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Hebrews 5:1-5
Things to know about a high priest
By Brother Mike (10-5-16; 40 minutes)
   


1 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins :
2 Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity
3 And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins .
4
And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron
5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee .


INTRODUCTION

In Hebrews 5:1-5, we are in discussion of the high priest. There are several things that Yahweh really wants us to know about the high priest. First, a high priest is taken from among men for men to be ordained in things pertaining to God in order that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for the sins of the people and for himself. Second, because the high priest is a human being compassed with weakness, he is able to be compassionate to the ignorant or unknowing, and on them that are going astray, who are all also compassed with weakness as he is. Finally, a high priest does not become the high priest out of his own choosing or power, but he is called or chosen by God, as also Aaron was. Likewise, Christ did not become our eternal high priest out of His own choosing, but he was chosen or called by Yahweh on the day of His conception or birth in 7 BC when Yahweh said to Him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee (Psalm 2:7) 


Verse 5:1
:  

1 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins . . . 

In this verse, we begin by reading, For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God. More literally it reads,

1 For every high priest out of men, being taken for men, is being ordained in things toward God ...

Of interest is the fact that every high priest out of men is being taken [Passive Voice] for men and that they are being ordained [Passive Voice] in things toward God. That is, both verbs being taken in that every high priest is being taken for men and being ordained in that they are being ordained in things toward God are in the Passive Voice of the Greek. This reveals that every high priest is passive with respect to being taken for men and with respect to being ordained in things toward God (scroll to Passive Voice ). Quite plainly, no man takes it upon himself to become a high priest (verse 4). This is something that only Yahweh can bring about through His choice alone. So, what our verse is revealing to us is that every high priest out of men is both taken for men and ordained in things toward God not due to their own choice and power, for the high priests have nothing to do with it as they are passive in the matter, which our verse in the Greek reveals to us by its use of the Passive Voice, which is not seen in the King James translation when just looking at this verse. That is, the Greek in this first verse of Hebrews Chapter 5 reveals already what is finally said in verse 4, namely that no man taketh this honour [of being high priest] unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. Yes, just as Aaron did not make himself high priest, but was called of God, so, also, it is with all high priests. They must be chosen by God and not by the error-prone decision of men.  

Now, we read further, For every high priest out of men, being taken [passively] for men, is being ordained [passively] in things toward God that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. Hence, the reason that high priests are being taken from men for men and being ordained in things toward God is in order that they may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. Well, the sins of whom, you may ask? Why, the sins of themselves and that of the people. But, why did people need both gifts and sacrifices offered for their sins? Well, because they were sinners. As we read, 

Ro 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God

And, again, 

Ec 7:20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not

Yet, how did the offering of both gifts and sacrifices atone for their sins? Well, as we will learn later on in Hebrews, the truth is that the offering of both gifts and sacrifices did not actually atone for their sins. But, if we see through those gifts and sacrifices as pointing to or representing Christ who would atone for the sins of His elect once and for all time on the cross in 33 AD, then those offerings made up until Christ actually died for sins did bring benefit to those people in that those gifts and sacrifices pointed to and taught them of the one and only true and final atonement for sins that would be revealed on earth in 33 AD when Christ would give Himself for the sins of elect in all generations, past and future. But, if we see those gifts and sacrifices as paying for their sins in themselves, then, of course, those offerings never could atone for the sins of His elect, and, indeed, were of no benefit to that people. This is why the vast majority of the ancient Jews were never cleansed by their gifts and sacrifices: because they did not see through them with the eyes of faith to the only one who ever could cleanse them, namely Jesus Christ, our eternal High Priest who sacrificed Himself once to pay for the sins of His elect in all generations, past and future, forevermore. 


