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Heb 7:25-27 (NASB, emphasis added)

25Therefore he is also able to save forever those who come to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. 26For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens; 27who has no daily need, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins and then for the sins of the people, because he did this once for all time when he offered up himself.

Points to consider:

  • Is Jesus still interceding for the saints? Who are already reconciled.
  • Or only for the unsaved?
  • Why is he high priest forever? Once all are saved that will be saved, (up until the second death) why do we need a high priest going forward in eternity?
1
  • This may seem like a theological question, however I think it should stay up because this was a theological writer. Quoting other Bible verses may be necessary to understand, not because of any attempt to create systematic theology, but for the sake of peer opinions for what the author (Apollos?) was saying. In other words, we interpret Hebrews with other NT church leaders understood as a kind of "NT Church context", not for systematic purposes.
    – Jesse
    Aug 1, 2022 at 23:43

4 Answers 4

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OP's Points to consider -

  • Is Jesus still interceding for the saints? Who are already reconciled.

The saints who are reconciled are constantly being condemned by the accuser. Christ Jesus can talk back to accuser any time by showing what He has done for those whom he is accusing. Jesus hit the mark with His death burial and resurrection for the sinner.

the accuser of our brothers is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. Revelation 12:10

In the context of Romans it is Christ Jesus who is interceding for those whom He foreknew and the question is "who" is continually bringing a charge against God's elect?

Who will lay a charge against the chosen ones of God? God [is] He that is declaring righteous; who is] he that is condemning? Christ [is] He that died, indeed, rather also, was raised up; who is also on the right hand of God—who also interceded for us.

This is where the walk of faith comes in for a believer because even though he was a sinner but that is no longer his identity in Christ. His death burial and crucifixion has taken place in Christ Jesus.

The accuser is constantly accusing those whom God has justified seems to be an ongoing thing perhaps in the heavenly realm as well as in a believers mind. The believer is continually depending upon the word of God that he is just and righteous in Christ.

Here is a help word study on the word intercede.

1793 entygxánō (from 1722 /en, "in," which intensifies 5177 /tygxánō, "to obtain by hitting the mark") – properly, "light upon (meet with), obtain" (LS); "to go and meet a person to converse, consult," i.e. to intervene ("intersect with"). [J. Thayer documents how this meaning is consistently the same in ancient Greek writers. The root of 5177 (tygxánō) means "to strike, hit the bulls-eye" ("spot on"). Accordingly, it is used in classical Greek as the antonym of harmartia ("to miss the mark, sin")

It is the opposite of sin, ( missing the mark) intercede is hitting the mark!

The other OP's point to consider is,

"Why is he high priest forever? Once all are saved that will be saved, (up until the second death) why do we need a high priest going forward in eternity?"

YLT is a Better a Translation here when he says it is to the Age.

21and he with an oath through Him who is saying unto him, ‘The Lord sware, and will not repent, Thou [art] a priest — to the age, according to the order of Melchisedek;’) 22by so much of a better covenant hath Jesus become surety, 23and those indeed are many who have become priests, because by death they are hindered from remaining; 24and he, because of his remaining — to the age, hath the priesthood not transient, 25whence also he is able to save to the very end, those coming through him unto God — ever living to make intercession for them.

There is going to come a point in time in the coming ages were a priest is no longer needed because total reconciliation has taken place between man and God. The priest has completed His work. His work is for the age.

1

The on-going High-Priestly ministry of Jesus in heaven is described using several words in the Greek from which we learn (albeit in only outline form) about a few of the reasons and details of Jesus ministry.

