around the central matrix ὄ . . . ἐκάθισεν.6 Guthrie thinks that the omission of this second colon’s central matrix would cause the dependent elements of Heb. 1:3–4 (i.e., ὤν, φέρων, καθαρισμὸν, ἐν δεξιᾶ, and the whole statement of verse 4, developed around the participle γενόμενος and supported by the correlative relationship of τοσούτῶ . . . ὄσω) to lose its syntactical definition and meaning.7 Victor Rhee does not only agree with the previous Greek scholars’ analyses (Black and Guthrie), but he also contends that Heb. 1:1–4 is related to Heb 1:5–14 through both the recurrent use of the plural noun ἀγγέλων and the conjunction ydp.8Rhee explains that the latter introduces verses 5–14 to explain in detail what the author states in verses 1–4, specifically verse 4, in which the Son’s inheritance of a more excellent name than the former is mentioned.9 In light of the literary unity of Heb. 1:1–14, Paul Ellingworth declares, “The writer [of Hebrews] is not at present concerned to specify how or when God spoke ἐν υἰῶ, but the context is mainly concerned with Jesus’ exaltation.”10Thus, how does Hebrews manifest the Son’s exaltation?
The Exalted Son (1:3a; l:3d–4; 1:6–8)
Hebrews 1:3, according to Mark Saucy, constitutes the “structural pinnacle” of the exordium (1:1–4) and the groundwork upon which the entire chapter is developed because of its allusion to the exalted Son.11 The first participle phrase in Heb 1:3, ὄς ὤν ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης καὶ χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὐποστάσεως αὐτοῦ (“who being the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature”), speaks about the eternal nature of the Son. F. F. Bruce describes ἀπαύγασμα as the very effulgence or radiance of the glory of God that only the eternal Son and supreme revelation of God can display.12 In other words, as
Arthur W. Pink declares:
The Mediator’s relation to the Godhead is like that of the rays to the sun itself. We may conceive of the sun in the firmament, yet shining not: were there no rays, we should not see the sun. So, apart from Christ, the brightness of God’s ‘glory’ could not be perceived by us. Without Christ, man is in the dark, utterly in the dark concerning God. It is in Christ that God is revealed.13
Jean Hering believes that while ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης pertains to the Son’s majesty, χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὐποστάσεως αὐτοῦ refers to the Son’s conformity with the essence of the Father. The Son is not simply like the Father, but He participates in the same nature of the Father.14 The Greek word χαρακτήρ used in Heb 1:3, occurring once in the New Testament, provides a more emphatic meaning than εἰκών which elsewhere indicates that Christ is the “image” of God (2 Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15).15 Also, ὐποστάσεως, from ὐπόστασις (2 Cor. 9:4; Heb. 3:14; 11:1), refers to God’s essential being, which leaves no room for dualist overtones or false ideas about God.16 In other words, the Son is God’s exact substance, representation, and embodiment.
̔Εκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾶ τῆς μεγαλωσύνης ἐν ὑψηλοῖς (“He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high”) is an obvious allusion to Ps. 110 (LXX 109) :1. The author of Hebrews alludes to Ps. 110:1 four times (1:3; 8:1; 10:12–13; 12:2) and quotes the passage once (1:13). The notion of the “right hand” (ימיז) was mainly used in the OT to signify either superior power or ultimate honor. However, “right hand” also carried the derivative connotations of “greatness” or “favor.”17
Ellingworth denotes, “To sit at God’s right hand is therefore to share his power without limitation, though always with the subordination implied in the fact that it is God who gives, and the Son who receives, this supreme status.”18The allusion to τῆς μεγαλωσύνης here and in Heb. 8:1 are exceptional among references to Ps 110:1 in the NT. Guthrie explains that μεγαλωσύνης (= נבזרה) was initially used to express an attribute of God, that is, His power, greatness, or strength (Deut. 32:3; Ps. 145:3, 6; 1 Chr. 29:11).19 According to Bruce, the phrase τῆς μεγαλωσύνης, which translates as “the Majesty,” is a periphrasis for God that early Christians in the apostolic age used in reference to their Jewish background.20 Furthermore, James W. Thompson emphasizes the author’s spatial relevance of the phrase ἐν ὑψηλοῖς, in which there is a distinction between “this creation (9:11, 23; 12:18, 22) and the heav
Hebrews 1:4 speaks of the divine Son (1:2–3) as the exalted Son, who becomes better than the angels (τοσούτω κρείττων γενόμενος τῶν ἀγγέλων). The term κρείττων may be translated “better” or “superior” as an expression of the author’s value judgments (nineteen times in the NT, thirteen times in Hebrews).23 The author of Hebrews uses this adjective to persuade his readers of Christ’s superiority and their “better” status. Hughes indicates that the author of Hebrews is persuaded of “better things” (i.e., both God’s blessing and promises) (6:9, 7, 12) because Christ is a superior priest (7:7). Believers have a superior hope (7:19) because they are involved in the Son’s superior covenant (7:22, 8:6) which is based on superior promises (8:6). Because Christ made a superior sacrifice (9:23), believers have a superior possession (10:34), a superior country (11:16), a superior resurrection (11:35), and a superior privilege (11:40). In addition, Christ’s sacrifice was a superior shedding of blood (12:24).24
Thompson indicates that this central concept of Christ’s superiority, seen in Heb. 1:4, may show that “Christ, not the angels, is exalted to the heavenly world.” This exaltation is in light of the author’s often usage of the spatial contrast between the heavenly (superior) and the earthly (inferior) realms (9:23; 10:34; 12:24).25 However, Christ’s exaltation to the heavenly realm does not infer a change of ontology, already affirmed in Heb. 1:3, but rather, a change of position. Guthrie corroborates the author’s various uses of γίνομαι (γενόμενος in 1:4) to describe “the changing of position, rather than ontology.”26 Furthermore, if Christ’s exaltation meant a change of His ontology, then God the Father (1:5) would not command all the angels (καὶ προσκυνησἀτωσαν αὐτῶ πἀντες ᾶγγελοι θεοῦ) to worship the eternal Son (1:6).27
While the angels are objects of God’s creative activity that belong to the latter’s created order, being made winds and flames of fire (ὁ ποιῶν τοῦ ἀγγέλου αὐτοῦ πνεύματα…πυρὸς φλόγα), the Son is uncreated because He is the Geo? whose thone is εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ αἰῶνος (1:7–8).28 Jesus’ divinity as the eternal Son of God (1:5–13) neither obliterates His true humanity (2:5–18) nor invalidates His superiority over the angels. Murray J. Harris speaks of the author’s belief in “the Son’s being made for a little while lower than the angels (2:9) that enabled Him, as God’s obedient servant, to become the pioneer of human salvation (2:10) and a merciful and faithful high priest (2:17), roles that were never granted to angels.”29 Jesus Christ’s eternal priesthood (5:5; 6:20; 7:17, 21, 24, 28) can only be possible because of His eternal existence in heaven (13:8) that provides eternal redemption for many (9:12). However, Christ became the source of eternal salvation (5:9) as a high priest forever because God “designated” (προσαγορευθείς) Him as such (5:10). Then, how pervasive is God’s existence and activity in the Book of Hebrews?
