Page images

Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be to Him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever.” Indeed, the oracles in the 7th chapter of Daniel and in the 5th of Revelation seem to refer to the same event-that described in the text as the entering in of the High Priest of good things to come into the true holy place.

It is still further stated in this account of the ministry of the High Priest of good things to come, that He entered into the holy place by blood—“not by the blood of calves or of goats, but by His own blood.” The reference does not appear to be to the Jewish priest entering with blood, to be sprinkled with his finger upon and before the mercy-seat seven times on the great day of atonement, but to that of which this was the appointed sign and evidence. The reference is to the fact, that the Jewish high priest entered in consequence of the shedding of the blood of the bullock and the goat, as sin-offerings for himself and the congregation. Without this bloodshedding, there was no entrance into the holy of holies. It was on the ground of the expiation thus made that there was warrantable safe entrance there. In like manner, it was on the ground of the all-perfect expiation made by the blood of the sacrifice of the High Priest of good things to come, which sacrifice was Himself, that He has entered into heaven, sat down on the right hand of God, and, ever living to make intercession, is able to save to the uttermost all coming to God by Him. He ever lives, because He once died, the just in the room of the unjust. He lives and reigns in the power of God, because He died in weakness, the victim for the sins of

Because He humbled Himself, and became obedient to death, the death of the cross, God has highly exalted Him. His being a Priest on His throne is the result of His being a Priest on the cross.

The only other circumstance mentioned in the text respecting the ministry of our Lord as “the High Priest.of good things to come,” is, that He entered into the holy place once,-i.l., once for all. The Jewish high priests had to enter often—once every year. A new year accumulated much new guilt; this guilt required a new sacrifice, and a new entrance into the holy place. But by the sacrifice of Himself, a sacrifice of infinite worth, the High Priest of good things to come has obtained eternal redemption for us; and the expiation being completehaving by one offering perfected for ever all them that are sanctified—the entrance into the holiest of all is final, once and for ever. The Jewish high priest could not abide in the holy place: he had work to do which could not be performed there. He must return to the altar to offer sacrifice for unatoned-for transgressions. But our High Priest comes no more out to perform the ministry of atonement. That is over, completely over. He has finished transgression, made an end of sin, taken away sin by the offering of Himself. Jehovah has heard His vows, and “He abides before God for ever." He will indeed once more come forth. Behold, He cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see Him. When He came the first time, it was with a șin-offering—with a human nature so constituted as to be a fit sacrifice for the sins of men ; but when He comes the second time, it will be without a sin-offering: not without a human nature; for He who entered is to come forth, and that was the God-man Christ Jesus. But the human nature He brings with Him, as it is not fitted, so it is not intended, to be a sacrifice for sin. He comes to confer, in all its glorious completeness, the eternal redemption which He obtained by His sacrifice. “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true ; but into heaven itself, there to appear in the presence of God for us: nor yet that He should offer Himself often, as the Jewish high priests entered into the holy place every year with the blood of others; but now once in the end of the world hath He appeared, to put away sin, and sin-offering, by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment; so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many: and unto them that look for Him will He come the second time, without sin, unto salvation.” There is a striking analogy between the death of men and the sacrifice of Christ, which was consummated in His death. They are both events which, by the constitution of God, ean take place but once. And this is not the only analogy. Death is not the end of man : the sacrifice is not the close of our Lord's saving work. Men must come back again to this world; but it is not again to die--they die no more; it is to be judged. The High Priest of good things to come also comes back again : He comes forth from the holy place into which He has entered. But it is not again to offer sacrifice : there is, for there needs not be, any more sacrifice for sin. He comes forth to judge the world, and to complete the salvation of those whose sins He expiated in His death, and who, having believed in Him, are looking for Him. May we, my brethren, all be among that happy company who, when He cometh, cometh to judge the world, will welcome Him with holy exultation, saying, This is our Lord; we have waited for Him: He has come, and He will save us ;—who, when at the sound of the archangel's voice, and at the sign of the Son of man, the kindreds of the earth are wailing because of Him, shall, unmoved amid the solemnities of a dissolving world, have all feelings lost in delight in the thought that He comes to take all His redeemed ones, soul and body, a glorious assembly, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, into the many mansions in the heaven of heavens which He entered in to prepare for them. May our ears be opened to the voice which is ever coming forth from the holy of holies, within the vail, from above the skies—“Lo, I come;" and let the response of our heart be, “ Amen. Even so come; come quickly, Lord Jesus."

Thus have I shortly illustrated the view which the text gives us of the official character of our Lord as the High Priest of good things to come, and His ministry in this official character. And “of the things which have been spoken, this is the sum:”—Under the new and better economy, Jesus Christ is the one Mediator between God and man, who opens up, and keeps open, favourable intercourse between them; and in this character He has, by an all-perfect, infinitely meritorious sacrifice, obtained eternal redemption for His people ; and, on the ground of this sacrifice, He has, as an all-accomplished High Priest, passed through these heavens into the heaven of heavens, where, “ for ever blessing and for ever blessed,” on the right hand of the Father, He reigns Head over all things to His body, the Church, communicating to them the eternal redemption He has obtained for them.

What gratitude, then, my brethren, is due by us to the High Priest of good things to come, for what He has done, is doing, will do for us as our High Priest! How confidently may we rely on His infinitely meritorious sacrifice, His all-prevalent intercession ! How should we rejoice in Him, as rich in mercy, mighty to save; and how gladly should we embrace every opportunity offered of expressing these sentiments in a believing, affectionate observance of His ordinances, in which He puts us in mind of what He did for us in order to obtain eternal redemption for us, and in which He bids us look for Him from heaven to complete the communication to us of that eternal salvation, the obtaining of which for us was completed on the cross! Jesus the Saviour, who will deliver us from the wrath that is to come ; Jesus the Saviour, who will bestow on us “the salvation that is in Him, with eternal glory !" O let us make melody to Him in our hearts ; and let this, as it has been the theme of our discourse, be the subject of

our song:

" The true Messiah now appears,

The types are all withdrawn;
So fly the shadows and the stars

Before the rising dawn.

“No smoking sweets, no bleeding lambs,

Nor kid nor bullock slain;
Incense and spice of costly names

Would all be burnt in vain.

“ Aaron must lay his robes away,

His mitre and his vest,
When God Himself comes down to be

The Offering and the Priest.

“ He took our mortal flesh to show

The wonders of His love;
For us He paid his life below,

And reigns for us above."

“Not all the blood of beasts,

On Jewish altars slain,
Could give the guilty conscience peace,

Or wash away the stain.

“But Christ, the Lamb of God,

Takes all our sins away-
A sacrifice of richer blood

And nobler name than they.

"Believing, we rejoice

To see the curse remove;
We bless the Lamb with cheerful voice,

And sing His bleeding love." Worthy is the Lamb that was slain. To Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and made us. kings and priests to God, even His Father, be glory and dominion. Hallelujah.

« PreviousContinue »