5. The Revelation, Experience, and Enjoyment of the Ascended Christ as a Merciful, Faithful, and Great High Priest
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Scripture Reading: Gen. 14:18-20; Heb. 2:17; 4:14-15; 5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:1, 27; 8:1-2
Gen 14:18     And Melchizedek the king of Salem brought out bread and wine. Now he was priest of God the Most High.
Gen 14:19     And he blessed him and said, Blessed be Abram of God the Most High, / Possessor of heaven and earth;
Gen 14:20     And blessed be God the Most High, / Who has delivered your enemies into your hand. And Abram gave him a tenth of all.
Heb 2:17       Hence He should have been made like His brothers in all things that He might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in the things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
Heb 4:14       Having therefore a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast the confession.
Heb 4:15       For we do not have a High Priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all respects like us, yet without sin.
Heb 5:6         Even as also in another place He says, "You are a Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedec."
Heb 5:10       Being addressed by God as a High Priest according to the order of Melchizedec;
Heb 6:20       Where the Forerunner, Jesus, has entered for us, having become forever a High Priest according to the order of Melchizedec.
Heb 7:1         For this Melchizedec, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him,
Heb 7:27       Who does not have daily need, as the high priests do, to offer up sacrifices first for his own sins and then for those of the people; for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
Heb 8:1         Now in the things which are being said the chief point is this: We have such a High Priest, who sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,
Heb 8:2         A Minister of the holy places, even of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.
 
 
I.     The basic significance of a priest in the Bible is not that a priest serves God but that a priest ministers God to man:
A.     The first mention of a priest in the Scriptures establishes the principle of a priest.
B.     The first time the word priest is used in the Bible is with Melchizedek—Gen. 14:18-20:
Gen 14:18     And Melchizedek the king of Salem brought out bread and wine. Now he was priest of God the Most High.
Gen 14:19     And he blessed him and said, Blessed be Abram of God the Most High, / Possessor of heaven and earth;
Gen 14:20     And blessed be God the Most High, / Who has delivered your enemies into your hand. And Abram gave him a tenth of all.
1. The foundational story of the priesthood in the Bible is that of a priest coming from God and ministering something of God to God’s people:
a. After Abraham gained the victory, Melchizedek, a type of Christ as the kingly High Priest, appeared; it must have been through his intercession that Abraham was able to slaughter the four kings, recover Lot, and gain the victory—vv. 1-3, 12-20; Heb. 7:1-3.
Gen 14:1       And in the days of Amraphel the king of Shinar, Arioch the king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and Tidal the king of Goiim,
Gen 14:2       These kings made war with Bera the king of Sodom and with Birsha the king of Gomorrah, Shinab the king of Admah, and Shemeber the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar).
Gen 14:3       All these joined together in the valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea).
Gen 14:12     And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, and his possessions and departed, for he was dwelling in Sodom.
Gen 14:13     And one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew. Now he was dwelling by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, the brother of Eshcol and the brother of Aner; and these were allies of Abram.
Gen 14:14     And when Abram heard that his brother had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, born in his house, three hundred eighteen of them, and pursued as far as Dan.
Gen 14:15     And he divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and struck them and pursued them to Hobah, which is north of Damascus.
Gen 14:16     And he brought back all the possessions and also brought back Lot his brother and his possessions as well as the women and the people.
Gen 14:17     And after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley).
Gen 14:18     And Melchizedek the king of Salem brought out bread and wine. Now he was priest of God the Most High.
Gen 14:19     And he blessed him and said, Blessed be Abram of God the Most High, / Possessor of heaven and earth;
Gen 14:20     And blessed be God the Most High, / Who has delivered your enemies into your hand. And Abram gave him a tenth of all.
Heb 7:1         For this Melchizedec, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him,
Heb 7:2         To whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all; first being interpreted king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace;
Heb 7:3         Being without father, without mother, without genealogy; having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but likened to the Son of God, abides a priest perpetually.
b. Today Christ, our High Priest, is interceding for us in a hidden way (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25) that we may be His overcomers to defeat God’s enemies so that through our victory Christ can be manifested openly in His second coming.
