Our Great High Priest
Hebrews 7:1-28 and Hebrews 8:1-13
Christ was God's Priest after the order of Melchisedec. "The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec."
This oath is mentioned in the 110th Psalm. There it says: "The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek."
Let us consider an incomparable Psalm, a Psalm so full of beauty and of glory, that it scintillates with the Divine touch of inspiration. Man did not write the 110th Psalm, neither did he write the oath that it contains concerning Christ as a High Priest after the order of Melchisedec. The Psalm's record about Melchisedec, king of Salem, comes in like a flash, and goes out like a flash.
Let us examine the Psalm:
"The Lord said unto My Lord, Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool."
The Psalm, then, is a Resurrection Psalm. It is the Psalm of a Risen Christ, of an enthroned Christ who has passed through the humiliation unto the exaltation, In this Psalm, Christ is sitting at the right hand of God in the Heavens. That is where Christ is now. So, we are interested in this Psalm; we like present-day scenes, do we not?
"The Lord said unto My Lord."
There are two persons of the Trinity in these words: both of them are called Jehovah.
"The Lord (God the Father) said unto My Lord (God the Son), Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool."
God is going to flash Melchisedec on us in a minute, so keep the context before you. It was after the battle was won, that Melchisedec came on the scene before Abraham. Is it after the battle is won, after He makes His enemies His footstool, that the Melchisedec type is used? All right, now let us read on:
"The Lord shall send the rod of Thy strength out of Zion."
You know what that means.
"Rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies."
Israel has wandered away from God into sin; for twenty-three hundred years they have been in exile without a king; they have been taken captive into all lands.
"Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power."
When Christ was on earth, it was the day of His self-imposed weakness; it was the day when He emptied Himself; when He comes to earth again, it will be the day of His power. He will come in great power, with His holy angels, and in the glory of His Father, You may hunt through all literature, and you find nothing, anywhere, that has ever been penned by man, comparable in beauty, and rhetorical, rhythmic cadence, to the beautiful words we are about to read. Listen to them:
"In the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: Thou hast the dew of Thy youth."
Isn't that beautiful? It is the picture of the Lord Jesus Christ coming again. He will come in the beauty of His holiness. What will it be, when we see Him! He will come out of the womb of the morning. He comes when the day dawns, and the daystar arises. It is night now, but when He comes, His star will announce the break of day; and His sun will burst forth in glory. Out of the womb of the morning the Son of God steps forth. A holy day, a happy day, an eternal day, will be born, as Christ emerges from the womb of the night's travail and darkness, of the night's sorrows, and gloom, and pain. Yes, out of the birth-throes of the night, Christ will step forth in the blaze of the morning's glory.
I love the next statement:
"Thou hast the dew of Thy youth."
It has been a long time since Christ was here. He was a youth, thirty-three years of age in the flesh, when He laid down His life for us. As He hung upon Calvary's Cross, His visage was more marred than that of any man, and His form more than the sons of men. When He comes again, from the womb of the morning, when we look upon Him, we will shout one exultant cry: "Thou hast the dew of Thy youth!"
No wrinkles will mark His brow, no lines of care, will mar His face; His countenance will shine brighter than the sun in its glory.
We are now ready for the Melchisedec type.
"The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek."
This is the second time Melchisedec is mentioned in the Bible. That wonderful story of Melchisedec was written far back in Genesis, and in Psalms 110:1-7, and in Hebrews 7:1-28 and Hebrews 8:1-13, for no other purpose than this: that in the fullness of times it might be thrown on the screen as God's pledge and perfect type of Christ our King-Priest.
I. CHRIST, A PRIEST FOR EVER (Hebrews 7:23-24 )
Of old, there were many priests, because one priest could not continue by reason of death; but this Man, because He continueth for ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
His priesthood never passes away. What is the result of that unchangeable priesthood?
"Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them."
He is an High Priest, whose eye is never weary, whose heart never ceases to love, whose hand never fails to reach down. We have an High Priest who never changes, never tires, is never forgetful. His eye is always upon us in our behalf. It is a wonderful thing to us to know that there is a High Priest who ever liveth, and who never fails us.
"His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He cares for me."
There is One, up yonder, who is able to save to the completion. He will not let you go.
"When I fear my feet will fall,
Christ will hold me fast."
Aren't you glad there is someone in Heaven, the ever-living One, who is taking you even now by the right hand and saying, "Fear not, I will help you, for I am your representative in the courts of Heaven"?
"Wherefore He is able also to save them to the completion, that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to manage our affairs for us."
II. CHRIST, A PRIEST HOLY, HARMLESS, UNDEFILED (Hebrews 7:26-27 )
Every high priest, who lived in the days past, had to offer up sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of others; but the Lord Jesus Christ, our High Priest, is holy and harmless and undefiled. We have such an High Priest in Heaven. How we can trust Him, How we can lean upon Him!
