Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Author of Hebrews

In a shameless attempt to draw out a friend of mine in debate, I have decided to answer the age old question of who is the author of Hebrews. I shall mainly be interacting with the arguments of John Owen who believes both internal and external evidence shows that Paul is the author of Hebrews. This I reject out of hand. For those unfamiliar with Owen’s arguments, Dr. Crampton has a condensed form.

Let all know also that the true author of Hebrews cannot be known for sure, nor is it fundamentally important. The book is canonical inspired by God. In heaven the author will be known, until then we can only argue. But sometime arguing can be fun, so let the fun begin.

Owen puts forth several claims that supposedly prove Paul the author of Hebrews. First is the external evidence. In the list of divines who held to Pauline authorship we would include Clement of Alexandria, Jerome, Tertullian possibly, Eusebius, Augustine, and almost all the Medieval Theologians. Some would add Origen, but his endorsement is more along the path of ‘if people say so, fine by me’; thus, he should not be included in the list. W.H. Goold wants to add Ambrose, Hilary, Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Chrysostom, and Athanasias. Yet, this list only tells half the story. Hebrews was slow to be universally recognized as part of the canon because many in the West did not believe it to be from Paul. Rejecters of Pauline authorship would include Clement of Rome, the Muratorian canon, Gaius, the Roman church at the time of Eusebius, and Jerome can be quoted on this side as well. Also Tertullian does explicitly ascribe Hebrews to Barnabas. To this we can add the doubt of Origen, who seems less than convinced himself. Throw in the fact that the Roman church and the Western tradition first recognizes it as canonical while denying its Pauline authorship, and the case Owen makes seems a little different. So appeals to the external evidence comes up wanting.

Owen also points to the internal evidence. He shows great relation to the existent works of Paul. Similarity in syntax, vocabulary, and doctrine. This is Owen’s strongest point, yet I remain unconvinced. Most people grant that Hebrews was written by someone in the Pauline circle. Thus, they would have used similar vocabulary, syntax and of course doctrine. Origen, despite his many faults, was a fine scholar of languages held that the Greek of Hebrews was superior to Paul’s epistles. Origen posits the Greek of Luke-Acts or Clement of Rome as equivalents rather than any other epistle of Paul. Eastern Church acceptance of Pauline authorship did not deny this difference, but instead posited a hebrew original written by Paul and translated into Greek by Luke. The superior polish of the Greek in Hebrews cannot be explained by appealing to a contested oral origen of the book. For Paul himself claims to be a speaker without oratorical polish in I Corinthians 2:1-5. Also Hebrews calls itself a letter in 13:22.

Also in favor of the Pauline authorship is other internal evidence. The pre-64 A.D. date puts it around the right time for Paul to be released from his first imprisonment in Rome, where most believe the epistle originated. This meshes well with 13:23,24. Yet, no where does is it stated that the author was in prison or being set free from prison. Only Timothy is said to be set free and about to visit. Surely Paul would have written of his own release. Or spoken of the chains of prison as his own, as he does elsewhere (Philippians 1:13-16, Colossians 4:3). 13:3 indicates to pray for those who are in chains, chains that are not his, but belong to others. A very non-Pauline way of speaking regarding imprisonment for the cause of Christ.

Owen also claims that 2 Peter 3:15 is a mention of Hebrews when it talks of Paul’s letter. Owen attempts to use 1 Peter 1:1 to show that Peter’s epistles were to Jews since it uses the term ‘dispersion’. However, this proof requires the reading of dispersion to mean only Jews instead of Christians in general, a reading that is questionable. It also neglects the fact that Paul’s letter referred to in 2 Peter could easily be Galatians rather than Hebrews.

