Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Heavenly High Priest

The Heavenly High Priest of the New Testament

By Abraham Israel

In the Old Testament period, there was this earthly tabernacle which was established by Moses according to the pattern or blue print given to Him by God, which in fact was only a copy or shadow of the original tabernacle which the Lord had already erected in Heaven (Heb 8:2,5).

Every High Priest, who was appointed, was called by God by birth, in the line of Aaron. These were the only ones who were qualified to offer both gifts and sacrifices for the sins of men in things which are directly connected to God
(Heb 8:3; 5:1). If the High Priest offers a sacrifice for sins, God accepted the sacrifice because He was the one who appointed the High Priest in His own righteous terms and conditions.

This work that the High Priest did was an work of Honor because He stood as a mediator between God and men to make the God-Connection possible for those who longed for it.
Because God is Holy and the High Priest who were chosen like Aaron himself were all sinful men with the weakness of the indwelling sin
(Heb 5:4, 2; Psalm 51:5; Rom 7:20), first the High Priest will cleanse his own conscience by making blood sacrifices for his own sins and then only he will be able to feel the compassion of God as a Mediator for those people who ignorantly do sins and go astray, and with that compassionate heart towards his fellow beings he will offer to God the sacrifices for them which will be accepted only then by God (Ps 51:17; Matt 7:1-6).

With that compassionate heart towards his fellow-beings, he becomes qualified to be a mediator for man in things pertaining to God
(Heb 5:1-3). Since the High Priest suffers because he himself is also subjected to weakness [torment (or) strong desire (or) urge to sin] which God hates and that which he [the High Priest] will also hate, he will be able to have compassion on his kindred people because of a kindred spirit.

The High Priest needs to get cleansed first, with out it he will die the movement he enters the holy of holies, and he will die because of judgment for sin. God cannot tolerate sin
(Heb 9:6, 7). God hates sin because it destroys man. This was during the Old Testament times when the old tabernacle stood and they had relationship with God based on the Old Covenant [i.e. the Law of Moses], when the earthly temple was still existing in Israel.

In the New Testament, one of the central theme of the covenant is the High-priesthood of Jesus
Christ. The tabernacle during the time of Moses was just a copy and shadow of the original tabernacle in heaven (8:3; 5:5). For the tabernacle in heaven, because it was beyond the time-space boundary, a High Priest who is beyond time-space and who will see no death was needed. Jesus was appointed as the High Priest of the eternal tabernacle in heaven because he was tempted in all things just like any other human being, but he did no sin as the perfect man who over came sin by raising up from the dead. Hence He sacrificed His own body as the one perfect sacrifice to God for the sins of all mankind and entered in to the heavenly tabernacle with his very own blood and started ministering on behalf of those who come to Him confessing their sins.

In the Old Testament the High Priest offered blood sacrifice for themselves and then for the sins of the people. But because Christ was tempted in every thing as us, but yet did no sin and was found perfect as the spotless lamb by God, He sacrificed himself for the sins of us all because
“….with out shedding of blood there is no remission [forgiveness of sins].” (Heb 9:22).

He is the one ultimate sacrifice for all the sins of humankind forever
(10:12). Now God no longer needs any more sacrifice because Jesus Christ rose up from the dead and has sat down at the right hand of God as the mediator of the new covenant (1 Tim 2:5). He became a perfect man to redeem us from the clutches of evil, now we can be free by accepting, by faith, what Christ has done for us on the cross.

In those days they used to go to the High Priest with a gift and then would confess all their wrong doings to Him that they did by ignorance and weakness of the flesh [not willfully done]. Then the High Priest would sacrifice the gift
[i.e. lamb, goat, bull or dove] and then God would forgive their sins.

Now in the New Testament, by faith we need to appropriate Jesus Christ as that sacrificial lamb of God and because of it, we can draw near to God by His Spirit in to the heavenly tabernacle which is in heaven. And the only sacrifice that we can now sacrifice is to praise Jesus and give thanks to Him for what He has done for us on the cross
(Heb 13:15).

Now forgiveness is through agreeing and acknowledging what Jesus had done for us and confessing to God about your faith in Jesus. With out repentance there can be no forgiveness of sins and with out confession there can be no cleansing of the conscience from your sins
(Heb 3:1).

No matter what the religion of the people are, if a person is a theist he needs the ministry of the High Priesthood of Jesus for the forgiveness and cleansing of his sins, so that he can experience the goodness of the Lord. This is why Jesus said
“I am the [only] way.”(John 14:6).

We need to keep on confessing our weakness to the High Priest
[Jesus Christ] (4:14) and appropriate the strength of God through Him. His priesthood is of Melchizedek [i.e. the eternal High Priesthood].

The significance of Christ’s High Priestly ministry to the individual believer and to the church is,

To the Believer:

(i) He intercedes for us so that we will be able to keep our faith in Him till we die (Heb 7:25, 26). He will save us to the uttermost because He continues forever as High Priest, not prevented by death from continuing (Heb 7:23-25).

(ii) He empowers and indwells in us by His good Spirit (Rom 8:9-12).

(iii) He sympathizes as a High Priest for the believers who are ignorant and going astray, since He Himself went through all the difficulties when he came or visited this earth 2000 years ago (Heb 5:2). He is having such a compassionate heart that he is moved when we go through all the difficulties.

(iv) He will manifest his life and glory as every believer yields his life. Right now He is manifesting through many saints (2 Cor 5:7). As a result of it, we are transformed from glory to glory (2 Cor 3:18).

(v) He is fellowshipping with the believers (1 John 1:3).

(vi) He is in communication with the Father on behalf of us. As the Bible says, “…Who [Jesus Christ] also makes intercession for us.” To intercede is to speak on behalf of someone. Jesus is speaking to the Father on behalf of us to bless our life continuously (1 John 2:1).

(vii) He is preparing a place [mansions] for the believers to dwell in heaven (John 14:1-3).

To the Church:

(i) He acts as the head and guardian for the whole body of Christ (Eph 1:19-23; Heb 13:20).

(ii) He acts as the chief corner stone for the whole building [i.e. the Body of Christ] (1 Cor 3:11-15; 1 Pet 2:4-8).

(iii) He is preparing the bride to be with out spot for the rapture of the church (Eph 5:27). A Glorious church is made for His visitation.

(iv) He is giving gifts to men [gifted men] to the body and empowering people.

(v) He is baptizing the members of the Body in a corporate manner (Matt 3:11). He is also baptizing everybody individually with the Holy Spirit and Fire.


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