Tonight we're continuing in our study of the book of Hebrews and we come to really begin our study in Chapter 5. As we begin to look at Chapter 5, let's bow together and ask a word of prayer. Our Father, we come now to the sacred pages of this book and Lord, we would not be so bold as to assume that we of our own strength have anything to say. Nor in our own wisdom, and so with Paul we say we speak not in the wisdom of men, nor with enticing words, but we may desire of all things to speak in the power of God. And oh Father, we would ask that only Jesus Christ be lifted up. That He be exalted as we shall see Him in the simplicity of His majesty as our great high priest. Father, we would ask that each of us might be able to set aside all of the things that would distract us. Some here tonight, Father, may be weary in their bodies and find it difficult to concentrate. Lord, give them just a real supernatural sustenance to keep them alert for what it is You want to teach them. And Father, even though perhaps some of it is truth that we know, Father, refresh our minds in the knowledge of the fact that it is truth that You want us to be assured of in order that we might even have the opportunity to share it this week. You do the teaching Lord. Keep my mouth from error and may the Spirit of God indeed be the one who proclaims the truth. We'll pray in Jesus' name and for His glory. Amen.
The design of the book of Hebrews is very simple. The design of the book of Hebrews is to present the superiority of Christianity over Judaism. Hebrews was written to a group of Jewish believers outside the area of Jerusalem to show them that they had made the right step in receiving Jesus Christ, for in fact Judaism did...Judaism was replaced by Christianity. There are also through the book of Hebrews warnings to unbelieving Jews to know that Jesus Christ is greater than all of the Old Testament figures. The New Testament, the new covenant greater than the Old Testament, the old covenant.
But in the midst of this, there is a very natural question that is going to arise. For to tell a Jew that the new covenant is greater than the old, says something about the priesthood of the old covenant. For the old economy, the Levitical economy, the Old Testament, Judaism, is based on priests taking men's messages to God. Mediating between men and God. And the first question perhaps that a Jew, with any kind of perception, would ask is this. If this new covenant is better, where is your high priest? Where is that mediator that takes man to God?
And perhaps in somewhat of a deriding sense and unbelieving Jew would say your new religion is deficient in the very first and most vital thing. That is you have no high priest. Perhaps a Jew would say how are your sins going to be pardoned when you have no one offering sacrifices and no one interceding for you? How can you claim that this new covenant supersedes the old and is in every way superior and spells the nullification of the old if you have no high priest?
We saw last week a very clear and simple answer to that in Chapter 4, verse 14 which says, "Seeing then that," watch this, "we have a great," what, "high priest." Christianity, the new covenant, is not without a high priest. We have a great high priest. Now having stated that tremendous fact that there is a mediator between men and God, and that there is not a multiplicity of them, 24 different ranks of them as there was in the Levitical priesthood, but that there is only one mediator, only one high priest, one great high priest, having stated that fact in 4:14, beginning in Chapter 5 and running through the end of Chapter 10, that entire section is the proof that Jesus is, in fact, that great high priest.
And this then takes the heart of the book of Hebrews from 5:1 to 10:39. The largest single portion dedicated to any theme in Hebrews and strategically located in the middle of the book, around which everything else revolves is the proclamation that Jesus Christ is, in fact, a great high priest superior to Aaron or to any other high priest whoever lived. And that Christianity does have a high priest who takes men to God. That's the purpose of Chapters 5 through 10, the eternal and perfect priesthood of Jesus Christ.
And you see, this is the real key to the supremacy of the new covenant to the old covenant. This is what sets apart Christianity as better than Judaism, because our high priest is so superior. He can do what all of the priests put together in the old economy could not do. Now keep in mind a basic point, and that is this, that God is by nature holy. That means that God by nature is separated from sinners. That God by nature is transcendent. That is he is apart from our understanding. Now since that is true and God, from a human viewpoint, is unapproachable man faces a real a dilemma. Who takes him to God? Who gets him there is the question. Well, in the old economy, God chose certain men to intervene. And certain men to mediate between Himself and other men so that He might be approached. They were divinely chosen men, specially prepared, specially trained, and of them were made special requirements. They were required, first of all, to sacrifice for their own sins for they themselves were sinner and then having cleansed their own sin, they were permitted under God's grace to enter into God's presence to sacrifice for the sins of the people. Then the whole bevy of priests that populated the old economy were bridge builders to God. For men could not come into God's presence directly, therefore, God appointed certain men to be the ushers, as it were, to bring them into His presence.
And the way to God was only opened as the priests did the sacrifices day in, day out, day in, day out presenting the atoning blood to God. Priests then were the mediators from men to God. Now I told you this morning that as we saw in studying the kingdom of God, kings and prophets and judges, etc., were mediators bringing God's rule to men. Priests take men to God. Do you see? Those are the two sides of the issue. So priests then are able by God's ordained patterns to perform certain duties that bring men into the presence of God. But suddenly as we come to the new covenant and the New Testament, the entire pattern of priesthood comes to a screeching halt and it's over with. All of it, every bit of it is done. And one stands out alone as the great high priest and there is no other priest. And that one is Jesus Christ. He is the great high priest whose one great act of sacrifice in which He sacrificed Himself so that He's the priest and the sacrifice at the same time, provided eternally for man an opening into God's presence. And that is so graphically symbolized in the New Testament as we see in the death of Jesus Christ, the veil of the temple went from the top to the bottom and that veil separated men from God's presence in the holy of holies and it's ripped wide open and the holy of holies is exposed to men, because Jesus has opened it up by a new and living way.
