The High Priest and the Forgiven
The High Priest
The Blood of Christ
The Living Bread
The Dwelling Place of God
Living Confidently as the Forgiven
The High Priest
But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. Hebrews 9:11
To best understand why Jesus had to die in order for us to have access to eternal forgiveness and life, we need to take a close look at the role of a high priest. If you start in Genesis and journey through the first five books in the Bible, 1you will soon come to realize the system of sacrifice and atonement that was put into place.
One aspect of this pre-Jesus life was that of the high priest. One responsibility they had was to conduct the service on the Day of Atonement. The Tabernacle was built according to God’s instructions, and included a place called the Most Holy Place, or the Holy of Holies, where God Himself dwelled. There were certain feasts and certain elements around and in the Tabernacle that defined sacrifices and worship to God. God laid everything out and the book of Hebrews brings back to mind the role and responsibility of the priests.
A high priest was selected by man, was to follow his job description and was the only one who could enter the Holy of Holies. One day per year, Atonement Day, he would do the necessary acts to offer atonement for himself and all the people. This included a system of cleansings and sacrifices. As sacrifices of animals were made, the blood served as an outward sanctification. The high priests on Atonement Day is also summarized in Hebrews 9:7. Sacrificial blood was necessary for the forgiveness of sins. When the high priest concluded his time in the Holy of Holies, he would step out to a group of people waiting for him to come out and declare that God accepted the sacrifice, and that they were forgiven. Whew. They were good for another year, until they would do this all over again the next year.
Why do we call Jesus our High Priest? One of the main purposes of the high priest was to perform the sacrifices and offer the blood – to go before God on behalf of the people. Jesus fulfilled this whole system of gifts and sacrifices. Let’s take just a moment now to be reminded again in Hebrews 8, 9 and 10, that the earthly tabernacle was “a copy”, “a shadow” of what is found in heaven.
So, let’s compare all of this…
The high priest must offer sacrificial blood......... Jesus, the unblemished lamb, was killed and offered His own blood
The high priest entered the Holy of Holies on behalf of himself and the people.......Jesus entered the place of God, offering to meet God on behalf of the people Himself
The high priest returned symbolizing God accepted the offering and granted forgiveness ...... Jesus returned (was resurrected) symbolizing new life found in God’s forgiveness of sins
The high priest needed to perform this year after year ......Jesus sacrificed once and for all – He was enough
We can be reassured that our sins are forgiven because Jesus, our High Priest, has done what was needed. He went before God, with a holy sacrifice of Himself, which was completely accepted, giving us freedom from our sins – once and for all! Because He lives, we can live!
Become familiar with this concept. Dig into the Old Testament and the book of Hebrews to get a clear picture of forgiveness before and after Jesus. Ask God to reveal to you the meaning of Jesus, your High Priest.