articles of chapter 9

Christ – God’s High Priest and the Royal Priesthood

Melchizedek’s Priesthood – Aaronic Priesthood (or Levitical Priesthood) – Urim and Thummim – Anointing with Holy Oil – From Levitical Priesthood to Christ’s Priesthood – Bible Guidelines concerning food – New Covenant of Christ – General Priesthood – Royal Priesthood – Royal Priesthood compared with General Priesthood – What people make up the Holy Priesthood? – Divine nature – Man, image of God – In the coming New World

 

For this article, I have studied five hundred years old and generally accepted opinion that the common priesthood belongs to all baptized people. I think this is a misinterpretation of the Word of the Bible, which Martin Luther, in particular, has put forward.

The last chapter of Revelation also requires a new interpretation. In verse 22:5, we return to the previously emphasized reign of the saints. This verse deserves a new meaning.

 

Melchizedek Priesthood.

Melchizedek is the first priest mentioned in the Bible, who was both “the High Priest of God” and King of Salem (Jerusalem). Melchizedek was of Abraham’s age. We know more about Abraham, that Abraham, through Shem, belonged to the tenth generation of Noah, and was born about 350 years after the Flood, about 2000 BC.

Abram met this priest king on his return trip after defeating three kings who had allied with the king Kedorlaomer of Elam. By giving Melchizedek tithing of his prey and receiving the Melchizedek blessing, Abra(ha)m showed that he acknowledged the Melchizedek Priesthood to be from God. According to the principle that it is the higher one who gives the blessing: Gen 14:18 And Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine; and he was the priest of the most high God. 19 And he blessed him and said, blessed be Abram of the Most high God, possessor of Heaven and earth; 20 and blessed be the Most high God, who has delivered your enemies into your hand. – And he gave him a tithe of all.”

The Melchizedek Priesthood, which was fulfilled in Christ, is described in Psalm 110:4 and the Hebrews: Heb 6:20 where Jesus, our forerunner, has gone on our behalf, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Heb 7:17 For it is testified, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”

Heb 7:21 but Jesus became a priest with an oath when God said to him, “The Lord has taken an oath and will not change his mind. You are a priest forever.”

God swore this by oath and only to Christ. Christ, in turn, promised to his apostles Luk 22:29, and I appoint to you, as my Father did appoint to me, a kingdom, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit down on thrones to govern the twelve tribes of Israel.

The Apostles will rule with the Saints of the First Resurrection:

1 Pet 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people to be his very own and to proclaim the wonderful deeds of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Rev 1:6 and did make us kings and priests to his God and Father, to him is the glory and the power to the ages of the ages! Amen.

Rev 20:6 How blessed and holy are those who participate in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them. They will be priests of God and Christ, and will rule with him for a thousand years.

Melchizedek was king and priest of God on earth. Jesus Christ would have those two offices, both the King’s and the High Priest’s, but not yet on earth but in heaven. After he ascended to heaven, he was ordained High Priest forever. On earth, Christ will serve as king and high priest after his second coming, when he rules the Millennial kingdom.

Jehovah himself called Melchizedek a priest. In discussing Jesus’ position as the great High Priest, the writer of the Hebrew Letter (probably Paul) showed that no one would take this honor on his initiative, but ”… he who is called by God, as also Aaron.” (Heb 5:4) In addition, the author explained that 5:2 ”He can deal gently with people who are ignorant and easily deceived, since he himself is subject to weakness. 3 For that reason he is obligated to offer sacrifices for his own sins as well as for those of the people.”  ” In the same way, Christ did not take upon himself the glory of being a high priest. No, it was God who said to him, “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.” (v. 5:5). – ”Today is “apparently the day when God made Jesus the high priest. “Today,” Christ was finally confirmed as God’s own Son. Of course, when John was baptized, God the Father had acknowledged Jesus that “this is my beloved son, hearken unto him.” Recognizing the eternal high priest of the whole world is a step further.
5:6 As he also says in another place, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” 

Heb 7:1 ”Now this man Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of the Most High God, met Abraham and blessed him when he was returning from slaughtering the kings. 2 To him Abraham gave a tenth of everything. In the first place, his name means “king of righteousness,” and then he is also king of Salem [Jerusalem], that is, “king of peace.”

Indeed, Jerusalem is sometimes called “Salem” Psa 76:2 ”And His [God’s] tabernacle is in Salem, And His habitation in Zion.”

Heb 7:3 He has no father, mother, or genealogy, and has neither beginning of days nor end of life. Like the Son of God, he continues to be a priest forever.

ερες hiereús, from G2413; a priest (literally or figuratively):—(high) priest. According to my interpretation, Melchizedek, “who continues to be a priest forever” (j. 7:3) does not mean a high priest.

Melchizedek was born and also died. He is waiting for resurrection in his tomb and is not in heaven like Jesus Christ. Some scholars believe that Melchizedek was Jesus. The Bible says Melchizedek was a priest, but the Bible does not mean he was a high priest. This is a very significant revelation of the Bible. Therefore Jesus cannot be Melchizedek because Jesus is not an ordinary priest but the High Priest of the eternal priesthood. Christ is forever the high priest of God, and there can be no two high priests of equal value. Instead, there are many priests. A Melchizedek can be a priest forever in the new world to come. Only Christ is the High Priest forever.