I thank God that we have an High Priest who is holy, and harmless, and undefiled, and that through Him we have access to the Father.
There are many who seek access to God apart from Jesus. That is impossible. No man can worship God, unless he comes to God through the ascended and seated High Priest, the One who is holy and undefiled. He is the One who gives us access.
In the old days, approach was made unto God through the high priest, who went in once a year, to the Holy of Holies, but not without blood. We have an High Priest, who has gone in to the Holiest of All, and is ever there for us. Before He went in, as He died, the veil of the Temple was rent, and we all have the right of approach through Him unto the Father.
There were many priests of old, of the Levitical line, but, beloved, there is but one Priest today. Do not think for one moment that you can get audience to God through men, they are not your priests.
Since we have an High Priest who is undefiled, and harmless, and holy, and since He is in Heaven to give us access to the Father; Let us enter in boldly by the Blood of Jesus. I would be afraid to go into that Holy Place, if it were not that the Blood of Christ had made me whiter than snow.
"By a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; and having an High Priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."
We have an High Priest who is in Heaven for us; He is the minister of the new Tabernacle. Let us pass in, through Him, into the presence of God.
"Take time to be holy,
Speak oft with thy Lord.
Abide with Him always,
And feast on His Word."
God has given us the privilege of access; do we use our privilege?
III. CHRIST, A PRIEST SEATED (Hebrews 8:1 )
"Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum."
Let us read it thus: "Now, of the things which we have spoken, this is the climax, this is the predominant note": "We have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the Heavens."
We want you to see Christ seated there. Only once, so far as I know in the Word of God, is Jesus described as standing in Heaven. That was when Stephen was stoned. As his spirit was about to leave his body, God opened Heaven and Stephen was permitted to look through, and he saw Jesus standing on the right hand of God. Jesus, now, is seated there. He passed up through the heavens and He sat down. What does it all mean? When one finishes a task, they sit down. Taking a seat means that service is completed, that work is accomplished. We have an High Priest at the right hand of God, who sat down. That is, He finished His task on Calvary's Cross. Remember how He said, "It is finished." Then, He went up, and sat down. Aren't you glad that He is sitting there? I wonder how He feels when He sees a poor sinner running around trying to work out his own redemption? Christ would not be sitting down, it there was anything left for a sinner to do. If your redemption was incomplete, He would be here toiling; He could not have gone to the Father, and He could not have sat down. Thus, the picture of our High Priest seated, is the picture of a finished earthly task.
We remember that, just before He returned to the Father, He said: "I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do." Then on the Cross He cried: "It is finished," and committing His spirit to the Father, He cried with a loud voice, and yielded up the ghost.
IV. CHRIST, A PRIEST SEATED IN THE HEAVENS (Hebrews 8:1 )
Let us notice where Christ is seated. He is seated in the Heavens. How did He get there? He passed up through principalities and powers and took His seat above them all. Thus, the picture of Christ in Hebrews, is the picture of our High Priest, as a conqueror, who, having subdued death and hell, and having overcome principalities and powers, (Satan and all his forces) is seated far above them all. Now, brethren, with such an High Priest, we can press forward to victory. He is able to help us and carry us through, for He is seated above all opposing forces, and He says, "I will lead you in the train of My triumph."
"The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell shall endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no, never, no, never forsake."
The story is told of a certain soldier who was put into an underground dungeon. He was led by one of the soldiers, down and on through a long labyrinth underground, and then the soldier left him. He heard the click of the gates, as the one who left him captive, went his way. The man said, "When I realized that I was all alone in a darkness blacker than night, I felt my brain reel, my mind was crazed. It was awful, such a darkness." Then, all of a sudden, the imprisoned soldier heard the tramp, tramp, tramp of feet above him. He wondered what those steps could mean. Then he heard the faint, far away voice of the chaplain of his regiment as he said, "I know where you are. I know the darkness of your prison, and the loneliness. When you get nervous and afraid, listen, and you will hear the tramp of my feet. I will be walking just above your head." Thus, through the time of his incarceration, what time he would feel the darkness and be afraid, he could hear the tramp, tramp, tramp of the feet above, and he knew that one was near.
V. CHRIST, A PRIEST SEATED AT THE FATHER'S RIGHT HAND (Hebrews 8:1 )
Not only is Christ seated above principalities and powers, but He is seated at the right hand of the Father. Ah, beloved, do not tell me that Christ is disowned and dishonored of God, for He is seated at His right hand. Do not tell me that God will not have Him. That is what they said of Christ as He hung on Calvary's Cross. However, God did have Him, for God raised Him from the dead, and God gave Him a seat at His own right hand.
