The Genealogy of the High Priests (Part 2)
Deuteronomy 32:7; 1 Peter 2:9
Pastor James Park’s sermon from Shiloh's Lord’s Day Service on October 27, 2019
The representative, the priest
In the original Hebrew language, there are two main words for “high priest.” The first is “Kohen gadol” and the second is “Kohen rosh.” Kohen means “priest” and gadol means “great or honorable.” Thus, “Great Priest, or Honorable Priest.” Rosh means “the head” or “first.” Thus, “representative priest or head priest.” These were the people who worked in the temple all the time. They were dedicated to worship and service to the Lord from the Levitical tribe, the Levites. Among the Levites there were priests. The priests are the ones who mediated between the people and God but even among the priests, there was a high priest; the head of all the priests. The high priest was the representative of all the priests, the people and mediated between God and the people. The high priests had several tasks that God gave to them and they wore special garments that had special meaning and the high priests had a special role.
Role of the priests
First, the priests led worship, praise, gave the word to include sacrifices (Heb 8:3). This is the role of the priests and high priests as well. Secondly, the genealogy of the priests is recorded in the Bible and through the genealogy of the priests, God showed the spiritual flow where His will had rested upon. Even though there were many priests or high priests, through the genealogy of the priests we can see that God revealed where His will was and where His special anointing was upon. For example, Aaron had four sons; however, the actual priesthood and the role of the high priest came to rest upon Eleazar (Num 3:4). Ezekiel prophesied that the priests from the line of Zadok would take on the priesthood and God used them because they were faithful and kept His covenant (Ez 43:19). Also, through the high priests, they made atonement. The high priest went into the holy of holies once a year and made atonement for themselves and for the people. This took place in the 7th month, on the 10th day which is called the “Day of Atonement” which foreshadows what takes place in the end time (Lev 16:1-34). The high priest would take the burning coals from the altar of burnt offering, place them in the Golden Censor, and light the incense and bring it before the altar of incense. On the Day of Atonement, the priest would carry the Golden Censor with the smoking coals past the “veil” into the holy of holies where the Ark of the Covenant rested and meet with God at the “mercy seat.” This foreshadows the Second Coming of the Lord, the Son of Man who comes with the clouds (Rev 10:1; 14:14). Although this Day of Atonement was temporary, the day when the Lord returns will be the Eternal Atonement where all of our sins and reproach are completely washed away forever (Josh 5:9).
God will swallow up our biggest reproach, death, for all time and He will remove the reproach that has been covering His people on the Eternal Day of Atonement (Isa 25:7-8). Therefore, all the roles of the high priests are pointing toward Jesus Christ. He was the sacrificed lamb, our eternal high priest and the one who sympathizes with our weaknesses (John 1:29; Heb 3:1; 4:14-16). He understands our suffering even to death on the cross. His “flesh” was the veil that was torn, opening up a way to God. We are frail and weak, but when we call out to God, He will help us (Psa 121:1-2).
The genealogy of the high priest
There were 77 generations of high priests. The first high priest was Aaron, who was inaugurated in 1445 BC (Ex 40:13). The last high priest, the 77th generation, was Phannias and he was chosen by lot. This is written in history from AD 67 to AD 70. In the Old Testament, there were 29 generations of high priests, from Aaron to Jaddua who are recorded in the Bible (1 Chr 6:3-15; Neh 12:10-11, 22). The first 10 high priests worked in Moses’ tabernacle. The next 13 worked in Solomon’s temple, and the next 6 worked in Zerubbabel’s temple. The first ten generations of high priests started from 1445 BC up to the completion of Solomon’s temple in 959 BC. From Solomon’s temple in 959 BC to 586 BC when Solomon’s temple was destroyed, there were the next 13 generations of high priests. After returning from Babylon, construction of Zerubbabel temple began and from 515 BC to 370 BC there were 6 generations of high priests who worked at the Zerubbabel temple. Therefore, 29 priests worked from the time of Moses’s tabernacle and Solomon’s temple to Zerubbabel’s temple. This is all recorded in the genealogy of the high priest. The next 48 generations of priests were recorded by the Jewish Historian, Flavius Josephus. The first 19 are classified by period from 320 BC to 37 BC and the last 29 are classified by the appointer from 37 BC to 70 AD. Thus, during the times of the Persians, Greeks, and Romans, there were 19 high priests and there were 29 appointed by leaders out of political reasons.
Conclusion: We have been called as spiritual priests; a royal priesthood, a kingdom of priests in these end times (1 Pet 2:5, 9; Rev 1:6). Jesus is our Eternal High Priest who came in the order of Melchizedek. As spiritual priests, there are sacrifices that we need to make that are pleasing to God. First, there is the broken heart and crushed spirit (Psa 34:18). God wants us to come to Him with a broken heart. Secondly, we need to worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). Thirdly, we have to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1-2). We have to offer our whole lives to God. Lastly, we have to offer up the Gentiles as an offering; this is evangelizing (Rom 15:16). When we evangelize, the Gentiles become acceptable sacrifices and an offering to God. There is an order in which God wants us to worship and when we worship and offer up the sacrifices that are pleasing to Him He will be pleased with us and give us everything that we need.