Rom 8:34      Who is he who condemns? It is Christ Jesus who died and, rather, who was raised, who is also at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
Heb 7:25       Hence also He is able to save to the uttermost those who come forward to God through Him, since He lives always to intercede for them.
c. Melchizedek came from God and ministered something of God to Abraham; the bread and wine signify God being ministered to us to nourish, refresh, sustain, comfort, and strengthen us—Gen. 14:18.
Gen 14:18     And Melchizedek the king of Salem brought out bread and wine. Now he was priest of God the Most High.
2. In His heavenly ministry Christ was designated a High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek (Heb. 5:6, 10), not to offer sacrifices for sin as Aaron did but to minister to us the very God who was processed through incarnation, human living, crucifixion, and resurrection, signified by the bread and wine (Matt. 26:26-28).
Heb 5:6         Even as also in another place He says, "You are a Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedec."
Heb 5:10       Being addressed by God as a High Priest according to the order of Melchizedec;
Matt 26:26    And as they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed it, and He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said, Take, eat; this is My body.
Matt 26:27    And He took a cup and gave thanks, and He gave it to them, saying, Drink of it, all of you,
Matt 26:28    For this is My blood of the covenant, which is being poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
3. The main point with respect to Christ as the High Priest is that He ministers God into us—Heb. 8:2.
Heb 8:2         A Minister of the holy places, even of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.
 
II.   Hebrews is a book on the priesthood in its three aspects—2:17; 5:6; 7:16, 25:
Heb 2:17       Hence He should have been made like His brothers in all things that He might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in the things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
Heb 5:6         Even as also in another place He says, "You are a Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedec."
Heb 7:16       Who has been appointed not according to the law of a fleshy commandment but according to the power of an indestructible life.
Heb 7:25       Hence also He is able to save to the uttermost those who come forward to God through Him, since He lives always to intercede for them.
A.     The first aspect—the aspect of the Aaronic priesthood—is for offering sacrifices to God for our sins—10:12:
Heb 10:12     But this One, having offered one sacrifice for sins, sat down forever on the right hand of God,
1. The Aaronic priesthood solves the problem of sin—7:27; 9:12, 28.
Heb 7:27       Who does not have daily need, as the high priests do, to offer up sacrifices first for his own sins and then for those of the people; for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
Heb 9:12       And not through the blood of goats and calves but through His own blood, entered once for all into the Holy of Holies, obtaining an eternal redemption.
Heb 9:28       So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time to those who eagerly await Him, apart from sin, unto salvation.
2. Christ put away sin by offering Himself to God as the one sacrifice for sins— v. 26; 10:10-12.
Heb 9:26       Since then He would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world. But now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested for the putting away of sin through the sacrifice of Himself.
Heb 10:10     By which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Heb 10:11     And every priest stands daily, ministering and offering often the same sacrifices, which can never remove sins;
Heb 10:12     But this One, having offered one sacrifice for sins, sat down forever on the right hand of God,
3. The Aaronic priesthood was not part of God’s initial intention but was added later because of the problem of sin—1:3; John 1:29; Rom. 8:3.
Heb 1:3         Who, being the effulgence of His glory and the impress of His substance and upholding and bearing all things by the word of His power, having made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
John 1:29      The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
Rom 8:3        For that which the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending His own Son in the likeness of the flesh of sin and concerning sin, condemned sin in the flesh,
B.     The second aspect—the aspect of the kingly priesthood—is for ministering God into us—Heb. 5:10; 7:1-2:
Heb 5:10       Being addressed by God as a High Priest according to the order of Melchizedec;
Heb 7:1         For this Melchizedec, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him,
Heb 7:2         To whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all; first being interpreted king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace;
1. As a High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek, Christ is the King of righteousness and the King of peace—Isa. 32:17; 9:6.
Isa  32:17     And the work of righteousness will be peace, / And the result of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.
Isa  9:6         For a child is born to us, / A Son is given to us; / And the government / Is upon His shoulder; / And His name will be called / Wonderful Counselor, / Mighty God, / Eternal Father, / Prince of Peace.
2. Christ’s purifying of sins is typified by the work of Aaron, whereas His sitting down on the right hand of the Majesty on high is according to the order of Melchizedek—Psa. 110:1, 4; Heb. 1:3; 8:1.
