Aaron, the high priest, received a special anointing, as Torah says, “Then you shall take the anointing oil and pour it on his head and anoint him” (Exodus 29:7). The Torah refers to the high priest as haKohen haMashiach, (הכהן המשיח), that is, “the anointed priest,” or to put it a different way, “the messiah priest.” Messiah means “anointed one.”
The Bible makes reference to three offices that received a symbolic anointing with oil: the priests, the prophets, and the kings. Yeshua functions in all three. He is the prophet, the priest, and the king. In His first coming, He ministered as a prophet. After His resurrection, He ascended to His priesthood of the order of Melchizedek. When He returns, He will rule from Jerusalem as King.
A golden plate on the high priest’s turban said, “Holy to the LORD.” The high priest, therefore, carried the name of God and acted in the authority of that name. The words “Holy to the LORD” indicated God’s exclusive proprietorship over him. As the Messiah entered into His spiritual role of priesthood after His resurrection, He received the name above every name, as Scripture says, “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9).
The sins of the children of Israel ritually and spiritually defiled the Sanctuary and all its furnishings. The high priest ministered before God, in the name and authority of God, removing the iniquity of Israel from God’s presence within the Sanctuary. Aaron and the high priests after him accomplished this through means of the daily sacrificial service and the annual purification ceremonies of Yom Kippur.
In a similar manner, Yeshua ministers on our behalf. In the name and authority of His Father, He intercedes on our behalf, removing our iniquity from before God—not in the earthly Sanctuary but in the heavenly Sanctuary. This is the priesthood of Messiah:
Messiah Yeshua is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. (Romans 8:34)
Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)
Does this mean that Yeshua has replaced the Aaronic priesthood? Certainly not. As the writer of the book of Hebrews says, “Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Torah; who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things” (Hebrews 8:4-5). The Levitical ceremonies functioned as a “copy and shadow” of the service in the heavenly Temple.