Christ Our High Priest Is Better Than The Levitical Priest

abraham-meets-melchisedech

When the Bible was originally written each book – written by God – was written just like a letter. In fact I like to say that the Bible is God’s Love Letter to us. It was not until 1227 AD that a man named Stephen Langdon divided the Bible into chapters. The chapters were broken up into verses by Robert Stephanus (Robert Stephens) in 1551 AD. The very first Bible to have both chapter as well as verse divisions was the Latin Vulgate (1555), and the first English version of the Bible with both chapters and verse divisions was the Geneva Bible (1560).

The Bible is God ordained, God blessed, and Holy Spirit inspired. But the chapter and verse divisions are man made, just as the paper and leather that binds your Bible is man made. And sometimes these man made divisions make things confusing.

For instance, as we transition from Hebrews chapter 4 to Hebrews chapter 5 (man made divisions) we might wonder why the chapters were broken this way. From Hebrews 4:14 to 5:9 we see that the the text is comparing the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ to the High Priesthood of the Old Testament Levitical Priest. Why Stephen Langdon broke the text from chapter 4 to chapter 5 I do not know. A pastor named Don Stewart wrote:

The chapter and verse divisions are convenient for reference and quotation purposes. They make it easier to find certain statements and accounts in Scripture. Yet the chapter and verse divisions can cause a number of problems.

In our responsive reading today we will go from Chapter 4 to Chapter 5. The key point is:

Christ is a better High Priest

Hebrews 4:14-16 (KJV)14 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. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 5:1-9 1 For 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: 2 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. 3 And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. 4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. 5 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. 6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 7 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; 8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

1 Jesus Christ Is A Greater High Priest Because “He Is Passed Into The Heavens”. I love the way the King James says it – He IS passed. The word here is the Second Perfect Active Participle of διέρχομαι dierchomai. The word means “is passed” or even better “is ascended into”. Our High Priest is ascended into Heaven.

The High Priest of Israel never ascended unto Heaven. We read:

Hebrews 5:1 For 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:

a The High Priest of Israel was taken from among men. He is MORTAL just as all men are MORTAL. The High Priest was the High Priest as long as he lived. He was taken from among men and ordained for men. But the High Priest was not eternal. The office was, but the man was not. Aaron was the first High Priest of Israel, but when he died his son Eleazar (see Numbers 20:28) took his place. When Eleazar died Phineas his son took his place. Each High Priest was ordained and anointed with oil. Each High Priest came from the lineage of Aaron. But every High Priest had one thing in common.

They died. They were replaced. They wore out.

They were not immortal. They served God for the people, making atonement year after year, but they had a shelf life. They came. They died.

Our High Priest Jesus Christ Was Not Taken From Among Men, But Is God Become Man

We were told earlier in Hebrews:

Hebrews 1:8-11 (KJV) But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. 9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. 10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: 11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;

Jesus Christ is not taken from among men, but is God come to man. He is a much greater High Priest. Though He was crucified on the Tree of Calvary dying a painful and shameful death, though He was hung as a Thief between two Thieves, He was no thief and was no mere mortal. Jesus is and will always be the Son of God. He said “no man takes My life, but I lay it down, and I have the power to pick it up again”. Jesus proved this. Dying on Calvary (and die He did) He was buried in Joseph of Arimathaea’s family tomb. Rising from the grave on the Third Day He proved Himself above death. Jesus is

1 Timothy 6:15-16 … he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

As God Christ has access – direct access – to God.
As God Christ is forever with God.

The Levitical High Priest lived among the people, and was anointed for the people, but just as the people died so did He die. But Jesus Christ our Lord is a greater High Priest. He never dies. The scripture tells us that Christ came from God and returned to God. Jesus told the Pharisees:

John 7:28-33 (ESV) … You know me, and you know where I come from. But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. 29 I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me….. 33 Jesus then said, I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me.

When Jesus Christ rose from the grave He walked and talked amongst His disciples for forty days. At the end of that time the Scripture tells us that:

Mark 16:19 (ESV) So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

The Levitical High Priest – from the line of Aaron – died.
Christ dying rose from the grave, stayed for forty days proving Himself,
and only then ascended to the right hand of God the Father.

Here He makes intercession for those who call on Him. The High Priest of the Levites stood in the Holy of Holies making intercession first for himself then for the people. But our High Priest, Jesus Christ, He sits on the right hand of the Heavenly Father:

Romans 8:34 (ESV) Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

To make intercession for us.

b The High Priest Of Israel Was A Sinner Just As We Are Sinners. Though he was ordained and anointed of God

Hebrews 5:1 … that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:

The Levitical High Priest was a man just like every man is a man. He was not special. The High Priest of Israel was a sinner just like every person is a sinner.

Romans 3:23 (KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Isaiah 64:6 (KJV) But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Every person among humanity is fallen into sin. There are none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understandeth, none who seek after God! All are sinners. The High Priest of Israel was a sinner, a fallen being, just as susceptible to sin as we are. He was ordained for men in things pertaining to God so that he might offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He was anointed with oil. He was chosen by God to do this. But the Levitical High Priest was still a sinner. When Aaron (the first High Priest of Israel) offered sacrifice it was first offered by his own hand for himself. We are told in ..

