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Doctrine of Priesthood of Jesus Christ

July 23, 2010

Great High Priesthood of Jesus Christ
Introduction
The Lord Jesus Christ holds 3 offices: (1) Prophet (2) Priest (3) King. The Lord functions as a representative in each of these offices: (1) He represents God before man as prophet. (2) He represents man before God as priest. (3) He represents both God and man as king.
The 3-fold offices are all directly to both the Person and Work of Christ. They are related to the Person of Christ: (1) Preincarnate state (2) Incarnate state (3) Glorified state.
They are all related to the Work of Christ: (1) His sovereign work: (a) Creator of the cosmos: Past (Gen. 1:1; John 1:1-3; Col. 1:16-17). (b) Sustainer of the cosmos: Present (Col. 1:17; Hb. 1:3, 10). (c) Ruler of the cosmos: Future (Eph. 1:20-23; Phlp. 2:9-11). (2) His finished work on the cross: (a) Redemption (Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:18-19) (b) Propitiation (Rom. 3:22-26; 1 John 2:2) (c) Reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18; Eph. 2:14-16; Col. 1:20-21).
They are also all directly related to His past, present and future (Rv. 1:4): (1) Past: Prophet (2) Present: Priest (3) Future: King.
The Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled His prophetic office during His 1st Advent. He is presently fulfilling His priestly office during the church age. The Lord Jesus Christ will fulfill His kingly office during His millennial reign.
The chief source of the priestly conception of our Lord is the epistle to the Hebrews where Christ is declared to have by Himself purged our sins (Heb 1:3); to taste of death for every man (Heb 2:9); that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest to make reconciliation for the sins of the people (Heb 2:17); compare (He 3:1); the community of sacrifice (Heb 3:14); our great High Priest has passed into the heavens (He 4:14); His compassion (4:15); the authority and power of Christ’s priesthood fully set forth (Heb 5).
Christ was made a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Heb 5:6). The priesthood of Christ being of the order of Melchizedek is superior to the Aaronic priesthood (Heb 7). Christ’s priesthood is eternal and that of the Aaronic is temporary and has been abolished (Heb 8). Christ’s high priesthood is made effectual by His own blood; and He entered once for all into the holy place, and has become the Mediator of a New Covenant (He 9:11-15).
Ps 110, “The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’ The LORD will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, ‘Rule in the midst of Your enemies. Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power; In holy array, from the womb of the dawn, your youth are to You as the dew. The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.’ The Lord is at Your right hand; He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath. He will judge among the nations, He will fill them with corpses, He will shatter the chief men over a broad country. He will drink from the brook by the wayside; Therefore He will lift up His head.”
This prophecy also points to the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ would not be a Levitical priest since He came from the tribe of Judah but that He would be according to the order of Melchizedek (cf. Gen. 14).
Melchizedek’s priesthood was superior since Abraham whom the Levitical priesthood descended from gave tithes to Melchizedek thus indicating the superiority of the Melchizedek’s priesthood to that of the Levitical and Aaronic priesthood.
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The fact that Melchizedek blessed Abraham also indicates his superiority to the priesthood of Aaron who descended from Abraham.
Gen 14:17-24, “Then after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. He blessed him and said, ‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.’ He gave him a tenth of all. The king of Sodom said to Abram, ‘Give the people to me and take the goods for yourself.’ Abram said to the king of Sodom, ‘I have sworn to the LORD God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, for fear you would say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ I will take nothing except what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their share.’”
Christ is forever the representative of man in heaven (Heb 9:24-28). Christ by the sacrifice of Himself forever takes away sin, and has consecrated the new and living way to God (Heb 10). He is the Mediator of the New Covenant (Heb 12:24).
Rom 8:33-34, “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.”
Heb 2:17-18, “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.”
Heb 4:14-16, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Heb 7:24-27, “but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.”
Heb 10:19-22, “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
The work of a priest in the Scriptures was 2-fold: (1) Priest offered sacrifice for himself. (2) Priest served as a mediator between God and on behalf of the people.
He can intercede for the believer because He is the mediator between God and all men.
1 Tim 2:5-6, “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.” 2003 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 2
Our Lord’s Great High Priesthood is directly related to both His finished work on the cross and His present mediatorial work in heaven at the right hand of the Father. Romans 8:34 states that our Lord intercesses for the believer as a part of His session at the right hand of God the Father. He intercedes for the believer in prayer and when Satan accuses the believer of sin (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25).
The intercessory ministry of Christ is a part of His Priesthood (Heb. 2:17; 8:1). He is our faithful High Priest (Heb. 2:17). The Lord Jesus performs His intercessory ministry for the believer in the Holy of Holies in heaven (Heb. 8:2). He entered into the veil in heaven as High Priest (Heb. 6:20). He is the believer’s High Priest who intercedes for them at the right hand of the Father. This could not be possible if it were not for the fact that our Lord has now been seated at the right hand of God the Father. Our Lord’s High Priesthood is permanent (Heb. 7:24).
God the Father forgives us sin because of the merits of His Son Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross and who now sits at His right hand intercessing for every believer (1 John 1:9). Confession of sin is possible because of our Lord’s death on the cross and His present session with the Father. Our sins are forgiven because of the merits of the Lord Jesus Who sits at the right hand of God the Father intercessing for us. He is our Advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1).
Impeccability of Christ and His Great High Priesthood
The impeccability of our Lord is an essential aspect of His present high priestly ministry on behalf of believers since the impeccability of His Person and work on the cross implies a perfect high priestly ministry.
His impeccability points to the fact that our Lord’s high priestly ministry is perfect and superior to the Aaron Levitical priesthood in the Old Testament.
Heb 7:25-28, “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.”
To be impeccable means, “to be free from fault or blame, to be flawless.” Our Lord was totally free from sin, which means He was perfect or flawless.
Christ remained free from all 3 categories of sin in the human race: (1) Old sin nature (2) Adam’s original sin (3) Personal sins.
Because of the Virgin Birth our Lord did not have an old sin nature like we are born with. He did not have an old sin nature because He did not have a human father (Luke 1:35). Adam’s original sin created the sin nature and this sin nature has been passed down to the whole human race (Rom. 6:12).
We are all born spiritually dead as a result of Adam’s original sin in the garden (Rom. 6:23a). God imputes Adam’s original sin to every member of the human race at the moment of physical birth. God imputes Adam’s sin to our genetically formed sin natures. There was no sin nature in Christ for God to impute Adam’s original sin. Therefore, 2 categories of sin were already eliminated from our Lord’s life by the time He was born: (1) Old sin nature (2) Adam’s original sin.
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The Lord Jesus Christ was found to be without sin in His humanity (John 8:46a; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 7:26; 1 Pet. 2:22; 1 John 3:5). Our Lord only had to contend with personal sins. In His humanity was tempted in all things as we are (Heb. 4:15). In His humanity was tempted to act and live independently from God the Father’s plan for His life (Luke 4:1-4; Matt. 16:21-23). He was tempted not to go to the cross (Luke 22:39-44).
To be qualified to die for our sins, Jesus had to be perfect. He had to be free from personal sins Himself (1 Peter 1:19). He would be disqualified to be our Substitute if He committed one personal sin. He would not be the Perfect Sacrifice for our sins if He sinned once. Only someone not sentenced to death can take the place of the condemned. Only the just can take the place of the unjust.
