priesthood is eternal because He abides forever.
In contrast to the
Levitical priests who had to be replaced each time
one of them died, Jesus Christ is the eternal High
Priest. Jesus is superior to Aaron and the Levitical
priesthood. If perfection could have come from the
old order then a new priesthood would never have
come into existence. On the cross the Righteous One
died for the unrighteous. This gives great
confidence that we will never perish. He is our
security. There will never be an annulment of His
new and better covenant. The writer of Hebrews calls
it "the eternal covenant" (Heb. 13:20). Our
righteousness rests upon His saving grace. The
Christian is "justified by faith apart from the
works of the law."
The old Levitical
priesthood would pass away, but the priesthood of
Jesus Christ can never pass away. God swore by an
oath that it would be an eternal priesthood. "The
Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, 'You
are a priest forever'" (Hebrews 7:21). Therefore,
Jesus is our guarantee that His priesthood and our
salvation will last forever. Jesus is the guarantee
of a better covenant with God. This new covenant is
based upon the perfect sacrifice of Christ on the
"Therefore He is able
also to save forever those who draw near to God
through Him, since He always lives to make
intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25, NASB95).
Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are from the
New American Standard Bible, 1995 Update.
The perfect priest
provides a perfect salvation for sinners.
"He is able to save them
to the uttermost." What a great Savior! "He is able
to save completely those who come to God through
Him" (NET Bible). Jesus is able to save the sinners
"forever who draw near to God." Jesus is able to
save believing sinners in totality to the point of
an unending eternal salvation. He saves the whole
person from the penalty of sin for all time and
The writer of Hebrews
uses the word aparabatos which is a legal
word meaning Jesus' priesthood is unalterable,
non-transferable, and inviolable. He is able to do
this because His priesthood is permanent,
unchangeable, and perpetual. The priesthood of
Christ does not pass to another because it is an
everlasting priesthood. He continues forever because
He holds His priesthood permanently. It will not be
transferred to anyone else. This is His priesthood
and no one else will ever receive it. It is not
going to pass to another like the Levitical priests.
John Calvin said, "There
is no death that prevents Christ from performing His
office. Therefore He is the only and the perpetual
priest." He is the one and only priest. No one can
ever take His priesthood from Him. He lives to make
intercession for us. "For there is one God, and one
mediator also between God and men, the man Christ
Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5).
The apostle Paul said,
"Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the
dead, is never to die again; death no longer is
master over Him" (Romans 6:9). The resurrected,
ascended Christ spoke to John the apostle on Patmos
saying, "When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a
dead man. And He placed His right hand on me,
saying, 'Do not be afraid; I am the first and the
last, and the living One; and I was dead, and
behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys
of death and of Hades'" (Revelation 1:17-18). The
power of His indestructible life makes Him an
eternal priest. Death cannot bring His priesthood to
How could we have
assurance of salvation if we hoped to draw near to
the eternal God through a priest who was subject to
death? Jesus is able to save absolutely, totally,
fully and completely. What a Savior!
But what if we sin? Will
we lose our salvation? "My little children, I am
writing these things to you so that you may not sin.
And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the
Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself
is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours
only, but also for those of the whole world" (1 John
2:1-2). Only Jesus Christ is the all-sufficient
Savior. How tragic if we depend upon our self,
our own virtue, our good works, faithfulness, etc.
as a guarantee for salvation. We are sinners, and
will be until the day we die, but thank God there is
a fountain that has been opened that cleans us from
all sin (1 John 1:6-10).
The one who died as our
substitute on the cross, rose from the dead, and now
continues as our sole and ever living High Priest.
This guarantees our salvation. The unbroken,
never-ending intercession with the Father on our
behalf is our guarantee of eternal life.
Our salvation is wholly
based on the all-sufficient, once for all, completed
death of Christ on the cross. The risen Christ is in
the presence of the Father. Therefore His priestly
work is unending. B. F. Westcott said, "The modern
description of Christ pleading in heaven His
passion, 'offering His blood,' on behalf of men has
no foundation in the Epistle. His glorified humanity
is the eternal pledge of the absolute efficacy of
His accomplished work. He pleads, as the older
writers truly expressed the thought, by His Presence
on the Father's Throne."
The perfect character of
our great High Priest Jesus Christ
"For it was fitting for
us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent,
undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above
the heavens" (Hebrews 7:26).
Jesus alone is God's
The word "holy" (hosios)
is a personal holiness. Jesus is pure in the eyes of
God the Father. His holy life displayed the moral
characteristics which honors God's holiness. This is
not the word hagios that is used to denote
consecrated, separated to God. We believers are
saints, meaning we are separated to God. Jesus is
hosios meaning He is morally perfect in the eyes
of His Father in heaven.
The word has a messianic
connotation. The apostles Paul and Peter picked up
on this idea in their sermons on the death and
resurrection of Christ. They both quote portions of
Psalm 16:8-11 calling Jesus "the Holy One."
