The significance of “entering” and “approaching” terminology in Hebrews has been contested, with some scholars viewing these terms as clearly distinct and others arguing they are fully synonymous. This debate is often framed in eschatological terms: when rest or heaven is entered. This article instead explores these questions from a cosmological point of view. First, language of “vertical” and “horizontal” as applied to Hebrews’ cosmology is critiqued for its imprecision and lack of explanatory power with respect to the entrance and approach passages in the letter. In place of a neat vertical/horizontal distinction, it is suggested that we find a complex and plural, yet nevertheless consistent, distinction between earth and heaven. Second, four passages in Hebrews are examined at greater length in the context of OT and Second Temple period texts, in order to demonstrate that it is more coherent in cosmological terms to regard approaching and entering as separate rather than identical movements.

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