 

Aaronic Priesthood (or Levitical Priesthood)

Before the Levitical priesthood came into effect, the head of the family served as a priest in his own family.God appointed Aaron, Israel’s first high priest, to his office. This happened about 1400 BC. Heb 5:4 ”No one takes this honor upon himself, but he is called to it by God, just as Aaron was.”  Aaron was descended from Levi, the third eldest son of Jacob.

The office of the high priest passed from father to the eldest son in the family unless he died or became unworthy, as happened to Aaron’s two eldest sons, Nadab and Abihu. “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in them; and they put incense on it and brought strange fire before Jehovah, which He had not commanded them. And fire went out from before Jehovah and consumed them; and they died before Jehovah (Lev 10:1-2).

They did not obey God’s command, but sinned and brought in strange, abominable fire before God. The fire of the Lord came out from heaven and consumed them. (3 Moos 10:1-2).

As we read the Old Testament, we learn that God was exceedingly harsh and insisted on strict observance of His commandments. In addition to the detailed regulations concerning the above high priest, I remember an example from the people of Israel wandering in the wilderness: a man collected twigs for fire on the Sabbath. Moses and Aaron imprisoned him but did not know what kind of punishment they would impose. Num 15:35 says: “And Jehovah said to Moses, The man shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.”

Today we live in Christ’s New Covenant, which is based on forgiveness and grace. Judgment will not come immediately, and man will have time to repent and be forgiven for his sins. During the Old Testament, the blood of the sacrificial animal would have been required. The blood of Christ timelessly covers all sins and makes it possible to forgive them.

God gave precise instructions (Exo 28) on the high priest’s costume. On the front of the priest’s headgear was a glossy plate of pure gold and had the words “Holiness to the Lord” graved on it. The breastplate was the most expensive part of the high priest’s costume. It was rectangular in shape with twice its length but folded twice to form a square. Folding twice made a kind of pocket. Moses kept in the breast pocket plate Urim and Thummim (Lev 8:8).

Urim and Thummim. What the urim and thummim actually were, is unknown. Their have been used to ask God for an answer. The question and the answer received must have been so that the answer could be either negative or affirmative. When the problems of the whole nation arose, the High Priest approached Jehovah with the help of the Urim and the Thummim. As an example, in Num 27:21: ”And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask for him according to the judgment of the Urim before Jehovah. At his mouth they shall go out, and at his mouth they shall come in, he and all the sons of Israel with him, even all the congregation.”

We do not know what kind of questions God was asked during the OT, but in the New Testament the apostles asked God which one of the two candidates should be elected as a new member to replace Judas Iscariot. When Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus, he hang himself because of the pain of his conscience. There were eleven apostles. According to the Acts, the remaining disciples gathered between the resurrection of Jesus and the Pentecost to choose a new apostle. The new member had to be a witness of Jesus’ resurrection and had to be with the disciples for such a long time that he knew Jesus’ work thoroughly. The students nominated two people, Joseph Barsabbas, called Justus, and Matthias. Of these two, the new apostle was chosen by lot. The lot fell on Matthias, who became the new twelfth apostle.

Apt 1:23 And they set two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias, 24 And having prayed, they said, You, Lord, knower of all hearts, show which one You chose from these two, 25 o receive the share of this ministration and apostleship, from which Judas, by transgression, did fall, to go on to his proper place; ” 26 and they gave their lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

In the coming world, when Christ has established his Millennial kingdom, we do not need to use Urim and Thummim to get an answer from God. Isaiah writes 65:24: ”And it will be, before they call, I will answer. While they are speaking, then I will hear.”

The high priest’s clothing was by no means the only thing God controlled. Further restrictions were imposed on the high priest: Lev 21:14 ordered:”He shall not take a widow, or one put away, or a polluted one, a harlot, but he shall take a virgin of his own people for a wife.” – The high priest could not touch the dead body because touching would have contaminated him. He had to take care of his hair and he couldn’t get his clothes torn. The priests were subject to the ordinances that they should not have any injuries listed in the Bible. Lev 21:18 ”For no man in whom there is a blemish shall draw near, a blind man, or one lame, or disfigured, or deformed, 19 or a brokenfooted man, or a brokenhanded man, 20 or one humpbacked, or one emaciated, or with a spot in his eye, or a scurvy one, or one scabbed, or one with crushed testicles.”

A peculiar and challenging to understand regulation was about cities of refuge. Num 35:25 provided the following: ”And the congregation shall deliver the manslayer out of the avenger of blood’s hand. And the congregation shall return him to the city of refuge to which he had fled, and he shall live in it until the high priest dies, he who was anointed with the holy oil.” – According to this, the killer was safe while living in a safe city, “until the death of the high priest anointed with holy oil”

 

Anointing with holy oil.

The priests’ sanctifying work took seven days. The following day, for the first time, the reconciliation procedures were performed, which were ordered to be celebrated annually on the 10th day of Tišrì. The people of Israel needed to be cleansed of their sins, as they had previously made themselves an idol, a golden calf, after Moses had stayed on Mount Sinai to receive the ten commandments of God. Meanwhile, 2 Moos 32:4: ” And he [Aaron] took them from their hand and formed it with an engraving tool. And he made it a casted calf. And they said, These are your gods, O Israel, who made you go up from the land of Egypt. ” The people of Israel have celebrated ‘Yom Kippur’ every year in the autumn 10th day of Tišrì.

In fact, I thought that Jesus Christ would be born on the Day of Yom Kippur. His exact birthday is unknown, and it is by no means December 25th. Atonement day earlier in the fall would be at least metaphorically appropriate in this sense.

