High Priest

The high priest held the top religious office in Israel. He was responsible for the main sacrifice on the Day of Atonement. The book of Hebrews also calls Jesus (Yeshua‘) a priest but in Hebrews 10:21 “great priest” is a literal translation of cohen hagadol, the Hebrew term for the high priest.

Jesus brought a new covenant and was also both the priest and the sacrifice necessary to implement it. He succeeded where the old priesthood and sacrifices were inadequate (Heb. 10:1, 12). To be the prefect priest Jesus had to be perfectly human and perfectly divine. Hebrews emphasizes a third qualification, that He is of the order of Melchizedek (instead of Levi), without genealogy, and that God appointed Him to the office (Heb. 5:5-6). Jesus’ work as high priest continues now and forever in intercession (Heb. 7:25; 9:24).

High Priest pictured in the Greek text of Hebrews 3:1.

High Priest in the Greek text of Hebrews 3:1.

High Priest in Greek:


Strong’s Concordance number: 749

Bible references: Heb. 2:17; 3:1; 4:14-15; 5:10; 7:26; 8:1; 9:11; 10:21 (KJV)

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession. (Hebrews 3:1)

Other names of Jesus emphasize what He does in His priestly role. He is the Mediator of a new covenant and a minister in the sanctuary.