Saturday, 5 December 2015

The Priesthood of the Believer ~ Rabqa

Today we will be looking at why an individual believer has the
spiritual authority to partake of the sacrament, even if they are not a priest or ordained minister 1Pet 2:9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

 After Christ ascended into heaven as the new heavenly priest & sealed the promises of the new covenant with His blood, He also initiated an earthly priesthood, or a new kingdom of priests, & the Church is the kingdom of priests that is overseen by the High Priest Jesus Christ, from heavenly temple. Melchizedek was the only king & priest of the Old Testament history. Jesus followed the pattern & became a king & a priest after the order of Melchizedek.

Scripture says that we are a royal priesthood. Kings & priests minister, but kings rule. Today we offer sacrifices of praise & financial gifts. But in the future we will rule & reign with Him for one thousand years.

There are some who teach that communion should never be served by a lay-person or a common Christian- but only by an ordained minister, a priest or someone who has been trained to serve in ministry. However, if we are now priests unto God, then we have the spiritual authority of the priesthood through the new covenant to receive the bread & blood of Christ. It is the traditions of man & the church that have restrained members of the church from becoming priests unto God.

The Greek word for chosen is eklektoss. The word means one picked out from among the larger group for special service or privileges.

It describes Christ as the chosen Messiah of God (Lk 23:35), angels as messengers from heaven ( 1Tim 5:21), & believers as recipients of God's favour (Matt 24:22; Rom 8:33; col3:12). T he New Testament traces the source of election to God's grace.
AS a royal priesthood, the kingly nature of the redeemed worshipper is noted in this passage, is rooted in God's call to ancient Israel Ex 19:5-7 & Rev 1: 5 & 6 draw this truth to full application & prophetic fulfilment in the New Testament believer. As with Israel, deliverance through the blood of the Lamb is but the beginning. As promised, dominion & destiny will unfold as their priestly duty is fulfilled. True authority is always related to a walk in purity & a constancy in worship. The spirit of worship is essential to the advancement of the kingdom. Just as ancient Israel will only take the Promised Land while doing battle from a foundation of righteous worship before the Lord. So it is with contemporary Church. We will only experience promised power for evangelism & spiritual victories as we prioritise & grow in our worship of the living God. Kingdom power is kept from pollution this way. As kingdom people we need to keep humbly praiseful before the King & witness His works of power with joy.
True priesthood was transferred before long before A.D 70, & the process began when Jesus at age 30, stepped into the river Jordan to be baptised.

John the Baptist, Christ's cousin was the son of a priest named Zacharias who served in a temple in Jerusalem Lk 1:9-13). John was baptising believers at the Jordan River in an area called Bethabara (Jn 1:28). This was the same location where fifteen hundred years earlier, Joshua had crossed the Jordan River & instructed the Hebrews to take 12 smooth stones out of the Jordan River & build a monument on the Israel side of the river as a memorial & reminder that God opened the Jordan River for them to cross. The priest also lifted 12 stones from the wilderness & placed theses in the dry river bed. (Josh 4:1-10) That day the water from the Jordan River was rolled back all the way to a city called Adam, 10 miles away & to the south toward the dead sea.(Josh 3:16).

The area where Joshua crossed is the same area where John baptised Jesus, & it has powerful prophetic significance. When a high priest was preparing to transfer the priesthood to his son there was a threefold procedure:

1. The high priests son had to submerge in water for purification Lev 8:6

2. The holy oil was to be poured upon the head of the high priests son Lev 8:12

3.The high priest had to publicly declare that this was his son. Num 20:28.

This 3 part process occurred when Christ waded into the Jordan river. Christ stepped into the same area where Joshua had crossed. Joshua's Hebrew name was Yeshuah, & Jesus' actual Hebrew name is Yeshuah. In Joshua's time, the waters of the Jordan were rolled back to the city of Adam, just a Christ's redemptive work removed mankind’s sin all the way back to the first man Adam.

