Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Hebrews 7:22-28 - Christ has offered himself once and for all

Today's section of Hebrews focuses on the nature of Christ's priesthood.

Hebrews 23-25a:
Of those other priests there was a succession, since death denied them permanence;  whereas Jesus continues for ever, and his priestly office is unchanging; that is why he can give eternal salvation to those who through him make their way to God; 
Et alii quidem plures facti sunt sacerdotes, idcirco quod morte prohiberentur permanere: hic autem eo quod maneat in æternum, sempiternum habet sacerdotium.  Unde et salvare in perpetuum potest accedentes per semetipsum ad Deum: 

The succession of Old Testament priests: He shows that he is the true priest, because the others were prevented by death from continuing, because all must die. Hence, when Aaron died, Eleazar succeeded, as is clear from Numbers and so on. For as we notice in natural things, which are signs of spiritual things, incorruptible things are not multiplied under the same species; hence, there is but one sun: so in the spiritual things in the Old Testament, which was imperfect, the priests were multiplied. This was a sign that the priesthood was corruptible, because incorruptible things are not multiplied in the same species.

The one priest of the new covenant: But the priest who is Christ is immortal, for He remains forever as the eternal Word of the Father, from Whose eternity redounds an eternity to His body, because ‘Christ rising from the dead, dies now no more’. Therefore, because he continues forever, he holds his priesthood permanently. Therefore, Christ alone is the true priest, but others are His ministers: ‘Let a man so account of us as the ministers of Christ’.

Hebrews 25b:
he lives on still to make intercession on our behalf.  
semper vivens ad interpellandum pro nobis. 
Making intercession for us: ...He interposes for us, first, His human nature, which He assumed for us by representing; secondly, His most holy soul’s desire, which He had for our salvation and with which He intercedes for us.

Hebrews 7:26
Such was the high priest that suited our need, holy and guiltless and undefiled, not reckoned among us sinners, lifted high above all the heavens;  
Talis enim decebat ut nobis esset pontifex, sanctus, innocens, impollutus, segregatus a peccatoribus, et excelsior cælis factus: 
Aquinas: So he sets down four qualities in Him that were supposed to be in the priesthood of the Law: first, that he is holy...

Christ is holy: ‘They offer the burnt offerings of the Lord and the bread of their God, and therefore they shall be holy’. But Christ had this perfectly. For holiness implies purity consecrated to God: ‘Therefore, also the Holy which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God’; ‘That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; ‘The saint of saints will be anointed'.

Guiltless: ‘Let them keep my precepts that they may not fall into sin’. But, properly speaking, innocence is purity toward one’s neighbor: ‘The innocent in hands, and clean of heart: who has not taken his soul in vain, nor sworn deceitfully to his neighbor’. But Christ was completely innocent, being One Who did not sin’ ‘I have walked in my innocence’.

Undefiled: ‘Whosoever of our seed through their families has a blemish, he shall not offer bread to his God’. Of Christ it is said in a figure: ‘It shall be a lamb without blemish’.

Not reckoned among sinners:  ‘He shall not mingle the stock of his kindred with the common people of his nation’. But Christ was perfectly separated from sinners: ‘Blessed is the man who has not walked in the counsel of the ungodly nor stood in the way of sinners’. This is, of course, true in regard to a like life: ‘His life is not like other men’s’, but not in regard to His dealings with others, because ‘He conversed with men’ and this with a view to their conversion: ‘Why does your master eat with sinners?’. And to such a degree He was separated that He was made higher than the heavens, i.e., exalted above the heavens: ‘He sits on the right hand of the majesty on high’.

Therefore, he is a sufficiently competent priest.

Hebrews 7:27-28
one who has no need to do as those other priests did, offering a twofold sacrifice day by day, first for his own sins, then for those of the people. What he has done he has done once for all; and the offering was himself.The law makes high priests of men, and men are frail; promise and oath, now, have superseded the law; our high priest, now, is that Son who has reached his full achievement for all eternity.
qui non habet necessitatem quotidie, quemadmodum sacerdotes, prius pro suis delictis hostias offerre, deinde pro populi: hoc enim fecit semel, seipsum offerendo.  Lex enim homines constituit sacerdotes infirmitatem habentes: sermo autem jurisjurandi, qui post legem est, Filium in æternum perfectum.
The imperfect sacrifices of atonement: what was imperfect was that he [Aaron] needed the sacrifices of atonement: ‘He shall offer the calf for himself; and the goat for the people. Therefore, he prayed for himself; and not only once but frequently. The reason for this is that the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests: ‘A weak man and of a short time’.

Christ's perfect offering: But the word of the oath established the Son (Who had none of these imperfections, but was completely perfect), Who is after the Law, a priest to continue forever. For He did not offer for His own sins but for ours: ‘He was wounded for our iniquities’. Nor did He offer for us frequently, but only once: ‘Christ died for our sins’. For His one offering is enough to take away the sins of the entire human race.

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