Class Notes: 1/27/2009
Jesus Christ is the Royal High Priest, Believers are Royal Priests Part 1
John 1:14 - And the Word (undiminished deity) became flesh (true humanity), and dwelt among us (the Incarnation), and we (James, Peter, and John) beheld His glory ( the visual manifestation of the Uniform of Glory), glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth (Bible Doctrine).
In our previous lessons we reviewed the doctrines that relate to TLJC in his first advent when he was incarnated via the virgin birth.
We started our study with a discussion of the doctrine of the virgin birth that was necessary for there to be no transmission of the OSN and then took up the doctrine of the hypostatic union that explains the mechanics of how undiminished deity and true humanity reside in the person of TLJC and then discussed the doctrine of the kenosis that defines God the Father's protocol for the deity and humanity of TLJC in hypostatic union.
In the context of these doctrines, we have been looking at some of the names and titles for our Lord Jesus Christ in order to see more clearly what God has done for us through him, so we can more completely understand who TLJC is and what he has done for us, and from our knowledge of him have our confidence established in him by being occupied with him. Heb 12:2;
Last time we concluded the concept of the TLJC as the chief cornerstone and the believer as stones in the superstructure. Another aspect of the believer's union and identity with TLJC is his priesthood.
Previously in our study we noted TLJC as our Messiah is the Great High Priest Heb 4:14; and church age believers in union with Christ are believer priests 1Peter 2:5-9.
We have seen that a priest is a member of the human race who represents some portion of the human race before God. Until this dispensation, the priest was always a male.
A priest must be representative of the people for whom he acts or represents. Heb 7:4-5; Heb 7:14; Heb 7:28; Heb 10:5; Heb 10:10-14; all state that a priest must be a member of the human race.
Heb 5:1-6, "For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins;
v2 he is able to deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is subject to weakness,
v3 and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins as a substitute for the people, and so also for himself.
v4 And no one takes the honor for himself, but receives it when he is appointed by God, even as Aaron was.
Heb 5:5; So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, (quoting Psa 2:7) `You are My Son, today I have begotten You';
v6 just as He also says in another Scripture (Psa 110:4), `You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.'"
We do not offer gifts and sacrifices for sins because our High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ offered himself once and for all as the one sacrifice for sins.
In our previous studies we have seen that there were three categories of priesthood in the Old Testament and one category in the New Testament. All four priesthoods are mentioned in the book of Hebrews.
The patriarchal or family priesthood that functioned from the time of Adam to till the time of Moses was where the patriarch of the family functioned as the priest for the family.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are examples of this priesthood. They built altars, offered sacrifices, purified and consecrated themselves and their households, Gen 12:7; Gen 13:18; Gen 26:25; Gen 23:30; Gen 35:1-2.
The Old Testament king-priest is represented by Melchizedek was another category of OT priesthood. Melchizedek was a king who was the head of his family and a priest, Heb 7:1-3;
He was the king of Salem, which later became the city of Jerusalem. He was both a king and a priest with no emphasis on his genealogy.
He was a priest as the head of his family, not by birth. He was a Gentile believer-priest living in the time of Abraham. The relationship between Melchizedek and Christ are what we would classify as type and antitype, a New Testament reality prefigured in the Old Testament.
Each was a human being, a king, and a priest. Both in their humanity were superior to Abraham as the father of the Jewish race and are without priestly genealogies related to Israel. Heb 7:3; "Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but having resembled the Son of God he remains a priest perpetually."
This verse means the priesthood not based on physical birth, it was priesthood without recorded genealogy related to the priesthood of Israel. Melchizedek also offered bread and wine, another connection to the Lord Jesus Christ. Melchizedek was a priest perpetually because he was a believer with eternal life.
Heb 7:12-16; interprets this, "For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change in the Law also.
v13 For the One (TLJC) concerning whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe from which no one has officiated at the altar.
v14 For it is evident that our Lord has descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests,
v15 and this is clearer still, if another priest arises similar to Melchizedek, and there has,
v16 Who has become a priest not on the basis of physical requirement but on the basis of indestructible life.
"Heb 7:17; quotes Psa 110:4; "For this reason it is witnessed, `You are a priest forever similar to the order of Melchizedek.'"
This is the Father's appointment of the humanity of Christ to the royal status as king-priest who is described in: Gen 14:18-19; "And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; furthermore he was a priest of God the Most High." "God the Most High" is a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ. "Then he [Melchizedek] blessed him (Abram) and said, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth."
