"This is the resting place, let the weary rest; and this
is the place of repose"—
"We have a great high priest who has gone through the
heavens." Hebrews 4:14
We never can recline too often or too devoutly under this
Palm-shade of most divine comfort. The great Apostle felt the special
delight of reposing under its fronds. He speaks of other favorite trees in
the sacred grove under which he loved to repose; but he would seem to
reserve this for the last in the enumeration; singling it out with peculiar
emphasis amid its peers—"Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was
raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for
us" (Rom. 8:34). Elevating and delightful, truly, is the contemplation
of Jesus seated "at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven,
and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not
by man" (Heb. 8:2); pleading the merits of His obedience and death on behalf
of His Church and people!
The Temple-service of old was the shadow of these sublime
heavenly things. The Jewish High Priest, having offered on the great day of
Atonement the sacrificial offering on the altar of burned-offering, attired
himself in a dress of pure white linen—linen robes, and linen girdle, and
linen mitre, white from head to foot. Thus arrayed, he carried the blood
in one hand, and the censer of live coals in the other, into the Most
Holy place. Beating small some fragrant incense, he mixed it with the
burning coals. A grateful cloud arose; the whole Temple-court was fragrant
with the perfume, and enveloped in smoke.
Significant type, surely, of Him who has entered, through
the rent veil of His own crucified body, into the Holiest of all; carrying
with Him the memorials of His precious blood-shedding and the fragrant
incense of His adorable merits! As the Jewish High Priest sprinkled the
blood on the pavement before the mercy-seat, as well as on the
mercy-seat; so, our Divine Intercessor sprinkled His blood first on the
floor of earth where He shed it, and now He sprinkles it on the throne of
heaven. There, with the true incense and fire, He pleads. Attired in the
white linen vesture of His perfect obedience and righteousness, He confesses
His people's sins—He stands between the congregation in the outer court of
earth and the Divine Shekinah glory. He waves the fragrant censer—and the
whole heavenly house is filled with the odor of the incense. Him "the Father
always hears" (John 11:42). They are His own remarkable words, "In that day
you will no longer ask Me anything. I tell you the truth, My Father will
give you whatever you ask in My Name" (John 16:23). How prevailing that
'Name' and that plea must be, when we look to the host of petitioners who
are warranted to use it!
It is a beautiful part of the vision of the
Covenant-angel in Revelation, with "the censer full of much incense" in His
hand, that they are "the prayers of ALL saints," which, perfumed with His
spotless merits, ascend before God's throne and are accepted! (Rev. 8:3.) It
is not merely the pleadings of patriarchs and prophets, apostles and
martyrs—men strong in faith giving glory to God; but the groan, the glance,
the tear, the tremulous aspiration of smitten penitents, the very lisping of
infant tongues; the unlettered morning and evening petitions of the cottage
home, where the earthen floor is knelt upon—where the only altar is the
altar of the lowly heart, and the sacrifice that of a broken and contrite
It may be affirmed of the Father, regarding one and all
of these pleas of the Divine Intercessor, in the prophetic words of the
Psalmist—"You have given Him His heart's desire, and have not withheld the
request of His lips" (Ps. 21:2). Yes, He has a loving regard for each
separate child of His redeemed family; He carries the case of each before
God. The one hundred and forty-four thousand harpers on the sea of glass—the
representatives of the Church of the glorified—do not exclude His tender
concern in those who are still suppliants in the outer courts. He has
the name of each separate believer imperishably engraved on His heart. He,
the Gracious Shepherd, seated on the Everlasting Hills, and looking down on
the earthly pastures, "calls His own sheep by name and leads them out." And
that personal intercession will never cease, from the hour when the believer
is first brought a lowly suppliant to the foot of the cross, until the final
petition (unheard by weeping relatives in the death-chamber on earth)
ascends from the lips of the Great Intercessor in heaven—"Father, I want
those You have given Me, to be with Me where I am, and to see My glory."
The Jewish High Priest acted as the nation's Intercessor
for one day only—once every year—and for only a part of that one day.
But, day and night is our Intercessor pleading. He never ceases His
intercessions; His love never cools; His ardor never decays! The true Moses
on the Heavenly Rephidim, His hands never grow heavy; for of Him it is
sublimely said, "He faints not, neither is weary."
Even on earth, what a joy and comfort it is, in seasons
of difficulty, to turn to a tried and loving friend, in whose tenderness and
affection we can place unhesitating reliance! What an ease to unbosom in a
brother's ear the difficulty that is harassing us, and solicit his wise and
faithful counsel! Jesus is this blessed resort—"the Wonderful
Counselor" (Isa. 9:6 marg.).
"O gracious Lord, ascended up on high!
You Great High Priest within the Temple veil;
To all that call upon You ever nigh,
'Prince who has power with God, and must prevail.'
"Let down Your golden censer from above;
And let our waiting souls the blessings share,
Which You have promised to all those, who love
To gather round the hallowed gates of prayer!"
"What is it? What is your request? It will be given you."