Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews. More specifically today’s passage is found in chapters five and six of this New Testament epistle. “For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness. Because of this he is required as for the people, so also for himself, to offer sacrifices for sins. And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was” (Hebrews 5:1-4).
“So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: You are my Son, Today I have begotten you. As he also says in another place: You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek; who, in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though he was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, called by God as High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek, of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing” (Hebrews 5:5-11).
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:12-14).
“Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go in to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned” (Hebrews 6:1-8).
“But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:9-12).
“For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, he swore by Himself, saying, Surely blessing I will bless you and multiplying I will multiply you. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men indeed sear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High. Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 6:13-20).
When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the author of the epistle building upon the reality that Jesus Christ is indeed our High Priest. The more you read and study the epistle written unto the Hebrews the more you will encounter and come face to face with the truth surrounding Jesus as being our great High Priest who has passed into the heavens. In fact it is impossible to read the words present within this epistle and not encounter and come face to face with the incredible truth surrounding the reality that Jesus is, has been and will always be our faithful High Priest. This concept of the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God being our faithful High Priest is not seen or understood within the four gospel narratives concerning His life and ministry and it is not found in the writings of the apostle Paul. With this being said, however, it is the author of the epistle written unto Hebrews that draws our attention to the incredible reality that Jesus is more than simply Savior and is more than simply Lord. As you read the words which are found within this epistle you will find the author emphatically declaring that Jesus is indeed our faithful High Priest—and not only our faithful High Priest but a priest after the order of Melchizedek and a priest that is greater than the high priests which existed during the days of the children of Israel. From the time of Moses until the captivity in Babylon there were high priests that served in both the Tabernacle and Temple with Aaron being the first high priest ordained and appointed by the living and eternal God. Upon the return of the children of Israel from their Babylonian captivity until the time the Temple of the living God was destroyed there would be a high priest which would serve in the midst of the rebuilt Jewish Temple in the city of Jerusalem.
If there is one thing I cannot help but think about when reading the words found in the epistle written unto the Hebrews it’s that the Jewish Temple was destroyed by the Romans in the year 70 A.D. For almost two thousand years there has not been a Temple that has stood in the midst of the city of Jerusalem which means there has not been a high priest who has ministered within that Temple. For almost two thousand years there has been no sacrifice on the brazen altar which stood in the midst of the court of the Temple and there have been no priests or Levites who have ministered within the house and ministered around the altar. This is something that is quite unique and interesting for for nearly forty years after the coming of the Holy Spirit there would be two temples present in the midst of the earth. Within the city of Jerusalem there would be the physical Jewish Temple which was rebuilt upon their return from Babylonian captivity and was enhanced during the days of Herod the Great. In addition to there being a physical Jewish temple standing upon the Temple Mount in the midst of the city of Jerusalem there would be a new Temple—a temple made not with human hands and one that was entirely and altogether spiritual. This spiritual Temple which was made without human hands was the temple of the Holy Spirit and would consist of those members of the spiritual body of Christ. It was the apostle Paul who emphatically wrote in each of his epistles unto the Corinthian congregation that the spiritual body of Christ was indeed the temple of God and the temple of the Holy Spirit which exists in the midst of the earth that God might dwell in the midst of His people. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts as well as the words which are found in both epistles written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints beginning with the first epistle:
“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4).
“But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on my menservants and on my maidservants I will pour out my Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD, and it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” (Acts 2:14-21).
“Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call. And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, Be saved from this perverse generation. Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the LORD added to the church daily those who were being saved? (Acts 2:38-47).
