Monday, March 31, 2014

A New Thing Promised and Completed

Through Isaiah also the Lord foretells the same things about His grace by which He fashions all men into a new creation.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
        now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
        and rivers in the desert.
The wild beasts will honor me,
        the jackals and the ostriches,
for I give water in the wilderness,
        rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
        the people whom I formed for myself
that they might declare my praise.  (Isa 43:19-21)
And again:
By myself I have sworn;
        from my mouth has gone out in righteousness
        a word that shall not return:
To me every knee shall bow,
        every tongue shall swear allegiance.  (Isa 45:23)
If, then, it is not possible that these shall not take place, because God’s foreknowledge is not faltering and His design not changeable, nor His will inefficacious nor His promise false, then all, without any exception, about whom these predictions were made are saved.  He establishes His laws in their understanding and writes them with His finger in their hearts, so that they recognize God not through the working of human learning, but through the working of the Supreme Instructor….  In all is implanted the fear that makes them keep the commandments of God.  A road is opened in the desert, the parched land is watered with streams.  They who formerly did not open their mouths to praise God but like dumb and irrational animals had taken on the ferocity of beasts, now, having drunk at the fountain of the divine pronouncements, bless and praise God and recount the power and wonders of His mercy, how He chose them and adopted them to be His sons and made them heirs of the New Testament.

Prosper of Aquitaine, The Call of All Nations 1.9

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Word Becomes Sweet to the Soul

Whenever, then, the Word of God enters into the ears of the body through the ministry of the preachers, the action of the divine power fuses with the sound of a human voice, and He who is the inspirer of the preacher’s office is also the strength of the hearer’s heart.  The food of the Word becomes sweet to the soul; the darkness of old is expelled by new light; the interior eye is freed from the cataracts of the ancient error; the soul passes from one will to another, and although the will that is driven out lingers on for a while, yet the newborn one claims for itself all that is better in man, so that the law of sin and the law of God do not dwell in the same way and together in the same man.

Prosper of Aquitaine, The Call of All Nations 1.8

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Not Because of Our Virtue

In you, O Lord, do I take refuge;
        let me never be put to shame;
        in your righteousness deliver me!
Incline your ear to me;
        rescue me speedily!
Be a rock of refuge for me,
        a strong fortress to save me!
For you are my rock and my fortress;
        and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me;
you take me out of the net they have hidden for me,
        for you are my refuge.
Into your hand I commit my spirit;
        you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.  (Psa 31:1-5)

The sin covered me in deep shame, [David] is saying, but I pray this may not long remain with me owing to my confidence placed in you.  Do not fix your eyes on my sin, but on the lawlessness of my pursuers.  By applying this righteous verdict, you will free me from the calamities besetting me.  Heed my prayer, and give me prompt help.

He said this* also in the eighteenth psalm, indicating God’s manifold care.… Now it is likely the Old Testament term agreed with that in the Gospels, which give a glimpse of the prudent person building the house on the rock, which the force neither of winds nor of rain and floods ruined on account of its stability: You will accord me providence of every kind on account of your name, in which I trusted.  Now, through all the verses occurring here we learn the measure of his prudence.  His appeal for divine assistance is made on the basis not of his own virtue but of God’s name and of God’s righteousness and because he hoped in him.

Theodore of Mopsuestia, Commentary on Psalms 1-81
Trans., Robert C. Hill

*  I.e., rock of refuge and fortress

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

You Have Nothing Apart from the Author of Life

He is eternal wisdom, eternal truth, eternal goodness, eternal justice, He is, in short, the eternal light of all virtues, and all that is virtue is God.  Unless He works in us, we cannot be partakers of any virtue.  For indeed without this Good nothing is good, without this Light nothing is bright, without this Wisdom, nothing is wise, without this Justice nothing is right.  For the Lord says through the mouth of Isaiah, I am, I am, the Lord, and there is no one besides me who saves;* and Jeremiah says, I know, O Lord, that the way of a man is not in himself; neither is it in a man to direct his steps.

