Yeshua Is God’s Appointed High Cohen

Messianic Jews 5:1-10
Letter to the Messianic Jews

In my last post, we examined Messianic Jews 4:14-16 ~ Yeshua Is the Way to approach God. In this post, together we learn that Yeshua Is God’s Appointed High Cohen in Messianic Jews 5:1-10.

1 For every cohen gadol taken from among men is appointed to act on people’s behalf with regard to things concerning God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He can deal gently with the ignorant and with those who go astray since he too is subject to weakness. 3 Also, because of this weakness, he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as those of the people. 4 And no one takes this honor upon himself, rather, he is called by God, just as Aharon was. 5 So neither did the Messiah glorify himself to become cohen gadol; rather, it was the One who said to him, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.” 6 Also, as He says in another place, “You are a cohen forever, to be compared with Malki-Tzedek.” 7 During Yeshua’s life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions, crying aloud and shedding tears, to the One who had the power to deliver Him from death; and He was heard because of His godliness. 8 Even though He was the Son, He learned obedience through His sufferings. 9 And after He had been brought to the goal, He became the source of eternal deliverance to all who obey Him, 10 since He had been proclaimed by God as a cohen gadol to be compared with Malki-Tzedek.”  ~ Hebrews 5:1-10 (CJB)

The qualifications for the office of cohen gadol within the framework of the Levitical system of cohanim include the ability to sympathize with the people and divine appointment (verses 1-4). Yeshua meets these requirements (verses 5-10). The Levitical cohanim could empathize with those for whom they interceded because they shared the latter’s human weakness in that both intercessor and interceded-for sinned. Yeshua did not sin, but He can sympathize because He suffered temptation without giving in to it.

He is called by God, just as Aharon was.  See Exodus 28 and Leviticus 8 for a description of the Levitical cohanim. This passage sets out three essential qualifications of the cohanim in any age and any generation.

  1. A cohen is appointed on humanity’s behalf to deal with the things concerning God.
  2. The cohen must be one with humanity.
  3. The cohen does not appoint himself; his appointment is of God. [I use the masculine pronoun here as the Tanach did not allow for female cohanim.]

Today I have become your father. We saw this earlier when we studied Messianic Jews 1:5 and learned that it was quoting Psalm 2.

To be compared with, often rendered, “after the order of,” as if there were an order of cohanim of which Malki-Tzedek was the founder; but this is not the meaning.  Malki-Tzedek (Melchizedek; the Hebrew name means “my king is righteousness”) appears first at Genesis 14:18 as both cohen of El Elyon (“Most High God”) and king of Shalem, identified with Jerusalem. But in Judaism, kingship, and cohenhood were separated. Saul, the son of Kish, was the first king; after him came David and all kings of Judah since then have been from the House of David (including Yeshua). On the other hand, the cohenly line ran from Moshe’s brother Aharon. Thus at Zechariah 6:13 there is a reference to two persons; by context, these must be King Zerubabbel (of the House of David) and Joshua the cohen hagadol (a descendant of Aaron). Yeshua is to be compared with Malki-Tzedek because, in Yeshua, Jewish cohen and Jewish king are united in one person. So far as is known, the author makes a chiddush (“innovation”) in presenting the idea of king and cohen combined in one person. [1]

Verses 7-10 expands on Messianic Jews 2:17 and 4:15 espousing Yeshua’s sympathizing with human beings because He became one of us, but, unlike us, He was utterly obedient to God.

Compare Yeshua’s prayers and petitions, crying aloud and shedding tears in the Garden of Gat-Sh’manim, as reported at Matthew 26:36-46 and Luke 22:39-46. You might think that He was not heard because of his godliness since the One who had the power to deliver Him from death did not do so. But He prayed that God’s will be done, and according to the Tanakh, it was God’s will that Yeshua die, the righteous for the unrighteous (1 Kefa 3:18) so that he might become the source of eternal deliverance to all who obey Him.

After He had been brought to the goal. This is usually translated, “having been made perfect.”  But Yeshua was not imperfect; instead, it was God’s goal to have Yeshua made our perfect cohen gadol, fully representative of and empathetic with the human condition (as we learned Messianic Jews 4:15). Through His heavenly cohenhood He became the source of eternal deliverance to all who obey him, as explained further in Chapters 7-10.

In my next post, we’ll examine Messianic Jews 5:11-14 to learn to Lay Hold of Yeshua and His Redemption.

Click here for PDF version.


[1] Ibid.

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