Of course the main objection used by those who deny Paul the author of Hebrews is 2:3. “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation;; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;”. The objectors point out that Paul who never have claimed that the gospel was confirmed to him by others. In fact in Galatians he goes out of his way to show he received the Gospel directly from Jesus. Hebrews seems to claim that it was given to the author by the apostles, which would place the author outside their number. Some claim that it makes him a second generation Christian. This point is the major reason Calvin, Luther, and Beza reject Paul as the author of Hebrews.
John Owen’s argument on this verse is convincing. I believe Owen here destroys the idea that the author is not an apostle and has to be a second generation Christian. He shows that the having the gospel
“confirmed to him” is not the same as given to him. Paul himself admits in Galatians that he went to Jerusalem to make sure he had not run in vain (Galatians 2:2), which could be seen as confirmation of the gospel. Reading 2:3 this way brings back into play the first generation Christians, including Paul. However, it does not establish Paul. Barnabas and Luke could both fit having the gospel “confirmed”, as would Apollos and about any other person ever suggested for the book.

Thus, my objections to a Pauline authorship of Hebrews rest on stylistic differences between the Epistle to the Hebrews and all of Paul’s other epistle including his lack of a signature, the highly polished Greek of Hebrews, the constant quoting of the Septuagint (Paul often corrected the Septuagint), and the fact that Paul is the apostle to the Gentiles and the letter is to the Hebrews. Another objection that I do not know enough about, but should be mentioned is Hebrews’ use of the Codex Alexandrinus while Paul used the Codex Vaticanus. Take that for what it is worth.

I think the best case can be made for Barnabas as the author of Hebrews. The reasons for Barnabas include Barnabas was from Cyprus where Greek would be his first language answering for the highly polished Greek in Hebrews. He was a Levite and much of Hebrews is about the imagery of Jesus in the temple and the priesthood. The similar vocabulary to Paul is answered by his close association with Paul. This also fills the requirement of 13:22-23 with Timothy. Cyclical nature of warnings and encouragement in Hebrews fits well with a man known as the “Son of Encouragement.” Barnabas is an apostle according to Acts 14:14. Yet the best evidence is the long standing tradition of Barnabas being the author of Hebrews. This tradition pre-dates Paul, and is attested to as far back as A.D. 200 in Tertullian. Tertullian states it as if it were a fact beyond dispute. This North African Tradition of Barnabas is also attested by Jerome, Filaster, and Gregory of Elivra, all of whom lived in the 4th Century. This tradition is deeply rooted in Alexandria, which is a death blow to the Luther’s guess of Apollos as author since he was a native Alexandrian. Barnabas seems to remain as the best candidate and one of the earliest candidates for the authorship of Hebrews. Without other writings of Barnabas it is impossible to establish, but since this blog is about conjecturing for fun, I will argue Barnabas is the author.

8 Comments:

stmarksinterimteam said...

Lee,
Justin from Wofford here. Grady sent an e-mail with a link to your blog. I see that you have not lost your touch for providing a thorough and penetrating analysis of various peoples'/denominations' interpretations of the scriptures. I have fond memories of discussing theology with you at college. I hope all is well. My love to your wife.

Lee said...

Justin,
It is good to hear from you. I pray all is well with you and yours. I too have fond memories of our discussions, play station tournaments, and runs for food. Lord willing we will be able to see each other one day and do these things again.

Mr. Baggins said...

Lee, your post was very encouraging to me, as you seemed to recognize the force of Owen's argument vis-a-vis Heb 2:3 (where most contemporary commentators just ignore it). Chrysostom is a very strong supporter of Pauline authorship of Hebrews (see NPNF 14, pg. 746). This I raise as a counter-argument to your Origin argument. Chrysostom knew Greek as a native Greek speaker just as well as Origen or Barnabas. Therefore, his weight must be considered. However, I believe the early church situation is a stalemate: there are those for and those against, though I would point out that the early church tradition supporting Pauline authorship of Hebrews is almost as strong as that for 2 Peter being ascribed to Peter. The fathers that you yourself listed is a who's who of early church fathers. I would ask: why is Jerome on both sides of this?

