Priest, Priesthood

(Priest book "DREAMING IN PICTURES" written by Pembroke College).
(Priest book “DREAMING IN PICTURES” written by Pembroke College).

Why God established the office of:

‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 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.” –  NIV Exodus 19:4-6

God had a reason for rescuing the Israelites from slavery. Now he was ready to tell them what it was: Israel was to become a kingdom of priests and a holy nation where anyone could approach God freely.  It didn’t take long, however, for the people to corrupt God’s plan.  God then established Aaron’s descendants from the tribe of Levi as priests, representing what the entire nation should have been (Leviticus 8, 9).  But with the coming of Jesus Christ, God has once again extended his plan to all believers.  We are to become holy, a “royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9).  The death and resurrection of Christ has allowed each of us to approach God freely.

“Have Aaron your brother brought to you from among the Israelites, with his sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, so that they may serve me as priests. – NIV Exodus 28:1

God was teaching his people how to worship him. To do so, he needed ministers to oversee the operations of the tabernacle and to help the people maintain their relationship with God.  These men were called priests and Levites, and they could only be members of the tribe of Levi.  Chapters 28 and 29 give some details about priests.  Not only was a priest from the tribe of Levi, but he was also a descendant of Aaron, Israel’s first high priest.  Priests had more responsibilities than Levites.  As high priest, Aaron was in charge of all the priests and Levites.  The priests performed the daily sacrifices, maintained the tabernacle, and counselled the people on how to follow God.  They were the people’s representatives before God and thus were required to live worthy of their office.  Jesus is now our high priest (Hebrews 8).  Daily sacrifices are no longer required because he sacrificed himself on the cross for our sins.  Today ministers no longer sacrifice animals.  Instead they lead us in prayer and teach us about both the benefits and the commandments that characterise our new life as Christians.

“This is what you are to do to consecrate them, so that they may serve me as priests: Take a young bull and two rams without defect. – NIV Exodus 29:1ff

Why did God set up the priesthood? God had originally intended that his chosen people be a “kingdom of priests” with both the nation as a whole and each individual dealing directly with God.  But the people’s sin prevented this from happening because a sinful person is not worthy to approach a perfect God.  God then appointed priests from the tribe of Levi and set up the system of sacrifices to help the people approach him.  He promised to forgive the people’s sins if they would offer certain sacrifices administered by the priests on behalf of the people.  Through these priests and their work, God wished to prepare al people for the coming of Jesus Christ, who would once again offer a direct relationship with God for anyone who would come to him.  But until Christ came, the priests were the people’s representatives before God.  Through this Old Testament system, we can better understand the significance of what Christ did for us (see Hebrews 10:1-14).

“Bring Aaron and his sons, their garments, the anointing oil, the bull for the sin offering, the two rams and the basket containing bread made without yeast, and gather the entire assembly at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.” –  NIV Leviticus 8:2-3

Why were priests needed in Israel? In Exodus 19:6, the Israelites were instructed to be a kingdom of priests; ideally they would all be holy and relate to God.  But from the time of Adam’s fall, sin has separated man and God, and people have needed mediators to help them find forgiveness.  At first, the patriarchs – heads of households like Abraham and Job – – were priests of the house or clan and made sacrifices for the family.  When the Israelites left Egypt, the descendants of Aaron were chosen to serve as priests for the nation.  The priests stood in the gap between God and man.  They were the full-time spiritual leaders and overseers of offerings.  The priestly system was a concession to people’s inability, because of sin, to confront and relate to God individually and corporately.  In Christ, this imperfect system was transformed.  Jesus Christ himself is our High Priest.  Now all believers can approach God through him.

