Tag Archives: High Priest

Jesus as the High Priest

7 Nov

High Priest
The first High Priest was Moses’ brother, Aaron. All subsequent priests were to come from the tribe of Levi only and the High Priest from among the sons of Aaron. For their duties, they were to be consecrated (set apart) and sanctified (made ceremonially clean and holy) through some rituals like washing, wearing priestly garments and being dabbed with blood from the sacrifice.
The priestly garments were designed “for glory and for beauty.” Ex.28:2 Two articles of clothing contained the names of the twelve sons of Israel; the ephod had 2 memorial stones set on the shoulders, Ex. 28:12 and the breastplate had the names engraved over his heart.
“So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel on the breastplate of judgment over his heart, when he goes into the holy place, as a memorial before the Lord continually.” Ex. 28:29
This represented Jesus’ cross-work where He died specifically for His people and His future intercession for us before the throne as our Advocate. His death wasn’t to make salvation theoretically possible if only someone would believe. Jesus said, “I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10:15b
The High Priest was consecrated as holy. He had to offer sacrifices first for himself, because he was a sinner, and then for the people. But Jesus, because He was sinless, only offered up the sacrifice of Himself on our behalf.
“…who does not need 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 for all when He offered up Himself.” Heb. 7:27
The High Priest had bells on the hem of his garment. This way people could hear him. They were never sure if God would accept the sacrifice and forgive them.
“And upon its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet, all around its hem, and bells of gold between them all around: a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe all around. And it shall be upon Aaron when he ministers, and its sound will be heard when he goes into the holy place before the LORD and when he comes out, that he may not die.” Ex. 28:33-35
Side point. It’s believed the pomegranate was there to remind them of the first sin of eating the forbidden fruit.
“He had bells and a rope attached, because the experience could be so overwhelming that those outside listened to the bells ringing, meaning that the priest was moving about; but if the bells stopped ringing, they would pull him out, not daring to enter themselves.” Vladimir Berzoonsky
But we know that Jesus’s sacrifice was accepted. The evidence of this was His resurrection from the dead. If He was a false teacher He would have stayed dead. God vindicated both His life and His work. “…who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.” Rom. 4:25 and “…because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:31
The High Priest was charged with keeping the light burning at all times. He also burned incense, which represented prayer.
“Aaron shall burn on it sweet incense every morning; when he tends the lamps, he shall burn incense on it. And when Aaron lights the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense on it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations.” Exodus 30:7,8
Jesus not only intercedes for us in prayer, but the oil in the lamp is often compared to the Holy Spirit, which Jesus sent after He had ascended to Heaven. This oil now lights our lamps continually.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matt. 5:16

The High Priest/priest/people would lay their hand on the sacrifice to identify with it/lay their sins on it, and then witness its’ death. This showed them the penalty for sin. They probably wouldn’t appreciate how serious and heinous sin is by giving a piece of fruit.
“And he brought the bull for the sin offering. Then Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the bull for the sin offering, and Moses killed it.” Lev. 8:14,15a
Jesus identified with us, taking on our sins even though He was the innocent Lamb of God.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor. 5:21

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,” 1 Pet. 3:18

Jesus is a better High Priest because He lives forever.
“Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Heb. 7:23-25
”But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” Heb. 9:11,12
Jesus is considered our High Priest even though He was from the tribe of Judah, rather than the tribe of Levi, because He was a priest after the order of Melchizedek. We studied this in Genesis. See also all of Hebrews 7.
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9
“And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.” Rev. 5:10
So if we believers are priests, what kind of sacrifices do we offer to God?
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1
“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” Heb. 13:15
“But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Heb. 13:16
So our sacrifices are our lives, daily, our praise and thanksgiving, and our good works.

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