March 23-29, 2003
MEMORY VERSE: “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25.
SUGGESTED READING: The Desire of Ages, 165, 166.
INTRODUCTION: “The Lord Jesus is your personal intercessor. . . . Repeat over and over many times through the day, ‘Jesus has died for me. He saw me in peril, exposed to destruction, and poured out His life to save me. He does not behold the soul as a trembling suppliant prostrate at His feet without pity, and He will not fail to raise me up.’ He has become the advocate for man. He has lifted up those who believe in Him and placed a treasurehouse of blessing at their demand. Men cannot bestow one blessing upon their fellows, they cannot remove one stain of sin. It is only the merit and righteousness of Christ that will avail anything, but this is placed to our account in rich fullness. We may draw upon God every moment. As we turn to Him, He answers, ‘Here I am.’
“Christ proclaims Himself our Intercessor. He would have us know that He has graciously engaged to be our Substitute. He places His merit in the golden censer to offer up with the prayers of His saints, so that the prayers of His dear children may be mingled with the fragrant merit of Christ as they ascend to the Father in the cloud of incense.” In Heavenly Places, 79.
1 How did the first priests receive their positions? Hebrews 7:16, first part. Compare Exodus 29:29, 30; Numbers 20:26, 28.
NOTE: “Doubtless [it is] called ‘carnal’ with reference to the fact that the commandment specified succession by physical descent.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 441.
“By divine direction the tribe of Levi was set apart for the service of the sanctuary. In the earliest times every man was the priest of his own household. In the days of Abraham, the priesthood was regarded as the birthright of the eldest son. Now, instead of the first-born of all Israel, the Lord accepted the tribe of Levi for the work of the sanctuary. . . . The priesthood, however, was restricted to the family of Aaron. Aaron and his sons alone were permitted to minister before the Lord; the rest of the tribe were entrusted with the charge of the tabernacle. . . .” The Faith I Live By, 195.
2 How was Christ made a priest? Hebrews 7:16, last part, 17.
NOTE: “The high priest was designed in an especial manner to represent Christ, who was to become a high priest forever after the order of Melchisedec. This order of priesthood was not to pass to another, or be superseded by another.” Review and Herald, December 17, 1872.
3 Why was the former commandment disannulled? Hebrews 7:18, 19, first part.
NOTE: “[Matthew 26:62, 63, quoted.] According to the Jewish form of administration, Christ was placed on oath by the priest: ‘I adjure Thee by the living God, that Thou tell us whether Thou be the Christ, the Son of God.’ This appeal was made by the first magistrate of the nation. He occupied a position higher than any in earthly courts. But his religion was a cloak that hid the deformities of a hard, cruel heart. He lorded it over the people, making his supposed godliness a source of gain. He was not accepted by God as a typical high priest at any time. His fitness for the priesthood ended with the covering garment, set apart for the use of the priests, which he wore. He was incapable and unworthy.
“The priesthood itself had become corrupt. Priest after priest filled his appointment and performed his religious duties as an actor in a theater.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 399.
4 How did the Father declare the priesthood of His Son? Hebrews 7:20, 21.
NOTE: “And I saw if there was any one on earth who could consistently testify under oath, it is the Christian. He lives in the light of God’s countenance. He grows strong in his strength. And when matters of importance must be decided by law, there is no one who can so well appeal to God as the Christian. I was bid by the angel to notice that God sware by himself. Genesis 22:16; Hebrews 6:13, 17. He sware to Abraham, Genesis 26:3, to Isaac, Psalm 105:9; Jeremiah 11:5, and to David, Psalm 132:11; Acts 2:30. God required of the children of Israel an oath between man and man. Exodus 22:10, 11. Jesus submitted to the oath in the hour of his trial.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4b, 43.
5 Of what did Jesus become surety? Hebrews 7:22.
NOTE: “The word [surety] here has the meaning of one who becomes responsible for, or guarantees, the performance of some agreement, here, the ‘better testament.’ ” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 442.
“The terms of the ‘old covenant’ were, Obey and live: ‘If a man do, he shall even live in them’ (Ezekiel 20:11; Leviticus 18:5); but ‘cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them’ (Deuteronomy 27:26). The ‘new covenant’ was established upon ‘better promises’—the promise of forgiveness of sins and of the grace of God to renew the heart and bring it into harmony with the principles of God’s law.
“The blessings of the new covenant are grounded purely on mercy in forgiving unrighteousness and sins. . . . All who humble their hearts, confessing their sins, will find mercy and grace and assurance. Has God, in showing mercy to the sinner, ceased to be just? Has He dishonored His holy law, and will He henceforth pass over the violation of it? God is true. He changes not. The conditions of salvation are ever the same. Life, eternal life, is for all who will obey God’s law. . . .
“Under the new covenant, the conditions by which eternal life may be gained are the same as under the old—perfect obedience. . . . In the new and better covenant, Christ has fulfilled the law for the transgressors of law, if they receive Him by faith as a personal Saviour. . . . In the better covenant we are cleansed from sin by the blood of Christ.” God’s Amazing Grace, 136.
6 Why were there many priests under the old covenant? Hebrews 7:23. See 1 Chronicles 6 (especially verses 48, 49); Nehemiah 12:1–23.
