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THE MESSIAH  -  OUR PRIEST- REDEEMER  MHG#35

 

 

THE MESSIAH

OUR PRIEST-REDEEMER

 

PART 2 IN SERIES - “PROPHET, PRIEST & KING.” BY DON STANTON

 

THE priesthood role of the Messiah is a major theme running throughout Scripture. And it runs concurrently with His prophetic ministry.

As a priest, the Messiah is a representative of sinful men, and He is also the Mediator who brings about the believer’s reconciliation with God.

His work as a priest is pictured in various OT types – particularly in the Passover lamb, and the Tabernacle rituals.  But His priesthood was not of the Aaronic order - an order which was for the tribe of Levi only. (Y’shua was not a Levite. He was of the royal tribe of Judah.)

MESSIAH WOULD BE A PRIEST-KING

In a Messianic psalm, King David declared the Word of the LORD concerning the Messiah’s position and priesthood. He would not be a Levite priest, but of a different order …

“YHWH says to my Master, ‘Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet’.  YHWH will send the sceptre of Your strength from Zion, saying, ‘Rule in the midst of Your enemies!’ … YHWH has sworn and will not change His mind; ‘You are a priest forever, according to the order of Malkitzedek’.” (Psalm 110:1, 2, 4)

Malkitzedek was the king-priest of Salem in the time of Abraham; and his was a God-ordained prototype of Messiah’s priesthood. Malkitzedek, was a king of peace, who appeared on the scene without any recorded beginning or ending. (This figuratively speaks of an eternal life. Messiah, the Son of God, is truly eternal.)

Messiah’s exalted position in this prophecy is one of being seated at the right hand of God – the place of Authority (v. 1-2). This refers to Messiah’s future role as king. We will meditate on the role of Messiah the King in Part 3 of this series.

Messiah’s duel role of Priest-King is also foretold in Zechariah 6:12-13:

“Then tell him, YHWH of Hosts says: ‘Look, here is the Man whose Name is the BRANCH - for He will branch out from His place and will build the temple of YHWH. Yes, it is He who will build the temple of YHWH, and He will be clothed with glory, and will sit and rule on His throne. He will be a priest on His throne, and there will be harmony between the two offices.”

AN ETERNAL PRIESTHOOD

The Messiah did not assume the role of Priest; it was the eternal appointment of His Father.

Psalm 110:4, dealing with the Messiah’s priestly role, is quoted in Hebrews 5:5-6 and also 7:21:

 “So the Messiah also did take upon Himself the glory of becoming a High Priest, but was appointed by God who said to Him … ‘YOU ARE A PRIEST FOR EVER, ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MALKITZEDEK’.”

Y’shua the Messiah is called the Great High Priest, (Hebrews 4:14), a title that was not used of the Aaronic high priest. And in fact, He became the final Priest of the Most High God.

MESSIAH’S CONSECRATION AT HIS BAPTISM

As the Messiah began His priestly ministry on earth, it was essential that He be consecrated for His work, and it is significant that He was consecrated by baptism at the hands of the prophet Yohanan (John), the son of a Levite priest – Zachariah. 

(Note: The baptism of Y’shua by John was to fulfil the rituals of the Law – “to fulfil all righteousness.” (Mathew. 3:15). This should be distinguished from “John’s baptism” which was for repentance and remission of sin.)

Just as His prophetic ministry was attested on the Mount of Transfiguration, Y’shua’s priesthood was attested by the voice out of heaven at His baptism:

“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) 

John recognised that Y’shua was “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (1:29), and he testified:

“I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not recognise Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’  I have seen this happen and I have testified that this One - Y’shua - is the Son of God.” (John 1:32-34)

So John had the revelation that the Messiah was the Son of God, and also that He would be the Lamb of God. He would be the Servant of Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12 - the Sin-bearer - the Sacrificial Lamb who would deal with the sin of the world.

His baptism itself identified Messiah as the Sin-Bearer. It was not only John’s statement, “Behold the Lamb of God,” but also the fact that His baptism signified death, the putting away of sin, and new life. (Romans 6:3-7).  In His baptism, Y’shua anticipated His death, His work of putting away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Heb 9:26), and His resurrection.

MESSIAH’S PRIESTHOOD

Being a priest of the order of Malkitzedek, Y’shua did not officiate in the Levitical priesthood, but He did fulfil many types that are prefigured everywhere in the Tabernacle, both in the Aaronic priesthood role, and in the sacrificial offerings for sin.

Messiah’s priesthood did not consist of rituals, but it was the awesome ministry of reality – of atonement, redemption and reconciliation.