The doctrine of impeccability is summed up in 2 Latin phrases: (1) Non posse peccare means “not able to sin,” and describes the deity of Christ (2) Posse non peccare means “able not to sin,” and describes the humanity of Christ. This phrase refers to the humanity of Christ, who possessed the ability to resist sin (Heb. 4:15). As God, our Lord was neither temptable nor peccable for deity cannot sin nor be tempted to sin (James 1:13). As a man our Lord was both temptable and peccable. Therefore, we can come to this conclusion that Christ was temptable but impeccable. Jesus Christ in His hypostatic union could be tempted, but He could not sin.
John 8:46a, “Which one of you convicts Me of sin?”
2 Corinthians 5:21, “He (Christ) who never knew sin experientially (Christ was impeccable), on behalf of us (as our Substitute), was made (the representative of) sin in order that we might become the very righteousness of God in Him.”
Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.”
Hebrew 7:26, “For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens.”
1 Peter 1:19, “But with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”
1 Peter 2:22, “Who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth.”
1 John 3:5, “And you know that He appeared in order to take sins; and in Him there is no sin.”
The 1st reason why the Lord Jesus Christ was impeccable was that He was God. As God He was not able to sin (James 1:13). The Latin phrase for this doctrine is non posse peccare. The Lord Jesus Christ is infinite and eternal God (John 1:1-2; John 8:58; 10:30a; Col. 2:9a; Rev. 1:8). He has the same divine essence as God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
The Lord Jesus Christ possesses all the attributes of deity: (1) Sovereignty (Matt. 28:18a; Col. 2:10b). (2) Perfect righteousness (John 8:46a; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 7:26; 1 Pet. 2:22; 1 John 2:21b). (3) Justice (John 8:16a; 2 Tim. 4:8; Psa. 9:8; Deut. 32:4; Rev. 15:3b). (4) Love (John 13:34; Rom. 5:8; Eph. 3:19; 1 John 4:9-10). (5) Eternal life (1 Tim. 1:17; 1 John 5:11). (6) Omniscience (Luke 11:17; John 2:24-25; John 6:64). (7) Omnipresence (Matt. 18:20; Prov. 15:3) (8) Omnipotence (1 Cor. 1:23-24; Rev. 1:8). (9) Immutability (Heb. 13:8). (10) Veracity (John 1:14; 14:6a).
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe (Col. 1:16-17). The Lord Jesus Christ has authority to forgive sins (Matt. 9:6). The Lord Jesus Christ has the power to raise the dead (John 5:21; 6:40). All judgment belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ (John 5:22), and receives worship from both men and angels (Psa. 99:5; Phil. 2:10; Rev. 5:13-14). In His Deity
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always occupied a place of equality and fellowship with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus Christ as God was equal with the Father (John 10:30, 37-38; 14:9; 17:5, 24-25).
The Lord Jesus Christ in His humanity was able not to sin. The Latin phrase for this doctrine is posse non peccare. He was able not to sin in His humanity by perpetually remaining in fellowship with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit applying the Word of God. He was able not to sin through the application of the Word of God which solved His human problem of being tempted to employ His divine attributes independently of His Father’s will. His unconditional personal love for His Father and doing His will motivated Him to remain in fellowship perpetually and not sin.
The impeccability of Christ is directly related to His propitiatory sacrifice on the Cross. If the Lord Jesus Christ did not remain impeccable on the Cross, He would not be qualified to be the sin bearer for the entire human race. God the Father was satisfied with His Son substitutionary spiritual death on the Cross because He remained “without spot or blemish” on the Cross. He did not become literal sin on the Cross for if He became literal sin the Father would not be able to accept His sacrifice.
The fact that the humanity of Christ in hypostatic union was able to remain impeccable on the Cross when He received the imputation of every sin in human history-past, present a and future ensured the fact that the Father would be satisfied with His death for all mankind as the payment for their sins. This satisfaction for our sins is called propitiation, which is the Godward side of salvation whereby the Lord Jesus Christ satisfied the justice God the Father through His substitutionary spiritual death on the cross as the payment for the sins of the entire world-past, present and future.
The impeccability of Christ is foreshadowed in the Levitical offerings. There were 5 Levitical offerings authorized by the Mosaic Law (Lev. 1-6). The Burnt offering taught propitiation with emphasis on the work of Christ (Lev. 1). The Gift offering taught propitiation but this bloodless offering portrayed the perfect Person of Jesus Christ (Lev. 2). The Peace offering called for the shedding of blood and taught the doctrine of reconciliation (Lev. 3). The Sin offering taught the doctrine of Rebound for unknown sins. The Trespass offering taught Rebound of known sins.
The Hebrew word for “burnt offering” is `ola. The `ola was first presented as a “gift” (qorban) to Yahweh (Lev. 1:2, 10, 14). Sources from which this offering could come: (1) “From the herd” (Lev. 1:2-9) (2) “From the flock” (Lev. 1:10-13) (3) “Of birds” (Lev. 1:14-17). Each type of animal emphasized some aspect of the doctrine of propitiation. The young bull “from the herd” pictured Jesus Christ as a servant. The sheep or goat “from the flock” pictured Christ as the qualified sin-bearer (John 1:29). The birds depicted Christ as the resurrected God-Man.
The bull had to be without blemish depicting the impeccability of our Lord’s Person (Lev. 1:3). The transfer of sins from the sinner to the Sinless was performed symbolically in the ritual when the offerer’s hand was placed on the bull’s head (Lev. 1:4). The sins of the man were identified with the animal, which was to be slain on his behalf.
Leviticus 1:4, “And he (sinner) shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering (picturing the imputation of our sins to Christ), that it may be accepted for him to make atonement (propitiation) on his behalf.”
“It may be accepted” is the Hebrew word rasa pronounced rah-tzah, “to be favorably received,” or “graciously received.” In the Niphal stem which resembles the Greek middle voice. This means that the subject is acting upon himself. The Niphal stem here says that the acceptance of the burnt offering is a picture of God the Father acting upon Himself by providing His Son as
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the acceptable Sacrifice for our sins. The Niphal stem here says that God the Father provides the Sacrifice, which is acceptable to Him. The sacrifice of the bull represented Christ propitiating God the Father. The Niphal stem says that God the Father has accepted the work of His Son on the Cross.
“To make atonement” is the Piel infinitive construct of the verb kaphar, “to cover sin, to make atonement for sin, to make propitiation.” It speaks of the act of propitiating God here. The Piel stem intensifies the action of the verb. It speaks of the intensity of this sacrifice, which is a picture of Christ’s substitutionary spiritual death on the Cross for us. The infinitive construct denotes purpose. The purpose of the sacrifice was propitiation.
The “soothing aroma” in verse 9, which takes place after this sacrifice when the bull is burned, speaks also of propitiation. Yahweh is satisfied with the sacrifice, which is a picture of Christ’s future work on the Cross.
The offerings from the flock also taught propitiation. The goat emphasized the sins to be born by the Messiah on the Cross. The sheep was a picture of our Lord’s perfect, sinless humanity. In either case, the animal had to be without blemish (Lev. 1:10; 1 Pet. 1:18-19).
