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    Our Priest Upon the Throne

    In the beginning the Son of God, because He was the Son of God, sat upon the throne of the universe, reigning jointly with the Father. In the councils of eternity He consented to leave this throne, to come to this earth, to assume human nature, to accept the liabilities which sin had created, and by meeting those liabilities, to save the human family from eternal bankruptcy. By His life of suffering obedience which culminated in His death on the cross, He atoned to the justice and the holiness of God for our sins. Romans 5:19. His resurrection was the vindication of His claim that He was the Son of God. Romans 1:4. He was received up into heaven (Mark 16:19), His sacrifice for us was accepted, and He “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Hebrews 1:3. The prophecy of Zechariah was now fulfilled; “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch; ... and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne; and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” Zechariah 6:12, 13. The King has returned to His throne, but He has now become “a merciful and faithful high priest” (Hebrews 2:17), and His throne is the throne of grace. As priest-king He now dispenses the blessings which He won for His own through His humiliation.SOTW 95.1

    The full significance of the typical sanctuary service is now revealed. The true sacrifice has been offered. The acceptable expiation for sin has been made. The priest who “hath been made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life” (Hebrews 7:16), who is “a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:6)? has taken His place upon the throne of grace, and “He because He abideth forever, hath His priesthood unchangeable. Wherefore also He is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God through Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:24, 25.SOTW 96.1

    And who is this priest? He is Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God, Son of man, the God-man. “The law appointeth men high priests, having infirmity; but the word of the oath ... appointeth a Son, perfected forevermore.” Hebrews 7:28.SOTW 96.2

    And now comes the assurance which gives the practical turn to this whole discussion about the priesthood, and makes it an intensely personal matter: “Now in the things which we are saying the chief point is this: We have such a high priest, who sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.” Hebrews 8:1, 2. Let us bring it close home. We, you and I, have such a high priest, whose priesthood is so superior to the priesthood after the order of Aaron. We have a high priest who “is able to save to the uttermost.” We have a high priest who can be “touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” We have a high priest who “ever liveth to make intercession for” us. We have a high priest who officiates in “the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched,” the sanctuary in heaven, of which the earthly was a copy. We have a high priest who has entered “into heaven itself, now to appear before the face of God for us” (Hebrews 9:24), who “entered in once for all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption.” Hebrews 9:12.SOTW 96.3

    Sin has made it impossible for any member of the human family to appear before God in his own behalf. He could not endure the glory of God. There must be a mediator, a representative, to deal with his case. The God-man is such a mediator, such a representative. He became “a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 2:17. This propitiation He made by offering up Himself as an atoning sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 9:26), not in order to appease the wrath of an angry God, but to make forgiveness possible on the part of a loving God. God could not condone sin, and remain a righteous God. He must deal with sin in a way consistent with His own character as a holy God, and without imperiling the stability of His government. This He has done by giving His own Son, and Himself in His Son, as the propitiation, the atoning sacrifice (1 John 2:2), for our sins, that He might freely forgive and yet remain just. This is clearly stated in these words:SOTW 97.1

    “Being justified [accounted righteous] freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, in His blood, to show His righteousness because of the passing over of sins done aforetime, in the forbearance of God; for the showing, I say, of His righteousness at this present season: that He might Himself be just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:24-26.SOTW 98.1

    This great act of reconciliation, of redemption, through the cross, was the central purpose of His mission to this earth. Having accomplished this sacrificial work, He returned to heaven, sat down upon the throne of grace at the right hand of the Majesty, as minister of the true tabernacle, as the priest-king, and devoted Himself to making intercession for us.SOTW 98.2

    I would like now to make as clear as I can just what is meant by making intercession for us, as I think there is quite a little misunderstanding about this matter. From the ordinary meaning of words as defined in the dictionary, it might be natural to interpret this intercession as indicating that it is the office of our Intercessor to make as powerful an appeal as possible to the heart of God to induce Him to be favorable to us and to overlook our transgressions of His holy law; but such a view does the greatest injustice to the character of God. It is not a question of injured feelings, but of justice and righteousness. Sin is not a mere mistake, an inadvertent departure from the accepted standard of conduct, but a willful rebellion against a holy God, which involves guilt and demands the payment of a righteous penalty. The safety of the universe required that an adequate expiation should be made for such deep-seated guilt. This was provided for in the eternal covenant of grace made between the Father and the Son, and became a historical fact in the person and work of Christ, “who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity.” Titus 2:14. And this expiation was made, not simply on behalf of those who gladly accept it, but on behalf of all, even those who persist in active rebellion, for we read: “My little children, these things I write unto you that ye may not sin. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.” 1 John 2:1, 2.SOTW 98.3

