Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12

361/457

Ms 101, 1897

The True High Priest

NP

September 26, 1897

This manuscript is published in entirety in 12MR 387-399. +Note

With Caiaphas the Jewish high priesthood ended. This proud, overbearing, wicked man proved his unworthiness ever to have worn the garments of the high priest. He had neither capacity, nor authority from heaven, for doing the work. He had not one ray of light from heaven to show him what the work of the priest was, or for what the office had been instituted. Such ministration could make nothing perfect, for in itself it was utterly corrupt. The priests were tyrannous and deceptive, and full of ambitious schemes. The grace of God had nought to do with this. 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 1

Virtually Caiaphas was no high priest. He wore the priestly robes, but he had no vital connection with God. He was uncircumcised in heart. With the other priests he instructed the people to choose Barabbas instead of Christ. They cried out for the crucifixion of Christ, and, as representatives of the Jewish nation, placed themselves under the Roman jurisdiction, which they despised, by saying, “We have no king but Caesar.” [John 19:15.] When they said this, they unchurched themselves. 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 2

It is righteousness that exalts a nation. A disregard for the law of God will be the ruin of the religious world in the last days of this earth’s history. Everything is becoming unsettled, but God’s Word is changeless and sure. It is His voice, speaking to us in admonitions, entreaties, and warnings. Nothing can separate a living Christian from a living God. 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 3

Caiaphas was filling the end of the priestly service, for the priesthood had become base and corrupt. It had no longer any connection with God. Truth and righteousness were hateful in the eyes of the priests. The last order of priests was so entirely perverted that the last work of the officiating high priest was to rend his robes in pretendedly pious horror, and in his perverted priestly authority, accuse the Holy One of Israel of blasphemy. 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 4

The mock trial of Christ shows how base the priesthood had become. The priests hired men to testify under oath to falsehood, that Jesus might be condemned. But on this occasion, truth came to the help of Christ. Pilate declared Him to be without fault. How significant was the oft-repeated statement, “I find no fault in him at all.” [John 18:38.] Thus it was shown that the testimonies borne against Him were false, that the witnesses had been hired by men who cherished in their hearts the basest elements of corruption. It was God’s design that the men who delivered Jesus should hear the testimony of His innocence. “I find no fault in him,” Pilate declared. [John 19:4.] And Judas, throwing at the feet of the priests the money he had received for betraying Christ, bore testimony, “I have sinned, in that I have betrayed innocent blood.” [Matthew 27:4.] 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 5

Previously when the Sanhedrin had been called together, to lay plans for waylaying Christ, and putting Him to death, Caiaphas said, Cannot ye see that the world is gone after him? The voices of some members of the council were heard, pleading with the others to check their passion and hatred against Christ. They wished to save Him from being put to death. In reply to them, Caiaphas said, “Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us (he might have said, a corrupted priesthood) that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.” [John 11:49, 50.] 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 6

These words were uttered by one who knew not their significance. His ideas were demoralized. He had lost the sense of the sacredness of the Jewish system of sacrifices. He was condemning One whose death would end the need for types and shadows, whose death was prefigured in every sacrifice made. But the high priest’s words meant more than he, or those who were combined with him, knew. By them he bore testimony that the time had come for the Aaronic priesthood to cease forever. He was indeed uttering words that closed the order of the priesthood. He was showing that Christ was to fulfill the object of the foundation of the Jewish economy. 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 7

“This,” added the evangelist, “spake he not of himself, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation; and not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.” [Verses 51, 52.] 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 8

Caiaphas was the one that was to be in office when types and shadow were to meet the reality, when the true High Priest was to come into office. Each actor in history stands in his lot and place, for God’s great work after His own plan will be carried out by men who have prepared themselves to fill position for good or evil. In opposition to righteousness, men become instruments of unrighteousness. But their course of action is unforced. They need not have become instruments of unrighteousness any more than need Cain. God said to him, “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.” [Genesis 4:7.] Cain would not hear the voice of God, and as a result, he killed his brother. 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 9