  1. Reconciliation - the whole point of Jesus ministry is the reconcile us back to God after the intended divine-human relationship was ruptured by sin.
  • Rom 5:10 - For if, being enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved in His life! [Note the final phrase - Jesus life is on-going and so is His ministry in heaven.]
  • 2 Cor 5:19 - how that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not reckoning their trespasses to them, and having put into us the word of reconciliation. [This is a continuing process in which we have a part to play as well.]
  1. Continued Presence of Sin - While we are saved, the saints are still sinners
  • 1 John 2:1 - My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate before the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
  1. Jesus' Mediation protects us from The Devils on-going accusations (Rev 12:10)
  • 1 Tim 2:5 - For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus
  • Heb 8:6 - But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted upon better promises.
  • Heb 9:15 - And because of this, He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, death having taken place for redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, those having been called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
  • Heb 12:24 - and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkling of blood, speaking better things than that of Abel. [This reference suggests that the benefits of Christ's sacrifice are "sprinkled" (ie, administered and applied) by Christ on an on-going basis.]
  1. Jesus' Intersession is a two-way process - Jesus pleads for us and Jesus miraculously works in our lives
  • Rom 8:34 - Who is the one condemning? For it is Christ Jesus, the one having died, now rather having been raised up, who is also at the right hand of God, and who is interceding for us.
  • Heb 7:25 - wherefore also He is able to save to the uttermost those drawing near to God through Him, always living for to intercede for them.
  • Heb 9:24 - For Christ has entered not into holy places made by hands, copies of the true ones, but into heaven itself, now to appear for us in the presence of God,

This is all neatly summarized in the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary for Heb 7:25 -

to make intercession—There was but the one offering on earth once for all. But the intercession for us in the heavens (Heb 7:26) is ever continuing, whence the result follows, that we can never be separated from the love of God in Christ. He intercedes only for those who come unto God through Him, not for the unbelieving world (Joh 17:9). As samples of His intercession, compare the prophetical descriptions in the Old Testament. "By an humble omnipotency (for it was by His humiliation that He obtained all power), or omnipotent humility, appearing in the presence, and presenting His postulations at the throne of God" [Bishop Pearson]. He was not only the offering, but the priest who offered it. Therefore, He has become not only a sacrifice, but an intercessor; His intercession being founded on His voluntary offering of Himself without spot to God. We are not only then in virtue of His sacrifice forgiven, but in virtue of the intercession admitted to favor and grace [Archbishop Magee].

APPENDIX - Warning against Deism-type salvation

One of the heterodox doctrines of Reformation was "Deism" which viewed God as the creator of the "great machine" of the universe, who then sat back and watched what would happen; that is, God the creator played almost no role in the creation after it was created.

There is a similar error in soteriology that is often implicit in some circles - after Jesus paid the penalty for sin (full and complete as it was) no further work for God and Jesus was required in salvation other than final glorification.

Both these positions are incompatible with Bible teaching. As shown above, Jesus has a very active role in the on-going salvation process of all the saved via His ministry of intercessions, advocacy, and mediation.

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  • the saints are still sinners, this doesn't affect the reconciliation already accomplished. He doesn't need to be sacrificed again and again for ongoing sin. (unpardonable sin is not relevant here) The veil is removed, we have direct access to the God - enabled by Christ once.
    – Steve
    Jul 28, 2022 at 2:15
  • @steveowen - agreed, no question. That does not alter 1 John 2:1, etc.
    – Dottard
    Jul 28, 2022 at 3:07
  • Yes, well that's the crux of the Q. What is he doing and why? If we are 'in the clear' so to speak, effectively without sin, why do we need an advocate?
    – Steve
    Jul 28, 2022 at 3:16
  • @steveowen - and that is what my answer attempts to address.
    – Dottard
    Jul 28, 2022 at 4:49
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TL,DR

If I understand the question correctly, it is the apparent contradiction between

A) Heb 10.14: For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified (KJV)

which offering was the cross - clearly a one-time event.

and

B) Rom 8.34, Heb 7.25, 1 John 2.1, which suggest an ongoing action of intercession that in addition to being ongoing, appears to supplement the cross as some further assistance.

Whereas I will argue that B) is merely a special case of A), an unpacking of the depth of A), which we experience as we mature in Christ.

What is a sacrificial system

Man feels guilt, regret, concern for others, worry about the future, and so desires to approach God and bring offerings that unburden him.