Our great High Priest is
holy and only He can make us holy in the eyes of a
holy God. The only High Priest capable of officiate
before God on behalf of desperately wicked depraved
sinners was one who was holy. Jesus was absolutely
pure in His nature. There was no human depravity in
Him. Jesus could say clearly "the ruler of the world
is coming, he has nothing in Me" (John 14:30). There
was nothing in Christ to which the evil one could
make an appeal. Jesus was the Holy One.
Jesus is "innocent" or
He is free from all evil
(kakos). His life is absent of all that is
bad and wrong. He is blameless, innocent, and
guileless. We by contrast are inescapably evil
because of our depravity. The idea is an entire
absence of evil thought and there is not the
slightest taint of malice in this attitude and
thinking. He has no evil in His heart. He was pure
Our "innocent" (akakos)
substitute became our sin-bearer. There is no evil
in Him. He is guileless, free from malice and evil.
The apostle Paul declared, "He [God the Father] made
Him [Jesus His Son] who knew no sin to be sin on our
behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of
God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21). And Peter has the
same conviction when he says Christ was sinless when
He bore our sins in His body on the cross. Then he
adds, "For Christ also died for sins once for all,
the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us
to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but
made alive in the spirit" (1 Peter 3:18).
Jesus was "undefiled."
tells us Jesus is absolutely free from any blemish
that would keep Him from entering into the presence
of a holy God. Nothing impure hindered His priestly
work. A blemished lamb could not be offered as a
sacrifice. The Levitical priests became defiled when
they came in contact with dead bodies. How
significant that Jesus raised the dead! There was
nothing about Jesus that would impair His
sacrificial offering for our sins. He was without
defilement, stainless, untainted.
Because the Levitical
priests were stained with sin they had to first
offer a sacrifice for themselves before they could
offer one for the people. Jesus could offer Himself
as a perfect sacrifice because He was undefiled as
"a lamb without blemish or spot." The apostle Peter
wrote, "knowing that you were not redeemed with
perishable things like silver or gold from your
futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,
but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished
and spotless, the blood of Christ" (1 Peter
1:18-19). The sacrifice of Jesus was wholly
acceptable to God as an atoning sacrifice for our
Jesus was "separated
Jesus lived among sinners
and came away unscathed. The depravity of the world
had no effect upon Him. He came through sinless.
Earlier the author said, "For we do not have a high
priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses,
but One who has been tempted in all things as we
are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus is not a
sinner. John Calvin said, "He is described as
separated from us, not because He rejects us from
His society, but because He is uniquely
distinguished from us in that He is free from all
John Owen wrote, "He was
every way, in the perfect holiness of His nature and
His life, distinguished from all sinners." Moreover,
he may have in mind the moral separation in which
His entire life was separated from the contamination
of our depravity. He did not buy into our world
system. He came to do the Father's will and seek
first the Kingdom of God. Everyone is a sinner, and
He is the exception. He is free from all
uncleanliness. Jesus had no need to be set apart in
a ceremonial way because He was morally separated
Jesus touched the lepers
and they were cleansed. He came into contact with
death, and the dead came back to life. He was
tempted by the Devil for forty days, and Jesus came
away spotless and undefiled.
How could Jesus have
offered that perfect sacrifice for sin if He were
not separated from sin?
Jesus is "exalted
above the heavens."
No doubt the author has
in mind the resurrection, ascension, exaltation,
glorification and eternal reign of Christ. It is the
realm in which Jesus now lives. The writer of
Hebrews began his work saying when Jesus "made
purification of sin, He sat down at the right hand
of the Majesty on high" (Heb. 1:3). No one or
anything is exalted more highly than our great God
and Savior! (Phil. 2:9-11)
Only the sinless
Savior can save sinners.
The perfect priest
offered the perfect sacrifice for sin.
Jesus "does not need
daily, like those high priests, to offer up
sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the
sins of the people, because this He did once for all
when He offered up Himself" (Hebrews 7:27). In this
verse I think the writer has in mind both the daily
sacrifices of the priest and the great sacrifice of
the Day of Atonement. He blends the two sacrifices
in his general description for emphasis so he can
contrast the perfect offering of Christ. The
contrast by emphasis is the one perfect sacrifice,
the sinless Son of God offered once and for all when
He offered Himself as a sacrifice. The focus is on
the finality of Christ's offering; He does it "once
Jesus did not need to
offer a sin offering for Himself because He was
Jesus had no need to
daily purify Himself and renew His sacrifice like
the other priests. Because they were sinners the
Levitical high priest in Judaism had to first offer
a sacrifice to cover his own sins and the sins of
his family. "Then Aaron shall offer the bull for the
sin offering which is for himself, that he may make
atonement for himself and for his household. . . .
Then Aaron shall offer the bull of the sin offering
which is for himself and make atonement for himself
and for his household, and he shall slaughter the
bull of the sin offering which is for himself"
(Leviticus 16:6, 11).
Jesus was sinless;
therefore He did not have to offer a sin for
Himself. He was the perfect High Priest who offered
the perfect offering. Jesus is the priest and He is
Jesus offered the
perfect sacrifice for our sins.
Because Jesus was sinless
and undefiled He could offer one perfect sacrifice
for sinners. It was once-for-all, never to be
repeated. What a contrast His sacrifice of Himself
is to the old covenant sacrifices that had to be
repeated year after year.
