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Showing posts with the label His Priesthood

Made Without Hands

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Jesus is the true Sanctuary of God that was foreshadowed in the ancient religious structures and worship rituals of the nation of Israel. He is the place where God’s presence and glory are found and the final High Priest who now mediates between Heaven and Earth for his people. The man from Nazareth is the real Tabernacle where Yahweh dwells and he was the Temple “ MADE-WITHOUT-HANDS ” destroyed by evil men but restored when God raised him from the dead.

Once For All Sacrifice

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The  Letter to the Hebrews  highlights several aspects of the Son of God, especially his priesthood and sacrificial death. In doing so, the stress falls on the permanence of his priestly office, and the non-repeatable nature of his sacrifice. In his death, he “ achieved the purification of sins ,” and therefore, he now intercedes “ forevermore ” for his people as their faithful and sympathetic High Priest. Moreover, his unique sacrifice dealt with sin permanently, “ once-for-all .”

Well-Qualified High Priest

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The priesthood of Jesus is a key subject in the  Letter to the Hebrews . He became the “ merciful and faithful High Priest ” who now intercedes for “ his brethren ” from the presence of God. This subject was anticipated in the Letter’s opening paragraph, including the uniqueness of his priesthood, when the Author declared that he “ achieved the purification of sins ,” and then afterward, he “ sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High .”

Change of Law

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Since this “ Word spoken in a son ” is complete and definitive, it is “ better than ” the partial revelations of the past “ spoken in the prophets .” Unlike his predecessors, the Son, “ having achieved the purification of sins ,” sat down at God’s right hand where he remains to this day mediating for his people as their faithful High Priest. Logically, this means that the previous “ words ” by the prophets and the ministries of the Levitical priests proved insufficient to remove the stain of sin from the covenant community.

Let Us Draw Near

After urging believers to enter God’s “ rest ,” the  Letter to the Hebrews  provides an eloquent description of the powerful word of God, then it returns to the subject of the Son’s priesthood “ after the order of Melchizedek .” Believers must strive to enter His “ rest ” while the opportunity remains - “ TODAY, hearken to His voice .” In contrast, ancient Israel refused to believe the words of Yahweh, therefore, Joshua could not lead the nation into the Promised Land.

Tent Pitched by God

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In John’s Gospel, Jesus is the true Tabernacle where the presence and glory of God dwell. Unlike the ancient structure with its inner sanctuary that only the high priest could enter, and only once each year on the Day of Atonement, His glory is manifested in Jesus Christ for all men to see forevermore. No longer is His presence limited by physical walls, geographic boundaries, or the calendar. In the Nazarene, the Father and Creator of all things is worshipped anywhere and anytime, only now “ in spirit and truth .”

His Distinguished Name

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The Son achieved the “ Purification of Sins ,” thereby qualifying to “ sit down at the right hand of the Majesty on High .” As the appointed High Priest “ after the order of Melchizedek ,” he now intercedes for his people in the very presence of God. Moreover, he inherited a “ more distinguished name ” than even the angels, namely, “ Son .” In its first chapter, the Letter to the Hebrews demonstrates that this “ Son ” and High Priest is superior to even creatures as glorious as the angels of God.

Purification of Sins

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A key point of the  Letter to Hebrews  is the victory of the Son on behalf of his people, and consequently, his exaltation to the “ right hand ” of God as their High Priest “ after the order of Melchizedek .” He secured what none of his predecessors could. Through his self-sacrificial death, he “ achieved the purification of sins ,” then he “ sat down ” in the “ true and greater Tabernacle ” in God’s very presence where he now intercedes for his saints.

"Then He Sat Down"

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Foundational to the  Letter to the Hebrews  is the appointment of Jesus as our High Priest, and this was due especially to his obedience “ unto death ” whereby he achieved the “ purification of sins .” In his sufferings, he was “ perfected ,” and in his resurrection, God vindicated his sacrifice by seating him at the “ right hand of the Majesty on High ,” where he now sits enthroned interceding on our behalf. The stress is not on his position as the Royal Son, as true as that is, but on his priestly status and ministry for his people.

Incomparable New Covenant

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The definitive “ Word ” that God now speaks “ in the Son ” surpasses all the past revelations made in “ the prophets ,” including Moses, the Great Lawgiver. Jesus of Nazareth went beyond all his predecessors. He alone “ achieved the purification of sins .” Consequently, he “ sat down ” at the right hand of God and inherited “ all things .” Among other things, his exaltation signaled the commencement of the promised “ New Covenant .”

Priest Forever

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The  Letter to the Hebrews  is built on a series of comparisons that demonstrate the superiority of the word that God has “ spoken in ” His “ Son ” over every past revelation “ spoken in the prophets .” The former prophetic “ words ” were true but partial and preparatory. But now, “ upon the last of these days ,” God has unveiled His definitive “ word ” in one who is a “ Son .” That “ word ” is complete and superior to all others since Jesus alone “ achieved the purification of sins ” that is so vital to His people.

Merciful and Faithful Priest

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Having established his priestly qualifications,  Hebrews  presents Jesus as the High Priest who intercedes faithfully and sympathetically for his people. He participated fully in the nature and sufferings common to all men, therefore, his priestly intercession for his “ brethren ” is characterized by compassion for them. The “ Son ” experienced the same death that is common to all men, and in doing so, he qualified for the priesthood “ after the order of Melchizedek ” even though he was not a member of the Tribe of Levi. What set him apart from other men was his sinlessness.

His Supremacy

The  Letter to the Hebrews  is addressed to a congregation facing pressure from outsiders, and some members are contemplating withdrawing from the assembly and returning to the local synagogue. The Letter presents arguments for why doing so will have catastrophic consequences by stressing the superiority of the “ Word of the Son ” over the past revelations. The concern is pastoral, and the purpose is to prevent believers from leaving the congregation and apostatizing. And Hebrews urges them to remain faithful to the apostolic traditions.

These Last Days

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God has spoken His decisive and superior “ word ” in His son, and He did so “ upon the last of these days .” This clause refers to the end of the period epitomized by the Levitical code with its priesthood and repeated animal sacrifices, a system of worship that was centered in the Tabernacle, and later, in the Jerusalem Temple. With the appointment of God’s Son as the High Priest “ after the order of Melchizedek ,” a new and final era of salvation commenced.

God has Spoken!

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The  Letter to the Hebrews  exhorts believers not to abandon Jesus when difficult times come, and it does so by emphasizing the superiority and finality of what God has done in His “ Son .” The word “ spoken ” in Jesus is superior to the earlier and preparatory revelations provided “ to the fathers in the prophets .” The Letter compares the Levitical system with its incomplete provisions and repeated sacrifices to the “ better ” priesthood and the “ once for all ” sacrifice of the “ Son ,” Jesus Christ.