Recap: In Hebrews 4:1-14 we learned how Christ is our resting place and how we should be diligent to enter into that rest by having faith mixed with Fear.
Overview: As we go through Hebrews 4:14-16 and Hebrews chapter 5 we are transitioning into the priesthood of Jesus Christ. We will learn about being a high priest and the significance of us understanding that Jesus Christ is our High Priest and why. Chapter 4:14-16
1. There are priest and there are High priest, the two are not to be confused for the same thing. • Priest- The priest acted as a mediator between God and Israel by offering sacrifices on the alter as well as performing many other tasks in the temple such as keeping the temple up and caring for the sheep for the sacrifices. Priest were not allowed to go into the Holy of Holies. (Numbers 18:2-3) • High Priest-The high priest was the supreme religious leader of the Israelites. He was the only person allowed to enter the inner sanctuary where the ark of the covenant was behind a veil. The high priest would go there once a year to make atonement for his own sins and for the sins of all Israel. (Leviticus 9:7) • The only way to become a priest would be through inheritance, it is a birth right. A person would have to be from the tribe of Levi to be a priest. To be a high priest you would have to be from the Lineage of Aaron. The role of High priest was only given to direct descendants of Aaron. (Numbers 18:1-7)
2. Hebrews 4:14 -According to the scriptures why do you think the author of Hebrews said that Jesus is our great High priest? What confession or belief should you be holding firmly to?
This High Priest who ascended into heaven is not one who does not have feelings or emotions but he is one who can sympathize with our weaknesses and was tempted at all points even unto death yet without sin. (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 25:40-42)
a. Jesus is our High Priest in the heavens even at the right hand of God
b. Because (our) High Priest is Jesus let us draw near to God with confidence, outspoken, freely to the throne of Grace. (Hebrews 4:14; Luke 24:51-53; Acts 1:9-11) c. We have a High Priest who can understand all the temptations and battles we face every day. Since he did not fall to any of the temptations he was faced with, he is able to lead us through and out of the temptations.
3. Throne of Grace – Verse 16; Hebrews 10:19-25; • Christ represents us and He is our mediator • The throne from which all grace proceeds. In Israel it was the mercy seat or covering for the ark between the two cherubim. The high priest could approach this only once a year and that is with the blood of atonement. If he transgressed in anything, he would be struck dead. The high priest approach was with fear and trembling. • With Christ as our High Priest we can come boldly to God’s throne without fear of judgement. We can come at any time daily, even multiple times during the Day. This is the freedom, confidence, and liberty of approach we are commanded to keep until the end. • The author is telling the Hebrews who now believe in Christ Jesus to come to the throne of Grace boldly that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in our time of need.
4. What is the Holy of Holies in the Bible? What was it used for?
5. Who was the High Priest of the Old testament?
6. The author wants the Hebrews to look at Jesus as the High Priest of God sent to make the final atonement for their sins, instead of looking to Aaron or any of his descendants to make an atonement for them.
7. Hebrews 5:1-6 It is essential that we and the Hebrews understand why Jesus Christ has been giving to us as a high priest by God instead of a man. • Earthly Priest were sinful and needed an atonement for their own sins and they could not truly make atonement for themselves. (Hebrews 5:3; Leviticus 9:7; Leviticus 16:6; Hebrews 7:27) • They were helpless to save the children of Israel because they could not overcome sin – (Hebrews 10:11-18) • They only offered sacrifices once per year for the sins of the people to be forgiven but those sacrifices were not sufficient because it could not fix the problem of sin (Hebrews 9:7 Hebrews 10:4) • Jesus fulfilled prophecy of Psalm 110:4 “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek
8. What scripture can you use to prove that Melchisedec was like Christ? When was Melchisedec first mentioned in the Bible?
9. Verse 7-10 Jesus understood his role as high priest not being appointed by men but by God he did all the necessary things that High priest would do. He prayed and interceded on behalf of himself and others and did not need for anyone to intercede for him. • He prayed fervently for his disciples and he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane for himself. • He endured sufferings for God because his love for God and through it he learned obedience in the flesh. • Because he was without sin he was made perfect and therefore he was made the source to give atonement for our sins once and for all.
Verse 10-The scriptures are not clear why Jesus was considered a priest after Melchisedec, but we believe it is because Melchisedec was considered the priest of God. He had the characteristics and traits of Jesus Christ and he was not made high priest according to his lineage. Likewise, Christ did not come from the lineage of the Levites who were the priest of Israel so he would not have been accepted as a priest according to the Israelites. So, it is safe to assume for this reason he is a priest after Melchisedec since he was God appointed and not lineage appointed.