God the Father
The author of Hebrews presents God the Father as He who can speak, warn, make promises, and exhort. According to him, Θεός is not silent or unknowable because He not only spoke long ago to the OT ancestors πολυμερῶς καί πολυτροπῶς, but He has also “spoken to us” (ἐγάλησεν ἡμῖν) by His Son.30In other words, David Peterson writes that Hebrews presents a God who, though speaking in both dispensations, contrasts His early revelation given to the fathers by the prophets with His implicitly singular and final eschatological communication given to mankind by His Son.31 God also commands His angels to worship His Son (καὶ προσκυνησάτωσαν αὐτῶ πάντες ᾶγγελοι θεοῦ) (1:6; Deut. 32:43 LXX) as He immediately contrasts (μὲν…δὲ) the transitoriness of the former and the eternalness of the latter (1:7–8). This divine command, according to Ernst Käsemann, entails a solemn proclamation (i.e., the λέγειν of 1:5–7, 13; the λαλήσας of Heb. 5:5, and the parallel προσαγορευθείς of 5:10), in which what “previously existed within the Godhead as capacity or essence undergoes eschatological disclosure in the heavenly act of enthronement, and only from that point can be trajected back into the earthly history by the believing community.”32The author attempts to display this 9eo0 £wvtos (3:12; 9:14; 10:31; 12:22) not only as the Source of life, but also as the One whose word uncovers man’s thoughts and heart intentions by His omniscience (4:12–13). G. W. Trompf explains:
The immediacy of God’s omnividence only serves to strengthen Man’s consciousness of his role as Judge, for our present actions and intentions form the very substance of the future κρίσις, which could eventuate at any time (9:27, 10:25–39, cf. Acts 5:1–11, Jas. 5:9b, etc.). Hebrews 4:12–13 hardly has a comforting view of God, then, and the purpose of these verses is not to extol the wonders of God’s perception or to glorify his capacity to διηκεῖν καὶ χωρεῖν διὰ πἀντων, for the writer is seeking above all to warn, to discourage ἀπειθεία, and to increase men’s dread of falling into the hands of omnipotent God who has scrutinized every part of their lives.33
God’s omnipotence is manifested from the place τοῦ θρόνου τῆς μεγαλωσύνης (1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2) where He creates all things by His word (1:2–3; 11:3) and shakes everything (i.e., τὴν γῆν ἀλλἀ καὶ τὸν οὐρανόν) at the command of His φωνὴ in accordance with His new covenant (8:8–13; 12:26–27).34Hering indicates that the phrase τὴν μετάθεσιν ὠς πεποιημένων (12:27) means the destruction and disappearance of the created things because in Heb 11:5 the verb μετατίθημι already provides a meaning of “disappear.”35 On the one hand, the removal of those shakable things is the result of both God’s justice (9:27; 11:29–30; 12:23) and holiness. God is defined as πῦρ καταναλίσκον (12:29), which indicates that His holiness does not permit Him to lie or break
His promises and oaths (6:13–18). For this reason, the author of Hebrews makes sure that his audience understands what the Father says of both His New Covenant (8:8–13) and His warning to them though the statement, “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (4:7).
On the other hand, the confirmation of the promises to the heirs of salvation is
The basis for believers’ endurance is the reliability of God’s promise. Πιστός is used of Jesus in . . . 2:17; 3:2; cf. 3:5, but promising is for Hebrews a prerogative of God, either directly (6:13) or by implication through scripture (12:26). The closest parallel is … 11:11, of God’s promise to Abraham (or Sarah); cf. 6:13.36
God’s promises become the believer’s hallmark of encouragement and comfort because they are confirmed by His oath (6:18). Also, the word of exhortation of which the author speaks in Heb 13:22 (τοῦ λόγου τῆς παρακλήσεως) is the same word of encouragement to which Heb 6:18 refers (ἰσχυρὰν παράκλησιν).37 The Father’s encouragement to His people is His exhortation for them to bear (13:22).38
God the Father does not only testify through His words, as shown before, but also through His deeds (2:4). Hebrews speaks of the Father who made the universe (ἐποίησεν τοὺς αἰῶνας) through His Son (1:2; John 1:3; Col 1:16; 1 Cor 8:6), and who is also the builder of all things (3:4; 11:3). In Heb 1:2, the author uses ποιέω (to make, to create) to denote God’s creative act as in others passages where God is ὁ ποιήσας (Matt 19:4; Acts 4:24; 14:15; Rev 14:7) in light of Exod 20:11. In this passage the word “to make” is צשׂה.39 While in some passages ποιέω means “to do” (6:3; 13:17), in others it means “to give, to appoint” (1:7; 3:2).40Hebrews also speaks of God’s grace having strengthened Jesus at the time of His death (2:9), which shows the Father’s intricate involvement in the human drama of salvation (2:9, 11; 2:17). As a result, the experience of sonship and brotherhood reflects the gracious involvement of the Father through the designation (προσαγορευθεὶς) of His Son as a high priest forever (5:8-10; 6:20). Thus, God the Father disciplines those who belong to Him to share in His holiness (12:7-11), which results in pursuing peace with all men (12:14). The believer’s pursuit of peace and sanctification (12:14) is the outward manifestation of the internal work of the “God of peace” (13:20-21). This internal sanctifying work by God’s grace introduces the author’s reference to the third Person of the Godhead, the πνεῦμα ἄγιος (6:4), or τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς χάριτος (10:29). What is His role in Hebrews?