The superiority of this priesthood is established by the fact that Abraham was ministered to by Melchizedek with bread and wine, and Heb 7:9-11; states that Abraham gave tithes to Melchizedek.
Melchizedek had the right to bless Abraham because he was both a king and a priest and Abraham was only a priest. This means that the church age believer's priesthood is far greater than the Levitical priesthood that descended from Abraham.
The Lord's Table celebrates Jesus' work on the cross as symbolized through bread and wine as the only ritual of the royal priesthood of the church age.
The Levitical priesthood was based on genealogy related to first birth while the royal priesthood is based on second birth.
A priesthood that is based on physical birth is inferior to and can never be as effective as a priesthood based on spiritual birth. A priesthood based on physical birth has no effective function related to the post-salvation spiritual life.
Rev 1:6, "He made us a kingdom of priests to God, even His Father; to Him be glory and ruling power forever and ever."
The Levitical priesthood of Israel and it's ministry is described in Num16:5. "Tomorrow the Lord will show you who is His priest and who is holy, and will bring him near to Himself..." We see here that Aaron was chosen along with the tribe of Levi.
The function of this priesthood is limited to the Jewish Age and the Millennium. It was perpetuated through first birth and it was supported by thirteen Levitical cities of refuge that are described in Josh 21:13-19 , a tithe and the redemption money of the first born described in Numbers 18:24-26;
The spiritual function of the Levitical priesthood was related to ritual and to the teaching the Word of God, Heb 10:1-4.
The only priesthood of the Church is the universal royal priesthood of all believers after the pattern of Melchizedek. Jesus Christ is the high priest of this royal priesthood.
All the priesthoods in the Old Testament were specialized priesthoods and limited to a few. In the New Testament, there is no specialized priesthood that is limited because every church age believer is a priest.
Heb 5:9-10; states that A spiritual life is no better than its priesthood. "And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, being appointed by God high priest according to the order of Melchizedek."
Having been born a king in Israel, from the tribe of Judah, He was not even qualified for the Levitical priesthood. Neither Melchizedek or our Lord were appointed on the basis of their first birth.
Melchizedek was appointed on the basis of regeneration. Our Lord was appointed a royal high priest by divine decree in eternity past and at His resurrection, ascension, and session. Therefore, Christ is a king-priest after the order of Melchizedek.
Some of the Unique Characteristics of Jesus Christ as our Royal High Priest are as follows:
Jesus Christ is the first and only high priest in all of human history to be filled with the Holy Spirit. He was filled with the Holy Spirit from birth. No one before the hypostatic union was ever filled with the Spirit.
Jesus Christ is the first high priest and the only priest that has been resurrected. He functions as a high priest in resurrection body, seated at the right hand of God, not standing in the Holy of Holies as the Levitical priests. The next resurrection in history will be the resurrection of the royal priesthood. You precede the greatest of Old Testament believers because you have the greatest spiritual life that has ever existed in history.
Jesus Christ is the only high priest who offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin. All other high priests offered animal sacrifices, but never offered themselves. True spiritual life is almost a total absence of ritual. The only ritual we have is the remembrance of the sacrifice of our High Priest for the sins of the whole world.
Jesus Christ is the only priest who can provide eternal life for the human race.
Jesus Christ is the only priest who is not only perfect humanity but eternal God in one person forever.
Jesus Christ is the only priest who has tested and proven the prototype spiritual life for the Church Age. This spiritual life is an infinitely greater spiritual life because every believer in this dispensation is a priest.
As our high priest, our Lord Jesus Christ originated this unique spiritual life in all of history. There will never be another spiritual life like it, not even in the millennium. There is nothing comparable to the spiritual life of the church age believer.
As our high priest, He is the minister of spiritual things, Heb 5:1.
Jesus Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin, Heb 9:26-27, Heb 10:10-14; The priestly sacrifice of Christ includes redemption, propitiation, and reconciliation.
He presently makes intercession for each one of us as our high priest, Heb 7:25.
He has an eternal and non-transferable priesthood, Heb 7:20-21,24.
Christ fulfilled the necessary requirements of the priesthood.
He was qualified for the office as described in Heb 1:1-5;
He was appointed by God, Heb 5:1-10; Heb 5:5- 6; "So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He [God the Father] who had spoken face-to-face with Him ( quoting Psa 2:7), `You are My Son. Today I have begotten You' Just as He said in another Scripture ( in Psa 110:4), `You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek."
