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Evangelism:
The Time Is Now!

Section 3, Chapter 8

Jesus is Our Only
& Final High Priest

(A Commentary on the Book of Hebrews)

Back to chapter 7
Study Questions

In the past, God spoke to man through his prophets. But in these last days, He now only speaks to us through His Son Jesus Christ (1:1). God the Father has appointed Jesus heir of all things. It is through Jesus that God the Father made all things (1:2). Jesus holds the nucleus and electrons of the atoms of the world and the universe together (1:3).

The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is the reflected brightness144 of the glory of God which means that he is the exact image of His essence (1:3). In other words, Jesus is God in all His substance, nature and character. He is the exact image of the Father.

The writer of Hebrews goes on to tell us that Jesus, through his death on the cross, has cleansed us of ALL our sins (1:3). Because He has and this work is a completed work for all eternity, He now sits at God the Fatherís right hand. The significance of the statement sits means that the work of atonement for our sins is complete. There is nothing you or I can add to it. Because it is complete, Jesus is no longer laboring for our atonement, but is sitting in complete rest next to the Father who has accepted this work of His for us. This is the significance of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. God the Father is letting us know that He has accepted Jesusí offering of His blood for our sins. He shows He has accepted it by bringing Jesus back from the dead.

The writer of Hebrews further tells us that because Jesus is sitting at God the Fatherís right hand, this makes Him better and puts Him above the angels (1:4). God the Father only calls Jesus His Son begotten of by Him (1:5). Only to Jesus does He call Himself a Father. Concerning Jesusí humanity Luke wrote,

Luke 1:31, 34-35 "ĎAnd behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.í . . . And Mary said to the angel, ĎHow can this be, since I have not known a man?í And the angel answered and said to her, ĎThe Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most-High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son-of-God.í"

When the Father sent Jesus into the world to become a man, He further testified to Jesusí greatness when he commands the angels to worship Jesus the man (1:6). God who created the angels calls them spirits, flames of fire, His ministers (1:7); but he calls Jesus God. God the Father says to Jesus, "Your throne Elohim is forever and ever" (1:8). This is a direct quote from Psalm 45:6 and refers to Yehovah. The word for "God" here is "Elohim" (!yhiloa>)74 the same term for "God" used in Genesis 1:1 when Moses told us who created the universe and man. Jesus Christ is Yehovah-Elohim our Creator in the flesh.

God the Father plainly calls Jesus God. Jesus is God. He also says of Jesus that He rules with absolute righteousness; that is that Jesus is absolutely perfect and without sin and that His rule over His creation is with absolute justice, without error.

The book of Hebrews tells us that the earth and the heavens are Jesusí work and creation. Of His creation the writer tells us that the earth and the heavens will grow old as a garment and one day pass away, but that Jesusí existence and character are eternal and will never change or pass away. This tells us that we can be eternally secure in Jesus because He is eternal and never changes in character. Whatever he says we can base our lives on and be secure in it because His character is eternal and he never changes what He has said and promised (1:10-14). Jesus coming back from the dead through the Resurrection is His proof to us that this is true.

Because What Jesus says is eternal and His character is unchanging, the writer of Hebrews tells us that it is all the more reason that we must pay much closer attention to what Jesus has said to us and taught us about Himself and God (2:1-3). He tells us that men were punished for not listening to Godís message sent through angels who were created beings like ourselves. He then makes the statement that the punishment will be much more sever if we do not listen to Jesusí message since Jesus is God and our Creator. He further states that we are without excuse if we reject His message since God the Father confirmed His words through signs, wonders, miracles, healings and through gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His will (2:4).