Psa 110:1      Jehovah declares to my Lord, / Sit at My right hand / Until I make Your enemies / Your footstool.
Psa 110:4      Jehovah has sworn, / And He will not change: / You are a Priest forever / According to the order of Melchizedek.
Heb 1:3         Who, being the effulgence of His glory and the impress of His substance and upholding and bearing all things by the word of His power, having made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
Heb 8:1         Now in the things which are being said the chief point is this: We have such a High Priest, who sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,
3. As the kingly High Priest, Christ ministers to us whatever we need, dispensing the processed and consummated Triune God into us as our supply to fulfill God’s eternal purpose.
C.     The third aspect—the aspect of the divine priesthood—is for saving us to the uttermost—7:25:
Heb 7:25       Hence also He is able to save to the uttermost those who come forward to God through Him, since He lives always to intercede for them.
1. For Christ to be kingly is a matter of status, but for Christ to be divine is a matter of constituent, that is, of having the necessary element that constitutes Him a divine High Priest.
2. Christ’s divinity constitutes Him a High Priest who is living, full of life, and able to continue His priesthood perpetually—vv. 17, 24.
Heb 7:17       For it is testified, "You are a Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedec."
Heb 7:24       But He, because He abides forever, has His priesthood unalterable.
3. The divine priesthood is the saving power of the indestructible life; thus, the divine priesthood is the presence of life and the absence of death—v. 16.
Heb 7:16       Who has been appointed not according to the law of a fleshy commandment but according to the power of an indestructible life.
 
III.  Christ is a merciful and faithful High Priest—2:17:
Heb 2:17       Hence He should have been made like His brothers in all things that He might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in the things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
A.     Hebrews 1 and 2 reveal that Christ is fully qualified to be our High Priest:
Heb 1:1         God, having spoken of old in many portions and in many ways to the fathers in the prophets,
Heb 1:2         Has at the last of these days spoken to us in the Son, whom He appointed Heir of all things, through whom also He made the universe;
Heb 1:3         Who, being the effulgence of His glory and the impress of His substance and upholding and bearing all things by the word of His power, having made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
Heb 1:4         Having become as much better than the angels as to have inherited a more distinguished name than they.
Heb 1:5         For to which of the angels has He ever said, "You are My Son; this day have I begotten You"? And again, "I will be a Father to Him, and He will be a Son to Me"?
Heb 1:6         And when He brings again the Firstborn into the inhabited earth, He says, "And let all the angels of God worship Him."
Heb 1:7         And of the angels He says, "Who makes His angels winds and His ministers a flame of fire";
Heb 1:8         But of the Son, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
Heb 1:9         You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of exultant joy above Your partners";
Heb 1:10       And, "You in the beginning, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands;
Heb 1:11       They will perish, but You remain perpetually; and they all will become old like a garment,
Heb 1:12       And like a mantle You will roll them up; like a garment they will also be changed; but You are the same, and Your years will not fail."
Heb 1:13       But to which of the angels has He ever said, "Sit at My right hand until I set Your enemies as a footstool for Your feet"?
Heb 1:14       Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth for service for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?
Heb 2:1         Therefore we ought to give heed more abundantly to the things which have been heard lest perhaps we drift away.
Heb 2:2         For if the word spoken through angels proved firm and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense,
Heb 2:3         How shall we escape if we have neglected so great a salvation, which, having had its beginning in being spoken by the Lord, has been confirmed to us by those who heard,
Heb 2:4         God bearing witness with them both by signs and wonders and by various works of power and by distributions of the Holy Spirit according to His will?
Heb 2:5         For it was not to angels that He subjected the coming inhabited earth, concerning which we speak.
Heb 2:6         But one has solemnly testified somewhere, saying, "What is man, that You bring him to mind? Or the son of man, that You care for him?
Heb 2:7         You have made Him a little inferior to the angels; You have crowned Him with glory and honor and have set Him over the works of Your hands;
Heb 2:8         You have subjected all things under His feet." For in subjecting all things to Him, He left nothing unsubject to Him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to Him,
Heb 2:9         But we see Jesus, who was made a little inferior to the angels because of the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death on behalf of everything.
