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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: The Lesser Epistles

Chapter 51 - Hebrews 9:11, 12 - The High Priest of the Good Things to Come Light & Truth: The Lesser Epistles by Bonar, Horatius




The High Priest Of The Good Things To Come.


     "But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us."-Hebrews 9:11, 12.



     The meaning and argument of these two verses may be brought out in the following propositions:-

     I. All Israel's varied service was but a figure or shadow; giving us the mere outline or idea of what was coming; no more.

     II. This figure has passed away; the shadow has disappeared; the reality of the foreshadowed good things has come; the picture has vanished, the things painted have taken their place.

     III. The Christ Himself has come. He in whom all the good things are wrapped up, is no longer 'the coming one.' 'We know that the Son of God has come.' This is our message, 'The Christ has come.'

     IV. He is the High Priest of the good things. These are now in His custody and at His disposal. They have been placed by the Father in His priestly hands. These good things are not all yet come; some are still 'the good things to come,' reserved for His appearing as Priest and King.

     V. He has gone into the holy places, or 'heavenlies.' He is not here. He is risen. He has ascended on high. He is on the throne.

     VI. He has done so by His own blood. 'Not without blood' was the divine commandment. As the High Priest He has been at the brazen altar, He has taken the blood, He has gone through the outer court and the holy place, into the holiest of all. He has 'passed through the heavens' (Hebrews 4:14).

     VII. He has thus gone in because He has obtained eternal redemption. He had gone out to seek it, He has returned having found it. With this redemption in His hands He goes back to the Father, and reenters the heaven of heavens.

     Such is the substance of the passage. But there are only three things in it that I mean to dwell upon. (1.) The redemption.  (2.) The good things to come. (3.)

     The administration of these by Christ the High Priest.

     I. The redemption.-There are three words used in the New Testament in connection with Christ's redeeming work. There is simple 'buying,'-ye are bought 'with a price' (1 Corinthians 7:23). There is 'a ransom' (λ?τρον),-'to give His life a ransom for many' (Matthew 20:28); where it is the price or purchase money needed for buying back a captive or doomed one that is meant. Then there is the word in our text (λ?τρωσις), which is more than ransom. The redemption (λ?τρωσις) is the actual doing of the thing for which the ransom (λ?τρον) was obtained or paid down.  As in the case of the firstborn. They were to be redeemed by the payment of five shekels. These five shekels were the ransom; but the actual deliverance of these firstborn from the doom which otherwise would have fallen on them was the redemption. So Christ's blood or life was the ransom; our deliverance by means of it from death is the redemption. It is of this latter that the apostle is here speaking. Not only has a ransom been found; but the result of it, viz, the deliverance from going down to the pit, has been secured and carried out. Hence the song of the Church is not merely 'Thou hast found a ransom,' but, 'Thou hast redeemed us to God.'

     There is redemption then! Not only a ransom, but redemption. Both have been 'obtained;' or, as the word more exactly means, 'found;' according to the words of Elihu (Job 33:24). Christ came, seeking the sinner, providing the ransom, securing the redemption. He has not come in vain. He has found them all.  Redemption has been obtained! The cross has won it. Banishment, captivity, ruin, death are no longer necessary. The ransom has removed the necessity; and the redemption has made certain what the ransom made possible. The message descending from the heavenly throne, and sounding over earth to sinners, is 'Deliver from going down to the pit, for I have found a ransom.' Long hidden in the Father's everlasting purpose, the Son has found it! Long hidden from the eyes of men, like an unsprung seed in the earth, He has sought for it and found it, and brought it up to the light of day!

     Redemption has been obtained!  It is no longer a purpose or a promise, but a fact, a certainty! The price has not merely been obtained for the ransom of the captive exile; but the vessel has been dispatched to bring him. Nay, and that vessel goes furnished with a goodly company of the King's own guard, to make sure that he is set free, and to convey him on board. Nay, and it is loaded with all provisions for the voyage home, and fair raiment for the delivered exile. Everything has been arranged for making his return a certainty, in spite of all hindrances from himself or from his enemies. This is the redemption that Christ has found!

     And it is eternal! The deliverance is for evermore. No dread of a second captivity through failure of the redemption. The security is everlasting. The love is unquenchable. The pardon is forever. The righteousness is forever. The life is forever. The salvation is irreversible. The inheritance fadeth not away. He has obtained eternal redemption for us!

     II. The good things to come.-These good things flow out of the redemption; but they are not the same as either the redemption or the ransom. When a rich man redeems a slave or captive, he provides for him, feeds him, cloth him, brings him into his house, perhaps adopts him, making him his son and heir. These are the good things bestowed on the redeemed captive; but they are neither the ransom nor the redemption, though without that ransom and redemption not one of them could have been conferred. Were the wealthy Rothschilds to redeem Palestine for their nation from the Turk by the payment of some millions, they would straightway proceed to have its unlawful occupants dispossessed, its soil cultivated, its mountains terraced, its valleys ploughed, its cities rebuilt, Jerusalem restored in all its former splendor, and made the metropolis of the land. These would be the 'good things' following up the redemption of the land, but evidently not the same as the redemption.

