Chapter 9 - Further Qualifications of Our High Priest

SUCH is the thought of the first two chapters of Hebrews. And upon this the third chapter opens, or rather the one great thought continues, with the beautiful exhortation: "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; who was faithful to Him that appointed Him." Having presented Christ in the flesh, as He was made "in all things" like the children of men, and our nearest of kin, we are now asked to consider Him in His faithfulness in that position.

The first Adam was not faithful. This last Adam "was faithful to Him that appointed Him, as also Moses was faithful in all His [God's] house. For this Man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who hath builded the house hath more honor than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but He that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all His [God's] house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ [was faithful] as a son over His own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end."

Next is cited Israel, who came out of Egypt, who were not faithful; who failed of entering into God's rest, because they believed not in Him. Then upon this is the exhortation to us to "fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them; but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest," in believing in Him who gave Himself for our sins.

We enter into rest in the forgiveness of all our sins, through believing in Him who was faithful in every obligation and under every temptation of life. We also enter into rest and there abide, by being partaker of His faithfulness, in which and by which we also shall be faithful to Him who has appointed us. For in considering Him "the High Priest of our profession" in His faithfulness, we are ever to consider that "we have not an high priest which can not be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Hebrews 4:15

When we "have not an high priest which can not be touched with the feeling of our infirmities," we have an High Priest who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. And the way in which He can and is touched with the feeling of our infirmities is that He "was in all points tempted like as we are." There is not a point in which any soul can be tempted but that He has been exactly so tempted, and has felt the temptation as truly as any human soul can feel it. But, though He was in all points tempted like as we are, and felt the power of it as truly as any one can, yet in it all He was faithful; and through it all He passed "without sin." And by faith in Him—in   this His faithfulness—every soul can meet all temptation and pass through it without sinning.

This is our salvation: for He was made flesh as man, and in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, and to be tempted in all points like as we are, "that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God." And this not only "to make reconciliation for the sins of the people," but also to "succor"—to run under, to run to the aid of, to assist and deliver from suffering—"them that are tempted." He is our merciful and faithful High Priest to succor—run under—us when we are tempted, to keep us from falling under the temptation, and so to keep us from falling under sin. He "runs under" us is our temptation, so we shall not fall under the temptation, but shall conquer it, and rise in victory over it, sinning not.

"Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession." Hebrews 4:14. And also seeing that we have such an High Priest, "let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

Further, in presenting for our consideration our High Priest in His faithfulness, it is written that "every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that He Himself also is compassed with infirmity." Hebrews 5:1, 2

And this is why it is that in order that He should be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, and that He should bring many unto glory, it became Him, as the Captain of their salvation, to be "compassed with infirmity," to be tried by temptation, to be "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;" thus "in all things" to be made acquainted with human experience, so that He truly "can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are not of the way." In a word, in order that He might be "a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God," it became Him to be made "perfect through sufferings."

"And no man taketh this honor [of high priesthood] unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made an High Priest; but He that said unto Him, Thou art My Son, to-day have I begotten Thee. As He saith also in another place, Thou art a Priest forever after the order of Melchisedec. Who in the days of His flesh, 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 in that He feared; though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect [being tested to perfection in all points], He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him; called of God an High Priest after the order of Melchisedec." Hebrews 5:4-10

"And inasmuch as not without an oath He was made Priest; for those priests [of the Levitical priesthood] were made without an oath; but this with an oath by Him that said unto Him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a Priest forever after the order of Melchisedec: by so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament." Thus, above all others, by the oath of God, Jesus was made a Priest. Therefore, and "by so much" "we have such an High Priest."

And further, "They [of the order of Aaron] truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: but this man, because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood." Hebrews 7:23, 24. By the oath of God He is made a Priest forever. He is also made a Priest "after the power of an endless life." Hebrews 7:16. Therefore "He continueth ever." And because He continueth ever, He hath an "unchangeable priesthood." And because of all this, "He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them." Hebrews 7:25. And "we have such an High Priest."

And "such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's; for this He did once, when He offered up Himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son [High Priest], who is consecrated forevermore." Hebrews 7:26, 27