Israel was commanded by Yahweh in the OT to observe 7 Feasts: (1) Passover (2) Unleavened Bread (3) Firstfruits (4) Pentecost (5) Trumpets (6) Atonement (7) Tabernacles. Passover was instituted the 14th of April 1441 B.C. (Ex. 12:1-4; Lev. 23:5). Christ is the literal fulfillment of the Passover (1 Cor. 5:7). It spoke of the Cross.
The feast of Unleavened Bread began on the 1st day of April and lasted 7 days immediately after Passover. The 3-day feast portrayed the burial of The Lord Jesus Christ. Unleavened bread portrayed Christ in Hypostatic Union for Jesus Christ is called the “Bread of Life.”
The feast of First-fruits occurred on the 1st Sunday after the Passover. It fell on the 3rd day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Lev. 23:9-14). This feast portrayed the resurrection of Christ who is the 1st fruits.
The feast of Pentecost was a 1-day feast. It occurred on the 1st week in June, exactly 50 days after the Passover (Lev. 23:15-21). It marked the summer harvest in which many crops were available. It was literally fulfilled by Christ who was crucified on Passover, buried on Unleavened Bread, raised on Firstfruits, sent God the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
The feast of Trumpets represents the Rapture and the termination of the 5th cycle of discipline to Israel and the regathering of Israel (Lev. 23:23). The trumpet was a signal for the field workers in Israel to come to the Temple and the Jews will begin the journey back to the Temple right after the Rapture of the Church.
The Feast of Atonement was a day of confession and will represent that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Messiah. It represents the 2nd Advent. Documentation: Leviticus 23:24-32; Zechariah 12:10; 13:1, 6. The feast of Tabernacles lasted 7 days and represented the Millennium. The Lord will establish His Tabernacle in Jerusalem during the Millennial reign (Ezek. 37:26-27).
The Day of Atonement was a most solemn of these great Feasts (Lev. 16:26-32). It is derived from the Hebrew Yom Kippur. The only day in which anyone was ever permitted to enter the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle, or in the Temple. Only the high priest was permitted to enter it, and then only after he had brought an offering on behalf on his own sins (Lev. 16:13). Sacrificed on the Day of Atonement was a young bull (Lev. 16:6). It was for the sins of the high priest.
Also, 2 goats were sacrificed for the sins of the people (Lev. 16:7-10; 15-16). The high priest sacrificed the bull on the brass altar as a sin offering for himself (Lev. 16:11). The blood represented Christ’s spiritual death on the Cross. The blood was collected in a basin and carried past the huge curtain into the Holy of Holies. He then sprinkled it on the mercy seat (kapporet).
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The mercy seat was the golden lid that fit over the top of the Ark of the Covenant, which contains the emblems of Israel’s sin.
The Ark of the Covenant was overlaid with gold and stood in the Holy of Holies. The acacia wood of the box spoke of Christ’s humanity. The gold spoke of His deity. Together these materials represented Christ in Hypostatic Union or His uniqueness of the God-Man. On each end of the mercy seat stood the golden figure of a cherub. One represented God’s righteousness and the other His justice. Righteousness and justice looked down on sin (the emblems in the Ark) and condemned it. Once a year, the blood of the young bull was sprinkled on top of the mercy seat. When Righteousness and Justice looked down, they saw the completed work of Christ covering the sins of the high priest.
The high priest sacrificed 1 of the goats as an offering for the people. The live goat was sent off into the wilderness after Aaron had laid both of his hands on its head thus transferring the iniquities of the people to the goat (Lev. 16:20-22).
The “scapegoat” represents that aspect of Christ’s work, which puts away our sins (John 1:29). The goat that was slain (the Lord’s lot) is that aspect of Christ’s death, which satisfies or vindicates the holy and righteousness of God that is demanded in the law. Aaron took the goats blood and entered into the Holy of Holies a second time to sprinkle the blood on the mercy seat. This time the spiritual death of Christ on the cross was dramatized as covering the sins of all the people. God does not remember our sins for they were put away and paid for by our Lord’s spiritual death (Psa. 103:12).
The fulfillment of the Old Testament ritual came in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ entered the real Holy of Holies and not the shadow one on earth (Heb. 10:24). Our Lord did not have to offer a sacrifice for Himself as the Levitical high priest had to for himself for He was without sin, impeccable (Heb. 8:26-27). Instead, The Lord Jesus Christ offered Himself up once as a sacrifice to pay for the sins of all mankind (Heb. 8:27; 9:28a). He entered heaven one time and sat down at the right hand of God the Father (Heb. 10:12). Christ’s has obtained a much greater ministry than Aaron (Heb. 8:6).
The Aaronic priesthood was a mere shadow of Christ’s Royal Priesthood (Heb. 8:1-6). The Tabernacle made on earth, which was made with human hands, was just a picture of the real one in heaven. The animal blood sacrifices were shadows or copies of the true sacrifice that was to take place on Calvary when our Lord died spiritually for our sins (Heb. 9:23-26). Our Lord’s sacrifice on the Cross-fulfilled completely the Mosaic sacrifices. His spiritual death paid for or covered our sins permanently, as the blood on the mercy seat covered the sins of Israel temporarily (Heb. 9:12-14; 10:4). The animal sacrifices in the OT pictured the future sacrifice of Christ. They were merely shadows of Christ’s work on the cross (Heb. 10:1).
The phrase in Romans 3:25, “sins previously committed,” teaches that the sins committed in the OT were not paid for by the animal sacrifices but with our Lord’s sacrifice on the Cross at Calvary. The rituals performed in the OT were not the reality. The reality or the sacrifice that propitiated God was the sacrifice of His Son on the Cross, and not the animal sacrifices (Heb. 10:4-10). Ritual without reality is meaningless. The animal sacrifices were merely teaching aids to communicate the doctrines of propitiation, redemption and reconciliation to those who lived in OT dispensations. Christ spiritual death satisfied the righteousness of God not the animal sacrifices.
Hebrews 2:17, “Therefore, He (TLJC) had to be made like His brethren in all things (reference to the necessity of the Incarnation), that He might become a merciful and
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faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”
This passage brings out that aspect of Christ’s substitutionary spiritual death, which was Godward. Hebrews 2:17 brings out the purpose of the Incarnation that God might be gracious towards us on the basis of the propitiatory act of Christ on the Cross which was His substitutionary spiritual death. Hebrews 2:17 states that the Lord Jesus Christ performs the act of propitiating God or satisfying the justice of God the Father. Righteousness demanded that our sins be judged. Our Lord received the imputation of our personal sins and received the judgment for those sins on the Cross, thus, satisfying the justice of God. This fulfills the principle that what the righteousness of God demands, the justice of God executes. The action that satisfied the justice of God the Father was our Lord’s spiritual death on the Cross. The Incarnation made possible salvation.
The doctrine of the Incarnation is the period of time (33 1/2 years) in which the 2nd Person of the Trinity, God the Son, lived on earth in Hypostatic Union. If God the Son did not become true humanity then salvation would not be possible. For only humanity can die and not deity. Therefore, it was imperative that God the Son become a human being so that He could make the sacrifice that would propitiate the Father’s justice.
