Perfect High Priest (Part 5 – The Conclusion)

Upon concluding this study of Jesus’ role as the High Priest as outlined in the book of Hebrews, it is evident that Jesus’ past accomplishments and present exaltation point toward future fulfillment. Though there is a present, complete perfection wrought in his redemptive victory, and even though real authority over all things has been given to him (with nothing left out), we see that everything is not yet now subject to his authority (2:8). The seating of Jesus at God’s right hand now, is something provisional until a future time when YHWH will place Messiah’s enemies in subjection under his feet. Then, at his Parousia, Jesus will be seated in Jerusalem on the throne of his ancestor David.

There is no doubt that Jesus’ position as High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek is what qualifies faithful believers (as identified with him) to become “a Kingdom and priests for our God, and they will reign as kings and queens on the earth.” (Revelation 5:10– OGFOMMT)

This statement alludes to Exodus 19:6 concerning the promise made to Israel that they will become “a kingdom of priests.” …This concept of kings and priests reflects the Order of Melchizedek in Hebrews 7. So Jesus’ sacrificial death also enables Christians to become rulers with him. (1)

Interestingly, in the book of Hebrews, the concept of “faith” is not set within the context of obtaining apparent success in these current times. Faith is firmly placed within the context of hanging in there or not giving up regarding the future hope that we cannot presently see! Believers should not lose their confidence or shrink back in their commitment because it is certain that God will not delay in fulfilling His promise. The persevering attitude and effort of faithfulness, focused on the promised hope, is what made the list of believers in Hebrews 11 pleasing to God.

After the beautiful encouraging list of examples of hopeful faithfulness, scriptural attention turns to Jesus himself and his perfect model.

For this reason, since we are surrounded by such a distinguished crowd of people who gave evidence of their faith in God, let us get rid of everything that impedes our progress, the seductive sins that trip us up, and let us keep running with persistence the race set before us. We should be constantly looking to Jesus, the one who begins and completes our faith in God. Because of the joy ahead of him Jesus endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and he sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.

Concentrate on Jesus who endured such hostility from sinful people, so that you do not grow tired and become discouraged. Your resistance so far has not cost you blood as you fight against sin. (Hebrews 12:1-4 – OGFOMMT)

After a firm reminder in Hebrews, chapter 12, not to be discouraged by the Heavenly Father’s discipline, and not to give into bitterness, a wonderful panorama of the hope comes into view along with some godly warnings. One might remember, in the following verses, that it is quite often that Scriptures announce future realities with past tense (or present participle) verbs to affirm the certainty with which God’s ultimate purposes will come to pass. In Exodus, chapters 19 and 20, one can see the frightful scene at the physical mountain (Sinai), where the Old Covenant was established, which is alluded to here in Hebrews. Once again, the superiority of the New Covenant is highlighted.

You have not arrived at a physical mountain which can be touched, which burned with fire, to a stormy place of black darkness, where the sound of a trumpet and a voice speaking was heard – and those who heard the voice begged never to hear it again. For they could not stand what they were told to do, such as, “Even if a farm animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” The sight was so terrifying that Moses himself said, “I am shaking with fear!” But you have arrived at Mount Zion, the city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem, with its thousands and thousands of angels.

You have come to the church of the firstborn whose names are written down in heaven, to God, the judge of everyone, and to those good people whose lives are complete. You have come to Jesus, the Mediator for us of the New Covenant, to the sprinkled blood which promises better things than the blood of Abel. (12:18-24 OGFOMMT)

Interestingly, in this context (in 11:4), Abel’s self-sacrificial faith still speaks to us as a powerful witness; nevertheless, Jesus’ superior sacrifice as High Priest and Mediator accomplished much more. Also, one sees that we Christians approach the same future city, the heavenly Jerusalem, and heavenly country (i.e. the Kingdom of God) that Abraham and the patriarchs sought (11:10, 16).

Just as such ancient believers were content to live as foreigners in tents, we don’t identify with this present age. Metaphorically, as we shall see, we are happy to be “outside the camp” in solidarity with Messiah. The future weight of unshakable glory makes experiencing his shame now a light thing by comparison.

Be sure you do not reject the one who is speaking! If they did not escape when they rejected God on earth, it is even more certain that we will not escape if we turn away from God who warns us from heaven! At that time God’s voice shook the earth, but His promise is now: “Once again I am going to shake not only the earth, but heaven too.” This expression, “once again,” indicates that all creation which is shaken is removed so that everything that is not shaken may remain.

Since we are destined to receive a Kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have a gift of grace, so that we can serve God in a way which pleases Him, with reverence and respect. For our “God is a fire which consumes.” (12:25-29 OGFOMMT)

To be associated nowadays with Christ’s shame and to suffer because of continued faithfulness to him is well worth it, due to the unshakable, future Kingdom that is the Father’s delight to give us, according to Luke 12:32.

Similar exhortations with an unswerving view toward this unshakable Kingdom to come continue in chapter 13.

Do not love money; be content with what you have, God Himself has said, “I will never let you down: I will never abandon you.” That is why we can confidently say, “The Lord is the one who helps me. I will not be afraid of what anyone can do to me.” (13:5, 6 OGFOMMT)

In the same way [as animal carcasses were taken and burned outside the camp] Jesus also died outside the city gate, so he could make God’s people holy through his own blood.

So let us go out to him, outside the camp, experiencing and enduring his shame with him. For we do not have a permanent city to live in under the present circumstances; we are looking forward to the city which is still to come. So let us through Jesus always offer a sacrifice of praise to God – this means speaking well of God, declaring His character. And do not forget to do what is good, and to share with others what you have, for God is pleased when you make such sacrifices. (13:12-16 OGFOMMT)

Jesus’ High Priestly, redemptive victory in all its details coupled with the future assurance of the hope, our spiritual anchor, make our proper response truly doable. Despite the seeming relentlessness of stressful pressures, we can offer God the continual sacrifice of speaking about how wonderful He is! His solutions are beyond compare, so we can and should be very encouraged to stay the course despite present obstacles. We can stay generous, respectful, and hopeful in any circumstances. We’ve not yet suffered as he did for us! Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus, the anointed one [Messiah], who is the same: yesterday, today, and forever!

Footnote:

  • Raymond C. Faircloth, (Messiah’s Future Triumph as Earth’s New Administrator [A Commentary on Revelation]) (2017), 55.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.