God gave detailed instructions on many things about the High Priesthood: Moses was to deliver Aaron’s anointing by pouring holy anointing oil on his head. Lev 8:10 And Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle, and all in it, and sanctified them; 12 And he poured of the anointing oil on the head of Aaron, and anointed him, to sanctify him. In addition to the anointing, a young bullock was sacrificed as a sin offering.

The high priests who followed Aaron were called “anointed.” Christ is also spoken of as anointed by God. (Act 3:18, 4:26, Rev 12:10)

Jehovah himself commanded Moses, showing what a blessing should be like; Num 6:23 ” Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, In this way you shall bless the sons of Israel, saying to them:

24 Jehovah bless you and keep you;
25 Jehovah cause His face to shine on you, and be gracious to you;
26 Jehovah lift up His face to you, and give you peace.

The guidance given by God Himself is very reminiscent of the present blessing of the Lord. By the time of King David’s reign, the number of priests had grown so large in the 400s BC that the priests were organized in as many as 24 divisions. (1 Chr 24th chap).

At the beginning of the Aaronic Priesthood, the priestly service of God was very carefully regulated. If they were not strictly observed, it might have happened as to the two sons of Aaron; God stroke them to death. The profession of a priest began to appear dangerous to many. On the other hand, the Bible tells us how God gave his approval to the sacrifice offered on the altar: Lev 9:24 ”And fire came out from before Jehovah and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. And all the people saw and cried aloud, and fell on their faces.”

In the New Testament we can read a similar account of God’s punishment. Ananias and Sapphira had decided to sell their farm and give the money to the church. However, they concealed part of the purchase price. Act 5:3 Peter asked, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart so that you should lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back some of the money you got for the land? 4 As long as it remained unsold, wasn’t it your own? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? So how could you have conceived such a thing in your heart? You did not lie to men but to God!” 5 And hearing these words, Ananias fell down and expired. And great fear came on all those hearing these things.

Moses was left to act as a prophet and to write the Pentateuch, though there are claims (as concerning almost all Bible books) that some of them were written by someone else, such as a student. Those who make such claims are probably unfamiliar with Ivan Panin’s fifty years of research on the Bible code, which Panin interprets to be the seal of God from the divine source of Scripture.

Below I will write about the general priesthood of the people. Already, I say that the five hundred years old concept of the common priesthood of all baptized people is a misinterpretation.

 

From the Levitical priesthood to the priesthood of Christ

Bible Prophecies of Jesus.

Deu 18:18 I shall raise up a Prophet to them from among their brothers, one like you; and I will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak to them all that I shall command Him. – Many other prophecies about Jesus in my article.

Aaron was high priest and a model of Christ. What about Melchizedek? Is not he supposed to be a model of the priesthood of Christ? Perhaps there are two role models. Melchizedek was not the first priest of the Godly ordained priesthood system, but Aaron was. Moses also served as a priest of Israel, but Aaron took his place. Why did God allow Aaron to become the first high priest? It was Aaron who led the rebellion of the people of Israel and the making of the golden calf god while Moses was on the mountain receiving God’s Ten Commandments. God’s action is sometimes surprising: I wrote about apostle Paul who persecuted and killed Christians, and was in his own words, the greatest enemy of Christendom. However, Christ turned him into a faithful servant with one stroke of lightning.

Heb 7:11 ”Now if perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood—for on this basis the people received the law—what further need would there be to speak of appointing another kind of priest according to the order of Melchizedek, not one according to the order of Aaron? 12 For when a change in the priesthood takes place, there must also be a change in the law.

Heb 9:
8 The Holy Spirit was indicating by this that the way into the Holy of Holies had not yet been disclosed as long as the first part of the tabernacle was still standing.
9 This is an illustration of the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered could not make the conscience of the worshiper perfect,
10 since they deal only with food, drink, and various washings, which are required for the body until the time when things would be set right.
11 But when Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that was not made by human hands and that is not a part of this creation.
12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood he went into the Holy of Holies once for all and secured our eternal redemption.                                                                

13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are unclean purifies them with physical cleansing,
14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works so that we may serve the living God!

The example of the Melchizedek Priesthood showed that the coming Messiah would be both a priest and a king. In his epistle to the Hebrews, Apostle Paul removed all doubts who the prophecy was about, when he spoke of “Jesus, who has become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Heb 6:20, 5:10). In about 33 AD the road to the most Holy was announced! Many Jews did not believe it but continued the vain and useless temple service. The Levitical priesthood and the law of the Old Covenant for the Israelites were and are worthless. The law does not perfect anyone, and the Israelis could not follow it perfectly. The sacrifice of an animal as a sin offering does not correspond to the complete sacrifice of Christ.

As in the case of Melchizedek, the office of the High Priest of Christ combines both kingship and priesthood. This is also shown by the fact that Christ has a throne like God. God has yet explicitly given him all power in heaven and on earth. Saying all power means the same power as God Himself. As New Jerusalem descends to earth, God and Christ will appear together on their thrones. The power and priesthood of Christ will continue forever.

Heb 6:19 ”We have this hope as an anchor for our souls, firm and secure, which reaches behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus, our forerunner, has gone on our behalf, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

The Bible does not tell about the Melchizedek nationality, nor its origin or descendants. The Bible could give an inspiring example of Jesus Christ, who is sworn by God, “a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek (Heb 6:20).”