Requirements of being one:

“Have Aaron your brother brought to you from among the Israelites, with his sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, so that they may serve me as priests. – NIV Exodus 28:1ff

God was teaching his people how to worship him. To do so, he needed ministers to oversee the operations of the tabernacle and to help the people maintain their relationship with God.  These men were called priests and Levites, and they could only be members of the tribe of Levi.  Chapters 28 and 29 give some details about priests.  Not only was a priest from the tribe of Levi, but he was also a descendant of Aaron, Israel’s first high priest.  Priests had more responsibilities than Levites.  As high priest, Aaron was in charge of all the priests and Levites.  The priests performed the daily sacrifices, maintained the tabernacle, and counselled the people on how to follow God.  They were the people’s representatives before God and thus were required to live worthy of their office.  Jesus is now our high priest (Hebrews 8).  Daily sacrifices are no longer required because he sacrificed himself on the cross for our sins.  Today ministers no longer sacrifice animals.  Instead they lead us in prayer and teach us about both the benefits and the commandments that characterise our new life as Christians.

Significance of their uniforms:

From the blue, purpose and scarlet yarn they made woven garments for ministering in the sanctuary. They also made sacred garments for Aaron, as the LORD commanded Moses.

They made the ephod of gold, and of blue, purpose and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen. They hammered out thin sheets of gold and cut strands to be worked into the blue, purpose and scarlet yarn and fine linen – – the work of a skilled craftsman.  They made shoulder pieces for the ephod, which were attached to two of its corners, so that it could be fastened.  Its skilfully woven waistband was like it – – of one piece with the ephod and made with gold, and with blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and with finely twisted linen, as the LORD commanded Moses.

They mounted the onyx stones in gold filigree settings and engraved them like a seal with the names of the sons of Israel. then they fastened them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel, as the LORD commanded Moses.

They fashioned the breastpiece – – the work of a skilled craftsman. They made it like the ephod: of gold, and of blue, purpose and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen.  It was square – – a span long and a span wide – – and folded double.  Then they mounted four rows of precious stones on it.  In the first row there was a ruby, a topaz and a beryl; in the second row of Turquoise, a sapphire and an emerald; in the third row a jacinth, an agate and an amethyst; in the fourth row a chrysolite, an onyx and a jasper.  They were mounted in gold filigree settings.  There were twelve stones, one for each of the names of the sons of Israel, each engraved like a seal with the name of one of the twelve tribes.

For the breastpiece they made braided chains of pure gold, like a rope [snake].  They made two gold filigree settings and two gold rings, and fastened the rings to two of the corners of the breastpiece.  they fastened the two gold chains to the rings at the corners of the breastpiece, and the other ends of the chains to the two settings, attaching them to the shoulder pieces of the ephod at the front.  They made two gold rings and attached them to the other two corners of the breastpiece on the inside edge next to the ephod.  Then they made two more gold rings and attached them to the bottom of the shoulder pieces on the front of the ephod, close to the seam just above the waist of the ephod.  they tied the rings of the breastpiece to the rings of the ephod with blue cord, connecting it to the waistband so that the breastpiece would not swing out from the ephod – – as the LORD commanded Moses. – NIV Exodus 39:1-21

The priests wore a uniform to the tabernacle each day. Some of the pieces of their uniform were not only beautiful but also significant.  Two parts of the high priest’s uniform were the ephod, and breastpiece.  The ephod looked like a vest and was worn over the outer clothing.  The breastpiece was fitted to the ephod (and sometimes was called the ephod).  The breastpiece was made of coloured linens about nine inches square.  On its front were attached 12 precious stones, each inscribed with the name of a tribe of Israel.  This symbolised how the high priest represented all the people before God.  The breastpiece also contained pockets that held two stones or plates called the Urim and Thummim.  The high priest could determine God’s will for the nation by consulting the Urim and Thummin.  (See the note on 28:30.)

Ordination ceremony of Aaron & his sons:

The LORD said to Moses – NIV Leviticus 8:1ff

Why did Aaron and his sons need to be cleansed and set apart? Although all the men from the tribe of Levi were dedicated for service to God, only Aaron’s descendants could be priests.  They alone had the honour and responsibility of performing the sacrifices.  These priests had to cleanse and dedicate themselves before they could help the people do the same.

The ceremony described in Leviticus 8 and 9 was their ordination ceremony. Aaron and his sons were washed with water (8:6), clothed with special garments (8:7-9), and anointed with oil (8:12).  They placed their hands on a young bull as it was killed (8:14), and on two rams as they were killed (8:18, 19, 22).  This showed that holiness came from God alone, not from the priestly role.  Similarly, we are not spiritually cleansed because we have a religious position.  Spiritual cleansing comes only from God.  No matter how high our position or how long we have held it, we must depend on God for spiritual vitality.