Hebrews 2:17 states the purpose for the Incarnation, which is “to make propitiation for the sins of the people” is the NAS translation of the Greek prepositional phrase, eis to hilaskesthai tas hamartias tou laou. We have a purpose clause eis to plus the infinitive of hilaskomai. The preposition eis and the definite article to plus an infinitive is a common Greek idiom to express a design or purpose. The preposition eis is “temporal” or refers to a “goal in time.” It introduces a “purpose” and when used in this manner should be translated, “with a view to, for the purpose of.” The NAS does not translate this idiom properly. To hilaskesthai is an articular infinitive or an infinitive with the definite article in front of it. The articular infinitive is used here to express a purpose. The goal in time or the purpose of the Incarnation was to propitiate or satisfy the righteous demands of God the Father. The righteousness of God the Father demanded sin be judged. Our Lord became true humanity in order that He might receive the imputation of our sins and be judged for them and thereby satisfies the righteousness of God.
Hilaskesthai is the present middle infinitive of the verb hilaskomai, “to make propitiation for.” It refers to the act of our Lord offering Himself on the Cross to satisfy the righteous demands of God’s justice. Hilaskomai is etymologically connected with hilaos and hileos, “friendly, gracious, and hilemi, “to be gracious.”
God is gracious towards us because His justice has been satisfied by our Lord’s spiritual death, which was the act of propitiation itself. Grace and mercy can now be extended to us on the basis of justice satisfied. Remember, God isn’t gracious to us because He forgot our sins or swept them under the rug. No, they were imputed to Christ on the Cross and judged. This means that no one gets away with sin because Christ was judged for every sin committed by the human race-past, present and future. God always deals with us with according to His own Integrity. This means that He deals with us according to Who and What He is and What He has done, not who and what we are or what we do. Our point of contact with God is always His integrity, which is His love. God’s love acts righteously and justly towards members of the human race.
God is propitiated according to what He has done (2 Cor. 5:19a). God is gracious towards us because of what He has done through Christ on the Cross. The Lord Jesus Christ received the imputation of our sins in order to propitiate or satisfy the Father’s righteous demands that our sins be judged. Vine writes, “Through the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ, he who believes upon
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Him is by God’s own act delivered from justly deserved wrath, and comes under the covenant of grace.”
Never is God said to be reconciled, a fact itself indicative that the enmity exists on man’s part alone, and that it is man who needs to be reconciled to God, and not God to man. God is always the same and, since He is Himself immutable, His relative attitude does change towards those who change. He can act differently towards those who come to Him by faith, and solely on the ground of the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ, not because He has changed, but because He ever acts according to His unchanging righteousness.”
1 John 4:10, “In this is impersonal unconditional love, not that we loved God, but that He self-sacrificially loved us (with emphasis on His own Integrity) and sent His Son to be the propitiation (hilasmos, “propitiatory sacrifice”) for our sins.”
Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice was an act of justice as well as an act of love. 1 John 4:10 brings into view God’s love for all of humanity. God’s love cannot save anyone though. God’s impersonal unconditional self-sacrificial love for the world was the motivation for sending His Son to the Cross as the propitiatory sacrifice, which took away the sins of the world. Our sins went to Christ on the cross and His righteousness went to us at the moment of personal faith in Christ. We become objects of God’s personal love at salvation because we now possess His righteousness. God loves His own righteousness. God can give us His righteousness when we believe in Christ because Christ has satisfied the Father’s righteousness.
Romans 3:25, “Whom God (the Father) displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood (Christ’s saving work which speaks of Redemption, Propitiation and Reconciliation) through faith (you benefit from Christ’s saving work upon believing in Him for salvation). This was to demonstrate His (God the Father’s) righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed (the Father knew in His omniscience that He would send His Son to die for the sins committed in the OT).”
Romans 3:25 identifies that the Lord Jesus Christ is the “mercy seat.” In the OT, the blood of the sacrificed animal was sprinkled on the mercy seat (kapporet) between the 2 cherubs, which represented God’s righteousness, and justice. This occurred during the Day of Atonement, the most solemn of holy days in which the high priest would make atonement the sins of Israel as well as his own. The mercy seat was the golden lid that fit over the top of the Ark of the Covenant, which contains the emblems of Israel’s sin.
The Lord is the “true” mercy seat spoken of in the OT although He did not have to offer a sacrifice for Himself as the OT high priest because He was impeccable. The atonement took place in Christ, our mercy seat. He is the sight of the atonement.
The 3 items in the Ark: (1) A pot of manna: called to mind man’s rejection of divine provision (2) Aaron’s rod that budded: exhibited rejection of God’s plan regarding the authority of the Levitical priesthood. (3) Tables of the Law: a reminder of Israel’s violations of the Mosaic Law.
The Ark of the Covenant was overlaid with gold and stood in the Holy of Holies. The acacia wood of the box spoke of Christ’s humanity. The gold spoke of His deity. Together these materials represented Christ in Hypostatic Union or His uniqueness as the God-Man.
On each end of the mercy seat stood the golden figure of a cherub. One represented God’s righteousness and the other His justice. Righteousness and justice looked down on sin (the emblems in the Ark) and condemned it, but once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the blood of the young bull was sprinkled on top of the mercy seat. When Righteousness and Justice looked
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down, they saw the blood of the animal covering the mercy seat representing the completed work of Christ.
Hilasterion in classical Greek referred to the act of appeasing the Greek gods by a sacrifice. It was an effort to buy off the anger of the gods and buy his love. Of course, this is not the case with the God of the Bible; you can’t buy off His love, as some people seem to think. Hilasterion is related to hilasterios and belongs to a group of words, which includes the verb hilaskomai, “to make propitiation for,” and the noun hilasmos, “propitiatory sacrifice.” It functions in the LXX and the NT as a technical term.
The word in the LXX and NT means “the place of propitiation, the mercy seat” (Heb. 9:5), i.e. the lid of the ark (compare frequent similar use in the Old Testament LXX, Ex. 25:18). The lid of the ark was sprinkled with atoning blood on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:14), representing that the righteous sentence of the law had been executed, changing a place of judgment into a place of mercy (Heb. 9:11-15; cp. “Throne of grace,” Heb. 4:14-16; place of communion, Ex. 25:21-22).
Both, Exodus 25:21-22 and Hebrews 4:14-16 and 9:11-15 emphasize the place where we are to meet with God. The only way we can “draw near to God” (Heb. 4:14-16), and “meet” with God (Ex. 25:21-22) is through the Person of Jesus Christ-our mercy seat. He is the Mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5).
In the LXX, hilasterion translates the Hebrew word kapporeth, “the mercy seat,” which is the golden lid of the Ark of the Covenant. The term serves other purposes in the Old Testament as well, but it mainly refers to the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant.
Some theologians argue that Paul is speaking of the sacrifice and not the mercy seat but if that was the case he would have used the word hilasmos as the apostle John did in 1 John 2:2 and 4:10. But it is quite clear that the Holy Spirit specifically guided Paul in using the technical term hilasterion, “mercy seat, and the place of propitiation or atonement” so that we could see that Christ is the site at which atonement takes place through faith.
Wuest writes, “The word hilasterion is used in Leviticus 16:14 (LXX) to refer to the golden cover on the Ark of the Covenant. In the Ark, below this cover, were the tablets of stone upon which were written the Ten Commandments, which Israel had violated. Before the Ark stood the High Priest representing the people.
When the sacrificial blood is sprinkled on this cover, it ceases to be a place of judgment and becomes a place of mercy. The blood comes between the violated law and the violators, the people. The blood of Jesus satisfies the just requirements of God’s holy law which mankind broke, pays the penalty for man, and thus removes that which had separated between a holy God and sinful man, sin, its guilt and penalty. This is a far cry from the pagan idea of propitiation, which appeased the anger of the god and purchased his love.
