We live in a world that is physically visible, but ruled by the spiritual. The sovereign who is King over all things is a Spirit, and although we can see and function in the physical, everything we see is simply the manifestation of the spiritual reality. With this absolute truth in mind, it becomes easier to understand why so many people who believe in G-D still seem to function in broken states and not as the new creations the Word of G-D tells us that we are. This reason is very simple to understand and follows a previously presented biblical pattern. However, in our excitement to recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as our Messiah and to open the door for Him to be the L-RD of and ruler of our lives, we too often miss out on fulfilling a vital step in the three- step process of recognizing Yeshua.
Almost everyone understands the second step in becoming a believer in Yeshua, which is accepting that His death provided the one and only perfect sacrifice for our sins, an offering that provided atonement once and for all time, for all sins past, present and future for those who repent and accept and access that sacrifice.
The vast majority also understand the third step that in order for Yeshua to be the Messiah, He also must be the King and sovereign over every aspect of our lives. The saying "If He isn't L-RD of all, He isn't L-RD at all" is a very valid and true statement and a reality in the life of a believer. There is a reason that the beginning of many Hebrew prayers is "Blessed are you, O L-RD our G-D, King of the universe." It is because in order for Him to be our G-D, He must also be our King.
However, many of us miss the very first step in the process, and we end up fighting many spiritual battles that we are not only not intended to fight but that are impossible for us to win because we are not the ones equipped or prepared to fight those battles.
Let's look at the Bible and lay the foundation for this first step of recognition.
We know that G-D established a format of worship in which there were the regular Israelite men, women and children; the Levites who served and worked in the tabernacle and later the temples; and the Cohanim (priests) who performed the sacrifices and offerings in the tabernacle and temples. Then there was one man who served in the role of Cohen Gadol (high priest). At the time of Yeshua's death, the Cohen Gadol was a man named Caiaphas.
In Matthew chapter 26, we read about the trial of Yeshua before Caiaphas and in verse 65 we read the following:
"Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, 'He has uttered blasphemy. What further need do we have for witnesses? See, now you have heard His blasphemy'" (Matt. 26:65).
These words are often overlooked as unimportant information and simply a demonstration of the priest's anger, similar to someone being angry enough to pull their hair out. However, there is a much deeper spiritual concept being demonstrated here, which is vital to the spiritual life of every believer. In Leviticus, we find this about the Cohen Gadol:
"He who is the high priest among his brothers, on whose head the anointing oil was poured and who is consecrated to wear the garments, shall not dishevel his hair, nor tear his clothes" (Lev. 21:10).
Notice that the Cohen Gadol was not allowed to tear his clothing. Once Caiaphas tore his clothes, he had disqualified himself from being the Cohen Gadol. In other words, Caiaphas' tearing of his clothing was equal to resignation from his position.
Shortly before this event took place, we find in the Bible Yeshua and His disciples visiting the Jordan River where John the Immerser is. John is speaking to his followers and says the following words:
You yourselves bear witness of me, that I said, "I am not the Christ," but "I have been sent before Him." He who has the bride is the bridegroom. But the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease."
It is believed by many that John was actually the man who was supposed to be the Cohen Gadol at the time of Yeshua. We know that Caiaphas was a political appointee by Rome. We know John's father was serving in the temple. We know a large group of people followed John and were immersed by him. We know John was from the correct tribe, Levi. There are other good reasons to believe that John was the "actual" Cohen Gadol, but, because of Roman authority, was not serving in the temple.
One additional reason to believe, and very important in the context of this blog, is the statement that John makes above in verse 30. "He must increase, while I must decrease." If John, as we believe, was the Cohen Gadol by linage and biblical rights, then these words and John's overseeing of the Immersion of Yeshua show John's relinquishing his position as Cohen Gadol. John resigns differently than Caiaphas, but resigns none the less.
With this in mind as believers in Yeshua, the only qualified high priest at the time of the death of Yeshua was in fact Yeshua Himself, as we read in Hebrews chapter 7, after the order of Melchizedek. So, with the resignation of John and the disqualification of Caiaphas, Yeshua stands as the Cohen Gadol, the spiritual authority over all Israel. Yet, there is one spiritual authority over our lives that needs to resign as unqualified. That person is you and I. We must step down as the spiritual authority over our own lives. We must notice that before Yeshua became the sacrifice and before He was proclaimed "King of the Jews," all Cohanim G'dolim (high priests) other than Yeshua Himself, had to be set down. Likewise, before Yeshua can fully be our sacrifice of atonement and fully become our King, we need to step out of the way and give Him all authority, not only over our sins as atonement and not only over our lives as King, but first over our souls and spirits as Cohen Gadol. It is only when we release Him to be our Cohen Gadol that He can replace us as the one who defeats our spiritual enemies.
Remember the words spoken by the angel to Zechariah the prophet and also the priest in Zechariah 4:6:
"And he said to me: "This is the word of the Lord [Adonai] to Zerubbabel, saying: Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit [Ruach], says the Lord of Hosts [Adonai-Tzva'ot].
Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity and OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry.
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