And so Jesus Christ in one act at one point in history accomplished what thousands upon thousands of sacrifices into the millions of sacrifices by multitudes of priests could never accomplish. That is to open the way to God permanently so that any man at any time by faith in Christ might enter into God's presence. And as a result of what Christ did, it says at the end of Chapter 4, in verse 16, "Let us therefore come," what, "boldly unto the throne of grace. That we may obtain mercy and find grace to help while we still have time.
And so the great high priest has provided a new and living way. And consequently my friends there are no more sacrifices. There are no more priests. Jesus Christ now sits at God's right hand interceding for us. He is our living mediator. He is the only priest needed, the great high priest. It's interesting in view of this that the Italian Pope still styles himself by this title. Pontifex Maximus, which translated means, the greatest high priest.
That's blasphemy. He is not the greatest high priest. Jesus Christ is the great high priest. He has no equal. And in the truest sense in the new economy of the new covenant, there is no other priest period. None at all. And to say that there is lessons the exclusivity of the priesthood of Jesus Christ. The strongest point then or the strongest part of the mosaic economy, the thing that held the Jews was the Aaronic priesthood. And by Aaronic we're meaning the name of Aaron who was really God's choice that began the whole deal. The whole priesthood is what captured and riveted the attention of the Jews to the old covenant. They...for so many years, they had gone through the ritual and now Jesus comes along and says forget it all and it just is not that easy for some of them. You can understand that, can't you?
Those patterns are hard to break. And so in writing to the Hebrews, He must show them that we have a priesthood, that we have a high priest who once for all offered a sacrifice and obliterated the need for the rest. That's so important because they're locked into an understanding that there must be an atoning sacrifice offered by a priest and so He shows in 5 to 10 that Jesus has done exactly that and in a way that no other priest could ever do.
And so all of the ritual that had riveted like a charm, the minds of the Jews to that nullified Judaistic system and prejudiced them against the simplicity of the gospel, must be set aside with the understanding that Jesus Christ is, in fact, and in truth the great high priest and there is no other. And though Christianity is simple, though the new covenant is as simple as a relationship with one individual, Jesus Christ, it's just that simple.
Yet it's priesthood is more glorious and more perfect than ever was the Judaistic priesthood. And we'll see in our test and we'll see for weeks to come how Jesus fulfills this priesthood. Now specifically coming to Chapter 5, He does something very interesting to begin this study of the priesthood of Jesus. The first thing He does is...and He, I mean the Holy Spirit. As I've said before, we don't know who wrote Hebrews from a human standpoint, so we'll say the Holy Spirit and be right for sure.
First of all, what He does in the first four verses of Chapter 5, He gives the qualifications for a priest and these are standard Jewish qualifications. He's reminding them, now what were the qualifications of a priest. And in verses 5 to 9, He says, now let me show you how Jesus meets every one of them. And this is a very important question for them to have answered because in their mind, Jesus wouldn't fit any qualifications for a priest. He was a part of the wrong tribe. He wasn't born in the right family. And He apparently had not spent His life preparing for this. There's no indication that He, in any way, fit what they thought were the qualifications, at least the extraneous ones. So it's important that Jesus Christ be seen as the one qualified to be the priest.
So in verses 1 to 4, we have the qualifications. In verses 5 to 9, the qualified one. And in verses 1 to 4, you have an outline there. You can kind of follow along. In verses 1 to 4, we see three qualifications, selected by God from men, sympathetic with men, and sacrificing for men. And then we see Jesus Christ fitting everyone of those three major qualifications. And as proof here is sufficient and it renders obvious the fact that Jesus Christ is qualified to be the high priest.
Now once He states that Jesus is the high priest, then He'll move on through the rest of the book to show how His high priesthood really functions. But first He must show Jesus Christ fitting the qualifications. All right, let's look at the qualifications as we examine the text. The first qualification for a high priest was he had to be selected by God from men. Notice in verse 1, "For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men." Stop right there and we'll come back later to the rest of the verse.
Every high priest taken from men is ordained for men. So he must be taken from men. Now to show you that He's taken by God, look at verse 4. "And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of," whom, "God as was Aaron." And Aaron is a good illustration. All right, then we see several important things. A true high priest had to be taken from men. That is he had to be a man. He had to minister for men, verse 1, and he had to be chosen by God. All of this is involved in his selection.
All the Old Testament priests, for example, were chosen by God from among men. Going back to specifics in Exodus 28. Don't look it up, I'll just read it to you. Verse 1, "And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother and his sons with him," this is God talking to Moses, "from among the children of Israel that he may minister unto me in the priest's office. Even Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons."
Now here is God very pointedly and very directly choosing His priests. He selects in a very direct sense Aaron to be His high priest. Old Testament priests were chosen by God. And you know as well as I do that anyone in the Old Testament economy who ministered apart from having been chosen by God got into a lot of trouble. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram tried to minister in a way that God had not ordained them to minister and the ground swallowed them.
In Ezekiel, Ezekiel says in Chapters 8 to 10 when he sees the desecration of the temple, he sees men in there ministering as priests and it's blasphemous. True high priests are ordained of God. Now notice in verse 1 it says, "That every high priest taken from among men." Now God chooses His priests from among men in the old economy. We're still dealing in Old Testament terms. Whenever God began the priesthood, He selected His pattern of priesthood from men. The priest then must partake of the nature of the person for whom he officiates.