Verse 5:2

2 Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity

Let's look at the first sentence of this verse first. It reads, Who can have compassion on the ignorant. The four words, Who can have compassion in this sentence is more literally translated as being able to be compassionate, and the phrase, on the ignorant is more literally translated as to the ignorant, so our verse now reads, 

2 Being able to be compassionate to the ignorant . . .  

The Verb Participle here, Being able is in the middle voice of the Greek, which means that the one being able, namely the high priest, is being able [in the interest of himself] to be compassionate to the ignorant (scroll to Middle Voice ). But, why would it be in the interest of the high priest himself to be able to be compassionate to the ignorant? We are told in the latter part of our verse, which states, for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. In other words, it is in the interest of the high priest himself to be compassionate to the ignorant or, literally, to the unknowing because he himself is also encompassed with infirmities or weaknesses, and, he would, therefore, want Yahweh to be likewise compassionate to him. So it is definitely in the high priest's own interest to be able to be compassionate to the ignorant or unknowing. 

Now, we are told that the high priest is not only able in his own interest to be compassionate to the ignorant or unknowing, but also to them that are out of the way. The Verb Participle that is translated, to them that are out of the way is literally translated, to them that are being strayed. Our verse now reads, 

2 Being able to be compassionate to the ignorant, and to them that are being strayed . . .

Of interest here is that the verb, being strayed is in the Passive Voice, which means that the ones being strayed are not being strayed by themselves, but rather they are passive in the matter. So, what is it that could be leading them astray? 

I think the answer to our question can be found in Romans 5. Here, the Apostle Paul distinguishes between himself and sin that works in him. We read, 

14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin .
15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I .
16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good .
17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not .
19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do .  
20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me

Notice that the Lord wants to make it clear that it is not Paul who makes himself sin, but it is the sin within Paul which makes him sin. We read in verse 17, Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. And, again, in verse 20, Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. So, we can conclude from this that it is not ourselves who make us sin, but it is sin within us that makes us sin. And, likewise it is sin in our verse that causes them to be led astray. We can show this in our verse like this: 

2 Being able to be compassionate to the ignorant, and to them that are being strayed [by sin] . .
Now, we read in the last part of our verse, that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. This is the reason given as to why the high priest is able to be compassionate to the ignorant: it is because he himself also is compassed with infirmity. The phrase translated as compassed with infirmity means to be surrounded or bound with weaknesses. Therefore, because the high priest is surrounded or bound with weaknesses or infirmities as are all human beings, he is able to be compassionate to the ignorant; that is, he can better relate to and understand the ignorant or unknowing. It is similar to realizing that a woman who has already given birth is better able to understand a woman who is about to give birth because she has already experienced what the woman giving birth is about to go through. Likewise, the high priest is better able to understand the weaknesses or infirmities of human beings because he, too, is a human being; he has already experienced many of the weakness or infirmities that human beings possess, so he is able to be compassionate and understanding to the ones who simply do not know better, the ignorant or unknowing as well as to the ones compassed with infirmities or weaknesses of all kinds.    

This being able to be compassionate to the ignorant is critical when it comes to Christ, the Son of God, and our high priest. For we were once ignorant when we were dead in our sins and trespasses, but, because He became a man and so came to better understand the infirmities or weaknesses of the human condition, we were able to come boldly to His throne of grace to receive mercy and grace in time of need. And, now, He is able to be compassionate to us all the more when we are ignorant and stray from the truth because He, also, was once compassed or bound with infirmities or weaknesses, yet without sin, which makes Him better able to understand our miserable condition as human beings, and better able to help us in our battle against sin. So, are we sick? Are we stressed out by financial concerns? Are we devastated by this thing or that thing? Are we having difficulty fighting against sin? Are we under persecution? Are we unknowing or ignorant about a given situation? Are we overwhelmed? Are we in pain? Are we in tribulation? Whatever our condition of weakness that we find ourselves in, He is able to be compassionate to us. He can both show mercy, and grant us more grace to help in our time of need.  

Now, I am not saying that He can now save you if you were not already saved by May 21, 2011, for salvation has come to an end (see Is God still saving , Revelation 18 - Part 3, scroll to verses 21-23 , and Revelation 9 - Part 2, verse 6 ), but if you are, indeed, now saved, He is able to be compassionate to you because He knows what it is like to be confined in the human condition with infirmities or weakness as our high priest. And, because He is also kind to the unsaved, He can help them as well in this time; not eternally, but temporally, so none of us should ever hesitate to cry out to Him in our time of need. You may even find that you were actually saved by May 21, 2011, but you are just now coming to this realization. Whatever the case, we should all seek the Lord for help in time of need, for, as we read in Matthew 5:45, 

Mt. 5:45 . . . he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust

So, let's all come boldly to Christ, our high priest, with the expectation that He is able to be compassionate to us in our weaknesses. Whatever our need, He can help as He delights in helping others, especially those who are of the household of faith. 