Melchizedek was a symbol of Christ (the Messiah), for there is no genealogical record of Melchizedek or his ancestors in the Bible. The Bible says in Hebrews 7: 3, “He has no father, mother, or genealogy, and has neither beginning of days nor end of life, but naturally he had a father and a mother.” Unlike Jesus, there is no genealogy of Melchizedek. Therefore, the Bible says that he has no father, no mother, no family. Neither has he the beginning of days, because it is not known when he was born and when he died.

Therefore Melchizedek is compared to Jesus; Jesus’ secular ancestors and his birth as Mary’s son are registered in the Bible in time. In the thoughts and plans of Jesus’ Heavenly Father, Jehovah, Jesus was before the creation of the world. Similarly, God had planned the role of the apostles in Jesus’ work. Rom 8:28 “But we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to purpose; 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined, he also called; and those whom he called, he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

The Old Law covenant and its Levitical priesthood did not attain perfection, but fell far short of it. Therefore, a new priesthood was needed according to the order of Melchizedek. As the priesthood changed, so did the covenant. It was replaced by Christ’s New Covenant, also called the Better Covenant; Heb 8:6 ” But now He has gotten a more excellent ministry, also by so much as he is a mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.” – The Ten Commandments remained in effect, but the Law and the Levitical Priesthood and the old Law were abolished together with the 613 ordinances, i.e. ‘mizvot

The New Covenant required Jesus Christ to be the High Priest because he is the eternal Son of God and the Savior, who gave his life as a sacrifice for the salvation of all sinners who believe in him. Christ’s New Covenant is better than the previous one because Heb 7:21 ”or they have become priests without the swearing of an oath, but He with the swearing through Him who says to Him, “ The Lord swore, and will not repent, You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek;” 22 In this way, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.”

Christ redeemed us from under the law and the Law covenant so that we could be as children and could call God the Father, Abba. Joh 1:17 17 For while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Rom 10:4 For Christ is an end of law for righteousness to every one who is believing.

Gal 4:4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
5 in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as his children.
6 Now because you are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts to cry out, “Abba! Father!”
7 So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if you are a child, then you are also an heir through God.

Paul describes the New covenant man in his letter to Titus: 1:14 and not pay attention to Jewish myths or commands given by people who reject the truth.
15 Everything is clean to those who are clean, but nothing is clean to those who are corrupt and unbelieving. Indeed, their very way of thinking and their consciences have been corrupted.
16 They claim to know God, but they deny him by their actions. They are detestable, disobedient, and disqualified to do anything good.

 

Bible instructions for food.

As an example of the central issue of daily life in the New Covenant; God’s original guide to eating was: Gen 9:3 ”Every creeping thing which is alive shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green plant. 4 But you shall not eat flesh in its life, its blood. – however, among 613 Mitzvot’s are listed animals that were not suitable for eating.

http://www.jewfaq.org/kashrut.htm#Animals

The ban on eating foods containing blood is still in force in the New Covenant: Act 15:20 ”But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and blood.”

– The Old Testament and the New Testament prohibit the eating of flesh where blood has not been removed. The reason is respect for life. The Bible says that in the blood, there is the soul of an animal, that is, its life, its life force.

Paul instructs: Rom 14:2 One person believes that he can eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables.  3 The person who eats must not despise the person who does not eat, and the person who does not eat must not criticize the person who eats, for God has accepted him. Rom 14:20 Do not destroy God’s work for the sake of food. Everything is clean, but it is wrong to make another person fall because of what you eat.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are known to be accurate in avoiding blood. In fact, I interpreted the Bible to mean to avoid blood, meaning to avoid blood-containing foods. Jehovah’s Witnesses also avoid blood transfusions, that is, the transfer of one person’s blood to another, for example, during surgery. Of course, it is understandable that during the Apostles the possibility of blood transfusions was unknown. Does Act 15:20 end of verse “and from blood” mean just this prospective use of blood? I do not think that is the case. I justify my point as follows: Avoiding blood, and specifically in food, was due to respect for life because the animal, as well as human vitality, is, according to the Bible, in the blood. So wouldn’t it be respectful of human life if we were to preserve the life God gave to man by transferring to him the life of another, his blood? Wouldn’t that just be to honor the life God has given?

 

The New Covenant of Jesus.

On the day of Pentecost 33, the covenant ceased and the “better covenant”, the new covenant, came into effect. God made this covenant the same day of Pentacost the Holy Ghost was poured. Heb 8:13 In speaking of a “new” covenant, he has made the first one obsolete, and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.

During the apostolic period, there was no division between laypersons and priests. In the coming millennial kingdom of Christ, there will at first be even Gentiles who have not yet heard of Christ, let alone believe in him. Gradually knowledge and faith increase, and the rulers with Christ teach the people. According to my interpretation, there are no professional priests in this kingdom, but the ruling group of saints declare the kingdom of God and Jesus Christ as its sovereign king. No professional priests, bishops, cardinals, or popes are needed.

God made Jesus both Lord and Christ (Act 2:36) and according to Heb 5:5, God’s high priest. ”In the same way, Christ did not take upon himself the glory of being a high priest. No, it was God who said to him, “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.”

Heb 5:1 For every high priest selected from among men is appointed to officiate on their behalf in matters relating to God, that is, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.

Heb 8:1 Now the main point in what we are saying is this: we do have this kind of high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord and not by any human.. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore, this high priest had to offer something too. 4 Now if he were on earth, he would not even be a priest, because other men offer the gifts prescribed by the law.,… 6 But now He has gotten a more excellent ministry, also by so much as he is a mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.