Men of all characters, righteous and unrighteous, will stand in their positions. With the characters they have formed, they will act their part in the fulfillment of history. In a crisis, just at the right moment, men will stand in the places they have prepared themselves to fill. Believers and unbelievers will fall into line as witnesses, to confirm truth which they do not themselves comprehend. All will co-operate in accomplishing the purposes of God, as did Annas, Caiaphas, Pilate, and Herod. 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 10

Heaven and earth will pass away, but not one jot or tittle of the Word of God will fail. It will endure forever. All men, whatever their position, whatever their religion, loyal or disloyal to God, wicked or righteous, are fitting themselves to do their work in the closing scenes of the day of the Lord. They will trample down each other as they act out their natural attributes and fulfill their purposes; but they will carry out the purpose of God. The priests thought that they were carrying out their own purposes, but unconsciously and unintentionally they were fulfilling the purpose of God. He “revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.” [Daniel 2:22.] 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 11

If the Bible student learns from the great Teacher who inspired Bible history, he will know the truth. The Word is light, and to those who search its pages diligently, it is illuminated by the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 12

Christ, the foundation of the whole Jewish economy, stood at the bar of Pilate, but it was virtually at the judgment seat of the Jewish rulers, to be condemned by His own nation. With His divinity clothed with humanity, He stood to be judged by the beings He had made. His garment, which was His human flesh, was to be torn from Him. He could have flashed the light of His glory upon His enemies, and consumed them, but He bore patiently their humiliating abuse. 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 13

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. ... That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” [John 1:1-4, 9-11.] 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 14

In Christ the shadow reached its substance, the type its antitype. Well might Caiaphas rend his clothes in horror for himself and for the nation, for they were separating themselves from God, and were fast becoming a people unchurched by Jehovah. Surely the candlestick was being removed out of its place. 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 15

It was not the hand of the priest that rent from top to bottom the gorgeous veil that divided the Holy from the Most Holy Place. It was the hand of God. When Christ cried out, “It is finished” [John 19:30], the Holy Watcher that was an unseen guest at Belshazzar’s feast pronounced the Jewish nation to be a nation unchurched. The same hand that traced on the wall the characters that recorded Belshazzar’s doom and the end of the Babylonian kingdom, rent the veil of the Temple from top to bottom, opening a new and living way for all, high and low, rich and poor, Jew and Gentile. From henceforth people might come to God without priest or ruler. 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 16

Caiaphas, well may you rend your official robes, which signify that you claim to be a representative of the great High Priest, for no longer have they any meaning for you or for the people. “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” [Hebrews 9:13, 14.] 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 17

How vastly different was the true high priest from the false and corrupted Caiaphas. In comparison with Caiaphas, Christ stands out pure and undefiled, without a taint of sin. “By one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” [Hebrews 10:14.] This enabled Him to proclaim on the cross with a clear and triumphant voice, “It is finished.” [John 19:30.] “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with the blood of others; for then must be often have suffered since the foundation of the world; but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” [Hebrews 9:24-26.] 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 18

“This man after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God.” Christ entered in once into the holy place, “having obtained eternal redemption for us.” [Hebrews 10:12; 9:12.] “Wherefore he is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” [Hebrews 7:25.] 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 19

Christ glorified not Himself in being made High Priest. God gave Him His appointment to the priesthood. He was to be an example to all the human family. He qualified himself to be, not only the representative of the race, but their Advocate, so that every soul if he will may say, I have a friend at court. He is a High Priest that can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities. 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 20

Our Redeemer humbled Himself, fully identifying His interest with humanity. Look at Him girding Himself, and washing the feet of His disciples. Mark how tenderly He performs this act of ministry, to give them a lesson in humility. He who was one with God, who thought it not robbery to be equal with God, humbled Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant. But who was tender and compassionate to Him? During His trial, what friend had He that dared to say even as did the heathen Pilate, “I find no fault in him at all”? [John 18:38.] Christ’s humanity so completely veiled His glory that it was difficult for even His disciples to believe in Him, and when He died on the cross, they felt that their hopes had perished. As Christ told them the things He must suffer at the hands of wicked men, He said, “If they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?” [Luke 23:31.] If they do these wicked acts to your divine Lord, what will they do to those that bear the testimony that He came from God, that He was God in human flesh? 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 21