Heb 2:10       For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and through whom are all things, in leading many sons into glory, to make the Author of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
Heb 2:11       For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of One, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brothers,
Heb 2:12       Saying, "I will declare Your name to My brothers; in the midst of the church I will sing hymns of praise to You."
Heb 2:13       And again, "I will trust in Him." And again, "Behold, I and the children whom God has given to Me."
Heb 2:14       Since therefore the children have shared in blood and flesh, He also Himself in like manner partook of the same, that through death He might destroy him who has the might of death, that is, the devil,
Heb 2:15       And might release those who because of the fear of death through all their life were held in slavery.
Heb 2:16       For assuredly it is not to angels that He gives help, but He gives help to the seed of Abraham.
Heb 2:17       Hence He should have been made like His brothers in all things that He might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in the things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
Heb 2:18       For being tempted in that which He Himself has suffered, He is able to help those who are being tempted.
1. He is the Son of God with the divine nature—1:8.
Heb 1:8         But of the Son, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
2. He is the Son of Man with the human nature—2:6, 9.
Heb 2:6         But one has solemnly testified somewhere, saying, "What is man, that You bring him to mind? Or the son of man, that You care for him?
Heb 2:9         But we see Jesus, who was made a little inferior to the angels because of the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death on behalf of everything.
3. He was incarnated to be like us—vv. 14, 17.
Heb 2:14       Since therefore the children have shared in blood and flesh, He also Himself in like manner partook of the same, that through death He might destroy him who has the might of death, that is, the devil,
Heb 2:17       Hence He should have been made like His brothers in all things that He might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in the things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
4. He was tempted, tried—v. 18.
Heb 2:18       For being tempted in that which He Himself has suffered, He is able to help those who are being tempted.
5. He suffered death—v. 9.
Heb 2:9         But we see Jesus, who was made a little inferior to the angels because of the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death on behalf of everything.
6. He made propitiation for our sins—v. 17.
Heb 2:17       Hence He should have been made like His brothers in all things that He might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in the things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
7. He destroyed the devil—v. 14.
Heb 2:14       Since therefore the children have shared in blood and flesh, He also Himself in like manner partook of the same, that through death He might destroy him who has the might of death, that is, the devil,
8. He released us from the slavery of death—v. 15.
Heb 2:15       And might release those who because of the fear of death through all their life were held in slavery.
9. He brought forth many brothers in resurrection to form the church—vv. 11-12.
Heb 2:11       For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of One, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brothers,
Heb 2:12       Saying, "I will declare Your name to My brothers; in the midst of the church I will sing hymns of praise to You."
10. He was crowned with glory and honor in His exaltation—v. 9.
Heb 2:9         But we see Jesus, who was made a little inferior to the angels because of the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death on behalf of everything.
11. He is the Author, Captain, of our salvation—v. 10.
Heb 2:10       For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and through whom are all things, in leading many sons into glory, to make the Author of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
12. He helps us—v. 16.
Heb 2:16       For assuredly it is not to angels that He gives help, but He gives help to the seed of Abraham.
B.     Christ is able to be a merciful and faithful High Priest because He is both the Son of God with divinity and the Son of Man with humanity:
1. His being merciful corresponds to His being a man.
2. His being faithful corresponds to His being God.
3. Christ’s divinity and humanity are typified by the gold and the linen in the ephod worn by the high priest—Exo. 28:6-14; 39:2-7:
Exo 28:6       And they shall make the ephod of gold thread, of blue and purple and scarlet strands, and fine twined linen, the work of a skillful workman.
Exo 28:7       It shall have two shoulder pieces joined to its two edges, so that it may be joined together.
Exo 28:8       And the skillfully woven band, which is on it for its fastening, shall be like it in workmanship, of one piece with it; of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet strands and fine twined linen.
Exo 28:9       And you shall take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel,
Exo 28:10     Six of their names on the one stone, and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, according to their birth.
Exo 28:11     With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, you shall engrave the two stones, according to the names of the sons of Israel; you shall make them enclosed in settings of gold.
Exo 28:12     And you shall put the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as stones of remembrance for the sons of Israel. And Aaron shall bear their names before Jehovah on his two shoulders for a memorial.