These offerings are always given whenever the need is felt, and they are given according to a liturgy, even if we do not visit an actual temple to perform a formal liturgy. The one we interact with in the performance of these liturgies is the mediator. There is always a gift.

The Priesthood exists not so that the offerings would be given, but so that they would be accepted, as Abel's, rather than rejected as Cain's.

Note that the offering exists for the benefit of the offerer, not God. If the temple were to be torn down, in three days the congregation would resurrect some system of rituals and ceremonies to fulfill their need to give offerings, as we cannot live without giving offerings. If sheep could no longer be slaughtered, they would be replaced with payment of money, and if money could not be given, people would beat themselves or fast or do something so that they can present their offerings to God.

The missing liturgy

This was a big deal because Christianity had no sacrificial system other than the cross, which could not be directly experienced, and whose blessings cannot be inherited by good works or personal sacrifice. There was no physical temple. There was no animal sacrifice. No rituals. No official priesthood. On its surface, it appears that the core human need for religious practice cannot be met by first century Christianity.

Of course Christianity would rapidly reassemble versions of physical liturgies, but when Hebrews was written, it was with the eye of addressing this gap. All those verses about how superior Melchizedek is, were not written to convince unbelieving jews, but rather to argue that 1) Christianity did have a sacrificial system, and 2) It was superior to Levitical system, not for purposes of winning an argument, but so that Christians would give offerings properly.

The new liturgy

In this new liturgy, instead of killing a ram for a trespass offering, one sees that Christ has already paid their debt. And instead of killing a she-goat for a sin offering, one sees that the water and blood that flowed from Christ's side has purified them. Instead of a burnt offering, one sees that Christ is all of their life, and instead of a peace offering, one partakes of the body and blood of Christ that was given on the cross. Instead of the high priest interceding on Yom Kippur, one sees that Christ is interceding for us, as he cries out "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do" - and how could the Father deny this dying request?

But for such offerings to meet the deep emotional and spiritual needs of the offerer, it must come as a revelation of the cross that is grasped at an equally deep level. If it is just an intellectual exercise, then the need for giving offerings will remain unmet, and the best case scenario is that offerings will continue to be given, over and over. The worst case scenario is that private liturgies will be adopted (which is idolatry). Reading systematic theology texts is not going to help. Just telling someone that they are forgiven is insufficient.

Repeated offerings in the new liturgy

So the question of "why would someone need to keep going back to the cross for forgiveness?" is answered by the simple fact that they still feel guilt. And therefore there is a sin offering that still needs to be given. Thus they go back to the cross and and confess their sins and feel better. This process will continue until their comprehension of the cross penetrates sufficiently deeply that they understand that Christ is their true identity.

Therefore John says:

1 John 2:1–2 (KJV 1900)

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Now a spiritually mature person would know that they are the habitation of Christ, and Christ is without sin, therefore they cannot sin. Any sin committed in the body is not committed by their true self, as Paul says

Romans 7:17 (KJV 1900)

17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

Romans 7:25–8:2 (KJV 1900) 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Notice that Paul says he still serves the law of sin with the flesh, but nevertheless he is freed from the law of sin and death. That is, because Paul's identity is not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, he is free. There is no condemnation. Such a person is also extremely rare and for everyone else, they continue to need to give sin and trespass offerings as they are still in the "O what a wretched man am I" phase and not yet in the "there is no condemnation" phase of spiritual growth.

The author of Hebrews was frustrated with this constant need to keep going over Christ's atoning and redemptive work, and wanted to "move on to perfection" (Heb 6.1-2), that is, he wanted to move on to offering yourself as a living sacrifice in the burnt offering rather than continue to revisit the trespass and sin offerings. Paul was also frustrated in his letter to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 3:1–3 (KJV 1900)

And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

Those who are carnal are called "babes", because they are still walking after the flesh. They do not understand that their identity is Christ, and so they still need to keep giving guilt and trespass offerings, as their carnal mind condemns them. That will keep happening until they learn to ignore the carnal mind, at which point they will be walking in the spirit, with no condemnation and thus no need for more sin offerings.