Within the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts we find the creation and formation of a new and living temple within the earth. This temple which was created and formed on the Day of Pentecost was one that was not made with human hands and was one which was birthed entirely and altogether by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. It was the Lord Jesus Christ who sent the promise of His Holy Spirit exactly as He said He would do when speaking unto His disciples. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth that although there was a physical temple which was made with human hands standing upon the Temple Mount there would now be a new and living Temple that would be created without hands by the Lord Jesus Christ. There is something incredibly powerful about this when you take the time to truly think about it for it brings us face to face with the incredible truth surrounding the Holy Spirit being poured out according to the prophetic word which was prophesied by the ancient Hebrew prophet Joel. On the Day of Pentecost the person, the promise and the presence of the Holy Spirit would indeed be poured out upon those in the upper room in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. With this being said I can’t help but wonder if those three thousand souls which were added to the church on the Day of Pentecost were not only baptized in water but were also baptized with the Holy Spirit. Scripture isn’t clear whether or not those who were present on the day of Pentecost were baptized with the Holy Spirit—only that they were baptized in water which was a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
I am sitting here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the three thousand souls which were added to the church on the Day of Pentecost. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that within and throughout the book of Acts there were accounts of those who believed being baptized in water. A primary example of this was the Ethiopian eunuch whom Philip the evangelist encountered according to the divine will and plan of the living God. What’s more is that within the New Testament book of Acts we find specific references to men and women being baptized with the Holy Spirit—examples such as Cornelius and his entire household in the presence of the apostle Peter and those who were with him as well as the twelve disciples whom the apostle Paul encountered in the city of Ephesus. Within the New Testament book of Acts there are accounts—both of baptism in water unto repentance for remission of sins as well as baptism with the Holy Spirit and with fire. It would be those who were present in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost who would indeed be baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire exactly as John the Bpatist had proclaimed during his days. Of prophesying and preaching in the Judaean wilderness. What’s more is that even Jesus Himself spoke of this baptism of the Holy Spirit and with fire just prior to His ascension unto the right hand of the Father which was in heaven. The apostle Paul would allude to this when speaking unto the disciples he encountered in the midst of the city of Ephesus. Oh consider if you will the following words which are found in the four gospels concerning this baptism with the Holy Ghost and with fire as well as the words which are found within the New Testament book of Acts:
“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, We have Abraham as our father. For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out his threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:7-12).
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophets: Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you. The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the LORD; make his paths straight. John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judaea and those from Jerusalem went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, There comes one after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I indeed baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:1-8).
“…And he went into all the region around the Jordan preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying: The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the LORD; make His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, We have Abraham as our father. For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? He answered and said to them, He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise. Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, Teacher, what shall we do? And he said to them, Collect no more than what is appointed for you. Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, And what shall we do? So he said to them, Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages. Now as the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not, John answered, saying to all, I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out his threshing floor, and gather the wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” (Luke 3:4-17).
“Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who are you? He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Are you Elijah? He said, I am not. Are you the prophet? And he answered, No. Then they said to him, Who are you that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself? He said: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness: make straight the way of the LORD, as the prophet Isaiah said. Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. And they asked him, saying, Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet? John answered them, saying, I indeed baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. It is he who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan where John was baptizing. Then next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. This is He of whom I said, After me comes a man who is preferred before me, for He was before me. I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water. And John bore witness, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God” (John 1:19-34).
“The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom he also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, which, He said, you have heard from me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? And he said to them, It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:1-8).
“And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? So they said to him, We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit. And he said to them, Into what then were you baptized? So they said, Into John’s baptism. Then Paul said, John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is ChristJesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Now the men were about twelve in all” (Acts 19:1-7).