Exo 28:13     And you shall make settings of gold,
Exo 28:14     And two chains of pure gold; you shall make them twisted, a corded work, and you shall put the chains of cords on the settings.
Exo 29:2       And unleavened bread and unleavened cakes mingled with oil and unleavened wafers anointed with oil—you shall make them of fine wheat flour.
Exo 29:3       And you shall put them into one basket and present them in the basket with the bull and the two rams.
Exo 29:4       And you shall bring Aaron and his sons near to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, and wash them with water.
Exo 29:5       And you shall take the garments and clothe Aaron with the tunic and the robe of the ephod and the ephod and the breastplate, and gird him with the skillfully woven band of the ephod;
Exo 29:6       And you shall place the turban on his head and put the holy crown on the turban.
Exo 29:7       Then you shall take the anointing oil and pour it on his head and anoint him.
a. The weaving together of the gold and the linen in the ephod typifies the mingling of divinity and humanity in Christ.
b. “There is a fabric in this universe woven with golden and linen thread and containing the five colors of golden yellow, pure white, blue, purple, and scarlet. This is the ephod that the Lord Jesus is wearing today. He is still clad in a garment made of gold and linen and with five beautiful colors expressing His divinity, humanity, heavenliness, kingliness, and redemption.” (Life-study of Exodus, p. 1372).
 
IV.  Christ is a great High Priest—Heb. 4:14-15:
Heb 4:14       Having therefore a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast the confession.
Heb 4:15       For we do not have a High Priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all respects like us, yet without sin.
A.     As our High Priest, Christ is great in His person, in His work, and in His attainment—1:5, 8; 2:6; 1:3; 2:9-10, 14-15, 17; 6:20; 9:24.
Heb 1:5         For to which of the angels has He ever said, "You are My Son; this day have I begotten You"? And again, "I will be a Father to Him, and He will be a Son to Me"?
Heb 1:8         But of the Son, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
Heb 2:6         But one has solemnly testified somewhere, saying, "What is man, that You bring him to mind? Or the son of man, that You care for him?
Heb 1:3         Who, being the effulgence of His glory and the impress of His substance and upholding and bearing all things by the word of His power, having made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
Heb 2:9         But we see Jesus, who was made a little inferior to the angels because of the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death on behalf of everything.
Heb 2:10       For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and through whom are all things, in leading many sons into glory, to make the Author of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
Heb 2:14       Since therefore the children have shared in blood and flesh, He also Himself in like manner partook of the same, that through death He might destroy him who has the might of death, that is, the devil,
Heb 2:15       And might release those who because of the fear of death through all their life were held in slavery.
Heb 2:17       Hence He should have been made like His brothers in all things that He might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in the things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
Heb 6:20       Where the Forerunner, Jesus, has entered for us, having become forever a High Priest according to the order of Melchizedec.
Heb 9:24       For Christ did not enter into a holy place made by hands, a figure of the true, but into heaven itself, to appear now before the face of God for us;
B.     As our great High Priest, Christ was tempted in all respects like us, yet without sin; He has passed through the heavens, and He is touched with the feeling of our weaknesses—4:14-15.
Heb 4:14       Having therefore a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast the confession.
Heb 4:15       For we do not have a High Priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all respects like us, yet without sin.
C.     As our great High Priest, Christ bears us before God in the Holy of Holies— 9:24; Exo. 28:9-12, 15-30:
Heb 9:24       For Christ did not enter into a holy place made by hands, a figure of the true, but into heaven itself, to appear now before the face of God for us;
Exo 28:9       And you shall take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel,
Exo 28:10     Six of their names on the one stone, and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, according to their birth.
Exo 28:11     With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, you shall engrave the two stones, according to the names of the sons of Israel; you shall make them enclosed in settings of gold.
Exo 28:12     And you shall put the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as stones of remembrance for the sons of Israel. And Aaron shall bear their names before Jehovah on his two shoulders for a memorial.
Exo 28:15     And you shall make a breastplate of judgment, the work of a skillful workman; like the work of the ephod you shall make it; of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet strands, and of fine twined linen you shall make it.
Exo 28:16     It shall be square and doubled; a span its length and a span its width.