Again, reading a theology text is not going to help.

This is why people need to keep giving sin and trespass offerings, so let's look at how mediation works in the new liturgy.

The Crucifixion

David declares that Christ "is a high priest forever of the order of Melchizedek" (Psalm 110.4). That word for forever is olam which could also be translated as "for all times". In other words, Christ is available for all times and places. This is reinforced by the description of Melchizedek in Hebrews 7 of a man with no future, no past. A timeless quality, where someone steps out of nowhere, performs one sacrifice, and it is sufficient for Abraham, the man of faith. This is made explicit in Heb 9:12 (KJV 1900):

12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

Eternity is where the Father dwells (Is. 57.15) -- it is not a long duration of time, but outside of creation. When Jesus was on the cross in Jerusalem, cataclysmic things were happening: The world was overcome. The devil was judged. Creation was reconciled to the creator, etc. Big Stuff.

The Big Stuff wasn't constrained to the flesh in Jerusalem, although it certainly happened on the cross in Jerusalem, it was also in God's temple in eternity. Creation was shaken, the blood was poured out, the lamb was put on the brazen altar, the incense was lit and the blood sprinkled, a figure parted the veil and made intercession, the living water flowed, the burning, the sweet savor, cleansing, reconciliation, atonement, mediation, fellowship, and acceptance. This and much more was happening during the crucifixion in God's eternal temple. Because the temple is eternal, it is accessible from any point in time in creation for those who have been given the grace to see it. This is the divine service in the Temple of God that Moses saw and then patterned the tabernacle and levitical priesthood on it with its various offerings and rituals.

Thus Melchizedek represents the service in the eternal temple in Heaven, of which the Levitical priesthood is an earthly copy, and therefore the priesthood of Melchizedek is greater and precedes the Levitical Priesthood, just as the cross is the source of all the Levitical offerings. We can call the service of Christ in the true temple as the divine service. It is glimpses of this divine service that constitute the offerings of believers described in Hebrews.

The Divine Service

Aspects of this divine service were seen by other prophets as well, they called it "the day of the Lord". Abraham saw it, as Christ said "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad." Abraham wasn't given a crystal ball to see the future in Palestine, he was given grace to see the service of the cross in God's temple.

All of the days in creation in which it is possible to see this divine service are collectively called "Today", as in "Today, if you will hear his voice, harden not your rights".

This service - the cross in all of its fullness - is one offering. But from it you get the sin offering, and the trespass offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offering, the red heifer (which allows the the temple of the living God to reside in dead flesh), the scapegoat (in which the high priest mediates for the people) -- and everything else. Paul calls this "the unsearchable riches of Christ".

The Cross as grace when we see lack

Now this service is available in all times and for all people whenever, by God's grace, they can also peer into eternity and see it -- and it is seen by faith.

But if Moses saw the offering of the cross, and someone else saw it, that doesn't mean Jesus was crucified twice. There aren't two offerings, or two events or one event happening over and over. It is the same service, with different aspects seen by different people as their needs change.

If in the flesh you see a problem and are in need of intercession, then in the spirit you can see Christ advocating. If in the world you are wracked by guilt and need purification, then in the spirit you can see the Christ as the scapegoat, etc. All these offerings are available by grace whenever one sees lack:

Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. Heb 2.8-9 KJV

But God does not see lack, he sees everything under Christ's feet already, and the believer perfected by the one offering.

-1

The Lord Jesus Christ intercedes for all, both those to be saved and the saints who are saved, and this intercession continues forever.

