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    16 THE PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST

    THE great facts now fully proved in the course of this investigation, are, that there is in heaven a real, literal sanctuary, the antitype of the earthly building, called the “temple,” the “Temple of God,” and the “temple of heaven,” and that Christ, when he ascended up on high, opened his glorious work of priestly ministry in the first apartment of that heavenly tabernacle, in accordance with the work of the earthly priests, who, ministering unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, began their round of service in the first apartment of the earthly building.LUJ 137.1

    And this fact being established, it is a nail in a sure place. Other conclusions, of overwhelming importance to the church and the world, follow inevitably and in quick succession, as will presently be seen.LUJ 137.2

    We pause a moment, before passing, to notice one more query, the only remaining one now coming to mind as pertaining to this subject, previous to the opening of Christ’s ministry in heaven.LUJ 137.3

    The work in the typical sanctuary virtually came to an end when the real sacrifice was offered upon the cross, and the vail of the temple was rent in twain from top to bottom. It was of no account for the sinner to present, any longer, his offerings there. But Christ did not ascend for forty-three days after this, and of course could not commence his ministry before his ascension. The question therefore arises, What was the condition of the world during that time? With no service of any virtue here upon the earth, and the work in the heavenly sanctuary not yet commenced, was there not a perplexing interim of at least forty-three days during which the sinner was left without a mediator?LUJ 137.4

    In answering this, reference might be made to the time before the earthly tabernacle was erected, and before a regular order of priesthood was instituted, even to those offerings in reference to which Adam and Eve were instructed, when sin had forced them to turn their backs on holy Eden in the world’s earliest infancy. No priests were then ordained; the sinner presented his offering in his own behalf. There were no holy places laid open, and no priestly work was established in heaven. Yet the offerings there made, if offered in a proper manner, were as efficacious as any offered at any time previous to Christ. The great offering was not made, but these all looked forward in faith to it; and faith in the Redeemer to come gave them all their virtue.LUJ 138.1

    It may be said that during these antecedent ages, though there was no ministry in heaven, men had effectual sacrifices which they could offer, which they could not do after the vail of the temple was rent, and its services ceased. Very true; but that very moment they had a sacrifice provided for them, the merits of which they could present to God in their behalf. There was really no break in the work. The two systems, typical and antitypical, touched each other upon the cross. There the shadow, all the way from Eden down, met the substance, and there was no blank between the two. As men by their sacrifices could manifest their faith in a Redeemer to come, though there was no ministration going on in heaven, and as those offerings were efficacious up to the cross, so from that very moment men could manifest their faith by the provisions of the gospel, in a sacrifice which had been offered, though the actual commencement of Christ’s work as priest might still for some time be delayed.LUJ 138.2

    The way thus being all cleared up to this important division of the subject, a matter for most profitable consideration now is the nature of that priesthood upon which Christ entered. The work in the earthly tabernacle was performed by mortal men, subject to disease and death, and was hence cumbered with such imperfections as were inseparable from the defective instruments by which it was performed. The priesthood of Christ is a superior priesthood, in which the imperfections of the earthly system find no analogy. This may be stated in a few particulars:-LUJ 139.1

    1. Christ is a priest after the order of Melchisedec, and not after the order of Aaron. Hebrews 5:6.LUJ 139.2

    2. Perfection was not of the Levitical priesthood; for if it had been, says Paul, what further need was there that another priest should arise after the order of Melchisedec, and not after the order of Aaron? Hebrews 7:11.LUJ 139.3

    3. Those priests were many because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death; but this man continueth ever, and hath an unchangeable priesthood. Verses 23, 24.LUJ 139.4

    4. It was necessary for the priests of the house of Levi to offer up sacrifices daily, embracing all the various offerings that were made by those who had transgressed. But all this Christ did by one act when he offered up himself. Hebrews 9:25, 26, 28; 10:10, 12, 14.LUJ 139.5

    5. The round of service in the earthly tabernacle was many times repeated; but the ministry of Christ is accomplished once for all. Hebrews 9:11, 12, 24, 25; 10:3, 12.LUJ 139.6

