The Heavenly Liturgy in Judaism, the New Testament and the Eucharistic Celebration

Posted by Dr. Michael Barber on 07.16.12 |

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I’m currently teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses on Liturgical Theology and so I’ve been doing a lot of work in the study of worship. In the most recent podcast of “The Sacred Page” I thought I’d share some thoughts on the topic.

In the first Eucharistic Prayer of the Catholic Mass, the priest makes reference to an altar in heaven: “command that these gifts be borne by the hands of your holy Angel to your altar on high.”

What many do not realize is that the belief in a heavenly temple liturgy originates in the Old Testament and ancient Judaism. In fact, New Testament authors, clearly drawing on such beliefs, explain Christ’s sacrifice in terms of a heavenly temple and liturgy.

In this episode we look at Jewish beliefs about liturgy and see how they form the background for the New Testament’s view of Christ’s sacrifice and Christian worship. For example, as we shall see, the Epistle to the Hebrews links the heavenly liturgy (leitourgia) to the ascension.

As we shall see, the New Testament reveals the surpassing ways Christ fulfills hopes regarding participation in the angelic worship of the heavenly temple.

Click here and you’ll find a .pdf with the outline and notes.

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