Priesthood of Old & New Testament contrasted:

Appoint Aaron and his sons to serve as priests; anyone else who approaches the sanctuary must be put to death. – NIV Numbers 3:10

Aaron and his descendants were appointed to the priesthood. There is a tremendous contrast between the priesthood of Aaron in the Old Testament and the priesthood of Christ in the New Testament.  Aaron and his descendants were the only ones who could carry out the duties of the priests and approach God’s dwelling place.  Now that Christ is our High Priest – – our intermediary with God – – anyone who follows him is also called a priest (1 Peter 2:5, 9).  Now all Christians may come into God’s presence without fear because God’s own Son encourages his followers to do so.  We can put guilt behind us when we have a special relationship with God based on what Christ has done for us.

Immorality had crept into:

A young Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, who had been living with the clan of Judah, left that town in search of some other place to stay. On his way he came to Micah’s house in the hill country of Ephraim.

Micah asked him, “Where are you from?”

I’m a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah,” he said, “and I’m looking for a place to stay.”

Then Micah said to him, “Live with me and be my father and priest, and I’ll give you ten shekels of silver a year, your clothes and your food.” So the Levite agreed to live with him, and the young man was to him like one of his sons.  Then Micah installed the Levite, and the young man became his priest and lived in his house. –  NIV Judges 17:7-12

Apparently the Israelites no longer supported the priests and Levites with their tithes because so many of the people no longer worshipped God. The young Levite in this story probably left his home in Bethlehem because the money he received from the people there was not enough to liv eon.  But Israel’s moral decay affected event he priests and Levites.  This man accepted money (17:10, 11), idols (18:20), and position (17:12) in a way that was inconsistent with God’s laws.  While Micah revealed the religious downfall of individual Israelites, this priest illustrated the religious downfall of priests and Levites.

Description of Samuel’s priestly clothing:

But Samuel was ministering before the LORD – a boy wearing a linen ephod. – NIV 1 Samuel 2:18

Samuel wore a linen ephod. Ephods, long sleeveless vests made of plain linen, were worn by all priests.  The high priest’s ephod carried special significance.  It was embroidered with a variety of bright colours.  Attached to it was the breastplate, a bib-like garment with gold embroidered shoulder straps.  Twelve precious gemstones were attached to the breastplate, each stone representing one of the tribes of Israel.  A pouch on the ephod held the Urim and the Thummim, two small objects used to determine God’s will in certain national matters.

Why Saul killed 85 of them:

The king then ordered Doeg, “You turn and strike down the priests.” So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck them down.  That day he killed eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod.NIV 1 Samuel 22:18

Why would Saul have his own priests killed? Saul suspected a conspiracy among Jonathan, David, and the priests.  His suspicion came from Doeg’s report of seeing David talking to Ahimelech, the high priest, and receiving food and a weapon from him (22:9, 10).  Saul’s action showed his mental and emotional instability and how far he had strayed from God.

By destroying everything in Nob, Saul was placing the city under the ban (declaring it to be utterly destroyed) described in Deuteronomy 13:12-17, which was supposed to be used only in cases of idolatry and rebellion against God. But it was Saul, not the priests, who had rebelled against God.

Why God would allow 85 to die unnecessarily:

The king then ordered Doeg, “You turn and strike down the priests.” So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck them down.  That day he killed eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod. He also put to the sword Nob, the town of the priests, with its men and women, its children and infants, and its cattle, donkeys and sheep. – NIV 1 Samuel 22:18-19

Why did God allow 85 innocent priests to be killed? Their deaths served to dramatise to the nation how a king could become an evil tyrant.  Where were Saul’s advisers?  Where were the elders of Israel?  Sometimes God allows evil to develop to teach us not to let evil systems flourish.  Serving God is not a ticket to wealth, success, or health.  God does not promise to protect good people from evil in this world, but he does promise that ultimately all trials will experience great rewards in the age to come (Matthew 5:11, 12; Revelation 21:1-7; 22:1-21).

