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 Vol. 8, No. 5 

May 2006


~ Page 5 ~

Image Come Meet
Jesus as High Priest

By Louis Rushmore

The theme "Come Meet Jesus" includes "Come Meet Jesus as Creator," "Come Meet Jesus as God Incarnate," "Come Meet Jesus as Master Teacher," "Come Meet Jesus at the Cross," "Come Meet Jesus as Savior," "Come Meet Jesus as Messiah-King" and now also "Come Meet Jesus as High Priest." As High Priest, Jesus Christ does for us before the Heavenly Father what we cannot do for ourselves, namely making intercession with God. "Here on earth our Lord was a priest in a preeminent sense, both in His sacrifice of Himself for the sins of the world and in His intercession. He is also our present High Priest, interceding for us in heaven" (New Unger's). As High Priest, Jesus Christ leads Christians as the New Testament priesthood.

Jesus Christ is a priest after the order of Melchizedek. The priesthood of Melchisedec differed from the Aaronic priesthood under the Law of Moses. Melchisedec's priesthood did not pertain to a certain tribe or family within a tribe like the Aaronic priesthood (Hebrews 7:1-3; Genesis 14:18-20). The priesthood after the order of Melchisedec is "unchangeable" and is 'forever' or 'continues' (Hebrews 6:20; 7:23-24, 28).

The writer of Hebrews presents evidence that the priesthood of Melchisedec was superior to the priesthood under the Law of Moses (Hebrews 7:4-10). Consequently, since the priesthood of Jesus Christ is after the order of Melchisedec, then our Lord's priesthood also is superior to the Aaronic priesthood (Hebrews 7:11). The priesthood under Christianity is different from and superior to the priesthood under Judaism (Hebrews 7:12-17).

God the Father made Jesus Christ our High Priest after the order of Melchisedec (Hebrews 5:10). God called Jesus Christ to be his priest after the order of Melchisedec in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy (Hebrews 5:4-6; Psalms 2:7; 110:4). Jesus Christ was made High Priest with a Divinely made oath (Hebrews 7:20-21).

Jesus Christ is our High Priest. Jesus Christ is called "the Apostle and High Priest" (Hebrews 3:1). God the Father appointed Jesus Christ to be our High Priest (Hebrews 5:5). As High Priest, Jesus Christ is "over the house of God" (Hebrews 10:21). As our High Priest, Jesus Christ is "merciful and faithful" (Hebrews 2:17).

Jesus Christ as our High Priest has "passed into the heavens" (Hebrews 4:14). Our High Priest, Jesus Christ, "is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens" (Hebrews 8:1). Jesus Christ would not qualify to be a priest if his priesthood pertained to Judaism (Hebrews 7:13-14; 8:4).

Jesus Christ, our High Priest, is superior to the high priests under Judaism. Jesus Christ is a superior High Priest because though "tempted like as we are," he is "without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). Since Jesus Christ came in the flesh and was tempted in the same ways we are tempted, our High Priest has compassion on us. As High Priest, Jesus Christ ministers in a greater tabernacle than in which Aaronic priests ministered (Hebrews 9:11). The superiority of Jesus Christ as High Priest includes making a single offering rather than daily and annual offerings (Hebrews 9:25; 10:11-12). Unlike other high priests that served under the Law of Moses, Jesus Christ as our High Priest "is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners" (Hebrews 7:26-28).

The purpose of a high priest is to "offer gifts and sacrifices for sins" (Hebrews 5:1). Hence, Jesus Christ as our High Priest was "ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices" (Hebrews 8:3). Whereas the high priest under Judaism went into the Holy of Holies once annually to atone for sins, Jesus Christ as our High Priest entered once into the true Holy of Holies, not with animal blood, but with his own blood (Hebrews 9:7-12, 25).

Christians are subordinate priests to Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:5, 9; Revelation 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). "Prayer, praise, the contribution, indeed, all the items and acts of worship are thus figuratively included in the sacrifices which Christians, as priests officiating under Christ, the High Priest (Hebrews 9:11-28), are to offer in the spiritual temple, the church..." (Woods).

In conclusion, Jesus Christ is everything that the high priest under Judaism was and more also.

The priests of Israel were but dim shadows, obscure sketches and drafts of the one Great Priest of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Without drawing out at length the parallelism between the type and the archetype, we may sum up in a few brief sentences the perfection found in the priestly character of Christ: (1) Christ as Priest is appointed of God (Heb 5:5). (2) He is consecrated with an oath (Heb 7:20-22). (3) He is sinless (Heb 7:26). (4) His priesthood is unchangeable (Heb 7:23-24). (5) His offering is perfect and final (Heb 9:25-28; 10:12). (6) His intercession is all-prevailing (Heb 7:25). (7) As God and man in one Person He is a perfect Mediator (Heb 1-2). (ISBE)

"But the atonement made by the High Priest, under the Law, was but a shadow of the atonement which Christ made by the offering of his own blood for the sins of the people" (Milligan). In addition, the priesthood of Jesus Christ is unique like the priesthood of Melchisedec. Finally, Christians are subordinate priests to Jesus Christ our High Priest.

As our sinless, High Priest in heaven with God, Jesus Christ is our perfect mediator or intercessor (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 7:25; 8:6). However, Jesus Christ our High Priest can only intercede and mediate for faithful children of God (Mark 16:16; Acts 8:22; Revelation 2:10).

Works Cited

International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (ISBE). CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1996.

Milligan, Robert. The Epistle to the Hebrews. Gospel Advocate Commentaries. Nashville: 1989. CD-ROM. Austin: Wordsearch, 2005.

New Unger's Bible Dictionary. CD-ROM. Chicago: Moody P., 1988.

Woods, Guy N. A Commentary on the New Testament Epistles: Peter, John and Jude. Gospel Advocate Commentaries. Nashville: 1991. CD-ROM. Austin: Wordsearch, 2005.

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