Saturday, 8 December 2018
Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, Hebrews 8:1
Chapter 8 now brings in the main point which has been, and which continues to be, discussed. As the author says, “of the things we are saying.” He continues to speak about the matter at hand, but he is giving the main point of the discussion so that the words he continues to relay will be more fully grasped. This main point is that “We have such a High Priest.”
All of the things which have been relayed about the superiority of Christ’s priesthood over that of Aaron are found in Jesus. In Chapter 7, point after point in regards to this was made. But those points were not merely hypothetical ruminations. Rather, they were points which actually are realized in the priesthood of Christ Jesus. The matter has been presented, it has been proven, and what has been said is considered as settled, even if more detail is forthcoming.
It is these types of considerations which are realized in this chief point. But his words do not end with the fact that Christ is such a High Priest. Instead, he continues with an explanation of that fact by saying, “who is seated.” Being an aorist verb, it is better translated as, “who sat down.” The author has referred to Psalm 110:1 twice so far in his thoughts (in verse 1:3 and in verse 1:13). The words of the psalm said,
“The Lord said to my Lord,
‘Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’”
In verse 1:3, he even spoke of it as an accomplished act with the words about Christ Jesus which said He “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” That thought has been explained and fully substantiated, and it is now realized as an indisputable truth concerning Him – He has sat down. But what is the significance of this act? It is explained by considering the actions of the priests under the Mosaic Covenant.
The majority of the furnishings and equipment mentioned in the construction of the tabernacle/temple are recorded in the book of Exodus. Nowhere was a chair authorized. This is true in both the tabernacle and later in the temple in Jerusalem. This is because the work of the priests was never finished. And this was true of all the priests, including the high priest. This continued on daily, and there was a tremendous amount of work to be accomplished as people came to sacrifice, again and again, for their sins. The high priest also conducted his ongoing duties as well. There is no time that the Law of Moses ever implied that the work would finally be finished and the rituals would cease. Rather, that could only come about through introduction of a New Covenant.
In contrast, Jesus performed His duty (His sacrifice), presented His blood, and sat down. The work is eternally finished! Not only did Jesus sit down, but He did it at “the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven.” Though He actively makes intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25), that is an act which is based on His finished work. Christ is not performing necessary rituals in order to effect atonement for His believers. Those things have been accomplished. Now, He does the things for us which are made possible through His completed work of atonement.
Life application: Because it is said that Jesus sat down at the “right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,” some will say this indicates a separation between the Father and the Son, thus denying the Trinity. But, the “right hand” is not a physical position; it is the position of all authority. This is seen, for example, in Exodus 15:6 –
Being at the right hand of God means that Jesus is the One who has all authority in heaven and on earth. The Godhead is three Persons in one Essence. Christ is a member of that Godhead. We are to accept the Trinity as a fundamental truth concerning the nature of God.
Jesus sat down! His work is complete and never to be repeated. Our Lord will never again face the agony of the cross, and we need never again fear that our failings will separate us from God. In Christ Jesus, we are eternally secure. His blood has taken our guilt away! Hallelujah and Amen!