Troublesome Topic: A High Priest that Never Dies

Lesson 3 of 5

That fact that Jesus is our High Priest, accompanied by the reality that He will never die, has another implication. This one would be cause for concern if all things remained the same – which they did not.

In Numbers 35:25-28 we see that someone who had killed someone accidentally could flee to a city of refuge to get away from the “avenger of blood,” i.e. a relative of the dead person who wanted to kill the person who had caused the accident. The one who had caused the death had to stay within the walls of the city of refuge until the death of the High Priest. But what does the High Priest have to do with it?

The death of the High Priest marked the end of an era. In God’s eyes, the High Priest was the most important person in the nation, even more important than a king. So his death marked the end of an era. With the beginning of the new era, under a new High Priest, everyone was given a fresh start. This was a demonstration of God’s mercy and grace.

Therefore, if the avenger of blood killed the person he had been pursuing after the death of the High Priest, it would be considered murder and he would suffer the death penalty.

Jesus is now our High Priest and He is more important than a human High Priest. But since he lives forever and never dies, when do we get a fresh start? God foresaw this problem and He addressed the issue long before it became an issue. God inspired Jeremiah to write Lamentations 3:22 & 23

Lamentations 3:22


It is through the mercies

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of YHVH (read Adonai) that we are not destroyed,

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for His compassions

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never end.


It is on account of the loving mercy of THE ETERNAL AND PERSONAL GOD that we are not judged with eternal punishment; for His compassion toward us never ends.

Lamentations 3:23



His loving mercy and compassion are new and fresh at the breaking of each new day. Great is your faithfulness [to yourself]!

Why does my paraphrase say, “faithfulness to yourself”? The text does not tell us who He is faithful to; it expects us to know it or to figure it out. Is it faithfulness to me, as the old hymn says? No. God is faithful to His nature and His character. II Timothy 2:13 says “If we are faithless, He is the one who will remain faithful, for He is not able to deny Himself.” There is nothing within us that can oblige God to show us mercy, grace, love, and compassion. But His own inner qualities do indeed oblige Him to show us those things.

Hebrew 7:12 says that “Whenever the priesthood is changed, of necessity, a change of the law takes place also.” We know that the New Covenant brought a change in the priesthood, and we know that, as subjects of the New Covenant, we only need to follow the principles put forth in the Former Covenant, not its regulations. Another thing that changed was the length of time one had to wait to get a fresh start. What Jeremiah wrote in Lamentations was descriptive of God’s desire all along, but it was not part of the written law in the Former Covenant. At that time, it was only a hint of better things to come. The shortened time of waiting became the established norm with the coming of the New Covenant.

God decided that, when it comes to people who need a fresh start, a new era begins every dawn. God did not make it something equal to the former system, such as an average lifespan, He made it far better. We do not need to wait for decades to get a fresh start. Instead, because God is faithful to Himself, a fresh start is offered every dawn!

The next lesson in the Full and Medium series on Covenants is: Life Is Normal Death Is Abnormal



This Hebrew word is difficult to render in English because it has so many aspects and connotations. It often means “kindness,” but it is much more than kindness as we know it. This type of kindness also includes “mercy, goodness, love, piety, faithfulness, affection, favor and pity.” The phrase “lovingkindness” has become the most common way to express the word in English. I have rendered it as “mercies” in my translation because relenting from punishment is more closely tied to mercy than anything else, and as “loving mercy” in my paraphrase to show that there are multiple layers of meaning in this word.


This verb has root the meaning of “finished” and from it grow other meanings such as “completed, destroyed, consumed, exhausted, filled.”


This is first of all the word “womb;” it came to mean “compassion” as the affection one had toward a sibling because he had come from the same womb.


This word means both “new and fresh.”


While this word is often rendered “morning,” it is specific to “the point in time when light begins to penetrate the darkness.” Thus it means “daybreak, or dawn.”


This word can mean “many, great or chief.” Here “great” works best because it is followed by a singular noun.


This word can be rendered “fidelity, faithfulness, firmness, steadfastness.”