Christ - The Annointed Priest

The Lord seen as “Last Adam"
necessarily introduces us, therefore, to His atoning work. For the race
of which He is thus Head, although a new creation, is a race of men,—of
those involved in the fall of the first head, and who have added to
this their own individual and innumerable iniquities. Here, therefore,
what He is as Christ—as Messiah, the “Anointed”—comes into
view: for this “anointing” has regard to His official work, and (apart
from Jacob’s anointing of the pillar at Bethel) the first notice that
we have of it in Scripture is in connection with the priests (Ex.
28:41; 29:7); while the high priest is distinctively, even as among these, the “priest that is anointed” or Messiah-priest.

After the failure of the priesthood, it is the king who
is specifically the “anointed of Jehovah;” and the union of priest and
king in our Lord, as in the type of Melchizedek, we shall have
attentively to consider in a little while. For Christ also, priesthood
necessarily preceded kingship, the history runs parallel with the
doctrine. Of the prophet who (as in Elisha’s case) was sometimes
anointed, but, from the nature of his call, less frequently, we need
not at present speak. Christ unites, as we know, these three offices in
His own Person, but the first and fundamental one is that of

The priest, ideally, was one who presented
himself to God in behalf of others: of those who could not, therefore,
of themselves draw near, as he. For his office, there were two
requisites: first, personal fitness to draw near himself. This was
figured under the Law by that simple white linen garment in which alone
the sanctuary could be entered; while, where ever there had been sin,
(and therefore for the high-priest also, as long as he was but the
“figure of the true”) the blood of sacrifice was needed for atonement.

Among mere men the true Priest
could not be found. The “called of God” is He to whom, though Man, God
could say, “Thou art My Son: to-day have I begotten Thee” (Heb. 5:5).
In Him, as “First-born among many brethren,” a new humanity begins for
God, open to all men to come into, but by the lowly gate of a new
birth. For these as Head and Representative He stands and offers
sacrifice; for these, and not for the world, He intercedes; but this of
course shuts out none from blessing. Faith could at any time bring nigh
the stranger and join him to the people of God. Of God’s will none were
ever shut out, as even the dispensation of law bore witness, and Ruth
and Rahab are signal examples. Now, under the gospel, to faith all the
privileges of God’s house are open. The veil is rent, and God is in the
light, where the blood of Christ His Son cleanses those who enter from
every stain of sin.

But we are now looking at the Priest
Himself, whose call to the Priesthood is founded upon His nature as Son
of God, as the apostle distinctly tells us. He “glorified not Himself
to be made high-priest, but He who said unto Him, Thou art My Son:
to-day have I begotten Thee.” Here the owning Him Son of God,—the
First-born and not the Only-begotten, or it would not be said,
“to-day,”—implies, according to the argument, that God recognizes Him
as High-priest also; and so the apostle adduces the passage from the
hundred and tenth psalm as similar in import: “Just as also in another
place, he saith, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of

It is denied, however, by some that this is
the argument. “The two citations,” says Moll, “do not express the same
idea; nor is the former adduced to prove that Christ is a High-priest;
but simply to call to mind the relation previously unfolded, that
namely, which the God who has bestowed this priestly dignity on Christ,
sustains as Father to this Anointed One.”

In fact, the apostle’s words at first sight may seem indefinite. That “He glorified Him, who said to Him,” does not necessarily mean “glorified Him in saying to
Him.” But the apostle does, nevertheless, use the same form of speech
in the seventh chapter with reference to the second quotation, which
here he does to the first: “But He with an oath, by Him that said unto Him:
The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever.” Here,
of course, no doubt could arise, nor could be supposed to do so: and
this makes a difference. But it would show, at least, least, that the
form of speech is not against the implication.

that relationship of Christ as Son to God, previously unfolded, has
been already shown to be in connection with His priesthood in the
second chapter: for it has been told us there that the “many sons” whom
God is bringing to glory “are all of one” with Him: “so that He is not
ashamed to call them ‘brethren.’” And because these “children that God
has given Him” are “partakers of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise
took part in the same, that through death He might annul him that had
the power of death, and deliver them.” Thus “it behoved Him to be made
in all things like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high-priest in thing pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”

is surely a long and connected argument to show the relation which
Christ’s being the Son of God bears to His Priesthood. For atonement,
and for sympathy too (as to which the last verse of the second chapter
speaks) Christ as High-priest must be made like unto His brethren. His
brethren are the many sons of God He is bringing to glory; He therefore
must be Son of God in human nature. To own Him this is thus by
implication to own Him as the Mediator-Priest on their account.

