Life-Study of Hebrewsby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we need to see that the High Priest according to the order of Melchisedec is the cause of eternal salvation. Have you ever heard that eternal salvation has a cause, origin, and author? Our High Priest, Christ, is the cause of this eternal salvation. As we shall see, He is not a High Priest according to the old priestly system, the order of Aaron, but according to the order of Melchisedec.
Aaron did not take honor unto himself but was called and established by God to be the high priest (5:4, 1). This is even more true with Christ. He did not glorify Himself to become a High Priest; He was ordained by God in His resurrection, according to the order of Melchisedec (vv. 5-6). Aaron, as the high priest, took care of things pertaining to God on behalf of the people (v. 1). Christ is superior to him in taking care of all our cases before God. Aaron offered both gifts and sacrifices for sins in type for the people and for himself (vv. 1, 3). But Christ offered Himself as the sacrifice for sin in reality.
In 5:2 we are told that a high priest was “able to exercise forbearance toward the ignorant and straying, since he also is encompassed with weakness.” The Greek implies a feeling toward the ignorant and straying which is neither too severe nor too tolerant. It is to be moderate or tender in judgment toward their situation. The thought in this verse is a continuation of the thought in 4:15. Christ as our High Priest, though not encompassed with weakness as the high priests taken from among men, has been tried in all respects like us. Hence, sympathizing with our weaknesses, He is able to exercise forbearance toward us, the ignorant and straying ones.
As the High Priest, Christ was glorified by God through resurrection. Hebrews 5:5 says that “Christ did not glorify Himself to become a High Priest, but He Who said to Him, You are My Son, this day I have begotten You.” The word glorify in this verse replaces the word honor in the foregoing verse. With the high priest taken from among men, there is only honor, a matter of position. With Christ as the High Priest, there is not only honor, but also glory; not only the preciousness of His position, but also the splendor of His Person. Verse 5 contains a quotation from Psalm 2:7, saying, “You are My Son, this day I have begotten You.” This refers to Christ’s resurrection (Acts 13:33), which qualifies Him to be our High Priest. For Christ to be our High Priest, He must partake of our humanity, as mentioned in 2:14-18, and enter with this humanity into resurrection. With His humanity, He can sympathize with us and be merciful to us (4:15; 2:17). In resurrection, with His divinity, He is able to do everything for us and be faithful to us (7:24-25; 2:17).
In 5:7 we are told that Christ “in the days of His flesh... offered up petitions and supplications with strong crying and tears to Him Who was able to save Him out of death.” The words “out of death” here do not mean that He did not enter into death and suffer death. They mean that Christ was resurrected out of death. Before He died, Christ prayed for this, and God answered His prayer by raising Him from among the dead.
Verse 6, a quotation from Psalm 110, says, “You are a Priest forever according to the order of Melchisedec.” This refers to Christ in His ascension and enthronement (Psa. 110:1-4), which, in addition to His resurrection, are further qualifications for Him to be our High Priest (7:26). Christ was not only resurrected from among the dead, but He ascended to the height of the universe. In the previous message, we pointed out that Christ overcame the gravitation of earth, overcoming the frustrating attack of the demons on the earth. When He entered into the air, as Colossians 2:15 reveals, He stripped off the principalities and powers and made a show of them. The Greek word translated “stripped off” means to dust off as with a feather duster. When Christ was ascending through the air, the principalities and powers came, like insects, to prevent Him from ascending. The Lord Jesus did not struggle against them; He simply dusted them off and made a show of them. After that, He ascended into the heavens where He is now sitting at the right hand of God. Whenever we touch Him, we touch the One who is above all, and we also are above everything. The attraction of the earth, the demons, the principalities and powers, and all negative things have been overcome by Him. How we need to experience the Christ unveiled in the book of Hebrews!
Christ is our High Priest according to the order of Melchisedec (5:6). The order of Melchisedec is higher than the order of Aaron. The order of Aaron was for the priesthood only in humanity, whereas the order of Melchisedec is for the priesthood in both humanity and divinity. This is fully developed in chapter seven.
Aaron was established in honor to be the high priest only for his lifetime, for he was prevented by death from continuing. But, as the Son of God, Christ was ordained in glory to be our High Priest forever (v. 6). With Him there is no preventing of death. He is glorified forever to be our High Priest.
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