"COMFORT ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins." Isa. XL. 1, 2. For now that was accomplished of which an angel, a man clothed in linen, spoke to Daniel the prophet, saying, "And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince which standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even unto that same time: and at that time thy people shall he delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book." Dan. XII. 1. "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them." Rev. XII. 7-12. This is the glorious victory achieved by the hard fought battle with the powers of darkness, and the accomplished warfare, and the divine triumph fills all heaven with great joy, melody and praise, saying, "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and bath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." Rev. I. 5, 6. Thus, when Christ our passover was sacrificed for his people, did he make peace for them by the blood of his cross. "For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby; and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father." Eph. II. 14-18. Through Christ only both Jews and Gentiles have access unto the Father, and both by one Spirit, therefore, by the Spirit of life, all are one in Christ Jesus, and their life and rejoicing are in him and are spiritual.
Let us again in mind stand in Jerusalem and behold the solemn scene at the crucifixion of our atoning High Priest, especially when he bowed his head in death. At that moment the earth itself was shaken and rent as a torn garment, even to the rending of the great rocks, and the opening of the vaulted graves; but more eventful still, the strong veil of the temple was torn open from top to bottom, which the hands of man could not have done, thus making an open door out of the first sanctuary into the second, the Holy of holies, type of heaven, so that the people of that priesthood could then have access into the most holy sanctuary. Before this deeply wonderful event, no Israelite could enter within that veil, for he must have died before the Lord, save the consecrated high priest alone, and he only once a year, and with the divinely appointed atoning blood for the sins of the people and himself. Now, let us see the meaning of this, for it is wonderful and precious to us. And in this, as in all else, the Scriptures are profitable for instruction, that we may have hope. "Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: the Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience. *** But Christ being come an High Priest of good things to come by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands; *** by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. *** For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." Heb. IX. "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an High Priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." Heb. X. 19-22. This is the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, by which God saves us according to his mercy. Thus are we comfortingly shown the divine meaning of the rent veil of the temple; that is, that the death of Jesus in the flesh had opened the way for his people into heaven, which was closed against them by sin, and had given them access unto the Father. This solemn lesson is, that there is no other way for us to come unto the Father with acceptance and blessing, only by the death of Christ and in his holy obedience, it has been said that the veil of the temple was so strong that seventy men could not have rent it; but at the dying words of the suffering Man on the cross, "It is finished," the separating veil felt the infinite virtue and. almighty power of him who conquered in death, and gave way; yea, death and the grave and the sleeping bodies of the saints, all felt the power and merit of the crucified Man of God's right hand and yielded. Verily, in all the infinite universe there was no power that could resist the efficacy of Christ's dying cry; for in his death was the infinite value and dignity of the Almighty God, who made and upholds all things. He ordained that wondrous veil, made "of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, of cunning work, with cherubims," typical of the body and blood of Christ; and he also ordained Christ the High Priest of his people, that he should consecrate himself unto God through the veil of his flesh, and thus take away the strong separating veil, showing that death is abolished, and his sanctified people may now come unto God and worship him in true holiness. The rent veil proved, also, that the priesthood of Aaron and the ministry of Moses and the law were taken away, that the old covenant and the temple service were finished and ended; for their great antitype and fulfiller, God's eternal High Priest, had come and taken all things out of the way of the return of his people.
How vain, therefore, the blinded rage of the priesthood of the old temple, in their effort to still defeat all this mighty work of the greater than Moses, by the sealed sepulcher and the strong Roman guard. It is just as impossible yet for men, in their self-trust and false zeal, to either defeat the success of Christ's finished work, or to add to it.
"Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hand have crucified and slain: whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it *** Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, "whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." Acts II. The apostle Peter thus spoke to the Jews in Jerusalem on the 'day of Pentecost, fifty days after the crucifixion of Jesus. He quoted from David, and said of him, "Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool." Thus was fulfilled the word of the angel to the favored mother of Jesus, saying, "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." Thus did the Almighty Father exalt his holy Son to the throne of glory, and crown him with unlimited dominion, putting all things under his feet. Of this glorious power, Paul says, "And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the Head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all." Eph. I. 19-23. This was the blessed fulfillment of the dear Son's .prayer the night of his soul-sorrow, when he said, "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." Of him Paul said, "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exhalted him, and given, him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Phil. II. 8-11. For this also the humbled and suffering Man entreated his loving Father, saying, "Father the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee." O how divinely was the Father glorified in his Son, and how gloriously the Father exalted his meek and lowly Son! And O, how unspeakable the honor and blessing, that this glorified and "highly exalted" Son of man is not only a man, and our perfected and accepted High Priest unto God, but our very Brother! Yes, the Son of God on high, with all things put under his feet, is verily a glorified and divinely glorious MAN! the "Man of God's right hand."
He had passed through the veil of his and our flesh, thus through suffering being made perfect, by perfecting the redemption of his people and brethren, that they might be perfected in his righteousness, and sanctified in his life, and now he was in the unveiled presence and glory of his Father. Thus was Jesus the Christ, the Anointed of God, the High Priest, who had passed into the heavens, "to appear in the presence of God for us." Let us remember, it is the man Christ Jesus, who is the one Mediator between God and men. Of him God said, "I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him." "For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed," etc.