To accomplish His eternal purpose, the Messiah did what no other priest could do -  “He offered Himself without blemish to God.” (Hebrews  9:14)

The Messiah became both the Sacrificer (the High Priest), and the Sacrificed (the Lamb).  And both He, and His offering, were so much more superior to the Old Covenant prototypes:

“And such a high priest meets our need perfectly - One who is holy, innocent, undefiled, set apart from sinners and exalted above the heavens. He does not have the daily necessity that the Aaronic high priests had, of offering up sacrifices, first for their own sins and then for the people’s sins, because Y’shua offered Himself once and for all as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind. For the Law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the word of the oath which came after the Law, appoints the Son, who has been made perfect (complete) for ever.” (Hebrews 7:26-28) 

The Messiah’s work for the 3 years after His baptism was mostly in the role of Prophet-Teacher. Yet at the same time we see glimpses of His priestly role in seeking and saving the lost, in forgiving sins, and in prayer. In one sense, His whole life was one of sacrifice. But the offering of Himself as an actual sacrifice was the supreme work of our Great High Priest-Redeemer.

The sacrificial, saving work of the Messiah-Priest-Lamb of God is a major theme running throughout the whole of Scripture – from the skins that provided the covering for Adam’s and Eve’s nakedness, to the Passover Lamb in Egypt, the sacrificial systems of the Mosaic covenant, and to the cross of Calvary.

The supreme work of the Priest-Redeemer took place in the final week of the 3 years that culminated with His crucifixion. Without that sacrifice at Calvary, not one soul’s salvation would have ever been secured.

THE PASSION WEEK

Very significant events took place over that week.

1.  On 10th Nissan, as Y’shua rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and her colt, (Matt. 21:5-7), a crowd of people acclaimed Him with …

‘Hosanna to the Son of David; BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF YHWH.  Hosanna in the highest.” (Matthew 21:9)

Not only was He recognised as the son of David, King of Israel, but also as the Messiah-Redeemer; for “hosanna” means “save now!”

2. The Proving began.  The law regarding Pesach (Passover) in Exodus 12 says:

“On the 10th of this month (Nisan) each man shall take a lamb …Your lamb shall be without blemish or defect, a male up to a year old … You shall keep it secluded for proving until the 14th day of the same month, when all the people of the community of Israel must each slay his lamb at twilight.” (Exodus 12:3, 5-6)

The keeping of the lamb secluded for four days was for the purpose of examining it, and proving that it was indeed without blemish, before the slaying of the animal on the 14th.

Fulfilling the law, on 10th Nisan (1st day of week), four days before Passover, Y’shua rode into Jerusalem to begin “the proving.”  On the 14th, Nisan He was slain as God’s Passover Lamb. 

The Messiah, during his life, suffered and was tested in all points such as we are, (Heb 4:15), but in these last four days He was intensely examined, before being slain on the day of Passover. 

Also during those four days …

3.  Y’shua was anointed – by an unnamed woman who evidently recognised that Y’shua was soon to die as the Lamb of God. 

“Now when Y’shua was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfumed oil, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table.… ‘For when she poured this perfumed oil on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial’.” (Matthew 26:6-7, 12)

On two other occasions women anointed His feet, but as YHWH had commanded Moses to anoint Aaron and his sons as priests, (Ex 28:4. Psalm 133:2); and as David God’s anointed was also anointed on the head, (Psalm 23:5); it was appropriate that this higher Priest should be anointed on the head for His priestly work.

Caiaphas and Annas would certainly never anoint Y’shua, and neither should they. But the God-ordained pattern was for a high priest to be anointed. So YHWH sent a woman to anoint this Great High Priest.

4.  The conspiracy to betray the Messiah began the very same day, as Judas approached the chief priests and planned to sell his Master. (Matthew 26:14-16)

5.  The Passover.  The Master ate the annual Passover meal with His disciples, and during the meal He revealed the greater significance of the bread and cup.

“The Master, Y’shua, on the night when He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way, after supper, He also took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Master’s death until He comes’.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

6.  Messiah’s Intercessory (high-priestly) Prayer.  After the Passover meal, Iscariot leaves to do his evil work.  Then Y’shua prays for His disciples, and for those who would believe through their word – all future believers, that they would be kept, sanctified in truth, perfected in unity, and that God’s love, and Messiah Himself, may be in them, and that they would see His glory (ultimate glorification). (John 17)

7.  The Garden of Gethsemane.  The Redeemer expressed His willingness to become the Sin-bearer in the Garden when He prayed, “Father if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)

The Master shed drop of bloods in the Garden, but the actual work of redemption did not begin until the cross.  In the Garden He prayed, “Father …” But on the cross where the judgment and redemptive work had begun, He cried, “My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

It was not His blood shed in the Garden, but the blood shed on the cross (the sacrifice of His life) that was efficacious - that brought about the salvation of believing souls.