Prosper of Aquitaine, The Call of All Nations 1.8

*  Isaiah 43:11
†  Jeremiah 10:23

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Consider the Steadfast Love of the Lord

Ever notice how Christians tend to emphasize the wrong things and then let it permeate into its subculture?  I was reminded of this while reading Psalm 107.  Verses 2-3 say this:
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so
        whom he has redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands,
        from the east and from the west,
        from the north and from the south.
The first stanza is a popular line, but what does it mean?  The redeemed are to say something, but what about?  If you look at 20th-century music lyrics, the answer is that the redeemed are to proclaim that they are redeemed.  Here are two examples:

Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So       Let The Redeemed
W. C. Martin & John H. Sarchet (1914)Ward Ellis (1978)
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
All my sins are washed away,
And my night is turned to day;
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.
I’m redeemed.  I’m redeemed.
Praise the Lord!

Preachers picked up on this theme and taught it to eager listeners as a slogan to excite evangelism: let people know that Christ has redeemed you and changed your life.  While this is certainly valid, the problem with this popular use is that the psalm has a different emphasis.  The theme of Psalm 107 is found in the first verse:
Oh give thanks the Lord, for he is good,
        for his steadfast love endures forever!
This is the message the redeemed are to proclaim—the Lord’s steadfast love.  The psalmist develops four scenarios in which the Lord provided provided a solution:

Scenario     Solution
Lost in desert places, hungering and thirsting
Imprisoned as a consequence of rebelling against God’s commands
Suffering because of foolish iniquities
Great natural calamity while conducting business
    Lost received a path
    Prisoners received freedom, light, and life
    Foolish received healing and deliverance
    Merchants received peace

Each group, being in great distress, cried to the only One able to meet their need.  This the Lord did faithfully and graciously, demonstrating this love for which all are encouraged to give thanks.  And it is not as if these solutions are supplied through physical means.  Each manifested solution is delivered through God’s word, as explicitly stated in verse 20 and are expected according to promise in Psalm 119:

        Psalm 119:35 – Path
        Psalm 119:105 – Lamp and light
        Psalm 119:28, 95 – Healing and Deliverance
        Psalm 119:165 – Peace

The psalmist summarizes God’s power and ability to move heaven and earth in his people’s favor in blessing the land for abundance (Psa 107:33-38), then in his righteous acts to work for good what sinful man had perpetrated against one another (Psa 107:39-42).  He then ends with a call to carefully consider what the Almighty does and why.
Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;
        let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.  (Psa 107:43)
Only through the working of the word, whether inscrupturated or incarnated, can any of this come to pass.  The promise to which the psalm pointed is now found in Jesus Christ.  He has accomplished all that was required to enlighten, heal, deliver, and give a path with ultimate peace.  Jesus is the ultimate demonstration of Him who is the embodiment of love.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Your Self-Effort Cannot Make You Good Enough

We have all become like one who is unclean,
        and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
        and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
There is no one who calls upon your name,
        who rouses himself to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
        and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.  (Isaiah 64:6-7)

[W]e have all lost the integrity of our nature through the sin of the first man.  Hence followed mortality, hence the manifold corruption of body and mind, ignorance and difficulty, useless cares, unlawful desires, sacrilegious aberrations, vain fears, harmful love, unholy pleasures, blamable designs, and as great a host of woes as of sins.  With these and other evils assailing human nature, with faith lost, hope abandoned, the intellect blinded, the will enslaved, no one finds in himself the means of a restoration.  Although some tried, guided by their natural reason, to resist vices, the life of decency they led here on earth was sterile.  They did not acquire true virtues and attain eternal happiness.  Without worship of the true God even what has the appearance of virtue is sin.  No one can please God without God.

Prosper of Aquitaine, The Call of All Nations 1.7

Friday, March 21, 2014

Proof Positive!

Finally, I have empirical evidence that of my qualifications to teach the Bible.  Are you speaking of your seminary degree?  No, I have better.

Seminary Office #1 Seminary Office #2
Dr. Cameron MacKenzie, Historical Theology
Dr. Walter Maier, Exegetical Theology

My Home Office

Any questions?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Completely Done Is Not Redone

Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the Law.  They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things.  For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.”  (Heb 8:4-5)

So if the priesthood according to the Law also came to an end, and the High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek offered sacrifice and made further sacrifices unnecessary, why do the priests of the New Covenant perform the sacramental liturgy?  It is clear to those versed in divine things, however, that it is not another sacrifice we offer.  Rather we perform the commemoration of the one, saving sacrifice.  The Lord himself, remember, required this of us, “Do this in remembrance of me,” so that we should recall with insight the type of the sufferings undergone for us, kindle love for the benefactor, and look forward to the enjoyment of the good things to come.

