This is the summing up of the evidence of the high priesthood of Christ presented in the first seven chapters of Hebrews. The "sum" thus presented is not particularly that we have an High Priest but that "we have such an High Priest." "Such" signifies "of that kind; of a like kind or degree,"--"the same as previously mentioned or specified; not another or different."
That is to say: In the preceding part (the first seven chapters of the Epistle to the Hebrews) there have been specified certain things concerning Christ as High Priest, certain qualifications by which He became High Priest, or certain things which are becoming to Him as an High Priest, which are summed up in this text: "Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an High Priest."
It is necessary, therefore, to an understanding of this scripture that the previous portion of this epistle shall be reviewed to see what is the true weight and import of this word, "such an High Priest." The whole of the seventh chapter is devoted to the discussion of this priesthood. The sixth chapter closes with the thought of this priesthood. The fifth chapter is almost wholly devoted to the same thought. The fourth chapter closes with it, and the fourth chapter is but a continuation of the third chapter, which begins with an exhortation to "consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;" and this as the conclusion from what had already been presented. The second chapter closes with the thought of His being "a merciful and faithful High Priest" and this also as the conclusion from what has preceded in the first and second chapters, for though they are two chapters the subject is but one.
This sketch shows plainly that in the first seven chapters of Hebrews the one great thought over all is the priesthood of Christ and that the truths presented, whatever the thought or the form may be, are all simply the presentation in different ways of the great truth of this priesthood, all of which is finally summed up in the words: "We have such an High Priest."
Therefore, in discovering the true weight and import of this expression, "such an High Priest," it is necessary to begin with the very first words of the book of Hebrews and follow the thought straight through to the summing up, bearing constantly in mind that the one transcendent thought in all that is presented is "such an High Priest" and that in all that is said the one great purpose is to show to mankind that we have "such an High Priest." However rich and full may be the truths in themselves, concerning Christ, which are contained in the successive statements, it must be constantly borne in mind that these truths--however rich, however full--are all expressed with the one great aim of showing that we have "such an High Priest." And in studying these truths as they are presented in the epistle, they must be held as subordinate and tributary to the great truth over all that is the "sum,"--"we have such an High Priest."
In the second chapter of Hebrews, as the conclusion of the argument there presented, it is written: "Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God." In this it is declared that Christ's condescension, His likeness to mankind, His being made flesh and dwelling amongst men, was necessary to His becoming "a merciful and faithful High Priest." But in order to know the measure of His condescension and what is the real meaning of His place in the flesh as the Son of man and man, it is necessary to know what was first the measure of His exaltation as the Son of God and God, and this is the subject of the first chapter.
The condescension of Christ, the position of Christ, and the nature of Christ as He was in the flesh in the world are given in the second chapter of Hebrews more fully than in any other one place in the Scriptures. But this is in the second chapter. The first chapter precedes it. Therefore the truth and the thought presented in the first chapter are essentially precedent to the second chapter. The first chapter must be fully understood in order to be able to follow the thought and understand the truth in the second chapter.
In the first chapter of Hebrews, the exaltation, the position, and the nature of Christ as He was in heaven before He came to the world are more fully given than in any other single portion of the Scriptures. Therefore it is certain that an understanding of the position and nature of Christ as He was in heaven is essential to a proper understanding of His position and nature as He was on earth. And since it behoved Him to be what He was on earth, in order that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest, it is essential to know what He was in heaven, for this is essential precedent to what He was on earth and is therefore an essential part of the evidence that is summed up in the expression, "We have such an High Priest."