A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD
Leslie M. John
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9)
1 Peter 2:9 lists the position of believers in the sight of our living God. Believers in Christ are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people and then it lists the responsibilities of believer towards the One who has given such status before him. God called us from out of darkness into marvelous light in order that we may worship him, praise him and bear a good testimony for him.
The priests in the Old Testament period were required to offer sacrifices for themselves and then for the congregation which they were heading. It differed as the times changed and the way they offered sacrifices varied in different time periods.
Until the Mosaic Law came into existence individual saints in the Old Testament offered Sacrifices all by themselves that entitled them to be called as priests; and after the Law was proposed the entire congregations of the children of Israel were called the ”Kingdom of Priests”, but because they violated the Law the priestly office was confined to the tribe of Levi. Aaron and his sons became the priests. The high priest could enter the Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle only once a year on the ‘Day of Atonement’.
There are at least four individuals who can be taken for consideration. (1) Noah (2) Abraham (3) Isaac and (4) Jacob
•Noah built an altar unto the Lord and offered clean beast, and clean fowl as burnt offerings on the altar. (Genesis 8:20)
•Abraham took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son and went to offer the burnt offering. (Genesis 22:3).
•Isaac built an altar and called upon the name of the Lord, and pitched his tent and his servants digged a well (Genesis 26:25).
•Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount and called his brothers to eat bread and they ate the bread. (Genesis 31:54)
Then after the Law was proposed the children of Israel as a whole nation was called “kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:6). However, they violated the Law and antagonized God several times. They worshipped Idols and angered God. Then, God confined priesthood to the Tribe of Levi. Aaron and his sons from the Tribe of Levi were the priests. (Exodus 28:1)
“And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen”. (Revelation 1:6)
This shows the priesthood of individual believers in the present age.
The sons of Aaron were anointed. They had on them Ephod, which is a linen apron, bonnet, which is a cap, breastplate, which is a metal piece worn around the body as a defensive armor, and mitre which is a head-band used as a turban. The stipulations God prescribed for priests were so stringent that they could not violate any of the conditions that God prescribed. These details are mentioned in Exodus Ch. 27, 28 and 29
Lord Jesus Christ was not after the order of Aaron but he was after the order of Melchizedek. While the priesthood of Aaron was limited; the priesthood of Melchizedek is for ever and ever. Even though there are not many references about Melchizedek, yet the references that are found in Genesis 14:18, Psalm 110:4, Hebrews 5:6 and in Hebrews Chapter 7 give us great knowledge about Lord Jesus Christ’s Priesthood after the order of Melchizedek. Jesus is Priest, Prophet and King. Jesus became our High Priest because he offered himself as a sacrifice for our sins.
“For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins” (Hebrews 5:1)
“But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people” (Hebrews 9:7)
“By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh” (Hebrews 10:20)
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22)
According to Levite priesthood a priest could not be king and likewise a King could not be a priest. That is the reason why we see king Saul was not accepted by God as priest.
“And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering”. (1 Samuel 13:9)
The result was seen in 1 Samuel 13:13
“And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever”. (1 Samuel 13:13)
Melchizedek king of Salem was not of the order of Levites. Abraham gave him tithe to Melchizedek.
“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all”. (Genesis 14:18-20)
“For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him” (Hebrews 7:1)
When Jesus was crucified the veil in the temple was rent into two from top to bottom signifying granting to us access to the Father through the Son of God, who is our High Priest. There is, therefore, no more a Priest required for us to offer sacrifices on our behalf nor are we required to confess our sins to any Priest in this world in order that he may convey to God our sins to be forgiven. We are all priests and he has given us the status of “Royal Priesthood” and Lord Jesus Christ is our High Priest and mediator. (Matthew 27:51)
“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building” (Hebrews 9:11)
We are given responsibility to offer sacrifices and those sacrifices are presenting our bodies as living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God. (Romans 12:1). We should be ready to help our brethren (1 John 3:16). We should visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and keep ourselves without any blemish. (James 1:27). We should offer sacrifices of praises and thanks to God continually. (Hebrews 13:15)
“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men”. (1 Timothy 2:1)