Theodoret of Cyrus, “The Epistle to the Hebrews”

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Law and Gospel from Elihu the Buzite

White Horse Inn is doing a short series on the gospel in Job.  The latest podcast took up Elihu’s response to Job and his three friends.  Elihu has been listening patiently and attentively hoping to to find wisdom in the conversation of the older men.  Job has been pleading his cause: no intentional unrighteousness has been committed:
Surely you have spoken in my ears,
        and I have heard the sound of your words.
You say, “I am pure, without transgression;
        I am clean, and there is no iniquity in me.
Behold, he finds occasions against me,
        he counts me as his enemy,
he puts my feet in the stocks
        and watches all my paths.”  (Job 33:8-11)
Elihu rebuts with a weighty blow:
Behold, in this you are not right.  I will answer you,
        for God is greater than man.
Why do you contend against him,
        saying, “He will answer none of man’s words”?
For God speaks in one way,
        and in two, though man does not perceive it.
In a dream, in a vision of the night,
        when deep sleep falls on men,
        while they slumber on their beds,
then he opens the ears of men
        and terrifies them with warnings,
that he may turn man aside from his deed
        and conceal pride from a man;
he keeps back his soul from the pit,
        his life from perishing by the sword.  (Job 33:12-18)
Elihu reminds Job that God is responding but in a way he is not recognizing.  Though Job may not have committed intentional sin, he is still guilty as a member of the human race.  God has been making himself known.  His holy requirements are ever before them in the everyday affairs of life.  In abundant mercy, God restrains the intentions of mankind’s sinful, self-destructive ways lest a worse calamity befall.  He sends continual reminders of the vast expanse between holy Creator and fallen created.  Still men fail to comprehend the message and has not learned what David wrote: I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you” (Psa 16:2).

As in Job’s case, there are those times when someone is faced with suffering, and death seems certain.  Even then the Lord is extending his grace, and much more than any has considered possible.
Man is also rebuked with pain on his bed
        and with continual strife in his bones,
so that his life loathes bread,
        and his appetite the choicest food.
His flesh is so wasted away that it cannot be seen,
        and his bones that were not seen stick out.
His soul draws near the pit,
        and his life to those who bring death.
If there be for him an angel,
        a mediator, one of the thousand,
        to declare to man what is right for him,
and he is merciful to him, and says,
        “Deliver him from going down into the pit;
        I have found a ransom;
let his flesh become fresh with youth;
        let him return to the days of his youthful vigor”;
then man prays to God, and he accepts him;
        he sees his face with a shout of joy,
and he restores to man his righteousness.
        He sings before men and says:
“I sinned and perverted what was right,
        and it was not repaid to me.
He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit,
        and my life shall look upon the light.” (Job 33:19-28)
“If there be for him an angel, a mediator”—this is the very one for whom Job had sought, yet beyond his imaginings.  This one is sent from God, not to “argue the case of a man with God, as a son of man does with his neighbor” (Job 16:21), but to declare mercy and grace.  That mediator would declare deliverance based on a ransom with the end result that the person is restored better than from where he had fallen.  His righteousness and relationship to the Lord can be restored, and there will be fullness of joy in recounting his wicked, sinful condition that was due punishment but received overflowing mercy and grace.  All this he brings it to pass to bring sinners to himself.
Behold, God does all these things,
        twice, three times, with a man,
to bring back his soul from the pit,
        that he may be lighted with the light of life.  (Job 33:29-30)
The above tale is not a fanciful scenario painted by Elihu to encourage Job, but is a plan organized and implemented by the Lord of Glory himself.  Our mediator, Jesus Christ, was purposefully sent to redeem a people:
This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.  (Acts 2:23)

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.  (Gal 4:4-5)
All this because of his love for us.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  (John 3:16-17)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Our High Priest's Ministry, the Salvation of Men

Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the holy places, in the true tabernacle that the Lord set up, not man.  (Heb 8:1-2)

He left till last the greatest honor, presenting Him seated at the right hand of the throne of majesty.  Aaron, the forebear of priests, remember, who was the first to receive the role of high priesthood, entered the divine sanctuary with fear and trembling, whereas this person has a seat at the right hand.  He included the word minister, of course, because he is treating of a high priest.  What ministry does He discharge after offering Himself once and for all, and no longer offering a further sacrifice?  How is it possible for Him at one and the same time to be seated and to minister?  Only if you were to say the ministry is the salvation of men, which He procures in lordly fashion.… It belongs to a high priest to offer gifts to the God of all.  It was for this reason that the Only-begotten became man, assumed our nature, and offered it for us.

