OUR GREAT HIGH PRIEST
“…Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Heb. 6:20
It is regrettable that many churches and preachers have virtually put aside the Old Testament. In doing so they have cut themselves off from revelation that is needed if the Church is to fulfil its mission in the Earth. Jesus said “You search the scriptures for in them you think you will find eternal life, and these are they which speak of Me.” (John 5:37) The scriptures He was talking about were the Old Testament scriptures as obviously the New Testament hadn’t been written then. The Old Testament Scriptures were all about Jesus and we will not come into the depths of the Cross without studying them. They were a platform set up to enact the Redemption of Man and on centre stage was Jesus, Son of God. It stands to reason then, that we need to study them closely in order to grasp fully, what the Cross accomplished.
The text from Hebrews says that Jesus is our Great High Priest. How can we know what that means for us unless we study the High Priestly ministry in the Old Testament and how it applies to Jesus? The Tabernacle of Moses where the Priests ministered is a Type of Christ, “the Word made flesh who dwelt [literally ‘tabernacled’] among us.”(John1:14) The Amplified Bible renders it ‘fixed His tent of flesh among us.” God told Moses to build a Tabernacle ‘That I may dwell among them.’ Jesus came that God may live among us – He is Emmanuel, God with us. The tabernacle and everything about it spoke of Christ. Volumes could be written about it; but for now we are just going to look at one aspect – the garments of the High Priest. God told Moses that these garments were for ‘beauty and for glory.’
Jesus Himself didn’t wear the literal garments of a High Priest, but those garments were symbolic of Jesus’ ministry. They are given so we can understand the priestly work of our Saviour. Every detail is important. The breast plate bore 12 stones, one for each tribe and on each shoulder there was an onyx stone bearing the name of 6 of the tribes. 12 is the number of completeness. Thus he represented all Israel. When he appeared before the Lord he WAS Israel.
Even so, Jesus as our Great High Priest represents all Mankind. When He was ‘about 30 years old” Jesus began His ministry; 30 being the age when priests entered the ministry. After a sacrifice was made for him, the candidate for the priesthood was washed at the Laver by other priests, after which he was clothed with the white priestly robes.When Jesus presented Himself to John the Baptist of the priestly line, at the River Jordan to be baptised, He was fulfilling this requirement. The candidate was then clothed with the white priestly garment. When Jesus rose from the Jordan, the Holy Spirit descended on Him as a dove. This is the priestly garment. Before His ascension into Heaven, Jesus told His disciples to ‘Tarry till ye be endued [clothed] with power from on high.” The Holy Spirit is our priestly garment without which we cannot enter the Holy Place in the Temple. Being baptised with the Holy Spirit takes us into a new dimension in Christ, the Holy Place.
At the River Jordan, as He was immersed in the waters, Jesus was immersing Himself into all Mankind. As we identify with Him in Baptism, so He identified with us.
God deals with all Mankind according to two men – Adam the 1st Man and Jesus the 2nd Man and the Last Adam. Sometimes people refer to Him as the 2nd Adam but the Bible does not call Him that, it calls Jesus ‘the Last Adam’. There is a significant difference. In the last Adam, God wrapped it all up.
When Jesus stood before those who judged Him, He represented all mankind. In Him we were judged crucified and buried. For six hours one Friday in Jerusalem, the last Adam hung on a Cross bearing the shame of the sin of all Mankind, till at last He cried, “It is finished,” and gave up His spirit. Christ’s body bearing our sin was buried. No more Adam!
What does that mean for us? All the sins we have committed, all the imperfections in our lives that we have, all of the 'dumb' things we do, is already judged and buried. When the accuser tries to keep us down by constantly reminding us of our failures, we can silence him. Adam is finished! We are a new creation in Christ and His Spirit is in us.
When Adam sinned we all fell with him; and the life giving Spirit of God departed. All who are born of Adam bear his image and share his fate; even so all those who by faith in Christ are born again, bear His image and share His destiny.
“The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As the image of the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust, and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly and as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.” 1 Corinthians 15: 47-49
Having dealt with sin and buried the 1st Man, Jesus rose as the 2nd Man and thus began the New Creation. The Old Creation began with the creation of the heavens and the Earth and ended with the creation of Man; the New Creation began with the New Man and ends with the new heavens and new Earth. All who put their trust in Jesus share in His new life. God again breaths into us the Holy Spirit – the breath of life, and we are one with Him forever. Who He is, we are.
“Love has been perfected in us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgement; because as He is, so are we in this world. “ 1 John 4:17