The series New Studies in Biblical Theology is a series I can heartily recommend. Key issues in the discipline of biblical theology are addressed to learn Christians to understand the Bible better. In this series Peter T. O’Brien, formerly Vice-Prin-cipal of and Senior Research Fello0w in New Testament at Moore College, Sydney has written a monograph on the epistle to the Hebrews.
O’Brien characterizes this New Testament epistle as a sermon sent as a letter. It is a hortatory letter which urges its readers to endure in their pursuit of the promised reward. They are written that they can find the power of this endurance in their new covenant relationship with the Son.
In this context the superiority of Christ above angels and above the high priests of the old covenant is addressed. Texts and themes of the Old testament and especially the Aaronic priesthood and the ritual of the Day of Atonement are shown to be fulfilled and surpassed in Jesus Christ and his work.
Important is the remark that only after his sufferings were completed at the cross that Jesus was perfected and fit to serve as an eternal high priest in heaven before God. So it is completely wrong to suggest that in the epistle to the Hebrews Jesus’ death is only a preparatory to the atonement. Jesus’ work as high priest in heaven cannot be separated from his once for all sacrifice on the cross.
Peter T. O’Brien, God has spoken in his Son. A biblical theology of Hebrews, NSBT 39 (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2016) paperback 256 pp., $24,99 (ISBN 978-0-8308-2640-7)