Jesus' Eternal Priesthood in Hebrews

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Theology (Th.M)


Exegetical Theology

First Advisor

Buist M. Fanning III


Hebrews is the only book in the New Testament which explicitly describes Jesus as a high priest forever, including his priestly work on earth and in heaven. The aim of this thesis is to address the relationship between Jesus' earthly and heavenly priesthood, and the significance of Jesus' eternal priesthood in securing believers' eternal salvation in Hebrews.

The author of Hebrews quotes or alludes to Psalm 110 a number of times in Hebrews to underscore Jesus' receiving his exalted Sonship and priesthood simultaneously. Jesus' priesthood, after the order of Melchizedek, is not only different from but also superior to the Levitical priesthood because of his installation with an irrevocable oath from God, his permanence, and his sinlessness. Melchizedek, as a historical figure in Geneses 14, is a type of Jesus in terms of the name and title of king- priest, the absence of priestly lineage, and the "living on" character of the priesthood.

Jesus is not only a high priest appearing in the heavenly sanctuary, but also a high priest during his earthly life. The time of Jesus' becoming a high priest is a "complex" moment combining his death and his exaltation. Jesus began his priestly role during his earthly life, especially by offering himself as sacrifice on the cross, whereas he was formally installed as Melchizedekian high priest at his exaltation into heaven to continue his priesthood, especially by making intercession for believers. Jesus' heavenly intercession is based on his sacrificial offering on earth, his sympathetic character in being fully man, and his eternal nature in being fully God. Both his earthly and heavenly priesthood are complementary and interconnected.

In conclusion, Jesus' eternal priesthood is "perfect" in terms of his qualification as a perfect high priest both on earth and in heaven. On the one hand, he offered himself as a perfect sacrifice once for all; on the other hand, he permanently lives in the presence of God to make intercession on behalf of the believers. Because of the perfection of his earthly and heavenly priesthood, Jesus is able to completely secure the believers' eternal salvation into glory.


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