God didn't choose angels to be priests. He didn't choose animals to be priests. He chose men who would act on the behalf of men. Angels didn't have the nature of the men. They could not understand men. They did not have the free open communication with men. They did not exist in the patterns of men, therefore, they were not chosen to mediate for men. It had to be a man who was subject to the temptations of men. It had to be a man who had experimental acquaintance with suffering like men have in order that they might minister in a merciful way. And only a man could rightly minister for men.
Now remember to whom this Epistle is written, you can see the importance of this very simple little point. It is just this, the Jews could not understand the incarnation. That was always a problem in their basic understanding along with the cross which they couldn't understand either why a Messiah would have to die. But another problem they had was really getting a grip on the incarnation, Jesus Christ, God, and human flesh.
And here the Holy Spirit very simply answers the problem of the incarnation in just one avenue. You see God had to become man or He never could have been the great high priest of men, do you see? Unless God feels what men feel and goes through what men go through, then He has no basis experimentally to operate as a high priest for men. So God did not keep himself aloof, transcendent, separate from sinners, He entered into the world of men and felt everything that men will ever feel in order that He might be just a sympathetic and merciful and faithful high priest.
If God had never become man, He could never have been a high priest. He could never have been a mediator. He could never have been an intercessor. He could never have offered that sacrifice for the sins of His people which divine justice required. And so the incarnation wasn't an option friends. It was an absolute necessity. It was an imperative if salvation was to be accomplished.
John Calvin said "It was necessary for Christ to become a real man. For as we are very far from God, we stand in a manner before Him in the person of our priests, which could not be were He not one of us. Hence that the Son of God has a nature in common with us, does not diminish His dignity, but commends it the more to us for He is fitted to reconcile us to God because He is man." He had to come down to where we are in the simplest sense to scoop us up and get us back to God, you see.
And so to minister for men, He must be from among men. And it's interesting, because always in the old economy God was unapproachable. Genesis 3:24, God drives man out of the Garden and from then on, God is unapproachable. The children of Israel got in the wilderness and the information coming out of Sinai was get away, get away, get away. Don't come near. In the tabernacle and the temple, God was behind a veil and men could only get to God through this priest, chosen from them.
And only a priest who was one of them could on their behalf minister before God. And so Jesus Christ as we saw in our last study, having accomplished His great sacrifice, passed through the heavens and entered into the holy of holies in heaven and left the way wide open for us, didn't He? And not only does He enter in for us, but we can enter in on the basis of His merits, and that's a first.
Now notice an interesting word in verse 1. It says, "Every high priest taken from among man is ordained for men." The word ordained means an authoritative appointment to an office. And here you have the fact that priests were not arbitrarily selected, nor were they selected on the basis of their own will, but by God. You have the same thing in Chapter 8, verse 3. "For every high priest is appointed." Appointed, and the appointer is God. Now get this, this is the first key characteristic of a true high priest. He had to be appointed by God directly. Nobody elected him, he had to be appointed by God Himself.
Now notice in verse 4, "No man taketh this honor unto himself," and this expands that same thought, "but he that is called of God," as was Aaron. God called His priests directly. There's a kind of a wonderful thought here. It's kind of a spiritual thought that jumps into my mind as I think about this, God's still in the business of calling His leaders, Christian leaders. But on one occasion, I remember in Numbers 16, Aaron had his authority challenged and he was appointed by God. But his authority was challenged. And so God indicated that Aaron was for real and that He was appointed by God because Aaron's rod started the bud and bore almonds. Well, that's a pretty astounding thing. You know, it's a stick that he used when he walked around and it budded and had almonds on it. You say oh yeah? What is that? That's a good question, glad you asked. That means, just catch this thought, supernatural fruit was always the sign that a man had been called by God. And you know, it's not really any different today is it? When a man is really called by God supernatural fruit will be the result.
It's still the standard. So the ultimate then and the most important question is presented. No man can legitimately act as a high priest unless he's divinely called to that office. And anybody who tries to usurp that office is coming under the judgment of God. No man can call himself the greatest high priest unless God directly has appointed him to be such.
So first of all then, the true high priest must be called from men by God. Secondly, the true high priest must be sympathetic with men. He must be able to get inside and feel with men. Now this takes us a step passed omniscience. Omniscience knows everything, sympathy feels everything, right? Now Christ didn't need to learn any information, but as we'll see over in verse 8, He needed to learn some feeling by His incarnation so that He could be sympathetic beyond being omniscient. True priests had to be sympathetic, that's verse 2. Look at it. We'll get back to the end of verse 1, don't worry. Here's another very important statement. "Who can compassion" Which just means to suffer with "on the ignorant," and I'll explain what that means, "and on them that are out of the way. For He Himself also is compassed with infirmity or a propensity to sin." Infirmity means a weakness of human nature that makes temptation a real issue. Now what is this saying? Well, compassion, it's very interesting. The word compassion or as it's translated here compassion on, means to...I'll try to give you the clearest translation. It means to bear gently with because you feel it too. Just get the two words to bear gently. A person who is non-compassionate could care less about anybody else's pain. But this is a priest who must come from men, because he must able to bear gently with the faults of other men knowing that he's got the same problems. See? A priest must be a man, completely involved in the human situation. He must be all bound up in the bundle of life. He must life with them. He must feel with them. He must their highs. He must know their lows. And He uses this tremendous word, metriopathane. And it's a very unique word. It's a word that you really can't translate it. It just means to bear gently because you feel it like they feel it, which is a long translation of one word, but that's the implication of the word.