The words, “an expiatory satisfaction” seem to be the words rather than propitiation to adequately translate hilasterion. Hilasterion is the place of satisfaction, hilasmos (1 John 2:2; 4:10) that which provides that satisfaction for the broken law. Thus, our blessed Lord is both the Mercy Seat and the Sacrifice which transforms the former from a judgment seat to one where mercy is offered a sinner on the basis of justice satisfied.”
The apostle Paul as technical term uses hilasterion. It represents the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ. It speaks of the “place” or “site” that we can meet with God and have communion with Him, which is through His Son Jesus Christ. The Hebrew equivalent for hilasterion is the word kapporet. Kapporet means “mercy seat” and was the site or the place where propitiation took place.
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The kapporet was made of acacia wood and overlaid with gold, which spoke of our Lord’s humanity and deity respectively. It spoke of the unique Person of our Lord Jesus Christ in Hypostatic Union. So Paul uses hilasterion with a very definite purpose in mind. He wishes to emphasize the Person of our Lord. He wishes to emphasize the “place” or the “site” of propitiation where we can meet or have communion with God, which is through His Son Jesus Christ. Our Lord’s propitiatory sacrifice changes the hilasterion from a place of judgment to a “throne of grace” or place where mercy can be extended to man.
1 John 2:2, “And He Himself (“Jesus Christ the righteous”) is the propitiatory sacrifice for our (personal) sins, but in fact, not for ours only, but also for sins of the whole world (unlimited atonement).”
God’s Integrity is emphasized. Only a “righteous” Person can satisfy the justice of a “righteous” God. Only a “righteous” Person can produce a “righteous” act. The sins of the world are no longer an issue with God because His justice has been satisfied by a “righteous” Person’s action (propitiatory sacrifice). The propitiatory sacrifice of Christ is the basis for the strategic victory over Satan in the Angelic Conflict. The propitiatory sacrifice of Christ resolves the problem of the demands of God’s righteousness and justice. Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice was accomplished by Him and Him alone, thus, excluding all human works or power.
Propitiation is directed towards God or it is said to be Godward. Propitiation means “satisfaction.” The righteousness of God demanded that our sins be judged. Christ received the imputation of our sins in order that He might be judged by the justice of God for them and not us. Therefore, fulfilling the principle that “what the righteousness of God demands, the justice of God executes.”
Righteousness demands righteousness. There is only 1 Person who was qualified to perform the act of propitiating the Father. “Jesus Christ the righteous.” He alone possessed the righteousness needed to be the Perfect Sacrifice for our sins. Jesus Christ is both undiminished deity and true humanity in 1 Person forever. As God, He is perfectly righteous. As true humanity, He was impeccable or was without sin. He possessed the same Perfect Integrity and character that the Father possessed; therefore, He was able to perform the necessary sacrifice, which would satisfy the justice of God. “Jesus Christ the righteous” alone was able to meet the righteous demands of God’s Integrity.
There are several passages, which teach that the Father was satisfied with His Son (Matt. 3:16-17; 17:1-5). The Lord Jesus Christ was “well pleasing” to the Father because He was impeccable in His humanity, and therefore, the Perfect Sacrifice. God the Father was “satisfied” with Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice because He was impeccable. The Father was testifying that Jesus Christ in His humanity was perfectly righteous. God has never said He was “well pleased” with any human being except The Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, Romans 3:10, “There is none righteous, not even one.” God the Father is only pleased or satisfied with 1 Man, the Lord Jesus Christ.
“I am well pleased” in both Matthew 3:17 and 17:5 is the 1st person aorist active indicative from the verb eudokeo. This verb is used 7 times in the NT relating to Christ (Matt. 3:17; 12:18; 17:5; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22; 2 Peter 1:17). This verb is found frequently in the papyri in legal documents. Eudokeo when used of persons or things means “to be well pleasing or acceptable, to be satisfied with, to approve of, to take pleasure in, to have delight in.” This verb when used in relation to Christ speaks of the Father’s satisfaction with the perfect humanity of our Lord. Therefore, the humanity of Christ is able to perform the act of propitiating the Father.
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Our Lord was perfectly qualified to satisfy the justice of God the Father because He was impeccable. Because our Lord was a truly “righteous” Person, He was therefore able to perform a “righteous” action. In order to satisfy God’s perfect righteous demands, one must be perfectly righteous himself. Christ’s righteousness was equal to the Father’s.
Colossians 2:15, “When He (God the Father) had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He (God the Father) made a public display of them (Satan and the fallen angels), having triumphed over them through Him (Christ).”
Jesus Christ was “publicly displayed” by God the Father as the Sacrifice for our sins in order to demonstrate His justice (Rom. 3:25). This wasn’t done in a closest nor is it a fairy tale but a historical fact that Jesus of Nazareth died on a Roman cross two thousand years ago. God’s righteousness has been “publicly displayed” at the cross before angels and men.
Our Lord defeated Satan at the Cross and this was seen by the elect and fallen angels. The Cross was our Lord’s strategic victory over Satan and the kingdom of darkness. “He made a public display” is the Greek verb deigmatizo, “to make an example of, to expose, to make public, to exhibit.” It has a negative connotation of “disgracing someone, of making public what someone would like to keep secret, or of making an example of someone.” In eternity past, Satan challenged the Integrity of God (His justice and righteousness) for sentencing him with the fallen angels to the Lake of Fire. Satan challenged God’s Integrity by saying that He didn’t love His creatures. The Cross proved Satan wrong. God does love His creatures even creatures like us who are totally unworthy but are qualified to be recipients of His grace.
The Cross proved that God is the Greatest Lover in the universe since He loves sinners such as us. God the Father vindicated Himself at the Cross through Christ’s sacrifice. God the Father made “an example” out of Satan and the fallen angels through Christ on the Cross. God the Father defeated Satan and the fallen angels at the Cross through Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice. The Cross proved that God was righteous for sending Satan and the fallen angels to the Lake of Fire. The Cross proved that God does not compromise His Integrity but that He does indeed judge sin. His Integrity says that He has to. The Cross proved before the whole universe that God has perfect Integrity. It should not be questioned by angels or men. Especially men, since they are beneficiaries of His Integrity.
Session of Christ and His Great High Priesthood
Any discussion of our Lord’s Great High Priesthood and intercessory ministry on behalf of all believers at the Father’s right hand must include our Lord’s present session.
Our Lord’s Great High Priesthood and intercession for believers at the right hand of the Father is the result of our Lord’s present session at the right hand of the Father.
The Session of Christ pertains to the glorification of our Lord’s humanity at the right hand of God the Father when our Lord received His third royal title from God the Father as “King of kings and Lord of lords… the bright morning star.”
Our Lord’s session points to the fact that the humanity of Christ in hypostatic union has been granted authority by God the Father over the following: (1) Creation (Matt. 28:18; Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:15-17; 2:10; 1 Pet. 3:22). (2) Church as the King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 17:14; 19:16). (3) Israel as the Son of David (Matt. 1:1; 20:30; Mark 10:47-48; Luke 1:32; 2 Tim. 2:8; Rev. 3:7; 5:5; 22:16).
