Eld. G. Beebe: - I would like to have you write something, if you think it best, on Heb. 7:25, especially on the last clause, “Seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
Silas H. Durand.
Feb. 23, 1864.
Reply: - The great theme of the inspired writer of this epistle was to set forth the Mediatorial glory of the Son of God, in the complete salvation of his people, especially the immortality of his priesthood. Although typffied by the Levitical priesthood, he was not a priest of the order or lineage of Aaron, but of the order of Melchisedec. In comparing and contrasting the two orders, he shows that the one was but a dim shadow of the other. And perhaps no point of difference is more prominently presented than that of the mortality of the one and the immortality of the other. Aaron and his sons, without an oath, were made priests by the law of a carnal commandment: that is by the Levitical law, which was given to the carnal Hebrews, or fleshly descendants of Abraham, regarding them in the flesh, as mortal; and soon to pass away. The ceremonial law was also limited, and to pass away with the generations of Israel in the flesh; and the priesthood to agree with the carnal, transient and dying sons of Jacob, was by the law of a carnal commandment, involving perpetual changes in the priesthood; none of the priests of that order could continue long in the office by reason of death; for in it men were made priests who had infirmities in common with the rest of mankind, - were like all others, subject to disease and death. But the great High Priest of our profession was not made a priest after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For the priests under the law were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever, after the order of Melchisedec. By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. And they, truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue, by reason of death; but this man, (Christ) because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. The perfect and everlasting salvation of all who come unto him, rests upon the efficiency of his priesthood based upon the power of his immortality, or endless life. If he were not the life, the endless or eternal life of his people, there could be no vital relationship to give character and efficiency to his standing as the “High Priest of our profession.” If the relation he bore to those for whom he officiated at the alter, were only that which resulted from his being made of a woman, or his assumption of our nature, taking on him the seed of Abraham, and being found in fashion as a man; the law of a carnal or fleshly commandment would have been sufficient; but then his priesthood could do no more than that of Aaron or his sons. This would involve the unscriptural idea that his priestly office did not exist until his incarnation. How then could it be after the order of Melchisedec, which type signifies a priesthood that is without beginning of days or end of life? To qualify him with the power of an endless life:...a life which is without beginning of days, or end of duration, that life must be eternal, self-existent, and self-sustaining. Such a life Christ has as the Son of God: it is the life of God himself, and is therefore from everlasting to everlasting. “Who is the blessed and only Potentate; the King of kings, and Lord of lords: who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, or can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting, Amen.” By this power of immortality he is able to vanquish death and him that had the power of death, and to deliver his people from wrath, raise them up to heavenly places in himself. Through this “Eternal Spirit,” or life of God, he offered himself, as our abiding High Priest, without spot unto God, and “By one offering forever perfected them that are sanctified.” The body in which he suffered and died on the cross was not permitted to see corruption: it was raised up by the power of his endless life, quickened with his own immortality; death hath no more dominion over it. Thus in that resurrected body he has passed into the heavens; angels and all holy beings are in subjection to him. But the power of the endless life of his Priesthood is most gloriously displayed also in his Intercession for his people. We do not, however, understand, as many represent, that as our High Priest, his Intercession consists in his standing literally in the courts of his eternal Father, pleading, and endeavoring to overcome some supposed reluctance on the part of the Father, to procure blessings for us; for as a Priest his work was to do the will of the Father, and to finish the work. There is perfect harmony in the priesthood and the immutable will of God. But by the power of the immortality of his priesthood, he by the eternal spirit of life is the vitality of all his members, and by the power of his endless life he dwells in all his quickened children, and in their hearts indites and carries on his intercession. Ever living, not only for them, but living in them, by this spirit and power of immortality, helping their infirmities he maketh intercession for and in them, according to the will of God, and with groanings that they cannot utter.