After Adam fell, Jesus entered upon the work of redeeming men. In every part His sacrifice was perfect. He could make an atonement for sin. Though He was one with God; yet He made Himself of no reputation. He took human nature upon Him. “Lo I come,” was the cheerful announcement of the clothing of His divinity with humanity. “I delight to do thy will, O my God.” [Psalm 40:7, 8.] 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 22

“God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] Christ mourned for the transgression of every human being. He bore even the guiltiness of the high priest Caiaphas, knowing the hypocrisy that dwelt in his sinful soul, while for pretence he rent his robe in vehement passion. That priest might truthfully have said in regard to himself, By our law I ought to die. 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 23

Christ was one with the Father. He loved His church, and gave Himself for it. “Therefore doth my Father love me,” He said to the cavilling scribes and Pharisees, “because I lay down my life that I might take it again.” [John 10:17.] “He saved others; himself he cannot save,” was the mocking taunt hurled at Him during the agonies of His death on the cross. [Matthew 27:42.] At any moment He could have saved Himself, and come down from the cross, but had He done this, the world would have been given over to the control of the great apostate. 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 24

As Christ hung on the cross, bearing the taunts and revilings of His persecutors, He might appropriately have asked, Which of you convicteth me of sin? It was a marvel to the angelic beings that He did not seal the lips of the scoffers and paralyze the hand that smote Him. It was a mystery to them that He did not flash forth His righteous indignation upon the hardened and corrupt soldiers, as they mocked Him and forced a crown of thorns on His head. 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 25

But the Son of God knew that the greatest guilt and heaviest responsibility belonged to those who stood in the highest places in the nation, the repositories of sacred trusts that they were basely betraying. Pilate, Herod, the ignorant soldiers, were comparatively ignorant of Jesus. They knew not that this man was the Sent of God. They thought to please the priests and rulers by abusing Him. They had not the light that the Jewish nation had so abundantly received. They were unacquainted with Old Testament history. Had the light been given to the soldiers, they would not have treated Christ as cruelly as they did. 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 26

Christ was not compelled to endure this cruel treatment. The yoke of obligation was not laid upon Him to undertake the work of redemption. Voluntarily He offered Himself, a willing, spotless sacrifice. He was equal with God, infinite and omnipotent. He was above all finite requirements. He was Himself the law in character. Of the highest angels it could not be said that they had never borne a yoke. The angels all bear the yoke of dependence, the yoke of obedience. They are the appointed messengers of Him who is Commander of all heaven. 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 27

No one of the angels could become a substitute and surety for the human race, for their life is God’s; they could not surrender it. On Christ alone the human family depended for their existence. He is the eternal, self-existent Son, on whom no yoke had come. When God asked, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Christ alone of the angelic host could reply, “Here am I; send Me.” [Isaiah 6:8.] He alone had covenanted before the foundation of the world to become a surety for man. He could say that which not the highest angel could say—“I have power over my own life. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” [John 10:18.] 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 28

Christ did not come to this earth merely to live the law, and so reveal the character of God in His spotless life that the one who condemned Him said of Him, “I find no fault in him.” [John 19:4.] Christ’s work must be deep and thorough. Without shedding of blood there is no remission for sin. He must suffer the agony of a public death on the cross, that witness of it might be borne without the shadow of a doubt. 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 29

At the time of the Passover, the Jews and their adherents were drawn to the Hebrew capital. At this time universal attention in the plan of redemption must be awakened. Matters of eternal interest must now become the theme of conversation. The Old Testament must be searched as never before for evidence of the work and character of the Messiah so long looked for. Minds must be convicted, and led to ask, Is not this the Christ? Every transaction in Christ’s life, His trial, His condemnation, His crucifixion, and His resurrection would become matters of the deepest interest. 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 30