The Session of Christ also denotes that the humanity of Christ in hypostatic union has been granted authority to conduct the following 5 judgments:
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(1) Bema Seat: This takes place at the Rapture and is actually an evaluation rather than a judgment of the church age believer’s “works” in order to determine if they were done by means of divine omnipotence from the use of the 2 power options (Filling of the Spirit and the Word of God) resulting in divine good and rewards or whether they were accomplished in the power of the old sin nature resulting in loss of rewards and shame and embarrassment (Rom. 14:10; 1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Cor. 5:10; 1 John 2:24). The believer sins will not be brought since they were already judged at the Cross.
(2) Israel: This will take on earth at the 2nd Advent of Christ taking place at the end of the Tribulation and its for the purpose of removing unregenerate Israel from the earth leaving only regenerate Israel to enter the Millennial Kingdom of Christ (Ezek. 20:37-38; Zech. 13:8-9; Mal. 3:2-3, 5; Matt. 25:1-30).
(3) Gentiles: This judgment will also take place at the end of the Tribulation at the 2nd Advent of Christ following the judgment of Israel and preceding the Millennial reign of Christ and is for the purpose of removing unregenerate, anti-Semitic Gentiles from the earth who lived during the Tribulation from those who were regenerate and pro-Israel (Matt. 25:31-46).
(4) Fallen Angels: This is the judgment of all fallen angels at the end of human history by the Lord Jesus Christ and the Church for their rebellion against God in eternity past and will result in them being cast into the Lake of Fire (1 Cor. 6:3; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6; Rev. 20:10).
(5) Great White Throne: This is the judgment of all unregenerate humanity at the end of human history for their rejection of Jesus Christ as Savior resulting in them also being cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:11-15). Their sins will not be brought up since they were judged at the Cross. These individuals trusted in themselves and their own good works done in the flesh rather than on the perfect Person and Work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Our Lord received His third royal title as “King of kings and Lord of lords, the bright morning star” which is a direct result of His execution of the Father’s Incarnation Plan.
The Lord Jesus Christ session at the right hand of the Father points to His kingship (Rev. 4:2). Our Lord acknowledged to Pilate at His 5th trial and 2nd civil trial that He was indeed a king but that His kingdom was not of this world.
John 18:33-37, “Pilate therefore entered again into the Praetorium and summoned Jesus, and said to Him, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?’ Jesus answered, ‘Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?’ Pilate answered, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You up to me; what have You done?’ Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.’ Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘So You are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness (for the Prosecution in the rebuttal phase of Satan’s appeal trial) to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’”
When our Lord arrived in heaven and was seated at the right hand of God the Father He received a new royal warrant, a 3rd royal title as the “King of kings and the Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 19:16). This title has been granted to Him by the Father indicating His rulership over the Church of which He is the Head. The Tribulation saints in heaven when singing the song of Moses proclaim our Lord as the “King of the nations” which He will assume at His 2nd Advent.
David prophesied in Psalm 110:1 that the Son of God would be seated at His right hand. Our Lord repeated this prophecy to the Jews in Matt. 22:44. Our fulfilled this prophesy when He was
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seated at the right hand of God the Father in heaven. This prophecy is quoted several times in the Scriptures indicating its importance (Acts 2:34; Heb. 1:13; 10:12-13). Our Lord’s present session in heaven thus fulfills the Messianic prophecy of David in Psalm 110:1. As our Lord stated to the Jews, “If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?’” (Matt. 22:45). They could not answer Him a word. The answer is that David’s descendant would have to be God incarnate in order to fulfill the Davidic prophecy.
The session of Christ also is directly related to our Lord’s 2nd and final ascension (Acts 2:34). There were 2 ascensions that took place: (1) Immediate: On the day He rose from the dead (John 20:17; Luke 24:38-40). (2) Final: 40 days after the resurrection (Acts 1:8-11).
The Scriptures indicate that there was an immediate ascension of our Lord. The doctrine of an immediate ascension appears when 2 passages of Scripture are compared (John 20:17; Luke 24:38-40). It is recorded in John 20:17 that when Christ came out of the tomb He was met by Mary, who in ecstatic devotion would have embraced His feet and held her Lord. Christ told her not to touch Him since He had not yet ascended to present Himself to the Father. Yet in Luke’s account of the resurrection it is asserted that the same day in which He arose and at evening He not only appeared in the midst of the frightened disciples, but also requested that they touch Him where the nails were driven into His hands and feet. Therefore, a comparison of Scripture reveals that He ascended to the Father during the day that He arose from the dead.
The ascension for Christ was a glorious triumphal procession into heaven (Col. 2:15). The Ascension of Christ was the vertical transfer of our Lord’s true humanity from planet earth to the third heaven in a resurrection body. The ascension of Christ occurred 40 days after His resurrection. He remained on earth for 40 days in order to confirm the fact that He had indeed risen from the dead as He prophesied many times in His earthly ministry during His 1st Advent.
The ascension of Christ was a visible event and in a public place. It took place on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem where He will again return at His 2nd Advent, which occurs at the end of the Tribulation period. Our Lord’s ascension brought to a conclusion His earthly ministry and not the resurrection. The dispensation of the hypostatic union concludes with the resurrection, ascension and session of Christ.
The ascension of Christ is the visible manifestation that God the Father promoted the humanity of Christ in hypostatic union to the highest position of power, rank and authority in all of creation. The ascension of the humanity of Christ in hypostatic union declares His enthronement as cosmic ruler with authority over all creation. The ascension of the humanity of Christ was another demonstration of divine omnipotence, which characterized the dispensation of the hypostatic union.
The church age believer’s eternal union and sanctification is directly related to our Lord’s present session. The church age believer is the beneficiary of 3 categories of sanctification as a result of the Baptism of the Spirit, which is a direct result of our Lord’s session.
The 3 categories of sanctification are as follows:
(1) Positional: The entrance into the Plan of God for the church age resulting in eternal security as well as 2 categories of positional truth (1 Cor. 1:2, 30; 1 Pet. 1:2; 1 Thess. 5:23; Eph. 5:26-27; Heb. 2:11; 10:10; Acts 20:32; 26:18; Rom. 6:3, 8; 2 Thess. 2:13). ) (a) Retroactive: The church age believer’s identification with Christ in His death (Rom. 6:3-11; Col. 2:12). (b) Current: The church age believer’s identification with Christ in His resurrection, ascension and session (Col. 3:1-4).
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(2) Experiential: The function of the church age believer’s spiritual life in time through the consistent application of the Word of God resulting in the execution of the Plan of God for the church age (John 17:17; Rom. 6:19, 22; 2 Tim. 2:21; 1 Pet. 3:15; 1 Thess. 4:3-4, 7; 1 Tim. 2:15).
(3) Ultimate: The perfection of the church age believer’s spiritual life at the exit-resurrection or Rapture of the Church which is the completion of the Plan of God for the church age (1 Cor. 15:53-54; Gal. 6:8; 1 Pet. 5:10; John 6:40).
The church age believer has at their disposal the 2 power options (Eph. 5:18; John 4:24). They have the indwelling of the Trinity (Eph. 4:6; Rom. 8:11; Col. 1:27). They have been created a new spiritual species in order to utilize divine power (2 Cor. 5:17). The church age believer can now utilize the operational type spiritual in order to execute the Plan of God for the church age whereas the humanity of Christ utilized the prototype. All of this is a result that the Theanthropos (God-Man), the Lord Jesus Christ is now seated at the right hand of God the Father.
