1. Priesthood Is an Office
2. In the
3. Hereditary Priesthood
4. In the
All worship is based on priesthood, for the priestly office is an essential part of salvation. Christianity itself has its glorious Priest, the Lord, and it is through His one supreme offering that we are brought into saved relations with God and enjoy fellowship with Him. The priesthood of Christ and its mighty effects in sacrifice and intercession on behalf of the people of God are the chief and fundamental theme of the .
1. Priesthood an Office:
Priesthood is a real office, definite and specific. It is needful to insist on this fact, for the noble word "priest" has been misappropriated and misapplied, so that its intrinsic import has been impaired. There is a certain literary slang indulged in by some who talk of the "priests of science," "priests of art," and similar absurdities. The idea of priesthood, if priesthood is to have any definite meaning, can have no place in literature or science or art or in anything of the kind. For it belongs to the realm of grace, presupposing as it does sin and the divine purpose to remove it. Hugh Martin writes that he "would as soon think of transferring the language of geometry and of algebra to botany and talk of the hypothenuse of a flower and the square root of a tree, or the differential coefficient of a convolvulus, as to speak of the priesthood of nature or letters." Priesthood is an office, embracing very specific duties and functions.
2. In the Old Testament:
Priesthood in some form appears to have existed from the earliest times, even from the beginning of the history of our race. In patriarchal times the office was held and its duties were discharged by those who occupied some sort of headship, and particularly by the father or the chief of the family and of the tribe. Thus, Noah in his capacity of priest and in behalf of his household "builded an altar unto Yahweh, and took of every clean beast, and of every clean bird, and offered burnt-offerings on the altar" (
3. Hereditary Priesthood:
Regular priestly succession in a single family was established by Moses (
In the appointment of the priesthood there is no trace of Egyptian influence. Yet we know that Joseph married the daughter of the priest of On (
4. In the New Testament:
All priesthood reaches its climax in that of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is because of the perfection of His priesthood that the office as represented by Melchizedek and Aaron was effective, and fulfilled the end for which it was appointed. The one answers to the other as type and antitype, as prediction and fulfillment. Christ’s priesthood is opened to us in the Epistle to the Hebrews (2:14-18; 4:14-16; 5:1-10; 7:9,10,18). Two fundamental truths touching His priesthood are made very prominent in the Epistle to the Hebrews. These are its order and its duties. By the order is meant the rank or grade of the Priest, and by the duties the various functions of His ministry. Christ’s order as Priest is that of Melchizedek, not at all that of Aaron;
There was certainly priestly action in His death. Twice we are told that He "offered up himself" (
It is worthwhile to remind ourselves that the words employed in Scripture to express the act of His dying are never used to denote the death of a creature, a man. Matthew has, He "yielded up (dismissed), his spirit" (
See CHRIST, OFFICES OF, V; PRIESTHOOD IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.
Priesthood springs out of the deepest need of the human soul. Men universally feel that somehow they have offended the Power to whom they are responsible, to whom they must give account of their deeds. They long to appease their offended Lord, and they believe that one who is authorized and qualified to act in their behalf may secure for them the abrogation of penalty and the pardon they seek. Hence, priesthood connects itself most closely with sin, with guilt and its removal. The heart craves the intervention and intercession on their behalf of one who has liberty of access to God, and whose ministry is acceptable. In short, the priest is the representative of the sinner in things pertaining to God. He is the mediator whose office it is to meet and satisfy the claims of God upon those for whom he acts, and who secures the pardon and the favor which the offender must have, if he is to enjoy fellowship with God. And this, and more than this, we have in our Great, the Lord Jesus Christ.
P. Fairbairn, Typology of Scripture, II; Soltau, Exposition of the Tabernacle, the Priestly Garments and the Priesthood; Martin, Atonement; Moorehead, Mosaic Institutions, article "Priest."
William G. Moorehead