Thou Art My Son, Thou Art The King, Thou Art A Priest Forever
And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was. 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.” Hebrew 5:4-6
Last week we began the process of considering Jesus Christ as our high priest, as the inspired writer of the letter to the Hebrews exhorted (Heb. 3:1). Since in our text Christ is compared and contrasted to Aaron, the first high priest called by the LORD, we reviewed significant events where the Father confirmed absolutely His choosing of Aaron in the face of those who sought to take that honored position to themselves.
Aaron the Type, Jesus the True
As He was being tried by a glory hound of a High Priest (Caiaphas) who had actually took to himself the honor of High Priest through political machinations and intrigue, rather than the calling of the LORD, imagine what the soon to be realized True High Priest had to be thinking. The rebellion of Korah (Num. 16) was happening all over again. Instead of just seeking to “share” the priesthood with Aaron, as Korah and his co-conspirators had desired, this imposter and his cohorts, the San Hedrin, which by the way were men of renown in the nation (C. f. Num 16:2b), were running a kangaroo court designed to put to death the prophesied eternal High Priest. Once the fait accompli was achieved through men bearing false witness against the Son of God, the rebellious Jewish leadership manipulated the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate into offering up Jesus Christ for crucifixion.
The nation, still a bunch of grumblers like those when Aaron was challenged by Korah, joined the call for Jesus’ crucifixion because He didn’t become what they wanted Him to become, a king who would throw off the Roman occupation and their rulers.
Not a problem though, from the Father’s perspective. This was all part of His plan to put in place a superior priesthood that would supplant once and for all the Aaronic priesthood according to prophesy.
Just as Aaron made atonement and “took his stand between the dead and the living, so that the plague was checked” (Num. 16:48), so Jesus Christ made His “stand” on the cross between earth (dead) and heaven (living), for the express purpose of checking the plague of sin by offering a superior sacrifice, Himself, as the atonement.
The Branch that budded
The last piece of the plan would be the fulfillment in Christ of the type that had been demonstrated in the choosing of Aaron as high priest, witnessed by the nation of Israel. By way of reminder, the Father had instructed that twelve rods be deposited before the testimony (representative of the presence of the LORD) with the name of the leader of each tribe upon them. The dead branch that would sprout forth buds and bear fruit (ripe almonds) would be the ironclad witness from the Father that this one was the called high priest. As we know, it was Aaron’s rod that budded.
One final time before the eyes of the nation of Israel, the Father was going to affirm, without question, His call and confirmation of Jesus Christ as His begotten Son, the Eternal King of heaven, and the true Eternal High Priest.
Jesus, considered as dead, was raised from the grave presenting “Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days..” (Acts 1:3). The true Rod that had budded back to life (a. k. a. the Branch, according to prophesy), then follows the pattern of the type, the rod of Aaron. The True Branch is to be glorified, placed in the presence of the Father, which according to Psalm 2:6, occurs as the Father said, “I have installed my King upon Mount Zion, My holy mountain.” The Hebrew writer later confirms this to be Mt. Zion in heavenly Jerusalem (Heb 12:22). By the way, we know the name etched upon this true Rod is “Thou art My Son” according to the citation of Psalm 2, verse 7, by the writer of Hebrews. “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘Thou Art My Son, today I have begotten Thee.’ “The “today” spoken of is the day of Jesus’ ascension to the throne in heaven. It was after His ascension in the proclamation of the gospel of glory, that He began to bear ripe fruit.
Thou Art a Priestly King Forever
Having affirmed that Jesus was pronounced the begotten Son and the King of heaven on the day of His ascension to the throne in glory, the inspired penman then establishes that this same day is the fulfillment of the prophesy of Psalm 110:4, “The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, Thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Melchizedek appears in Genesis 14 and is recorded in Scripture as a King of Salem and a priest of God Most High, Yahweh. Thus the precedent was set in the Scripture for a King to also hold the office of Priest to God. Remember, this was before the Law was instituted and the priesthood of Aaron established.
Old Testament prophesy bears out that Melchizedek was a type of the Father’s intention to consolidate these two offices in the Messiah under the New Covenant. Note Zech. 6:12-13. “Then say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Behold, a man whose name is Branch, for He will branch out from where He is; and He will build the temple of the LORD. Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the LORD, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices.” ’ ” God called Jesus, “My Son”, “My King”, and “a priest forever”. All received, none taken, all eternal, superior to Aaron.