It should be mentioned, by the way, that Eusebius (which modern commentators conveniently neglect in their discussion of this) includes by implication the book of Hebrews with the Pauline epistles. I don't believe that the phrase "Gospel according to the Hebrews" in 3.25.5 refers to the letter of Hebrews, but to the document referred to here:

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/gospelhebrews-mrjames.html

This is proved by a glance at the phrase in 3.27.

Otherwise, the book of Hebrews is included among Paul's other writings by Eusebius. See especially 3.3.4-5, and 3.38 where he says that Paul's letters are fourteen, and that Paul had written to the Hebrews in their native tongue, though he acknowledges that some dispute the Pauline authorship of it. All that being said, the early church fathers cannot settle the issue, though it seems to me that the preponderance of evidence favors Paul. It is instructive to note that most of the modern commentaries I checked (Attridge, Ellingworth, Lane, Koester) did not even reference these important quotations from Eusebius. It doesn't help their case much. Only Hughes, of all the moderns, mentions these passages. I would hardly call this evidence wanting.

What is the genre of Hebrews? It is a word of exhortation (13:22), the very verse you quoted to call it a letter, which it is. But it is also a sermon. I would call it a sermon that has been sent only slightly modified into a letter. There is no salutation and no greetings. This would hardly be the case if the genre of letter explained everything about Hebrews. The reason this is important for the question of authorship is that a sermon is a different genre than a letter. That explains stylistic differences (while recognizing stylistic continuity with the rest of Paul's epistles). The audience is different, which explains many things. And furthermore, the style of Hebrews is not of the style of rhetoric which Paul was rejecting in 1 Cor 2. Rather, it is the high *classical* style of, say, Thucydides, that Paul rejects. One only needs to compare Hebrews (which is still Koine!) with Thucydides once to discover that there is an enormous difference. But are not sermons to have some rhetorical power? Paul's letters are not without rhetoric. He uses rhetoric everywhere to get his point across. The point is not that Paul uses rhetoric, but that his style is not like the great secular orators of his day, men like Cicero.

The fact that it is a sermon accounts for the fact that Paul's imprisonment is not mentioned. It is very precarious to argue that something should have been there but isn't, and therefore Paul could not have written it.

Owen's argument on 2:3 does in and of itself establish Paul. But it should be noted that that passage is the biggest pillar on which non-Pauline advocates stake their case, and Owen has stolen it from them.

The stylistic differences can easily be accounted for on the basis of a difference in audience (all of Paul's other letters are addressed to a Jew/Gentile church, whereas this sermon-letter is clearly addressed to Jews) and differences in genre. The lack of signature indicates the sermonic genre (not excluding the letter). An argument of Owen's that you didn't mention is that Owen argues that Paul omitted mention of his name because many Jews did not look with favor on Paul, even Jewish Christians, since Paul was not in favor of circumcision for Gentiles. He didn't want personal issues to get in the way. Obviously, those who first heard the sermon would have known who he was. But that didn't have to get in the way of his turning this sermon into a letter and sending it to Jews.

A question: the tradition of Barnabas being the author does not predate Paul, does it? Or is that another typo? You say that in your last paragraph. Or do you mean that the tradition of Barnabas as author predates the tradition of Paul as author?

Lee said...

Mr. Baggins,
I do believe that the tradition of Barnabas pre-dates the tradition of Paul as the author or is at least contemporary. We have Tertullian’s attestation of Barnabas as the author at the very beginning of the 3rd century. He is not arguing for Barnabas, he seems to be stating an unquestioned fact in North Africa. Thus, we have a 2nd century tradition of Barnabas as the author. Clement of Alexandria seems to be the first arguing for a Pauline authorship of Hebrews, and he is only a contemporary of Tertullian. Clement was not ordained, but was simply a lay teacher for what that is worth. It should be noted that Clement’s successor in Alexandria, Origen, rejected Clement’s arguments for Pauline authorship. To me this gives the earliest tradition to Barnabas, but it is too difficult to prove one way or another. I do think that most believe Paul was the early church’s choice as author, and I do not think this is so. The tradition of Barnabas is at least equally ancient to Paul, if not more so. As for Jerome, he wavered in his own view of Pauline authorship. So while he is generally considered a supporter of Pauline authorship, he does have quotes that seem to lean toward non-Pauline authorship. He also has many quotes showing that in the West strong resistance to Pauline authorship existed.