    To atone for the sins of one person required such a sacrifice as would be sufficient to atone for the sins of all. Such is the heinous character of sin. It is not simply individual sins for which atonement must be made, but sin as sin is included.SOTW 99.1

    But we must remember that there are two wills involved in this transaction, the will of God and the will of man, and that both must be absolutely free in their operation. God “would have all men to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:4), and He pleads with them to choose life that they may live (Deuteronomy 30:19); but having created man a free moral being, He cannot now force the will. It is therefore necessary that each individual should, by a definite act of his own will, accept the propitiation made for all, in order that it may be effective in his particular case. In other words, you and I must freely accept the atoning sacrifice made in our behalf, and must take Jesus Christ as our mediator and intercessor, committing our cases into His hands with confession of our sin, our helplessness, and our need, and surrendering our sinful lives to Him in order to receive His holy life. The cross is the pledge that He will undertake for us, and that His intercession will have a successful issue.SOTW 99.2

    Chief among the blessings which our Intercessor secures for us is the forgiveness of sins. He presents His righteousness, His own obedience, as our representative, as a prevailing plea in our behalf.SOTW 99.3

    “We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of God’s law. But Christ has made a way of escape for us. He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in Blank Page place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.”SOTW 99.4

    Well might the psalmist exclaim; “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not reckon sin.” Romans 4:7, 8. God has already reckoned sin to His Son and judged it upon Him, and this is the basis upon which it is justifiable for Him not to reckon it to us. Forgiveness rests upon propitiation, and the propitiation has already been made. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. The intercession of Christ brings this blessing to us.SOTW 101.1

    Apparently supplementing the blessing of forgiveness, and yet in reality involved in it, is the impartation of the Holy Spirit. While just in the shadow of the atoning cross Jesus declared to His disciples, “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may be with you forever.” John 14:16. This gift was made possible through the glorification of the Son of God in His death, resurrection, and ascension. John 7:38, 39.SOTW 101.2

    “Christ’s ascension to heaven was the signal that His followers were to receive the promised blessing.... When Christ passed within the heavenly gates, He was enthroned amidst the adoration of the angels. As soon as this ceremony was completed, the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples in rich currents, and Christ was indeed glorified with the glory which He had with the Father from all eternity. The Pentecostal outpouring was Heaven’s communication that the Redeemer’s inauguration was accomplished. According to His promise He had sent the Holy Spirit from heaven to His followers, as a token that He had, as priest and king, received all authority in heaven and on earth, and was the Anointed One over His people.”SOTW 101.3

    What in His state of humiliation Christ said He would pray for, was supplied to His disciples and to us as the result of His intercession in a state of exaltation. In the work of Christ as our high priest we find the true explanation of that remarkable experience on the day of Pentecost, as stated by the apostle Peter: “Being therefore at the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He hath poured forth this, which ye see and hear.” Acts 2:33. The coming of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, to enter upon His mission as the vicegerent of Christ, marked the glorification of the Son of God as priest-king upon the throne of grace, and was the consummation of His sacrificial mission to this world.SOTW 101.4

    Right here I wish to emphasize the two phases of the work of Christ in our behalf in solving the problem of sin. In His self-sacrificing obedience, “even unto death, yea, the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8), He atoned for the guilt of sin and set us free from its penalty. This is certainly good news, but there is much more. The forgiveness of sins is only the beginning of the experience of a Christian, and the same Priest-King who delivered us from the guilt of sin has made provision to save us from the power of sin. We are justified by the blood of the cross, but we are justified in order that we may live above the power of sin. By the power of the indwelling life which is ministered to us from the throne of grace, we have the victory in every hour of temptation, and can testify to the efficiency of our Surety. The godly life is the incontrovertible proof that our justification is genuine. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Matthew 7:20.SOTW 102.1

    In the death and resurrection of Christ, the Son of God and the Son of man, we find the ground of the work of the Priest-King upon the throne.SOTW 102.2

    “In the cross we see the Priest and the priesthood; in the resurrection, the King and the royal power. To the Priest belong the absolution and the cleansing and the justifying; to the King, the impartation of blessing to the absolved and the cleansed and the justified.”SOTW 102.3

    Happy is he who can say without mental reservation, “Jesus is my priest-king; He ever liveth to make intercession for me.”SOTW 102.4

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