Devotional: ‘The Old Testament High Priest’

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Hebrews 4:14 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. 15 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. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Today we come to the heart of the book of Hebrews. The passage we have just read teaches us that God has provided for us a great High Priest who ministers for us in heaven. Jesus, the Son of God, is our High Priest and He is able to meet all of our needs.

During the days of the Bible, the high priest was considered to be the chief religious leader of the entire nation. Though he performed a variety of duties, his primary function was to intercede before God on the behalf of the people. We read from scripture – “For every high priest taken from men is appointed in service to God for the people, to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.” (Hebrews 5:1 CSB) Some have said that the duty of the Prophet was to represent God before the people, and the duty of the Priest was to represent people before God.

The High Priest’s supreme duty was to present a blood offering before God on what was known as the ‘Day of Atonement.’ On this special day, he would enter the Temple and go behind the veil into an area known as the Holy of Holies. Only the high priest could enter this sacred place and only once a year. The purpose for his entrance into this room was to offer the sacrificial blood of an animal, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people.

Down through the centuries there were many high priests. It all began with Aaron, the brother of Moses, and then succeeded by his sons, his sons’ sons, and so forth. The Bible says that these men were only symbols of what was to come. Scripture tells us that it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away our sins. (see Hebrews 10:4). Therefore the ministry of these high priests was only symbolic, even as their offerings were symbolic. Everything they did pointed to one great High Priest and His one great offering.

The writer of Hebrews tells us – “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us …come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

 

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