Christ As Our High Priest
For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.
One of the most powerful truths revealed in the NT is the reality that Christ is our high priest. In the OT the high priests served as mediators between God and man. In various ways the high priest was a representative of God to man, and in various other ways the high priest was a representative of man to God. The high priest's main job was to ensure that Israel kept in good standing with God through the implementation of the sacrificial system. Together with the levites, the high priest ensured that the nation was reconciled with God via atonement for their sins.
Leviticus 4:3 states that if the high priest sins he brings guilt upon the entire nation, this was because God dealt with the nation through the representation of the high priest. One resource I read commented, "For all the necessary aspects of priesthood, there was also a sense in which it was unnecessary. The patriarchs had no priests. In the exile, there were priests but they could not function as such; the exiles lived without the normal services of a priest. In the Psalms, the many individual hymns and laments indicate that it was possible for the ordinary individual to approach God directly without the aid of a priest. Likewise, the role of the great prophets indicates that it was possible for God to speak to his people directly, without the mediation of a priest."
Jesus once said concerning the law, "For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished." We often read this and fail to recognize the significance of Jesus words. Jesus was revealing that the law was a prophetic picture, that it was meant to be fulfilled. No one had ever thought of the law this way, and here God tells us why the priestly service looks to be unnecessary. The high priests of old were merely a shadow, a prophetic picture of the great High Priest Jesus Christ, who through His perfect sacrifice has brought about full and complete reconciliation between God and man.
As our high priest God is dealing with us, His people, on the basis of the work of our Priest. Through that same work atonement has been fully accomplished and we have no need for further sacrifice. Christ's priestly "intercession" is not prayers mumbled at the right hand of God, but the sacrifice he made for us (I don't have room to go into this but the priestly intercession was not verbal but ritual). Our priest has been resurrected and will never die and will never experience corruption.
This means through the finished work of Jesus we have been fully and completely reconciled to God and can now experience uninterrupted fellowship and relationship with Him. As our representative before the Father, God does not deal with us according to our actions, but according to the work of Christ. His one offering has effected perfect and eternal intercession for us, and He has effectively, once and for all, mediated on our behalf. As our eternal priest, we never have to worry that His work and service will fail, it has been fully accomplished and He lives forever in the presence of the Father on our behalf.
Gone are the days where one would cower in prayer before the presence of our holy God! Gone are the days when we would question our forgiveness in light of our current blunders and failures! Gone are the days of thinking God is looking down upon us, displeased and embarrassed by our feeble attempts of holiness. Through the action of our High Priest we are free to enter into the presence of our Abba with joy and assurance! Knowing full well that we stand pure, blameless, and perfect before Him on the basis of the work of Christ our Priest.
Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Priests and Levites. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 2, p. 1763). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.