II HEBREWS 10
Roy Osborne 2004
THE HIGH PRIEST
Many people grew up being taught that the Old Testament was history, and the New Testament was law. As a consequence, they spend little or no time studying the Old Testament, and interpret the New only in terms of the doctrines they assume we must obey in order to be justified. Such a distorted view of the Bible causes the reader to miss the beautiful story of God’s efforts to draw the creature man to his Creator and Father. These efforts were God’s attempt to get man to come to Him, while leaving man with the power of free choice. Without such a power, no love relationship can exist, and God loved man, and wanted his love in return.
We are about to enter a study of the High Priesthood, in our studies in Hebrews. Too many people shrug off such a study, with the attitude that this is Old Testament, and does not affect us today. This is a serious mistake. The High Priest of Israel was the one who stood between God and man. He was the bridge across the vast chasm which separates the righteous and eternal God, from sinful and temporal man. As such, he was the symbol of God’s desire to have a relationship with man, and His willingness to create a way for it to be so. The High Priesthood was a temporary measure, and it failed because the High Priest was human, and could not really represent God, nor fully identify with suffering humanity. However, as a symbol, it was important for us to see God’s willingness to create a way for us to come to Him.
The 14th verse of the 4th chapter of Hebrews is the first transition point in this great book. The writer has been painting a picture of Jesus Christ as God’s Son, Creator with God from all eternity, greater than all who had gone before, even the angels in Heaven. Now our writer moves to picture this Jesus as the High Priest, or the One who bridges the gap between heaven and earth, God and man.
I want to pause here to point out how the symbols of the Old Testament so graphically portray what God was preparing to show us fully in Jesus Christ. The promise to Abraham was perfectly fulfilled in Christ. The sacrifices under the old system were a foreshadowing of the great sacrifice He was to make. The Priesthood of Israel symbolized the coming High Priest, who would open the way into Heaven’s Throne Room. All were preparing man to better understand and appreciate the love of God, and His continuing mercy and patience with recalcitrant mankind. The Bible is not to be dichotomized between Old and New. It is a continuous story, and only when we see it that way, can it impact our lives, and bring us to sustaining faith, and real peace.
The world today rejects Jesus Christ precisely because He is the link to God, and God is the One who establishes the absolute difference between good and evil, moral and immoral behavior, purity and impurity of life. This, a hedonistic and self-indulgent society does not want.