“For all the fullness of YHWH was pleased to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven; through Him, I say, having made peace through His blood shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:19-20)

8. The trials.  The Messiah was scrutinised and examined very carefully, more than at any other time during His 3 years of ministry. On the eve of Passover He was examined by Caiaphas, Herod and Pilate. The high priest declared Him blemished.  Pilate declared Him faultless. And God declared Him worthy to be the accepted Sacrificial Lamb to die and to bring about the redemption of a condemned world.

9.  The Cross is the central point of all history. The crucifixion itself, committed by evil men, was the greatest of all crimes; but when we see the cross as being the plan of God, and as His sacrifice of the Lamb to accomplish His purposes, it becomes the greatest act, ever, of grace, mercy, justice and redemption.

It answered the great problem of how can God remain just and yet justify the ungodly who do no more than to believe in Y’shua the Messiah?

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption which is in the Messiah, Y’shua, whom God set forth as a propitiation - a mercy seat to make atonement and reconciliation by His blood through faith. He did this to demonstrate His righteousness ... so that He would be just and the Justifier of the one who has faith in Y’shua. (Romans 3:23-26)

THE SUFFERINGS OF THE MESSIAH

The suffering of the Messiah is well known; He bore what no other person ever has. Some people have suffered physically worse torment than crucifixion, but no-one has ever endured such wrath of God as fell on this Lamb of God when He paid the penalty for the sins that had been, and would be, committed, against the Holy One over more than 6,000 years.

“Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if there is any sorrow or suffering like mine, that was severely dealt out to me; that YHWH inflicted on me in the day of His fierce anger.” (Lamentations 1:12)

The suffering of the Messiah is foreshadowed in the experiences and writing of David in Psalms 22 and 69, much of which correlates to the detailed accounts of Messiah’s sufferings in the four Gospels.

THE SACRIFICIAL LAMB

Human hands might inflict physical suffering and death, but only God could make the Messiah a sin offering, and lay on Him the iniquity of us all. The suffering of the Messiah as Sin-bearer was foretold in Isaiah 53. 

“Surely He has taken up our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded - pierced through - for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. YHWH has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth ... For the transgression of My people He was stricken.” (Isaiah 53:4-8)

The evangelist, Philip, preached Y’shua from this passage, to the Ethiopian eunuch.

In Revelation, the Messiah is presented both as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and the Lamb who was slain and who purchased for God, by His blood, people from every tribe and nation.

“He (God) made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

MESSIAH’S DEATH WAS A SUBSTITUTION

The truth is that Y’shua is our representative. He stood, and still stands, in our place. And He became our substitute, paying the penalty of our sins. Substitution is central to the Gospel message, being plainly taught in a large body of Scripture.

“This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you.” (Luke 22:19-20)

“The bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51)

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  (John 15:13)

“Christ died for the ungodly . . . while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8)

“He . . . delivered him up for us all.” (Romans 8:32)

“If one died for all, then all died.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15, lit.)

“He has made Him to be sin for us.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

“Being made a curse for us.” (Galatians 3:13)

“Christ . . . gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:2, 25, R.V.)

“The man Christ Jesus . . . gave Himself a ransom for all.” (1 Timothy 2:5-6)

“So that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:9)

Christ “suffered ... the just for the unjust.” (1 Peter 3:18)

“God was personally present in the Messiah reconciling the world to Himself, not counting men’s trespasses against them; and He has committed to us the message of reconciliation ... He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”

(2 Corinthians 5:19, 21)

The substitution - Messiah taking the place of condemned sinners – is often referred to as His vicarious sufferings and death.  The word vicarious means the taking the place of another. It comes from the word vicar, which refers to a deputy or agent who acts in the place of another.

But before God, no sin-laden human being could ever be an acceptable vicar for even one member of the fallen race.  The representative who could bear away the penalty of sins, must be sinless, and willing to bear those immeasurable judgments which God’s holiness must impose on sin.

The Messiah not only bore the penalty of sin, but also He presented His own infinitely perfect character to God, and was therefore fully qualified to become our Vicar and Lamb.

MESSIAH THE MEDIATOR

“For there is one God, (YHWH El Shaddai), and one mediator between God and men - the Man, Y’shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ).”  (1 Timothy 2:5)

This is another aspect of Messiah’s work - His role as Mediator. Because He is both perfectly God and perfect Man, and because He is both Lamb and Redeemer, He has been able to reconcile men to God.  He has done this by establishing a new covenant – a covenant ratified by His own spotless blood.