Leviticus 16:6 (KJV) And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house.

He could not offer for the people until he first made offering for Himself. Aaron and his children who served after him made an atonement for themselves first, then for the people. The atonement was imperfect, for an animal died for the sins of a non-animal. The High Priest would two young goats and a ram.

Leviticus 16:5 (KJV) {the High Priest} shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering.

These animals were used to make atonement for the sins of Israel. The Bible tells us that:

Leviticus 16:8-10 (KJV) …. Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. 9 And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. 10 But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.

The High Priest cast lots over the two goats. One goat would then be chosen as the sacrifice for sin, bearing the punishment for sin in the people’s stead. The other goat would symbolically carry the sins of the nation far away from the people. The High Priest would lay his hands on the goat, confess sins before God, then this “scapegoat” would be released in the wilderness.

Animals would bear the burden of the people’s sin.

In Christ we have a High Priest who is untouched by sin

Hebrews 4:14-15 (KJV) 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. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

The High Priest of Israel was a sinner as the people are sinners. But our High Priest, Jesus Christ, was, is, and will always be without sin. We are told that:

1 Peter 2:22 (ESV) {Jesus} committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.

1 John 3:5 (ESV) You know that {Jesus Christ} appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.

The High Priest of Israel – a sinner – took animals from sinful creation and at the graciousness of God was allowed to sacrifice sin fallen animals for sinful men. But Christ is a much better High Priest. He did not have to offer animals for Himself for He Himself is without sin. Furthermore, He offered Himself for our sins. The Scripture says:

2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV) For our sake {God the Father} made {Christ} to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Jesus did not carry two goats and a ram into an earthly Holy of Holies. Jesus allowed Himself to be carried to the Cross. Sacrificed for our sins, He bore our penalty on the savage tree.

1 Peter 1:18-19 (ESV) knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

As our High Priest it is HIS Blood, His SINLESS Blood, His PERFECT Blood, that covers or atones for our sins. The High Priest, even if he were a good man, could not do this. But Christ did this for us.

2 Christ Is A Better High Priest Because He Is After The Order Of Melchisedek, Not Levi.

Hebrews 5:4-6 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. 5 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. 6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

Why was the Law added? The Law was added because people are stubborn, people are hard headed. God saved Israel without the Law. God sent ten plagues on Egypt without the Law of Sinai. God parted the waters of the Red Sea without the Law. God destroyed the Egyptian army and Pharaoh without Law.

The Law was written on stone tablets, but it was preached to stony hearts. The Law of Moses was called the Law of Levi because Moses was of Levi. The Law was added because of transgressions, because of hard headedness. The Bible tells us:

Galatians 3:19-26 (KJV) Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

No Law was given to the Father of Faith, Abraham. God called Abraham and said “Follow Me, and I will bless you”. So Abraham followed God. When God said “go” Abraham went. When God said “stop” Abraham stopped. Abraham loved God. Abraham loved God more than anything or anyone else.

Abraham, take your first born son, your only son Isaac, and sacrifice him on a mountain that I will show you (Genesis 22:2). Abraham did not complain. Abraham did not delay. He got up early the next day and took his son to that mountain. He tied his son down, and would have killed that boy if God had not stopped him. Abraham put God first. And Abraham’s High Priest was not from the Tribe of Levi. Abraham was saved apart from the Law of Sinai. Abraham was saved by loving God.

Abraham had a High Priest after the order not of Levi, but of Melchizedek. One day following a successful battle against unbelievers Abraham was returning home. As he traveled with his men a mysterious figure approached him. We read in

Genesis 14:17-20 (ESV) After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) 19 And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Abram was met and blessed by a priest called “Melchizedek”.
The name “Melchizedek” means King of Justice.

Melchizedek brought out bread and wine, bread and the cup. This Priest blessed Abraham, broke bread for him, and gave him wine to sustain him. Who was this Melchizedek? He was the first High Priest of God. The Law that drove him was the same law that drove Abraham.

The Law Melchizedek and Abraham followed was loving God. Abraham loved God, and God loved him. Together they walked, and Abraham was blessed in this relationship.

Jesus Christ is a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. He is not a High Priest after the order of Levi, of the Law of Sinai. Melchizedek was before Sinai. Melchizedek was 400 years before Sinai. The Law Abraham followed is the Law that we are called to follow today.

It is the royal law. It is the Law of Love. James spoke of this Royal Law:

James 2:8-13 (KJV) If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: 9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. 10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

Abraham was saved by love. Abraham was blessed by following God out of love. Abraham was saved without the Law of Sinai. He was saved by loving and following God as a child follows a parent. We close with:

Hebrews 5:6-9 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 7 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; 8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

Jesus Christ went to that Cross to pay for our sins. He died for us. And He is THE Author of Eternal Salvation UNTO ALL THEM THAT OBEY HIM. We who are saved love our High Priest Jesus. We trust Him. And we rely fully upon Him. He speaks to us, and we obey Him and His Word out of love, just as Abraham did.

May God touch your hearts with His Word!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. I am looking for the Church. Most of what I see today is not the Church, but clubs, where members sit in padded pews and drink deeply of self. I am looking for a people willing to be righteous not self righteous, serving not served, In short, I am looking and praying for a people who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. I hope I find this people before it's too late.
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