(20) where the forerunner has entered for us, evenJesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
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The Greek word for "forerunner" is prodromos, which is somewhat akin to archegos. Prodromos emphasizes the subject as a scout, one who goes ahead, making sure that the way is safe. How many Western movies have we seen where the great hero was the scout? He went ahead of the westward-bound wagon train to make sure no Indians were lurking on the trail up ahead. The scout was ensuring that the way forward was safe. That is the role that Christ performed for us.
Consider the Tabernacle or Temple. How often in a year's time did the high priest ever go into the Holy of Holies? One time a year, on the Day of Atonement. At the bottom of the hem of the high priest's robe were silver bells, ordered to be sewn there by God Himself. They were there primarily for use on the one day the high priest went into the Holy of Holies. Nobody else was allowed in there on the Day of Atonement, or any other day.
Because God is so holy, so pure, so far above us, it is not good for an impure human to be in His presence unless He permits it and turns the volume down, so to speak. Every time the high priest moved while in the Most Holy Place, the bells tinkled, and so his fellow priests knew he was still alive. It is said the high priest also tied a rope around his ankle just in case he died in the Holy of Holies and his body had to be dragged out! Nevertheless, the bells were on the garment so that the Levites would be assured that this sinful man, who was in the presence of God, had been accepted and allowed to live.
What Jesus Christ has done is similar but far more effective. God has accepted Christ's sacrifice of Himself, and now Christ has entered into the Holy of Holies. He is the scout—the prodromos—who went ahead and made sure that the way was safe for us.
We do not have to wait until the Day of Atonement to go into the presence of God because our prodromos, Jesus Christ, our Forerunner, went there before us, and God accepted Him. Now, under His blood, we can follow Him into the Holy of Holies, into the very presence of God. But for us to be there, He had to endure the sufferings that made Him perfect for the job that has been given to Him (Hebrews 2:10).
We are now in the same process. We are part of His spiritual Body, and to be prepared to work under Him, we must go through a measure of suffering—an intensity not equal to Christ's, but mercifully toned down—to perfect us.
— John W. Ritenbaugh