God the Spirit
According to Ellingworth, though Hebrews does not develop or emphasize the role of the Holy Spirit in the Christian community, it accepts the traditional tenets about Him.41 The author provides clear references (2:4; 3:7–11; 6:4; 9:8; 9:14; 10:15–17, 29) to bring an analysis of the third Person of the triune God. This subsection will discuss some of the aforementioned references concerning the Holy Spirit in Hebrews.
Hebrews speaks of God’s great salvation in Christ confirmed not only by those fellow Christians who heard the message (2:3), but also by the signs and wonders (σημείοις τε καὶ τέρασιν) and mighty works (ποικίλαις δυνάμεσιν) which accompanied these witnesses’ proclamation of the message (2:4). Lane points out that the word τέρας (wonder) was incorporated into the Septuagint as a vehicle of God’s redemptive revelation on behalf of Israel.42 Then, Lane continues, the phrase σημεῖα καὶ τέρατα was understood in light of the Exodus event that showed God’s relationship to and purposes for His people (Exod. 7:3; Deut. 4:34; 6:22; 7:19; 29:2).43
According to Bruce, God’s relationship with the early apostolic community of believers in Hebrews through speaking about the regularity of phenomena aimed at (1) the confirmation of the message as truth, and (2) the restoration of “the reader’s faith in the gospel as God’s authoritative message.”44 Moffatt argues that because God (θεοῦ) is the subject of Heb. 2:4, αὐτοῦ corresponds to Him, and then, πνεύματος ἀγίου becomes the genitive of the object after [iepicrp.ols.45 Bruce believes that the Holy Spirit was the most important player of Heb 2:4 (1) because all the signs, wonders, and mighty works were related to His bestowal, and (2) because His “distributions” displayed the “most conclusive demonstration and seal of the truth of the gospel.”46 In this manner, the Holy Spirit’s role as the speaker in Heb 3:7–11 must not be surprising as God’s preserver of truth (Psalm 95: 7–11). The surprising part in this context is the change of pronouns from τῆς φωνῆς αὐτοῦ (3:7) to τὰ ἔργα μου (3:9), which indicates the author’s portrayal of the Holy Spirit as God.
If the Holy Spirit is considered the author of the OT revelation, as Bruce specifies, then the first word from Psalm 95:7c, σήμερον (“today”), does not imply the today of old times, but the today of the present, in which the voice of God is the voice of the Holy Spirit.47 Hughes affirms that the words spoken or written concerning the desert generation centuries before (Numbers 13–14) have direct significance to the audience addressed.48 In addition, the present tense of λέγει emphasizes the Holy Spirit’s present speaking.
When Heb. 6:4–6 speaks about the impossibility of repentance for the apostates (παραπεσόντας), then the warnings and witness of the Holy Spirit (3:7–11) become significant for understanding this passage. Heb. 3:12 warns the “brethren” against any evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God (ἐν τῶ ὰποστῆναι ἀπὸ θεοῦ ζῶντος). Though four components for Christian living,
along with their respective participles, are shown (i.e., τοὺς ἄπαξ φωτισθέντας γευσαμένους τῆς δωρεᾶς τῆς ἐπουρανίου . . . μετόχους ἐνηθέντας πνεύματος ἀγίου . . . καλὸν γευσαμένος θεοῦ ῥν͂μα δυνάμεις μέλλοντος αἰῶνος), there is no indication of absolute salvific certainty for those who follow them. This lack of salvific certainty is on the basis of the person’s obedient and loyal heart to God’s word (Heb. 3:10, 12; 4:12; 10:12; 13:9). In other words, the impossibility to renew people’s repentance is in light of their internal evidence of obedience or apostasy that only God knows. For this reason, Bruce states,
The Scriptures contain encouragement enough and to spare for the feeblest believer, but are full of solemn warnings to those who think they stand to beware lest they fall. A credible profession of faith must be accepted as genuine, but ultimately it is only the Lord who knows those who are his.49
While the apostates can become partakers (μετόχος) of baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and the laying on of hands in an external manner, they cannot be partakers of the Holy Spirit because they neglect Christ’s death for their sins, which is an insult to the Spirit of grace (10:29). Only the “beloved,” of whom the author speaks as those convinced of “better things” that belong to their salvation (6:9), are the ones who internally become partakers of the πνεύματος αἰωνίου (9:14), τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς χάριτος (10:29).50Moises Silva thinks that Heb. 6:4 could speak of the sanctifying work carried out by the Holy Spirit because of the Pauline emphasis on the Holy Spirit’s application of what Jesus obtained for His people.51This interpretation seems consonant with the sanctifying role of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus because His blameless offering to God (9:14) was the result of the Spirit’s presence in His life (Isa. 42:1; Matt. 3:16; Luke 4:18–21).
Analysis of the Trinity in Hebrews
The New Testament offers ample evidences of the deity of the Father (Matt. 6:26–30; 19:23–26; 27:46), the Son (Matt. 25:31; Mark 2:8–10; 14:62; Phil. 2:5–11; Heb. 1:2–3, 8), and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 19:26; John 16:8–11; Acts 5:3–4; 1 Cor. 2:10–11; 3:16–17; 6:19–20; 2 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 9:14). Also, it offers biblical evidences that Christianity is a monotheistic religion (Jas. 2:19; 1 Cor. 8:4, 6; 1 Tim. 2:5–6), along with providing passages with an implicit Trinitarian understanding (Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 12:4–6; 2 Cor. 1:21–22; 13:14).