As Christ hung upon the cross, nature sympathized with her dying Author. The heavens shrouded in the deepest darkness, the rent rocks, the convulsed earth, struck terror to the hearts of those who have been actors in His mock trial. 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 31

Twice, at the baptism and at the transfiguration, the voice of God had been heard proclaiming Christ as His Son. The third time, just before Christ’s betrayal, the Father had spoken, witnessing to His Son. But now the voice from heaven was silent. No testimony in Christ’s favor was heard. Alone He suffered abuse and mockery at the hands of wicked men. 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 32

Adam and Eve were banished from Eden for transgressing the law of God. Christ was to suffer without the boundaries of the holy place. He died outside the camp, where felons and murderers were executed. There He trod the winepress alone, suffering the penalty, that should have rested on the sinner, to rest on Him. Oh, how deep and full of significance are the words, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.” [Galatians 3:13.] He went forth without the camp, thus showing that He gave His life, not only for the Jewish nation, but for the whole world. The hand of the Lord was in the inscription “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews,” that was written out in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and placed above the cross. [John 19:19.] Thus Christ proclaimed to all kindreds, tongues, and people, “I gave my life for you. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” [See Isaiah 45:22.] 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 33

Christ fulfilled still another feature of the type. “His visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men; so shall he sprinkle many nations.” [Isaiah 52:14, 15.] In the temple service, when the animal brought as a sacrifice was slain, the high priest, clothed in white robes, caught in his hand the blood that gushed forth, and cast it in the direction of the tabernacle or Temple. This was done seven times, as an expression of perfection. So Christ, the great antitype, Himself both High Priest and Victim, clothed with His own spotless robes of righteousness, after giving His life for the world, cast the virtue of His offering, a crimson current, in the direction of the Holy Place, reconciling man to God through the blood of the cross. 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 34

Christ might have continued to abide in the heavenly courts, clothed in garments whiter than the whitest white, and sitting as a Prince at God’s right hand. He was not compelled to step down from the throne, to lay aside His royal robe and kingly crown, and come to this earth to receive hatred, abuse, rejection, scourging, and a crown of thorns. The humiliation that He endured, He endured voluntarily, to save a world from eternal ruin. 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 35

Christ rent not His robe as did Caiaphas. He gave up His body to be rent, to be bruised, to be wounded for the transgression of the world. As by His own choice He died in the presence of an assembled nation of worshipers, type met antitype. Priest and victim combined, He entered the temple as a place of sacrifice. Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us. He was the Lamb slain for the foundation of the world. He is a true High Priest, for after enduring humiliation, shame, and reproach, after being crucified and buried, He was raised from the grave, triumphing over death. He is a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek. 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 36

When Christ died on the cross, Satan triumphed, but his triumph was short. The prophecy was made in Eden, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” [Genesis 3:15.] Christ was nailed to the cross, but thus He gained His victory. Through death He destroyed him that had the power of death. By becoming the Sin-bearer, He lifted from the human race the penalty of transgression. In His own body He paid the penalty of that on which the power of Satan over the human race is founded, even transgression. 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 37

Not that sin might become righteousness and transgression of the law a virtue, did Christ die. He died that sin might be made to appear exceeding sinful, the hateful thing it is. By His death He became the possessor of the keys of hell and of death. Satan could no longer reign without a rival and be reverenced as a god. Temples had been erected to him, and human sacrifices offered on his altars. “They sacrificed to devils.” [1 Corinthians 10:20.] 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 38

The emancipation papers of the race were signed by the blood of the Son of God, and a way was opened for the message of hope and mercy to be carried to the ends of the earth. Now, whoever will may reach forth and take hold of God’s hand, and make peace with Him, and they shall make peace. The heathen are no longer to be wrapped in midnight superstition. The gloom is to disappear before the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. The power of hell has been overcome. The truth of the words have been proved: “I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.” [Isaiah 65:1.] 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 39

“Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with me; for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.” [Isaiah 63:1-3.] “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall rise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” [Isaiah 60:1-3.] 12LtMs, Ms 101, 1897, par. 40