“You have come to Y’shua the Mediator of a New Covenant and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of redemption - a more gracious message than the blood of Abel which cried out for vengeance.”  (Hebrews 12:24)

 

EIGHT ASPECTS OF MESSIAH’S

 REDEMPTIVE WORK

FOR THE INDIVIDUAL BELIEVER

 

There are eight Scriptural words that describe various aspects of the individual believer’s salvation, all of which are the result of our Priest-Redeemer’s tremendous sacrifice.

1   FORGIVENESS (and cleansing)

“Of Him (Y’shua) all the prophets bear witness that through His Name, every one who believes in Him has received forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 10:43)

“In union with Him (Messiah), we have redemption (deliverance and salvation) through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins, in accordance with the riches of His grace.”   (Ephesians 1:7)

Forgiveness is available to everyone in the world, but it is not based on God’s mercy, but upon the blood – the sacrificial death of the Lamb of God.  It is God’s mercy and grace, however, that has provided that basis for forgiveness.

The folly of both Moslems and Jews is that they believe that if they do good, the mercy of God will save them in the end.  In fact many “Christians” believe that same thing. But God cannot, and will not save sinners merely by an exercise of His mercy. Rather, sinners can only be saved because of the legal basis provided by the Mercy Seat – the vicarious (substitutionary) death of Christ that has satisfied God’s righteousness.

If he is to be saved, the sinner must believe in Christ as his Sin-Bearer. And the moment he puts his faith in the Saviour he receives forgiveness and eternal life.

The sacrifice of Messiah the Lamb of God is also the basis for the believer to continuously receive forgiveness and cleaning. The fact that Y’shua bore all our sins answers all divine judgment against our sins as believers. But to walk in the reality of the cleansed life, the believer needs to confess every sin as soon as it is recognised to be sin.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His Word is not in us. My children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father - One who pleads our cause - Y’shua the Messiah, the Righteous One; and He Himself is the propitiation - the atoning sacrifice for our sins; and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world.”  (1 John 1:9-10; 2:1-2)

2   REGENERATION (Born Again) 

At the very moment a person receives the Messiah through faith, the Spirit of God implants new life, eternal life – the life of the Father, in that believer. This implanted life means a spiritual birth, and it makes the believer a child of God.

 “… to all who received Him, to those who believe in His Name, Y’shua, He gave the right to become children of God; children born, not of blood (of natural descent), nor of the will of the flesh (human decision), nor of the will of man (a natural father), but of  God.” (John 1:12-13)

Y’shua said: “You must be born again.” And He declared that one must be born of water and the Spirit. (John 3:3-7). The water refers to the Word of God which the Holy Spirit uses to bring a person to new birth. Y’shua also said, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” (John 15:3)

The apostle Paul refers to regeneration as a washing and renewing by the Holy Spirit, through Y’shua the Messiah, and links this to justification and eternal life.

“He saved us, not because of righteous works that we have done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of regeneration, and through the renewing power of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us abundantly through Y’shua the Messiah our Saviour, so that, having been justified by His grace, we should become heirs having the hope (the assurance) of eternal life.” (Titus 3:5-7)   

God’s provision for every aspect of our salvation is the Messiah and His atoning sacrifice.

“For YHWH, the Almighty God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten, His one-and-only, unique, eternal Son, so that whoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

3   JUSTIFICATION (Made Righteous)

Salvation is not simply having sins forgiven and escaping hell. The soul is born again and he is counted as righteous in God’s sight. He is not left to grovel in self-condemnation and guilt.

But how can God remain just, and yet justify (acquit, absolve) and make the ungodly righteous?  Only on the basis of the reality that Messiah bore the penalty of the guilty ones at Calvary. He took the place of the guilty ones, so that they could be counted as righteous.

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

 “For as through the one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One, many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19) 

4   SANCTIFICATION (Set Apart)

The sacrificial death of the Messiah enables God to act on behalf of all who will receive His grace and blessing. It enables God to so transform the sinner who trusts in Y’shua, that the sinner will appear in eternal glory conformed to His image.

“But now having been freed from sin and having become servants of God, the fruit and benefit you receive is in sanctification, and the outcome is eternal life.” (Romans 6:22)

“But we do see Y’shua, who was made for a little while lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because He suffered death - for the grace of God, working for the salvation of sinners, required that He should taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons to glory, it was most appropriate that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the Author of their salvation perfect through suffering. For both He who sanctifies (sets His people apart and makes them holy), and those who are being sanctified, are all from one Father...(Hebrews 2:9-11)

“For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14)

Believers on earth are still in the process of being sanctified, but their status before God is perfected for all time.”

5   JUDGMENT (of the sin nature)

Not only has the penalty of the believer’s sin been forgiven, the judgment of Christ provides the basis on which the believer’s sin nature might be “put to death” – that is, rendered inoperative by the control of the Spirit of God.

