I’ve recently written an article on how Christ’s resurrection intersects with his messianic offices of prophet, priest, and king, so I found this statement by Stephen Charnock interesting, which I came across at Fuller Seminary’s library last week while working on a new project on Christ’s intercession:
“Had not Christ been glorified, the offices conferred upon him by his Father could not have been executed; his prophetical, priestly, and royal functions could not have been exercised, to which he was chosen by God, and without which he could not have been a Savior to us. He had been a sacrifice, without being a priest; a king, without possessing a throne; a prophet, without a chair to teach in; at least none of these offices could have been managed in a way worthy of himself, unless he had been in a glorious condition, and his humanity in a glorious place” (in The Complete Works of Stephen Charnock, vol. 5, p. 59).
Through pp. 59-64 he gives various arguments for how each office would have been incomplete without Christ’s resurrection and ascension to heaven. The most interesting to me was his first argument for why ascension was necessary for Christ’s priestly ministry:
“He had not done the whole work of a priest had he remained upon the earth…. After he had offered himself a sacrifice upon the cross, it was no less necessary for him to ascend in person, and carry the treasures of his blood with him, to be laid up in that repository, to be sprinkled in the heavenly places, and remain for ever as a mark in the true sanctuary, as a treasure of perpetual merit. The legal priest was also to burn incense in the holy place. By incense in Scripture is frequently meant prayer. If Christ be not then an intercessor in heaven, there is no analogy between the type and antitype. This intercession, a great part of his priestly office, could no more have been managed but in heaven than the oblation, the first part of his office, could have been performed anywhere but on earth.”
This is something I want to keep exploring as I research Christ’s intercession. It seems to me that trying to relate Leviticus 16 (type) to Christ’s earthly atonement and heavenly intercession (anti-type) becomes very complicated very quickly. I think it would be worth the time to get some more clarity on this.