In Hebrews, according to Guthrie, there is an implicit Trinitarianism in light of God’s Word because the Father is the speaker of twenty-three quotations, the Son is the speaker in four more passages (2:12; 2:13a; 2:13b; 10:5–7), and still four other quotations are attributed to the Holy Spirit (3:7–11; 4:3; 10:16; 10:17).52 Also, the author’s fear of apostasy is in light of the people’s deliberate
and calculated renunciation of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The author’s concern with apostasy is seen in (1) Heb. 3:12 (ἐν τῶ ἀποστῆναι ἀπὸ θεοῦ ζῶντος); (2) Heb. 6:6 (παραπεσόντας…ἀνασταυροῦντας ἐαυτοῖς τὸν υἰὸν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ παραδειγματίζοντας); (3) Heb. 10:26 (ἐκουσίως ἀμαρτανόντων ἡμῶν); (4) Heb. 10:29 (ὁ τὸν υἰὸν τοῦ θεου καταπατήσά…τὸ αἶμα τῆς διαθήκης κοινὸν ἠγησάμενος…τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς χάριτος ἐνυβρίσας); and (5) Heb. 12:25 (παραιτήσησθε . . . ἀποστρεφόμενοι). Scot McKnight acknowledges this rejection of the Trinity. He states:
Here [in Hebrews] we find words and expressions that speak directly and uniquely about the sin the writer fears: he fears that the readers will turn away from God, away from Jesus Christ’s sacrifice that perfects sinners, away from God’s Spirit—and He fears that this will be done consciously and intentionally. In essence, [the author] . . . sees a ‘trinitarian’ element in this sin—those who turn away from God are turning away from Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for sins and the Holy Spirit who brings God’s grace into their lives.53
Contrary to this picture of apostasy, the author presents a Trinitarian operation in those believers who are encouraged to “hold fast” (κατέχω) to their confession (3:1, 6, 14) so that they may not “drift away” (2:1). Giving heed to this τηλικαύτη σωτηρία, through loyalty and obedience to God, provides a way of escape (ἐκφευξόμεθα) from His future judgment reserved for the apostates (6:8; 10:27, 31). On the one hand, the Trinitarian God in Heb 2:3–4 testifies through spoken words (i.e., τοῦ κυρίου), through signs, wonders, and various miracles (i.e., τοῦ θεοῦ), and through gifts or distributions (i.e., πνεύματος ἀγίου) to validate the gospel and its salvific power, which in turn shows God’s love and mercy. On the other hand, the triune God in Heb. 10:29–31 testifies through the Father’s fiery eschatological judgment, punishment, and vengeance against those who insult the Holy Spirit of grace by dishonoring the person and work of the Son of God. This judgment is the result of willful sinning against the triune God’s provision of the full knowledge of the truth (10:26).
The perfecting of Jesus as the author and source of many people’s eternal salvation through suffering is also a Trinitarian operation (2:10; 5:9). The grace of God the Father (χάριτι θεοῦ) becomes the necessary component for bringing many sons to glory as Jesus (1) fulfills God’s salvific purposes (7:25–27) and (2) becomes a priest forever (5:6; 6:20; 7:17, 21). The Father’s grace ensures Jesus’ mediation (of a better covenant and hope) that allows many to “draw near to God” (6:9; 7:19, 25). Jesus’ mediatorial guarantee occurs through the eternal Spirit who enables Him to be an unblemished offering before God through His blood (9:14). This eternal Spirit, described as the Spirit of grace (10:29), becomes angry at the insult of those who consider Jesus’ blood unclean. Such consideration denies (1) the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying power in presenting Christ
before the Father (9:14), and (2) Christ’s eternal redemption through His own sinless blood (4:15; 9:12, 28; 10:19–20; 13:12). Those who become partakers of Christ’s salvation (μέτοχοι γὰρ τοῦ Χριστοῦ γεγόναμεν) have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit’s sanctification (μετόχους πνεύματος ἀγίου) (3:14; 6:4). The grace of the Father, the salvation of the Son, and the sanctification of the Holy Spirit permit the readers of Hebrews to draw near with confidence to the throne of grace as the Trinitarian God bestows on them His mercy and grace to help in their time of need (4:16). For this reason, the Trinitarian God in Hebrews is the God of solidarity with mankind.
A Case for the Trinitarian Solidarity with Mankind in the Book of Hebrews
This section will first cover different definitions of solidarity to have a good understanding of this term that will set the stage for the second part, which pertains to the author’s interpretation of solidarity in light of the Trinity.
Setting the Stage
The concept of solidarity must be defined to establish the foundation of this section. First, the Webster’s Third New International Dictionary defines solidarity as “an entire union of interests and responsibilities in a group” that involves communal “interests, objectives or standards.”54 Second, G. W. Grogan cites Webster’s Third New International Dictionary’s definition of solidarity to affirm the divine-to-human and human-to-human interrelatedness, unity, and identification.55 Third, in agreement with Grogan, Russell P. Shedd views solidarity as the unity, relationship, and identification between God and His people and within all the members of the nation of Israel in light of a blood bond, and more importantly, of God’s covenant with them.56
According to Shedd, the concept of divine solidarity is not only seen in God’s union and identification with Abraham, and through him with the nation of Israel, and through it with the land (Exod. 6:4, 7–8).57Rather, this con
This divine solidarity with all humanity through the “last Adam” or “second Man” (Rom. 5:14; 1 Cor. 15:45, 47) entails God’s initial union and identification with mankind through the first Adam, the first man, who was created in His image and likeness (Gen. 1:26–27; 2:7; 5:1–2; 9:6; 1 Cor. 11:7; Jas. 3:9), and in whom, according to Shedd, “All men were considered in the broadest sense as brothers.”59 Grogan agrees with Shedd as he contends that a “brother” meant
any male relative (Gen 16:12; Num 25:6), a member of the same tribe (Num. 8:23–26; Judg. 18:2, 8) or nation (2 Sam. 2:27; Jer. 34:9–22), or simply another person (Gen. 9:5).60In addition, Shedd thinks that the Pauline view of the new humanity (the new brotherhood) through solidarity with Jesus Christ’s Incarnation opens to all men the possibility of adoption into divine sonship (Gal. 4:4–5), in which:
Participation in the Son (1 Cor 1:9) is aligned with the idea of the sonship of Abraham in the Epistle of the Galatians. ‘If ye be in Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise’ (3:29; cf. 3:16). . . . By incorporation into Christ the New Israel became sons of God as well as sons of Abraham.61
On the one hand, solidarity through the covenant enabled the nation of Israel to be seen as an individual (Hos. 11:1), as God’s Son (Isa. 63:16; 64:8) upon whom God’s mercies were bestowed and recounted by Moses (Deut. 8:2–20). On the other hand, solidarity through blood identification permitted the nation of Israel to possess the land as the family of Abraham and the extension of his life in light of the promise God made to him (Gen. 13:15–17). Furthermore, this kind of solidarity was seen in Jacob’s father-in-law, Laban, who considered Jacob’s children his own (Gen. 31:43). More evidently, this solidarity was seen in Matthew’s account where Jesus Christ is said to be the son of David and Abraham (Matt. 1:1). This solidarity through blood identification was stronger as Shedd indicates that the relational distinctions of a brother, a kinsman, and a fellow or neighbor became indistinguishable within the context of the clan, tribe, or nation (Gen. 14:16; 11:27, 31; Exod. 2:11 Lev. 10:6; 19:16–18; Deut. 15:12; 2 Sam. 19:12, 42; Jer. 34:14; Heb. 1L24-26).62 In light of the aforementioned discussion, the author of this paper will treat the Epistle of Hebrews in its peculiar Trinitarian solidarity with mankind.