God’s method of dealing with the believer’s sin nature is first to bring it into judgment. This was done when Messiah “died to sin once for all,” on our behalf.

“Now if we have died with Messiah, we believe that we will also live with Him, knowing that Messiah, having been raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.    So you also consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Messiah, Y’shua our Master.” (Romans 6:8-11)

We are to recognise that our sin nature has been judged, and that now we need to constantly count ourselves as dead to sin.

6   REDEMPTION

Redemption is the act of the Messiah by which He redeems, “buys back,” or pays a ransom for the release of captive souls. The ransom price was His voluntary sacrifice; and He paid it, not to Satan, but to the righteousness and justice of God.

“In union with Him we have redemption (deliverance and salvation) through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins, in accordance with the riches of His grace.” (Ephesians 1:7) 

Redemption was not based on the crime committed by Caiaphas and Pilate, but upon the truth that God gave His only Son, and the Son of God gave up Himself up to be God’s sacrificial Lamb.

The death of the Messiah was predetermined in such a way that God assumes all responsibility for it.  It was His purpose from all eternity.   Messiah was the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8)

“It was the will of YHWH to crush Him, and to put Him to grief; and though YHWH makes His life a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, and prolong His days, and the will of YHWH will prosper in His hand.” (Isaiah 53:10)

“Y’shua of Nazareth … delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of wicked men, and put Him to death.”  (Acts 2:22-23)

“But when Christ, the Messiah appeared as High Priest of the better things to come, and that are now here, He entered into the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with human hands, that is to say, not of this material creation. He entered once and for all into the Holy of Holies in Heaven. And He entered, not by virtue of the blood of goats and calves, but by virtue of His own blood, having secured eternal redemption for us.” (Hebrews 9:11-12)

7   RECONCILIATION

The general modern idea of reconciliation is to patch up, or to compromise so that two or more parties can get along together. The Biblical meaning in no way means compromise. Reconciliation is not simply “coming together to make peace.”  The Greek word for reconciliation is katallage, meaning “to change completely.” Reconciliation is a complete change towards God. And as we were the enemies, it is we who have to be reconciled – changed.

“For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son.” (Romans 5:10)

“Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Y’shua the Messiah, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was personally present in the Messiah reconciling the world to Himself, not counting men’s trespasses against them; and He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)

8   PROPITIATION

He Himself is the propitiation (Gr. hilasmos) - the atoning sacrifice for our sins; and not only for ours, but also for the sins of  the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (Gr. hilasmos)  for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

The word propitiate is commonly used to mean placate; to stop someone from being angry by trying to please them. In the nations, sacrifices were made to propitiate the gods. But God is not placated or appeased by good works or offerings made to men, to statues, temples, churches or organisations.

And that is not the meaning of the Bible word. The Greek words translated propitiation are hilasmos, hilasterion and variations of these words.

 “… the redemption which is in the Messiah, Y’shua, whom God set forth as a propitiation (Gr. hilasterion)  by His blood through faith.” (Romans 3:24-25)

The Holy Spirit has used hilasterion in Hebrews 9:5 which has been translated there as “Mercy Seat.”

 “Above the Ark were cherubim, the guardians of the Sh’khinah Glory, overshadowing the Mercy Seat (Gr. hilasterion).” (Hebrews 9:5)

In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for Mercy Seat is Kapporet meaning place of covering; from the word Kaphar  “to cover sin, or to make atonement.”

The Bible does not talk about appeasement. It talks about the Mercy Seat – the place of atonement. And Biblical atonement does not mean trying to “make up for what you have done.”  Atonement means to receive covering so that the believer is “at-one-with-God” – that is, standing in right relationship with Him.

The Mercy Seat was the cover on the Ark of the Covenant which was sprinkled with blood on the Day of Atonement.  The sprinkled blood indicates that it was not an arbitrary act of God’s mercy that procured forgiveness. No! The blood of the animal which was man’s substitute, was required to be shed and sprinkled.

“Without the shedding of blood there is no remission - no release or forgiveness of sins.” (Hebrews 9:22)

In Luke 18:13 we read of the repentant tax collector who prayed in the precincts of the temple, “God be merciful (Gr. Hilaskomai) to me a sinner.” He was not just asking God to be merciful to him; he was a sinner asking for God’s mercy to provide him with a covering.

Today Messiah is our “Mercy Seat,” for He is the place where believing sinners are able to meet a holy God, and receive, not only a covering, but propitiation - full cleansing and justification – a full salvation.

Propitiation = atonement, in the O.T., was a covering from the wrath of the righteous God that was due because of sin. Covering and release was provided when the proscribed blood sacrifice was made.  In the N.T., propitiation is not only a covering, but means a full taking away of sin. This is provided through the sacrifice and shed blood of Y’shua, the spotless “Lamb of God.”

