Christ as High Priest Entering Heaven: Part 1

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 10
It is the believer's privilege to see and judge everything in view of Christ, for He has not only revealed what God is in His nature and character, but has fully brought out what man is. Moreover, He has made good at the cross, in and by His death, both the claim and the glory of God as to sin, having vindicated His majesty infinitely beyond the power of evil. If the cross encountered man's darkness in the deep and varied and complete guilt of a Christ-hating world, it has blessedly and forever answered it by the light of God's glory on the throne above. The first man, Adam, was turned out of the earthly paradise because of his sin, but Christ the second Man has entered heaven, having accomplished redemption.
Christ entering heaven testifies to the Jew and the Greek that He was rejected, being refused His every right and title here on earth. Those who should have hailed Him as their true King said, Away with Him, we will have no king but Caesar, and in place of His receiving His temple and throne, they nailed Him to the cross, thereby sealing judgment on Israel, on man generally, and on the world.
But what does heaven say of Christ who is now there? What does the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven say? Let us learn God's testimony to the wondrous sacrifice Christ has offered up, and the present blessed privilege to be known and enjoyed by believers in Him. They are immensely beyond what ancient shadows and types pledged, as the epistle to the Hebrews plainly teaches. There Christ is presented as the antitype to Aaron the high priest who, on the day of atonement, entered the "holy of holies" with the blood of the slain bullock and the goat, sprinkling it before and on the mercy seat. This secured redemption to Israel's priests and people, though it was only of value for twelve months, hence its repetition year by year. Even so, Aaron must retire from the presence of Jehovah, outside the veil, and never enter at other times, under the penalty of death. Such was Israel's representative, entering the earthly tabernacle by blood for the yearly redemption, as the divinely-appointed means of maintaining an earthly nation. Nothing on earth could compare with it. But how vast the difference for the believer today, founded on the infinite sacrifice of Christ the Son of God. He came at the consummation of the ages, at the close of man's trial, to settle the question of sin by becoming the sacrifice for it. On God's part He did this, as Hebrews 9 and 10 solemnly declare, when "through the eternal Spirit [He] offered Himself without spot to God." By His shed blood, atonement was made. By that same death, the veil of the temple was rent from the top to the bottom, though the declaration of the truth (as in the varied aspects and application of His atoning death) was reserved for the timely moment to unfold that Christ by His own blood entered in "once for all" into the holy of holies, having obtained eternal redemption.
All other wonders sink into insignificance in the light of Christ's death, and its results. No more offering for sin; no more blood of atonement to be shed. The One who became the only sacrifice for sins on the cross is declared to have forever (in perpetuity) sat down on God's right hand. Thus the counsel of peace is between them both. God the Judge of sin, and Jesus the Sacrifice for it, who met for judgment at Calvary, are now together in heaven for indissoluble peace, and this to all the redeemed, God's new creation. Not only the conscience, but the heart and ways of every believer are called in matchless grace to be in unison with it even now. By one offering He has perfected forever those sanctified, or set apart, to God in the value of His blood, which meets the majesty and the glory of God's throne. Not only has Christ by His blood provided eternal redemption for faith in present unbroken blessedness and a conscience purged from sin, but heaven itself is open for the believer to follow his precious Savior into the true sanctuary. There assuredly, as a purged worshiper, he in spirit finds his liberty and home before that same holy and blessed God he once dreaded.
Strange indeed that consecrated places of worship should be set up on earth to imitate the Jewish worship in the temple. Has not Christ entered heaven? While He is hidden there, has not the Holy Spirit come to witness to His finished work and present exaltation? Thereby believers may draw near to God in the holiest through the rent veil as worshipers in full liberty. Do we not possess Christ on high as our great High Priest over God's house, which we, believers, are (Heb. 3:6; 10:216But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. (Hebrews 3:6)
21And having an high priest over the house of God; (Hebrews 10:21)
What now is the material temple? How contemptible its imitation, with its flowers, music, pictures, and all other human aids to worship. How sad to accommodate or reduce the work and Person of Christ to buildings, with a ritual that is earthly and sensational. Are we not now called to spiritual worship, in blessed association (for all true believers) with Himself on high? "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest [holy of holies]... by a new and living way," we are exhorted to draw near with a true heart.
The privilege was unknown and impossible in the typical days of Israel. Even Aaron himself did not have it. Yet an assumed earthly ritual after his pattern (which ignores all believers as priests having free access to God in the heavenly sanctuary) is adopted increasingly in Christendom, and sanctioned by those responsible to know better. If they would acknowledge that Christ has come, has been nailed to the cross and gone into heaven, and has endowed His own with heavenly privileges, then they might learn true Christian worship in the Holy Spirit's power. Then they would refuse all that which denies it, while awaiting the promised return of our hidden Lord and Savior.
If the truth of Christ the High Priest entering the holiest is thus significant, and exceedingly precious in opening up the heavenly privileges for the believer of today, Christ's coming out of heaven as King of kings is most solemn for the world. Ever since the ascension of Christ to heaven, many have adopted the profession of His name, but with the heart and mind quite unchanged toward God. This really adds to the condemnation of Christendom, for there remains the standing fact that God is at issue with the world about His beloved Son. The cross is its abiding witness, and furthermore, the personal presence of God the Holy Ghost gives demonstration in a threefold form of coming judgment, as stated in John 16. "Now is the judgment of this world," and in view of His leaving the world, He solemnly states: "The world seeth Me no more." The gospel did not alter this fact. On the contrary, the gospel supposes that man is lost and the world become a ruin. It does not propose to improve either, nor yet to rule the earth in power and righteousness, as the kingdom will before long. The gospel saves men by faith, and calls them to heavenly glory with Christ.