THE TWO GREAT INTERCESSIONS
"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.
ST. PAUL is here contrasting the great Priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ with that of the Aaronic Order--the typical priesthood under the Mosaic Law. He is pointing out to the believing Hebrews the difference between these two priesthoods; for the Jews had difficulty in understanding how there could be a change of priesthood. Their priesthood had stood for sixteen hundred years. It seemed neither right nor reasonable that any should say that God's institution of the Law arrangement was not designed to be lasting. It was necessary, therefore, that St. Paul should deal with the matter extensively. Throughout the entire book of Hebrewshe is seeking to point out that the Aaronic priesthood was merely typical, merely a one-sided priesthood. The great antitypical Priest was to be not only a sacrificing, but also a reigning Priest. He was to have a great work beyond the time of sacrificing. He was the antitype of Aaron, but His Priesthood was of an Order entirely different--much superior every way.
This great Priest, when enthroned in glory, was designed to be after the Order of Melchizedek. He was not to be after the Order of Aaron. The Apostle pointed out that of this glorious Priest it was prophesied (Psalm 110:4), "Jehovah hath sworn and will not repent, Thou art a Priest forever after the Order of Melchizedek"--a Priest upon His Throne. [R5777 : page 295]
Those various sacrifices which the Aaronic Order offered year by year were only types of the "better sacrifices." (Hebrews 9:23.) The typical priest offered first for his own sins, then for the sins of all the people. (Leviticus 9:7,8,15; 16:11,14,15.) So the great antitypical Priest offers first a sacrifice for Himself (the members of His Body), then for the sins of the whole world. The blood which was offered in the typical sacrifices was the blood of bulls and goats; the blood of the "better sacrifices" is the blood of The Christ, Head and Body, which has been in process of shedding all down through the Gospel Age. But it is the merit of the blood of Jesus, the Head of the Body, which gives virtue to the sacrifices of the Body.
"ABLE TO SAVE TO THE UTTERMOST"
The Apostle shows that the sacrifices of the typical priests were efficacious for only a year; that they needed to be offered every year; and that the priests of the Aaronic Order were not suffered to continue in their office, by reason of their death. But the great antitypical Priest is to continue always. He will never have a successor; for He "ever liveth." He is to accomplish all His great work and then sit down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. He will never again need to sacrifice, to die for sin; for He will have done this effectually, once for all.
Furthermore, the Apostle, in considering the work accomplished by this great Priest for all the people, shows how much more efficient His work is than that of the earthly priest. The priests of the Aaronic Order, the Levitical priesthood, could not properly sympathize with the people, nor were their sacrifices able to really take away sin. (Hebrews 2:17,18; 4:15; 10:4.) But this great antitypical Priest, whose Priesthood is continual, is not only able to take away sin, but is able to sympathize fully with those for whom His "better sacrifices" have been made. "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." He is able to save fully, completely, eternally.
This text may be understood to apply to the Church now, that the Lord not only saves us from the sins that are past--when first we accepted Christ, had our sins forgiven and were accepted by Him--but throughout our course He also covers with the Robe of His merit those blemishes and weaknesses which result from the imperfection of our human body. Whatever could be shown to be unintentional would be canceled by the merit of His sacrifice, stripes being administered for the expiation of any measure of wilfulness. So He is able to save, not only from sins past and present, but from sins future--save to [R5777 : page 296] the uttermost, and bring us to the Divine favor which God has promised to the faithful footstep followers of Jesus.
INTERCESSION FOR THE WORLD OF MANKIND
But this work for the Church is not all that was meant, we think, by the Apostle. If the intercession of Jesus, the great High Priest, were all in the past, and if only the Church of the First-borns were to be benefited by this intercession, all the remainder of the world would be left out. We are not to think of Jesus as interceding for His people over and over every day; but there are two general intercessions. The first He made when He presented the merit of His sacrifice in the Most Holy (Heaven itself) for those who would become His during the Gospel Age, and its effects have been applicable throughout the entire Age. All who become of the Church class come in under the efficacy of this intercession which was provided for at the beginning of the Age. His merit ever avails for them before the Father. He ever lives as our great Advocate, because of the work done for us when atonement was made in the presence of God.--Hebrews 9:24.
But Jesus is to make another intercession. This is pointed out in the 2d Psalm: "Ask of Me [Jehovah], and I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession." Jesus is to intercede for the heathen, the Gentiles, all who are not now members of the Household of Faith. See also Romans 11:17-24.
The same merit which has all through the present Age been efficacious for the Church class is to be efficacious for the whole world, those in their graves as well as those now having a measure of life. It will be a final or complete intercession, an intercession to the uttermost. It will not leave out even one human being.
During the Millennium our Lord Jesus will not be making intercession for the world; for He will do this at its beginning, when He applies His merit for "all the people," when the New Covenant is sealed. The Father will have no direct dealings with mankind until the close of the thousand years, but will deal with them only through the Son. During the Messianic Reign, Christ and the Church will do a Restitution work for all mankind. Because of the presentation of our Lord's merit on their behalf, the whole world will be in Christ's hands to be dealt with to a completion, to the uttermost, to leave nothing undone that can be done. At the close of that Age, all the incorrigible will have been destroyed, and those brought to perfection will be turned over to the Father for a thorough testing. All who then fail, who prove not to be fully loyal at heart, will likewise be destroyed, "cut off from amongst the people."