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“Sit at My Right Hand”: Enthronement and the Heavenly Sanctuary in Hebrews

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Chapter Summary

Three essays by C. K. Barrett, George MacRae, and Gregory Sterling have been particularly important for consideration of Hebrews' understanding of the heavenly sanctuary, and they are instructive for considering the complexity of the issue. As for discussions of heavenly sanctuaries in apocalyptic texts, Sterling notes their use to address a temporal orientation but otherwise dismisses the importance of such parallels. Sterling admittedly limits his consideration of such parallels to Second Temple period texts that discuss a heavenly tabernacle rather than a heavenly temple, thus his sample size becomes quite limited. The importance of the heavenly sanctuary for the author of Hebrews is readily evident given the centrality of the motif of Jesus' priesthood. Enthronement is not a Platonic category, so the most basic orientation of the author must lie elsewhere, in an apocalyptic cosmology that includes conceptions of a heavenly liturgical setting and divine throne.

Keywords:Enthronement; heavenly sanctuary; Hebrews; Jesus

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