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Bible Dictionaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary


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Strictly and properly speaking, there is but one priest of JEHOVAH, and he the great High Priest of his church, the Lord Jesus Christ. Every other priest, even Aaron himself, acted no higher than as the type of JEHOVAH'S High Priest. For the High Priest of JEHOVAH must be as JEHOVAH himself, a Priest for ever; whereas, (as the Holy Ghost blessedly speaks by Paul, Hebrews 7:23-24) those priests were not suffered to continue, by reason of death; but this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. And how graciously the Lord adds, "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." (Hebrews 7:25)

In our view of the Lord Jesus as Priest, it will be necessary to consider the several features, of this high character, in order to have a proper conception of it. Nothing can be more interesting to know, in the whole offices of Jesus to his church and people, and therefore I beg the reader that he will indulge me with being somewhat more particular upon it.

And first, the office and character of the priest should be considered, in order that we may discover the personal fitness and suitability for Christ in this office; and by the performance of which the Lord Jesus proves that he, and he only, became the proper High Priest for his church and. people. The Priest of JEHOVAH must be one consecrated and set apart specially and personally to this office, and this by JEHOVAH himself. And his office comprehends the offering of sacrifice, praying, and interceding for the people, and also blessing the people in JEHOVAH'S name and by his authority. He must be suited in sovereignty and power to act, by virtue of his high office, as a proper Priest and Mediator of his high office, as a proper Priest and Mediator between Him before whom and to whom the offerings are made, and the persons for whom they are made. And he must be suited in personal feeling and interest, to take part with them, and for him in whose suit he acts; so that neither party between whom he acts, as Priest and Mediator, may suffer wrong, but both parties have right and justice shewn them by his priestly administration.

From this view of the office of the priesthood, it is evident that the person undertaking and acting in this high capacity must be both God and man. It is expedient that he should be God to give merit and efficacy to his offerings, to give energy and power in the act of offering, to carry on the purposes of his priestly offices in the unceasing agency of his intercession, to become the object of faith, love, hope, adoration, and trust, to all his people, and to preserve for and give unto the objects for whom he undertook this priestly employment all the blessings purchased for his church and people by this great undertaking. And it became equally expedient that he who engaged to be JEHOVAH'S High Priest, in the purposes of redemption, should be man as well as God. Had he not been man he could not have been the suited. Surety for the representation of his people, he could not have fulfilled the law, answered the demands of justice, proved himself to be the seed of the woman, redeemed the mortgaged inheritance of his poor brother, by death overcome death, and by rising to life again become the resurrection and the life, and been suited to be the Head of his body the church, "the fulness that filleth all in all." So that in every point of view, and upon every consideration, the absolute expediency is manifested that JEHOVAH'S Priest must be both God and man. None else could suit the office, or be competent to the discharge of this high character. And such was the Lord Jesus, and him only. Indeed, so peculiarly suited was Christ as God and man in one person, for this office, that if it could be supposed any other had been, or could have been, found competent to it, it would by so much have lessened the Lord Jesus in this character. But it is the blessed consideration to the church, that the personal and peculiar fitness of the Lord Jesus, and the fulness of fitness in him, and in him only, is what endears him both to JEHOVAH and to his people in this express office of character.

So much then for the office itself, and the peculiar suitability of the Lord Jesus to it. Let us next consider the authority by which he acts, and the glory he hath displayed, and still is displaying, in the unceasing and everlasting exercise of it.

The Scriptures are full of information on this most blessed point. Set up from everlasting in the council of peace, we are told that he was regularly called, consecrated and sworn into his office by virtue of the oath of JEHOVAH before all worlds. For thus the charter of grace runs; "The Lord hath sworn and will not repent, thou art a Priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedec." (Psalms 110:4) And this authority of JEHOVAH was indispensibly necessary to give efficacy and validity to all the acts of his priesthood; for it is not only the suitability of Christ which renders his priesthood so dear to his people, but it is the authority and appointment of JEHOVAH which gives a warrant for faith to act upon concerning him. Hence the Holy Ghost particularly caused it to be recorded for the church's confidence and joy in this particular, that Christ "glorified not himself to be made an High Priest, but was called of God, as was Aaron. For he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee, said also in another place, Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec." (Hebrews 5:4-6)

Thus called, consecrated, and sworn into his office, by the oath of the almighty appointer, it is most blessed to behold how the Lord Jesus, in every point of view, comes up to this high character, and by the union of both natures carries on and perfects the gracious office of our High Priest and Intercessor. The sacrifice he once offered being of infinite value, by virtue of his infinite nature, he hath, "by that one offering of himself once offered perfected for ever them that are sanctified." (Hebrews 10:14) And as the offering itself is a fulness of perfection, so the divine nature on which he offered it became the golden altar of presentation to JEHOVAH The incense Jesus presents is his own merits, and presented also from off the golden censer of his divine nature. (See Revelation 8:3-4) So that the Lord Jesus is in one and the same moment every thing in himself which constitutes both priest and priesthood; for he is the Sacrifice, the Sacrificer, and the Altar on which alone all presentations are or can be made, and the only medium by which all can be offered. Hail! thou glorious, gracious, great High Priest of JEHOVAH and thy people! Be thou my New Testament altar, my sacrifice, my offering, and do thou, Lord, graciously carry on thy high priestly office still in heaven for all thy church and people, until thou hast brought home thy redeemed, "that where thou art, there they may be also!"

Having thus taken a short view of the Lord Jesus as JEHOVAH'S High Priest, and a Priest upon his throne, it may not be amiss to offer a short observation concerning the priesthood taken from among men. It will be always profitable to read the Scriptures of God concerning earthly priests, while we keep in remembrance that all and every one of them appointed by the Lord were never considered higher in all their ministry than as types of the ever-blessed Jesus. The law, with all its costly services, we have authority from the Holy Ghost to say, was but a shadow of good things to come, the body was Christ. (Hebrews 10:1, etc.)

Now from the earliest ages of the church, and before the law, the patriarchs and holy men of God ministered as priests in their families. Abel, Noah, Abraham, and the fathers, offered their sacrifices, and as such acted as priests. But that the church might not err in their explanation of those things it is worthy our closest regard, that God the Holy Ghost hath expressly taught us that all these were by faith. Let the reader read the account of Abel's offering, Genesis 4:4; Noah's, Genesis 8:20-21; and Abraham's, Genesis 15:17-18; Gen 22:1-24; and then turn to Hebrews 11:3; Heb 11:7; Heb 11:17; and mark the sweet truth opened and explained, as it is, by God the Holy Ghost. These holy men of old offered all their offerings by faith; faith in whom but the Lord Jesus Christ, that Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world? (Revelation 13:8) Hence, therefore, every priest typified and represented Christ. Every lamb slain, every sacrifice offered, every propitiation set forth, all shadowed forth the person, work, blood-shedding, and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. He, and he only, is, and was, and ever will be, JEHOVAH'S Priest. All other priests, whether Aaron or his sons, Levitical or Christian, are no otherwise priests than as they act in the Lord Jesus's name, are ordained by his authority, and minister for his glory. He is the fountain of all order in his church; and all true believers in Christ are expressly said to be made by him both kings and priests unto God and the Father, agreeably to JEHOVAH'S ancient, promise to the true Israel: "Ye shall be unto a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation." (Exodus 19:6; Revelation 1:5; 1 Peter 2:9)

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Priest'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. London. 1828.

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