Christ proclaimed a New, Better Covenant, and with it a new kind of priesthood that does not need the blood of animals as sacrifices:

Ordinary high priests offered gifts and sacrifices for the sins of men. Jesus Christ is, according to Joh 8:6, the Mediator of a better covenant, which is established on better promises. According to the New Covenant, we do not need sacrifices for our sins because Christ has given his life as a one-time sacrifice for every human being. We are forgiven our sins by repenting and asking for forgiveness.

Already at the time of Moses the Israelites said: Exo 20:19 “And they said to Moses, You speak with us, and we will hear. And let us not speak with God, that we not die. This historical background must have been forgotten by the time of the Apostolic Age; Jesus Christ had proclaimed the New Covenant, and he was the High priest of the covenant. There were no professional priests in the churches. Everyone had the right to speak and express their views on issues of faith. Why is this principle superseded? Perhaps the reason was that both internal and external divisions were threatening, and different sects were gaining ground. It was felt that the church needed a stronger organization, and therefore a clergy profession was formed. The Catholic Church was at the forefront of this development until the Middle Ages. Then the Protestant churches brought their doctrinal challenges to inter-church competition.

 

General priesthood

 Martin Luther’s idea of a common priesthood in the early 1600s was that all baptized were priests. This opinion has been specifically justified by 1 Pet 2:9 and 10: ” But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people to be his very own and to proclaim the wonderful deeds of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God. Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” Luther opposed the Catholic view, which emphasized the ecclesiastical structure of the priesthood, from priests to bishops, and the pope on the top. Pope was the Holy Father and the supreme leader of the whole Church. Unlike Luther, Catholics saw that there had to be a priesthood between sinners and God. The priests receive confessions and grant people absolution and perform baptism and other sacraments.

Even today, the Lutheran Church supports the notion that the general priesthood means that every baptized Christian belongs to the general (common) priesthood. I have previously examined the question of whether the baptism rescues, and my opinion is that baptism alone saves nobody. Post-baptism life, faith, and works of faith linked to God’s grace, save. I may ask: Should not the priest fulfill the requirement of faith and the truth of the Bible? How could baptism alone connect a person to the general priesthood? The importance of baptism has been greatly emphasized in different denominations. Baptism is “asking God for a clear conscience” (1 Pet 3:21), not an attachment to the priesthood.

In spite of the general (common) priesthood recognized by the Church, it does not include the administration of the sacraments. It is limited to ordained priests who require a degree in theology. The laypeople are entitled to prayer at church service, spiritual teaching, and pastoral care.

In spite of the common priesthood recognized by the Church, it does not include the administration of the sacraments. It is limited to ordained priests who are required a degree in theology. The lay people are entitled to prayer at congregation service, spiritual teaching, and pastoral care.

The Bible says nothing about the general priesthood. I do not believe in the priesthood of the people as taught by Luther or modern churches. According to my interpretation, the priesthood is an essential part of the reign with Christ in the Millennial kingdom. It is limited to a so-called ‘small flock’ that always follows Christ.

 

Royal priesthood

The following verses have been used to testify to the universal priesthood of Christianity.

1 Pet 2:5 you, too, as living stones, are building yourselves up into a spiritual house and a holy priesthood, so that you may offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people to be his very own and to proclaim the wonderful deeds of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Rev 1:6 and made us kings and priests to his God and Father, to him is the glory and the power to the ages of the ages! Amen.

Ilm 5:10 and made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign over the earth.

20:6 How blessed and holy are those who participate in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them. They will be priests of God and Christ, and will rule with him for a thousand years.

Who, or which group of people, is mentioned in the Bible verses above? Or, I ask, who is NOT being talked about? What is NOT said in the Bible?

1 Pet 2 chapters refer to evolution in the future to build up a spiritual house and a holy priesthood; a chosen family, a royal priesthood, chosen and called to the marvelous light of God. Before the creation of the world, God had known and chosen people for different tasks. They may well have been baptized, but they still had to be built up as the holy priesthood.

According to the teaching of Peter, all “you who believe” in the future (a people to be) will be a people who will build up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood. You are God’s chosen family, royal priesthood, holy tribe, a holy nation. Verse 10 reminds you that you were not a people before, but now you are a people of God. It is not about natural Israel, but about the peoples of many nations who used to be pagans. By faith, they have become God’s people or God’s Israel. God’s Israel includes all people who believe in Jesus and confess him as Lord. All believers have the opportunity to compete in the faith and aspire to the ‘royal priesthood’.

 

Royal priesthood compared to the general priesthood.

Rev 1:5 ”and from Jesus Christ, the witness, the faithful one, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To the one who loves us and has freed [has washed] us from our sins by his blood. 6 and has made us a kingdom, priests for his God and Father, be glory and power forever and ever! Amen.”

Rev 5:9 And they sing a new song, saying, Worthy are you to receive the scroll, and to open its seals, because you were slain, and by your blood purchased [people] for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 You made us a kingdom and priests for our God, and we shall reign on the earth.”

Rev 1: 5 and 5:10 testify that the people concerned in these verses are made a kingdom and a priesthood to God and they will reign on earth. Revelation 20:6 reveals who these verses are talked about: ”How blessed and holy are those who participate in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them. They will be priests of God and Christ, and will rule with him for a thousand years.

