Hebrews 5:1-6

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

THE OFFICE OF HIGH PRIEST

INTRODUCTION:

 

In Hebrews 4:14-7:28 Christ is seen to have a more excellent ministry than the Levitical priests. Therefore, professing believers need to hold fast the confession of faith which they have made.

 

In chapter 5 the office of high priest is described (5:1-4). Also, Christ is stated to be a high priest after the order of Melchizedek (5:5-10).

 

These believers to whom Hebrews was written were not as sharp spiritually as they should have been (5:11-14). Therefore, they are urged to leave the first principles of Messiah and go on to completion, making sure that they are truly saved.

We see that –

    I.     THE OFFICE OF HIGH PRIEST IS DESCRIBED – 5:1-4

 

In verses 1-4 is found a description of the office of high priest. This is preparing the reader to recognize that Christ is the believers’ high priest.

 

We note that –

            A.  THE HIGH PRIEST IS A HUMAN BEING – 5:1A

 

Hebrews 5:1 a – For every high priest taken from among men. . . .

 

For introduces an explanation and is understood in the sense of now.

 

Every high priest is each high priest and includes all of them.

 

Taken from among men is literally taken out from among men, which means that he is a man and comes from among all other men.

 

Men is the generic term for human being and as a plural includes all of humanity.

 

The fact that he is taken from among men means that he is a human being.

 

We also note that –

            B.  THE HIGH PRIEST IS APPOINTED FOR MEN IN THINGS PERTAINING TO GOD – 5:1B

 

Hebrews 5:1 b – . . . Every high priest . . . is ordained for men in things pertaining to God. . . .

 

Is ordained suggests is appointed, and its passive voice indicates that someone else ordained or appointed him. He does not ordain or appoint himself. Not everyone was permitted to sacrifice on the day of atonement. It was only the high priest. He had to make atonement on behalf of everyone else.

 

For men is on behalf of men or for the sake of men.

 

Again, men is the generic term meaning human being and is used in the sense of humanity. It includes females as well as males.

 

In things pertaining to God is with reference to the things pertaining to God.

 

It refers particularly to the sacrificial offerings. It is not referring to the more mundane things in life; it is specifically used in reference to spiritual things.

 

In addition, we note that –

            C.  THE HIGH PRIEST OFFERS BOTH GIFTS AND SACRIFICES FOR SINS – 5:1C

 

Hebrews 5:1 c – . . . That he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.

 

That he may offer gifts is in order that he may bring offerings, in order that he may present offerings, or in order that he may present gifts. It is sacrificial terminology.

 

Gifts is used of sacrificial gifts and offerings.

 

Sacrifices means basically the same thing.

 

For sins is on behalf of sins or for the sake of sins. Its reference is to all sins in general.

 

We furthermore note that –

            D.  THE HIGH PRIEST HAS COMPASSION ON SINNERS – 5:2

 

Hebrews 5:2 Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.

 

Who can have compassion on indicates what every high priest is able to do. It means and is able to moderate his feelings toward or and is able to deal gently with.

 

Those on whom the high priest may have compassion or with whom he may deal gently are the ignorant and . . . them that are out of the way.

 

The ignorant is literally the unknowing. It is the term meaning not to know. They are the ones who do wrong or sin in ignorance.

 

Them that are out of the way means the deceived ones, the ones who have gone astray, the ones who are misled, or the ones who are deluded. They are the same ones who are described as being ignorant.

 

Both terms are referring to the same group of people. They are both ignorant and deceived.

 

For that he himself is intensive and emphasizes the fact which follows. It means because he himself.

 

Is compassed with is used in a figurative sense meaning is clothed in, is surrounded by, or is subject to.

 

What he is clothed with is infirmity or weakness. This is not physical weakness but spiritual weakness. Every high priest from the Levitical priesthood had a problem with sin just as all the other people did.

 

Moreover, we note that –

            E.  THE HIGH PRIES MUST OFFER FOR THE PEOPLE’S SINS AND ALSO FOR HIS OWN SINS – 5:3

 

Hebrews 5:3 And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.

 

And by reason hereof is and because of this where this refers to his infirmity. It means and because he has infirmity or and because he has weakness.

 

He ought means he must or he is obligated to.

 

As and so are used together to indicate a comparison and are used in the sense of just as . . . so. This comparison indicates that what the high priest does for the people, he must also do for himself.

 

What he does for both is offer for sins.

 

As for the people is just as concerning the people and refers to everyone in the nation of Israel other than himself.

 

So also for himself suggests so in addition for himself as the high priest.

 

To offer is the same term used in verse 1. It is a sacrificial term meaning to bring, offer, or present and implies that what is being brought or offered is gifts, offerings, or sacrifices.

 

Because of his own infirmity, the high priest must offer for his own sins as well as for the sins of the people.

 

For sins is on behalf of sins or for the sake of sins and implies a substitutionary atonement. It is the same phrase used in verse 1.

 

Sins implies all sins in general.

 

Finally, we note that –

            F.  THE HIGH PRIEST MUST BE CALLED BY GOD TO BE A HIGH PRIEST – 5:4

 

Hebrews 5:4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.

 

No man is no one or nobody and is inclusive of all people, yet specific of no one. It is an indefinite term with which the writer makes a definite statement.

 

Taketh means takes or receives.

 

This honour refers to this place of honor or this honorable position (or office) and means to the office of high priest.