“For this reason it was essential that He (Messiah) be made like His brethren in every respect, in order to become a merciful and faithful high priest in things related to God, to make propitiation (Gr. hilaskesthai) for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:17)

 

EIGHT MORE RESULTS FLOWING FROM

MESSIAH’S REDEMPTIVE WORK

 

There were other important things accomplished through the work on the cross, and these we will briefly touch on here.

1   SINS THAT WERE “COVERED” BEFORE THE CROSS,

     ARE TAKEN AWAY

In the Old Testament God gave instructions for the annual Day of Atonement, (Yom Kippur) when the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies with the blood of a bull and of a goat which he would sprinkle on the Mercy Seat, for the covering of his own, and his people’s sins. Kippur comes from the Hebrew word Kaphar and means covering.

On other regular occasions, animals were offered as sin offerings.  These animals were the innocent victims which died as a substitute for the sinner.

God provided a covering and release for the offender, based on the fact that the righteous ground for such release would, in due time, be secured by the sacrificial death of His Son. 

“For this reason - His sacrifice - He is the Mediator of a new covenant. Because a death has taken place which redeems people from the transgressions committed under the first covenant, those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.” (Hebrews 9:15)

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption which is in the Messiah, Y’shua, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood through faith. He did this to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance, God had passed over the sins previously committed; to demonstrate, I say, His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the Justifier of the one who has faith in Y’shua.” (Romans 3:23-26)

Thus repentant O.T. sinners were covered and released from condemnation. But the Scriptures teach us that sins committed between Adam and the death of the Messiah, although covered by sacrificial offerings, were judged and taken away (done away with) only at the death of Christ.

“He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by His sacrifice of Himself.” (Heb. 9:26) “When this Priest - the Messiah - had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God.” (Hebrews 10:11-12) 

2   THE DELAY IN GOD’S JUDGMENT IS VINDICATED

The question comes up: When God is holy and cannot look upon sin with any degree of permission, why does He delay His judgments?

The ground for deferring judgment is the sacrifice of the Messiah. God sees all sin, from first to last, and in the light of the death the Lamb of God, He is free to hold back His righteous judgments which otherwise must swiftly fall on every sinner. But the day of divine wrath cannot be escaped unless the offender is sheltered under the redeeming blood of the Lamb.

“ … then YHWH the Lord knows how to rescue the godly out of temptation and trials, and how to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment.” (2 Peter 3:9)

3   MESSIAH’S DEATH BROUGHT AN END TO THE                                    MOSAIC COVENANT

“For Messiah is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes in Him.” (Romans 10:4)

“He said, ‘See here I am! I have come to do Your will, O God.’ (He sets aside the first covenant in order to establish the second.)” (Hebrews 10:9)

“While the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Y’shua the Messiah.” (John 1:17)

The Old Covenant Law, although it is called holy, righteous and good (Rom 7:12), it could not perfect anything. (Heb 7:19). The Law was to establish the righteousness of God and to give the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20). It could not provide justification but rather it left law-breakers (which means everyone) under a curse.  (Galatians 3:10-13)

In the New Covenant a new law operates:

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in the Messiah, Y’shua, for the law of the Spirit of Life in Y’shua the Messiah, has set me (you) free from the law of sin and of death.” (Romans 8:1-2)

The two covenants contain widely different principles. The Old is the attempt to establish righteousness by keeping the law. The New imputes the believer with the perfect righteousness of God by grace through faith in Jesus Christ – Y’shua the Messiah. And moreover, this covenant provides the grace – the power of the Holy Spirit - for the believer to live in harmony with his position and standing of righteousness.

 “For what the Law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the flesh, the sinful nature, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness or guise of sinful man to be an offering for sin. And so He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to flesh, the sinful nature, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3-4)

The death of the Messiah, then, was a righteous consummation of the old order as well as the foundation of the new.

4   THE NATIONAL SALVATION OF ISRAEL

During the present dispensation, Jews are in the same need of individual salvation as Gentiles. The eternal covenants of Yahweh with Israel are irrevocable (Rom 11:27-29), but they are held in abeyance in this dispensation, even though He is working and preparing Israel for national salvation. (Romans 11:25-26)

It is very evident today that even though part of “Israel” is living in part of the Promised Land, and even though it has the strongest army in the Middle East, modern Israel is still in blindness and hardness, and feebly trying to live by the laws of a defunct old covenant – they have no temple, no sacrifice, no covering, no king, no Messiah, no secure land, and few friends. But the many tremendous promises to Israel are to be realised in the coming Millennial dispensation of Glory.  (Deuteronomy 30:1-6l, Psalm 48; Jeremiah 31:33-34, and Isaiah 2:1-4, 19:23-25;  and chapters 54, 60, 62, 65 contain many of those promises).