     So is it with Christ and our redemption. Having secured that redemption, He has gone up on high to administer it according to the Father's everlasting purpose. In Him dwells the infinite and eternal fullness; and that fullness is the treasure house of the 'good things.' It is of His unsearchable riches that the redeemed from among men are made partakers. These 'good things' are not now wholly future. Some of them have come; though some are yet to come. Christ's first coming brought many, but His second coming is to bring many more. We get many at the cross; we wait for more in the kingdom. Forgiveness, reconciliation, peace, love, light, joy, life, consolation, holiness, with the earnest of the Spirit, we get now; but glory, honour, incorruption, the inheritance, the kingdom, the crown, we shall not obtain till He returns. These are still 'good things to come;' and for these we wait the arrival of the Son of God.

     All that these 'good things' imply, it is impossible for us here to conceive. Even of those which we obtain just now, how little do we comprehend or enjoy! How much less of those which are still wholly future! Yet we know that they are surpassingly excellent; worthy of God, worthy of Christ; fit to satisfy the travail of His soul, and to bring the highest honour to Him, in whom and through whom we shall possess them all. They are far beyond our worthiness, but not beyond the worthiness of Him for whose sake they are conferred. The unworthiness of the bride shall but enhance the bounty and the glory of the Bridegroom. The greatness of the inheritance, and the kingdom, and the joy, shall be all to the praise of the glory of His grace, who hath not only delivered us from the wrath to come, but, as if that were a light thing, hath made us accepted in the Beloved, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.

     II.  The administration of all these by Christ as the High Priest.-He is 'the High Priest of the good things to come.' To His priestly hands have all things been committed. The reins of universal government are the prerogative of His priesthood as well as of His kingship, for His is a royal priesthood; He is priest upon His throne; He is Melchizedek, king and priest in one. Our King is our priest, and our Priest is our king.

     It is with a priest that a sinner has specially to do; for without priesthood, kingship and prophetship would be vain to one whom 'sin had separated from God. It is to a priest,-the High Priest of the good things to come,-that God invites us: 'Let us come boldly to the throne of grace.' It is of Him, and of our connection with Him, that the apostle speaks: 'Having an High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near;' and it is to His priestly intercession that he refers, when he says, 'Wherefore He is able to save them to the uttermost who come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.'

     It is our knowledge of this that removes our fear and uncertainty in drawing near for blessing. Less than this would not give us boldness. All that we need is in priestly hands! This thought meets every difficulty, and strikes down every rising doubt. The thought of kingly hands, kingly grace, and kingly bounty, would not do. It would leave each difficulty unremoved; and the sinner could but stand afar off, to weep and tremble. But the thought of priestly hands does well. This meets the sinner's case. He is now safe in going to get all he needs; for the very end of priesthood is to provide for the sinner's intercourse with God. The sinner is unworthy; but the priest is appointed to deal with such. The sinner is unfit; but the priest is just for the unfit. The sinner is guilty; the priest is here to pardon. The sinner is filthy; the priest is here to wash. Priestly grace is for the undeserving; priestly blessing is for the cursed; and priestly fullness is for the empty. The feeling that we are sinners, and, therefore, not entitled to expect good things, but evil, is completely removed by the knowledge that these good things are in priestly hands,-hands sprinkled with atoning blood, hands once nailed to the accursed tree. Our pardon is in priestly hands; let us go and get it. Peace is in priestly hands for us; let us go and get it. Health is in priestly hands; let us go and get it. The whole of salvation is in priestly hands; let us go and get it. Holiness is in priestly hands; let us go and get it.  Life eternal is in priestly hands; let us go and get it. But let us go with boldness, for less than boldness implies a doubt of our High Priest's sufficiency. Let us go with a true heart, and in full assurance of faith, not supposing it possible that a sinner can go and be sent empty away. An angel might go to the High Priest and return with nought, for he is holy;-and it is with the unholy that the High Priest has to do;-but not a sinner! No; not a sinner! That is impossible; and it is impossible, not because the sinner has done or felt something to ensure acceptance, but simply because our High Priest is what He is,-God's appointed channel of blessing for the unworthy and the unholy.

     As sinners, needing everything, we go to our High Priest, and we get at once the good things which have already come. The possession of these makes us children of God, saints, heirs of the kingdom. And as such we live on earth, enjoying the reconciliation, and the peace, and the love. But then, as men possessed of these things, we look forward to, the possession of more. In the days of the Judges, when Eli was high priest in Shiloh, Hannah went to him with 'the abundance of her complaint and grief' (1 Samuel 1:16, 17). He received her at once, and sent her away with his priestly blessing, 'Go in peace;' adding, 'The God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of Him.' On this it is said, 'The woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.' It is thus we go to our heavenly High Priest, to pour out before Him the abundance of our complaint and grief. And He at once receives us in the fullness of His love. 'Go in peace,' is His message to every soul that comes to Him. We believe Him, as Hannah did Eli; and we go upon our way, and our countenance is no more sad.

     Having tasted the grace, we look for the glory. Receiving such of the 'good things' as are already come, we press forward to those which are still future. Standing beneath the shadow of the cross, we cast our eye upward to the promised glory, and realize the crown of righteousness, which the same priestly hands that ministered the pardon shall ere long place upon our heads. Christ's first coming has brought us many good things; His second coming shall bring us more. The eternal redemption shall be consummated in the eternal inheritance. The deliverance from a present evil world shall end in our possession of the wondrous world to come, the inheritance of the saints in light, the new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.