as Son of God He is King also, and that the quotation from the second
psalm is in connection with this, does not conflict at all with such a
view. The second quotation, which directly affirms His Priesthood,
expressly connects the two things together. He is a priest after the
order of Melchizedek, a priest upon the throne (Zech. 6:13); a King
with priestly tenderness and succor for the sinful and needy,—a Priest
with royal and more than royal authority. How sweet and fitting is the
union in Him of these two things! that as the Minister of priestly
grace all power should be committed to Him! But here, plainly,
priesthood must come first, and lay the foundation. It must begin in
humiliation and sorrow, as the apostle represents. The Son of God must
learn what obedience is in a strange path of suffering. The Perfect One
must be officially perfected as the Author of eternal salvation to all
those that obey Him. He cries unto “Him that is able to save Him out of death,”
not “from” it, and is “heard for His piety” (Heb. 5:7–9). Come up out
of death, He is “saluted of God as high-priest after the order of
Melchizedek” (ver. 10),—hailed as Victor with the crown.

This course begins on earth and ends in heaven. On earth He
made propitiation (2:17), offering up Himself (7:27) in the body
prepared Him (10:5), one offering for sins, by which He has perfected
in perpetuity those that are sanctified (10:14). Then, as risen from
the dead, in the power of that blood whose acceptance had been thus
openly declared, He entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the
presence of God for us (9:24). But we must look more closely at the
stages of accomplishment of a course for us so necessary and so

It is by His baptism at the hands of John, that
the Lord, coming forth out of His thirty years of private life in which
He had fulfilled His own personal responsibility as Man before God,
devotes Himself to that work on behalf of others for which He had come.
He is “baptized unto death,” of which Jordan is the well-known figure;
and this implies for Him both sacrifice and priesthood. As the Lamb of
sacrifice John therefore proclaims Him, while as Priest He is anointed
with the Spirit; the Father’s voice proclaiming Him that which, as we
have seen, marks Him as the true Priest—His beloved Son. Here then
begins His ministry, which is characterized by all that grace which
priesthood implies, and by those works of power which are the broad
seal of His commission as the Anointed of God.

As Son of God
He is now also the Prophet, God Himself now, as never hitherto,
speaking among men, and as Man, which makes the intimacy of this grace
complete. But His feet have to take for this the way of Calvary. Every
word is in this sense an evangel; every act of power is as it were an
anticipation of resurrection from the dead. The glorious Voice has to
be hushed in silence, the Mighty One to be crucified through weakness,
the Priest of men to offer up Himself, the Son of God to suffer as Son
of man, the Seed of the woman to set a bruised heel upon the Serpent’s
head. It is a conflict of good with evil, in which all vantage of power
is to be on the side of evil, the victory gained by suffering, in the
awful place in which the fire of God also searched out all the inward
parts, and no deliverance could be but on the ground of absolute
perfection—a whole burnt-offering, sweet savor every whit. He was
“heard for His piety.” No grace could be in His case, but simple
righteousness, which at last drew Him out and justified Him in
resurrection from the dead.

Thus the pure white linen robe
was seen to be upon Him before He entered the Sanctuary; but more,— the
blood was provided: the penalty upon man was met, death and the
forsaking of God,—the governmental penalty, and that which was and is
the necessity of His nature,—of purer eyes than to behold iniquity and
who cannot look at sin. Thus the hindrance—not to going (for He could always go) but to bringing into the sanctuary is removed: and this, of course, means His going in officially,
as Priest for others. And thus it is that it is the blood of the
sin-offering, (and only of that when in its fullest character,) not of
any other, that opens the way into the sanctuary of God. For, sin being
removed, God is free to draw near to men, free to admit men to draw
near to Him: divine love is unhindered.