Theodoret of Cyrus, “The Epistle to the Hebrews”

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lamb of God So Pure and Spotless, Lamb of God for Sinners Slain

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 sin 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.  (Heb 7:27-28)

He mentioned two things which those granted the priesthood did not have: they made the sacred offerings unceasingly, and sacrificed for themselves, being also in their own persons sinners in being human.  People subject to sin do not enjoy such confidence in making offerings.  He, on the other hand, does neither—the one because he has no part in sin, and the other because the one sacrifice is adequate for salvation.  While they offered other sacrifices, he offered his own body, being priest and victim in his own person, and as God receiving the gift along with the Father and the Spirit.

Theodoret of Cyrus, “The Epistle to the Hebrews”

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

And He Sought an Opportunity to Betray Him

My companion stretched out his hand against his friends;
        he violated his covenant.
His speech was smooth as butter,
        yet war was in his heart;
his words were softer than oil,
        yet they were drawn swords.  (Psalm 55:20-21)

They were bent on punishing us.  By the analogy with those paying back what they owe on every score and stretching out their hand in repayment, he wanted to bring out that with great relish and haste they treated him with insult and injustice.… They demeaned and insulted God’s law.  Symmachus says in similar terms, “They did violence to the covenant.”  In other words:

  • They transgressed it on every side, either by wanting to hand over the money in the sanctuary to foreigners, or by inflicting foreigners on the nation and completely neglecting the remaining observance of the laws.  For that sin and the transgression of the laws, they cut themselves off and separated from me, emphasizing their anger and hatred for me by their expression and gaze.… Those previously pretending to be close to me and on my side with full heart and affection manifested such anger for me, the pretense being proved by what happened later.
They pressed hard as though from the heart, as from their whole soul and mind.  They applied sweet and pleasing words as though anointing the listener with the fine oil of their words.  But their words were instruments of war.  The word that seemed full of kindness was a pretense, inflicting wounds on the unsuspecting.

Theodore of Mopsuestia, Commentary on Psalms 1-81

Friday, March 7, 2014

Could You Repeat That?

Repetitive songs bore me.  If a Sunday morning’s music set includes a song that has stanzas that repeat multiple times, I simply will not sing.  Contemporary praise music is rife with repetitive lyrics, especially in the bridge, where lyricists are notorious for inserting text that has no connection with the main thought of the piece—a melodic break serving no function in regards to meaning.  Popular composers use this technique to allow for changes in dynamics ranging from piano to forte (or vice versa) to elicit an emotional response anticipating the finale.

Of course, when any of us “old fogies” object to the prevalence of repetition in modern praise music, the oft-used retort is, “What about Psalm 136?  That repeats every other line.”  What about it?  Here is the entire psalm next to a popular praise song written by Matt Maher.

Psalm 136 Your Grace Is Enough
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
        for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
        for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who alone does great wonders,
      for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who by understanding made the heavens,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who made the great lights,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
the sun to rule over the day,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
the moon and stars to rule over the night,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
and brought Israel out from among them,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who divided the Red Sea in two,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who led his people through the wilderness,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who struck down great kings,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
and killed mighty kings,
      for his steadfast love endures forever;
Sihon, king of the Amorites,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
and Og, king of Bashan,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
and gave their land as a heritage,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
a heritage to Israel his servant,
        for his steadfast love endures forever.

It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
and rescued us from our foes,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
he who gives food to all flesh,
        for his steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven,
        for his steadfast love endures forever.
Great is Your faithfulness, oh God
You wrestle with the sinner’s heart
You lead us by still waters and to mercy
And nothing can keep us apart

So remember Your people
Remember Your children
Remember Your promise, Oh God

Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me

Great is Your love and justice, God of Jacob
You use the weak to lead the strong
You lead us in the song of Your salvation
And all Your people sing along

So remember Your people
Remember Your children
Remember Your promise, Oh God

Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me [x2]

So remember Your people
Remember Your children
Remember Your promise, Oh God

Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me

Your grace is enough
Heaven reaching down to us
Your grace is enough for me

God I see your grace is enough
I’m covered in your love
Your grace is enough for me
For me

Both of these works tell of God’s work for his people.  The psalmist begins with a call to thank the Lord himself, then recounts specific events that demonstrate his ongoing care for his people.  Notice how the repetition is used to reinforce that every facet and act of God is worthy of attention, each should be praised and adored, and that in a united voice.

