The Intercession of Christ For Sinners
By J.R. Ensey

“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

The Tabernacle in the Wilderness provided the type and setting for the amazing truth that would later be conveyed in this verse by the writer of Hebrews. The earthly Tabernacle in the Wilderness was patterned after the Tabernacle in Heaven (Hebrews 8:5)1, having the same instruments, items, spaces and purpose as the Tabernacle. It featured a Holy Place, Most Holy Place, and a Mercy Seat upon which the atoning blood of the sacrifice was to be sprinkled.

The role played by the earthly Tabernacle was that a sacrifice (a bullock) without blemish was to be brought and slain upon the altar on the Day of Atonement. The High Priest would enter the Holy Place, the first room inside the Tabernacle, where the table of shewbread, the golden menorah, and the altar of incense were situated. He would offer the incense, then return to the outer court to get the the bowl of the bullock’s blood from the brazen altar. He would reenter the Holy Place but proceed past the thick veil into the Most Holy Place where stood the Ark of the Covenant, containing the stones upon which the ten commandments were inscribed, the rod of Aaron which had miraculously budded, and a container of manna, the food that sustained the Israelites on their wilderness journey. The lid of the Ark was overshadowed by two golden cherubim. Underneath their wings, which touched over the middle of the Ark, was the Mercy Seat, toward and beyond which the High Priest would sprinkle the atoning blood (Leviticus 16:14). When this was done, the sins of the Hebrew people were rolled ahead one year (Leviticus 16:34) until the day of atonement the following year.

This earthly process would be displaced by Christ’s intercessory sacrifice on Calvary. His mediation and interposition for sinners came into sharp focus during the days just prior to His death. His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane expressed an extraordinary passion for the lost. As He prayed, sweat like great drops of blood fell from His brow. Shortly afterward, when Christ, the literal Son of God, died on Calvary, His sacrifice would be honored in Heaven as the means of salvation for all people everywhere. The resurrected and glorified High Priest would apply, either physically or in a symbolic way, His own blood to the heavenly Mercy Seat, just as it had been done by the Hebrew priests in the Tabernacle and Temple in Old Testament times. This blood, however, shed by the man Christ Jesus and applied on the Mercy Seat in Heaven, was a “once for all” event (Hebrews 9:24; 10:10).

All persons in the present age could now take advantage of His intercession through the exercise of faith and obedience. The process enforces the view that the fleshly man, Jesus the Christ, was the sinless Son of God in whom the Spirit dwelt without measure (II Corinthians 5:19; John 3:34). After His death and resurrection, He ascended into Heaven (Acts 1:9) to perform the duties of our “great high priest” (Hebrews 4:14-16). He now sits on the throne of authority in Heaven (Revelation 4:2) until the Sonship administration is past. His intercessory and redemptive work was completed and stands available to all people—“whosoever will”—who come by faith and obedience under the forgiving and cleansing power of His blood (Ephesians 1:7; I John 1:7). His work qualified Him to mediate between God and men since He had the essence of both (I Timothy 2:5). It is our personal choice to exercise that option.

This process has no negative effect on the doctrine of the Oneness of God, who is a single and invisible Spirit (John 4:24; Ephesians 5:4-6) and cannot die (Isaiah 40:28). He was made visible in the life and ministry of Christ, “the express image” of God the Father (Hebrews 1:3). Although Jesus was God in flesh (I Timothy 3:16), the flesh itself was not God but human, which could die. Today Jesus in a glorified state sits on God’s throne since it is through His intercession that all men might be saved in this era. His blood is applied to wash away our sins through faith and obedience (John 3:36 NLT) to the commands spoken by Christ and the apostles (John 3:5; Acts 2:38; 10:44-48; 19:2-6; 22:16; et al).

Jesus, the glorified Son of God, does not go to the Father to verbally plead for each individual believer. There is no scriptural record or indication expressed of intercessory prayer containing verbal dialogue between Father and Son now as there had been in the “days of his flesh” (Hebrews 5:7; Psalm 65:2). Intercession was done on earth and accepted in Heaven. Sinners who now come for cleansing from sin through faith and obedience receive already guaranteed and assured intercession by the Son’s shed blood. Again, intercession was accomplished once for all when the blood from Calvary was sprinkled upon the Mercy Seat in Heaven. No repetition of this act or verbal intercession by Christ for each individual is suggested in Scripture. It does not have to be regenerated as each person comes to God; it is always available. Any and all who thirst for forgiveness and peace with God may drink of the water of life freely (Revelation 22:17). Anyone may tap into the source of eternal life through faith and its expression in obedience to God’s plan of salvation; it is always available.

