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The High Priest of our Profession (5: 1-6).
pp. 187 - 189
The way in which the High Priesthood of Christ comes before and immediately after
the great type of Israel in the wilderness indicates that it is vitally associated with the
attaining to the perfectness which is the great theme of the epistle, and of which the entry
into the land of Canaan was a type. The link is more closely revealed by the words of
3: 1 "The Apostle and High Priest of our PROFESSION", for we have seen that this
"profession" or "confession" is also related to the great theme of Heb. 4: 14.
In chapter 3: 1 Christ is presented as (1) Apostle, (2) High Priest. The first title is
compared and contrasted with Moses. In some points the comparison holds good, "He
was faithful AS also Moses was". In other points Christ rises superior to Moses. Moses
was a servant, Christ a son. The same method is adopted with respect to the second title.
This is compared and contrasted with Aaron in chapter 5: 1-5. Christ fulfilled the
qualifications which were essentially vital to the priesthood as set forth in the call of
Aaron. He was "taken from among men". Chapter 2: 14 has already emphasized this:--
"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself
likewise took part of the same."
There are many solemn and weighty reasons why Christ should have been made flesh.
This is one of them. He was "ordained for men", and could never have been High Priest
on their behalf if He had not been made like unto His brethren. Every priest had to do
with the offering of sacrifices, "that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices". In this, too,
the Saviour was fully manifested as true High Priest:--
"For every High Priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices; wherefore it is
necessary that this man have somewhat also to offer" (8: 3).
and chapters 9: & 10: go on to show how infinitely great was the offering He made.
Another phase of the high priest's mission, and one which some views of the great
atonement are apt to slight or set aside, is that he is one:--
"Who is able to have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way;
for that he himself is compassed with infirmity, And by reason hereof he ought, as for the
people, so also for himself, to offer for sins" (5: 2, 3).
In these words we have a comparison and a contrast. As in the case of Moses the type
breaks down. Christ was "touched with the feeling of our infirmities", yet the words
immediately added, because of the words to be written in 5: 2, 3, SIN EXCEPTED. In
7: 26, 27 the contrast is maintained:--
"For such an High Priest became us, who is holy, blameless, undefiled, separate from
sinners, and made higher than the heavens: Who needeth not daily, as those High Priests,
to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this He did
once, when He offered up Himself."