Sunday, June 5, 2011

The parousia of Jesus our high priest to complete salvation.

A vital point, totally ignored, in Scripture is that it was never implied in the Old Testament that the High Priest would come out of the tabernacle to bless the people with salvation centuries later.  This kind of language is not used in Scripture. 

The language used to closely connect the High Priest going into the tabernacle once a year to offer a sin offering for himself and for the peoples’ sins, and coming out of the tabernacle to bless the people with the good news that God had accepted the blood offering for their sins another year.

They saw one short fulfillment period with two phases to it; the High Priest is going into the tabernacle to offer the sin offering, and the High Priest coming out of the tabernacle to bless the people with the good news.  They expected the consummation of all these things during one short fulfillment period. 

Aaron, as a Levite, was chosen by the Lord to serve as High Priest, and his sons as under the priests. (Exod. 28:1) God outlined all the arrangements for the consecration of the priesthood. (Exod. 29)

One of the principal duties of the typical priesthood was to offer sacrifices to the Lord to secure his blessing upon the people of Israel.

In Leviticus 9:1-7 we read, It came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel.  And he said to Aaron, "Take for yourself a young bull as a sin offering and a ram as a burnt offering, without blemish, and offer them before the LORD." And to the children of Israel you shall speak, saying, “Take a kid of the goats as a sin offering, and a calf and a lamb, both of the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering, also a bull and a ram as peace offerings, to sacrifice before the LORD, and a grain offering mixed with oil; for today the LORD will appear to you."  So they brought what Moses commanded before the tabernacle of meeting. And all the congregation drew near and stood before the LORD.  Then Moses said, "This is the thing which the LORD commanded you to do, and the glory of the LORD will appear to you."  And Moses said to Aaron, "(Go to the altar, offer your sin offering and your burnt offering, and make atonement for yourself and for the people). Offer the offering of the people, and make atonement for them, as the LORD commanded."

Here Aaron, as Israel’s High Priest, is going into the second part of the tabernacle to make atonement for himself and for the peoples’ sins (Hebrews 8:7).  Phase one was Aaron going into the tabernacle to make atonement for himself and for the peoples’ sins.

In Leviticus 9:22-23 we read, Then Aaron lifted his hand toward the people, blessed them, and came down from offering the sin offering, the burnt offering, and peace offerings.  And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of meeting, and came out and blessed the people.  Then the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people.  Phase two: Aaron the High Priest had to come out of the tabernacle to bless the people.

Notice here that Israel had no idea their sins were forgiven until Aaron the High Priest came out of the tabernacle to bless the people. (Verses 22,23.)  No one dared go into the tabernacle to see what happened, for fear of death on the spot.

God’s dealings with the priesthood of Israel are important to us because, as shown in the New Testament, they were illustrative, or typical of a higher priesthood consisting of Jesus Christ. Thus, it is clear that in the mind of the writer of Hebrews, the type and shadow of Leviticus 9 are fulfilled in Christ. 

In Hebrews 9:24-26 we read,  For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, (now to appear in the presence of God for us); not that He should offer Himself often, as the High Priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another. He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared (to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself).  

Phase one: Jesus entered into the heaven and appeared in the presence of God for us.  Thus fulfilling the type and shadow of Aaron going into the tabernacle to  make atonement for himself and for the peoples’ sins.  In the case of the Aaronic priesthood, animals were offered in sacrifice, but this is not true of the antitypical priesthood, consisting of Jesus.  Instead, Jesus presented himself in sacrifice to God, thus introducing the work of the antitypical priesthood. (Ps. 40:6-8; Heb. 10:7-10)

Then we read in Hebrews 9:28: So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.  Phase two:  Christ comes out of the heavens to bless Israel with complete salvation.

These are also no such distinction in Hebrews between the first appearing of Christ to bear the sins of many and a second appearing of Christ with salvation.  In the mind of the writer of Hebrews, the language used to closely connect the appearing of the Lord with atonement of many and salvation.

Every Jewish Christian understood simply that the second appearance of Christ our High Priest would be during the same age… unto salvation.  The Jews never had the concept of a second coming, and since it was the Jews who first taught the notion of a Messiah via the Jewish prophets, it seems quite reasonable to respect their inspired writing more than our traditions, or anyone’s uninspired opinion today.

Jesus did not do or say anything that wasn’t written in the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets concerning Himself. That language is another way of saying, ’Holy Writ,’ or as we call it today, the Old Testament.  Hebrews 10:7-12:  “Then I said, 'Behold, I have come--In the volume of the book it is written of Me To do Your will, O God.' " Previously saying, "Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and [offerings] for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them" (which are offered according to the law) then He said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God."  He takes away the first that He may establish the second.  By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.  But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.

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