Why did Jesus become a man and human flesh? The writer of Hebrews tells us that it was so He could through His human death render powerless him who had the power of death, that is Satan, in order to free us from the fear of death (2:14-15). The Bible tells us in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death. The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 that when the Bible talks about death being sinís penalty that this means to be eternally separated from God and the glory of His power, not non-existence. The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus became a man first to pay sinís penalty for us on the cross to deliver us from this eternal punishment. When you receive Jesus Christ as your savior and Lord, the Bible tells us that you die with Jesus on the cross and pay sins penalty through Christ on the cross and receive God the Fatherís free gift of eternal life through Jesus.99 But the Bible does not stop there. The Bible further tells us that those who have died in Christ will be raised to eternal life in Christ in the same manner as Jesus has been raised so that Paul declares in Colossians 1:27 "Christ in you, the hope of glory."100 Thus, we are freed from the fear of death because to die knowing Jesus means to be with Jesus and in the future to be raised physically to life eternal with Jesus in Heaven.

The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus became a man for a second reason. He tells us that He became a man, secondly, in order to experience our sufferings, let downs and temptations to sin. Why? So he could not only be our High Priest to God the Father as it relates to atonement for our sins, but also a merciful High Priest as a result of having Himself experienced our temptations and sufferings as a man (2:17-18). Hebrews tells us that he was tempted in all ways as we are but without sin (4:15-16). It is for this reason we need not fear Jesus, but draw near to His throne of grace with all confidence. Why? Because He understands what we are experiencing on this earth as human beings and can sympathize with us and thus help us with His grace in our time of need.

What about this Priesthood of Jesus? What does it mean and what are the overall ramifications as it relates to the Levitical priesthood and to us as believers? First, let us ask the questions, what is a Priest and what are their responsibilities? Priests, as it relates to the Hebrews, were of the tribe of Levite because God appointed it so (7:11). They had several responsibilities: One, they were responsible to collect a tenth of everyoneís income to pay for the duties of the Priests and their practical needs (7:5). Two, they were to communicate the Law of God given through Moses to the people (7:11). They were to teach the Law. Three, they were to offer up yearly sacrifices, first, for their own sins, and second, for the sins of the people (7:27, 8:3). Four, they were to only come from the Tribe of Levi (7:5).

In the Old Testament days, the Levite Priests would offer sacrifices first for their sins and then for the sins of the people. This sacrifice was in the form of a lamb and a goat. They would sacrifice the lamb and then lay their hands upon the head of the goat and name off the sins of the people and then send the goat into the wilderness.102 Thus, where we get the saying Scape Goat.

This sin offering had to be without defect.101 Not having any defect was God symbolizing to them and indicating to them that in order for the death of someone else to take away their sins, that person had to be perfect and without sin. Why? James the brother of Jesus tells us in James 2:10. He writes, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all." All one has to do is sin once and he is condemned to pay sinís penalty which is eternal destruction away from the presence of God. That is all it takes: one sin, no matter how big or small. This is why James tells us if all you do is sin once you are guilty of all. Why? Because no matter how big or small the sin, the penalty is the same: eternal separation from God.

When once a person has sinned, even if only once and the smallest of sins, he looses favor and relationship with God and his sacrifices are no longer acceptable to God. Isaiah tells us that all our righteous deeds are as filthy garments before God.103 Why? Because only a sacrifice that is offered through a perfect vessel, meaning a vessel without sin, is acceptable to perfect Almighty God. God is holy and cannot receive anything from an impure vessel. This was why the offering had to be without defect. But the writer of Hebrews tells us something further about these offerings the Levites offered up first for themselves and then for the people; he tells us that it was not faultless, that it did not do the job. He writes,

Hebrews 10:1-4 "For the Law [sacrificial system of the Old Testament], since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never by the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins."

First, it is not faultless because it was never intended to take away sins. The writer of Hebrews tells us that it was only a shadow, a symbol, of the real answer God was preparing for us. Second, because it was only a symbol of Godís answer, it did not really take away sins. This was proved by the fact that the people still had consciousness and guilt for their sins. All the sacrifices did was remind them of their sins. They did not take them away. Finally, he finishes by telling us that in fact it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. If all this is true, then why did God have the Hebrews go through all this ceremony of sacrifices for their sins? They did it as an act of faith as they waited in anticipation for the Lamb that God would offer, Jesus, who would take away their sins. When Jesus came into the World, the writer of Hebrews tells us that He said that sacrifice and offering from man God did not really desire. Instead He prepared a body for Himself to offer it on manís behalf. This body was Jesus Christ Himself (10:5-9). The writer tells us that by Jesusí sacrifice on the cross, God the Father cleansed us of all our sins once and for all for all eternity (10:10, 12, 14).

