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HUMAN HIGH PRIEST VS HEAVENLY HIGH PRIEST
Hebrews 5, Introduction
Victor M. Eskew
A. In Hebrews 5, the inspired penman begins to expand on the subject of Jesus as our High Priest.
B. This, however, is not the first time Jesus has been mentioned as a High Priest.
1. Hebrews 1:3
…when he had by himself purged our sins…
2. Hebrews 2:17
Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
3. Hebrews 3:1
Wherefore holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.
4. Hebrews 4:14-15
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
C. Before we examine chapter 5, let’s look at some background information about the office of the high priest under the Old Covenant.
1. The choice of Aaron (Exo. 28:1)
And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.
a. Aaron was the brother of Moses (Exo. 6:20). He was three years older than Moses (Exo. 7:7).
b. Aaron’s wife and children are listed in Exodus 6:23.
And Aaron took him Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab, sister of Naashon, to wife; and she
bare him Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
2. The high priest wore holy garments (Exo. 28:2)
And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.
a. These garments were made by those who were “filled with the spirit of wisdom” (Exo. 28:3).
b. The garments were involved in the consecration of Aaron for his office (Exo. 28:3).
c. The garments (Exo. 28:4)
And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
1) The breastplate had a special emphasis (Exo. 28:29-30).
a) The names of the children of Israel were put upon it (Exo. 28:29).
b) The Urim and Thummim (Exo. 28:30)
And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before the Lord: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually.
2) The mitre was also unique (Exo. 28:36-38)
And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD. And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be. And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord.
3. The Consecration to the Office (Exo. 29:1-46, esp. v. 7)
Then thou shalt take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him.
4. Interesting regulations put upon the high priest (Lev. 21:10-15)
And he that is the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was
poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not uncover his head, nor rend
his clothes; neither shall he go in to any dead body, nor defile himself for his father, or for
his mother; neither shall he go out of the sanctuary, nor profane the sanctuary of his God;
for the crown of the anointing oil of his God is upon him: I am the LORD. And he shall take
a wife in her virginity. A widow, or a divorced woman, or profane, or an harlot, these shall he
not take: but he shall take a virgin of his own people to wife. Neither shall he profane his
seed among his people: for I the LORD do sanctify him.
5. He was charged with the keeping of the things of the tabernacle. Later these were transferred to the regular priests.
6. The high priest entered in the Most Holy Place once each year upon the Day of Atonement (Exo. 30:10).
And Aaron shall make atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the Lord.
7. The names by which the office was known:
a. The priest (Exo. 31:10)
b. The anointed priest (Lev. 4:3, 5, 16; 6:22)
c. Great priest or high priest (Lev. 21:10; Num. 35:25, 28)
8. The successors to the office were supposed to come through Aaron (Exo. 29:9, 29). “In the time of the Romans it had become venal, and the Mosaic regulation was disregarded….It was no longer held for life, so that there were several persons at one time to whom was given the title high priest” (Barnes, e-sword).
9. Some 80 men held the office from Aaron until the destruction of the temple in the city of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
D. In chapter five, we see the “Human High Priest vs. Heavenly High Priest.”
i. The Human High Priest (Heb. 5:1-4)
ii. The Heavenly High Priest (Heb. 5:5-10)
iii. The Hearing of the Hebrews (Heb. 5:11-14)