Date of Award
Master of Arts
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Richard M. Davidson
This thesis explored the Second Temple literary background of the concept that Jesus appeared at the end of the ages to take away sin, in Heb 9:26. As such, the research question which guided the paper was: what did Old Testament and Intertestamental writers believe about the removal of sin at the end of the ages? The answer to this question infers other questions: who would remove sin? From where would sin be removed? How was sin defined? How would sin be removed? When would sin be removed (are there time specifications involved)?
The terms ἀφαιρέω, ἀφίημι, ἀπαλείφω, ἐξαλείφω, ἐξαίρω, περιαιρέω, ἐκκαθαρίζω (ekkatharizō), and καθαρίζω (katharizō), for removal which is connected to ἀθέτησις (athetēsis), and by implication ἀθετέω (atheteō) used in Hebrew 9:26, were examined within an eschatological context along with ἁμαρτία (hamartia) and its synonyms. Second Temple literature containing these significant terms was carefully scrutinized: Deut 32:43, Isa 25:8; 33:24; 43:25; 44:22, Mic 7:18, Zeph 3:11, 15, Zech 3:4, Dan 9:24, 1 Eno 10:20, Wis (5:13), Pss. Sol. 17:25, 33; 1QS 9:4; 11:3, 14, 15; 4Q393 2:5, 4Da 1:13 (CD 14:9), and 4Q215a 2:3.
Principally, God and the Messiah remove sin in a priest-king model where the saints' sins are atoned for, wiped away, or sinners are destroyed by the reign of the Messiah. The land of the saints is also cleansed. The restored "remnant" has its sin permanently removed from its life, God’s mind, and His record. The removal of sin involves transformation of life, the Messiah's death, covenant, and inaugurated heavenly sanctuary ministry after seventy weeks. To the end of His ministry, there is a Day of atonement freedom proclamation. The time is in the "end of days" within a priest-king framework with final cleansing of the saints and final destruction of the wicked before final triumph over death and entrance into the everlasting messianic kingdom.
The interpretation of the NT concept of Christ appearing at the end of the ages to remove sin (Heb 9:26) seems to demand considerations of a covenant and heavenly sanctuary ministry which are set by the "messianic personage" who is ushered in at the "end-time." His substitutionary death as part of the process of sins' removal is worth expounding. Thus, the biblical and theological context of Heb 9:26 finds its significance for a valued interpretation.
Separation from sin; Sin--Religious aspects; End of the world
Walker, Odiaka, "The Removal of Sin in Second Temple Jewish Literature" (2021). Master's Theses. 192.
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