Now, our completed verse now reads like this:

2 Being able to be compassionate to the ignorant [unknowing], and to them that are being strayed [by sin] since He Himself also is compassed with infirmity


Verse 5:3
:  

3 And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins

In this verse, we first read, And by reason hereof he ought. Actually, it simply states, And because of this he ought. So, our entire verse now reads, 

3 And because of this he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins

But, we have to ask the question since our verse first states, And because of this; we have to ask, because of what? Well, the word this in the phrase, And because of this refers back to the infirmity that the high priest was compassed or bound with. So, we could read our verse like this: 

3 And because of this [infirmity of the high priest] he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins .   

Now, both the verb translated as He ought and the verb translated as to offer are in the Present Tense and Active Voice of the Greek, which means that he ought [ongoingly] to offer [ongoingly] (scroll to Present Tense ). We see, then, that there is clearly in the Greek a double emphasis on that the high priest was to make his offering over and over again ongoingly. That is, it was not to be a one-time offering, but an ongoing offering over and over again that the high priest was to offer for the sins of the people and for himself. In fact, in the Old Testament, sacrifice for sins was to be offered in the mornings and the evenings every day, and the people brought to the priest their own personal offerings at various times throughout any given day. So, offerings were being given continuously as the fire of burning was kept lit both day and night.      


Verse 5:4
:  

4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron

Here, in this verse, we learn again what we already learned by the Greek language in the first verse, namely that no man can make himself to be the high priest, but he must be chosen or called of God. Let's begin as usual with reading the first part of our verse: it reads, And no man takes this honor unto himself. More literally, it reads,  

4 And no one to himself takes the honor . . . 

The word honor means the value which one has by reason of rank and state of office. So, no one takes on the value of being the high priest to himself. And, since the verb takes in the sentence, And no one to himself takes the honor is in the Present Tense and Active Voice of the Greek, we are being told that no one to himself takes [ongoingly] the honor of being the high priest (scroll to Present Tense ). We can show this in our verse like this:   

4 And no one to himself takes [ongoingly] the honor . . .

But, next, we are told just who it is that can take the honor of being the high priest, namely he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So, no one can make himself the high priest, but he must be so made by Yahweh. Our verse reads, 

4 And no one to himself takes [ongoingly] the honor, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron .

Now, the Verb Participle here which is translated, he that is called in the sentence, but he that is called of God is in the Passive Voice of the Greek, which means that he that is called of God is passive in the matter. This once again emphasizes that only Yahweh can make someone a high priest; he must be chosen or called by Yahweh; he cannot take on this office himself; he, the high priest, is passive in the matter.  

Finally, before moving on to our next verse, we read that the high priest must be called of God, as was Aaron. Here, the word was in the phrase, as was Aaron is not in the Greek, and an additional word found in the Greek, but not revealed in the King James translation is the word also. So, our entire verse should now read,   

4 And no one to himself takes [ongoingly] the honor, but he that is called of God, as also Aaron .

In other words, just as Aaron was called of God to be the high priest beginning during the wilderness sojourn of the Israelites, so also must any high priest be called or chosen of Yahweh. Yes, Aaron here is set as the example, and we know that Aaron was a type of Christ who is our eternal high priest, which leads us to the next verse. 


Verse 5:5

5 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 .  

In this verse, just as Aaron did not take the honor of becoming a high priest unto himself, but rather was called by Yahweh to be a high priest as we learned in the previous verse, we read in this verse, So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest. That is, Christ did not call or choose himself to be high priest and, thus, glorify himself, but rather he was called of God. Indeed, it was Yahweh Himself who called or selected Christ to be our high priest while Christ was passive in the matter. This passivity of Christ in being called of God is seen in the Greek in that the Verb Infinitive translated to be made in the sentence, So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest is in the Passive Voice, which signifies that in being made a high priest, Christ was passive in the matter. 