Jesus is the sinless Lamb
of God who takes away the sin of the world (John
1:29, 36). The apostle Peter declared: "knowing that
you were not redeemed with perishable things like
silver or gold from your futile way of life
inherited from your forefathers, but with precious
blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the
blood of Christ" (1 Peter 1:18-19).
The constant repetition
of animal sacrifices could not take away sin.
They could not pay the sin debt. Only the Messiah
could offer the one sacrifice that could pay our sin
debt. He was anointed of God to take away sin. He
did it once for all. The word "once" in verse 27 is
means "once for all."
The author of Hebrews
gives us beautiful summary statement. "For the Law
appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the
word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints
a Son, made perfect forever" (Hebrews 7:28). The
"oath" God made came long after the giving of the
law. David wrote Psalm 110 centuries after the law
was given by Moses. Thus, the appointment of Christ
as High Priest is complete and permanent.
This present tense
indicates that when this letter was being written
the Levitical priesthood was still functioning at
the Jerusalem temple.
Jesus is able to save for
all eternity those who call upon His name. Are you
carrying a heavy load of guilt? Have you become
weary of your load day after day, night after night?
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and
I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). There is no
one else to turn to. Only Jesus saves. Jesus
said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the
life; no one comes to the Father but through Me"
(John 14:6). That was the conviction of the apostle
Peter as he concluded one his great messages just
after the resurrection of Christ. "And there is
salvation in no one else; for there is no other name
under heaven that has been given among men by which
we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Believers alone enjoy
the salvation Christ gives. We come to God through
Jesus offered Himself as
the payment for sin when He died on the cross. That
was a once for all sacrifice that can never be
repeated. "Nor was it that He would offer
Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy
place year by year with blood that is not his own.
Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often
since the foundation of the world; but now once at
the consummation of the ages He has been manifested
to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And
inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and
after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having
been offered once to bear the sins of many, will
appear a second time for salvation without reference
to sin, to those who eagerly await Him" (Hebrews
9:25-28). He will again write a little later: "By
this will we have been sanctified through the
offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. .
. but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for
all time, sat down at the right hand of God . . . .
For by one offering He has perfected for all time
those who are sanctified" (Hebrews 10:10, 12, 14).
By His death Jesus draws
sinful men to God. He cleanses and forgives and
brings us into the presence of the Lord God. "He
made purification of our sins," and "sat down at the
right hand of the Majesty on high" (Heb. 1:3).
Jesus, the Son of God
incarnate is still our High Priest who is exalted to
the right hand of Majesty. He is ever active in the
presence of God the Father for us. The great purpose
of God in the mystery of redemption by Jesus Christ
is the salvation of His elect unto the praise of the
glory of His grace. Listen to the words of Jesus.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only
begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not
perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
He is listening for your
voice right now. Have you called upon His name for
salvation? He is able to save to the uttermost those
who come to God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make
intercession for you. He does this continually. He
is always ready to hear your voice.
Not only does He want to,
He is also able to save you. All power is His,
abundant sufficiency of ability to fulfill what He
has designed by grace. He is not powerless. He has
never left an unfinished project, and you are His
He is also listening for
the voice of every believer. His office is
all-sufficient to meet every need of His people. You
and I cannot live the Christian life. It is forever
Christ living His life in and through us. The only
way we can live the Christian life is to put into
practice the promises of God's Word through the
abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. Christ is
seated on His priestly-kingly throne making
intercession for you and me right now. I have
wonderful Christian people tell me consistently I am
praying for you Wil and your ministry. I pray for
you every Sunday morning as you speak on the radio.
I pray for your evangelism workshops and
conferences. I appreciate that. But there is someone
else who is praying for me right now. It is my great
intercessor and mediator, the Son of God. He is
making intercession for me. He wants me to succeed
today. He wants you to be all that He has designed
for you to be in Him. A complete salvation is an
everlasting one. What God began He will continue. He
will see it through to its completion.
The apostle Paul tells us
the goal Christ has for every one of His children.
"God willed to make known what is the riches of the
glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is
Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim Him,
admonishing every man and teaching every man with
all wisdom, so that we may present every man
complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor,
striving according to His power, which mightily
works within me" (Colossians 1:27-29). You and I
cannot do that by ourselves. But God in His grace
has made provision for us through our great High
Priest. Christ will not accomplish part of our
salvation and then leave what remains to us or to
others to accomplish. It is His work, all of it.
John Owen said, "Christ
is able to save unto the uttermost, yet all are not
saved by Him." It may be that you have never called
upon Christ to save you. You can right now because
He is listening for your voice. He knows your heart
and He is ready to save you this very moment.
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be
saved." The apostle Paul said, "If you confess with
your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart
that God raised Him from the dead, you will be
saved" (Romans 10:9). Only those who come to God by
faith in Christ are saved.
John Own said, "All false
religion is but a choice of other things for men to
place their trust in with a neglect of Christ. And
all superstition, instances of it, be they great or
Title: Hebrews 7:25-28
Jesus Christ the Perfect Priest