Exo 28:17     And you shall enclose in it enclosures of stones, four rows of stones: the first row shall be a row of a sardius, a topaz, and an emerald;
Exo 28:18     And the second row, a carbuncle, a sapphire, and a diamond;
Exo 28:19     And the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst;
Exo 28:20     And the fourth row, a chrysolite, and an onyx, and a jasper; they shall be set in gold in their enclosures.
Exo 28:21     And the stones shall be according to the names of the sons of Israel, twelve, according to their names; they shall be like the engravings of a signet, each according to its name, for the twelve tribes.
Exo 28:22     And you shall make on the breastplate twisted chains, a corded work of pure gold.
Exo 28:23     And you shall make on the breastplate two rings of gold and shall put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate.
Exo 28:24     And you shall put the two cords of gold in the two rings at the ends of the breastplate.
Exo 28:25     And you shall put the two other ends of the two cords on the two settings, and put them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod at the front of it.
Exo 28:26     And you shall make two rings of gold, and you shall put them upon the two ends of the breastplate upon its edge, which is toward the ephod on the inside.
Exo 28:27     And you shall make two rings of gold and shall put them on the bottom of the two shoulder pieces of the ephod on the front of it, close to the place where it is joined, above the skillfully woven band of the ephod.
Exo 28:28     And they shall bind the breastplate by its rings to the rings of the ephod with a cord of blue strands, that it may be upon the skillfully woven band of the ephod and that the breastplate may not come loose from the ephod.
Exo 28:29     So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breastplate of judgment on his heart when he goes into the sanctuary, for a memorial before Jehovah continually.
Exo 28:30     And you shall put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be on Aaron's heart when he goes in before Jehovah, and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel on his heart before Jehovah continually.
1. In the Old Testament the high priest typifies Christ as our High Priest.
2. Whenever the high priest went into the presence of God in the Holy of Holies, he bore upon his shoulders and upon his breast the names of the children of Israel before God—vv. 9-12, 15-30.
Exo 28:9       And you shall take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel,
Exo 28:10     Six of their names on the one stone, and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, according to their birth.
Exo 28:11     With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, you shall engrave the two stones, according to the names of the sons of Israel; you shall make them enclosed in settings of gold.
Exo 28:12     And you shall put the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as stones of remembrance for the sons of Israel. And Aaron shall bear their names before Jehovah on his two shoulders for a memorial.
Exo 28:15     And you shall make a breastplate of judgment, the work of a skillful workman; like the work of the ephod you shall make it; of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet strands, and of fine twined linen you shall make it.
Exo 28:16     It shall be square and doubled; a span its length and a span its width.
Exo 28:17     And you shall enclose in it enclosures of stones, four rows of stones: the first row shall be a row of a sardius, a topaz, and an emerald;
Exo 28:18     And the second row, a carbuncle, a sapphire, and a diamond;
Exo 28:19     And the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst;
Exo 28:20     And the fourth row, a chrysolite, and an onyx, and a jasper; they shall be set in gold in their enclosures.
Exo 28:21     And the stones shall be according to the names of the sons of Israel, twelve, according to their names; they shall be like the engravings of a signet, each according to its name, for the twelve tribes.
Exo 28:22     And you shall make on the breastplate twisted chains, a corded work of pure gold.
Exo 28:23     And you shall make on the breastplate two rings of gold and shall put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate.
Exo 28:24     And you shall put the two cords of gold in the two rings at the ends of the breastplate.
Exo 28:25     And you shall put the two other ends of the two cords on the two settings, and put them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod at the front of it.
Exo 28:26     And you shall make two rings of gold, and you shall put them upon the two ends of the breastplate upon its edge, which is toward the ephod on the inside.
Exo 28:27     And you shall make two rings of gold and shall put them on the bottom of the two shoulder pieces of the ephod on the front of it, close to the place where it is joined, above the skillfully woven band of the ephod.
Exo 28:28     And they shall bind the breastplate by its rings to the rings of the ephod with a cord of blue strands, that it may be upon the skillfully woven band of the ephod and that the breastplate may not come loose from the ephod.
Exo 28:29     So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breastplate of judgment on his heart when he goes into the sanctuary, for a memorial before Jehovah continually.