When Jesus did die for our sins once and for all for all eternity, there was no longer a need for the Levitical priesthood. Their existence was only necessary to offer sacrifice for sins and to intercede for the people. But the writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesusí death and resurrection ELIMINATED this need. He tells us why: First, because Jesusí death paid for our sins once and for all for all time. There is no longer a need for priests to offer up sacrifices.

He tells us there is a second reason. In Hebrews 7:23 he tells us that the Levitical priesthood had to exist in great numbers. This was because they grew old and died and had to be continually replaced by other fallible priests. When they died they could no longer intercede on our behalf. But what about Jesus? He says about Jesus that God the Father declared Him a priest forever, not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, meaning of the tribe of Levite, but due to Jesusí power of a life that is indestructible (7:16). The word in the Greek is zwh'"52 ajkataluvto"104 (Zoes Akatalutos) meaning Life indissoluble, indestructible. In other words the Levitical Priesthood was done away with and Jesus was made our only and final High Priest forever in their place because His life is indestructible and will never pass away. Jesus will never need to be replaced. Because He will never die He is able also to intercede before the Father on our behalf forever. There will never be a time when we will need another High Priest to replace Jesus.

There are some religious sects in the world which claim that Jesus later renewed the Levitical Priesthood. This is wrong and in error. It is wrong and in error because the reason that the Levitical priesthood existed was for the purpose of offering sacrifices for our sins and to intercede for us. These two needs of their service were eliminated for the following reasons:

  1. First, because Jesusí death took care of all our sins past, present and future forever. He eliminated any further need of sacrifices for our sins.

  2. Second, When God the Father appointed Jesus our new High Priest, He appointed Him our High Priest forever. This is because He will never die and thus will never need to be replaced like in the old Levitical system of priests.

  3. Third, because He lives forever he is able to intercede on our behalf before the Father forever; thus, eliminating the need for replacement intercessors as in the Levitical order who were constantly dying of old age. The job of the Levitical Priesthood was eliminated due to the indestructible life of Jesus who fulfills their services forever

For this reason the writer of Hebrews tells us in Hebrews 7:24, "But He, on the other hand, because He abides forever, holds His priesthood permanently." The Greek word for permanently is ajparavbato" (aparabotos) meaning unchangeable, unalterable, inviolable.82/166 Concerning Jesus as our permanent and only intercessor, the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2:5-6,

"For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all."

JESUS IS GODíS ONLY AND FINAL
SACRIFICE FOR OUR SINS AND
ONLY AND FINAL HIGH PRIEST AND
INTERCESSOR FOR OUR NEEDS.

Is this not a wonderful truth? Jesusí death and physical-resurrection have settled the score of our past, present and future sins before the Father forever. But it is not enough to know this truth. In order for what Jesus did for you on the cross to become yours, you must receive Jesus as your Savior and Lord. If you have not done this already, but want to, then pray the following prayer:

Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and repent of my known sins. I ask You now to come into my heart as Savior from my sins and as Lord of my life. Heavenly Father, thank You for forgiving my sins through Your Sonís death and shed blood on the cross and that I now have eternal life. Now take control of my life, and through Your Holy Spirit lead me into your will and plan for my life; in Lord Jesus Christ of Nazarethís name , amen.

If you did just pray this prayer and meant it in your heart, then Jesus is in your heart, you have eternal life and you are going to heaven. The writer of Hebrews tells us about the person who receives and knows Jesus,

Hebrews 9:24-28 "For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor was it that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood not his own. Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And inasmuch as it is laid up for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time FOR SALVATION without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him."

Study Questions
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