I think the audience presents a problem for Pauline authorship since Paul is the apostle to Gentiles, and as you admit, Jews often had some problems with Paul. The intended audience would seem to militate against a Pauline authorship since most of his ministry was unrelated to the Hebrew people. Also the stylistic difference cannot be white-washed away by a different audience. Even the ancients came up with the idea that Luke translated it from Hebrew to Greek to solve the stylistic problem.

As for Owen’s argument about the book being a sermon, I left it out because I felt the blog was getting to big, and I think it his worst argument. The phrase “word of encouragement” or “exhortation” in 13:22 no more proves it a sermon than it proves the authorship of Barnabas, who was the “son of encouragement.” Plus you yourself admit that he modified it slightly to make it a letter. If he modifies it to make it a letter why not include his name? No plausible explanation can be offered for such a thing. Why not do all the normal things he does in a letter since he modified it? Is there any tradition at all of ancient people copying down sermons and mailing them out as letters? That would be an interesting question to have answered. If there is not, then this modified sermon idea takes a serious hit. The lack of normal greetings at the beginning does not mean it is not a letter. There is a familiar salutation at the end of the epistle. The evidence of it being an epistle is great enough to require the sermon-format to indicate Paul altered it a little to make it a letter. The book also says it is a letter. That is enough proof for me. Owen puts too much on the idea that this is a sermon.

Owen makes some good and even great points, but the stylistic differences between Hebrews and all of Paul’s other works cannot be dismissed by making Hebrews a sermon. Then the historical evidence in my opinion is a major factor. You pointed out that the list of pro-Pauline authorship is a who’s who of church fathers, but their reasons are almost non-existent. Jerome wavered and when he did accept it, it stood solely on the basis of the Eastern church’s belief in Pauline authorship. The same can be said of Augustine, Ambrose, and several others. Eusebius and everyone after Augustine and Jerome simply excepted it on the authority of those two men. These father often also held that the original was in Hebrew and translated into Greek usually by Luke. In the end this means that almost the entire history of Pauline authorship is based on Eastern Church belief in it. The East seemed to desire it in order to keep Hebrews in the canon. The Eastern Fathers were usually the least reliable of the early fathers. The West always saw things differently. Clement of Rome obviously accepts Hebrews as canon, but does not treat it as if it was Paul, nor does Hermas. These men point to the need for another tradition. Tertullian and others give us a grounded tradition. One of Barnabas. Origen the linguistic scholar, who made the first critical edition by compiling differing Hebrew versions of the OT, outright rejects Paul. Owen makes a valiant attempt to advocate the Pauline authorship by giving it a basis in the text, style, and other factors, but he cannot do it. The tradition of Paul seems to have always rested on some inflated need for Paul to be the author to make it canonical. Owen opens a few doors to allow for a Pauline authorship, but the dearth of positive evidence for him is fatal to his cause.

Mr. Baggins said...

First of all, Owen does not argue that Paul is the author just to affirm its canonical status. This he explicitly denies on page 66 of volume 1 when he states that he has argued for its canonicity first, and only *then* argued for Paul as its author, precisely because "The divine authority of the Epitle being vindicated, it is of no great moment to inquire seriously after its penman." He immediately notes that much of Scripture is anonymously written. This proves that Owen was not arguing for Pauline authorship merely because he wanted to affirm its canonical status.