The question is by no means of being baptized. Many have not been baptized at all. They are the “saints of Christ” and co-rulers who reign with Christ as kings and priests in his Millennial kingdom. They will be priests of Christ, and they will rule.

They have not been priests and they are not priests if they are currently alive. It is a question of a later part in the kingdom of Christ.

What I have written above, should encourage all Christians to build up their faith, so they could build their lives towards the future great prize i.e. the first resurrection. Those who achieve it, will also be priests of Christ.

 

Who will form the royal priesthood?

What is this group of chosen generation that is discussed in the verses above; “the Holy Nation,” “the royal priesthood”? They are those who believe in Jesus Christ. The apostolic people are dead in their graves, but modern-day believers also belong to this “chosen family,” “God’s people.” Isaiah calls them “The Holy People” (Isa 62:12 KJV). They are true Believers out of every Tribe and Tongue and People and Nation. They form the priesthood and “will rule with him [Christ] for a thousand years.”

Not all believers automatically join this group. They are chosen by God and have been tried and found faithful throughout their lives. They are participants in the first resurrection.

Paul also talks about them when he talks about the first resurrection and the related rapture.

1 The 4:15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who have died.
17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

1 Cor 15:51 Let me tell you a secret. Not all of us will die, but all of us will be changed , 52 in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, at the sound of the last trumpet. Indeed, that trumpet will sound, and then the dead will be raised never to decay, and we will be changed.

What does Paul say about believers becoming? Believers will change into spirit beings because flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and what decays cannot inherit what does not decay. (v. 50). As the last trumpet sounds, the dead in Christ rise first and then those who are alive and remain will be caught up in the clouds with them to meet the Lord in the air (1 The 4:17) when Christ comes to earth for the second time to establish the Millennial kingdom.

As the priests and rulers of that kingdom under Christ, this group of the first resurrection has been raised. The Bible tells us Rev 14:1, ”Then I looked, and there was the lamb standing on Mount Zion! With him were 144,000 people who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.” Verse 4 explains that ”they follow the lamb wherever he goes. They have been redeemed from among humanity as the first fruits for God and the lamb.”

I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000. Those who were sealed were from every tribe of Israel: (Rev 7:4). A little earlier, Revelation explains the same thing in Rev 5: 9 ”They sang a new song: ”You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, because you were slaughtered. With your blood you purchased people for God from every tribe, language, people, and nation. – This “little flock” (Luk 12:32) “royal priesthood” is actually quite large, 144,000 believers. There is no consensus as to whether this number is an exact number or a symbolic number. It is important that this dominant priesthood can be reached as long as one has a strong faith. The ‘flock’ is assembled from ‘all languages and nations and peoples’ and not just the twelve tribes of Israel. The Bible tells us that this 144,000 ‘small flock’ of twelve tribes of Israel, each of 12,000 people.

I interpret the description of the number as symbolic. Saints of the small flock are Israelis. The 12 Jacobic tribes listed in the Bible are not correctly recorded. Second, the Bible says that they are assembled from “all languages and nations and peoples.” Third; all tribes should be treated equally. Could each tribe be of equal value to join this group?

This, too, is one of the countless passages in the Bible, where it is a matter of a figurative expression. Paul, above all, explains Judaism in Rom 2:29, “a person is a Jew inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by a written law. That person’s praise will come from God, not from people.”

However, they will work with Christ, the High Priest of God, as rulers of the earth for a thousand years as Christ’s Millennial kingdom rules. Today, in this world, we have a separate clergy with many different titles and degrees. During the apostolic period, there were no professional priests, and this ideal system shattered as the Catholic Church became stronger. Probably all the major Christian church organizations have serious problems.

The Bible urges: 2 Cor 6:17 “Get away from them and separate yourselves from them, declares the Lord, “and don’t touch anything unclean. Then I will welcome you.” Rev 18:4 “Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you don’t participate in her sins and suffer from her plagues.” – I do not urge anyone to leave his church without serious reflection. One should not separate because the Church has a flamboyant priesthood leadership. Or that the worship services are stiffened by their formulas. I consider the doctrine of the Church to be the most important thing. Is it biblical? When you ask yourself different questions and answer them honestly, you might find a solution. However, many continue year after year in a church where he may have been associated even as a baby, and is blind to serious false doctrines or downright wrongdoings in his church.

 

Divine nature

Jehovah, our God, made Jesus Lord and Christ according to the Bible (Acts 2:36) and gave him eternal life; Joh 5:26 ”For just as the Father has life in himself, so also he has granted the Son to have life in himself.” Jesus said: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Mat 28:18). Jesus Christ gave his own blood for sacrifice and redemption from sins. During the Old Covenant, the priest sacrificed the animal’s blood for the redemption of sins – Christ sacrificed his own innocent blood for redemption, which need not be renewed as the animal sacrifice. The redemption has been in effect for nearly two thousand years and is still there for anyone who believes in Jesus and apologizes for his sins.

Heb 4:14 ” Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us continue to hold on to our confession.” What does “passing through the heavens” mean? The tabernacle and throne of God are said to be in the highest, tenth heaven, according to an Apocrypha text. So Jesus ascended to the highest heaven to God, who let Jesus sit on the throne on his right hand and gave him all the power that God himself has.

2 Piet 1:3 ”His [Christ’s] divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the full knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence. 4 Through these he has given us his precious and wonderful promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, seeing that you have escaped the corruption that is in the world caused by evil desires.