Here’s why:

The Lord Jesus Christ is the one without whom nobody comes nor can come to the Father (John 14:6), that is to say, the Father is absolutely, ontologically unable to save anybody without His Only-begotten Son, who after His Incarnation is called also Jesus Christ, that entails His human nature that He adopted everlastingly. Now, if the Father is ontologically or better theologically unable to do anything without Him, neither save anybody nor create anything including the world in its entirety (John 1:1-3), then the Son is also necessarily God, and exactly this is implied in "sitting on the right hand of God", for "right hand" denotes the same level, and only God can be on the same level with God, for which reason the Lord demands the very same, equal honor for Himself as for the Father (John 5:23).

Now, does God Jesus Christ intercede for only non-saved who are to be saved or also for the saints who are already saved? I guess for both in different senses though. For non-saved ones He intercedes in order that they may be healed from sins and embrace divine life, but for the saved saints He intercedes that they grow into perfection in God, which growth has no end, as St. Gregory of Nyssa says, for saints always reach out towards greater and greater degrees of perfection through intercession of their Lord Jesus Christ, who commands men to be as perfect as their Heavenly Father, through Him (Cf. Matthew 5:48; 19:21).

To give an analogy: if a man through educational efforts of his good coach becomes a pro tennis player, that is an analogy of being saved, but when through the good efforts of the same coach he hones his strikes and perfects his movements so as to rise in the ratings of the tour, that is an analogy of a saved saint growing towards God's perfection through Christ. That's why He is the High Priest "forever", because there is no stop in growth in perfection towards God, a technical theological term for this "non-stop" is the Nyssa's ἐπεκτάσις, which is a patently Biblical term that comes from the Apostle Paul’s vision of life in Christ, that entails constant reaching out towards greater and greater gifts of the Lord (ἓν δέ, τὰ μὲν ὀπίσω ἐπιλανθανόμενος τοῖς δὲ ἔμπροσθεν ἐπεκτεινόμενος /Philippians 3:13/).

But God Jesus Christ intercedes also for those who do not accept His intercession and remain recalcitrant in their sinfulness (Luke 23:34), because He cannot but love and pity His poor creatures, created in His image and likeness, who made themselves so foolishly miserable by succumbing to sin which they started to love more than their Creator - Son of God, Jesus Christ (cf. John 3:19).

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  • This has many auxiliary ideas that provide theological context, but aren't necessary for the meat. You could leave it all there if you want. But, this needs two things: 1. A concise answer (later to be elaborated on) and 2. Scripture. Could you pick a one-sentence answer and put it at the top? Of course, it won't be complete, but the best one-sentence response. Brevity is power, which Jesus was masterful at. And, one or two Bible verses that explain this. While the question is somewhat theological, Bible-interpreting-Bible may be the best way to understand Hebrews (Apollos?) via his peers.
    – Jesse
    Aug 1, 2022 at 23:41
  • 1
    @Jesseיִשַׁי Have done it. Thanks for pushing me out from my laziness. Aug 2, 2022 at 3:50
  • You could link or quote actual verses to make it better. But, this is good. The original problem remains that this looks like a theological question, which is off topic. But, from a hermeneutical perspective, we can understand what the Hebrews author meant by consulting the contemporaries. The reason it remains on topic is because the essential question is: What did this author mean? not What should we believe?
    – Jesse
    Aug 2, 2022 at 4:18
  • This is actually an unbiblical construct here. We do not grow in perfection - Jesus is our perfection and there is no need for more perfection or it would be grace plus works. The new man is already in place having been forgiven, justified, sanctified, declared righteous, made holy etc. accomplished by Jesus' blood once for all sin. The living out of this spiritual reality has nothing to do with gaining perfection for it is already done.
    – Steve
    Aug 3, 2022 at 4:20
  • 1
    @steveowen Your position is called utter-Augustinianism to which even Saint Augustine succumbed only in just some of his writings against Pelagius. Your error is that you distinguish not between a) works of Law and b) works of Grace. Does not the Lord Himself invite His disciples to a noble competition in love and service (“who serves more others is greater”), now this is impossible without free human initiative and co-action with Grace, the Action of Lord in us. Therefore there is hierarchy of saints with regard of greater or lesser saturation through free coaction with Lord’s infinite grace Aug 3, 2022 at 4:35

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