We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found within this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth that John the Baptist truly came baptizing with water unto repentance for the remission of sins, however, Jesus would come baptizing with the Holy Spirit and with fire. What we must recognize is that Jesus would not baptize with the Holy Spirit nor with fire while He was present in the earth with us. Despite the fact that John the Baptist declared that there would come One after him who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire that One would not baptize with either the Holy Spirit or fire while He was still present within and upon the earth. It wouldn’t be until the Day of Pentecost ten days after Jesus ascended unto the right hand of the Father and fifty days after He was raised from death to life the Holy Spirit and fire would be released. Those who were present in the upper room would be the first to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and with fire and would speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Scripture is clear that on the Day of Pentecost these three thousand souls which were added to the number of those in the upper room were baptized in water unto repentance for the remission of sins and we are left to speculate whether or not they also received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire on that same day. How incredibly powerful would it be if those who were baptized in water on the day of Pentecost were also baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Imagine three thousand souls in a single day being baptized in both water as well as being baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire. How incredible it would be if those who were in the upper room were such who initially received and were baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire and three thousand souls that same day would also be baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
Having said all of this I find it necessary to call and draw your attention back to the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the first and second epistles which were written unto the Corinthian saints. It was the apostle Paul who would write unto this congregation—not only that they were the temple of God but also that they were the temple of the Holy Spirit. It would be on the day of Pentecost when the spiritual temple of God within the earth would be birthed, created and formed. It would be on the day of Pentecost when the spiritual temple of the Holy Spirit would be first created and brought into existence. What makes the formation and creation of the spiritual temple of the Holy Spirit so incredibly unique and powerful when you take the time to think about it is when you consider the fact that it was a temple that would increase in size as the church itself would increase in size. The spiritual temple of the Holy Spirit would never remain the same size as it was the day it was first created and formed in the earth. On the day of Pentecost the spiritual temple of the Holy Spirit would indeed be made of roughly one-hundred and twenty people, however, with each new day that temple would increase in size and would grow in the midst of the earth. From the day of Pentecost forward the spiritual temple would grow in size as it would continue to be built without and apart from human hands. How incredible unique and powerful it is to think about and consider this for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that from the day of Pentecost until this present day the spiritual temple of the Holy Spirit would continue to grow within the earth. What’s more is this spiritual temple of the Holy Spirit would extend beyond geographical borders and boundaries and would be manifested within and throughout the nations of the earth. This spiritual temple would extend beyond the geographical borders and boundaries of the city of Jerusalem and would begin to extend and expand into Judaea, Samaria, Galilee and the surrounding regions of Judea. What’s more is that as you continue reading the words which a re found in the New Testament book of Acts you will find this spiritual temple expanding into Asia and Europe as it would extend into cities such as Thessalonica, Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi, Colossae, Laodicea, and other cities which were present throughout the land during those days.
It is with this being said I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the following words which are found in the first and second New Testament epistles written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints. I would also like to call and draw your attention to the following words which the apostle Paul spoke unto the Athenians in the city of Athens when he came unto that city after the disciples and brethren had sent him forth from Berea. The words which the apostle Paul spoke in Athens are directly and intrinsically linked to the words which Solomon would speak at the dedication of the first Jewish temple which would stand on the Temple Mount in the midst of Jerusalem as well as the words which are found in the prophetic book of Isaiah. Consider if you will the following words which are found in these passages of Scripture beginning with those found in the epistles written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints:
“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For the two, he says, shall become one flesh. But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him. Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:12-20).
“O Corinthians! We have spoken on penny to you, our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open. Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore Come out from among them, and be separate says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:11-18).
Consider if you will the following words which the apostle Paul spoke in the midst of the Areopagus in the city of Athens when he was invited to speak unto the Athenians concerning this new and strange doctrine he had been preaching in the synagogue in their midst and in the synagogues in other cities and towns:
“Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring. Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. Truly the times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:22-31).
Consider the words which are found in the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Chronicles beginning with the third verse:
“Then Solomon sent to Hiram king of Tyre, saying: As you have dealt with David my father, and sent him cedars to build himself a house to dwell in, so deal with me. Behold, I am building a temple for the name of the LORD my God, to dedicate it to Him, to burn before Him sweet incense, for the continual showbread, for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths, on the new moons, and on the set feasts of the LORD our God. This is an ordinance forever to Israel. And the temple which build will be great, for our God is greater than all gods. But who is able to build Him a temple, since heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him? Who am I then, that I should build Him a temple, except to burn sacrifice before Him” (2 Chronicles 2:3-6).