Once the perfect sacrifice was presented and accepted by God then our access to that sacrifice is not in the re-presentation of it but in our acceptance of it. The repeated presentation of the blood to the Father is the core tenant of the Catholic Mass. As Catholic Bishop Fulton J. Sheen said, “But how is it made visible? Where shall we find Calvary perpetuated? We shall find Calvary renewed, re-enacted, re-presented, as we have seen, in the Mass. Calvary is one with the Mass, and the Mass is one with Calvary.”2 This seems to negate the “once for all” sacrifice of Christ. It is our entering into and participation in the sacrifice that imputes its virtue to us. It is not offered again, but we must enter into it. As the author of Hebrews informs the abusers of the grace of God, if they “go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26 NIV). The sacrifice was offered once for all humanity, and does not need to be offered again.

The Sonship Administration

In this “dispensation of the gospel” (I Corinthians 9:17), “until the times have reached their fulfillment” (Ephesians 1:10 NIV), the “administration of God’s grace,” (Ephesians 3:2 NIV) is preached and its focus is the ministry and intercession of Christ for sinners. I will call it what the Scriptures suggest—the Sonship Administration. God speaks and works through the risen Christ (Hebrews 1:1-3). At a point in the future, the Sonship administration of the glorified Christ will end and He “shall have delivered up the kingdom to the Father….that God may be all in all” (I Corinthians 15:24-28). When He speaks today, it is God speaking. The glorified Christ is God’s mouthpiece in this era. When Saul of Tarsus was confronted by a light and a voice from Heaven on the Damascus Road, he asked, “Who art thou, Lord?” (Acts 9:5,6) He was addressing the Hebrews’ God of the OT, the One in which he had believed since his youth. The answer shot back: “I am Jesus!” That was God speaking—He who had claimed to now hold “all power in Heaven and earth” (Matthew 28:18).

What kind of being is the ascended and glorified Christ now in Heaven? Is He fleshly as when upon earth? Evidently not. Is He total spirit? No, for Stephen apparently saw the visible Jesus as he was being stoned. This question seems to muddle the matter of His intercession for some. Truthfully, we probably do not have words to adequately describe the Savior in His present state. Paul apparently did not: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (I John 3:2). He transcends His earthly position and experience. As the glorified Christ, still the visible expression of the eternal Father, He speaks and acts as God because, indeed, He is God in visible form. He can hear and answer prayer, expressing divinity as well as humanity. He stands between us and judgment for our sins—our Mediator, our Intercessor, “the Advocate with the Father....and he himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but also for the whole world” (I John 2:1-2).

In the Book of Revelation Jesus revealed Himself as “the Lord God of the holy prophets,” saying, “I, Jesus...” (Revelation 22:6,16). Jesus spoke personally and prophetically when He said, “I will be his God” (Revelation 21:7). If someone sees into Heaven, who will they see there—two persons, the Son going to the Father to seek mercy against divine judgment each time a sinner repents and is baptized? Very few scholars, regardless of their concept of the Godhead, would view that scenario as biblically accurate. The permanent work of intercession was done when the blood touched Heaven’s Mercy Seat. It is through that blood, available at any time, that all men are able to find immediate forgiveness and peace with God (Ephesians 1:7).

Again, when Stephen was being stoned, he saw into Heaven where Jesus was standing in the position of power and authority (Acts 7:56): “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:58,59). Stephen was correct in calling upon God, saying, “Lord Jesus...” since it was He who identifies Himself as “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, first and the last, saith the Lord, which is and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8). He was speaking as the one true God, for there can only be one Almighty. Isaiah drew his pen as a sword and declared that the coming Christ would rightly be called “the mighty God, the everlasting Father” (Isaiah 9:6). What an amazing and revelatory statement.

If we were to go to Heaven today looking for God, an angel would point us to Jesus Christ. God was and is in Christ (II Corinthians 5:19). No one but Jesus has seen the Father, an invisible Spirit (John 1:18; 6:46). God is invisible Spirit (John 4:24) until He manifests Himself in some visible form. In the days of His flesh, Jesus said, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). He is God’s Word—His visible expression in this era of the Sonship (John 1:1). He is said to be the power and wisdom of God (I Corinthians 1:24). All who know Him personally recognize the validity of that claim.