The session of Christ is also related to the believer’s position in Christ. At the moment of salvation the believer is placed in union with Christ through the Baptism of the Spirit. Sanctification is the direct result of the Baptism of the Spirit. Positional sanctification is defined as the church age believer’s eternal union with Christ through the Baptism of the Spirit, which occurs at the moment of salvation.
There are 2 categories of positional sanctification: (1) Retroactive: The church age believer’s identification with Christ in His death (Rom. 6:3-11; Col. 2:12). (2) Current: The church age believer’s identification with Christ in His resurrection, ascension and session (Col. 3:1-4).
The purpose of positional sanctification is for the church age believer to execute the Plan of God for the church age (Rom. 6:11-13, 19). The church age believer’s identification with Christ in His Resurrection, Ascension and Session (Col. 3:1-4). The believer is identified with Christ as He is currently seated in heaven. The believer is now positionally higher than angels (Heb. 1 and 2).
Inferiority of Aaron and the Levitical Priesthood
As we note in our introduction our Lord holds 3 offices: (1) Prophet (2) Priest (3) King. His priesthood is superior to the Levitical priesthood in that He does not have to offer a sacrifice for Himself since He is impeccable. Instead He offered Himself as a substitute and became the Mediator of a New Covenant, which was based upon His spiritual death on the cross.
The apostle Paul in Hebrews 8-9 teaches this superiority of Christ’s priesthood over the Levitical priesthood.
Heb 8-9, “Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; so it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer. Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law; who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, ‘SEE,’ He says, ‘THAT YOU MAKE all things ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN WHICH WAS SHOWN YOU ON THE MOUNTAIN.’ But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been
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faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. For finding fault with them, He says, ‘BEHOLD, DAYS ARE COMING, SAYS THE LORD, WHEN I WILL EFFECT A NEW COVENANT WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH; NOT LIKE THE COVENANT WHICH I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS ON THE DAY WHEN I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND TO LEAD THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT; FOR THEY DID NOT CONTINUE IN MY COVENANT, AND I DID NOT CARE FOR THEM, SAYS THE LORD. FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS, AND I WILL WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS. AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERYONE HIS FELLOW CITIZEN, AND EVERYONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING,”KNOW THE LORD,’ FOR ALL WILL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST OF THEM. FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR INIQUITIES, AND I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE.’ When He said, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear. And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him. ”
The Levitical priesthood was reorganized under David because of a population explosion. There were 24 orders. There were 16 orders that were descendants of Eleazar. 8 who were descended through Ithmar (1 Chron. 15; 16:4-6, 37-43).
Succession occurred upon the officiating high priest’s death and the oldest surviving son was installed in the office (Num. 20:28). The line was promised to pass down through Phinehas, the eldest son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron (Num. 25:10-13). Eli was a legitimate priest and descendant of Ithamar but was not a high priest. The switch in the line took place during Saul’s reign. It was rightfully restored to the line of Eleazar during Solomon’s reign (1 Kin. 2:26-27, 35).
Seraiah was the high priest in Jeremiah’s day when the nation of Israel was under the 5th cycle of discipline (2 Kin. 25:18-21). His son Josedech never inherited the office because he died in captivity at Babylon (Hag. 1:1, 14). His son Joshua entered the office when the high priesthood was restored in the days of Zechariah and Zerubbabel (Zech. 3:1). His successors were: (1) Joiakim (2) Eliashib (3) Joiada (4) Johanan (5) Jaddua: He showed Alexander the prophecy in Daniel concerning Alexander and consequently won his friendship to the Jews. (6) Onias I, Simon the Just (7) Onias II, Simon’s brother Eleazar who served because Simon’s son
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was too young. He was also known as Menelaus, an evil priest. (8) Alcimus followed him and he was evil.
The priesthood was passed down to the Asmonaean family of the order of Joiarib (1 Chron. 9:10; 24:7; Neh. 11:10). This line continued until Herod the Great destroyed it. The last in this line was Aristobulus who was murdered by order of Herod, the brother in law of Herod the Great.
There were 28 high priests until the year 70 A.D. when the nation of Israel went on the 5th cycle of discipline. Annas and Caiaphas were the priests in our Lord’s Day.
The Aaronic priesthood was a mere shadow of Christ’s Royal Priesthood (Heb. 8:1-6). Christ’s has obtained a much greater ministry than Aaron (Heb. 8:6). Aaron ministered in the earthly tabernacle whereas the Lord Jesus Christ presently ministers in the heavenly tabernacle in the holy of holies in heaven at the right hand of the Father.
The Tabernacle made on earth, which was made with human hands was just a picture of the real one in heaven. The animal blood sacrifices were shadows or copies of the true sacrifice that was to take place on Calvary when our Lord died spiritually for our sins (Heb. 9:23-26). Our Lord’s sacrifice on the Cross fulfilled completely the Mosaic sacrifices. His spiritual death paid for or covered our sins permanently, as the blood on the mercy seat covered the sins of Israel was merely a shadow or type of Christ’s future death on the cross (Heb. 9:12-14; 10:4).
The animal sacrifices in the OT pictured the future sacrifice of Christ. They were merely shadows of Christ’s work on the cross (Heb. 10:1). The Feast of Atonement was a day of confession and will represent that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Messiah. It represents the 2nd Advent. Documentation: Leviticus 23:24-32; Zechariah 12:10; 13:1, 6.
The feast of Tabernacles lasted 7 days and represented the Millennium. The Lord will establish His Tabernacle in Jerusalem during the millennial reign (Ezek. 37:26-27). The Day of Atonement was a most solemn of these great Feasts (Lev. 16:26-32). It is derived from the Hebrew Yom Kippur. The only day in which, anyone was ever permitted to enter the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle, or in the Temple. Only the high priest was permitted to enter it, and then only after he had brought an offering on behalf on his own sins (Lev. 16:13).
Sacrificed on the Day of Atonement was a young bull (Lev. 16:6). It was for the sins of the high priest. Also, 2 goats were sacrificed for the sins of the people (Lev. 16:7-10; 15-16). The high priest sacrificed the bull on the brass altar as a sin offering for himself (Lev. 16:11). The blood represented Christ’s spiritual death on the Cross. The blood was collected in a basin and carried past the huge curtain into the Holy of Holies. He then sprinkled it on the mercy seat (kapporet). The mercy seat was the golden lid that fit over the top of the Ark of the Covenant, which contains the emblems of Israel’s sin.
The Ark of the Covenant was overlaid with gold and stood in the Holy of Holies. The acacia wood of the box spoke of Christ’s humanity. The gold spoke of His deity. Together these materials represented Christ in Hypostatic Union or His uniqueness of the God-Man.
On each end of the mercy seat stood the golden figure of a cherub. One represented God’s righteousness and the other His justice. Righteousness and justice looked down on sin (the emblems in the Ark) and condemned it.
Once a year, the blood of the young bull was sprinkled on top of the mercy seat. When Righteousness and Justice looked down, they saw the completed work of Christ covering the sins of the high priest.
The lid of the ark was sprinkled with atoning blood on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:14), representing that the righteous sentence of the law had been executed, changing a place of
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judgment into a place of mercy (Heb. 9:11-15; cp. “throne of grace,” Heb. 4:14-16; place of communion, Ex. 25:21-22). Both, Exodus 25:21-22 and Hebrews 4:14-16 and 9:11-15 emphasize the place where we are to meet with God.
