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THE PRIESTHOOD OF BELIEVERSpart 1 A TYPE & SHADOW, an ILLUSTRATED LESSON OF BELIEVERS TODAY I Peter 1:9 "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the praises of Him Who hath called you out of darkness unto His marvelous light." The Jews never fully accepted the calling to be this "priesthood" to the world. Most of them missed that calling. Most Christians have missed the true nature of their calling also. This study about being the priesthood to the world is one of the most neglected, and ignored, subjects in Christianity. THE "SHADOW" OF WHAT WAS TO COME The Levitical priesthood of the Old Testament was only a shadow of the substance of the priesthood that God intended to make of all believers. A " shadow" is only an indication of the proximity of the substance, and not the substance itself. Therefore, the priesthood of believers completes and supersedes the Levitical priesthood, just as Jesus completed and superseded Aaron as the High Priest. The altar of burnt offering foreshadowed the cross, and in the same way, the priesthood of the Old Testament was a shadow and type of what God was going to make of the real priesthood. All believers, of all ages since Adam, are a part of the priesthood of believers. Exodus 19:6 " And ye shall be unto Me, a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation..." I Peter 2:5-9 "Ye also as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." Revelation 20:6 "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God, and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years." It may take until they reach heaven for some to realize that they are part of a priesthood. In heaven, on the rapture day, all saints will finally acknowledge and know that they are part of a great priesthood. Revelation 1:6, 5:10 "And hath made us kings and priests (literally 'a kingdom of priests') unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen" ... And hast made us unto our God kings and priests (literally 'a kingdom of priests'), and we shall reign on the earth." WHAT IS A PRIEST??? A priest is one who ministers to God and man, a holy worshiper who gives glory to the Lord, and one who mediates between a holy God, and sinful mankind.
We are priests as we bring the Word of God to people,
and bring such people to the Lord. As we conduct our private worship, we are priests. As we testify of Jesus, and represent God before the world, we are priests. As we intercede for the unsaved and backslidden, we are priests. As we lead others to the salvation in the Lord, we are priests. The Lord is seeking for such persons to stand in the gap for the sinful world. He is looking for those who recognize their priestly ministry. We are supposed to be that royal priesthood. The priestly function of believers continues even into the millennial reign of Christ. Revelation 20:6 "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection, on such the second death hath no power, but that they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him 1000 years." THE CURSE OF THE LEVITES "Levites" was a name given to the descendants of Levi. Certain events caused a curse to be put upon the descendants of Levi by Jacob. Genesis 49:5-7 "Simeon and Levi are brethren, instruments of cruelty are in their habitations... in their anger slew a man, and in their self will, they digged down a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce, and their wrath for it was cruel, I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel." Later, that curse was turned into a blessing. Deuteronomy 33:8-11 shows that curse was turned into a blessing, and the descendants of Levi were chosen to be the spiritual leaders of the nation. They were to teach Israel, burn incense before the Lord, and offer sacrifices for the people. To do the intercessory and teaching ministry, they must be scattered in the country. Thus, the curse of being scattered amidst the other tribes became a blessing. The curse was changed for two reasons. 1. Phineas, a Levite had stayed a plague about to decimate Israel by decisive and moral-restoring action. Numbers 25:1-13 "And when Phineas... saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand. And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through... So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel... the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Phineas... hath turned My wrath away... Behold, I give unto him My covenant of peace; And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood..." 2. At an earlier time, the Levites were the ones who stood faithful, while many others were in a moral decline. Exodus 32:25-29 "... Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord's side? Let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves unto him... he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side... slay every man his brother... companion... neighbor... And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses; and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves to day to the Lord, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that He may bestow upon you a blessing this day..." Thus, this cursed-to-be-scattered-tribe was made the tribe that was to be a priesthood. The law of the tithe enhanced the selection of the Levites. A tithe was to be paid to these Levites (Numbers 18:21-30, Deuteronomy 18:1-8, Nehemiah 10:37-39, Hebrews 7:5,9). This money was given so these Levites could carry on a ministry among the people. They were to not have any inheritance, or land of their own. They were to have only the Lord for their inheritance (Numbers 18:20-24, 26:22, Deut. 12:12, 14:27). LEVITE ??? or PRIEST ??? There was a three-fold organization of the Levites. 1. Aaron and his sons, who were of the family of Kohath, were the top echelon group. 2. Other Kohathites, not of Aaron's family, were the ones who were to carry the most sacred parts of the tabernacle. 3. Members of the families of Gershom and Merari were given lesser duties. One could be a Levite and never become a priest. Every priest was a Levite, but not every Levite was a priest. The priests were to be those who chose to be consecrated. This was not forced on any Levite. The fundamental difference between a Levite, and another Levite who chose to be a priest... was the priest had the right to minister in the tabernacle. Many Christians today, miss their calling to be a part of the consecrated priesthood. There are many attenders, many spectators, but not many are truly consecrated to the work of the Lord, and to the ministry in His presence. Exodus 32:29 "For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves today to the Lord..." The word - " consecrate" is from the Hebrew "yad mala", which literally means " fill your hands." To be consecrated means to have your hands full of the work of the Lord. Some do not want to be fully occupied with the Lord's work. We have, as Christians, the great commission to "go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature..." Most saints only want to pray for their loved ones, witness to the rich, influential, and elite... They want to attend worship and Bible study when convenient. They occupy themselves witht he "cares of this world." They are not fully occupied with the whole of the Lord's work. MORE TO COME ON THE 'PRIESTHOD OF BELIEVERS' __________________ murjahel John