What does Peter mean when he says that Christ has given us the most magnificent promises, and that according to these promises, we would be partakers of the divine nature and be saved?

The word divine, Gr. θεῖος theîos; from G2316; godlike (neuter as noun, divinity):—divine, godhead.

From here, we can get to human creation and start exploring it from there, no further.

 

Man image of God

God created man in his own image. In the past, God had already created angels. Then God created the earth and the world. The Bible tells how angels would rejoice in God’s creation. Gen 1:27 And God created the man in His own image; in the image of God He created him. He created them male and female. Job 38:7 when the morning stars [angels] sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

What does it mean to be God’s image? It does not mean physical nature. God is spirit, and man is ‘flesh.’ The first people were in the flesh, but one can also get the spirit body. The people of the first resurrection are the first to do so. Paul, in his Corinthians epistle tells us how the dead in Christ are raised first, and then those of Christ who are alive, will change. Changing means that they change into spirit bodies because “flesh and blood is not able to inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption” (1 Cor 15:50). These two groups of ascenders form the ‘little flock’ described in the Bible, who comes to meet Christ in the clouds and becomes rulers with Christ in the Millennial kingdom.

In 2 Peter, he states that Christ’s divine power was bestowed upon them, etc. Christ thus has divine power at his disposal. In the next verse, Peter hopes that through these promises, “you will be partakers of the divine nature.” Do saved people receive divine nature for themselves in the kingdom of God because they are images of God? And do they get divine power at their disposal?

My answer is: Yes.

Jesus, while on earth, said to his disciples that if they had even a little faith, they could move the mountain from its place: Mat 17:20 He told them, “Because of your lack of faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.

In the New World, those who enter there will be God’s co-workers:1 Cor 3:9 ”For we are God’s co-workers. You are God’s farmland and God’s building.” – Can’t God’s co-workers, who are made in the image of God, really have divine nature and divine power?

Christ comes with a great multitude of angels. 1 John 3:2 tells us that ”Beloved, now, children of God are we, and it was not yet manifested what we shall be, and we have known that if he may be manifested, like him we shall be, because we shall see him as he is;” The Bible describes the nature of Christ as glorious. (Rev 1:14-16) “his hair were white like wool, in fact, as white as snow. His eyes were like flames of fire.” What kind of spirit body each receives is not essential. The essential thing is that man returns to the image of God that God created man.

Among the resurrected, there are with certainty 12 Apostles, because Christ has promised them that they may sit with Christ on the throne and rule over the twelve tribes of Israel. King David is also among the resurrected because he is the king of all Israel. The other resurrected are the ‘royal priesthood’, who reign with Christ, even if necessary, with a scepter of iron.

A thousand years later, there is another resurrection and the final judgment. All people, except the saints of the first resurrection, the royal priesthood of Christ, must attend the final judgment. They got their share in the first resurrection because God had tried and disciplined them already in their lives so that they would not be judged with the world. (1 Cor 11:32) Gr. κατακρίνω katakrinō “Now, while we are being judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined lest we be condemned along with the world.” Heb 12:6 ”For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he punishes [whips] every son he accepts.” This is natural because they are qualified to be co-rulers with Christ and even to judge angels.

Heb 7:26 We need such a high priest—one who is holy, innocent, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens, 27 He has no need to offer sacrifices every day like those high priests, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he sacrificed himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.

 

The superiority of Jesus Christ as High Priest.

When Christ became a man of flesh and blood like his “brethren,” he was subjected to a profound trial: he suffered all kinds of resistance, persecution, and ultimately painful death. It is said of him: ”Heb 5:8 Son though he was, he learned obedience through his sufferings, 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him,”

Paul explains the benefit to us of trying Jesus in this way: ”Heb 2:18 “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” – Those who ask for help can be sure that they will receive mercy and compassion. Paul says, 4:15 ” For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

On Pentecost, this covenant became effective as the Holy Spirit sent by Jesus anointed the disciples.

Apt 2:3 ” They saw tongues like flames of fire that separated, and one rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them that ability.” Jesus Christ promised his Apostles: Luk 22:29 ”And I appoint to you, as my Father did appoint to me, a kingdom, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit down on thrones to govern the twelve tribes of Israel.”

Rev 1:4 From John to the seven churches in Asia. May grace and peace be yours from the one who is, who was, and who is coming, from the seven spirits who are in front of his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the witness, the faithful one the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To the one who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood 6 and has made us a kingdom, priests for his God and Father, be glory and power forever and ever! Amen. Rev 3:21 ”To the one who conquers I will give a place to sit with me on my throne, just as I have conquered and have sat down with my Father on his throne.”

Rev 5:9 ” They sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, because you were slaughtered. With your blood you purchased people for God from every tribe, language, people, and nation.10 You made them a kingdom and priests for our God, and they will reign on the earth.” 11 Then I looked, and I heard the voices of many angels, the living creatures, and the elders surrounding the throne. They numbered ten thousands times ten thousand and thousands times thousands.”

 Rev 20:6 How blessed and holy are those who participate in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them. They will be priests of God and Christ, and will rule with him for a thousand years.

 Phl 3:10 says: ”To know him what his resurrection power is like and what it means to share in his sufferings by becoming like him in his death,” Paul and Timothy wrote this way to the Philippians. Many Apostles and their contemporaries were subjected to a violent death like Christ. Its reward was, according to Paul, to become like Christ.

