07 Feb 2013 
#45 Hebrews 8:4, one of Doherty's smoking guns

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Another example on how desperate is Doherty in his search for evidence supporting his crucifixion in heaven and the non-existence of an earthly & human Jesus.

For Hebrews 8:4 (JNGNM p. 231-237), Doherty claimed "While the author's reasoning might be questionable, by including the phrase "if he had been on earth," which is contrafactual, he is making the statement that Jesus had not been on earth in the past.
This is what makes Hebrews 8:4 a smoking gun ..."

First, "if he had been on earth" (past contrafactual) might be a possible interpretation, but the most likely correct translation is "if he were on earth" (present contrafactual).

Doherty has two major reasons for seeing a past contrafactual in Heb 8:4.
The second one is "A Sacrifice in the Past" explained in about four pages (232 to 236)
The first one is "Contrafactual Alternatives" explained in one and a half page (236 to 237).

For "A Sacrifice in the Past" Doherty spent one and a half page in order to determine, in 8:3, the tense of a verb which does not exist in the Greek:
8:3 YLT "for every chief priest to offer both gifts and sacrifices is appointed, whence [it is] necessary for this one to have also something that he may offer;".
He wrote: "The tense of the second part of verse 3 is ambiguous" but, after considering verses of the previous chapter and the opening of chapter 8., he ascertains that tense is past and therefore 8:4a is a past contrafactual, because "his single sacrifice is in the past". In other words, the imagined tense of a non-existing verb has become Doherty's main evidence for his smoking gun! 

Doherty does not take in account the present context of 8:4a "we have such a high priest" (8:1) and "and now he has obtained a more excellent service," (8:6), but, more importantly:
8:4 "if indeed he were on earth, he would not be a priest, being these [priests] offer gifts according to the law,
8:5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things,"
"being" and "offer" is in the present tense (but participle mood). However "serve" is in the present tense and active mood
It is obvious to me the author put "he would not be a priest" in the same time frame than "serve", that is the present.

Furthermore 8:4 does not allude in any way to the past Sacrifice. Doherty is putting in 8:4 something which is not there. Actually the whole of chapter 8 (whose main topic is the new covenant replacing the old one) does not have one reference to the past Sacrifice.
What about 8:3b? it is ambiguous, but what Jesus has to offer may very well be, in the present, his “excellent ministry” and his function as “the mediator of a better covenant” (8:6).

Going back to 8:3, I find rather strange the ultimate Sacrifice of the Son of God's body would be referred only as "something" and 8:3b does not set Christ's offering in the past, if relating to the crucifixion as a fait accompli.

The rest under “A sacrifice in the past” is other comments & further conclusions about the amazing find:
"This verse [8:4] is actually a rather trivial thought, and quite unnecessary, but how fortunate that he expressed it!"

Doherty also wrote:
"Of what relevance or use, then, would it be to say that he could not be a priest if on earth in the present? It would be an utterly trivial point and essentially a non-sequitur."
But I think it is explained fairly well with a present contrafactual:
8:4 "if indeed he were on earth, he would not be a priest, being these [priests] offer gifts according to the law"
8:5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, ...
8:6 But now he has obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant,
It is clear to me the author meant Jesus, if on earth now, would not be a priest, because that priesthood is very inferior to “heavenly things”. Instead he has a much better ministry (in heaven).

For "Contrafactual Alternatives", Doherty wrote: “Verse 4 is offered as a contrafactual alternative to verse 3. In verse 3, the writer has presented both high priests, the earthly and the heavenly, each performing his own sacrifice,”

Absolutely not:
a) Grammatically, verse 4 is not a contrafactual alternative to verse 3.
b) 8:3b does not say when or what Jesus in heaven is offering.
I proposed already the author was thinking of “now” time, which is evidenced, and what Jesus would be currently offering is his “excellent ministry” and his service as “the mediator of a better covenant” (8:6).

More, there are pieces of evidence in 'Hebrews' which describe Jesus has having been earthly and human: see my post #40 here

No, Doherty, Heb 8:4 is not a smoking gun (indisputable evidence) for your far-fetched theory.
"I have challenged anyone to rebut my 9-page analysis of Hebrews 8:4 in
JNGNM which clearly--yes, clearly--shows that this author is saying that
Jesus was never on earth."
(Doherty, Post #68472 at JesusMysteries)
Note: I did not get an answer from Doherty on my latest challenge on FRDB, on matters similar to that post.

PS: Carrier (Ref: this video at 48:00) said about Heb 8:4:
"This argument only makes sense if you believe Jesus was never on earth. If Jesus came to earth he could not be a priest, ... He needs Jesus to be a priest for a sacrifice to work, therefore Jesus' sacrifice had to occur in the celestial realm ..."
I already addressed that on this post. Carrier is wrong assuming the author thought here of Jesus' sacrifice (in the past).
See also my post #96

Cordially, Bernard

Tags: {Doherty} {earthly & human Jesus} {Hebrews} {Hebrews 8:4} {mythicism}
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