Sabbath, March 1, 2008
“We have not a high priest’–master teacher, for the priests were teachers – ‘we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but One that hath been in all points tempted like as we are.’ Hebrews 4:15, R.V.” – Education, p. 78.
1. What description do Christians have of their high priest?
Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
“The Son of God . . . has fulfilled His pledge, and has passed into the heavens, to take upon Himself the government of the heavenly host. He fulfilled one phase of His priesthood by dying on the cross for the fallen race. He is now fulfilling another phase by pleading before the Father the case of the repenting, believing sinner, presenting to God the offerings of His people. Having taken human nature and in this nature having overcome the temptations of the enemy, and having divine perfection, to Him has been committed the judgment of the world. The case of each one will be brought in review before Him. He will pronounce judgment, rendering to every man according to his works (MS 42, 1901).” – Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, p. 929.
2. How many human temptations did Christ have to go through in order to be able to sympathize with humanity?
Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
“Those who claim that it was not possible for Christ to sin, cannot believe that He really took upon Himself human nature. But was not Christ actually tempted, not only by Satan in the wilderness, but all through His life, from childhood to manhood? In all points He was tempted as we are, and because He successfully resisted temptation under every form, He gave man the perfect example, and through the ample provision Christ has made, we may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption which is in the world through lust.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, p. 929.
“The Son of God was assaulted at every step by the powers of darkness. After His baptism He was driven of the Spirit into the wilderness, and suffered temptation for forty days. Letters have been coming in to me, affirming that Christ could not have had the same nature as man, for if He had, He would have fallen under similar temptations. If He did not have man’s nature, He could not be our example. If He was not a partaker of our nature, He could not have been tempted as man has been. If it were not possible for Him to yield to temptation, He could not be our helper. It was a solemn reality that Christ came to fight the battles as man, in man’s behalf. His temptation and victory tell us that humanity must copy the Pattern; man must become a partaker of the divine nature.” – Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 5, p. 1082.
3. What encouragement is given to the faithful believers of all times?
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
“As used in the Bible, the expression ‘kingdom of God’ is employed to designate both the kingdom of grace and the kingdom of glory. The kingdom of grace is brought to view by Paul in the Epistle to the Hebrews. After pointing to Christ, the compassionate intercessor who is ‘touched with the feeling of our infirmities,’ the apostle says: ‘Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace.’ Hebrews 4:15, 16. The throne of grace represents the kingdom of grace; for the existence of a throne implies the existence of a kingdom. In many of His parables Christ uses the expression ‘the kingdom of heaven’ to designate the work of divine grace upon the hearts of men.” – The Great Controversy, p. 347.
4. What was every high priest from Aaron’s family required to do in ceremonial services?
Hebrews 5:1-4 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.
5. What prophecy do we have about Christ’s priesthood?
Hebrews 5:5, 6 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Psalms 110:4 The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
6. What was the difference between the Aaronic priesthood and the order of Melchizedek?
Psalms 40:6-8 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
7. What did Christ, as a high priest, offer to God instead of animal sacrifices?
Hebrews 5:7, 8 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.
“God is displeased with the lack of self-denial in some of His servants. They have not the burden of the work upon them. They seem to be in a deathlike stupor. Angels of God stand amazed and ashamed of this lack of self-denial and perseverance. While the Author of our salvation was laboring and suffering for us, He denied Himself, and His whole life was one continued scene of toil and privation. He could have passed His days on earth in ease and plenty, and appropriated to Himself the pleasures of this life; but He considered not His own convenience. He lived to do others good. He suffered to save others from suffering. He endured to the end and finished the work which was given Him to do. All this was to save us from ruin. And now, can it be that we, the unworthy objects of so great love, will seek a better position in this life than was given to our Lord? Every moment of our lives we have been partakers of the blessings of His great love, and for this very reason we cannot fully realize the depths of ignorance and misery from which we have been saved. Can we look upon Him whom our sins have pierced and not be willing to drink with Him the bitter cup of humiliation and sorrow? Can we look upon Christ crucified and wish to enter His kingdom in any other way than through much tribulation? – Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, p. 370.
8. By what attributes did Christ become our redeemer?
Hebrews 5:9, 10 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
“By His humanity, Christ touched humanity; by His divinity, He lays hold upon the throne of God. As the Son of man, He gave us an example of obedience; as the Son of God, He gives us power to obey. It was Christ who from the bush on Mount Horeb spoke to Moses saying, ‘I AM THAT I AM. . . . Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.’ Ex. 3:14. This was the pledge of Israel’s deliverance. So when He came ‘in the likeness of men,’ He declared Himself the I AM. The Child of Bethlehem, the meek and lowly Saviour, is God ‘manifest in the flesh.’ 1 Tim. 3:16. And to us He says: ‘I AM the Good Shepherd.’ ‘I AM the living Bread.’ ‘I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life.’ ‘All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.’ John 10:11; 6:51; 14:6; Matt. 28:18. I AM the assurance of every promise. I AM; be not afraid. ‘God with us’ is the surety of our deliverance from sin, the assurance of our power to obey the law of heaven.” – Desire of Ages, pp. 24, 25.