Monday, December 15, 2014

Office, Gift and Priesthood (Part 3)

Priesthood
From Office, Gift and Priesthood by AJ Pollock

This is the privilege of all Christians. One of the greatest causes of the weakness that obtains in the professing Church of God is because this great truth has been set aside, and the priesthood has been arrogated as the right of a privileged class, many of whom, alas! are unconverted, and many, even when Christians, clearly lacking the ordination of heaven.

The root meaning of the word priest means, one who offers a sacrifice. This is clearly seen in the typical priesthood, who offered the sacrifices on the altar. We read in Heb. 8:3, "For every high priest is ordained to offer, gifts and sacrifices," carrying on the same principle. Again, "Ye... are... an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices." (1 Peter 2:5).

It is interesting to note that the Hebrew word for priest is cohen, and all the Jews with this name and its variations are descendants of Aaron and will be entitled to the priestly office, when it is re-instituted in the millennial day. (See Ezek. 46).

The Latin equivalent for priest is sacerdos; from which has sprung the word, sacerdotal; whilst the Greek equivalent is hiereus, from which has sprung the word hierarchy, thus showing how far removed are the thoughts of worldly and carnal men when they take up religious matters. Sacerdotal and hierarchical are words that speak of religious pride and pomp culminating in "Mystery, Babylon the great, the Mother of harlots and abominations of the earth." (Rev. 17:5).

Every Believer is a Priest
Two Scriptures prove this. Peter addressing believers says, "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..... Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood." (1 Peter 2:5, 9). Again: "Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father," etc. (Rev. 1 z, 5). Mr. Darby's New Translation gives a better rendering of this passage, "To Him who loves us and has washed us from our sins in His blood, and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father," etc.

We learn from this that all believers are priests in this dispensation. And if all believers do not exercise their priesthood, not only are they the losers but God is the loser, He is robbed of the worship that He seeks from His redeemed ones. It is a serious matter to hold the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers and not to practice it, for to hold it and not to practice it is to condemn ourselves in a very serious way. How deeply God's glory is involved in this is seen when our Lord said, "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father seeks such to worship Him." (John 4:23). May this pamphlet be a means in God's hand to stir up His beloved people to give Him the gratification of His heart in a fuller measure.

What does the Priest Offer?
We are told distinctly in 1 Peter 2:5, "To offer up spiritual sacrifices," whilst Heb. 13:15 confirms this: "By Him let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name." How far removed this is from the bloodless sacrifice of the mass which Roman Catholicism blasphemously offers on the thousands of her altars, or offered on high anglican altars, which goes far in the same direction.

How sweet and simple it is when saints of God gather alone to the Lord's name, and in the power of the Holy Spirit offer their heartfelt praise and worship. This is higher than service to the Lord, higher than ministry to man, this is ministry to God, the highest privilege of all, and which heaven will afford none higher.

Are we in Priestly Condition?
Alas! tens of thousands of God's people have never exercised their priesthood, because they are not in priestly condition. They are content either to allow a special class to filch their privilege from them, they continue in organizations so designed as to put everything into the hands of one man; or, being in a place where the Spirit of God is recognized, through spiritual apathy, or the allowance of carnal mind and ways, or it may even be of wrong practices, giving them a bad conscience, they are not in a condition to exercise their priesthood.

The Levitical law laid down the canon that a priest, having a blemish such as blindness, lameness, crooked back, broken-footed or broken-handed, etc., etc., should not go in unto the veil, or come nigh to the altar, though he might eat of the bread of his God, even when most holy (See Lev. 21:16-23). This bears out what we say.

Shall we, as believers, not seek to be in a condition in which with fullness of heart we shall gladly pour out our worship and praises unto God, the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ?

Of course sisters are as much priests as brothers, though in the ways of God, all wise, it is ordained that only brothers take audible part in the Assembly. If a sister,, because she is not permitted to take audible part, comes into an Assembly unexercised, she can be but a drag upon the meeting. But, if she comes exercised, she will be a help, and may be used of God in putting backward brothers on their feet.

Do we Worship the Father?
In the Old Testament the Father was not revealed, and worship was always to God. The people could only come into the outer court; the priests only into the holy place. "The way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest." (Heb. 9:8).

But now the veil is rent consequent on the finished work of Christ, and all believers have " boldness to enter into the holiest of all by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh," (Heb. 10:19, 20).

Not only so, but in the New Testament the Father is revealed. Believers are now brought into the relationship and dignity of sons, and as sons it is their high and holy privilege to worship the Father.

Our Lord said in John 4 that the Father was seeking worshippers who should worship Him in Spirit and in truth -" in Spirit," as opposed to forms and ceremonies; " in truth," as formed by the revelation of God as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the believer's association with the Lord, as He said to Mary Magdalene, " Go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father and your Father; and to My God and your God." (John 20:17). How wonderful that "He is not ashamed to call us brethren." (Heb. 2:11). In Rev. 1:6 it is said that believers are a kingdom of priests unto God and His Father.

Worship, the Service of Heaven
The word for worship, proskuneo, signifies to kiss (the hand) toward. Just as a loyal subject bends low before his sovereign and kisses his hand in token of fealty and reverence, so what must it be to bow low in heart before the blessed God, known too, as Father, and express, it must be, at best, in feeble faltering tones, appreciation of all that He is in His own blessed Person-to bow low in heart before the Son, our blessed Lord Jesus Christ, who has carried manhood up to the eternal throne, in whom everything of Christianity is revealed and by whom every blessing is manifested, and pour out our heart in worship.

This is the highest bliss of the creature, and this will be the eternal service of heaven, begun here in feebleness and weakness, to be continued there in fullness and for eternity.

"On earth the song begins, In heaven more sweet and loud."

How we may thank God for the earnest of the Spirit, sent into our hearts that we may taste these things, and thus be drawn with quickened steps to those scenes of ineffable bliss and glory, where we shall know as we are known.



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