Consider the following words which are found in the sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Chronicles beginning with the first verse:
“Then Solomon spoke: The LORD said He would dwell in the dark cloud. I have surely built you an exalted house, and a place for you to dwell in f or ever. Then the king turned around and blessed the whole assembly of Israel, while all the assembly of Israel was standing. And he said: Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who has fulfilled with His hands what He spoke with His mouth to my father David, saying, Since the day that I brought my people out of the land of Egypt, I have chosen no city from any tribe of Israel in which to build a house, that my name might be there, nor did I choose any man to be a ruler over my people Israel. Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over my people Israel. Now it was in the heart of my father David to build a temple for the name of the LORD God of Israel. But the LORD said to my father David, Whereas it was in your heart to build a temple for my name, you did well in that it was in your heart. Nevertheless you shall not build the temple for my name. So the LORD fulfilled his word which he spoke, and I have filled the position of my father David, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised; and I have built the temple for the name of the LORD God of Israel. And there I have put the ark, in which is the covenant of the LORD which He made with the children of Israel. Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands (for Solomon had made a bronze platform five cubits long, five cuties wide, and three cuties high, and had set it in the midst of the court; and he stood on it, knelt down on his knees before all the assembly’s of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven); and he said: LORD God of Israel, there is no God in heaven or on earth like you, who keep your covenant and mercy with your servants who walk before you with all their hearts. You have kept what you promised your servant David my father; your have both spoken with your mouth and fulfilled it with your hand, as it is this day. Therefore, LORD God of Israel, now keep what you promised your servant David my father, saying, You shall not fail to have a man sit before me on the throne of Israel, only if your sons take heed to their way, that they walk in my law as you have walked before me. And now, O LORD God of Israel, let your word come true, which you have spoken to your servant David. But will God indeed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain you. How much less this temple which I have b jilt! Yet regard the prayer of your servant and his supplication, O LORD my God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which your servant is praying before you: that your eyes may be open toward this temple day and night, toward the place where you said you would put your name, that you may hear the prayer which your servant makes toward this place. And may you hear the supplications of your servant and of your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive” (2 Chronicles 6:1-21).
Consider the following words which are found in the sixty-sixth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah beginning with the first verse:
“Thus says the LORD: Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool. Where is the house that you will build me? And where is the place of my rest? For all those things my hand had made, and all those things exist, says the LORD. But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at my word” (Isaiah 66:1-2).
And here is an additional reference found within the seventh chapter of the New Testament book of Acts and within the defense which Stephen gave before his accusers and the religious leaders before whom he stood wrongly and falsely accused:
“Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as He appointed, instructing Moses to make it according to the pattern that he had seen, which our fathers, having received it in turn, also brought with Joshua into the land possessed by the Gentiles, whom God drove out before the face of our fathers until the days of David, who found favor before God and asked to find a dwelling for the God of Jacob . But Solomon built Him a house. However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says: Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool. What house will you build for me? Says the LORD, Or what is the place of my rest? Has my hand not made all these things?” (Acts 7:44-50).
Having said and written all of this I find it necessary to return our attention to the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews. Within the epistle written unto the Hebrews we encounter and come face to face with the absolutely wonderful and powerful truth surrounding Jesus the Christ who is indeed our faithful High Priest. If you take the time to read the words which are found in this epistle you will find the author carefully lays out the reality and understanding that Jesus is not only supreme, better and greater than the angels but He is also our faithful High Priest who has passed into the heavens. With this being said it is imperative that we recognize that Jesus is not a High Priest in an earthly tabernacle nor is He a High Priest of an earthly Temple made with human hands. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand it’s that Jesus has passed into the heavens from the earth and has entered into the Temple of God which is beyond the realm of time and space. Jesus has passed from the earth into the heavens and has entered into the Temple of God which stands in the midst of eternity. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for when we think about and consider the reality of Jesus being our faithful high priest we must needs recognize and understand that he is indeed our high priest who has ministered in a Temple greater than those which stood in the midst of the city of Jerusalem and in a Temple greater than Moses’ tabernacle which stood in the wilderness and then in Shiloh in the midst of the land of Canaan. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely incredible truth surrounding our great High Priest who is indeed present among us as a faithful and merciful High Priest. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews concerning this Jesus who is indeed our faithful High Priest:
“Therefore in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:17-18).
“Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house” (Hebrews 3:1-2).
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confessions. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).