 

In other words, no one becomes a high priest on his own. It is a position and responsibility to which God must appoint him.

 

The fact that honour is used in reference to the office of high priest reminds the reader that it is indeed an honor to serve the Lord in whatever capacity He chooses whether this position is that of pastor, evangelist, missionary, teacher, administrator, usher, greeter, prayer warrior, or custodian.

 

It is also a reminder that believers need to be content in the position of the Lord’s choosing for them and let Him do the promoting.

 

Unto himself is to himself or for himself.

 

But indicates that a very strong contrast is being introduced.

 

He that is called of God is the one who is called by God, which describes the one who receives this place of honor as high priest. He cannot take the office of high priest for himself, but God appoints him to it.

 

As was Aaron is just as Aaron also (was).

 

Aaron was the brother of Moses, and God appointed him as the first high priest of the nation of Israel. He did not take this honor for himself, however; it was God who put him in his position.

 

Similarly, God put other individuals into the position as high priest. No one was to take it for himself.

We also see that –

  II.     CHRIST IS A HIGH PRIEST AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK – 5:5-6

 

We observe that –

            A.  GOD THE FATHER HAS APPOINTED CHRIST TO BE A HIGH PRIEST – 5:5

 

Hebrews 5:5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.

 

Verse 5 introduces the explanation that God the Father glorified Christ to be the high priest and that Christ did not take this honorable position unto Himself. This explanation continues in verse 6.

 

So also is thus also and suggests in the same manner also.

 

It indicates that Jesus did not appoint Himself as high priest but that He was called by God to be high priest just as other high priests had been called by God. God’s call constitutes God’s appointment.

 

Christ refers to Jesus. The appears before Christ in the Greek text in order to particularize Him in His office as being the Messiah. It reads the Christ, the Messiah, or the Anointed One.

 

Glorified not himself is did not glorify Himself. He did not thrust Himself into His office as high priest. He waited for His Father’s appointment before He represented sinful humanity before God the Father.

 

To be made an high priest is that He become a high priest.

 

Be made implies that He would become something He had not been previously. Although He was the Son of God from eternity past, He was not a high priest from eternity past. At a point in time He became the believers’ high priest.

 

But introduces a strong contrast.

 

He refers to God the Father, and He is the One Who glorified Christ that Christ became a high priest.

 

Lest there be any doubt Who this One is, He is described as he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. He that said it is God the Father.

 

He said this in Psalms 2:7 , and it has already been referred to in Hebrews 1:5 .

 

Him is Christ.

 

Thou art is You are, where You is singular, refers to Christ, and is emphatic.

 

My refers to God the Father.

 

Son indicates the relation of Christ to God the Father and is emphatic.

 

This day is today.

 

I refers to God the Father and is also emphatic.

 

Have . . . begotten suggests an activity completed in the past, the result of which continues on. He, i.e. Christ, remains begotten by God.

 

Thee is You and refers to Christ.

 

As has already been stated in chapter 1, Christ was begotten as God the Father’s Son, and He will always be God the Father’s Son. This will never change. That He was begotten does not refer to the erroneous idea that Christ had a beginning. Although it is very possible that the reference of I have begotten thee is to Christ as the eternally begotten Son of God and that this day refers to God’s eternal day, and although it is possible that the reference of I have begotten thee is to His being begotten in His humanity at His incarnation by being begotten in the womb of the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit of God, the likely reference here is to His being begotten from the dead as the first begotten from the dead.

 

It is used in this sense in Acts 13:33 ,

 

Acts 13:33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.

 

Finally, we observe that –

            B.  CHRIST IS A PRIEST FOREVER AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK – 5:6

 

Hebrews 5:6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

 

By quoting from the Old Testament in support of the statement, verse 6 continues to explain that God the Father glorified Christ to be the high priest and that Christ did not take this honorable position unto Himself.

 

As is just as or likewise and is used to connect verse 6 to glorified in verse 5.

 

He saith is He (i.e. God the Father) says and indicates a statement which has been made in the Scripture and is still there and still saying the same thing it has said ever since it was written.

 

Also suggests in addition.

 

In another place implies in another (place in Scripture), where another is another (of a different kind). Thus, it was taken from a different passage. What is said is quoted from Psalms 110:4 .

 

Thou, i.e. You, is singular, is emphatic, and refers to Christ.

 

As indicated by the italics, art has been supplied by the translators.

 

He is a priest, and He is a priest for ever, but He is not a priest of the same type as the Levitical priests.

 

Instead, He is a priest after the order of Melchizedek, which suggests just like Melchizedek.

 

We find Melchizedek in Genesis 14:1-20 .

 

Genesis 14:1-201 And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations; 2 That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar. 3 All these were joined together in the vale [i.e. the valley] of Siddim, which is the salt sea [i.e. the Dead Sea valley]. 4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. 5 And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim, 6 And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto Elparan, which is by the wilderness. 7 And they returned, and came to Enmishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezontamar. 8 And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar;) and they joined battle with them in the vale [i.e. the valley] of Siddim; 9 With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five. 10 And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits [i.e. tar pits, asphalt pits]; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain. 11 And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way. 12 And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed. 13 And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate [i.e. allies] with Abram. 14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. 15 And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus [i.e. which is north of Damascus]. 16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people. 17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale [i.e. which is the king’s valley]. 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: 20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And [i.e. Abram] he gave him [i.e. Melchizedek] tithes of all.