Christ constitutes the very centrality of Christianity (I Cor. 3: 11). He is the Savior and the head of the church and of every man (Matt. 1: 21, Eph. 1: 22, 23, I Cor. 11: 3). He is the one (the only one) to whom all authority has been given in heaven and in earth (Matt. 28: 18). To forsake Christ was and is tantamount to abandoning all that is holy and spiritually efficacious (Heb. 10: 29). Notwithstanding, such departures have repeatedly occurred and continue to this hour. In view of the meager gain and the great loss in leaving Christ, one marvels that it is so flippantly done (Gal. 1: 6-9).
The book of Hebrews is one of the outstanding treatises on the subject of apostasy (falling away). The book abounds and is replete with references to the danger, possibility, and reality of falling away (Heb. 2: 1-3, 3: 12-19, 4: 1, 6: 4-8, 10: 25-31). In order to attempt to preclude the utter destruction of these brethren addressed as "Hebrews," the inspired writer repeatedly and urgently alludes to Christ. How could any one leave Christ if they realize how great He is and what he offers, seems to have been his reasoning. Please consider his opening and arresting words:
"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds. Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they" (Heb. 1: 1-4).
Jesus Christ is prophet. The writer states that the Father has spoken through his Son, hence, the work of a prophet (prophetes, to speak forth, to foretell). In the presence of Moses (the great law giver) and Elias (the head of the prophets), the Father's voice redounded relative to Jesus, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him" (Matt. 17: 5, see "The Transfiguration" in Archives). It was prophesied of old that a prophet would arise comparable to Moses (Deut. 18: 18, 19). The apostle Peter revealed that anticipated prophet to be Christ (Acts 3: 22, 23). Regarding Christ as prophet he stated, " Every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people" (Acts 3: 22, 23). Jesus met all the requirements of such a prophet (Deut. 18: 18 ff).
Jesus Christ is priest. The writer of Hebrews refers to Jesus' priesthood when he penned, " he had by himself purged our sins " (Heb. 1: 3). The chief function of the Levite Priest was to offer purification for sin (Heb. 9: 7, Lev. 4, 5). The priest's offering, however, was not efficacious within itself (9: 9, 10). "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins," the writer explains (Heb. 10: 4). However, Jesus' offering of himself was adequate (Heb. 9: 12-14). In fact, Jesus' offering (his own blood, Matt. 26: 28) was so complete that the one offering is for all time (Heb. 9: 28, hapax, "once" is correctly rendered "once for all," see Jude 3, ASV).
Jesus as high priest is presented as a "great high priest" (Heb. 4: 14). He has "passed into the heavens" and he is "the Son of God" (Ibid.). Notwithstanding Jesus' greatness as high priest we read, "for we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities " (Heb. 4: 15). The stated reason for Jesus' understanding is: "but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Jesus' high priesthood also ascends all others because he is of the order of Melchisedec (5: 6, ch. 7).
Jesus Christ is king. In the introductory statement it was said of Jesus, " sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (1: 3). To assume such a position is to assume regal reign, the "right hand" is emphatic of an operative reign (not just honorary). Jesus began this reign immediately upon his ascension to heaven (Mk. 16: 19). Christ was to be "raised up to sit on his throne" (Acts 2: 30, 34, 35). Zechariah prophesied that Jesus would simultaneously be priest and king (Zech. 6: 13). Notice the language, " he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne ." Beloved, Jesus is now reigning as king (not future) and his reign is spiritual as opposed to political (Jn. 18: 36, I Tim. 6: 15, see "The Truth about Premillennialism" in Archives).
In view of Jesus' greatness as prophet, priest, and king the "Hebrews" should have been "not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises" (Heb. 6: 12). Dear reader, if you are not presently a Christian, continue to study and become one belonging to Christ (see "Salvation," home page button).