By Charles H. Welch

When the apostle reached the end of what is chapter 7 in our version of the epistle to the Hebrews, he paused to ‘sum up’, saying:

‘Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an High Priest, Who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a Minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man’ (Heb. 8:1,2).

A seated Priest. What truth does this convey? In chapter 10 we find the subject repeated, with fuller explanation:

‘Every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, Sat Down on the right hand of God’ (Heb. 10:11,12).

A standing priest, offered ‘daily’ and ‘oftentimes’; the seated priest offered ‘once’. The offering of the standing priest never took away sins; the offering of the seated priest was ‘for sins for ever’. In Hebrews 1 the apostle after speaking of the purging of our sins leaps over the Burial, the Resurrection, and the Ascension, and adds

‘Sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high’ (1:3).

One other fact is noted in connection with the Priesthood of Christ. While His Priesthood differed so essentially from that exercised by failing, dying men, one typical feature is stressed namely, that even as the high priest of old, so Christ entered into the holy place Alone (Heb. 9:7). When we come to the epistles of the Mystery, namely to Ephesians and Colossians, we find the seated Christ set forth in great glory. Ephesians 1:20-23 speaks of His Resurrection and His being seated at the right hand of God in the heavenly places, far above all, and Colossians makes this the basis of an exhortation ‘Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God’ (Col. 3:1). In the immediate context of this passage we read the words ‘Risen With Christ’; ‘Hid With Christ’; and ‘Appear With Him in glory’. In the near context of Ephesians 1:20-23, we have not only the blessed fact that the believer is ‘quickened’ together with Christ, and ‘raised’ together, but wonder of wonders, we read the astounding statement that such are made ‘to sit together’ in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6).

Here is a position so high, so holy, so exceptional, so unprecedented, a position never foreshadowed in any type or symbol, that if it were not actually revealed, would never enter the heart of man to conceive. Potentially, the believer is seen by God as seated together where Christ sits in heavenly places. This one revelation, of itself, lifts the dispensation of the Mystery into a unique sphere, and places it in direct contrast with the position already reviewed in Hebrews (see Hebrews). We have considered in the article entitled Hebrews, the many ways in which that epistle is proved to belong to an entirely different calling from that of the Mystery, but this one expression ‘seated together’ of itself makes that distinction inevitable. Under the heading With (sun), the reader will find set out the sevenfold identification of the believer with His Lord, of which ‘seated together’ is one of that glorious series.

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