Priests

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blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
I'm reading through the book of Exodus now and I'm at the part where they're talking about Aaron's duties, how to consecrate him for service, etc. As I was reading, I started thinking about the following verses:

1Pe 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an [b:2937ad0c0f]holy priesthood[/b:2937ad0c0f], to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a [b:2937ad0c0f]royal priesthood[/b:2937ad0c0f], 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:

Rev 1:6 And hath made us kings and [b:2937ad0c0f]priests[/b:2937ad0c0f] unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

How would you compare or contrast our functions/duties as priests with the function/duties of the OT priests? Obviously the day-to-day activities would be different because of Jesus' sacrifice, but are there any specific things that we as priests should be doing? Or, is our being called priests just an honorary title that requires no action on our part and just speaks of our identification with Jesus, our high priest?

Any thoughts?

Bob

[Edited on 4-22-2004 by blhowes]
 

sundoulos

Puritan Board Freshman
In the Old Testament priests were those who were appointed by God and who stood before God for the people. In the New Testament all members of the covenant community are priests and have a similar function.

As head of my family I stand before God on their behalf.
As a neighbor I stand before God and plead for their salvation.
As a citizen of the United States I stand before God and plead for his mercy, for revival, for wisdom, protection, felicity, etc. for the leaders of the nation.
As a pastor and member of my church I stand before God and pray for my brothers and sisters to be filled with the Spirit, to manifest the fruit of the Spirit, to love one another , etc.
As a member of this board I stand before God and bring those requests made in the prayer forum to his throne.
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
sundoulos,
Thanks for your response.

[b:4293d6c749]sundoulos wrote:[/b:4293d6c749]
As a neighbor I stand before God and plead for their salvation.

This may be a dumb question, so bear with me. In the OT, weren't the priests only doing their duties on behalf of those who were part of the, for lack of a better term, covenant community - ie., those who were circumcised. On the breastplate of judgment were the stones with the names of the 12 tribes of Israel engraved on them. In describing our role as priests, is our function now also limited to those in the church, or does it go beyond that?

Bob
 

Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
I don't think that rank and file believers are the anti-types of the Levitical priesthood. Christ is the anti-type. The Old Covenant had a dual priesthood. There were the Aaronic priests that you mention, which were the ecclesiastical priests (and now we have Jesus, after the order of Melchizedek).

There was also a general priesthood of all members of the covevant, a priesthood of believers so to speak. On the mountain God gave Moses these words to speak to all of Israel (Exodus 19):

[quote:3461d99a30]
Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites."
[/quote:3461d99a30]

Peter (and John) use this Old Testament language to tell the rank and file that they now have privileges that correspond to the ordinary citizens of Israel. The church is the spiritual continuation of Israel. By calling us priests, he is not saying that we perform spiritual counterparts of Levitical duties.

Scott
 

sundoulos

Puritan Board Freshman
[quote:e7e527a1a7]
In describing our role as priests, is our function now also limited to those in the church, or does it go beyond that?

I don't think that rank and file believers are the anti-types of the Levitical priesthood.
[/quote:e7e527a1a7]

Allow me to address these together. I did not say nor did I infer that NT priests were antitypes of the Old Testament priesthood. I am only comparing and contrasting. Jesus Christ is the only antitype. There were those in the OT who acted in a priestly capacity for those outside the covenant community: Abraham prayed for Abimelech (Genesis 20:17) and Job prayed for his so-called comforters.

But I failed to mention the most-important aspect of NT priesthood: we are able to stand before God ourselves. We do not have to go to God through a "professional" priest as in Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy or as in the OT.
 

Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
Bill:

I was referring to Bob's use of NT quote re: being a nation of priests. This does not imply looking to Aaronic or Levitical duties.

[quote:328170a8c1]
But I failed to mention the most-important aspect of NT priesthood: we are able to stand before God ourselves. We do not have to go to God through a "professional" priest as in Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy or as in the OT.
[/quote:328170a8c1]

I agree that we have no mere man as a preist. We do have Christ as our priest.

I do believe that there is a special class of ecclesiastical officials in the New Testament that exercise that have special powers delegated by God. I am not sure what your views are.

[quote:328170a8c1]
[To the apostles] 21Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." 22And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." John 20:21-23.
[/quote:328170a8c1]

[quote:328170a8c1]
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Matt. 16:19.
[/quote:328170a8c1]

God granted these mere men (not divine) powers to forgive sins (among other powers). This is one of the aspects of priesthood that anabaptists and Protestants influenced by anabaptism tend to find most offensive. The Reformers applied these passages to presbyters. From the Westminster Confession:

[quote:328170a8c1]
I. The Lord Jesus, as King and Head of his church, hath therein appointed a government, in the hand of church officers, distinct from the civil magistrate.

II. To these officers the keys of the kingdom of heaven are committed; by virtue whereof, [i:328170a8c1]they have power, respectively, to retain, and remit sins[/i:328170a8c1]; to shut that kingdom against the impenitent, both by the Word, and censures; and to open it unto penitent sinners, by the ministry of the gospel; and by absolution from censures, as occasion shall require.
[/quote:328170a8c1]

The Confession cites Matthew 16:19, 18:17-18, and John 20:21-23 as proof texts.

The exercise of these powers is certainly viewed differently than by RCs (Reformed do not view confession as a sacrament, for example). However, classical Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox, recognize that there is a special class of ecclesiastical officials with certain powers regarding sin of the laity. Historical Protestantism is not egalitarian in this matter, as is common in evangelicalism today.

I am not saying you believe one thing or another, just making some observations.

Scott

[Edited on 4-22-2004 by Scott]
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
[b:f60a0773c4]Scott wrote:[/b:f60a0773c4]
There was also a general priesthood of all members of the covevant, a priesthood of believers so to speak. On the mountain God gave Moses these words to speak to all of Israel (Exodus 19)...Peter (and John) use this Old Testament language to tell the rank and file that they now have privileges that correspond to the ordinary citizens of Israel. The church is the spiritual continuation of Israel. By calling us priests, he is not saying that we perform spiritual counterparts of Levitical duties.

I can't understand it. All those years in the dispensational churches and I don't recall ever being taught this. Maybe I was out sick those days.

Seriously, though, thanks for the information and the scripture. I never knew that. Learn something new (almost) every day.

Bob

[Edited on 4-22-2004 by blhowes]
 

Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
Bob:

I remember first being shocked when I connected the Ex. 19 scripture to the NT passages on believer priesthood. I was from a dispensational egalatarian background (bible churches and baptist churches influnced by dispensationalism) at that time.

Scott
 
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