    6. All the blood which was offered in the former dispensation, was offered for past transgressions only, and made no provision for the future; while the merits of that blood which was shed on Calvary applied not to the past alone, but was available for the future also. Hebrews 9:14, 15.LUJ 140.1

    7. As the blood of Christ is the only blood ministered in connection with the heavenly sanctuary (whether by actual presentation or by virtue of its merits, is immaterial), the same blood must be the basis of ministration in both apartments.LUJ 140.2

    8. As long as Christ fills the office of priest, so long he is mediator between God and man.LUJ 140.3

    The chief difference, then, between the priestly work of Christ and that of the Levitical order, results from these facts: that Christ has but one offering to make for his entire ministry; that he ever lives, and hence need not repeat his work, but performs it once for all; that his offering pertains to the future as well as to the past; and that it does make perfect, or really and absolutely take away the sins of those who avail themselves of its merits. There is nothing in the fact that Christ is a priest after the order of Melchisedec and not after the order of Aaron, to show that he does not perform a work exactly like that performed by Aaron, as nearly as the perfect things of heaven may be represented by the imperfect things of earth. And Paul assures us that he does perform just such a work; for he says that the Aaronic priests in their work were simply acting unto the “shadow and example” of the work performed by Christ in heaven.LUJ 140.4

    The conclusion becomes evident, therefore, that as the sins of the people were borne into the earthly sanctuary in type through the blood of beasts, they are now borne into the heavenly sanctuary in reality through the blood of Christ. A comparison of Leviticus and Hebrews will make this plain.LUJ 140.5

    The blood of all the offerings, it appears, was not borne into the sanctuary by the priest, and sprinkled before the vail. It was the blood of some of the offerings called sin-offerings which was thus treated. Of these offerings, Wm. Smith, in his Dictionary of the Bible, says:-LUJ 141.1

    “The sin-offering represented that covenant as broken by man, and as knit together again by God’s appointment, through the ‘shedding of blood.’ Its characteristic ceremony was the sprinkling of the blood before the vail of the sanctuary, the putting of some of it on the horns of the altar of incense, and the pouring out of all the rest at the foot of the altar of burnt offering. The flesh was in no case touched by the offerer; either it was consumed by fire without the camp, or it was eaten by the priest alone in the holy place, and everything that touched it was holy. This latter point marked the distinction from the peace-offering, and showed that the sacrificer had been rendered unworthy of communion with God. The shedding of the blood, the symbol of life, signified that the death of the offender was deserved for sin, but the death of the victim was accepted for his death by the ordinance of God’s mercy.LUJ 141.2

    Accordingly we find (see quotation from the Mishna in Outr. De Sacr. i.c.XV., 10) that, in all cases, it was the custom for the offerer to lay his hand on the head of the sin-offering, to confess generally or specially his sins, and to say, ‘Let this be my expiation’. Beyond all doubt, the sin-offering distinctly witnessed that sin existed in man, that ‘the wages of that sin was death.” and that God had provided an atonement by the vicarious suffering of an appointed victim.”LUJ 141.3

    Provision was made for all to present this kind of offering, the blood of which was, in specified cases, borne into the sanctuary, and sprinkled before the vail. First, for the priest (Leviticus 4:3-12): secondly, for the whole congregation, collectively (verses 13-21); thirdly, for the ruler (verses 22-26); and fourthly, for any of the common people. Verses 27-31.LUJ 141.4

    In Leviticus 6:30, we read: “And no sin-offering, whereof any of the blood is brought into the tabernacle PICTURE AND TEXT
    of the congregation to reconcile withal in the holy place, shall be eaten: it shall be burnt in the fire.” Now, it appears from Paul’s testimony to the Hebrews, that of all the offerings, those sin-offerings, the blood of which was carried into the sanctuary, and their bodies burned without the camp, especially prefigured the offering of our Lord. He says (Hebrews 13:11, 12): “For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.” Of these offerings, Christ was especially the antitype. And as by these the sins of the people were anciently transferred to the sanctuary (for Paul says their blood was borne in there for sin), so through the blood of Christ, which is ministered wholly in the sanctuary above, our sins are transferred to that heavenly temple.
    LUJ 141.5

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