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Hebrews 7:20-25

06.09.2011

Should you get nothing else from this week’s passage, remember the two attributes of Jesus’ priesthood that sets Him above His Levitical predecessors: He reigns forever, and His salvific work is absolute.

Our author emphasizes the oath that we covered on Monday from Psalm 110 because it ties back to groundwork he laid earlier in the book about God’s history of keeping oaths, both the oath to Abraham that he would be the father of a people and the oath He gave to the wandering Israelites in the desert that none of their generation would see the Promised Land.  God keeps His promises, and that includes the one to Jesus (via David) that He will be high priest forever.  From Aaron, the first high priest, who died and was succeeded by his son Eleazar and then his son Phinehas, all the way down to the destruction of the temple in AD 70, tradition held that there were 83 total high priests.  This is because they died; they did not live forever and could thus not ultimately/eternally intercede for the people.  Additionally, the high priesthood itself did not survive the destruction of the second temple.  Contrast to this Jesus’ defeat of death and position as eternal high priest.  He will never be unable to intercede for us.

His salvific work is absolute in that His death on the cross and resurrection paid the penalty for sin in a way that the animal sacrifices of the Old Covenant could not.  It also was how He defeated death, making His salvific work whole and complete.  Because of this, we interpret His intercession for us at the right hand of God not as something that is ongoing (ie., he does not seek to persuade the Father that His sacrifice was great enough or step in and say, “That one, too, and her as well, and him, and him…,” for all eternity).  No, His presence at God’s right hand is the intercession, and He is there because of the intercessory death on the cross.

So this week’s was very theology heavy.  My apologies if it’s not your preference, and … congratulations (?) if it is.  I’ll try to make up for it tomorrow with some light-hearted fare.

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