Trinitarian Solidarity with Mankind in Hebrews
The concept of solidarity in Hebrews seems to place Christ’s work above the activities of the Father and the Holy Spirit because of the exposition of the Son’s evident identification with mankind throughout its content. From the very beginning, Hebrews displays the reason for the Son’s solidarity with the entire race through His Incarnation, that is, He came to make purification of sins through His death (καθαρισμὸν τῶν ἀμαρτιῶν ποιησάμενος) during the days of His flesh (1:3; 5:7). However, the Son’s Incarnation shows the Father’s redemptive work through the fulfillment of His promise of a New Covenant (8:8–12) accomplished through His Son (7:22; 8:6). As J. C. Campbell explains,
Hebrews does not present the Incarnation as a peaceful prelude to the Atonement but as involved in it. The author describes, not the mode of God’s relation to man, but the Incarnate Son working out the Atonement. The mighty acts of God in redemption are told as a fully human life. But the ground and content of that life is the presence of God in his redeeming purpose and power. Hebrews does not try to express this relation of God and man in Jesus Christ in terms of a formula. He does not absorb the human in the divine or the divine in the human, but holds both together as they are given and present in the revelation so that the more the manhood is expressed the more fully does it appear that this is grounded and has its reality in the activity of the Son, and the reduction of the fullness of the one or the other impairs the truth in its wholeness, the wholeness of the act of God in Jesus Christ.63
The Father’s solidarity with mankind is seen through Jesus as the latter tastes death for everyone (2:9). The reason for which Jesus can bring πολλοὺς υἰοὺς εἰς δόξαν “many sons to glory” is not only because of the Father’s intervention in raising Him from the dead (9:12; 13:20), but also because of Jesus’ appearance before the face of God (νῦν ἐμφανισθῆναι τῶ προσώπω τοῦ θεοῦ ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν, 9:24; cf., 9:12). The word προσώπω (face or countenance), Eduard Lohse writes, means that Christ is in the “immediate presence of God.”64 Westcott describes the aorist infinitive ἐμφανισθῆναι, “to appear openly,” as the purpose of Christ’s presence before the Father.65 This presence before the Father is (1) because everything, even Christ, must be referred to the Majesty on high (1:2–3; 8:1), (2) because Christ manifests before the Father the effectiveness of His redemption (5:9; 9:15; cf., 2:9; 10:12; 12:2), and (3) because the fulfillment of God’s will is manifested as Christ becomes the guarantee of God’s New Covenant with mankind (10:9; cf., 7:22; 9:26).
The prepositional phrase ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν or ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν (6:19–20; 7:25; 9:24; 10:20; cf., 9:11) signifies what the author of this paper calls representational solidarity, in which Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension into the heavenly tabernacle enable Him to intercede or represent His people before the Father who, in turn, through His Son, regards them favorably (9:25). In Heb. 7:25, the verb ἐντυγχάνειν, “to make intercession,” means “appeal to,” “entreat,” “petition.” Otto Bauernfeind points out that ἐντυγχάνω is used five times in the NT. This verb is used twice in Acts 25:24 and Rom 11:2 with the meaning “to approach someone with a complaint” against someone else. Also, ἐντυγχάνω is used once to refer to the Holy Spirit’s intercession (Rom. 8:27), and twice of Christ (Rom. 8:24; Heb. 7:25).66Though no special doctrine of the Holy Spirit is developed in Hebrews, the use of ἐντυγχάνω in Rom. 8:27, that refers to the Holy Spirit’s intercession on behalf of the saints (ἐντυγχάνει ὑπὲρ ἀγίων), enlightens His sanctifying role in solidarity with those who have become His partakers (6:4). Furthermore, the author’s encouragement for these brethren to draw near to the throne of grace during trials is not only for them to find a
sympathetic high priest (4:14–16; cf., 2:17–18), but also for them to receive divine assistance from the Spirit of grace in times of temptation (2:18; 10:29).67Thus, Jesus’ solidarity with mankind through His Incarnation manifests the Father’s solidarity with men through the revelation of His υἰός (1:1–2). Also, Jesus’ solidarity with men through His atonement manifests the Father’s solidarity with all humanity through the resurrection and ascension of His Son, who enables men to have a confident access into the very presence of God (10:19–21). This continuous “help” of the Father, the Son, and
The scope of the Trinity’s solidarity with mankind must be defined to know with whom God is identifying. The author provides evidences in which God’s Son has a relationship with the human family on the basis of making “purification for sins,” tasting death for everyone (ὑπὲρ παντὸς γεύσηται θανάτου), and partaking of the same humanity common to everyone (παραπλησίως μετέσχεν τῶν αὐτῶν), respectively (1:3; 2:9, 14). However, the author provides a clear explanation as to whom this divine solidarity applies. It applies to those who understand Christ’s partaking of the same human nature that they have (3:14) so that they (πολλοὺς υἰούς) may become partakers of His divine nature (3:14), partakers of the Holy Spirit (6:4), and sharers (μεταλαβεῖν) of the Father’s holiness (12:10). Heb 2:9–3:1 speaks of “everyone,” “sons,” “brethren,” “children,” and “holy brethren.” In this passage, there is a progression that reaches its climax in those ἀδελφοὶ ἄγιοι who have become partakers of a heavenly calling (3:1). This heavenly calling compels these brethren to remind themselves of Jesus’ true sufferings and temptations (2:18; 4:14–5:9) as they suffer and are tempted (2:16–18; 4:14–16), offering to God a sacrifice of praise (13:15), and showing solidarity to others (13:1–3) as the Trinitarian God has shown solidarity to them.
