Appointed High Priest

Foundational to the Letter to the Hebrews is the appointment of Jesus as our High Priest. This was due especially to his obedience “unto death” whereby he achieved the “purification of sins.” In his sufferings, he was “perfected.” God vindicated his sacrifice by resurrecting and seating him at the “right hand of the Majesty on High” where he now intercedes for us.

The description of him “sitting down” contrasts his priesthood with that of the Levitical High Priest who NEVER sat down after entering the Holy of Holies. He STOOD in the inner sanctum and entered it only on the annual Day of Atonement. The “Son” sat down  “in the heavens” where he remains ministering as High Priest for his Assembly.

Stone pile Scotland - Photo by martin bennie on Unsplash
[Photo by martin bennie on Unsplash]

Jesus was appointed as High Priest after he “
tasted death.” God “perfected” or made him “complete through suffering.” The term “suffering” refers to his death by which he “paralyzed him who held the dominion of death, the Devil.” To accomplish this, he was “obliged in every way to be made like his brethren so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest.” In short, he was fully human - (Hebrews 2:14-18).

In the “days of his flesh,” Jesus offered supplications to the one who could save him from death. However, “even though he was a son, he learned obedience from what things he suffered.” In this way, he was “made complete” - (Matthew 26:36-46).

Not only was he “perfected” through death, but he also “became to all those who obey him the Author of everlasting salvation.” His priestly status and the “purification of our sins” were based on his obedience - His submission to death.

We have “a mighty consolation…an anchor of the soul, both secure and firm.” This is because our “forerunner” entered the interior of the “Sanctuary” through the “veil,” where he sits ministering for us to this very day.  He “became the High Priest forever according to the rank of Melchizedek,” a position he did not hold before his death- (Hebrews 6:18-20, Psalm 110:4).

As our “High Priest,” he “became the surety of a covenant” vastly superior to anything provided by the Levitical system. His appointment as “High Priest” occurred when he “sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” following his resurrection.

As the High Priest after the “order of Melchizedek,” he attained “a more distinguished public ministry” than any of the Levitical priests could, and he became the “mediator of the better covenant,” one based on “better promises.

HIS SACRIFICE


Jesus approached the presence of God “as High Priest… through the greater and more perfect tabernacle” not MADE-BY-HANDS. Moreover, “through his blood, he entered once and for all, having discovered everlasting redemption.”

The reference to “blood” stresses the reality of his death - He died a genuine human death. Through the “blood of the Christ who offered himself unspotted to God through an everlasting spirit,” and the resulting “New Covenant,” he now purifies our conscience from dead works so we can render divine service to God - (Hebrews 8:1-13).

The reference to the “blood of Christ” means that he entered the greater Tabernacle “once-for-all.” In contrast to the “first covenant” with its repeated animal sacrifices and annual Day of Atonement, the heavenly counterpart of the Tabernacle needed to be established “with better sacrifices than these,” namely, that of the “Son.” The result was his entry “into heaven itself” where he is “manifested before the face of God on our behalf.”

Because of his superior sacrifice, Jesus did not need to “offer himself often,” unlike the Levitical priests with their repeated sacrifices. Instead, “once-for-all, upon a conjunction of the ages, for a setting aside of sin through means of his sacrifice,” he offered himself. Thus, “having been offered once for all for the bearing of the sins of many,” he also will appear a second time, “apart from sin to them who eagerly wait for him for salvation.”

His return will be “apart from sin” since he has dealt decisively with it via death. There will be no further sacrifice for sin (“there remains no more a sacrifice for sins”), which is why it is “appointed to men once to die, and then comes judgment.” This is also why apostasy is an offense of the worst kind to the Author of Hebrews - (Hebrews 9:27-28, 10:26).

We were made holy “through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE-FOR-All.” Unlike every other priest who must “stand daily publicly ministering and continually offering the same sacrifices,” Jesus “offered one sacrifice for sins forever,” after which, he “sat down on the right hand of God.”

By his “one offering,” he achieved the “purification of sin” and “perfected forever those who are being made holy,” and he became our “faithful High Priest” who intercedes continually for us. His “perfection” was accomplished through obedience, suffering, and death, and God vindicated him by raising Jesus from the dead and SEATING HIM at His “right hand.”

Thus, the Letter to the Hebrews bases the priestly status of the Son and our deliverance from the stain of sin and bondage to the “fear of death” and the Devil on the historical events of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.



RELATED POSTS:
  • Once for All - (The promise a New Covenant finds its fulfillment in the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus and the permanent priesthood he now holds)
  • God is Speaking - (God has spoken His definitive word in His Son. All previous words given by the prophets were preparatory, promissory, and partial)
  • Purification of Sins - (Having achieved the purification of sins, Jesus sat down at the right hand of God to intercede for his people as their faithful High Priest)

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