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CALI. RIGHTS RBSBEVBD.] ..,I…

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CALI. RIGHTS RBSBEVBD.] BIBLE STUDIES CONDUCTED BY PASTOR RUSSELL. I "CALLED OF GOD, AS AARON." The Lesson: Hebrews iv. 14; Y. 10. The Text:—"The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost."—Luke xix. 10. To-day's lesson deals with the Priesthood of Jesus and, incidentally, with the priest- hood of his Church. He is the High Priest, or Chief Priest, of our profession or order, writes the Apostle. The Jews found it diffi- cult to understand how Jesus could be asso- ciated with the priesthood. God had con- fined the priestly office to the family of Aaron, of the tribe of Levi. Jesus did not belong to that tribe, nor did his disciples. How then could he have anything to do with the priestly office? St. Paul shows that, as the antitypical Priest, Jesus had offered up his humanity as the antitypical bullock for sin atonement, and that he had then ascended up on High and thus entered the antitypical Holy of Holies, appearing there on behalf of his Church, the antitypical under priests and the antitypical Levites. The Apostle argues that because we can by faith recognise Jesus as our great High Priest and know that he has sympathy for our imperfections, therefore we may come to him with great courage when overtaken by a fault, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in every time of. need. But these blessed assurances will be without force unless we can realise that Jesus is our High Priest in Heaven. Hence the Apostle's argument in our lesson demonstrates this fact. AARONIC PRIESTS WERE TYPICAL. I The Apostle reasons (v. 1) that all Jewish priests were taken from amongst their fel- lows and specially ordained, or set apart, to represent their people before God, offering both gifts and sacrifices for sins. In this arrangement the priests could sympathise with the people, because they were subject to the same weaknesses, and also had need of the forgiveness of their own sins; but none was allowed to take this office of him- self, God must call him. Thus he did with Aaron. So, the Apostle points out, it must be with the antitypical priests. Christ, the spiritual High Priest and his elect Church, the Royal Priesthood on the spirit plane, must also be called of God. "Christ did not glorify himself to make himself a High Priest." God honoured him in this way, say- ing in the Psalms, "Thou art My Son; to- day have I begotten thee" and again, "Thou art a Priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek."—Psa. ii. 7; ex. 4. On this broad foundation of the Divine call the Apostle declares that Christ is not a priest after the order of Aaron-an earthly priest; but although typified by Aaron in respect to an earthly sacrifice, he is really a glorified priest, after the order of Mel- chizedek, who was a king and a priest at the same time. So Christ in glory is not a man, not the sacrificing one, as before. He is the glorified Kingly Priest, as the King of saints, able and willing to succour them in all their trials and difficulties. I "IN THE DAYS OF HIS FLESH." I Then the Apostle shows the connection be- tween the glorified Kingly Priest beyond the veil and the suffering Jesus in the flesh (v. 7). When the Apostle writes, "Who in the days of his flesh," we are to understand that those days are ended. As the Apostle Peter explains, "He was put to death in flesh, but quickened in spirit," in the Resurrection. The Apostle Paul seeks to give us, as the followers of Jesus, confi- dence in his ability to sympathise with us in all our troubles. Therefore, he reminds us that Jesus "in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears to Him that wa.s able to save him out of death, was heard in respect to that thing which he feared." Our minds instinctively recall the Master's experiences in Gethsemane-his prayers to God, his tears, his agony, and according to one account, his bloody sweat. The Apostle's suggestion is that the Master who had himself passed through such bitter experiences, is now in Heavenly glory and power, and will surely succour all his true followers, even though he may allow them to have Gethsemane experiences and buffet- tng-s of the Adversary. I AS A SON-NOT AS A SINNER. I The sufferings of Jesus, the Apostle points out, came to him not because he was a sinner, but because he was a son, and the Heavenly Father would prove his loyalty unto death, even the death of the cross. Only by such a test of loyalty could he be deemed worthy of the high exaltation de- signed for him. The things which he suf- fered not only were to constitute a sacrifice for human sin and make possible human Restitution through the Messianic King- dom, but were necessary to the Master him- self. As the Apostle says, he was made per- fect through suffering. Jesus was not imperfect at any time in the sense of being sinful. He was perfect, undefiled, in his glorious condition as the Logos, before he was made flesh. The assur- ance given us is that when born of Mary he was still "holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners." His perfecting was of another kind. Our Lord had entered into a Covenant of Sacrifice—to prove himself loyal to the Father's will, even unto death. After the Master had entered into this Covenant of Sacrifice, his obedience would bring him life immortal, Divine; but any failure would cost him his ALL. Hence in Gethsemane his strong crying and tears were not caused by timidity in respect to the impending crucifixion, or anything that man might do unto Him, or by doubt re- specting the Divine power or the Divine faithfulness. The Master's fear was lest he should have failed to comply fully with all of the Divine requirements, and should thus not be accounted worthy of a resurrection. The Apostle says: "Ilce was heard in re- spect to the thing which he feared." He was delivered from the fear of death. From that moment onward the Master was the calmest of the calm, in all the trials and stress of that night and the following day. We cannot doubt that the Father assured him that all was well-that thus far he had proven himself faithful. LEADER AND HIGH PRIEST. On the basis of his own victory and ex- altation Jesus is now "the Author of eternal salvation unto all that obey him," says the Apostle (v. 9). The first salvation which this antitypical Priest after the order of Melchizedek effects is the salvation of the Church, a Little Flock, a^ Royal Priesthood. These are to be saved to the same glorious station which he himself has attained. Nor can they reach that station by any other road than that which he travelled. It is not possible for Jesus' followers to overcome in tlhe same absolute sense th it he did; for he was per- fect in the flesh, and they are imperfect through the fall. His followers must demonstrate the same Jieart loyalty that he man I same willingness to do the Father's will and to sacrifice every other interest. For t.hese the great High Priest appropriates the merit of his sacrifice, as a covering for all their unintentional blemishes and s hortcomings. Thus they mav stand in the Father's sight, complete in him, •>iul by and by in the glorious First Resurrection be made actually perfect. Additionally, he will be the Author cf eternal sal vation to as many of mankind as will obey him during his Messianic reign. All who will then refn-1 fo r^y him will be destroyed in Second but aU the w¡li!1,(:r :l'ld obedient will uliim-atelv be re- stored to the perf-'VIIion in which God I cr<Mf-d T'?'b?? A.?m. ?r?-' in f""?"r'' I)Ius -xil-er-?- covery ( u*

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