In this paper, the author has attempted to bring the Trinity in the Book of Hebrews in order to show the wealth of its message. Hebrews is not only a Christological epistle, but a Trinitarian one. Each Person of the Godhead is displayed to show both His attributes and operation. Christ’s Person and works are greatly pervasive in the epistle, along with the theology of God the Father, and in contrast to the Holy Spirit’s doctrinal development. Therefore the present author has made an attempt to point out the Trinitarian message: to show how God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit work together in solidarity with people as they reach maturity in Christ, are sanctified in the Holy Spirit, and grow in God’s grace for daily living.
1 1. This subsection will primarily focus on Hebrews 1 because of the great implications this chapter has in understanding Christ and its effects on the epistle. The superiority of the Son to angels (1:5–14), to fallen humanity (2:5–18), to Moses (3:1–6), to Aaron (5:1–10), and to the levitical priesthood (7:1–28), is on the basis of His confessed divinity in Hebrews 1. Thus, Christ’s superiority manifests a superior covenant (8:1–10:18) through a superior faith He authors and perfects (10:19–12:2), which, in turn, leads to a better living (12:3–13:17). William Manson goes a step further in seeing Heb. 1:1–4 as the most prominent section of Hebrews 1, which he calls “the primary substance of the Church’s confession of Christ.” Manson believes that the author adds 1:5–14 to the exordium as a commentary, giving ample OT proofs of Christ’s divine sonship, supreme lordship, active involvement in the work of creation, and enthronement and exaltation above the angels (Ps. 2:7; 2 Sam. 7:14; Ps. 104:4; 45:6–7; 102:25–27; 110:1, 4). William Manson, The Epistle to the Hebrews, the Baird Lectures, 1949 (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1951), 91–92. James Moffatt asserts that the frequent references to “angels of God” (Gen. 6:2: Ps. 29:1; 89:7; Job 1:6; 2:1) is probably the background for the author’s choice of a text speaking of Jesus as υἰός to present His superiority to the angels (Heb. 1:4). James Moffatt, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, The International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, vol. 40 (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1979), 10. The Son is superior to the angels on the basis of inheriting a name. F. F. Bruce argues that the inheritance of the name “Son” does not imply He was not God before His exaltation (1:4–5). The Father has spoken to mankind in His Son through whom He created the universe even before His Incarnation (1:2). The title “Son” begins when the Son inherits all things according to the Father’s eternal appointment. F. F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, rev. ed., The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1990), 50–51. Thus, Guthrie points out the relational aspect of υἰῶ in Heb. 1:2 that finds support in (1) the author’s use of κληρονόμον, which very often denotes a relationship of sonship, (2) the OT citations (1:5–13), which emphasize the notion of father-son relationship (e.g., υἰῶ μου, γεγέννηκα, πατέρα, υἰόν, πρωτότοκον), and (3) Christ’s role as “a Son,” which is mentioned throughout Hebrews (1:2; 3:6; 5:8; 7:28), along with those statements where He is entitled “the Son” (e.g., 4:14; 6:6; 7:3; 10:29). George Howard Guthrie, “Exaltation Theology in Hebrews: A Discourse Analysis of the Function of Psalm 110:1 in Hebrews 1:3, ” Th.M. thesis (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 1989), 16–18.
2 2. James Moffatt, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 2. Likewise, Neva F. Miller denies the OT prophets’ inferior status in light of God’s revealed Son. Miller argues that God is the subject who always speaks through the prophets (through Abraham [promises], through Moses [law, history, signs], through Isaiah [prophecy], through Amos [sermons], etc.). However, Miller acknowledges that these earlier stages of revelation find their fulfillment in God’s final revelation through Christ. Neva F. Miller, The Epistle to the Hebrews: An Analytical and Exegetical Handbook (Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics, 1988), 2.
3 3. David Alan Black, “Hebrews 1:1–4: A Study in Discourse Analysis,” Westminster Theological Journal 49 (1987): 176. Black explains that a “colon is a unit of grammatical structure with clearly marked external dependencies. It always has either overtly or covertly a central matrix consisting of a nominal element (subject) and a verbal element (predicate), each having the possibility of extended features. Those features which are added to either the nominal or verbal element restrict the range of reference even as they supply further information.”
4 4. According to Black, the four syntactically dependent elements for the first part of the colon are: λαλήσας (πολυμερῶς καὶ τολυτροπῶς πάλαι . . . τοῖς πατράσιν ἐν τοῖς προφήταις), ἐπ ̓ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν, ἡμῖν, and ἐν υἰῶ. Ibid., 177-78.
5 5. Ibid., 177, 179.
6 6. Guthrie, “Exaltation Theology in Hebrews,” 5–6.
7 7. Ibid., 6. See Guthrie’s block diagram of Heb. 1:1–4 in appendix A. Guthrie, “Exaltation Theology in Hebrews,” 125.
8 8. Victor Rhee, “Christology and the Concept of Faith in Hebrews 1:1–2:4, ” Bibliotheca Sacra 157 (2000): 176-77.
9 9. Ibid., 177.