Secondly, the word "paraklesis" in 13:22 can most definitely mean "sermon," though certainly not always elsewhere in the NT (most of the time it means "encouragement" or "comfort," but not here). BDAG lists this verse an instance of "exhortation." If it is just a letter, then where is the greeting? The form of Hebrews as a whole has the form of a sermon: exposition alternating with paranesis. It starts with a bold statement telling us the main point of the sermon: God has now spoken to *us* in Jesus Christ.

Thirdly, as to why Paul did not sign the letter, Owen argues that the very fact that the Hebrews did not always get along with him is the reason that he did not sign his name: he did not want his name to get in the way of the message. So your argument about why he didn't sign his name is thus answered. The fact that Paul did not modify it more is because of this reason.

Fourthly, the fact that Paul was primarily a minister to the Gentiles is a ridiculous argument to throw in the way of Pauline authorship of Hebrews, given Acts 13:13-14, 14:1, 17:1, 10, 17, etc. where Paul's clear practice was to go to the synagogue first. Acts 13:15 is especially instructive, since this very word "paraklesis" is used in relation to Paul being in the synagogue and being asked to preach there. In fact, it is quite conceivable that that was the occasion for this sermon/ letter! At any rate, Paul would have had ample opportunity to preach in Jewish synagogues.

Fifthly, the argument for a different style is a relative argument. Compare the style of Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia with Screwtape Letters. By your argument, Lewis could not have written one of the two, since the style is so different (letters written in an intensely ironic tone in the latter, versus a mythic narrative in the former). Style arguments carry virtually no weight with me, since the same person can imitate or take on many, many different styles as the fancy suits him. Style is a stupid indicator of authorship/non-authorship, for the most part. If you were to address Hebrews, would you not use the OT in a way that was familiar to the Jews, use midrashic techniques, appeal to the authorities of those who came before you, etc, etc.? In writing to a Gentile audience in his other letters, Paul writes in a way that communicates to them (he's his own man, uses Greek rhetorical forms for letters, quotes philosophers and Greek poets, and doesn't engage in midrashic technique). It is very plain that the intended recipients of the message to the Hebrews are Jews, whereas the intended audience for the rest of Paul's letters is much more mixed, and probably has more Gentiles than Jews. This difference in audience plays up one of the most important rules in speech-making: know your audience! So you cannot sweep away this argument for the difference of style, since, in fact, the audiences are very different. I read once that stylistically, the NT is way too small a sample to even use it as a criteria for differences in style, and that, in fact, any one of the authors of the NT could have written the whole. Furthermore, the style is not nearly as different from the rest of Paul's epistles as has often been supposed: Owen on pages 89-92 note stylistic similarites of Hebrews with the other Pauline letters: the general argument concerning the Mosaic economy, the method of his procedure (indicative-imperative relationship), and particular phrases that are similar: bonds and compassion towards him in suffering (10:34), the mention of Timothy (13:23), and the phrase "grace be unto you all," which is in all of Paul's letters. So much for style.

Sixthly, the early church fathers constitute no argument either for or against, so I really don't think they should be given much weight at all. The tradition of Barnabas may very well be as old as that of Paul, but as you actually indicated, it cannot be proven to be older. Furthermore, the tradition of Barnabas is most definitely not better attested than that of Paul.

Lee said...

You make good points, yet I am still unconvinced. Allow me first to start with you last point because I believe you misunderstand the weight of the historical evidence. It is true, I cannot prove the tradition for Barnabas is older than Paul, only relatively the same. There may even be a great attestation of Hebrews for Paul, but those are not the only considerations. As textual critics like to point out when choosing between variant readings of the NT, one tradition must be able to explain the existence of another tradition. If Paul is the author of Hebrew, no explanation can be found to attribute it to Barnabas. Yet, we know a motive for attributing the letter to the Hebrews to Paul, and it is a faulty motive; thus, one can question Paul’s authorship and favor Barnabas. Many in the west by the second century were rejecting Hebrews as a canonical book on account of its misuse by heretical sects teaching salvation can be lost. This provoked a response by Eastern writers to attribute the book to Paul. The great lights of later centuries in the West, like Augustine and Jerome, accept Hebrews as from Paul simply and only because the people in the East say it is from Paul. Thus the great magnitude of witness for Hebrews as from Paul comes from the faulty desire to lend credibility to its acceptance. Owen does not hold this motive, but the vast majority of his historical support does. Therefore the more convincing historical support comes from those supporting Barnabas.