“And so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, ‘THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.’ ‘And this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins’.” [Is 59:20; 27:9] (Romans 11:26-17)

“All Israel will be saved” (does not refer to Jews who continue to reject Y’shua the Messiah. Paul distinguishes between Israel the nation and the “spiritual Israel.” (Rom 2:28-29; 9:6). The “all Israel” to be saved is evidently that believing third who have come through the fire of God’s discipline in the Tribulation. (Zech 13:8-9). They will be the nucleus of the Israel that enters the kingdom; and they are the ones who will realize the fulfilment of the Millennial promises.

God is indeed working among, and saving, individual Jews today, but the national salvation is still future. And the basis on which that salvation can, and will, happen, is the sacrifice of God’s Anointed Messiah.  Israel’s sins will be taken away, but the only One who can do that is Y’shua, the Priest-Redeemer – the One Israel is presently rejecting.

As we have seen earlier, sins can be removed, taken away, only by the sacrifice at Calvary. And the final application of the Messiah’s death on behalf of Israel awaits the moment of her national conversion.

Caiaphas the priest who demanded the death of Y’shua never spoke a truer word than when he said it was “expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people.”

One of God’s major objectives in the death of His Son was the future national salvation of Israel. And one of the objectives in choosing and preserving Israel is that this nation would be a light to the nations, and a blessing in the midst of the earth.

“I, YHWH, have called You in righteousness, and I take hold of Your hand and guard You, and give You for a covenant to the people, and a light to the nations, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, and to release from the dungeon those who sit is darkness.”  (Isaiah 42:6-7)

Israel failed, and excluded itself from salvation by its rejection of the Anointed One. But God’s promises are irrevocable, and He will restore the wayward nation. 

All because of Calvary!

5   THE SPOILING OF PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS

The work of the Messiah on the cross was not only a judgment of men’s sins; it was also a judgment of Satan and the fallen angels; it obtained the legal sentence which is the basis for their final banishment and the containment of their demonic powers.

When approaching His death, Messiah said:

“Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.” (John 12:31). “… the ruler of this world has been judged.” (John 16:11)

 “He (God) has cancelled the written judgment that condemned us - the legal decrees that were hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross; and having disarmed and spoiled the rulers and authorities, God made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.” (Colossians 2:14-15)

Here are two tremendous results of the Messiah’s triumph through the cross; the cancellation of the believers’ condemnation, and the disarming of the satanic powers. The Messiah is now the supreme authority over all powers.

“These are in accordance with the working of His mighty strength which He exerted in the Messiah, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come.” (Ephesians 1:19-21)

Satan and his fallen heavenly hosts have been in rebellion against the authority of God from time immemorial. In due time the devil deceived man, and on the grounds of man’s sin of disobedience to God, mankind was brought into perpetual bondage to Satan. But the Messiah, on the grounds of His sacrificial death, is delivering from Satan’s grasp, all those who were formerly “without hope,” but who have now called on the Saviour’s Name.

“‘Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down - the one who has been accusing them before our God day and night.’ And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 12:10-11)

For He delivered us from the power and dominion of darkness, and transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”  (Colossians 1:13-14)

6   THE GROUND FOR ULTIMATE UNIVERSAL PEACE

* We are all aware of the peace that is imparted to individual believers through the work of the Messiah at Calvary. And that is related to our Reconciliation and Redemption.

“Therefore having been justified (declared right) by faith, we have peace with God through our Master, Y’shua the Messiah.” (Romans 5:1). “… now in the Messiah, Y’shua, you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. For He Himself is our peace.” (Ephesians 2:13-14)

There are two other areas of peace which has been made possible through the Saviour’s work on the cross.

*  Peace through Messiah’s saving grace, between Jew and Gentile.

“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both groups into one, and has broken down the dividing wall between us by abolishing in His flesh the enmity - the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, His purpose being to create in union with Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body, to reconcile both of them to God through His death on the cross, by which He put to death the enmity.” (Ephesians 2:14-16)

* Peace worldwide through Messiah in the Millennium and throughout the future universe.

“For all the fullness of YHWH El Shaddai was pleased to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven; through Him, I say, having made peace through His blood shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:19-20)

The Millennial reign, bringing peace to the whole world, will be realised because of Messiah’s work at Calvary.

There will be a release of Satan from the bottomless pit at the end of the 1000 years, for the purpose of separating believers from unbelievers at the end of the age. A final rebellion will be put down, and then the Great White Throne judgment will bring about the total containment of evil. Peace will then reign eternally -  because the Messiah-Redeemer won the victory at Calvary.

