“And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was.”
Takes means attempting to take or seize honor illegally without being appointed by God. No one ever takes upon himself the office of high priest; it is an appointment from God. The same application goes today. A man may be attempting to function as a pastor who does not have the gift of pastor-teacher. The pastor-teacher is the priest today who has the delegated authority from Jesus Christ. It is a divine appointment with responsibility to God. This is a double-edged sword. When a pastor-teacher is responsible to God this means that God gives him double blessing or double discipline. Anyone who is appointed by God to communicate the Word of God in any dispensation resides in a state of honor. The honor actually belongs to God, but He shares His honor with those who communicate His word accurately.
Aaron is a great illustration of this principle because he is the founder of the Levitical priesthood. He is the illustration and the pattern. The Levitical priesthood began with Aaron. He was appointed by God, and he was sustained by God. By way of contrast, two men not appointed by God were disciplined for attempting to perform the functions of the high priest: King Saul tried it and Uzziah tried it. (I Samuel 13:9-14; II Chronicles 26)
“So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He Who said to Him, “Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee”; just as He says also in another passage, “Thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
So also sets up a parallel between the divine appointments of high priests and the Father’s appointment of Jesus Christ as the high priest. Christ glorified not Himself is an idiom in Greek, and the idiom is a device for great emphasis at this point. The dramatic tense emphasizes that now we have a unique High Priest and with the coming of this High Priest all other high priesthoods are null and void. Christ recognized the Father’s authority in the matter of this appointment and did not assume the role Himself (though His deity possessed the power to do so). Jesus Christ Who was King and Prophet in His humanity did not ask for the position of high priest. He was born of the linage of David and was therefore in the line of Judah. There was no priesthood of any kind in the family of Judah; the tribe of Levi had all of the priests. Jesus Christ is the only priest in all of Israel’s history Who is from the tribe of Judah, Who is the bona fide King and at the same time a priest. In the future He will be the High Priest of Israel during the Millennium even though He is from the tribe of Judah. Under God’s grace plan: God promotes, God appoints, and God commissions. And when God appoints you He puts you in a state of honor. If God doesn’t promote you, you are not promoted!
Now we have a quotation from Psalms 2:7. When this was written about Jesus Christ He was not yet humanity. Jesus Christ was always God and always will be. However, there was a time when He was not humanity and not our high priest. The decree was given in eternity past and fulfilled at the Virgin Birth. Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, became a true member of the human race and will be in Hypostatic Union (God-man), forever.
Now we have a quotation from Psalms 110:4. Thou art a priest is derived from the Hebrew verb “kun,” which means to stand up. And a “Kohen” in Hebrew was the one who stood up at the altar, stood up for the people, stood up and talked, stood up for what God commanded, stood up and represented the people to God.
According to the order of Melchizedek means in the same manner of Melchizedek. Melchizedek was an actual person, a Gentile, who ruled a great city called Salem, the ancient Jerusalem. He functioned as a priest under the family priesthood and he was a contemporary of Abraham and not a theophany of Christ.
Theophany comes from two Greek words, “theo” for God and “phaneia” for appearance. So a theophany is an appearance of God (Christ) in the Old Testament.
The very fact that in the divine decrees the Father said Christ was a priest forever indicates that the Father intended to raise Christ from the dead. So death does not hinder the priesthood of Jesus Christ. It hindered the priesthood of Aaron. Since Aaron died he has not continued to function as the high priest. Melchizedek died and that was the end of his priesthood. Death terminates the priesthood for everyone except Jesus Christ, and the fact that He would be a priest forever is the prophecy of the Resurrection. Jesus Christ continues to function as High Priest.
Jesus Christ is our royal High Priest forever. (Hebrews 5:6,10) In order to become our High Priest Christ had to become true humanity. Jesus Christ represented us before God first on the “altar” of the Cross, and now in Heaven before the throne of God. By becoming our High Priest, Jesus Christ became our mediator to God. (I Timothy 2:5-6) As believers in this age, we belong to His priesthood (the Royal Priesthood). This priesthood is far superior to any other that existed in the past. (Hebrews 7) As our High Priest, Christ won the strategic victory over Satan in the Angelic Conflict. (Hebrews 4:14-16; 6:17-20) The priesthood of Christ is the reality of those priesthoods that previously existed in the Old Testament. Just as the rituals and the sacrifices were images of the real things which were to come in the future, the order of the royal priesthood of Christ is the realization of those types, as well. (Hebrews 8)
A theophany is a manifestation of the Person of Jesus Christ before He became humanity.
The Biblical definition of the word redeemed is to be purchased from the “slave-market of sin.” There are three Greek words for redemption: “agorazo” meaning to buy, “exagorazo” meaning to buy out of or remove from sale and “lutroo” meaning to release on receipt of ransom or payment. Christ did all three when He redeemed us from the “slave-market of sin.” (Romans 7:14)