Your second point means little. It is possible the word means sermon, but not many believe it does in this case. ‘Exhortation’ is hardly confined to a sermon, and all throughout church history people referred to this as a letter. I feel this bears little weight.

As for the lack of a signature, Owen’s reasoning follows that of Thomas Aquinas, who did not hold it to be a sermon, that his name was suppressed to allow the Jews to accept the teaching since if they knew it was from Paul they might have rejected it out of hand. Yet, as you mentioned Paul never shows this sort of fear with Jews in any city he enters. He boldly preached at synagogues first, and often got stoned for it. Yet, now he is too afraid to put his name on his letter? It does not make sense. Your two points seem to contradict each other.

Style is likewise more important than you state, though in general I agree it is overused. If a person, such as Paul, writes lots of letters and seldom to never uses the optative case, and if he does it is only in colloquialisms never in sentences, and another letter turns up with optative cases used well and regularly, we can safely assume that there are by different authors. One would not mistake William Faulkner for Ernest Hemmingway simply because the title page had been removed. Their styles help you know the difference. You spoke of the difference in writing to a Hebrew audience and a Gentile one. You rightly point out that one could expect a more Hebrew style in the letter to the Hebrews and a more Hellenistic style in the letters to the Gentiles. Yet, that is not what we find if Paul is the author. We find the author of the Hebrews with a higher classical Greek style than any of Paul’s epistles. By your own logic, should not Paul’s other letters have the higher Greek style, and the letter to the Hebrews be more Hebraic in nature and construction? Would it not be even more so if it was a spoken sermon? Style is important.

As for the lack of an introduction, that does not pose a problem to it being a letter. May I also point out that many letters did not have introductions like Paul has in his letters. The Epistle of Barnabas has no name and the only thing that can be construed as an introduction is “All hail, ye sons and daughters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who loved us in peace.” Hardly a Pauline introduction, but no one denies it is a letter. The Epistle to Diognetus similarly has no name and no greeting of peace, and launches straight into his topic. The Didache was a work sent to many congregations and begins right away just like Hebrews. Perhaps the wide intended audience takes away from the need of a specific greeting. The Second Epistle Concerning Virginity falsely ascribed to Clement begins without any introduction/greeting and ends with a conclusion similar to Hebrews with personal greetings and a conclusion. It is at least not unheard of for a letter to take the form of that Hebrews has taken.

Mr. Baggins said...

Thanks for a stimulating reply, Lee.

With regard to your first point, I would say that there is a good reason why people might have thought Barnabas to have written the sermon/letter: It does sound somewhat different from Paul's letters! Before you say, "Then why do you still hold to Pauline authorship," I will say that the style is not different enough in my estimation to prove difference of authorship. Owen argues quite extensively for stylistic similarities. However, that is a possible explanation for its ascription to Barnabas.

The main reason why I believe the genre to be a sermon turned into a letter is the alternation of doctrine and application so typical of sermons. The alternation of doctrine and paranesis is clear (and non-controversial among scholars, I might add!). So then, when I come to the word "exhortation," it becomes natural to interpret that of a sermon.

Thirdly, I never said that Paul was *afraid* of the Jews. But Paul does know that his name might get in the way of the message, given all the opposition that he has faced. Therefore, he leaves it off in this instance.

Fourthly, wrt to the style, you forget that these Hebrews were *Hellenistic* Jews, who had been well-exposed to Classical rhetoric, and yet might not have grown up with it. Therefore, to the Gentiles, who expected it in order to persuade, Paul did not use that style, lest the power be ascribed to him and not to the Holy Spirit. By the same token, Paul *was able to use it,* when it suited him. POssibly he might have left his name off for that reason also. He wanted the rhetoric to have the proper effect (believing that the Holy spirit could also use rhetoric: if and when depended on the audience).

On the lack of introduction, you example that you quoted *does* have an introduction: it has a greeting. Just because it doesn't sound like a Pauline introduction doesn't mean that it isn't an introduction. It is. How many letters had greetings in those days versus how many did not? If you were to look up that information, I would wager that you would find that the vast majority of letters had greetings at the beginning, as do ours.

Carl Mc Auley said...

Re. Author of the Book of Hebrews.

The Author of all scripture is the Holy Spirit; Who used some 40 divinely chosen men to write as they were borne along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Pet. 1; 21).

We are not enlightened (purposely) by the Holy Spirit as to who wrote the epistle. Our primary attention should be directed to understanding the message of the epistle, not knowing the writer.

The epistle is not addressed to a man or a church or a city, but to persons called 'Hebrews'.
A study of the origin and meaning of the word Hebrew reveals it was first used of Abram. It means, 'one who has crossed over' (Gen. 14; 13).

Abram was called by God and in faith went out from UR of the Chaldees and eventually crossed the River Jordan into Canaan; He came to Shechem and on to Bethel; (House of God) and there he built (a second) altar (of worship) unto the Lord. (Gen. 12).

The epistle of Hebrews and First Peter deal intently with the subject of Worshipping God in spirit and in truth; not in any earthly sanctuary, but in heaven itself; (inside the Veil) the city of the Living God. (John 4; 20-23) & Heb. 10; 19-23. 1 Peter. 2; 4, 5, 9).

God has rent the Veil of the earthly temple to teach us that the Way into the Holiest (in heaven) is now made manifest. by faith and in the power of the Holy Spirit. (Phil 3; 3).

If we (as believers) have not (like Abram, responded to God's spiritual call and by faith (like Abram) 'crossed over' and responded to God's calls call into His spiritual Kingdom, and to His heavenly calling (1 Thes. 2; 12. Heb. 3;1). we cannot understand or engage in the worship of God the Father (in spirit and in truth) inside the Veil.
This service is given (in the heavenly Sanctuary) by the holy priesthood, who offer their spiritual sacrifices to God the Father through Christ the Great High Priest. (Heb. 8; 1-6. Heb. 10; 19-23 & Heb. 12; 18-24, 28, 29). 1 Pet 2; 4, 5, 9)..

We are exhorted by Paul to set our minds on the things that are above, where Christ is. Crowned with Glory and Honour. (Col. 3; 1, 2 & Heb.2; 9).

Spiritual sacrifices are 'sweet savour offerings' e.g.; the Burnt, Peace and Meal offerings. (Lev. chs. 1, 2, 3); all of which express the glories and virtues of Christ Who came to do the will of the Father. (Heb. 10; 5-9).

The subject of spiritual sacrifices offered inside the Veil are the Excellencies of God the Father and the glories and virtues of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God has crowned Him with glory and with honour; and seeks spiritual worshippers to rejoice with Him in the exaltation of His beloved Son. (John 4; 23. Phil. 2; 9-11. 1 Pet. 2; 5, 9. Rev. 5; 13, 14).

NB: Christ was raised, ascended and crowned with glory and honour by God His Father. The heavenly hosts joined in worship and praise for the triumphant Christ BEFORE the first sinners were saved on the Day of Pentecost.

Let us ascend by faith and join the heavenly hosts to extol God the Father and His exalted Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. as directed by the Holy Spirit in Heb. 12; 22- 24, 28, 29, 30). AMEN

Carl Mc Auley