10 10. Paul Ellingworth, The Epistle to the Hebrews: A Commentary on the
11 11. Mark Saucy, “Exaltation Christology in Hebrews: What Kind of Reign?” Trinity Journal 14 (1993): 46.
12 12. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 48. Guthrie cites Celcus Spicq to say that “ἀπαύγασμα carries the triple idea of the Son’s divine origin, his resemblance to God, as well as His individuality.” Celcus Spicq, L’Epitre aux Hebreux, Sources Bibliques (Paris: J. Gabalda, 1977), 59; cited in Guthrie, “Exaltation Theology in Hebrews,” 8.
13 13. Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1954), 35 [author’s emphasis]. Philip Edgcumbe Hughes believes that τῆς δόξης refers to the OT understanding of God’s shekinah glory (Ex 16:7; 33:18), which here is mentioned by the author’s use of αὐτοῦ, meaning God’s presence among His people. Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1977), 41.
14 14. Jean Hering, The Epistle to the Hebrews, trans. A. W. Heathcote and P. J. Allcock (London: Epworth, 1970), 5.
15 15. Leon Morris explains that the term χαρακτήρ originally signified an instrument used for engraving, and the impression this instrument made (e.g., the impression made on coins). Leon Morris, “Hebrews,” in Hebrews-Revelation, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 12 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), 14.
16 16. Ellingworth, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 99. Bruce states that the Gk. ὐπόστασις in Heb. 1:3 “has the meaning [of] ‘substance’ or ‘real essence’ (in contrast to what merely appears to be).” Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 48.
17 17. Walter Grundmann, “δεξιός,” in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Friedrich, trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964), 37–40. All subsequent references from the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament will be abbreviated (TDNT). Franz Delitzsch writes that in the OT the right hand of a king was seen as the loftiest place of honor in the kingdom (1 Kings 2:19). Franz Delitzsch, Vie Psalms, vol. 3 (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1871), 189.
18 18. Ellingworth points out that “Hebrews, like Paul (Romans 8:34; Eph. 1:20; Col. 1:20) and 1 Peter (3:22), always (Heb. 8:1; 10:12; 12:2) uses ἐν δεξιᾶ outside quotations, but quotes Ps. 110:1 correctly as ἐκ δεξιῶν [Heb 1:13] …. Hebrews’ use of ἐν δεξιᾶ probably reflects his own (and perhaps his community’s) usage.” Ellingworth, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 102–3. W. E. Vine thinks that God’s giving of this seat of honor to the Son confirmed what the Son had achieved at the cross. W. E. Vine, The Epistle to the Hebrews (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1952), 14.
19 19. Guthrie, “Exaltation Theology in Hebrews,” 12.
20 20. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 49–50.
21 21. James W. Thompson, “Structure and Purpose of the Catena in Hebrews 1:5–13, ” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 38 (1976): 354.
22 22. Brooke Foss Westcott, The Epistle to the Hebrews: The Greek Texts with Notes and Essays, 3d ed. (London/New York: Macmillan, 1892), 16; Moffatl, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 8; Richard Charles Henry Lenski, The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews and of the Epistle of James (Columbus, OH: Wartburg, 1946), 41–42; Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 47–48.
23 23. William L. Lane, Hebrews 1–8, Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 47a. (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1991), 17.
24 24. Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 50.
25 25. Thompson, “Structure and Purpose of the Catena in Hebrews 1:5–13, ” 354.
26 26. Guthrie states that γίνομαι (2:17; 5:5; 6:20; and 7:16) is used “specifically of Jesus being appointed to the position of High Priest. Heb 7:26 also makes reference to Jesus being made High Priest and does so with an exaltation statement. The Son as High Priest was holy, without blemish, innocent, set apart from sinners, and ὑψηλότερος τῶν οὐρανῶν γενόμενος. The statement clearly depicts spatial movement, therefore, a change of position.” Guthrie, “Exaltation Theology in Hebrews,” 14–15.
27 27. Thompson declares: “That angels pay homage to the heavenly Messiah is a familiar concept in Jewish literature (Asc. Isa. 11:23ff.; Apoc 5:8f.), a fact which indicates that the author has quoted a text which is intended to provide scriptural proof of the messianic dignity of Jesus in familiar terms. This argument carries special force in Hebrews, for it is axiomatic to the author that what is inferior renders homage to that which is superior (cf. 7:4–8).
28 28. Thus the citation indicates that Christ is ‘better’ (κρείττων, v. 4) than angels, inasmuch as he is worshipped by them.” Thompson, “Structure and Purpose of the Catena in Hebrews 1:5–13, ” 356.
29 29. Murray J. Harris argues, “The antithesis between v. 7 and vv. 8–9 that is marked by the strongly adversative μὲν…δέ is twofold: the angels serve (τοῦς λειτουργούς), but the Son reigns (ὁ θρόνος σου . . . ἡ ῤάβδος); in their service of God the angels change their form (πνεύματα…πυρὀς φλόγα), but in His rule of equity, the divine Son continues forever [ὁ θεὸς εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ αἰῶνος]. One contrast relates to function, the other to nature.” Murray J. Harris, “The Translation and Significance of Ὀ Θεός in Hebrews 1:8–9, ” Tyndale Bulletin 36 (1985): 145.
30 30. God is mentioned as the speaker in Hebrews twenty-three times (1:5a; 1:5b; 1:6; 1:7; 1:8–9; 1:10–12; 1:13; 4:3; 4:4; 4:5; 4:7; 5:5; 5:6; 6:14; 7:17; 7:21; 8:5; 8:8–13; 10:30a; 10:30b; 10:37–38; 12:26; 13:5). See Guthrie, “Exaltation Theology in Hebrews,” 50.
31 31. David Peterson, “God and Scripture in Hebrews,” in The Trustworthiness of God: Perspectives on the Nat
32 32. Ernst Käsemann, The Wandering People of God: An Investigation of the Letter to the Hebrews, trans. Roy A. Harrisville and Irving L. Sandberg (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 1984), 99.
33 33. G. W. Trompf, “The Conception of God in Hebrews 4:12–13, ” Studia Theologica 25 (1971): 126-27.
