Volume. XXVI, No. 36
Sunday, 04 March 2012


Of the Priestly Office of Christ - 1


A few weeks ago we considered the prophetic office of Jesus Christ. We saw that fallen man, because of sin, has lost his direct and immediate communion with his Maker. Because of man’s sin, God will not speak to man or allow man to speak to Him. God will also not approach man or allow man to approach Him. Sin has effectively separated man from God. Therefore, a prophet was needed for God to speak on behalf of Him. By reason of sin, there is a great gulf fixed between God and man, which neither God nor man can cross. The holy God, in and of Himself, in His essential Being as God, because He is righteous, just and true, could never span that great gulf and come down to sinful man or bring sinful man up to Himself. And sinful man, because of his sin, could never span that great gulf and arise to God, or bring God down to himself.  

Depraved, helpless and condemned, all men and women by nature are banished from God in this world, and must be banished from God forever in the world to come, unless a holy man can be found who is equal to God Himself and able "to make reconciliation for the sins of the people" as the author of Hebrews says. Therefore, according to the light of truth in the Scriptures, man also needs a Mediator or a Middle Man so that once again his communion and communication with God can be restored. Unless there is a Mediator between the holy God and sinful man, we are all without hope. Unless there is a Mediator who can lay His hand upon the holy God and upon guilty sinners to bring God and man together, we must all be forever banished from the presence of God in hell! Unless there is a Priest who can fully satisfy “the justice of God” by making an effectual atonement for sin, sinful man must forever perish! Thanks be unto God, there is such a Mediator and Priest—He is Jesus Christ our Lord, the Son of God!

With that as the introduction, I would like to consider with you some of the beauty and glory of the Office and Work of Christ our Great High Priest. And dear friends, I also pray that by the end of this message, the Spirit of God will open your spiritual eyes to see the light of the gospel and be converted.

Jesus Christ is Our Great High Priest Appointed by God

First of all, I want us to know that Jesus Christ is Our Great High Priest appointed by God. The author of Hebrews says, “17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” Having shown us in chapter one and the first half of chapter two how that Christ is superior to angels, the author of Hebrews shows us how that Christ is superior to Moses, Aaron, and Melchizedek in chapters 2 through 5.

Notice that the author begins by telling us in Hebrews 2:17-18 that it was necessary for Christ to be made “like those people” whom He came to save, so that He might be our Great High Priest in things pertaining to God, “that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” But, how did Christ come to be our High Priest? Did Christ appoint Himself to be the High Priest? No! Christ did not assume this Office on His own. He was Called, Appointed and Anointed to it by God the Father before the foundation of the World.

Hebrews 5:1 reveals, “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.” And then go down to verses 4 and 5, “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.” In other words, Christ was made a Priest by the oath of God the Father. Under divine inspiration, the Psalmist wrote in Ps. 110:4, “The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” The priest in reference here is no doubt our Lord Jesus Christ.

Although Christ was divinely appointed as a Priest, it is understood that He also voluntarily “agreed” to become our Priest and to fulfil all that God required to reconcile us unto Himself. Turn with me to Hebrews 10:5. Here the Holy Spirit reveals that when our Lord came to this world He said to His father: "Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not" (Hebrews 10:5a). We wonder why Jesus said this to His father. This is because the sacrifices of slain beasts offered by sinful men in the Old Testament could not atone for human sin. And He said in the same verse: "But a body hast thou prepared me." (Hebrews 10:5b). At the appointed time as agreed before the foundation of the world, Christ was to be offered up as a sacrifice to divine justice for the sins of God’s people. What was the sacrifice He offered—He offered up His body.

One commentator says, "These eternal decrees and mutual transactions are the basis and foundation of Christ’s Priesthood, and made it sure and certain." Christ did not simply make salvation possible but He accomplished the salvation for His chosen people by offering Himself on the altar. Are there any passages in the Old Testament which make mention of the Priestly Office of Jesus Christ? Yes!   

Christ’s appointment as a Priest of God is Prophesied in the Old Testament Scriptures

In the Old Testament, the promised Messiah was predicted to be one who would be a King like king David and a Priest like Melchizedek and His Mediatorial Work is mentioned in a number of prophetic passages in the OT.

As a kingly priest like David

Zechariah 6:12 says, “…Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD.” The branch here is in reference to the righteous Branch of David or Messiah or our Lord Jesus. This person cannot be Solomon because he had long been dead. This also cannot be any other descendants of David because this person will, as Zech. 6:13 says, “bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”

In other words, he will be a “kingly priest”. This perfectly fits the description of our Lord as “Prophet, Priest and King”.
 
