Sabbath, March 2, 2013
“Our great High Priest completed the sacrificial offering of Himself when He suffered without the gate. Then a perfect atonement was made for the sins of the people. Jesus is our Advocate, our High Priest, our Intercessor…. Type met antitype in the death of Christ, the Lamb slain for the sins of the world. The great High Priest has made the only sacrifice that will be of any value.” –(MS 128, 1897) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 913.
Set apart for the priesthood
1. Who appointed Jesus as the great High Priest?
Hebrews 5:5, 6 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said to 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.
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.
“Christ glorified not Himself in being made High Priest. God gave Him His appointment to the priesthood. He was to be an example to all the human family. He qualified Himself to be, not only the representative of the race, but their Advocate, so that every soul if he will may say, I have a Friend at court. He is a High Priest that can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities.” –(MS 101, 1897) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 930.
The new covenant
2. On what basis was the new covenant established under which Jesus became man’s great High Priest forever?
Hebrews 8:5, 6 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount. But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
Hebrews 7:21, 22 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
“Though this covenant was made with Adam and renewed to Abraham, it could not be ratified until the death of Christ. It had existed by the promise of God since the first intimation of redemption had been given; it had been accepted by faith; yet when ratified by Christ, it is called a new covenant. The law of God was the basis of this covenant, which was simply an arrangement for bringing men again into harmony with the divine will, placing them where they could obey God’s law….
“The ‘new covenant’ was established upon ‘better promises’–the promise of forgiveness of sins and of the grace of God to renew the heart and bring it into harmony with the principles of God’s law.” –God’s Amazing Grace, pp. 133, 136.
3. Although tempted as we are, how did our great High Priest emerge from his conflict with sin? Having already made certain experiences, what is He able to do?
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.
Hebrews 2:18 For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
Hebrews 7:26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.
“Jesus cares for each one as though there were not another individual on the face of the earth. As Deity He exerts mighty power in our behalf, while as our Elder Brother He feels for all our woes. The Majesty of heaven held not Himself aloof from degraded, sinful humanity. We have not a high priest who is so high, so lifted up, that He cannot notice us or sympathize with us, but one who was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 346, 347.
“… Christ, the great High Priest, pleading His blood before the Father in the sinner’s behalf, bears upon His heart the name of every repentant, believing soul. Says the psalmist, ‘I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me.’ Psalm 40:17.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 351.
In the heavenly sanctuary
4. When did Jesus enter the heavenly sanctuary to carry out His office as High Priest?
Mark 16:19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
Hebrews 8:1, 2 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.
“After His ascension, our Saviour was to begin His work as our High Priest. Says Paul, ‘Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.’ Hebrews 9:24…. Christ at His ascension appeared in the presence of God to plead His blood in behalf of penitent believers,…
“The blood of Christ, while it was to release the repentant sinner from the condemnation of the law, was not to cancel the sin; it would stand on record in the sanctuary until the final atonement;…
“In the great day of final award … by virtue of the atoning blood of Christ, the sins of all the truly penitent will be blotted from the books of heaven.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 357.
5. After His ascension, our great High Priest began His ministry in the holy place and then moved into the most holy place in 1844. In addition to pleading the merits of His blood for repentant sinners, what other work did He start that is soon to be ended?
2 Timothy 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.
1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
“We are in the great day of atonement, when our sins are, by confession and repentance, to go beforehand to judgment….
“In 1844 our great High Priest entered the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, to begin the work of the investigative judgment. The cases of the righteous dead have been passing in review before God. When that work shall be completed, judgment is to be pronounced upon the living. How precious, how important are these solemn moments! Each of us has a case pending in the court of heaven. We are individually to be judged according to the deeds done in the body.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 125.
Our great High Priest’s ministry
6. Why else is it so important that Jesus be our great High Priest?
Revelation 8:3, 4 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
“The religious services, the prayers, the praise, the penitent confession of sin ascend from true believers as incense to the heavenly sanctuary, but passing through the corrupt channels of humanity, they are so defiled that unless purified by blood, they can never be of value with God. They ascend not in spotless purity, and unless the Intercessor, who is at God’s right hand, presents and purifies all by His righteousness, it is not acceptable to God. All incense from earthly tabernacles must be moist with the cleansing drops of the blood of Christ. He holds before the Father the censer of His own merits, in which there is no taint of earthly corruption. He gathers into this censer the prayers, the praise, and the confessions of His people, and with these He puts His own spotless righteousness. Then, perfumed with the merits of Christ’s propitiation, the incense comes up before God wholly and entirely acceptable. Then gracious answers are returned.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 344.
7. For how long will Jesus intercede for sinners in the sanctuary? What will happen when He ceases to intercede for His people?
Revelation 16:17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.
Revelation 22:11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
Revelation 6:17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
“When the third angel’s message closes, mercy no longer pleads for the guilty inhabitants of the earth…. Then Jesus ceases His intercession in the sanctuary above. He lifts His hands and with a loud voice says, ‘It is done;… Christ has made the atonement for His people and blotted out their sins….
“Now, while our great High Priest is making the atonement for us, we should seek to become perfect in Christ….
“When Christ ceases His intercession in the sanctuary, the unmingled wrath threatened against those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark (Revelation 14:9, 10), will be poured out.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 613, 614, 623, 627.
“Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort they must be conquerors in the battle with evil. While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth.” –The Great Controversy, p. 425.
For personal study
- Hebrews 5:9
- Ephesians 1:20
“As the high priest laid aside his gorgeous pontifical robes, and officiated in the white linen dress of the common priest, so Christ took the form of a servant, and offered sacrifice, Himself the priest, Himself the victim.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 25.
“The sacrifices and offerings of the Mosaic ritual were ever pointing toward a better service, even a heavenly. The earthly sanctuary was ‘a figure for the time then present,’ in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices; its two holy places were ‘patterns of things in the heavens;’ for Christ, our great High Priest, is today ‘a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.’ Hebrews 9:9, 23; 8:2.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 684.
“All can now approach God through the merits of Christ. It is because the veil has been rent that men can draw nigh to God. They need not depend on priest or ceremonial sacrifice. Liberty is given to all to go directly to God through a personal Saviour.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 155.
“Oh, that all may see that everything in obedience, in penitence, in praise and thanksgiving, must be placed upon the glowing fire of the righteousness of Christ. The fragrance of this righteousness ascends like a cloud around the mercy seat….
“Christ is the fragrance, the holy incense which makes your petition acceptable to the Father.” –Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 344, 332.