"But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." Heb. 1. 8, 9. "Thy fellows" evidently refers to his people and brethren, and the word means an equal, an associate or companion; so, indeed; Christ was made in all things like unto his brethren; yet "he thought it not robbery to be equal with God." And so the sword was commanded to "awake against the Man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts.'' This is very wonderful. "Christ" signifies the Anointed of God, and it is the official title or sacred name of the holy Son of God, as the Christ-man and has special application to his priestly office.
The perfect atonement being made, which was equal to all the requirements of eternal Justice and Righteousness, in behalf of all his holy Father's predestinated children, the entire brotherhood of Christ, he arose from the dead, as was typified by the release of Isaac from the altar on which he was bound as unto death, and then he in his risen body, which saw no corruption, ascended up to God and the kingdom of glory in the power of an endless life, our eternal High Priest, where he ever liveth to make intercession for the saints according to the will of God. It was by the infinite merit of his own blood that Christ entered in once into the holy place, to appear in the very presence of God, having obtained eternal redemption for all his people.
The typical high priest of the Lord's covenant people first made the atonement for their sins, as the Lord appointed; the Lord accepted the atoning sacrifice at his hands; then, by virtue of the atonement, the high priest interceded in the most holy place at the mercyseat and before the Lord for the people; and the Lord heard him, and blessed them. So did our great High Priest pass through the veil of his suffering and dying flesh, and then ascend up on high to the mercyseat and the throne of heaven, where he, in robes of holinesas and immortality, intercedes as our Advocate with the.Father, who always hears his beloved Son, and Christ prevails. In this the wrestling Jacob was a type of Jesus, for he as a prince had power with God, and with men.
The divine testimonies that have been given show that when Jesus, who was God manifested in the flesh, was received up into glory, and sat down on the mediatorial throne, God the Father anointed and crowned him both High Priest and King, in fulfillment of the angelic annunciation to his mother Mary. David had long before prophetically said, "Arise, O Lord, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength. * * The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David, he will not turn from it; of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne." Ps. CXXXII. 8, 11. David again testified, saying, "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion; rule thou in the midst of thine enemies." Ps. CX. 1, 2. Thus was the command of the Most High fulfilled, in which he said, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory." Ps. XXIV. 7-10. By faith David saw this glorious ascension and coronation of his Son, the King of glory, and rejoicingly said, "Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive; thou hast received gifts for men; yea for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them." Ps. LXVIII. 18.
All this wonderfully makes known the infinite perfection, power and glory of our successful High Priest and KhIg, as well as the sovereign goodness, rich mercy and abounding grace of the Almighty Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, "whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." Heb. I. 2, 3, It was most worthily said of our blessed Brother and Redeemer, "He hath done all things well."
When he had swallowed up death in victory in his triumphant resurrection, our Lord said to his apostles, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." His Father and God gave him this fullness of power and dominion, and crowned him with glory and honor. Therefore Jesus himself said, "For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son; that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which has sent him. * * * For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man." John V. Thus is the precious Christ, God's holy child Jesus, whom he hath anointed the High Priest and King of saints, given power with God and over men, even unlimited authority and dominion; therefore God always hears him, and gives him everything that he asks for. So true is this, that Jesus, in the time of his deepest humiliation and betrayal to his enemies, said to Peter, "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?" Matt. XXVI. 53, 54. These words of the betrayed Master teach a most instructive truth, and solemn admonition; that God's established purpose in all things must be; and that as his innocent Son, though persecuted unto death, would not resist, but meekly submitted, saying, "Thy will be done," so it becomes us to be still, and know that he is God.
We have now seen how divinely and gloriously the Christ of God was qualified and authorized to successfully intercede in the behalf of all whom his righteous Father gave him in the new and everlasting covenant, and for whom he had freely and righteously given himself in sacrifice, whose sins he had thus made reconciliation for, and had put them away for ever. For thus he had redeemed them unto himself, from sin and law and justice, so they were and are righteously his own; for he had - wondrous to tell - even given himself a ransom for them. O how righteously and with what divine authority our Advocate says, "Deliver them from going down into the pit." So now it is declared, "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 sins of the whole world." 1 John 11. 2. The term "whole world" refers to all that the Father gave him in all the Gentile world; while by "our sins" is meant his people among the Jews; and "the propitiation" is the reconciliation, the atonement for our sins. "Jesus Christ the righteous" is this himself for all his covenant people. Thus he has the most sacred and holy right to plead and intercede for them, that they should be forgiven and saved, although they are a sinful people; and his holy Father always accepts the intercession of his own beloved Son, and not only pardons all for whom Christ died, but also justifies them unto life and eternal glory. And so, when Jesus was about to call Lazarus back from death unto life, he said, "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always; but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me." John XI. 41, 42. O how all this should fill us with unwavering confidence and unquestioning trust in the faithfulness and sufficiency and perfect success of our Divine intercessor, who is in the presence of God in the glorious robes of his eternal priesthood. For the Father himself hath borne witness of him to us, saying,, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." And God has authorized our beloved Redeemer to ask, saying to him, "Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." Ps. II. 8. Accordingly, our holy Advocate with the Father asks for all that his Father gave him, and says on their behalf "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee; but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them." John XVII. This is most heavenly and blessed, because there is no opposing power that can defeat it, or prevent its perfect fulfillment. O how divine the glory and infinite the holiness! With adoring gratitude, let us repeat the transporting assurance, so full of infinite blessedness, of our Beloved: ''That the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I IN THEM!" For all that the Father of love gave him, our Intercessor asks this immortal heritage of the fullness of perfect Love and Life!
"We have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens."