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No One Better

Essays in Honour of Dr. Norman H. Young

Edited By Kayle B. de Waal and Robert K. McIver

In honour of the work and legacy of Norman H. Young, this compilation of essays covers a range of topics on the Old Testament, New Testament, mission, sociology of religion, identity, and church history. The Old Testament essays include typological readings of Esther, the goodness of God, and the centrality of the cross in understanding all of Scripture. The New Testament essays reflect research in the Gospel of Matthew, the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the book of Revelation, offering new insight into the interpretation of the Apocalypse. Additional essays provide focus on mission, identity, and sociology of religion. This cutting-edge collection breaks fresh ground in research and analysis, bringing the latest scholarship to bear on each chosen topic.
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Goats, Calves, Bulls, and Heifer’s Ashes: Heb 9:12–13 and the Day of Atonement in the Epistle to the Hebrews

Extract



ROBERT K. MCIVER

Avondale Seminary

This chapter explores in detail one of the major interpretive decisions facing an interpreter of Hebrews 9 and 10—the place of the Day of Atonement in the author’s argument. In particular it examines the linking of tra,gwn (male goats) and mo,scwn (calves, young bulls, oxen) in Heb 9:12, and tra,gwn kai. tau,rwn (bulls) together with the spodo.j dama,lewj (ashes of a heifer, young cow) in Heb 9:13.

At first sight the place of the Day of Atonement in Heb 9:12–13 seems secure. Hebrews chapter nine starts by giving a brief description of the layout of the wilderness tabernacle of the first covenant, and follows this by highlighting the daily and yearly services. Only the high priest goes into the second apartment, the holy of holies, and at that, only once a year, and not apart from blood (Heb 9:7)—a direct reference to the Day of Atonement ritual outlined in Lev 16. At this point the argument then moves abruptly to a consideration of how this should be compared with the achievements of Jesus. Thus the context of 9:12–13 has highlighted the Day of Atonement, and consequently one might well expect further reference to it.

Indeed, several aspects of the phrasing of Heb 9:12 suggest the Day of Atonement. Firstly, the goat and the calf may indeed refer to the two...

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