The only way we can “draw near to God” (Heb. 4:14-16), and “meet” with God (Ex. 25:21-22) is through the Person of Jesus Christ-our mercy seat. He is the Mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5).
The high priest sacrificed 1 of the goats as an offering for the people. The live goat was sent off into the wilderness after Aaron had laid both of his hands on its head thus transferring the iniquities of the people to the goat (Lev. 16:20-22). The “scapegoat” represents that aspect of Christ’s work, which puts away our sins (John 1:29). The goat that was slain (the Lord’s lot) is that aspect of Christ’s death, which satisfies or vindicates the holy and righteousness of God that is demanded in the law.
Aaron took the goats blood and entered into the Holy of Holies a second time to sprinkle the blood on the mercy seat. This time the spiritual death of Christ on the cross was dramatized as covering the sins of all the people.
God does not remember our sins for they were put away and paid for by our Lord’s spiritual death (Psa. 103:12). The fulfillment of the Old Testament ritual came in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ entered the real Holy of Holies and not the shadow one on earth (Heb. 10:24).
Our Lord did not have to offer a sacrifice for Himself as the Levitical high priest had to for himself for He was without sin, impeccable (Heb. 8:26-27). Instead, the Lord Jesus Christ offered Himself up once as a sacrifice to pay for the sins of all mankind (Heb. 8:27; 9:28a). He entered heaven one time and sat down at the right hand of God the Father (Heb. 10:12). The way into the holy of holies is now free and clear to enter since the humanity of Christ in hypostatic union has propitiated the Father’s righteous demands that our sins be judged. The veil that was torn in the Herodian temple upon our Lord’s death was symbolic that access to the Father is now available at any time and for anyone without exception for those who accept Christ as Savior.
Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.”
The believer has been given the privilege and Intercessor, Jesus Christ the righteous one to keep on confidently approaching the throne of grace on the basis of the merits of Jesus Christ and His saving work on the Cross.
Hebrews 10:19-21, “Since therefore, Royal Family, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus (substitutionary spiritual death of Christ on the Cross), by a new and living way which He (the Lord Jesus Christ) initiated and opened for us through the veil, that is, His true humanity, even a great priest over the household of God (Royal Family). Let us keep on approaching with a right lobe of metabolized doctrine in full assurance of faith (our salvation; eternal security), having had the right lobe (the soul) sprinkled (by the blood of Christ, i.e., saving work of Christ on the Cross) in the past with the result that it keeps on being sprinkled up to the present moment from an evil conscience (Rebound), and having washed the body with clean water (the Word of God, i.e., Bible Doctrine) in the past with the result that it (the physical body) keeps on being washed up to the present moment (Bible Doctrine cleanses the believer’s soul).”
The throne of judgment has been changed to a throne of grace because the Lord Jesus Christ propitiated God the Father with His substitutionary spiritual death on the Cross. The integrity of 2003 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 18
God is satisfied with Person and Work of Jesus Christ on the Cross; therefore, the access to God the Father in prayer has been opened.
Romans 3:25, “Whom (the Lord Jesus Christ) God (the Father) has publicly displayed by His blood (substitutionary spiritual death of Christ on the Cross; figurative blood) as the mercy seat through faith in Christ for a demonstration of His integrity because of the passing over of previously committed sins (personal sins of OT saints) because of the delay in judgment of God for the demonstration of His integrity at the present time of crisis (church age; intensified stage of Angelic Conflict) in order that He (God the Father) might be just even when He justifies anyone who has faith in Jesus (emphasizing the humanity of Christ).”
“Mercy seat” is the word hilasterion, “the place of propitiation, the mercy seat” (Heb. 9:5), i.e., the lid of the Ark of the Covenant. The lid of the Ark of the Covenant in the OT was sprinkled with blood on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:14). This represented that the righteous sentence of the law had been executed, changing a place of judgment into a place of mercy (Heb. 9:11-15; cp. “throne of grace,” Heb. 4:14-16; place of communion, Ex. 25:21-22).
Advocacy of Christ and His Great High Priesthood
The Lord Jesus Christ is presently functioning as the believer’s great high priest at the right hand of the Father. The responsibility of the priest is to represent man to God. The Lord represents the believer as his “advocate” with the Father.
1 John 2:1, “My little children, I am providing information in writing at this particular time concerning these things for the benefit of all of you in order that all of you might not enter into committing an act of sin. Now, if anyone does enter into committing an act of sin, then we, as an eternal spiritual truth, possess as an Advocate with the Father, Jesus who is the righteous Christ.”
The word parakletos in 1 John 2:1 means, “advocate” since this English word accurately conveys the meaning of parakletos in this context. An advocate is one who pleads for and on behalf of another, or in other words he intercedes for another. He is one who pleads on behalf of another in a court of law.
Now, the context of the passage deals with the inevitability of believer’s entering into sin. In the Supreme Court of heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ acts as the believer’s advocate with the Father when the believer commits any mental, verbal or overt act of sin.
In this passage, the word describes the Lord Jesus Christ as the believer’s advocate and defense attorney to defend and intercede for the believer before the Father when Satan accuses the believer.
So the word has a legal connotation here in 1 John 2:1. A comparison of Scripture with Scripture further substantiates this interpretation. Revelation 12:10, Job 1 and Zechariah 3:1-2 teaches that Satan accuses believers day and night before the Supreme Court of Heaven.
Rev 12:10, “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.’”
Job 1, “There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil. Seven sons and three daughters were born to him. His possessions also were 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke
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of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and very many servants; and that man was the greatest of all the men of the east. His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When the days of feasting had completed their cycle, Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, ‘Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’ Thus Job did continually. Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. The LORD said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ Then Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.’ The LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.’ Then Satan answered the LORD, ‘Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.’ Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.’ So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD. Now on the day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, ‘The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans attacked and took them. They also slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.’ While he was still speaking, another also came and said, ‘The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.’ While he was still speaking, another also came and said, ‘The Chaldeans formed three bands and made a raid on the camels and took them and slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.’ While he was still speaking, another also came and said, ‘Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you.’ Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.’ Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.”
Zech 3:1-5, “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, ‘The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?’ Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel. He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, ‘Remove the filthy garments from him.’ Again he said to him, ‘See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.’ Then I said, ‘Let them put a clean turban on his head.’ So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the LORD was standing by.”
The Greek New Testament terms Satanas, “Satan” and diabolos, “devil” are legal terms. The term Satanas means “adversary,” and diabolos means “slanderer, false accuser.” Therefore, the believer needs an advocate or defense attorney to defend him against the charges of Satan.
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These charges are true because Satan wouldn’t waste his time bringing a lie to God about a believer. In fact, he doesn’t need to lie about the believer since believers will and do sin all the time. Therefore, the Lord Jesus Christ defends the believer by stating to the Father that He paid for the sins committed by the believer that Satan is bringing up before the Supreme Court of heaven.
Luke 22:31-32 records our Lord stating that He had interceding on behalf of the apostle Peter when Satan asked for permission to sift Peter like wheat.
Luke 22:31-32, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.’”
This passage is an example of what our Lord does presently at the right hand of the Father.
This ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as the defense attorney for church age believers at the right hand of the Father on behalf is directly related to the Lord Jesus Christ present session and Great High Priesthood.