Hebrews 5:5

Thursday, 11 October 2018

So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him:
“You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.” Hebrews 5:5

There is a definite article before “Christ” in this verse which is unfortunately left untranslated by most versions. However, the author is making a specific connection to the priesthood of Aaron by comparing it with the priesthood of Christ Jesus. It properly says, “So also the Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest.”

The word “Christ” in Greek is the exact same in meaning as “Messiah” in Hebrew. Both mean “anointed one.” In the books of Leviticus and Numbers, the term “the anointed priest,” or “the priest who was anointed,” is used several times when speaking of the high priest. Just as Aaron was selected by God to be the anointed priest, “So also the Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest.” The comparison is made. Both of those who were so anointed did not choose themselves. Rather, both were chosen by God. This, however, does not mean that Jesus isn’t God. Instead, it is speaking of His humanity which has been the subject of the author’s words, especially since verse 4:15.

Jesus, as a human, was selected by God for this mediatorial role which would confirm Him as “the Christ,” and who would also “Himself become High Priest.” The author then confirms this by showing that Jesus was the subject of the 2nd Psalm by saying, “but it was He who said to Him.” The “He” is speaking of the Lord (Yehovah); the “Him” is speaking of Jesus, who is the incarnation of Yehovah. This is first seen in Psalm 2:2 –

“The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying…”

The Lord (Yehovah in Hebrew) is mentioned along with “His anointed.” The words “His anointed” are from the Hebrew word mashiakh, or “messiah.” As noted already, the term “messiah” in Hebrew means “Christ” in Greek. The author is showing that the One who fills this role was chosen by God. However, the next verse (5:6) will show that this same One is also Yehovah, the Lord. Both are Yehovah. To set that up so that there can be no mistake about it when he gets to that verse, he finishes his thought of this verse by quoting Psalm 2:7, just as he did in Hebrews 1:5 –

“You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.”

This emphasis and highlight in using these same words, both in verse 1:5 and now here, is that verse 1:5 is in relation to the Christ being the anointed King. For example, in verse 1:8 it speaks of the throne and scepter of Jesus (showing kingly authority), the Son of God. Just as Jesus is the Anointed King referenced in Psalm 2:6, and which was then confirmed by those same words in verse 2:7, so He is the anointed Priest. The proclamation which says, “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You,” had been used to confirm in the Christ both the office of King and High Priest. That the One to fill both of these roles is also Yehovah, and thus God, will be seen in the words of the next verse.

However, even without the words of the next verse, the deity of this One has already been made evident several times in Hebrews so far. We should have no doubts in our theology of the deity of Christ Jesus. When we worship Him, we are worshiping God.

Life application: The author is using words, carefully selected from the Old Testament, to build His case in the superiority of the New Covenant faith in Jesus over the Old Covenant system. He is greater than Moses. He is greater than Aaron. He is greater than the angels. And so on. As the Old anticipated rest for the people of God, and as the Old pointed to faith in Christ Jesus, then the author is directing them to come to Christ, enter into His rest, and enjoy harmonious union with God, through Him, for all time. It is error to deny the deity of Christ, and it is error to fall back on the Law of Moses in hopes of being reconciled to God. There is only one way for this reconciliation to come about, and that is by coming through Jesus, the God/Man who is the anointed King and the anointed High Priest.

Lord God, the Bible makes such a definitive case for the deity of Christ that there is absolutely no excuse for us to deny this most important tenet. If we fail to acknowledge Him in this capacity, we fail to honor You for having come in this capacity. We cannot say that we will follow You, worship You, and adore You without giving that same honor to Jesus. Help us to rightly honor You by honoring the Son. Amen.

Leave a Reply