“For He must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished (destroyed, or done away with) is death. For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, ‘All things are put in subjection,’ it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. And when all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:25-28)

7   MILLENNIAL AND ETERNAL BLESSINGS ON THE GENTILES

Similar to blessings experienced by the Church at present, and like the salvation and blessing on Israel in the future, the Gentile nations during the Millennial kingdom will be blessed, for they also will walk in the light and salvation that has been made possible by the death of the Messiah.

“The nations, made up of those who are saved, will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth shall bring their splendour into it.” (Revelation 21:24)

Salvation in the past, present and future, is based on the finished work of the Messiah.

8   PURIFICATION OF THINGS IN HEAVEN

An often overlooked statement in Hebrews concerns the purification of heavenly things.

“In fact, under the Law, almost everything is purified by means of blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no remission - no release or forgiveness of sins. It was necessary, then, for the earthly copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the actual heavenly things themselves required better sacrifices than these.” (Hebrews 9:22-23)

The question comes up: Why should heaven need purification?  Well, it is not heaven itself, but the things that have been polluted in the spiritual world, and in the universe.

Sin has produced tragic effects within the angelic hosts as it has within the human race, and the pollution of sin reaches beyond the angels in heavenly places, and beyond men on earth.

The universe (creation) is groaning because of the results of men’s sins and Satan’s war against righteousness and holiness. And believers also groan, waiting for the consummation of the age.  The spiritual (heavenly) realm also has been influenced by the evil ones, and the holy angels no doubt, are groaning as we are, for the purification of “things in the heavenlies.”

“For the intense longing of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in anticipation that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the glorious freedom of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:19-23)

It is Messiah’s sacrificial death that spells the end of rebellion, and that will bring the total containment of evil which will complete the reconciliation: 

“… and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven; through Him, I say, having made peace through the blood He shed on His cross.” (Colossians 1:20)

The work of the Messiah on the cross is represented by His blood which He has “sprinkled” in the Heavenly Holy of Holies for the purification of all things in “the heavens” and on earth.

“But when the Messiah appeared as High Priest of the better things to come, and that are now here, He entered into the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with human hands, that is to say, not of this material creation. He entered once and for all into the Holy of Holies in Heaven. And He entered, not by virtue of the blood of goats and calves, but by virtue of His own blood, having secured eternal redemption for us.” (Hebrews 9:11-12)

These verses do not imply “universal reconciliation” – the teaching that says everything, including hell and Satan, will eventually be reconciled to God. On the contrary, the Scriptures declare that all fallen angels and unregenerate men go to eternal woe.

MESSIAH’S PRESENT PRIESTLY MINISTRY

Just as the ascended Messiah continues His prophetic ministry from the Throne, His priestly ministry also continues in the Most Holy Place, at the right hand of God, in Heaven.

“Messiah is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, and who also intercedes for us.” (Romans 8:34)

The Messiah has a constant ministry of intercession:

“Y’shua has become the Guarantee of a better covenant … Because Y’shua lives and continues for ever, He has a permanent and unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save completely and forever those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 7:22, 24-25)

MESSIAH IS OUR ADVOCATE

Y’shua is not like a commercial lawyer – the Messiah is a high priestly advocate; One who really cares and prays for His people, for they are His Bride, and His chosen ones.

“My children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father - One who pleads our cause - Y’shua the Messiah, the Righteous One; and He Himself is the propitiation - the atoning sacrifice for our sins; and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1)

“For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to understand and sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have One who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin. Let us then approach the Throne of Grace with full confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16)

MESSIAH OUR GREAT HIGH PRIEST FOREVER

“And we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, a hope both firm and secure, and one which enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Y’shua, our forerunner, has entered on our behalf, having become High Priest forever after the order of Malkitzedek.” (Hebrews 6:19-20)

 

HALLELUYAH! WHAT A WONDERFUL SAVIOUR

            “Man of Sorrows” what a Name,

            For the Son of God who came

            Ruined sinners to reclaim. 

            HalleluYah! what a Saviour!

                        Bearing shame and scoffing rude,

                        In my place condemned He stood.

                        Sealed my pardon with His blood. 

                        HalleluYah! what a Saviour!

            Guilty, vile, and helpless we,

            Spotless Lamb of God was He.

            “Full atonement” can it be? 

            HalleluYah! what a Saviour!

                        “Lifted up” was He to die;

                        “It is finished” was His cry

                        Now in Heaven exalted high. 

                        HalleluYah! what a Saviour!

                                    When He comes, our glorious King,

                                    All His ransomed home to bring.

                                    Then anew this song we’ll sing: 

                                    HalleluYah! what a Saviour!

 

 

NEXT ISSUE:  PART 3. MESSIAH - THE KING

 

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