When Christ stepped into the cold waters of the Jordan, He was being recognised by John, who was the son of a Jewish priest. Christ was not being baptised for the remission of sins because He was sinless. There is a deeper meaning to this baptism. Christ was 30 years of age that is the same age a Levitate entered into priesthood (Num 4:30). Little did Israel know that the priesthood in Jerusalem was being transferred to one man- Jesus Christ. That Pattern is seen in His baptism:

1 Christ was baptised in water, symbolic of preparation for the Priesthood.

2 The Spirit descended upon Him like a dove; this was the anointing Matt 3:16.
3 God spoke from Heaven, declaring that Jesus was His Son. Matt 3:17.

The priesthood of the believer is a concept that has only been understood in contemporary times. The traditional Christian Church has placed all spiritual responsibilities for Church ministry solely upon the fivefold ministry (Eph 4:11), especially the local Pastor.
In the 1st century, individuals had church in their homes, & deacons were appointed to preform business tasks so ministers could concentrate on praying & studying (Acts 6:3&4).

In reality, every believer was a witness for Christ, & every believer could participate in some form of ministry. Some believers provided shelter for travelling ministers, some provided food, & others, such as Dorcas made clothing for widows in her city (Acts 9:36-39).
Paul refereed to the faithful believers who loved the ministry & worked for God's kingdom as saints. From Acts 9;13- Rev 20:9 the word saint is mentioned 60times. All 60 reverences use the same Greek word hagios, which literately means morally pure, consecrated & blameless.

Eventually the word saint became an exclusive term reserved for a select group of individuals. The Roman Church developed a list of qualifications to identify a true saint. However in the New Testament, a saint was a holy person who had consecrated his or her life to God & was actively involved in praying, giving, teaching, & walking in the truth of God's Word.

There are several world religions who use priests have developed a form of priesthood. The Buddhist religion has priests, or men who have committed themselves entirely to live at their temples & concentrate on prayers & study of their religion.
In the Roman Catholic Church there is an order of priests, bishops, & cardinals. Following a set order, a man can move from one level to a higher level. In the traditional protestant Church s, most leaders recognise three of the five fold ministries in the Church: Pastor, Teacher & evangelist.

Certainty, God calls individuals into ministry has appointed some in the body of Christ as ministers of God, preaching, teaching,& instructing, however, Rev 1:5 &6 says N L T
And from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world. All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen. The A MP V6 And formed us into a kingdom (a royal race), priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the power and the majesty and the dominion throughout the ages and forever and ever. Amen (so be it). The N I V (V6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. In John’s apocalyptic vision he describes Christ as wearing a white garment, with a golden sash & standing in the midst of a golden menorah (Rev 1:12-16). This is a description of  a high priest who exchanged his eight garments of glory to those of white linen garments when he entered the holy of holies on the day of atonement! John was seeing Christ as the heavenly High Priest standing in the heavenly temple! This is where John reveals (as the Greek renders it) "He has made us a kingdom of priests". Not just kings & priests BUT a kingdom of priests. Forming a kingdom of priests was God's original plan for Israel when they came out of Egypt. The Almighty Said: & ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests,& a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. Ex 19:6 

When God said a Kingdom of priests He had complete sway in all things, since the earth was His & His obedient loyal people would have dominion in the earth. Holy nation describes a people set apart from the world, dedicated to the Lord God & His service, to the Lord God & His service indwelt by His presence. AS a personal priest we can boldly approach the heavenly temple with our petitions. If we sin we no longer go to mortal man & confess our sins, the Bible tells us "If any man sins, we have an advocate with the Father" & If we confess our sins He is faithful & just to forgive us our sins & cleanse us from all unrighteousness" 1 Jn 2:1 & 1 Jn 1:9).

 Under the old order, a priest would burn incense representing & reaching up to God ( PS 141:2). In the new order priesthood every believer can offer prayers of supplication & thanksgiving & personal requests to God (Phil 4:6). Remember that Confession of our faults & sins is required before receiving the Lords Supper.

Also, the meal that heals should not simply become a ritual & another religious formula, & certainly it should never be viewed as some type of magical formula for healing.

Acknowledgements Perry Stone.

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