Paul explained to the Romans that Jesus was God over all: “Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are their ancestors, and Christ himself was an Israelite as far as his humanity is concerned. And he is God, the one who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen” (Romans 9:5 NLT). The apostle later told the Ephesian elders: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). It is interesting that the church is called the “church of God” (Acts 20:28) but Christ called it “my church” (Matthew 16:18). The Bible speaks of the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33) and then expounds about “the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 1:11 NIV). As those kingdoms relate to us, they are one and the same just as God and Christ are one. It is quite obvious the terms “God” and “Christ” or “Jesus” were used interchangeably by the Bible writers. (See: Matthew 1:23; Mark 2:5-7; John 1:1,18; 8:58; Colossians 2:9; et al). Even their names, Yahweh and Jesus, are alike in their meaning with both expressing salvific power. Their purpose is the same because, in the strictest sense, they are truly one (John 10:30; 17:21,22).3

These facts have been emphasized that we may grasp with clarity that Christ does not need to approach another divine entity to make intercessory pleas. He is the “agency” through whom God issues all the blessings and benefits of atonement, including the forgiveness of sins (Romans 5:11; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14) As long as Christ lives, any and all persons who sincerely come to Him seeking forgiveness and pardon for their transgressions find them in faith and obedience (Hebrews 7:5).

While Jesus did pray to the Father during His time on earth (Luke 22:44; Psalm 65:2), He is not now in the same precise form or position as then. His humanity completed His intercession for us in the Garden and on the cross, but that was in the days of His flesh. He is now glorified, clothed upon with a heavenly body not made in the likeness or the fashion of His earthly frame. He used that body to perform the necessities involved in redemption. He is now able to lead those who follow Him into their own immortal bodies. Wrestling with human frailties and weaknesses, we groan “earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven” (II Corinthians 5:2).

How can that be achieved? Paul addresses that question in Philippians 2:5-11 (NET): “You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had,6 who though he existed in the form of God[c]

did not regard equality with God
as something to be grasped,
7 but emptied himself
by taking on the form of a slave,
by looking like other men,
and by sharing in human nature.
8 He humbled himself,
by becoming obedient to the point of death
—even death on a cross!
9 As a result God highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus
every knee will bow
—in heaven and on earth and under the earth—
11 and every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord
to the glory of God the Father.”

[Translators’ footnote for [c]: “The Greek term translated form indicates a correspondence with reality. Thus the meaning of this phrase is that Christ was truly God.” This passage was left in its poetic style in which it was likely written.]

The Scriptures regarding the Godhead are quite plain when viewed through the lens of the understanding of His oneness. The binitarian and trinitarian concepts that were developed centuries after Christ and forced upon professing Christians by prelates and kings muddled the thinking of many scholars and translators, as well as average readers of the Bible. The Oneness view of God simplifies the Scriptures. Paul had warned early believers about those who “quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions...[because]...I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (I Timothy 6:4 NLT; II Corinthians 11:3).

Simply stated, Christ was/is God in visible form, who sacrificed His human life on Calvary to provide sinless blood to satisfy God’s judgment against believing and obedient sinners, and who is now acting in His glorified capacity of continuous intercessor for all who come to God through Him.


The sacrifice of Christ on Calvary was a one-time event that provided forgiveness and redemption for all sinners. His blood cleanses the penitent when the full gospel message is believed and obeyed. That “[Christ] ever liveth to make intercession” simply means that as long as sinners need salvation from sin, it is available through His death on Calvary, and is in continuous and immediate availability. Forgiveness and acceptance into the kingdom of God are obtained when faith motivates one to fully obey the gospel. Intercession is not something that sends Christ to the Father to plead for forgiveness of individual penitent. He sits in His position of power and authority as the constant arbiter whose blood was accepted on the Mercy Seat of Heaven to once for all to close the rift between God and men that was created by sin.

Words fail us to adequately express in detail how God designed and governs the redemptive process for us humans. What we do know is that God through Christ made a way for sins to be forgiven and washed away. In the era of time in which we live, faith and obedience places us under the covering of Christ’s blood and in right standing with God. Our response to His redemptive work on our behalf was explained by Paul to Titus: “And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds” (Titus 2:12-14 NLT).

We are fortunate to live in this time period. What a privilege is ours to have Christ Himself speak for us by His blood (Hebrews 12:24), making continuous intercession for us.


1. Scripture quotations in this document are taken from the King James Version unless otherwise indicated.
2. Fulton J. Sheen, Calvary and the Mass (Online at; 1936; Prologue.
3. Some may object to the usage of plural pronouns, such as “they,” when speaking of Christ and the Father. They are accurately used since the Sonship of Christ is yet in place. Although Jesus said, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30), He also stated their relationship in plural terms, as in John 14:23: “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (italics mine). This distinction wasn’t a reference to multiple deities but merely contrasting the eternal Spirit of God and the fleshly man Christ Jesus, who was on earth at the time. This distinction is also made in I Corinthians 15:24-28.

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