Within these three passages of the epistle written unto the Hebrews we find some incredible words and language concerning Jesus the Christ. Beyond His being our Savior and Lord we recognize and understand that He is also our High Priest. From the time Jesus passed into the heavens until this present day Jesus has indeed been our merciful and faithful High Priest who is seated at the right hand of the Father which is in heaven. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding a role, an office and function that is more often than not overlooked concerning Him. I am convinced that if we truly want to understand the ministry of Jesus the Christ from the time He passed into the heavens until now there is a great need to recognize and understand that He is indeed our faithful and merciful High Priest. There is an incredible amount of language about Jesus being seated at the right hand of the Father who is in heaven and I am absolutely convinced we must needs understand just how important His being seated at the right hand of the Father truly is. When Jesus walked upon the earth He was known as Rabbi, Teacher, Master and other names and titles, however, when we come to the epistle written unto the Hebrews we find an incredibly powerful truth surrounding the Lord Jesus being our High Priest. What we must needs recognize and understand is that not only was and not only has Jesus been our High Priest but He continues to be our merciful and faithful High Priest. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the Lord Jesus being seated at the right hand of God in heaven and how He serves as our faithful and merciful High Priest there in that place. With this in min dI invite you to consider the following words which are found in the New Testament concerning the Lord Jesus being seated at the right hand of God in the heavens of heaven:
“So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen” (Mark 16:19-20).
“Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: the LORD said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool” (Acts 2:33-35).
“But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him” (Acts 5:29-32).
“When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” (Acts 7:54-56).
“Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Romans 8:34-35).
“Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the yes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come” (Ephesians 1:15-21).
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).
“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they” (Hebrews 1:1-4).
“Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man” (Hebrews 8:1-2).
“And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take way sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:12-14).
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
“There is also an anti type which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to him” (1 Peter 3:21-22).
There is a great need to recognize and understand the words which are found in these passages of Scripture for when we think about Jesus the Christ we must not only acknowledge that he has passed into the heavens but also that He sat down at the right of the Father which is in heaven. With His being seated at the right hand of the Father He is able to make intercession for us. What we must understand concerning the Lord Jesus is that he is indeed our faithful and merciful high priest. As our faithful and merciful high priest he is able to not only make propitiation for the sins of the people including you and me but He is able to help those who are in need. In the second chapter of this epistle we read concerning Jesus that in that He Himself suffered being tempted He is able to aid those who are also tempted. Perhaps one of the greatest truths surrounding Jesus as our faithful and merciful High Priest is that He is a High Priest who can indeed and can in fact be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. This faithful and merciful High Priest was tempted in all ways as we are and yet was without sin. It is in the fourth chapter of this epistle we find the author emphatically declaring concerning Jesus that He is our great High Priest who has passed through the heavens and admonished us to hold fast our confession. Furthermore the author goes on to describe and declare that we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses but was in all points tempted as we are and yet was without sin. This is incredibly important for it would be one thing if this faithful and merciful was tempted in all ways as we are and yet was with sin. What we need to understand concerning the high priests which were present during the days of the Tabernacle and Temple is that they were tempted in all ways as the people were and were with sin. What the apostle Paul wrote in the epistle written unto the saints of Rome was true of each and every high priest that existed from the time of Aaron until the final earthly high priest who served in the Tabernacle and Temple—namely that all had/have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
What we must needs understand when considering the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God is that he is indeed a faithful and merciful High Priest who was tempted in all ways as we were, have been and will be and yet was without sin. How absolutely incredible it is to think about the fact that this faithful and merciful High Priest was tempted in all ways as we ourselves were and yet was without sin. There is something incredibly powerful about this faithful and merciful High Priest who not only made propitiation and sacrifice for our sins but sat down at the right hand of the Father which is in heaven after doing so. We have an eternally faithful and merciful High Priest who has sat down and is seated at the right hand of the Father and makes intercession for us. Perhaps the single greatest question is how the eternal Son of the living God makes intercession for us. I am convinced the answer to this question lies in the fact that He sympathizes with our weaknesses and is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. What’s more is this faithful and merciful High Priest is able to give aid to those who are being tempted and those who have been tempted having been tempted in all ways as we ourselves are. We have a merciful and faithful high priest who is indeed able to sympathize with our weaknesses and who understands how we are and have been tempted. What’s more is that it is because Jesus is seated at the right hand of Majesty that we are able to come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