Exo 28:30     And you shall put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be on Aaron's heart when he goes in before Jehovah, and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel on his heart before Jehovah continually.
3. Christ is our merciful, faithful, and great High Priest, and we are on His shoulders (His bearing strength) and on His heart (His love).
4. As Christ bears us before God in the Holy of Holies, He ministers the processed and consummated Triune God into our being—Heb. 8:2.
Heb 8:2         A Minister of the holy places, even of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.
D.     We should respond to Christ’s priesthood by coming forward with boldness to the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace for timely help—4:16:
Heb 4:16       Let us therefore come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help.
1. Since today our spirit is the place of God’s habitation (Eph. 2:22), it is now the gate of heaven (Gen. 28:12-17) where Christ is the ladder that joins us, the people on earth, to heaven, and brings heaven to us (John 1:51).
Eph 2:22       In whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit.
Gen 28:12     And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
Gen 28:13     And there was Jehovah, standing above it; and He said, I am Jehovah, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie, I will give to you and to your seed.
Gen 28:14     And your seed will be as the dust of the earth, and you will spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and in your seed will all the families of the earth be blessed.
Gen 28:15     And, behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go and will cause you to return to this land, for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.
Gen 28:16     And Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, Surely Jehovah is in this place, and I did not know it.
Gen 28:17     And he was afraid and said, How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.
John 1:51      And He said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, You shall see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.
2. Hence, whenever we turn to our spirit, we enter through the gate of heaven and touch the throne of grace in heaven through Christ as the heavenly ladder.
 
V.   Although Christ as the High Priest is taking care of us, we all have our own thought and feeling as to how He should care for us; many times we do not know what is best for us or what the reason is for certain things; only the Lord as the High Priest knows the reason, and His care for us is always positive—Rom. 8:28-29:
Rom 8:28      And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Rom 8:29      Because those whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brothers;
A.     When the apostle Paul prayed to the Lord, asking Him to remove the thorn (2 Cor. 12:7-8), the Lord said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness” (v. 9).
2 Cor 12:7     And because of the transcendence of the revelations, in order that I might not be exceedingly lifted up, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, that he might buffet me, in order that I might not be exceedingly lifted up.
2 Cor 12:8     Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me.
2 Cor 12:9     And He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly therefore I will rather boast in my weaknesses that the power of Christ might tabernacle over me.
B.     Instead of removing the thorn, the Lord imparted Himself into Paul as grace, enabling the apostle to know how precious and sufficient He is.
C.     This experience of Christ as our High Priest, who bears us on His shoulders and breast and ministers God into us, is an experience in the Holy of Holies, where we enjoy God Himself and all His riches; this experience of Christ as our High Priest is the highest experience and enjoyment.
 
VI.  Ultimately, Christ as the High Priest is caring for God’s need and interests:
A. God will listen to our prayer when our prayer to God is toward Christ, the kingdom of God, and the house of God as the goal in God’s economy—1 Kings 8:48; Dan. 6:10.
1 Kings 8:48  And if they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies, who have carried them captive, and they pray to You toward their land that You have given to their fathers, the city that You have chosen, and the house that I have built for Your name;
Dan 6:10       Now when Daniel came to know that the writing had been signed, he went to his house (in his upper room he had windows open toward Jerusalem) and three times daily he knelt on his knees and prayed and gave thanks before his God, because he had always done so previously.
B. No matter for whom we are praying, our prayers should be aimed at the interests of God, that is, at Christ and the church as God’s interests on earth, for the fulfilling of God’s economy—Eph. 5:32; 6:17-18.
Eph 5:32       This mystery is great, but I speak with regard to Christ and the church.
Eph 6:17       And receive the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God,
Eph 6:18       By means of all prayer and petition, praying at every time in spirit and watching unto this in all perseverance and petition concerning all the saints,
VII. Christ’s heavenly ministry as the High Priest in ascension consummates in the New Jerusalem, which will be the mingling of divinity with humanity to be the very expansion, enlargement, increase, and expression of the Triune God in humanity forever as the ultimate goal of God’s economy— Rev. 21:2, 9-11.
Rev 21:2       And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Rev 21:9       And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.
Rev 21:10     And he carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,
Rev 21:11     Having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.
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