Now, once again, the first part of our verse reads, So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest. Here, the verb glorified in the sentence, Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest is in the Aorist Tense, which means that when Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest was at some point in the past (scroll to Aorist Tense ). We can reason that this point in the past being referred to here was at the point when the Son of God became flesh to be our high priest and to sacrifice Himself for us. 

Next, the latter half of our verse states, but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee. This part of our verse makes it clear that it was He [Yahweh] - that said unto him [Christ], Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee - that called or chose Christ to be our high priest because it was He [Yahweh] that said unto Him [Christ], Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee. Indeed, Christ did not call himself to be our high priest, but it was Yahweh who called Him to be our high priest.   

Now, let's focus in on what Yahweh said unto Christ, namely, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee, and ask the question, what day was it when Christ was begotten of Yahweh? There are those who believe that this day wherein Yahweh had begotten the Son was in eternity past when the Father first named the second person of the Godhead, Son, and when the Son had risen from the dead in payment for our sins before the world was even created. They quote Romans 1:4 to support this, where we read,   

Ro 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead . . .  

They say, see, Christ was first declared to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead, and this, they say, took place in eternity past at or before the foundation of the world. The problem with this is two-fold. First, Romans 1:4 does not say that Christ was declared to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead, but it states that Christ was declared to be the Son of God WITH POWER by the resurrection from the dead. So, the Son of God already existed before the resurrection, and He was declared to be the Son of God WITH POWER when He rose from the dead. It is not saying that the second person of the Godhead became the Son at the resurrection, but, rather, it is saying that Christ, the Son of God, became the Son of God WITH POWER at the resurrection. Second, the resurrection did not take place in eternity past, but it took place on earth in 33 AD. For this is when Christ received all power as we read in Matthew 28 after Christ had risen from the dead:  

Mt 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth .

But, if the day that Christ, the Son of God, was begotten was not in eternity past at some imaginary resurrection, when was He begotten? Why when He was literally conceived and then born, of course. We read,   

Mt 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived [begotten] in her is of the Holy Ghost

And, again, we read,

Lu 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born [begotten] of thee shall be called the Son of God

So, the day in which the Lord said, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten Thee refers to the day in which Christ was begotten into this world in 7 BC. It is not referring to some imaginary day in eternity past before Christ, the Son of God in the flesh, even existed.

Finally, before ending this message, it is interesting to note that the verb begotten in the sentence, today I have begotten thee is in the Perfect Tense. This means that the day in which Christ was begotten took place in the past, which we know was in 7 BC either at His conception or at His birth, and the result of His having been begotten continues on in full force (scroll to Perfect Tense ). That is, the result of His having become a man as our high priest, which was that He sacrificed Himself for our sins so that we, the elect, would be saved from our sins and granted eternal life, continues on in full force. This is, indeed, most encouraging to us who have been elected by His grace.  


CONCLUSION 

Every high priest out of men, being taken for men, is being ordained in things toward God in order that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. Both his being taken for men and his being ordained in things toward God are not something that the high priest accomplishes himself, but he is passive in these matters. Indeed, no man takes the honor to himself in becoming high priest, but he that is called of God, as also Aaron [was]. That is, it is God who chooses a particular man out of men to become a high priest, and man's choice has nothing to do with it, for he is passive in the matter. Likewise, it was no human being that chose Christ to be our high priest, but it was Yahweh Himself who said to Christ, Thou are my Son, today have I begotten Thee. In other words, on the day that Christ was begotten (conceived or born) in 7 BC, Yahweh said unto Christ, Thou are my Son, today have I begotten Thee. That is, Yahweh had begotten Christ to be our high priest when Christ was conceived or born in 7 BC., and no human being had anything to do with the choice of it. Yes, Christ was begotten as our high priest at the calling of God alone to sacrifice Himself for our sins so that we, His elect, would have eternal life. And, this was made possible because Christ was able to be compassionate to us who were ignorant or unknowing, and who were also going astray, because, in having become a man, Christ could understand what it was like to be compassed with infirmity or weakness, and so could relate to our miserable human condition, and save us from our sins.

3:14-19
4:1-6   
4:7-10 
4:11-12 
4:13-16
5:1-5 
5:6-9
5:10-14

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