The priesthood of Jesus Christ is a well established fact in the New Testament. I have written about this in another article you will find on the web site at the link below. It is called; “Priest of King or Both”.
In that article I contrast and compare Christ’s role as priest in the New Covenant with his Reign as king. But this article is intended to go a different direction. I want to look at the typology of the priesthood of Christ as he fulfills the type which was Aaron. We know that Jesus as King was the fulfillment of the promise to David that one would eventually and eternally sit on the throne. As well in Christ’s role as prophet we can track the typology from Moses. Both were the prophets and mediators of different covenants. You can read in Deuteronomy chapter 18 about Moses promising another prophet who will rise in his stead and it would be to that prophet (Christ) to whom you would then owe obedience. You can also read about their prophetic offices compared in the book of Hebrews.
Let’s look at the overwhelming evidence from the book of Hebrews that shows that Jesus was indeed a priest.
“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:14-15
Not only do we have a high priest, but our high priest has already passed into heaven. Jesus began his priestly ministry when he ascended to His Father in Heaven and sat at His right hand.
“Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;” Hebrews 8:1
Not only is He in heaven seated at the Right hand of the throne of the Majesty on High…but he is a priest FOREVER!
“ So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee . As he saith also in another place, THOU ART A PRIEST FOREVER after the order of Melchisedec.” Hebrews 5:5-6
“Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.” Hebrews 5:10
“ Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, MADE AN HIGH PRIEST FOREVER after the order of Melchisedec.” Hebrews 6:20
“For he testifieth, THOU ART A PRIEST FOREVER after the order of Melchisedec.” Hebrews 7:17
“For those priests 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” Hebrews 7:21
This theme of Christ “the Branch” sitting on the throne as a priest was also prophesied in the old testament.
“And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; 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
So it is easily established that Jesus is a priest and that he is fulfilling the typology of Aaron as the high priest of his people, making intercession and advocating for them from his heavenly throne.
“Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Romans 8:34
“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.” Hebrews 7:25
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:” 1 John 2:1
Even Job in the midst of his suffering knew that if only he had a man to plead for him to God, God would understand his case and relieve him of his pain.
“O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbour!” Job 16:21
In the New Covenant we have such a man in the God/Man Jesus Christ.
This was the function of a priest all the way back to Melchisedec and Aaron. A priest stood between man and God and spoke to God on behalf of man, and spoke to man on behalf of God. This is exactly what Jesus is doing today in fulfilling the type that is Aaron and the Old Testament office of High Priest.
When we look at the function of the High Priest under the Old Covenant we see that he had special clothes to set him apart and represent his office.
“And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.” Exodus 28:4
“And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work.” Exodus 28:6
“Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate.” Exodus 25:7
“And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial.” Exodus 28:12
I think the most interesting thing in the High Priests attire is this “Ephod”. The Ephod had two stones and upon the two stones were engraved the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. The entire Old Testament ritualistic sacrificial system was based on “representation. So when the High Priest went into the Holy of Holies that one day a year, on the Day of Atonement he carried with him before God those people whom he was representing. He offered the blood for those whom he represented and atonement was made based on the representation of the High Priest.
You might notice that the priest never had the names of the surrounding pagan tribes engraved anywhere on his attire. There was no representation of Canaanites, Jebusites, Girgisates, Moabites, Ammonites, or any of the other God rejecting nations that surrounded Israel. The offering of the high Priest was solely for the twelve tribes represented on the Ephod and for none others. When Aaron interceded for the people before God his intercessory ministry was for those he represented in Israel. The intercession and the atonement offered by the High Priest was restricted to those to whom the covenant applied. Nobody outside of the covenant participated in the atonement of the intercession or the benefits thereof.
In the same way, as Jesus was fulfilling the type that is the Aaronic priesthood we see Jesus praying in the garden, interceding for those he represented.
“I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.” John 17:6
“I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.” John 17:9
Our high priest of the New Covenant Is interceding for those which were given to him by God. He was not in verse 9 praying for the whole world.
So we see that the type of the high priest in the Old Testament offered a limited atonement preceded by a limited intercession. It was limited to those who were participants in the covenant. Here also in the fulfilling of this type Jesus is offering a limited intercession so that he can go and offer a limited atonement. This is shown early in the life of Christ when the angel announced to Joseph the limited nature of his ministry.
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21.
The angel as a divine messenger from God himself clearly limited Christ’s ministry. He shall save HIS PEOPLE from their sins. So the salvation that was accomplished on the cross was not intended to be applied universally to all people of all time. No, based on the typology of Aaron and the clear declarations from God, the work of Christ was intended to be limited. But we can be sure of one thing. All that come to him he will in no wise cast out. For those he did represent, salvation is assured. Christ did not come on a fool’s errand providing forgiveness to all and then hoping man would be smart enough to finish the work with their choice. No, Jesus came with a specific and limited mission and he accomplished it perfectly. Jesus came and accomplished all that he intended to do. If there are people who die in a lost condition it is evidence that Christ did not atone for them. If Jesus atoned for a man or women — that man or woman could not be lost. For Jesus did not fail to accomplish all that he came to accomplish. Anything less is to preach a failed savior.