Hebrews 4:14 (NLT)
“Christ Is Our High Priest
14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe.”
This verse effectively summarizes the whole message and challenge of Hebrews; the high priesthood of Jesus the Son of God is the basis for endurance in the Christian faith.
• A great High Priest: Israel’s high priest was the main leader in the worship of God and the primary mediator between God and the people (see Exod 31:10; Lev 4:3; 2 Kgs 12:10; 2 Chr 26:20).
• who has entered heaven: The earthly high priests entered God’s presence in the Most Holy Place once a year on the Day of Atonement (Lev 16:1-25). By contrast, Jesus, our High Priest, has entered God’s presence in heaven, and there he remains (7:26; 9:11-12, 23-26).
• let us hold firmly: An enduring commitment to active belief in and allegiance to Jesus (see also Col 2:19; 2 Thes 2:15; Rev 2:13, 25; 3:11).
What having you been seeking God for that is requiring you to…hold firmly to? Well, don’t give up…our High Priest didn’t and through faith in Him nor will you.
Hebrews 7:20-28 (NLT)
“This new system was established with a solemn oath. Aaron’s descendants became priests without such an oath, 21 but there was an oath regarding Jesus. For God said to him, “The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow: ‘You are a priest forever.’” 22 Because of this oath, Jesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant with God. 23 There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office. 24 But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. 25 Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf. 26 He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. 27 Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. 28 The law appointed high priests who were limited by human weakness. But after the law was given, God appointed his Son with an oath, and his Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever.”
Jesus is the surety of the New covenant in the sense that He Himself is the Guarantee. By His death, burial, and resurrection, He provided a righteous basis on which God can fulfill the terms of the covenant. His endless priesthood is also vitally linked with the unfailing fulfillment of the terms of the covenant.
The priests of Israel were many. It is said that there were eighty-four high priests in the history of the nation, and of course, there were innumerable lesser priests. The office periodically changed hands because of the death of the incumbents. The ministry suffered from these inevitable interruptions.
V24 In the case of Christ’s priesthood, there is no such failure because He lives forever. His priesthood is never passed on to anyone else, and there is no interruption to its effectiveness. It is unchangeable and intransmissible.
V26 Christ’s priesthood is superior to Aaron’s because of His personal excellence. He is holy in His standing before God. He is harmless or guileless in His dealings with men. He is undefiled in His personal character. He is separate from sinners in His life at God’s right hand. He has become higher than the heavens in His present and eternal splendor. It is fitting for us to have such a High Priest.
V28 The law sets up priests who are personally imperfect; they are characterized by weakness and failure; they are only ritually holy.
God’s oath, given after the law, appoints the Son as a Priest who has been perfected forever. This oath was referred to in verse 21 of this chapter and quoted from Psalm 110:4.
There are momentous implications in the material we have just covered. Human priesthood has been superseded by a divine and eternal priesthood. How foolish, then, for men to set up priestly systems patterned after the OT and to intrude upon the functions of our great High Priest!
V23, 24 Because Christ lives forever, His priesthood is unchangeable. In the Levitical system, the high priest’s office was always changing hands. When one high priest died, another assumed the office. Josephus estimated that there were 83 different high priests between Aaron and the fall of the temple in A.D. 70.
V25 Christ is … able to save because He is fully God and fully human (2:18; 4:15). Since this verse speaks of Jesus’ present intercession for us, the word save in this verse speaks of our sanctification, the continuing process by which we are freed from the power of sin. This continuing process of salvation will eventually be completed in our glorification, when we are saved from the presence of sin. The word uttermost may speak of this glorification, this “complete” or “whole” salvation. come: The Greek verb for come is in the present tense. Therefore the word indicates that Jesus continues to save those who keep coming to Him. Our justification is a once-for-all event accomplished on the Cross, but our sanctification is a continuing process.
V26–28 The author concludes this chapter with a summary of why Jesus’ priesthood is superior to any other. Higher than the heavens means Christ is exalted above all and sits in glory at the right hand of the Father (1:3; 2:9; 4:14). daily, as those high priests: The high priest offered an annual sacrifice on the Day of Atonement for the atonement of the people’s sins (9:7; 10:1), but the priests also offered sacrifices every day before the Lord (see Ex. 29:36). In contrast, Jesus offered Himself once, a perfect, sinless sacrifice for the sins of all. Since Jesus is perfect, He did not have to offer sacrifices for His own sins. The permanent, eternal nature of Jesus’ priesthood established by an oath of God is in sharp contrast to the temporal, weak nature of the Levitical priesthood.