Exo 19:5 And now if you will surely listen to My voice, and will keep My covenant, you shall become a special treasure to Me above all the nations, for all the earth is Mine. 6 And you shall become a kingdom of priests for Me, a holy nation. – How did the people of Israel keep the covenant with God? Already in the book of Genesis, chapter 32 tells how Aaron the High Priest made a golden god shaped like a calf to the Israelites, when Moses was up on the mountain to receive God’s two tables of testimony. Giving up on the prayers of Moses, God’s mind was at peace as Moses reminded what God had promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (v. 32:14)

However, the Aaronic Branch priesthood was to remain only until came the greater priesthood it exemplified. Heb 8:6, ” However, Jesus has now obtained a ministry that is as superior to theirs as the covenant he mediates is founded on better promises.. 7 For if the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need to look for a second one.” It would last till the end of the old Law covenant and until the new covenant would enter into force. Heb 8:13 ” In speaking of a “new” covenant, he has made the first one obsolete, and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.”

Heb 7:11 “Now if perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood—for on this basis the people received the law—what further need would there be to speak of appointing another kind of priest according to the order of Melchizedek, not one according to the order of Aaron? 12 For when a change in the priesthood takes place, there must also be a change in the law. 13 For the person we are talking about belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is obvious that our Lord was a descendant of Judah, and Moses said nothing about priests coming from that tribe. 15 This point is even more obvious in that another priest who is like Melchizedek has appeared.”

Only a minority of Jews received Christ. Paul wonders in his Roman epistle whether God has forsaken his people. Paul assures you Rom 1:1 “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, a called apostle, having been separated to the good news of God 11:2 God has not rejected his people whom he chose long ago.”

God had warned Israel of his infidelity through his prophet Hosea hundreds of years earlier: Hos 4:6 My people are cut off for lack of knowledge. Because you rejected the knowledge, I also rejected you from being priest to Me. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I will forget your sons, even I.” Jesus said to the Jews of his day, Mat 21:43 “That is why I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce fruit for it.” Jesus Christ acknowledged the existence and mission of the Israeli priesthood because he was still under the law and the Law Covenant and acted upon its commandments while on earth. E.g. Mat 8:4 Then Jesus said to him [the leper], “See to it that you don’t speak to anyone. Instead, go and show yourself to the priest, and then offer the sacrifice that Moses commanded as proof to the authorities.”

 

In the New World to come

In the coming New World, after the Last Judgment, those who get there can enjoy the peace and blessings of God.

The description of the New World at the end of Revelation is, to a great extent, a figurative expression. I underlined these points.

But first, an important definition: only those written on the Lamb’s Book of Life can access it. These are the same people who, based on the entries in the Book, have received a favorable judgment at the last judgment. Christ has approved them.

Another essential definition: Are the above saved in the spirit body or the flesh? Of those who were saved, those who were partakers in the first resurrection are definitely in the spirit. Participants of the second resurrection are considered by many to be in the flesh because the Bible speaks of “the resurrection of the body.”

I interpreted the situation so that these are also in the spirit bodies. Their spirits have been “stored” with God in heaven. In many ways, there is nothing left of their earthly bodies. Of course, it would be possible for God to give them in the resurrection carnal bodies to which their spirits would unite. Another solution may also be possible: survivors can appear in both bodies, depending on the situation. Christ himself was able to pass through locked doors, appear at any time, anywhere. He was a spirit, but he also had a body that showed traces of the crucifixion.

Ilm 21:23 The city doesn’t need any sun or moon to give it light, because the glory of God gave it light, and the lamb was its lamp.

24 The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.

25 Its gates will never be shut by day, because there won’t be any night there.

26 People will bring the glory and wealth of the nations into it.

27 Nothing unclean, or anyone who does anything detestable, and no one who tells lies will ever enter it. Only those whose names are written in the lamb’s Book of Life will enter it.

Ilm 22:3 There will no longer be any curse. The throne of God and the lamb will be in the city. His servants will worship him
4 and see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.

5 There will be no more night, and they will not need any light from lamps or the sun because the Lord God will shine on them. They will rule forever and ever.

Who are those in verse 22:5 who rule forever and ever? God and Christ, of course, because their thrones are there. Are the Saints of the Millennial kingdom reigning with Christ still involved in the reign? During their reign, the Bible described their rule as “iron scepter.” When all who are saved are faithful children of God, there is no need for an iron scepter. Is there any reason at all, when all who are saved are one in Christ and have divine nature?

The word translated for ruling is Greek βασιλεύω basileuō, of which the version Basileus, known as king, is familiar to everyone. Strong’s G936 defines not only to rule, but also metaph. to exercise the highest influence, to control. Are all saved priests like kings who have the enormous powers and hence the power of influence, who are brethren recognized by Jesus and co-workers of God. Would a better translation be: The Lord God will enlighten them, and they will do great works forever and ever.

“The kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.” I’ve been under the impression that the kings have during the Millennial kingdom abandoned the traditional kingship, and Christ and the Saints have reigned the world. The glory of the nations has faded, and glory is now given to God and Christ. Treasures of the world no longer have any value.

There is no night. God’s glory illuminates, and its lamp is Christ. This is undoubtedly a figurative expression of a complete change in people’s way of thinking, its brightening, and the disappearance of all sinful and gloomy. By then, the saved part of humanity is again the image of God as God created people. The image of God could be translated ‘God-like’. Angels are called sons of God, but humans are in higher position than the angels.

 

 

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