MOSES PREDICTS THE STEALING OF THE PRIESTHOOD
TESTAMENT OF MOSES
1. When the times of the chastisement draw near, and the rulers take vengeance on them, the people will depart from the truth.
2. As it has been said, 'They shall turn aside from righteousness and approach iniquity, and they shall pollute the place of worship, and go-a-whoring after strange gods.
3. They will not follow the truth of God, but some who are not priests, but slaves and the sons of slaves, will pollute the altar with gifts.
4. Many will give respect unto desirable people, and be bribed and pervert judgment.
5. The city and the whole nation shall be filled with lawless deeds and iniquities; and those who depart from the Lord will willingly be bribed.
The "rulers" (Test. of Moses 5:1) were the Seleucidae Kings who discouraged the use of the Jewish law and worship. Later Antiochus punished backslidden Israel.
Whenever sin becomes rampant in a congregation, the place of worship begins to suffer. The lack of care for it is manifested as a result of sins in the congregation. Moses prophesy that the Temple is going to be polluted in that time.
The words in verse 2: "pollute the place of worship" are described also in Deuteronomy 31:16:
"And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake Me, and break My covenant, which I have made with them."
In Testament of Moses 5:3 it refers to the "slaves and the sons of slaves". This refers to Jason and Menelaus, the Hellenizing priests, who preceded the Maccabees. Menelaus was not a Levite, but a Benjaminite.
II Maccabees 3:4, 4:23, 24:
"But one Simon, of the tribe of Benjamin, who was made governor of the Temple... Three years afterward, Jason sent Menelaus, the aforesaid Simon's brother, to bear the money unto the king, and to put him in mind of certain necessary matters. But he being brought to the presence of the king... got the priesthood to himself, offering more than Jason by three hundred talents of silver."
II Maccabees 4:7-21 (KJVApocrypha)
7 But after the death of Seleucus, when Antiochus, called Epiphanes, took the kingdom, Jason the brother of Onias laboured underhand to be high priest,
8 Promising unto the king by intercession three hundred and threescore talents of silver, and of another revenue eighty talents:
9 Beside this, he promised to assign an hundred and fifty more, if he might have licence to set him up a place for exercise, and for the training up of youth in the fashions of the heathen, and to write them of Jerusalem by the name of Antiochians.
10 Which when the king had granted, and he had gotten into his hand the rule he forthwith brought his own nation to Greekish fashion.
11 And the royal privileges granted of special favour to the Jews by the means of John the father of Eupolemus, who went ambassador to Rome for amity and aid, he took away; and putting down the governments which were according to the law, he brought up new customs against the law:
12 For he built gladly a place of exercise under the tower itself, and brought the chief young men under his subjection, and made them wear a hat.
13 Now such was the height of Greek fashions, and increase of heathenish manners, through the exceeding profaneness of Jason, that ungodly wretch, and no high priest;
14 That the priests had no courage to serve any more at the altar, but despising the temple, and neglecting the sacrifices, hastened to be partakers of the unlawful allowance in the place of exercise, after the game of Discus called them forth;
15 Not setting by the honours of their fathers, but liking the glory of the Grecians best of all.
16 By reason whereof sore calamity came upon them: for they had them to be their enemies and avengers, whose custom they followed so earnestly, and unto whom they desired to be like in all things.
17 For it is not a light thing to do wickedly against the laws of God: but the time following shall declare these things.
18 Now when the game that was used every faith year was kept at Tyrus, the king being present,
19 This ungracious Jason sent special messengers from Jerusalem, who were Antiochians, to carry three hundred drachms of silver to the sacrifice of Hercules, which even the bearers thereof thought fit not to bestow upon the sacrifice, because it was not convenient, but to be reserved for other charges.
20 This money then, in regard of the sender, was appointed to Hercules' sacrifice; but because of the bearers thereof, it was employed to the making of gallies.
21 Now when Apollonius the son of Menestheus was sent into Egypt for the coronation of king Ptolemeus Philometor, Antiochus, understanding him not to be well affected to his affairs, provided for his own safety: whereupon he came to Joppa, and from thence to Jerusalem:
The buying of the position of ‘priest’, instead of receiving that kind of ministry due to God’s way of doing it, is today likened to those who ‘call’ themselves to ministry for not holy reasons.
Only Israelites of the Levite tribe could become priests. Not every Levite became a priest. Still, those Levites who did decide to become priests had to be consecrated. In the same way, not every Christian really becomes a practicing priest either. Through a lack of consecration, many today lack this ministry.
Korah and 250 others wanted to occupy the ministry of the priesthood without the proper consecration. Moses let them try, after their complaining. The earth opened and swallowed them alive down into sheol.
Nadab and Abihu, two sons of Aaron, did not take the commands of consecration and obedience to that consecration seriously. In Leviticus 10, it reveals that (though they had previously been consecrated) they did not remain in that consecrated state. They offered strange fire (of their own making, and not from the burnt altar as commanded). They then offered incense at the wrong time and place. They failed to sanctify themselves before God and the congregation. They became drunken, and sought to carry on the holy services in that condition.
Some today think the ministry of the priesthood of believers can be done with little consecration. It is a difficult and demanding profession. It cannot be done half-heartedly. It demands time, consecration, and a continuing effort.
"For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves today to the Lord..."
"Consecrate" is from the Hebrew words "yad mala", which mean "to fill your hands." To be consecrated means to let go of everything else, and fill your hands with the work of the Lord.
Christianity, and being one of the priesthood of believers, is not a part time, partial effort, hobby.
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 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.
"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."
"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."
Jason purchased, he thought, the right to be in the priesthood. That cannot be purchased, and if it is ever done in an unconsecrated manner, it is cursed.