Friday, 9 November 2018
…where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:20
The translation of the KJV, followed here by the NKJV, does not convey the sense of the Greek. Note the difference:
Lacking: …where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus.
Correct: …where, as forerunner, Jesus entered for us.
Vincent’s Word Studies explains the change: “The Levitical high priest did not enter the sanctuary as a forerunner, but only as the people’s representative. He entered a place into which none might follow him; in the people’s stead, and not as their pioneer. The peculiarity of the new economy is that Christ as high priest goes nowhere where his people cannot follow him. He introduces man into full fellowship with God. … Comp. Hebrews 10:19.”
With this slight, but important change noted, the verse can be more properly explained. In the previous verse, it was explained that the hope of the believer is as an anchor for the soul. The hope is in the truth that God cannot lie. Thus, when God speaks out the words concerning the promise which is found in Christ, the “hope” is actually – and in its fullest sense – Jesus. It is what He has done on our behalf, and the surety of what that means, which is our hope. And it is He, as forerunner, who entered the Presence behind the veil. In going there to present His blood before God, He has opened the way for all who trust in Him to follow. This is the purpose of the words found in all three synoptic gospels concerning the rending of the veil. In Mark, it says –
“Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” Mark 15:38
The veil, which only the high priest of Israel, and only once a year, could go behind, was torn from top to bottom. The immense size of this veil, and it being torn from top to bottom, was a sign from God that access is restored, completely and wholly, for any who come through Christ. This is then more fully explained in Hebrews 10 –
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh…” Hebrews 10:19, 20
Because Jesus, as forerunner entered behind the veil, we too now may follow Him – through the veil (meaning through His body). With the understanding of this astonishing truth, the author then continues with the words, “having become High Priest forever.” Unlike the high priests of the Old Covenant who performed their duties, died, and whose priesthood was thus transferred to another high priest, Jesus has an eternal priesthood. It is one which will never end. As His priesthood is eternal, then He possesses the ability to mediate for us forever as well. In these words is another hint at eternal salvation. This will be fully explained in Chapter 7, most especially in verse 7:25. For now, the focus is simply on the eternal nature of Jesus’ priesthood which is, as the author says, “according to the order of Melchizedek.”
Once again, the enigmatic Melchizedek is introduced into the narrative. This is the third time he has been mentioned, and bringing him up here serves as a lead-in to Chapter 7. As we have noted in a couple of verses in Chapter 6 though, the author never left his intended subject matter. Everything he has said in Chapter 6 has been to support what will be more fully revealed in Chapter 7. He has built an astonishingly precise case for the surety of God’s promises, and the more wonderful nature of their fulfillment, as found in the New Covenant.
As noted, the previous verse said that our hope is an anchor that “enters the Presence behind the veil.” Further, it was noted that Jesus is actually that Anchor, because He is our hope. Further, it is Jesus who entered this Presence when He passed behind the veil. And more, as noted above, in chapter 10, the author says that the veil is His body. In all things, Jesus is the center of focus – He is our hope, therefore He is our anchor. He went behind the veil, and the veil is His body. It is His blood that obtained access into the sanctuary, and yet He is the sanctuary. In all things, Christ is the focus. He is the entire point of our faith and He is the object of it.
We read that, because of His work, he has “become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” However, He is not only the High Priest who offers the sacrifice, but He is also the sacrifice. His blood eternally secures believers and His priesthood is an eternal one. Both the humanity and the deity of Jesus is shouted out in every concept. Everything concerning the temple points to Him, and yet the temple is there to exalt God.
Life application: If the deity of Christ isn’t resonating in your mind by the continuous stream of shadows, figures, types, and fulfillments the author is presenting, then you are missing the very foundational point of what is being related to us. There is simply no excuse in heaven or on earth for rejecting the tenet that Jesus Christ is God incarnate. It is such a vital tenet that if you reject it, there can be no salvation for your soul; eternal condemnation waits. Be absolutely sure of what you believe and why! When we are asked to confess Jesus as Lord in Romans 10:9, 10, Paul is signifying that “Lord” means “Yehovah” of the Old Testament. Have faith in Jesus who is God incarnate… and be saved.
O God, despite not fully understanding the incarnation or the Trinity, these are tenets which your word clearly proclaims. Help me in my inability to fully grasp these things and help my foundation to be sure, both in Your word and in the deity of Christ Jesus which Your word proclaims. And it is in His perfect name I pray. Amen.