Observations on Directional Features of the Incarnation and Jesus's Sacrifice in Hebrews

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


For many the idea that Jesus's death on the altar of the cross constitutes the moment when he offers himself to God as a sacrifice is self-evident. This has been read into Hebrews as a way of explaining how Jesus's death on the cross is his sacrifice while his exaltation to the Father marks his entrance into the holy of holies after the completion of his sacrificial and atoning work. This, however, does not align with Jewish sacrifice where, notably, no animals are slaughtered on the altar and where bringing the material of the sacrifice, especially blood, into God's presence are constitutive of offering sacrifice to God. Once the directional movement of bringing a sacrifice into God's presence is noted, however, a fresh set of possibilities opens up for reading and understanding Hebrews. Just as a sacrifice moves into God's house/the temple when it is offered to God by a priest, so also Jesus offered himself as a sacrifice to the Father when he ascended into the heavenly tabernacle. The directional features implicit in the incarnation suggest the innovative conclusion that the ascension, not the crucifixion, best aligns with the moment of Jesus's offering of himself to God as an atoning sacrifice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRethinking the Atonement
Subtitle of host publicationNew Perspectives on Jesus's Death, Resurrection, and Ascension
EditorsDavid M. Moffitt
Place of PublicationGrand Rapids, MI
PublisherBaker Academic
ISBN (Electronic)9781493440955
ISBN (Print)9781540966452, 9781540966230
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Sacrifice
  • Ascension
  • Jesus
  • Incarnation
  • Hebrews


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