His priesthood was a higher order than the Levitical priesthood, Heb 5:6-10, Heb 7:1-8:6.
Christ performed all the functions of the priesthood, as described in Hebrews chapters 7, 9, and 10.
His priesthood is eternal and superior, Heb 7:25, "He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession as a substitute for them."
With the ascension and session, Christ had a new royal title, but no royal family and no priestly order. Both were combined on the Day of Pentecost.
All church age believers are in union with Christ and therefore are royalty and priests forever. We represent ourselves before God as royal priests.
Christ's sacrifice on the cross was a priestly sacrifice, but His high priesthood came after the resurrection.
Believers are not designed to lean on others or to be counseled by others, believers to lean on their own priesthood, their own spiritual self-esteem, and the Bible doctrine in their own soul.
Church Age believers are royal priests and members of the royal family of God because of their union with Christ.
The acknowledgement of any known sin per 1John 1:9; is the basic function of the royal priest.
This is not a part of the spiritual life, but is a function of the privacy of the priesthood.
When the believer names or cites their sin to God, He forgives and cleanses from all sins and simultaneously removes the believer from the cosmic system.
Church Age believers don't have to tell their sins to anyone else, as the believers in the Old Testament did to the priests.
While on this earth in an unglorified body, the major function of the believer priest is to learn doctrine. Positive volition in faith perception allows God the Holy Spirit to metabolize the doctrine taught by the pastor. Metabolized doctrine then becomes the basis of spiritual momentum in the function of the royal priesthood.
The priesthood also demands the function of prayer and intercession. The Sacrifices of the Priesthood are described in Hebrews chapter 13.
These sacrifices include, Separation Heb 13:13; Praise, Heb 13:15; Production from momentum, Heb 13:16; Enforced and genuine humility, Heb 13:17; and developing spiritual self-esteem, Heb 13:18-19;
The new priesthood of the Church means a new spiritual life that has never existed before in history for church age believers. A new priesthood means we have a greater spiritual life, a unique spiritual life.
The unique spiritual life of the Church Age is based on the prototype spiritual life of the unglorified humanity of Jesus Christ in hypostatic union.
The Church has one High Priest, the resurrected humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ who sits at the right hand of the Father with eternal life. Because of this, He will always be our High Priest.
The royal priesthood of the Church Age therefore serves under the authority of one High Priest as an eternal priesthood. Every royal priest of the Church Age has eternal life through regeneration.
The spiritual life must match the priesthood. The spiritual life is only as good as its priesthood, and since we have the greatest priesthood in history we also have the greatest spiritual life.
The royal priesthood is not stopped by death as were the other priesthoods because it is based in regeneration that confers eternal life. Our physical death does not stop our priesthood. We continue to be priests forever in our resurrection body under TLJC, our Great High Priest.
Our Great High Priest gave us a spiritual life that is infinitely greater than anything found in the Old Testament. Our High Priest is unique. Jesus Christ is the only high priest who is perfect humanity and eternal God in one person forever.
He is the only high priest who was ever sinless. He is the first high priest ever filled with the Spirit. He is the pioneer and perfecter of our spiritual life, Heb 12:2; He is the only high priest who offered Himself as a unique and efficacious sacrifice. He is the only high priest who offers eternal salvation.
Heb 7:26-28; "For it is fitting that we should have such a high priest, impeccable integrity, the One who cannot do evil, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens;
v27 Who does not need daily, like those priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for their own sins, and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
v28 For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of His (God the Father's) oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, who has become perfect forever."
The word translated "perfect forever" is the perfect passive participle of the of the Greek verb "teleioo"
Our High Priest was born perfect, but was brought to completion (the Greek verb Teleioo) through the function of the same unique spiritual life given to all church age believers.
Heb 4:15; states that that our Lord, "was tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin."
There never has been a temptation in the human race that was not faced by our Lord and overcome by the same spiritual life that church age believer's have. In addition to that, He was tempted far beyond anything we would ever face.
The Greek verb "teleioo" is used in seven passages in Hebrews and is translated to bring to completion. The translation "to be made perfect" while a legitimate translation, does not properly apply to our Lord since He was created perfect as Adam was created perfect and he maintained perfection inside the prototype spiritual life.
Heb 2:10; "For it became Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in having led many sons to glory, to bring to completion the author of their salvation through sufferings."
Our Lord was brought to completion by the sufferings for blessing in the advance to spiritual maturity and by the sufferings on the Cross.
Heb 5:8-9; "Although being a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.
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