Archive | December 5th, 2013

The Greatest High Priest

December 5, 2013

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[This is part three of a deeper study of the article 6 Ways Christ was Better than the Law. To get better context and a link to the other parts, you can click there and read it first.]

The office of high priest held a lot of power under the Old Law. Man’s burning desire to be important probably amplified that power beyond what God intended. With all of Christ’s credentials previously studied, the Hebrews writer intended to show that Jesus was an even better high priest. (Hebrews 4:14-5:10) Christians in essence were going to trade down to the priesthood of Aaron if they left the church.

The writer reminds the audience what the standard for becoming high priest was:

  • He was taken from among men
  • He was appointed by God
  • He was compassionate of those he represented
  • He needed possession of adequate sacrifice
  • He avoid personal honor from the office

Once selected, the high priest had very visible (and earthly) qualities:

  • The personal enrichment so they could afford finer things
  • The influence they held – even over the Romans
  • The judge and ruler over the Jews since there was no king

No wonder the priesthood of Aaron was so enticing!

In order to reconcile the qualifications to the priesthood with his argument that Christ is a better high priest, the writer returns to Psalm 110. He used Psalm 110:1-2 to argue Christ’s universal kingship and then quotes Psalm 110:4 to compare his priesthood to Melchizdek’s. (Hebrews 5:6) This might have been the first time the Psalm 110 prophesy was fully understood!

Melchizedek is covered in the article 8 Reasons Christ was like Melchizedek so we will look at him in an upcoming lesson. For now, the writer concludes the argument with stating that Christ is the “source of eternal salvation.” (Hebrews 5:9)

Part 3: A Better Sacrifice

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