The praise song has similarities with the psalm in that the verses draw our attention to God’s faithfulness in how he deals with men, but commonality ends there.  Each verse is followed by a repetitive call for God to remember his people and promise, ending with an affirmation that God’s grace is sufficient.  This format leaves questions: Remember us for what purpose?  What is the grace sufficient to do?  The purpose of the repetition is to invoke a feeling that I am deprived of something that only the Lord can provide, but that is where the song leaves us.  We have a continual call for the Lord to do something he is able and willing to accomplish, so that a felt need can be quelled, and I can feel good about myself again.

But the praise song feels good to sing, and the psalm is so boring when I read it to myself.

First, fix your theology.  Music is to teach us of God, Christ, etc. (Col 3:16), not draw us inward.  When we sing, the doctrine should be sound and drawing us to the throne of grace, not artificially foment desires and emotions.

Next, try reading the psalm carefully out loud.  Read it in a group with half doing the opening and half the response.  See if that does not help your appreciation.

Last, sing the psalm instead.  They are intended to be sung.  Buy a metrical psalter in modern language.  Learn some chant tones.

Repetition for its own sake is boring and dangerous.  The praise song did not use unbiblical phrases or ideas, but left the singer with an unbiblical end.  If worship music does not lead to the Savior, we have the wrong object of worship.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Whose Sin Captures Your Attention—Yours or Others?

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”  (Luke 18:13)

I preached about the unlawfulness of speaking ill one of another, when I furnished you with a sure subject for self-accusation, suggesting that you should speak ill of your own sins, but should not busy yourselves about those of other people, when I brought forward the saints as accusing themselves indeed, but sparing others:

  • Paul saying I am the chief of sinners, and that God had compassion on him who was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious, [1 Tim 1:13, 15] and calling himself one born out of due time, and not even thinking himself worthy of the title of apostle [1 Cor 15:8-9]
  • Peter saying “Depart from me because I am a sinful man” [Luke 5:8]
  • Matthew styling himself a publican even in the days of his apostleship [Matt 10:3]
  • David crying out and saying “My iniquities have gone over my head, and as a heavy burden have been burdensome to me” [Psa 37:5]
  • Isaiah lamenting and bewailing “I am unclean, and have unclean lips” [Isa 6:5]

John Chrysostom,  Three Homilies on the Devil 1

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

We Draw Near by a Better Hope

For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.  (Heb 7:18-19)

The Law ceases to have effect, he is saying, and the hope of better things is introduced.  It ceases to have effect, not for being evil (the frenzied view of the heretics), but for being ineffective and incapable of providing the perfect benefit.  It must be noted, of course, that he refers to the obsolete prescriptions of the Law as ineffective and useless—circumcision, sabbath observance, and such like things.  The New Testament also bids us observe to a greater extent the commandments: You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, and such like things.  In place of the former, therefore, we receive the hope of good things to come: it relates us to God.  An oath, however, confirms God’s promise for us.

Theodoret of Cyrus, “The Epistle to the Hebrews”

Monday, March 3, 2014

Perfect Sacrifices Require a Perfect Lamb and Priest: God Provided Both

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
    a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
    of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.

And he will swallow up on this mountain
    the covering that is cast over all peoples,
    the veil that is spread over all nations.

He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
    and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
    for the Lord has spoken.

It will be said on that day,
    “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
    This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
    let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”  (Isa 25:6-9)

This was the reason he likened not Christ the Lord to Melchizedek, but Melchizedek to Christ the Lord: one was a type of the other, and the other the realization of the type. [Heb 6:19-20]  In respect of the priesthood, of course, Melchizedek did not imitate Christ the Lord; rather, Christ the Lord is a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.  Being a priest belongs to human being, whereas accepting offerings belongs to God.  Yet by becoming incarnate, the only-begotten son of God also became our high priest according to the order of Melchizedek, not by aggregating to himself the position but by concealing the divine status and accepting the lowly condition for the sake of our salvation.  This is why he was called lamb, sin, curse, way, door, and many other names like that.

Theodoret of Cyrus, “The Epistle to the Hebrews”