KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“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.” (Hebrews 9:24)
The Book of Hebrews has been regarded by the Church through the ages as a wonderful portrait of Christ as prophet, priest, and king of the New Covenant that was foreshadowed by the Old Covenant (Old Testament Law). The Hebrew believers were under severe persecution, apparently by non-Christian Jews. After accepting and enduring this persecution, it seems they had weakened. While never renouncing Christ, they were at risk of drifting back to the Jewish teachings and customs, many of which had supplanted the Old Covenant.
In this portion of text, the writer emphasized the priestly role of Christ, comparing it with that of the Old Testament priest/king Melchizedek and contrasting it with the Levitical priesthood established in the Old Testament Law. The Jews were well aware that the priestly offices could only be held by descendents of Levi, the great-grandson of Abraham. Christ was descended from the tribe of Judah, making Him ineligible to minister as a priest under the Old Covenant. The writer emphasized that there was an earlier precedent for both priesthood and also the combination of priesthood and kingship. (These two roles were always separated in Israel after they were given a king.) Melchizedek was both king of Salem (Jerusalem) and a priest of God, although the Old Testament presents no record of birth, death or genealogy for him. He blessed Abram, and Abram acknowledged his position by paying him tithes.
The Greek word for mediator is mes-ee-tace and means “one who intervenes between two, either in order to make or restore peace and friendship, or form a compact, or for ratifying a covenant.”
We are privileged to have a great High Priest and Mediator standing between us and God. Since we now have access to God through Christ, we enjoy a close, intimate relationship with Him. We can have confidence that our hope in Christ is an anchor that will hold steadfast and secure through the storms of life and deliver us from this life to an eternity in Heaven with our great High Priest, Christ.