34 34. Ronald Williamson does not see any contradiction between Heb. 1:2–3 and Heb. 11:3 because, while the former speaks about the Son’s cosmological function of upholding the universe God made by the word of His power (τῶ ῥήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ), the latter says that the world was created by the word of God (ῥήματι θεοῦ). According to him, ῤῆμα must not be confused with λόγος, though the author understands that creation “is both ‘by’ God’s word and ‘through’ the Son.” Ronald Williamson, “The Incarnation of the Logos in Hebrews,” The Expository Times 95 (1983): 6.
35 35. Hering, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 118.
36 36. Ellingworth, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 526.
37 37. The Greek word παράκλησις (encouragement, comfort, exhortation) comes from the root word παρακαλέω, which means “to call to or for, to exhort, to encourage.”
38 38. Otto Schmitz asserts, “In Hb. one may see again the connection between exhortation and comfort, for in 12:5 it refers to the biblical verse Prv. 3:11 as a word of consolation and exhortation, and in 6:18 it testifies to the strong encouragement to be found in the promise which God has confirmed by an oath. Similarly the ἰσχυρὰν παράκλσιν of 6:18 is not so much exhortation as the powerful encouragement and consolation which resists all assaults and temptations to doubt.” Otto Schmitz, “παράκλησιν, παράκλησις,” in TDNT, vol. 5, 797.
39 39. Herbert Braun, “ποιέω,” in TDNT, vol. 6, 459–63.
40 40. Contrary to ancient (Chrysostom) and modern (Montefiore) interpretations that see ποιέω to mean “to create,” Ellingworth believes Heb. 1:7 means, based on both Ps. 104 (LXX 103):3 (ὁ τιθεὶς νέφη τὴς ἐπίβασιν αὐτοῦ) and Heb. 3:2, that “God gives to angels the status or function of servants.” Ellingworth, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 121. In addition, Leon Morris contends that ποιέω in Heb. 3:2 “cannot mean ‘created’ since the Son is not a created being (1:3). There might be a reference to the Incarnation, but it seems more probable that the Son’s appointment as apostle and high priest is meant. The same verb is used of the appointment of Moses and Aaron (I Sam. 12:6 LXX), the apostles (Mark 3:14), to Christ himself (Acts 2:36).” Morris, “Hebrews,” 33, n. 2.
41 41. Ellingworth’s most prominent acknowledgment of the Holy Spirit is His involvement in the believers’ “great salvation” through the distribution of His gifts to them (3:3–4) as a result of them becoming His “partakers” (6:4). Also, he mentions the Holy Spirit as the “effective author of [S]cripture” (3:7; 10:15; 9:8). Ellingworth, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 66.
42 42. Lane, Hebrews 1–8, 40.
43 43. Ibid. In the New Testament, signs and wonders often occur together. See Matt. 24:24; Mark 13:22; John 4:48; Acts 2:22; Rom. 15:19; 2 Thess. 2:9.
44 44. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 68–69.
45 45. Moffatt, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 20. Likewise, Kenneth S. Wuest adds that the Holy Spirit distributes His endowments because He is the “person in the genitive case [who] performs the action in the noun of action, here the word merismos” (“distributions,” “impartations”). Kenneth Samuel Wuest, Hebrews in the Greek New Testament for the English Reader (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1947), 54.
46 46. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 69.
47 47. Ibid., 95.
48 48. Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 141.
49 49. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 147.
50 50. Διἀ πνεὐματος αἰωνίου is difficult to translate because the translator must decide whether or not to render the substantive with a capital “S.” However, several major Bible translations (KJV, NKJV, NASV, and NIV) do read “Spirit.”
51 51. Moises Silva, “Perfection and Eschatology in Hebrews,” Westminster Theological Journal 39 (1977): 67.
52 52. Guthrie, “Exaltation Theology in Hebrews,” 50. For the list of passages where God the Father is the speaker, see Ibid., 6, n. 30.
53 53. Scot McKnight, “The Warning Passages of Hebrews: A Formal Analysis and Theological Conclusions,” Trinity Journal 13 (1992): 39.
54 54. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1961), 2169. Likewise, The Oxford English Dictionary asserts that solidarity is “1. a. The fact or quality, on the part of communities, etc., of being perfectly united or at one in some respect, esp. in interests, sympathies, or aspirations; spec, with reference to the aspirations or actions of trade-union members … 3. Civil Law. A form of obligation involving joint and several responsibilities or rights.” The Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Clarendon, 1989), 972.
55 55. G. W. Grogan, “The Old Testament Concept of Solidarity in Hebrews,” Tyndale Bulletin 49 (1998): 159-73.
56 56. Russell Philip Shedd, Man in Community: A Study of St Paul’s Application of Old Testament and Early Jewish Conceptions of Human Solidarity (London: Epworth, 1958), 3–41. While Shedd thinks that a covenant was the primary concept used in connection with divine/human solidarity in the Old Testament, Grogan thinks that in the New Testament, specifically in Hebrews, this concept was still prominent for defining human/ divine solidarity. Grogan, “The Old Testament Concept of Solidarity in Hebrews,” 169.
57 57. Shedd, 25–26.
58 58. Ibid., 126.
59 59. Ibid., 12.
60 60. Grogan,
61 61. Shedd, 134. Grogan’s view of solidarity in Christ’s Incarnation is seen as he asserts, “It is because of Christ’s oneness with his people that he is able to make atonement for them.” Grogan, 172.
62 62. Shedd, Man in Community, 11.
63 63. J. C. Campbell, “In a Son: The Doctrine of Incarnation in the Epistle to the Hebrews,” Interpretation 10 (1956): 26-27.
64 64. Eduard Lohse, “πρόσωπον,” in TDNT, vol. 6, 775–77.
65 65. Westcott, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 272.
66 66. Otto Bauernfeind, “ἐντυγχάνω,” in TDNT, vol. 8, 243.
67 67. Westcott explains that in Heb. 4:16, ἐλεος indicates God’s forgiveness of past failures or sins, and χάρις indicates divine assistance provided in present or future needs or trials. Westcott, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 109.
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Faith and Mission Volume 21 (Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2004; 2006), vnp.21.3.46-21.3.58.
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