We find one of this intercession flowing from our hearts, directed by the light or power of our mortal life. We may have been taught from infancy to say our prayers; and like the Pharisee, pray with ourselves; but we could not draw near unto God, nor find access to the throne of grace until this power of endless life was manifested in us. When by the new and spiritual birth we passed from death into this endless life; when Christ, who is our life was revealed in us, that moment his intercession, by the power and vitality of that life, in us began to be experimentally developed. A hidden secret groaning of the quickened child, was struggling for adequate language, “Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner.” “What shall I do to be saved?” “Save Lord, I perish.” This intercession is by the power of an endless life; there is vitality and immortality in it. And the power of endless life which makes the quickened, heaven-born sinner cry to God for mercy and grace, is the same power which has delivered him from death, and formed Christ in him, the hope of glory. This life, which is not only from Christ, but which is Christ, makes intercession for us. Not only when in our first or early experience, we were made to stand in our experience, guilty, wretched, bankrupt and utterly ruined before the bar of our Eternal Judge; when the begotten intercession of our heart struggled for birth; but throughout our whole experience, we find that we can have no access to the throne of grace, nor draw nigh unto God with a true heart and full assurance of faith, only as we are moved by this power of the endless life of our great High Priest. “No man can come unto the Father but by me.” When our carnal passions prevail, and in the most solemn forms, we give expression to the fleshly desires of the natural mind, “We ask and we receive not; because we ask amiss.” God in great mercy rejects such graceless, heartless, lifeless prayers. But when the spirit of Christ which dwells in all his children, directs us to the throne of grace; we find access through him who is our life, and are made partakers of the power of his endless life; and then we find our nature with all its boasted wisdom and eloquence cannot supply language to adequately utter the heaven inspired intercession which the endless life of Christ awakens in our hearts.
The holy anointing by which Aaron in the type was made a priest, was poured upon the head, even Aaron’s head, and ran down his beard, and descended to the skirts of his garment; so Christ our Priest, is consecrated as our Priest, by the Spirit of the Lord God which is upon him, with all the power of his endless life, and the holy unction through him as our spiritual head, descends to the hem of his garment, which covers his mystical body, for we are told (Rev. 1:13) that his priestly garment clothed his body, down to the foot; and therefore an inspired witness testifies, “But ye have an unction from the Holy One,” (Christ) “and ye know all things.” “But the anointing which ye have received abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth and is no life, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” (I John 2:20 & 27)
Thus in the unity and identity of Christ, our Great High Priest, and his church as his body, and the fullness of him who filleth all in all, his members are all made kings and priests, unto him, and they shall reign with him in glory.
In this vital and endless unction, the prayers and intercessions for the saints, in the spirit emanating from the power of his endless life, identify them with him in the priesthood; not as successors, as the sons of Aaron were to him; but as his members identified and constituting his priestly body; quickened and animated by the power of the same endless life, are in him a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a peculiar people. In this union and life being made priests unto God, the prayers and intercession of the saints are offered up upon the golden altar which John saw before the throne. (Rev. 8:3)
In conclusion, He is able to save them unto the uttermost, who come unto God by him. The ability of his priesthood, as we have seen, is in the power of his endless, or immortal, self-existing, independent and eternal life. All who are made partakers of this life, are saved by its power. The specialty of the Priesthood is restricted to the extent of this life. None but our “Blessed Potentate” hath it. No man or human power can approach it, or even see it; but it is through him bestowed on all the members of his body. “I give unto them eternal life.” (John 10:28) “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37) These scriptures show very clearly who they are that come unto the Father by Christ, and our text declares his ability, by the power of an endless life, to save them unto the uttermost. Not partially, but fully, completely. And he is as willing as he is able. “Father, I will that they also, whom thou has 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.” (John 17:24) This is the extent of the Priesthood of Christ; it embraces all whom the Father has given him, and no more; and they are saved unto the uttermost, by the power of his endless life which they are partakers of, and by which they come unto the Father; while all who are laboring to approach the Father by their own works, or relying on any thing else for salvation, are not manifestly of his priesthood. His Priesthood is specially and exclusively for them who come unto God by him. For them, and only for them does he abide a Priest forever, after the order of Melchisedec; for them, and in them, he by the spirit and power of endless, eternal life, makes intercession - as the High Priest of their profession. Truly such an High Priest becomes us. Then let us duly consider the apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus. (Heb. 3:1)
March 1, 1864.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 5
Pages 470 – 475