Unsaved man or woman, God is satisfied with Christ, are you? "God is now willing, in Christ, reconciled; ready to save you and make you His child; God is now willing, are you? Are you?"
Christ is an accepted High Priest. He has taken His seat. When you sit down by a friend if he looks toward you with favor, you know that you are accepted. Jesus Christ is seated in Heaven by the side of the Father. When He hung upon the Cross He said, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" Ah, God forsook Him then because He was there in the sinner's stead. After the work of Calvary was completed; after Jesus cried, "It is finished"; after Christ said, "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit"; after His resurrection, and the forty days had passed, then Christ ascended up to the Father, and sat down at His right hand.
Today, He sits the approved, accepted and exalted Son. He who was once forsaken of God, is now recognized and received. You know, it is one thing to be seated on the left side, and another thing to be seated on the right. Jesus Christ is the Man at "the Father's right hand." Now, what does that mean? It means just this "All authority is given unto Me in Heaven and in earth." Isn't it wonderful? We have an High Priest in with God, in whom God is well pleased.
VI. CHRIST, A PRIEST OF THE TRUE TABERNACLE (Hebrews 8:2 )
Now, the last statement! We have an High Priest of the True Tabernacle. "A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man."
Oh, beloved, there is something in this that is so wonderful! Let me read just a statement about the old tabernacle. It is in Hebrews 8:5 :
"Who serve unto the example and shadow of Heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount."
You know God gave Moses a pattern, showed it to him in the mount, then Moses builded the tabernacle according to a pattern. Why did God give Moses a pattern? Why did God say, "See that you build according to this pattern"? It was because the earthly tabernacle was a pattern of the Heavenly.
Why didn't God say, "Come, Moses, I will take you up to Heaven and let you see the True Tabernacle"? Why did not God show Moses the True Tabernacle, and then say, "Now, go down to earth and build Me one like it"? The True Tabernacle was so wonderful, so beautiful, so. all-glorious, that Moses could not duplicate it. So God did not suffer Moses to see it. He knew it would dishearten him. He said, "I want to give you a pattern of the True Tabernacle, now build it in the wilderness according to the pattern." The tabernacle with its outer court, and its brazen bowl and laver; with its holy place, and its shew-bread; its altar of incense and seven golden candlesticks; with its Holy of Holies and its ark, with the cherubim and the mercy-seat, where the blood was carried once a year, and the wings of the cherubims overlapping, was a type of the True Tabernacle which the Lord pitched in Heaven. There under the stretched-forth wings of the cherubims, God met with His people. That was a pattern of something that is up in Heaven, the True Tabernacle which God hath pitched and not man.
In that true Tabernacle, Christ sits as our Great High Priest a priest for ever.
You say, "Will you not go to God for me?" I can pray for you, but you can also pray for yourself. Either or both of us must have access unto the Father, through the Lord Jesus Christ. Aren't you glad that you have an High Priest who is holy and undefiled; He is with the Father, and through Him you can go?
If you were dying in the desert, where there was no one near you, you would have perfect access, through the Lord Jesus Christ unto the Father. He will take anyone and everyone who comes to God by Him, and carry them through. "For such an High Priest became us, who was holy and undefiled." What then is my conclusion? Let me read this time from Hebrews the 10th chapter, Hebrews 10:19 ; listen to it:
"Having therefore, -brethren, boldness" (you can be bold about it) "to enter into the Holiest by the Blood of Jesus."
There is a knock at my door. I say, "Who is there?" "I am a man named Jones; is Mr. Neighbour in?" "Yes, I am here." "Well, could I have a few moments of your time?" "I guess so, Mr. Jones; perhaps I can give you a few moments of my time. I am pretty busy, but I will be glad to see you. Come in, Mr. Jones."
Here is another scene. I am sitting alone, in the midst of my study, digging away, preparing for my Lord's Day message. Suddenly I hear the patter of little feet; there is no knock, there is no "Is Mr. Neighbour in?" My own little Martha, pushes the door open, runs in, curls up right into my lap. I say, "What are you doing in here?" "Why, granddaddy, I came to help you get up your sermon." "Oh, you did? Well, don't tip the ink-well over." She entered in boldly.
Trust Him, He will manage your affairs. You take care of your baby's needs. You work by day, and sometimes at night in order to feed and clothe your little ones. They never have a worry or care. Run up to that little four-year-old and ask, "Where are you going to get your supper?" He will answer in one word, "Mamma," "Where do your clothes come from?" "Mamma." It is all mamma. The child thinks the sun rises and sets in mamma. When you say to mamma, "Where do you get your all?" She just lifts her eyes up toward Heaven and says, "His eye is on me." Your little one looks to you and depends on you, and you depend on Him.
"He ever liveth to manage my affairs."
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Hebrews 8". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
Second Sunday after Epiphany