THE HIGH PRIEST THAT BECAME US (Hebrews 7:26)
The writer to the Hebrews now comes to the grand conclusion concerning the greatness and the fittingness of the priesthood of Christ, which is after the order of Melchizedek. Suppose that all the wonderful and distinguishing features and elements of the priesthood according to the order of Melchizedek were true and factual, and stood as the rock of Gilbraltar, but that this priesthood did not fit our state and condition as sinners—what would be the spiritual and eternal profit for us?
But no! The priesthood of Christ is exactly what we need. He is the obey High Priest. He is the only High Priest on every count. He fits our need. That is the implication of what the writer says, “for such an high priest became us. . . . . ” The force of. the term “such” in the Greek (toioutos) underscores the fact that this priest had to be exactly such a kind of priest. This ought to be observed.
The question ought to be faced whether the term “such” in the text refers to what immediately preceded, or whether it refers to that which follows. If it refers to that which precedes, then it means that it refers to the salient points of the priesthood that the writer had there enumerated. It refers to the points here stated in Hebrews 7, to wit, that Christ was appointed by an oath (Heb. 7:17); that he is a priest by the power of endless life and not by dint of a mere carnal commandment (Heb. 7:16); that his priesthood is not founded on having father, mother, etc. but that it is that which belongs to the Son of God forever (Heb. 7:3) Such a High Priest became us! Furthermore, if this “such” refers to the foregoing context then it also refers to the fact of what the writer had said in the immediate context concerning this priest. (1) That he is powerful to save to the uttermost. He is the almighty God in the flesh. And all power is given to the Son in our flesh in heaven and on earth. (2) That He is eternal. He ever lives! He ever lives to intercede for those who come to God through him. Surely such is the force of the demonstrative pronoun “such.”
However, this term also refers to that which follows. This is clear from the phrase “who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. . . .” (Compare I Corinthians 5:1)
Such a High Priest became us. It fitted the nature of our condition and the nature of our being created originally in the image of God. This term “became” us is translated from the Greek and from the Hebrew. The Hebrew term “nawah” we have in Psalm 33:1 where we read “Praise is comely for the upright.” And, again, inPsalm 93:5 “Thy testimonies are very sure; holinessbecometh thine house forever.” And of God Himself it is said “That it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (Hebrews 2:10)
Christ is the High Priest that fits into the plan of the Builder and Maker of the heavenly tabernacle!
He will bring many sons to glory through suffering.
For he has all the qualifications.
In the first place it is said of him that he is “holy.” Now holiness becometh God’s house forever. For thus saith the High and Lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place. . . . . . . (Isaiah 57:15). It is first of all for the sake of God Himself that this High Priest must be Holy. He is a priest in the holy temple of God. And God’s name is Holy. He is not to be compared with man or with the creature. He is the transcendent God. However, He is also holy in the sense that he is too pure of eyes to behold sin, to wink at iniquity. For it is the justice of God that He maintains his own holiness. And in respect to those who transgress the law of God and sin against the holiness of God, this Holy God cannot deny Himself; He reveals His wrath from heaven against all ungodliness of men who keep the truth down in unrighteousness. We need a High Priest who will perfectly keep the commandments of God. He alone fits in the holy temple of God. He alone can intercede for us and save us to the uttermost. The term “holy” here in the text is the translation of the Greek word “hosios.” This refers to the piety of the Son. It refers to His perfect obedience which he learned while He suffered with strong crying and tears. This fact that he is such, that he is “holy,” constitutes him the perfect Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29) Jesus was a very pious, meek, righteous and godly man. He was the perfect last Adam, the High Priest which became us!
Closely associated with, yea, implied in Christ’s being “holy” is the fact that he was both “harmless and undefiled.” The former term indicates that Christ’s attitude toward his fellowmen was one in which there never was any hatred toward his neighbor. He never meant any hurt, in thoughts, words or deeds. He was never after any one to get him. He did not need to put off malice, envy, hypocrisy, and all evil in order to draw nigh to God. He knew no sin of commission in any sense. He was in this sense actively obedient to God and was, indeed, the perfect Lamb. However, he is also “undefiled.” He was not subject to the Levitical defilement of all other men under the law. He could not be defiled with sin because he could not tempt others to sin. It was with him as with God Himself as we read in James 1:13 “Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted of evil, neither tempteth he any man.” Thus also Christ. Because he was harmless he could be undefiled. Only he who can hurt others can be touched and defiled with evil. He was above the law of the Old Testament Nazarite. He could not be defiled because he came totake away the defilement of sin. He could eat and drink with sinners without being defiled by them. While he was among sinners he could lay His hand on God’s holy white throne without besmirching it. Truly, here is a Priest on whose ephod is written “Holiness To The Lord” in very truth. (Exodus 39:30)
And thus the text says that this priest was “separated from sinners.” Forsooth, this separation from sinners can not be taken in a local sense. The term separated from sinners is a further implication of Christ’s being “holy.” While he is numbered with the transgressors he was harmless and undefiled. When he cries out on the cruel Cross “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me,” it is the deep sense of his own sinlessness which underlies this cry. He is separated from sinners. He is the perfect Lamb, without spot or blemish.
Such a High Priest became us from God.
He is the High Priest who is separated from sinners from the conception in Mary’s womb till the time of His giving up the ghost on the Cross where He said “Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit.” He is in the completed and perfect state and condition of being separated from sinners. Such he was, is and shall be forever. He is separated from sinners as the perfect High Priest. He did not need to first bring a sacrifice for his own sins. This was imperative for any priest of the Old Testament. Such was emphatically true of Aaron. Thus we read in Leviticus 9:7 “And Moses said unto Aaron, Go unto the altar, and offer thy sin offering, and thy burnt offering for thyself and for the people. . . ” And again we read in Leviticus 16:6 “And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, andmake an atonement for himself, and for his house.” On the other hand, concerning the offering for the people we read, “Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: and he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins. . . . .” (Leviticus 9:15, 16) But this is not true for this High Priest. He is separated from sinners constantly, in unbroken continuity. Such is the implication of the Greek participle “kechorismenos.”
Truly, such an high priest became us.
THE TRANSCENDENT EXISTENCE OF OUR HIGH PRIEST (Hebrews 7:26b)
The High Priest which became us is now no more on earth. The sphere of Christ’s priesthood is in principle in the heavens. No he was not born in the heavens. He was born on earth from the virgin Mary in Bethlehem Judah. Shepherds found him with Joseph and with Mary, His mother, in a stable; found Him wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. (Luke 2:12, 26) And, yet, we must not really think of the Priesthood of Christ as being in any sense an earthly priesthood. Although he came on earth to suffer and die, yet His priesthood was heavenly. It was through suffering of death that he entered into glory; Christ’s death meant that he is glorified. Thus we read of Christ’s own confession in the night in which he was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, “Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.” (John 13:31, 32)
Hence, beginning on earth Christ’s priesthood is such that it opened up to Him the portals of heaven. He went to prepare a place in the Father’s house with its many mansions. (John 14:1-3)
The writer to the Hebrews says here “made higher than the heavens.” The term “‘made” really means in the Greek “became.” He became higher than the heavens once and for all. This could only happen once. He will suffer all these things and thus enter into his glory. And this suffering all these things to enter into His glory is a “must.” It belongs to His priesthood. Such a High Priest became us. He is thus a High Priest because he suffered death. He finished the work of bringing the atonement; He expiated our guilt and is our propitiation with the Father. And through his suffering, death, resurrection and ascension hebecame higher than the heavens.