In the fifth chapter of this epistle the author writes that every high priest is taken from among men and is appointed for men in the things pertaining to God that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. This earthly high priest can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray since he himself is also subject to weakness. This is something which we must needs understand for what truly enabled the Lord Jesus to serve as our faithful and merciful High Priest is the fact that He took upon Himself the form of flesh and blood. I have previously written that the flesh which Jesus took upon Himself wasn’t somehow supercharged with the divine nature and somehow immune from the hurt and pain that could touch it. What we must needs recognize concerning the flesh which Jesus took upon Himself was that when He spoke of the flesh being weak but the spirit being willing He was speaking of His own flesh. When Jesus declared that the flesh was weak He recognized and understood that His own flesh was weak. I am convinced that it was for this reason He prayed unto the Father which was in heaven three times there in the garden of Gethsemane about the cup which was placed before Him which He was to drink. Jesus’ flesh was indeed weak according to the nature of flesh and yet the spirit within Him was truly wiling and obedient. Moreover, I would dare say the Spirit that was present within Him was greater than the earthly flesh which He took upon Himself and it was that Spirit which enabled Him to present Himself and His body as a sacrifice holy and acceptable in the sight of the living God. What’s more is that Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest but in the days of His flesh—when He had offered up prayers and supplications with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death—learned obedience by the things which He suffered though He was the Son of the Father which was in heaven.
We have a great need to recognize that during “the days of His flesh” Jesus offered up prayers and supplications with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death. This is something we dare not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth surrounding Jesus’ flesh being subjected to weakness and daily just as our flesh is and has been subjected to frailty and weakness. It is absolutely remarkable and astounding to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it brings us face to face with the fact that Jesus—in His flesh—wrestled and struggled just as we ourselves wrestle and struggle. It is not an understatement to say that Jesus knows and understands exactly how we feel for He was in all ways tempted as we are and experienced hurt, pain, suffering, persecution and even death as we ourselves would experience in this life. There is something truly captivating about this particular truth and how utterly amazing it is that we have a faithful and merciful High Priest who took upon Himself the form of human flesh that He might learn faithfulness, obedience, and humility in the sight of the living and eternal God. What’s more is the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews declared that although Jesus was a Son He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. This reminds me of the words which the author of one-hundred and nineteenth chapter of the book of Psalms wrote when they declared that before they were afflicted they went astray but after they were afflicted they learned obedience and faithfulness in the sight of the living God. There is something absolutely remarkable about the Lord Jesus who did indeed and did in fact learn obedience through the things that He suffered. Not only this but having been perfected He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey and was called by God as High Priest who is seated at the right hand of the Father which is in heaven. Oh how absolutely incredible it is that we recognize and understand this truth concerning the Lord Jesus as our faithful and merciful High Priest for he was in all ways tempted as we are and suffered in the flesh that He might be able to sympathize with our weaknesses and with the struggles and conflicts we face within this life.
As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to offer to you the words of warning and caution the author of the epistle unto the Hebrews wrote to their audience. The author of this epistle spoke unto them of their need to be teachers at this time and yet how they needed someone to teach them again the first principles of the oracles of God. Moreover the author of this epistle would write unto them how they had come to need milk and not solid food for every who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness being a babe. The author goes on to describe how solid food belongs to those who are full of age—those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. The author of this epistle goes on to admonish them to leave the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ and go on to perfection. As such they were not to lay again the foundation of repentance from dead works and faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. Moreover the author writes how it is impossible for those who were once enlightened and have tasted the heavenly gift and became partakers of the Holy Spirit and tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come—if they fall away—to be renewed again to repentance since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God and put Him to an open shame. OH that which we must needs recognize and understand when reading these words is that we have indeed and have in fact been called to maturity and growth in the sight of the living God. Especially in the days in which we are living we as the saints of God and disciples of Christ must needs press on toward maturity and growth that we might no more be babes who are tossed to and fro with every wind and doctrine. OH it is with this in mind I leave you with the following words which are found in the first epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints as well as the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the epistle written unto the Ephesian saints:
“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:11-16).