Also 1 Samuel 2:35 says, “And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever.” The context of this verse is in reference to the prophetic judgment against the house of Eli who was a descendant of Ethamar, the younger son of Aaron. The Lord God said he would replace the house of Eli with “a faithful priest that shall do according to that which is in his heart and his mind.” Who is this priest? The priest here is in reference to Zadok who is a descendant of Eleazer, the older son of Aaron. Zadok became the “high priest of Israel” during David’s time in 2 Samuel 20:25 fulfilling the prophecy in 1 Samuel 2:35. In short, God removed the house of Eli from the high priesthood because of negligence and recklessness on Eli’s part, described in 1 Sam 2:22-29. Now, the interesting part is, the LORD said in 1 Sam 2:35b that this high priest shall walk before his “anointed” for ever! Who is the anointed? The anointed can refer to David and Solomon, but ultimately it is in reference to Jesus, the “Great High Priest” of God. Do you see how the Word of God prophesied that Jesus Christ would be the Great High Priest of God?

Not only was Christ prophesied to be a Kingly Priest, but the Old Testament Scriptures also prophesied that Christ’s high priesthood is after the order, not of Aaron, but after Melchizedek. Ps 110:4 says, “The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” Heb 5:6: “As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” Heb 7:17: “For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” This is important because this underpins the superiority of Christ’s Priestly office. Who is Melchisedec by the way, and why is the order of Christ’s priesthood important? We will come to this shortly, but before we go to that, I want us to know that….

Christ’s Priestly Work is also prophesied in a number of passages in the Old Testament. It is mentioned that He will make intercession for His people. Isa 53:10,12 says, “10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand…12 …because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” It is clear that verse 10 speaks of Christ’s sufferings and verse 12 speaks of His death on the cross and how He was counted amongst the transgressors or thieves. And the last phrase is what is remarkable. Because even on the cross, He made intercession for the transgressors, not just for the thieves but for those Romans who cast lots upon His garment: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

He is also prophesied as someone who is clothed with/in Priestly Linen or garments. Dan. 10:5 says, “Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz.” In the vision, Daniel saw a man who was clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz. The description of such attire fits the description of the raiment of high priests. Loins girded with fine gold is the symbol of sanctity and of royalty. This Man who Daniel saw is none other than the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Son of God our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ who is both Priest and King!

…..to be continued.        

Ps Weng

More Lively Hope

 

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*Adult Sunday School - all encouraged to attend.
*Sis Cyndi Chan left for S’pore yesterday for good.
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Praise & Thanksgiving
Journey mercies: Rev George van Buuren (Bris); Elder Michael & Sis Alice Lee (Melb/Geelong/Adl); Mr Kwai San & Mrs Joy Fan (S’pore); Bros Raymond Ang (Pinnaroo), Raphael Ng (Goolwa/Adl) & Jason Tan; Sisters Cyndi Chan, Lydia Fan (S’pore), Michelle Lee (Melb/Geelong) & Yashu Qin (Adl); & others who have arrived at their destinations.
Church Activities - over the past week.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Visitors & new worshippers.
Healing - Sis Yashu Qin.
Active participation in & contribution to Hope BPC: Sisters Cyndi Chan & Lydia Fan.

Prayer Items
Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Bro Elton Law; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Cathy Carpenter, Margaret Hooper, Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Myung Ki, Irena Kurek-Braden (NSW), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Lehia Paauwe (Per), & Susan Varadi; Mr Swee Liang Ng (Bro Raphael’s father); Mr Mang Soo Ong (Sis Gillian Ong’s father); Mr Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wong’s father); Mrs. Chuilin Yap (Malacca); & others in affliction.
Cambodia Missions - Rev Stephen Choi & Ministry (Phnom Penh); Khmer pastors & believers.
Ministry in New Life BPC (London): Ps & Sis Ki.
Batam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry.
God’s Comfort - those who are grieving.
iSketch&Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry - Pr HS Lim (Melb).
IBPFM (USA) - Rev Keith Coleman, Board & missionaries in India, South America & USA.
Ps & Sis Weng - Ministry in Hope BPC.
Presbyterian Missionary Union - Missionaries.
Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.
House of Hope, Cebu, The Philippines - Ministry to drug addicts.
Journey mercies: Rev George van Buuren; Bro Ngie Joo & Sis Sooi Chin Gong; Bros Raymond Ang, Daniel Ki (Adl) & Raphael Ng (Goolwa/Adl); Sis Michelle Lee (Geelong/Melb); & others who are travelling.
Logos International School (Phnom Penh) - Bro Peter Koo.
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin & Korean.
Believers under persecution in Islamic countries.
Health in pregnancy: Sis Bernadette Ng.
Full-time Jobs - for our university graduates.
God’s guidance in work - Sisters Cyndi Chan & Lydia Fan (S’pore).
Godly wisdom & guidance - those in authority in Australia.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063