The Greeks had an interesting thing. They said that all virtues were the means between the two extremes. All virtues were the means or the myths between all the extremes. A virtuous man was a man who found his way down the middle of every issue. And it didn't mean he was the middle of the road man in politics or things like that. It meant in terms of the gamut of emotions and feeling, he was in the middle. For example, this particular word here means something like being in the middle between being irritated and being apathetic. See?
In other words, it's being able to kind of feel a little bit of the irritation and a little bit of the apathy so that you're tolerant, but not indulgent. It's the middle...I'll give it to you another way if I can phrase it so that you'll understand it. It's in the middle between extravagant grief and utter indifference. You see somebody's problems and oh that's, you know, and you fall apart and panic. That's the extravagant grief. You see somebody's problems and you go, hmmm. That's indifferent. In the middle is virtue. You got it? Can we go on? It's a gentle kind of striving with the child of God to lead him in the right path so that you feel the ends of his extremes, but you're able to be a rock. You see? And so you see a priest has to be able to feel this way being a man he has a running start at it anyway, because he knows how a man feels. And you remember I told you that the Greeks and even the Jews always felt that God was a little bit on the apathea side, the apathetic. A little bit on the indifferent side and far removed. And He didn't really feel what they felt. And so here He tells us but a true high priest has got to be in there in the virtuous kind of row but nevertheless feeling the extremes of human emotion and bearing gently with them because He knows what they're going through. Now that was required of a priest. Now the objects of his gently bearing are interesting. It says that He has this compassion on the ignorant and on them that are out of the way. Now there are several possible ways to translate the oared of the Greek here. Let me give you one that I think may be well what the writer is saying. To have gentle forbearance on those who go astray through ignorance. Did you get that? The implication is they're ignorant and then they go out of the way. They go astray because of ignorance. Numbers 15:28, I quote, "And the priest shall make atonement for the soul that erreth, when he sinneth unwittingly before Jehovah to make atonement for him and he shall be forgiven."
You see the priest ministered, watch this one, now we're going to get into this in a minute and you're going to see some really interesting truth. The priest ministered in the behalf only of the one who sinned in ignorance, unwittingly and thus went astray. And may I add this, in all of the Old Testament economy beloved, there is absolutely no provision made for the deliberate and defiant law breaker. There's none.
Now we'll see more on that in a moment. But the emphasis here is sympathy and the high priest has the sympathy toward those who ignorantly go astray. And since the Jewish priest was a sinner, he had the natural capacity and he ought to have had the moral capacity to feel a little bit of what everybody was feeling. There's a third characteristic that a priest had to have. And that was sacrificing for men. And that we find at the beginning of...well, at the end of verse 1 and in verse 3. The third thing sacrificing for men. Notice it in verse 1. "For every high priest taken from among men, as ordained for men," here it comes, "in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins." Verse 3 says essentially the same thing, "And by reason of this he ought as for the people so also for himself to offer for sins."
Now, you'll notice from verse 1 that the priest offered for sins on the behalf of men. He was ordained for men in things pertaining to God. That is, He was to bring men into the presence of God. He was to act on the behalf of men in the things that opened up the way to God. Now, you'll notice also in verse 1 that it says He's to offer gifts and sacrifices. This was his main work. His work was a work of gifts and sacrifices. Chapter 8, verse 3 says the same thing. "Every high priest is appointed to offer gift and sacrifices." Chapter 9, verse 9, says "That a priest is to offer gifts and sacrifices." And this indicates to use that the function of a priest was broken down at least into two parts. First of all, gifts. Now what are gifts? What does he mean the priest offered gifts? Well, it seems best and this could be broad, this could include all of the money that the people gave and all of the various things that they brought to the priest. All of the various things that they would give to the priesthood in directly giving them to God. It could mean many, many things. But I think, I suspect that the direct reference is to the meal offering. Now you remember that in Leviticus there were many offerings that were outlined, but there were five key ones. Only one of those offerings was a bloodless offering and that was the meal offering. It was a bloodless gift of thanksgiving to God and the kind of a gift of dedication.
I'll tell you how it worked. The person who wanted to bring the meal offering would bring fine flour and oil and frankincense poured in the oil to make it smell good, and a handful of all of this stuff would be burned on the altar. And the remainder would belong to the priests for their own consumption. Now if you didn't want to bring just a sack of flower and the oil, you could put it together in a cake. You could bake it or you could pan fry it. Whatever.
But it would be given to the priests, the remainder and some of it burned as a...and incense was in it, as kind of a sweet smelling offering to God and I'll explain why. But there were some restrictions involved in the pan fried cake or the flour that you brought. There could be no Levin and there could be no honey because the fermented. There was another necessity, it had to have salt because salt does what? Preserves. Right men? You don't know. I don't know either, but ladies know right? They had to keep out anything that would ferment and put in salt to preserve. You say what is that for? Because the meal was a dedication offering. It symbolized the dedication of a person and all his possessions to God in complete thanks for what God had done.
