What Is His Name?

High Priest

Harry Foster

An alternative Latin word for high priest is 'Pontifex', which means 'bridge-maker'. This is fully in accordance with the Scriptural idea of priesthood, which is the function of facilitating free interchange between God and man (Leviticus 9:21-22). Christ is the perfect bridge-maker, indeed He is Himself the bridge, and that is why He is called our great High Priest (Hebrews 10:21-22).

It required two Old Testament types to give the full representation of this holy function, so we have both Aaron and Melchizedek.

The Levitical priesthood, with Aaron as its high priest, was entrusted with the task of dealing with the great obstacle to fellowship between God and man, which is man's sinfulness and sin. To do this the high priest had to be constantly occupied with sacrifices as well as intercessions, for only by blood offerings could reconciliation be effected between a holy God and an unholy people (Hebrews 2:17).

Christ has accomplished this aspect of high priestly work so satisfactorily that there is no further need of an offering for sin (Hebrews 10:19), and no possible condemnation for the believer for whom He intercedes (Romans 8:34). No man is expected to put away his own sin, nor even to promise to do so. No believer need remain at a distance from God because of personal failure. By His high priestly sacrificial work, the Lord Jesus has both satisfied the wrath of God and obtained full favour for all those who accept His ministrations.

So it is that He not only acts as our Representative before God but actually introduces us into His holy presence and personally assures us of a welcome there. If ever His sacrifice lost its power we would at once drop from that presence into the darkest hell, but we [19/20] have no need to fear, for by His own blood our great High Priest has obtained eternal redemption for us (Hebrews 9:12).

There is also another order of priesthood, the order of Melchizedek. This priesthood would have been just as valid if man had never sinned, and it will still be relevant when sin and condemnation no longer exist. For in any case we need a bridge to span the gap between God and us. Even without the abyss of sin there is still a distance between man and his Creator, hence the demand for the bridging function of Christ's High Priesthood to continue beyond time into eternity. Even the forgiven man needs guidance and support from God and, more than ever, he wishes to come closer to God and offer gifts of love to Him.

Christ meets this need perfectly, and will do so eternally (Hebrews 7:24), mediating God's love and care to us and our worship and love back to God. He has been especially chosen by the Father for this bridging work (Hebrews 7:21) and in the energy of His resurrection life He will use His High Priestly power to bring us to the fullest possible experience of salvation (Hebrews 7:25). Let us keep coming unto God by Him.

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