NOTE: “I was also shown a sanctuary upon the earth containing two apartments. It resembled the one in heaven, and I was told that it was a figure of the heavenly. The furniture of the first apartment of the earthly sanctuary was like that in the first apartment of the heavenly. The veil was lifted, and I looked into the holy of holies and saw that the furniture was the same as in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary. The priest ministered in both apartments of the earthly. He went daily into the first apartment, but entered the most holy only once a year, to cleanse it from the sins which had been conveyed there. I saw that Jesus ministered in both apartments of the heavenly sanctuary. The priests entered into the earthly with the blood of an animal as an offering for sin. Christ entered into the heavenly sanctuary by the offering of Hisown blood. The earthly priests were removed by death; therefore they could not continue long; but Jesus was a priest forever. Through the sacrifices and offerings brought to the earthly sanctuary, the children of Israel were to lay hold of the merits of a Saviour to come. And in the wisdom of God the particulars of this work were given us that we might, by looking to them, understand the work of Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary.” Early Writings, 252. [Emphasis supplied.]
7 Why is the priesthood of Christ perpetual (not transferred from one to another)? Hebrews 7:24.
NOTE: “Christ rent not His robe as did Caiaphas. He gave up His body to be rent, to be bruised, to be wounded for the transgression of the world. As by His own choice He died in the presence of an assembled nation of worshipers, type met antitype. Priest and victim combined, He entered the Temple as a place of sacrifice. Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us. He was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. He is a true high priest, for after enduring humiliation, shame, and reproach, after being crucified and buried, He was raised from the grave, triumphing over death. He is a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 398.
8 What is Christ able to do for us? Hebrews 7:25, first part.
NOTE: “The faith that is unto salvation is not a casual faith, it is not the mere consent of the intellect, it is belief rooted in the heart, that embraces Christ as a personal Saviour, assured that He can save unto the uttermost all that come unto God by Him. To believe that He will save others, but will not save you is not genuine faith; but when the soul lays hold upon Christ as the only hope of salvation, then genuine faith is manifested. This faith leads its possessor to place all the affections of the soul upon Christ; his understanding is under the control of the Holy Spirit, and his character is molded after the divine likeness. His faith is not a dead faith, but a faith that works by love, and leads him to behold the beauty of Christ, and to become assimilated to the divine character. [Deuteronomy 30:11–14 quoted.] ‘And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live’ (Deuteronomy 30:6).” Selected Messages, Book 1, 391, 392. [Emphasis supplied.]
9 What further assurance does Christ’s priesthood give us? Hebrews 7:25, last part.
NOTE: “Type met antitype in the death of Christ, the Lamb slain for the sins of the world. Our great High Priest has made the only sacrifice that is of any value in our salvation. When He offered Himself on the cross, a perfect atonement was made for the sins of the people. We are now standing in the outer court, waiting and looking for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. No sacrifices are to be offered without, for the great High Priest is performing His work in the Most Holy Place. In His intercession as our advocate, Christ needs no man’s virtue, no man’s intercession. He is the only sin-bearer, the only sin-offering. Prayer and confession are to be offered only to Him who has entered once for all into the Most Holy Place. He will save to the uttermost all who come to Him in faith. He ever liveth to make intercession for us. . . .” Lift Him Up, 319.
“Let us remember that our great High Priest is pleading before the mercy seat in behalf of His ransomed people. He ever liveth to make intercession for us. ‘If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.’ [1 John 2:1.]” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 948.
10 How is it that such a high priest became us? Hebrews 2:16, 17.
NOTE: “In stooping to take upon Himself humanity, Christ revealed a character the opposite of the character of Satan. But He stepped still lower in the path of humiliation. ‘Being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.’ Philippians 2:8. As the high priest laid aside his gorgeous pontifical robes, and officiated in the white linen dress of the common priest, so Christ took the form of a servant, and offered sacrifice, Himself the priest, Himself the victim. ‘He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him.’ Isaiah 53:5.” The Desire of Ages, 25.
11 What characteristics of our High Priest are identified? Hebrews 7:26, last part.
NOTE: “Walking in the midst of sin, He was holy, harmless, undefiled. He was wrongfully accused, yet He opened not His mouth to justify Himself. How many now, when accused of that of which they are not guilty, feel that there is a time when forbearance ceases to be a virtue, and losing their temper, speak words which grieve the Holy Spirit (Manuscript 42, 1901)?” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1148.
“The character of Christ was one of unexampled excellence, embracing everything pure, true, lovely, and of good report. We have no knowledge of His ever visiting a party of pleasure or a dance hall, and yet He was the perfection of grace and courtly bearing. Christ was no novice; He was distinguished for the high intellectual powers He possessed even in the morning of His life. His youth was not wasted in indolence, neither was it wasted in sensual pleasure, self-indulgence, or frittered away in things of no profit. Not one of His hours from childhood to manhood was misspent, none were misappropriated. . . .” Our High Calling, 59.
12 What is meant by Jesus being “higher than the heavens” (Hebrews 7:26, last part)? 1 Peter 3:22; Romans 8:34; Acts 7:56.
NOTE: “Jesus said, ‘Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.’ He walked once a man on earth, His divinity clothed with humanity, a suffering, tempted man, beset with Satan’s devices. He was tempted in all points like as we are, and He knows how to succor those that are tempted. Now He is at the right hand of God. He is in heaven as our advocate, to make intercession for us. We must always take comfort and hope as we think of this. He is thinking of those who are subject to temptations in this world. He thinks of us individually, and knows our every necessity. When tempted, just say, He cares for me, He makes intercession for me, He loves me, He has died for me. I will give myself unreservedly to Him.” Lift Him Up, 184.