And because it was a dedication offering, God wanted the symbol to show a dedication that would not ferment, but one that would remain. This then of all of the offerings, the burnt offering, the trespass offering, the sin offering, and the peace offering being the other four, this then was the only bloodless offering. And this may be what He's referring to when He talks about gifts for this was offered to God as a dedication. But on top of that He also, in verse 1, offers not only gifts, but what? Sacrifices for sins, for sins.
You notice not for sin, because nothing could take away the sin principle. The sacrifice is only expiated in the nature of the various sins and they had to be repeated and repeated and repeated as often as they sinned. It was a daily process. But the sacrifices were the main work of the priest and he had to bring the offering, the blood sacrifices for the atonement of sin primarily the sin offering and the trespass offering. Now you'll notice in verse 3, that it says, "And by reason of this," that is by reason of the fact that verse 2 says he also is compassed with infirmity, the priest himself. "He ought as for the people so also," what, "for himself to offer for sin." Now the priest had to offer for sins himself, because he had the same problem the people had.
He was not a perfect priest. So what he had to do was go in there and go through the whole rigmarole for himself and then come back and do it for the people. And sacrificing for men including sacrificing for himself. In Hebrews 9:7 it says, "But unto the second...into the second," that is the holy of holies, "went the high priest alone once every year not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the errors of the people." He had to take care of his own sin too. So the priest had to go in and get taken care of his own sin, come back, go in again and take care of the sins of the people.
So we see then that a priest to be perfectly fitted for the priesthood had to offer sacrifices for the people. Sacrifices for sins. Isn't it wonderful that when Jesus went in, He went without sin. He never had to offer a sacrifice for Himself, did He? Never. That in itself makes Him a greater high priest than any whoever lived. Now I want to just discuss for a brief moment the nature of the sacrifices for sin.
Sin estranges men from God. The sacrifice is meant to restore that relationship, but one thing is very important as I said earlier, hang on to this thought we're going to expand it. Sacrifices for sins could only atone for the sins of ignorance. Did you get that? Only for the sins of ignorance. Now to help illustrate this to you, there are two kinds of sin that the Old Testament talks about. Sins of presumption, presumptuous sins of which David says "Lord, keep thy servant back from presumptuous sins and sins of ignorance." For the sins of presumption there is no sacrifice.
This is defiant breaking of God's laws and it's no different than today for a man who rejects God's patterns, for a man who rejects the law in terms of the law as it's revealed in faith in Jesus Christ, if a man rejects God's provision for sin, openly defies sin...defies God and continues in sin, there's no sacrifice. But for those who sinned in ignorance, there were really two sacrifices. For the sins that he knew he committed, the daily sacrifices. For the ones that he didn't know he committed, the day of atonement took care of all of those.
But notice that the sins of ignorance were the only ones really covered. Now in Hebrews Chapter 10, this is expanded for us in verse 26, which says this, "For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth their remaineth know more sacrifice for sins." That knowledgeable, defiant, rebellious reaction against God, there is no sacrifice. None at all. Only for the sins of ignorance. Now going back for just a moment to Numbers Chapter 15, let me read you what God said when He laid this thing out.
Numbers 15:22, "And if you have erred and not observed all these commandments, which the Lord has spoken unto Moses," if per chance you might do that, fairly good odds that you will, "even all that the Lord hath commanded you by the hand of Moses from the day that the Lord commanded Moses and henceforward among your generations," if this shall happen, "then it shall be if anything be committed by ignorance," ignorance, "without the knowledge of the congregation that all the congregation shall offer one young bullock or a burnt offering for a sweet savor unto the Lord," etc. etc.
So there was sacrifice. And then verse 26, "And it shall be," what's the next word, "forgiven." Now go back to verse 30. "But the soul that doeth anything presumptuously, whether he be born in the land or a sojourner, the same reproacheth the Lord and that soul shall be cut off from among his people because he hath despised the word of the Lord and broken His commandment that souls shall utterly be cut off his iniquities shall be," where, "upon him." Upon him. And they give an illustration of it in verses 32-36 about a guy who picked up sticks and wound up dead, openly defying God.
And you say well, man, this is pretty powerful stuff. You're right. God has never provided and does not provide today expiation or forgiveness of sins that are willful in defiance of God. Now let me show you what I mean by that. What was the sins...what were the sins of ignorance? Well, let me say that it meant more than simply a lack of knowledge. It was not just a lack of knowledge. That was included, but the sins of ignorance also involved those in which a man was swept away in a moment of impulse.
They also involved those in which a man was swept away by anger or passion. Or in which a man was mastered by some overwhelming temptation. Any and all of those sins for which a man repented and was sorrowful were the sins of ignorance. You say then what are the sins of presumption? Is there anything left? Indeed there is. The sins of presumption were the cold, calculating deliberate sins for which a man was not sorry. They were open-eyed, defiant and disobedient to God. And the priest existed to open the way back to God only for the sinner who repented. The sins of ignorance. Any sin could become a sin of ignorance if a man repented and turned his heart to God.
It was that cold, stubborn, repeated defiance of God that was the sin of presumption. And it's no different today. For any man and any woman, whoever they may be, who comes to God and repents of his sin, there is what, forgiveness. But for that one who defiantly rebels against God, who by his own will disobeys and continues to disobey there is no more sacrifice for sins. So the high priest then is qualified by being selected by God, sympathetic with men, and sacrificing for men. Those are the qualifications. Now just briefly, I want you to meet the qualified one and I want you to see how Jesus meets every qualification. Beginning in verse 5.
