By Charles H. Welch
New. The words translated "new" in the N.T. are:
When the Saviour said, "I am the door of the sheep" (John 10:7), He followed that figure with another, saying, "I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep" (John 10:11). By this door, if any man "enter in" he shall be saved. Again He said, "I am the way, the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by Me" (John 14:6). la Hebrews 10:20 this "way" is spoken of as "new" and "living".
The true meaning of John 14:6 is, "I am the True and Living Way" even as Hebrews 10:20 reveals Him as "the New and Living Way". "True" as contrasted with all the types and shadows of the law; "new" as contrasted with all that pertains to the old covenant that, waxing old, must vanish away. The Companion Bible draws attention to the fact that prosphatos, the word translated "new" literally means "newly slain" , and the reader may be forgiven if he should consequently stress the reference to "sacrifice". The word does not occur elsewhere in the N.T. except in the form of an adverb, where it reads of Aquila that he had "lately" come from Italy (Acts 18:2).
Prosphatos occurs in the LXX four times: Numbers 6:3 "fresh grapes", Deuteronomy 32:17, "new and fresh gods", Psalm 81:9 (in LXX Psa. 80), "new god", Ecclesiastes 1:9, "no new thing". The adverb occurs twice. Deuteronomy 24:5 (LXX verse 7). "recently taken a wife", Ezekiel 11:3, "houses newly built". It will be seen that the idea of a sacrifice "newly slain" finds no support. This idea of something new is contained also in the word "consecrate" which is found in Hebrews 10:20. The Greek word so translated is engkainizo, composed of en "in" and kainos "new". This word gives us engkainia, the name of a feast "the feast of dedication", a feast that commemorated the dedication of the temple at Jerusalem at its renovation and purification, after being polluted by Antiochus Epiphanes, who had offered in sacrifice a swine upon the altar (Josephus, Ant. 12:vA).
Parkhurst says of engkainizo "to handsel, in a religious sense" . This term "to handsel" is still in use in Scotland but may not be readily understood by many today, as it has dropped out of common use. The word means an earnest, the first act of a sale.
To handsel any house is to open it for the first time for use (Deut. 20:5); so to handsel any road is to open it for access (see Bloomfield). We are now placed a little nearer to the position which any intelligent Hebrew would have occupied, and read Hebrews 10:20 as it would have appeared in the eyes of those who knew the Maccabean history, kept the feast of dedication, and understood the ceremony of handsel.
The old covenant waxed old and was vanishing away. The offerings of the law never touched the conscience. The priests never sat down in the course of their ministry, even the high priest needed to offer for his own sins before he offered for the people. Christ was a high Priest of good things to come. Just as He fulfilled the Passover, the First fruits and the day of Atonement, so He fulfilled the feast of Dedication. The new tabernacle has been entered, and dedicated, the old things give place to the new.
In direct antithesis to the old covenant, a covenant which waxed old (Heb. 8:13), is the heavenly reality of the Priesthood, Sacrifice and True Tabernacle of the Mediation of the Son of God, Who has by virtue of His one offering fulfilled and made more glorious than did the exploits of Judas Maccabeus, for His dedication opens not a temple on earth but heaven itself.
The dispensational use of this word, is set out in articles entitled MAN and PLEROMA. In a number of passages, "new" is associated with the idea that "former things" must pass away and come into mind no more. It is this aspect that justifies the comment of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 1:9,10. He is considering the endless round that everywhere marks the way of the world. One generation passeth away and another generation cometh. The sun is no sooner risen than it seems to hasten to the place from which it arose. The wind whirls about continually and returns according to its circuits. All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. It is this endless round that is in contrast with that which is "new" that gives the "new" man and "new" creation most of its wonder and blessedness. See also articles entitled BODY, BOTH, MIDDLEWALL for further application of this conception of newness.