Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Jesus Entered Within the Curtain--How?

The book of Hebrews makes a contrast between Christian antitypes and "a shadow of heavenly things" that was associated with the Torah (Hebrews 8:1-5). As our High Priest according to the manner of Melchizedek, Jesus (in his role as PRODROMOS) entered within the curtain of the greater Most Holy or SANCTUM SANCTORUM (cf. Leviticus 16:1-2, 12, 15). What, however, is the "curtain" wherein Christ took the value of his precious blood?

According to Hebrews 10:20, the curtain represents Christ's flesh; hence, by dying and being resurrected to spirit life, the Lord Jesus entered the curtain in that he no longer had flesh as a barrier, but now dwelt as an immortal or incorruptible spirit being (1 Peter 3:18; 1 Corinthians 15:45). It seems that 10:20 would make a good point to share with those who believe that Christ still has a fleshly body or that he has not entered within the curtain (figuratively speaking).

At any rate, the main point of the text seems clear enough. Jesus entered within (EISERXOMENHN EIS TO ESWTERON) the antitypical Most Holy (Holy of Holies) after he transcended his fleshly state:

"ESWTERON (#2278) within, inside of" (Rogers and Rogers Linguistic and Exegetical Key, page 529). See Acts 16:24.

BDAG Greek-English Lexicon notes: "In TO ESWTERON TOU KATAPETASMATOS, E. funct. as prep. w. gen. (cp. 1 Km 24:4) what is inside (= behind) the curtain, the Holy of Holies Hb 6:19 (Lev 16:2, 12, 15)."


JimSpace said...

Hi Edgar, I like this point about Hebrews 10:20,
"It seems that 10:20 would make a good point to share with those who believe that Christ still has a fleshly body or that he has not entered within the curtain (figuratively speaking)."
The NET Bible footnote here appears to support this observation, pointing out how the curtain being rent in two corresponds to Christ's body being broken as a sacrifice.

Also, as the curtain represents Christ's flesh that he left behind entering heaven, it seems this correspondence would also work when Jesus agreed to be transferred into Mary's womb as a fully physical being, passing through the curtain from the Holy of Holies.

JimSpace said...

See also: http://m.wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2000043

Despite his being a spirit-anointed Son of God, the man Jesus could not attain to life in heaven. Why not? Because flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s heavenly Kingdom. (1 Corinthians 15:44, 50) Since Jesus’ human flesh was a barrier, it was well symbolized by the curtain that separated the Holy from the Most Holy in God’s ancient temple. (Hebrews 10:20) But three days after his death, Jesus was resurrected by God as a spirit. (1 Peter 3:18) Then he could enter the Most Holy compartment of God’s spiritual temple—heaven itself. And this is precisely what happened. Paul writes: “Christ entered, not into a holy place [evidently referring to the Most Holy] made with hands, which is a copy of the reality, but into heaven itself, now to appear before the person of God for us.”—Hebrews 9:24.

Edgar Foster said...

Hi Jim,

I appreciate your thoughts and the linked information from jw.org. My time is limited today, but please see http://m.wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200000462#h=14:0-14:621

This article greatly influenced my research on Heb 6:19-20; 10:20 along with other WT articles. But see particularly the comment on Heb 13:12ff at the link.

All the best!

JimSpace said...

There, I composed a blog post on this too:
Passing Through the Curtain