First of all, selected by God from men. Verse 5, "So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made a high priest." Did you hear that? "Christ glorified not Himself." Jesus Christ was glorified by another, and you'll notice the verse ends "but He that said unto Him thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee." Who said that? God said that. Whose chose Jesus to be a high priest? God did. And what's the first qualification for a legitimate high priest? Had to be chosen by God. It's interesting too that He quotes Psalm 2:7, that's a statement from Psalm 2:7, "thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee." The Holy Spirit throughout the book of Hebrews continues to repeat quotes from the Old Testament because He's writing to Jews and He wants to put it in context. And so Jesus fits the chief requirement. He's been called and appointed by God. He didn't usurp His dignity. He didn't come to glorify Himself, not at all.
There's a wonderful statement by Jesus, I think it's John 8. We studied it some time ago. 54, He says this, John 8:54, "If I honor myself, my honor is nothing. It is my Father that honoreth me." Isn't that good? Jesus is saying I have not sought my own glory. And the Bible says He made Himself of what kind of reputation? No reputation. He didn't seek glory. "And God highly," what, "exalted Him and gave Him a name above every name." God glorifies the Son. God invested Jesus with the authority and honor of the high priest. God sat Jesus at His right hand. God said "This day will I make thine enemies thy footstool." God gave Him the right and the authority to be what He is.
So Jesus Christ fits the first requirement of a high priest. He's ordained of God. Notice at the end of verse 5, let me read it and into verse 6, so you get the flow. "But He that said unto Him thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee. As He saith also in another place thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek." And we'll get to Melchizedek in a minute. But notice this, oh this is a powerful point that He makes. Hang on to this thought. The same God that said "Thou art my Son," is the same God that said "Thou art a," what, "priest."
Now where did Jesus get His right to be the priest? From God. And this is heavy stuff for the Jew, because the Jew knows Psalm 2:7. And the Jew also knows Psalm 110:4, which is quoted in verse 6. And the Jew knows that that's referring to the Messiah whose going to be a great king priest. The same God who said, "you're my Son," said, "you're a Priest." And you're not a priest after Aaron's order. You're a priest after the order of Melchizedek. Now this was a fantastic statement. God, Himself, ordained Jesus to be the high priest and that fulfilled the requirement. Now you say well what is this about Melchizedek and who is he? Well, Melchizedek...we'll study a lot about Melchizedek when we get to Chapter 7. I'll give you a little Melchizedekian preview. Melchizedek is spoken of in Psalm 110, because in Psalm 110 the Psalmist is kind of prophesying the coming of Messiah. And He uses Melchizedek as an example of Jesus or a type of Jesus. Because Melchizedek was more than the average run of the mill priest.
In the first place, he had a higher priesthood order than did Aaron. You say when did Melchizedek live? Well, he lived in Genesis 14:18 before Aaron ever got on the scene. His priesthood superseded the priesthood of Aaron. And he had a very interesting priesthood. We'll get into Chapter 7 and find out about it. It's a fantastic thing, how like Jesus he is. He's a great type of Jesus Christ in many ways. And you don't want to miss that study when we get there, because it's really rich. But at this point, let me just say this that in Psalm 110, the Messiah is presented as a king priest. Now Melchizedek was a king priest.
For a moment, turn to Genesis 14:18. Half of you have already turned there anyway, so look at it for a minute and I'll show you. We're just going to pull one thought out of here and we'll get to this later. Melchizedek is introduced in 14:18, now listen to this. "And Melchizedek," this is just his name, "king of Salem." Now Salem was the original name of Jerusalem. Melchizedek was a king. "He brought forth bread and wine." And he was not only a king, he was the what, "priest of the most high God."
Now let me ask you this, was Aaron ever a king? No. Was he a priest? Yes. But if Jesus is both a king and a priest, then He is not after the order of Aaron is He? Do you know why it is said that He is after the order of Melchizedek? Because He is a king priest. See? He is a king priest. "Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek." Not only that, catch that little word back in Hebrews 5:6, "Thou art a priest," how long, "forever." Was Aaron a priest forever? No, but an interesting thing about Melchizedek, he is a type of Christ's eternal priesthood, insofar as the fact is there is no time of his birth ever given. There is no time of his death ever given. There is no indication of who his parents are. Almost as if he just continually existed. And Hebrews 7 makes a big point of this. Jesus Christ has not only a kingly priesthood, He has an eternal one. Therefore, He is not a priest after the order of Aaron, He is a super priest typified by Melchizedek, who was a kind of eternal in pattern, not in fact king priest.
So Jesus is after the order of Melchizedek and the Jews knew that this must be some wonderful individual, because Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek. And Abraham was no small time guy in the mind of the Jews. And Abraham was a lot higher up than Aaron and Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek and that made him way up there. So the Holy Spirit says this priest, Jesus Christ, is not after the order of Aaron, just plain old priest stuff. He's typified by Melchizedek, who was a king priest forever. A picture of a king priest forever.
So, and we'll leave it at that and we'll cover more about Melchizedek in the future. But do you see the tremendous power of this point that He's making here? He's saying He was chosen by God. And it's obvious He was chosen by God, because the Bible even said Psalm 110 that God would chose Him a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. This is that one, Jesus Christ.
