Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Hebrews 8:1-5 - The true tabernacle

Hebrews 8:1-2
And here we come to the very pith of our argument. This high priest of ours is one who has taken his seat in heaven, on the right hand of that throne where God sits in majesty, ministering, now, in the sanctuary, in that true tabernacle which the Lord, not man, has set up. 
Capitulum autem super ea quæ dicuntur: Talem habemus pontificem, qui consedit in dextera sedis magnitudinis in cælis, sanctorum minister, et tabernaculi veri, quod fixit Dominus, et non homo. 
Aquinas:

Throne signifies judicial power: Its dignity is that we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven. The throne is judicial power, which befits certain persons as ministers of God, as all kings..:

‘Is seated’: can be referred to Christ as God, and then He is seated in that way, because He has the same authority as the Father, although distinct in person; and so ‘majesty’ is taken for the person of the Father. Or, to Christ as man: and this is more in keeping with the Apostle’s intention, because he is speaking about the high priesthood of Christ,

Ministering in the sanctuary, the holy of holies: He is the minister of the holies, because He administers the sacraments of grace in the present life and of glory in the future. He is also the minister of the true tent [tabernacle] that cannot be removed’; ‘Lord, who shall dwell in your tabernacle?'. But the man Christ is a minister because all the goods of glory are dispensed by Him.

Hebrews 8:3
After all, if it is the very function of a priest to offer gift and sacrifice, he too must needs have an offering to make. 
Omnis enim pontifex ad offerendum munera, et hostias constituitur: unde necesse est et hunc habere aliquid, quod offerat. 
Every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; ...it is necessary that He have something to offer: ‘Every priest taken from among men is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God, that He may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sin’. The sacrifice is offered with animals; the gifts with anything else: ‘They offer the burnt offerings of the Lord and the bread of their God’.

Christ offered Himself:  But it was a clean oblation, because His flesh had no stain of sin: ‘And it shall be a lamb without blemish, a male, of one year’. Furthermore, it was suitable, because it was fitting that a man should satisfy for man: ‘He offered himself unspotted unto God’. It was also fit to be immolated, because His flesh was mortal: ‘God sending his own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh and sin’. Also it was the same as the one to whom it was offered: ‘I and the Father are one’. And it unites to God those for whom it is offered: ‘That they may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us’.

Hebrews 8:4-5
Whereas, if he were still on earth, he would be no priest at all; there are priests already, to offer the gifts which the law demands, men who devote their service to the type and the shadow of what has its true being in heaven. (That is why Moses, when he was building the tabernacle, received the warning, Be sure to make everything in accordance with the pattern that was shewn to thee on the mountain.)
Si ergo esset super terram, nec esset sacerdos: cum essent qui offerent secundum legem munera, qui exemplari, et umbræ deserviunt cælestium. Sicut responsum est Moysi, cum consummaret tabernaculum: Vide (inquit) omnia facito secundum exemplar, quod tibi ostensum est in monte.
Christ is not a minister of the sacrifices of the Law:  This can be understood in two ways: in one way so that the sense would be: If that which is offered were something earthly, Christ would not be a priest. As if to say: There would be no need for a priesthood, because there would be many to offer such things...His oblation is not ordained to obtaining something earthly: ‘You are of this world; I am not of this world’...

Type and shadow: The sacraments of the Old Law were figures of other things in two respects: first, in regard to knowledge; secondly, in regard to fulfillment. In regard to knowledge he says, exemplar, because in the Old Law, as in an exemplar could be read that to which our knowledge should be led. But it seems that he is speaking in an improper sense: for an exemplar is prior to that of which it is an exemplar, namely, an example...a shadow, because just as a shadow represents a body without ever becoming a body, so those things represented the New Testament: ‘For the Law, having a shadow of the good things to come, not the very image of the things’.

The tabernacle:..when Moses was about to erect the tabernacle, he was instructed by God saying, ‘See that you make everything according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain’, because inferior things naturally tend to a likeness of superior things. For the Lord wished to lead us by sensible things to intelligible and spiritual things: ‘Do you know the order of heaven, and can you set down the reason thereof on the earth?’.

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