Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 27, 1983

"The High Priest Of Our Confession" - (No. 2)

James W. Rury

Christ And His Appointment To Priesthood

It has been developed in our discussion of the priestly office that it was stipulated that the priest be not self elected but chosen of God. In Exodus 28, Aaron is appointed by God to minister in the priest's office and in the book of Numbers we read of his confirmation. In Chapter 16 Korah had taken it upon himself to be the priest. In order to prove whose offering was respected by Jehovah, whether Korah's or Aaron's, every man was to bring before Jehovah a censer of incense. When this was done, the ground opened up and swallowed up all that appertained unto Korah. Eleazer the priest made of the brazen censers a covering for the altar that it might be for a memorial to the children of Israel, to the end that no stranger (that is one not of Aaron's seed) come near to burn incense before Jehovah. Then in the 17th Chapter of Numbers Aaron's Priesthood is confirmed by means of the budding rod. God told Moses to take a rod from each of the twelve tribes and to write the name of each on his rod. Aaron's name was upon the rod of Levi. Moses was told that it would come to pass that the rod of the man whom God chose would bud. Aaron's rod put forth buds and produced blossoms and bare ripe almonds, thus confirming him as the chosen priest of God.

Equally so, the Christ was appointed and confirmed by God. The psalmist says in Psalms 110:4, "Jehovah hath sworn, and will not repent: Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek." This applied to Christ as it is quoted referring to him in Hebrews 5:5, 6: "So Christ also glorified not himself to be made a high priest, but he that spoke unto him, Thou art my Son,

This day have I begotten thee:

as he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever

After the order of Melchizedek."

Also, the confirmation of Christ is seen when God declares Christ to be His Son (Psalm 2:7; Heb. 1:5; 5:5), and appoints and confirms him by the power of an endless life. For in Acts 13:36, 37 Paul, addressing the people of Antioch says:

"For David, after he had in his own generation served the counsel of God, fell asleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: but he whom God raised up saw no corruption."

Then in Hebrews 7:16 it is stated that the new priesthood had not been made after the law of a carnal life but after the power of endless life. In verse 28 we find that the law appointed priests having infirmity but the word of the oath appointeth a Son, perfected for evermore. Christ suffered the death of man but he was raised from the grave (1 Cor. 15), confirming the choice and greatness of the power of God in him. (Eph. 1:19). Finally, in Hebrews 7:25 we are assured that "he is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God through him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."

In view of these facts, we can confidently conclude that our Lord perfectly meets the requirements to be a priest, in the fullest sense of the word, for us.

The Superiority Of Christ's Priesthood

But Christ is not just a priest; his is a superior priesthood. This superiority is well summed up in a few verses in Hebrews 7. Considering these briefly they are stated in this order: in verses 1-10 it is shown that Melchizedek, the type of Christ, is greater than Abraham, and Christ, the anti-type, is superior to this. In verse 18 as has been formerly pointed out, they (other priests) were made after the law of a carnal commandment but he after the power of endless life. The former priesthood was made without an oath, but he has been made a priest with an oath (v. 21). They were appointed many in number because they were hindered from continuing because of death but he has an unchangeable priesthood for He abides for ever. Then also, they for reason of their infirmities had to offer up sacrifices day by day, but he did this once for all when he offered up himself. (vv. 27, 28).

They were of the tribe of Levi; Christ was of the tribe of Judah. They were many; He was one. They offered animals as sacrifices; He offered himself. They died; He lives forever.

Jesus Christ is the Christian's high priest. He met all the qualifications; He performs all the functions of the priestly office. Serving under the high priesthood of Christ each Christian is a priest. As Peter said to Christians, "ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (I Pet. 2:5). And further he wrote to Christians, "But ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood...." (I Pet. 2:9). Those around the throne of God in the word picture recorded in Revelation 5:9-10 sing a new song, saying, "Worthy art thou to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou waist slain, and didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, and madest them to be unto our God a kingdom and priests; and they reign upon the earth."

These thoughts give to the Christian a feeling of dignity concerning his service and a disposition of bearing a grave responsibility in serving as a priest under such a great high priest as Jesus Christ. Through Him the disciple offers his sacrifices to God; through Him he receives mercy and grace; through Him he has access to the throne of the Father at all times. "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, even Jesus." (Heb. 3:1.)

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