So He fits the first qualification chosen by God from men. Second qualification what? Sympathetic with men. Was Jesus sympathetic with men? Did He feel what they feel? We hardly even need to talk about this. Verse 7, "Who in the days of His flesh," oh is that a loaded statement theologically, oh, "in the days of His flesh." Did you know that was just a little interlude in the life of Jesus Christ that He existed before and after the flesh in terms of His earthly life? In the days of His flesh, here's His sympathy, "when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death and was heard and that he feared." He went through it. He went through it.
He cried strong crying, tears, prayers, supplication. Jesus Christ couldn't have been a fully sympathetic high priest if He hadn't spent the days of His flesh feeling what we feel. And I reminded you before about Paul saying to Timothy, Timothy was hassled by the...all the people bugging him because he was young and he was having trouble with some heretics and he was really getting it from all sides. And Paul told him to do a few things. First of all, he said, "take a little wine for your stomach's sake." I don't know what his problem was, agitation to some point, and Paul thought he needed to be soothed. Paul wasn't telling him to get drunk. He said take a little wine for your stomach's sake.
But beyond that, Paul said this and then do this, "remember Jesus Christ born of the seed of David." Do you get the implication? Remember He's been through it. He was born of the seed of David, came into this world. Then he says, "and remember He was risen from the dead." Not only do you have sympathy, but you've got resurrection power you can claim. That's all you need. I mean, if I'm sick and I get somebody to sympathize with me and somebody to make me better, I'm in.
And so the sympathetic high priest is Jesus Christ, who in the days of His flesh felt what we feel. And of course, the climax comes when He offered prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears. What incident in His life does that speak to you about? Does that remind you of the Garden of Gethsemane? Sure. That was the greatest climax of His suffering for there He began to bear the sins of the world didn't He? There He began to feel the crush of sin upon Him. He began to feel Satan bruising Him, and it hurt. Do you remember the Garden of Gethsemane, the night before He went to the cross? He went into the Garden to pray and He agonized there and He sweat as it were great drops of blood and He cried to the Father. And His heart was grieving and broken at the prospect and the pain of bearing sin. And He felt the power of sin and He felt temptation. He felt everything Satan could throw at Him, and He got it all even on the cross. He felt everything you'll ever feel.
I told you last week too that He felt the temptation you'll never feel, right? Because you see, we succumb long before we reach the climax of temptation. So He never succumbed so He ran temptation to its gamut at every point, therefore He suffered temptation that we'll never, ever suffer. And I used the illustration of your body. You'll suffer pain to a point, then your body goes into shock and turns off pain. Well, Jesus suffered past the point because He had nothing in His nature that could succumb to sin so He just took ever temptation to its extreme and yet was without sin. So He felt it all.
The word for crying is crouga, and it means a cry which a man does not really choose to utter, but which is rung out of him, involuntarily in the anguish of _____________(52:54) pain. It's a very distinct word. The gospel tells us His agony was so great that He sweat as it were great drops of blood. And then it says He prayed. He knew what it was like to be in anguish and to pray. Oh I'm glad to know that, because He knows what it's like when I'm pained and I turn to Him. He's been there.
But notice, I want to give you a very important theological footnote. He prayed unto Him that was able to save Him from death. Who is that? God. But I want you to catch that thought here that's powerful. In the English Bible it says "save Him from death." In the Greek that's the word ekt. You know what ekt means? Ekt means out from within. He wasn't saying God don't let me die. Why he said "for this hour came I into the world." He was simply saying Father, once I get into this thing, get me out of it. Do you know what He was praying for? Not that He wouldn't get to the cross. He was praying for the resurrection.
He says, "He's praying to Him who is able to save Him ekt death." Out of death. For when He died He turned Himself over to God. What a tremendous thought. The Messiah prayed to be saved out from within death, out from the power of death. He's not praying to escape death, for that was He born. He's praying to be saved from out of death. He's committing Himself to the Father in His agony. He knows anguish. He feels the pain of all that He's going through and He commits Himself to God.
Don't you know that that's what we do in our Christian lives all the time when we get into trouble. What do we do? God, here I am. You've got to do it, commit myself to you. Jesus has been there too. You say well He didn't...He already knew all that. He knows everything. Yes, He knew it in His omniscience, but He also knows it now in His experience, which fitted Him by all of the earthly qualifications to be our high priest.
And notice it says, "And God heard Him and that He fear." And the word fear is not fobos, from which we get phobia. Not that He was scared and panicky. When it says He feared, it's the word ulabia. It's an interesting word. It means he devoutedly submitted Himself to God in reverence. Just that simple. He recognized God as sovereign and committed Himself to God. So the point then that Spirit makes is that Jesus is qualified to be a sympathetic high priest by His agony, by His tears, His prayers, His suffering, and all of that. He went through every bit of it, every bit of it.
Wherever you've been, Jesus has been. Boy that's a comforting thought. Whatever anguish you go through, He knows. He knows when it's real and He knows when you're faking. Now notice verse 8. This is a fantastic thought. "Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by things which He suffered." You know, I don't think any of us teach our children to be obedient by making them suffer. Do we? We take our kids from the time they're born and say now don't do that, now don't do that. If you do that it's going to hurt you and we try to avoid, avoid, but they never learn it until the feel it.