Thus propitiation
was effected on earth, and resurrection had declared the justification
of all who should believe on Him, before He ascended up to take His
place for us before God. “He entered in once, into the holy place,
having found eternal redemption” (Heb. 9:12). In contrast with
remission for a year, and annual entrances of the Jewish priests, only
for the moment, He has entered in once for all, never needing to repeat
a sacrifice which abides in its value before God continually.

is as entering in thus that He is “saluted of God a high-priest after
the order of Melchizedek;” and here several things have to be noted,
which combine to make up the picture presented to us in the type.

let us first take notice that the two words in Heb. 5: in our common
version alike translated “called,” are by no means the same. The second
word (ver. 10) is in the revised “named,” but would better be rendered
“addressed” or “saluted.” It does not convey the thought of calling to
an office, and it was not after His work had been accomplished, that
the Lord’s priesthood began. Most certainly He was High-priest when He
offered up Himself (Heb. 7:27), and the passage here says nothing to
the contrary. But it is in resurrection that His priesthood assumes the
character in which Melchizedek represents Him,—a royal priesthood, and with no shadow of death upon it.

A royal priesthood
is certainly the Melchizedek order; it is doubly emphasized: in his
name, “King of righteousness”; and then as “King of Salem,” that is,
“King of peace.” This is what the apostle first of all dwells upon. It
has been by some lost sight of, because the Lord’s human Kingdom
is not yet come; but we are in “the Kingdom of God’s dear Son” (Col.
1:13), and the epistle to the Hebrews emphasizes His place as Son over
the house of God (chap. 3:6). Thus He is surely a Royal Priest: with
power in His hands exercised in priestly tenderness; righteousness and
peace the characteristics of His rule.

Then Is a good boy
“abideth a priest continually”; and as Melchizedek is presented to us
in the history, without predecessor or successor, without beginning of
days or end of life, in this he is “made (typically) like the Son of
God” (Heb. 7:3). Levi, as the apostle reminds us, gave tithes in
Abraham to this greater priest; and the Levitical priesthood are thus
prefigured as to their relation to the antitypical Melchizedek.

in the history also, Melchizedek offers no sacrifice, but “brings forth
bread and wine” for the refreshment of the man of faith. This the
apostle neither comments upon nor notices; but he goes on to picture
Christ as the Minister of the true tabernacle, the heavenly sanctuary
where, of course, no sacrifices are offered. The bread and wine cannot
fail to speak to our hearts of the memorial of that once offered
sacrifice, which has left us now no sacrifices save that of praise and
thanksgiving. Thus every way Melchizedek represents Christ in His
relation to us now. That there is an application to millennial days,
and His relation to Israel, is surely true; yet the whole connection in
the book of Genesis presses rather upon us the Christian one.
[12] Indeed the men of Aaron’s order, while they show us typically the work
which opens the Sanctuary, have nothing to say of the Sanctuary open.
Melchizedek may therefore fill a gap here, without in any wise
displacing the Aaronic priesthood in whatever it can show us.

is just here however that a mistake has been made in another direction
which needs to be pointed out. It is that which would ascribe to the
apostle a doctrine of the Lord not having been a Priest on earth, not
even when offering up Himself upon the Cross; in direct contradiction
of the whole typical system.

His words are very different from this: “For if He were on earth, He would not even be a priest, seeing that there are priests
who offer gifts according to the law, who serve for representation and
shadow of heavenly things.” He does not say that the Lord was not
a Priest on earth; but having set Him before us as Minister of the true
(antitypical) Tabernacle, he says, if He were on earth there would be
no room for Him in the earthly one: for there the sons of
Aaron fill everything according to the law. Surely nothing could be
much more simple than such a statement.

But the work which
He did upon earth had nothing to do with the Aaronic service, and
answered to the work outside the sanctuary. Now He has finished this,
it is the heavenly Sanctuary into which He has entered, and to which He
belongs. “By one offering He has perfected in perpetuity those who are
sanctified.” And in consequence, “such a High-priest becometh us, who
is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher
than the heavens.”

All sin put perfectly away from every
saint of God, our Priest in heaven is for saints, not sinners, for
weakness, not for sin. His sacrifice is for sinners; His sympathy and
intercession are for saints, amid the opposition and seductions of an
evil world, in which He has Melchizedek-like refreshment for the tired
warrior, and memorials of unutterable value for him who is exposed to
the offers of the king of Sodom: food of the mighty which makes men
that, and in the strength of which they may go, like Elijah to Horeb,
many days.

But our Priest keeps open the Sanctuary also,
that we may have access to God, and refuge in His presence from the
world through which we pass. With a veil rent, and a great Priest over
the house of God, we are encouraged to draw near with a true heart, in
full assurance of faith.

12. “See Genesis in the light of the New Testament,” or The Numerical Bible, Vol. 1.

F W Grant