You say don't touch the fire, don't touch the fire, don't touch the fire. You'll get burnt, you'll get burnt. Whish. Now you know, you get burnt, see. In other words, you learn when you suffer, but our sons we don't purposely push them into that do we. God pushed Jesus into it. Look what it says, "though he were a," what, "a Son." Even though He was God's Son, He had to learn by suffering. That's the only way you learn experimentally. Son of God though He was, He was given no exemption from suffering. I think that's for our so much that He might experimentally feel what we feel so that we know He understands. See?
Even though He was God's Son, God in human flesh, He was called to suffer and He learned the full meaning of obedience all the way to death in the things in which He suffered. And thus God made Him a perfect high priest. You learn what you learn by experience, you know. You can say fire burns and fire burns and so forth. But until you've felt it burn, you really can't be sympathetic to someone who's burned. I used to see automobile accidents, but then after I had a severe one that almost took my life, automobile accidents since that time have become all the more horrible to me, because I know what it's like.
Sympathy comes from experience and Jesus learned obedience as a child in the sense of His relation to God in His incarnation through suffering. That's the kind of high priest I want. I don't want a God who's way out there in the boondocks of eternity somewhere sitting on a little ivory tower ruling the universe in a detached manner, do you? I want a God who feels like I feel and knows what I'm going through.
Oh I tell you when you go to the Lord in prayer and you fall on your knees before Him and you say God this is what's breaking my heart. Isn't it wonderful to feel His arms around you and just in your heart sense that He's saying I know, I know. Verse 9 at the beginning says, "And being made," what, "perfect." Listen, that word perfect is fantastic. It means complete. It means complete. Jesus went through everything He had to go through so He could be complete. The complete, perfect high priest.
Perfected doesn't mean His nature changed. Doesn't mean his person changed, it just means He perfectly was qualified. You got it? Perfectly qualified. He's perfectly qualified to be the perfect high priest. Now there's only one other qualification. Besides being chosen by God and being set apart in the sense of sympathetic and understanding, the third thing was He had to make sacrifice for sins. Did Jesus do that? Look at the end of verse 9.
"He became the author of eternal salvation." Isn't that a beautiful statement? And what was it that gave Him the right to be that author? His own death. By His death He opened the way of salvation, eternal salvation. All the priests of all time couldn't provide eternal salvation. They could provide forgiveness momentarily and every day more sacrifice, more sacrifice by one act, by one offering, He perfected forever them that are His.
The word author means the cause or the originator. He became the originator of eternal salvation. That's some high priest. You say well, for whom did He do that? Who gets in on it? Who gets to be in on this thing. It says at the end of verse 9, "unto all them that," what, "that obey." You say you mean in order to experience salvation you've got to do a lot of rules, right? You've got to put down the Ten Commandments and do all the Ten Commandments. No, afraid not. You say well it says you have to obey Him. Yes, but let me introduce you to the obedience of faith.
In Romans Chapter 1, verse 5, Paul says, "By whom we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith." You know what God wants you to do? Obey Him by believing in Christ. That's the obedience of faith. God doesn't expect anybody to be redeemed by running around and keeping rules. It's the obedience of faith. Lest you think that's an isolated example, just turn to Romans 2:8, it says the same thing. "But unto them that are contentious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath." It's simply obeying Christ by faith.
In other words, it's the obedience of faith. Again, it's repeated in the 6th Chapter, I think it is, where it says in verse 17, "But God be thanked that whereas you were the servants of sin you've obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered to you." Obedience here is not cranking rules, it's the obedience of faith. God says believe in Jesus Christ and you'll be saved. And when you obey that, you have obeyed in faith. Sadly, tragically all people don't believe. That's the tragedy. Because of that we read tragic things like this. Romans 10:16, "For they have not all obeyed the gospel." Was that sad? They have not all obeyed the gospel. And then we read in 1 Thessalonians 1:8, "For from you sounded out the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God is spread abroad so that we need not to speak anything," and these wonderful people obeyed. The indication clear on in to Chapter 2 is that they obeyed what they heard. They obeyed the gospel.
The Thessalonians both in 1 Thessalonians and in 2 Thessalonians were obedient. In 2 Thessalonians, the same verse 1:8, "In flaming fire, God will take vengeance on them that know not God and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." So he says to the Thessalonians you have heard the gospel. And in Chapter 2, he says, and you've committed yourself to it. That's faith, that's the obedience of faith. But God comes in flaming vengeance on those who do not obey the gospel.
So when it says at the end of verse 9, "all them that obey Him," it doesn't mean they keep a lot of rules. It means they obey God's command, which is believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you believe tonight that He is God's great high priest? Do you believe you need no other high priest? You need no other to stand between you and God, if you do that's all God asks of you. That's the obedience of faith. Oh what a high priest is ours, perfectly qualified.
Father, we're thankful tonight for this time together, and Lord just going through these things has enriched us. Again focusing on the person of Jesus Christ as we bring our time to a close tonight we pray Lord that You would capture our hearts, that our emotions and our will might be activated from what we've learned. Father, that no one would go from this place who's not committed himself to Jesus Christ. And no one would leave this place who has not really begun tonight to obey the word of the gospel. To in faith embrace Jesus Christ. To this end we pray that Christ shall be the great high priest to every one in this place, by faith. In His name. Amen.
This article is also available and sold as a booklet.
This sermon series includes the following messages:
Please contact the publisher to obtain copies of this resource.Publisher Information