Duties of:

The duty of the Levites was to help Aaron’s descendants in the service of the temple of the LORD: to be in charge of the courtyards, the side rooms, the purification of all sacred things and the performance of other duties at the house of God. They were in charge of the bread set out on the table, the flour for the grain offerings, the unleavened wafers, the baking and the mixing, and all measurements of quantity and size.  They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD.  They were to do the same in the evening and whenever burnt offerings were presented to the LORD on Sabbaths and at New Moon festivals and at appointed feasts.  They were to serve before the LORD regularly in the proper number and in the way prescribed for them.

And so the Levites carried out their responsibilities for the Tent of Meeting, for the Holy Place and, under their brothers the descendants of Aaron, for the service of the temple of the LORD. NIV 1 Chronicles 23:28-32

Priests and Levites had different jobs in and around the temple. Priests were authorised to perform the sacrifices.  Levities were set apart to help the priests.  They did the work of elders, deacons, custodians, assistants, musicians, removal men, and repairmen.  Both priests and Levities came from the tribe of Levi, but priests also had to be descendants of Aaron, Israel’s first high priest (Exodus 28:1-3).  Priests and Levites were supported by Israel’s tithes and by revenues from certain cities that had been given to them.  Worship in the temple could not have taken place without the combined efforts of the priests and Levites.  Their responsibilities were different, but they were equally important to God’s plan.  No matter what place of service you have in the church, you are important to the healthy functioning of the congregation.

The priests, who are Levites – indeed the whole tribe of Levi – are to have no allotment or inheritance with Israel. They shall live on the offerings made to the LORD by fire, for that is their inheritance.  They shall have no inheritance among their brothers; the LORD is their inheritance, as he promised them.

This is the share due to the priests from the people who sacrifice a bull or a sheep: the shoulder, the jowls and the inner parts. You are to give them the firstfruits of your grain, new wine and oil, and the first wool from the shearing of your sheep, for the LORD your God has chosen them and their descendants out of all your tribes to stand and minister in the LORD’s name always.

If a Levite moves from one of your towns anywhere in Israel where he is living, and comes in all earnestness to the place the LORD will choose, he may minister in the name of the LORD his God like all his fellow Levites who serve there in the presence of the LORD. He is to share equally in their benefits even though he has received money from the sale of family possessions. – NIV Deuteronomy 18:1-8

The priests and Levites served much the same function as our ministers today: Their duties included (1) teaching the people about God, (2) setting an example of godly living, (3) caring for the sanctuary and its workers, and (4) distributing the offerings. Because priests could not own property or pursue outside business interests, God made special arrangements so that people would not take advantage of them.  Often churches take advantage of the men and women God has brought to lead them.  For example, ministers may not be paid in accordance with their skills or the time they put in.  Or pastors may be expected to attend every evening meeting, even if this continual absence is harmful to their families.  As you look at your own church in the light of God’s word, what ways do you see to honour the leaders God has given you?

How Jeroboam’s priests gave in to party politics:

Even after this, Jeroboam did not change his evil ways, but once more appointed priests for the high places from all sorts of people. Anyone who wanted to become a priest he consecrated for the high places.  This was the sin for the house of Jeroboam that led to its downfall and to its destruction from the face of the earth.NIV 1 Kings 13:33-34

Under penalty of death, God had forbidden anyone to be a priest who was not from the tribe of Levi (Numbers 3:10). Levites were assured of lifetime support from the tithe, so they did not have to spend time farming, worrying about tribal interests, or fearing for their financial futures.  Jeroboam’s new priests were financed by the king and his fees.  They had to mix priestly and secular duties, and they quickly fell into party politics.  Because they didn’t have job security, they were easily corrupted by bribes.  Jeroboam’s disobedience was the downfall of true religion in the northern kingdom.

Supposed to prepare carefully for worship:

Altogether, those chosen to be gatekeepers at the thresholds numbered 212. They were registered by genealogy in their villages.  The gatekeepers had been assigned to their positions of trust by David and Samuel the seer.  They and their descendants were in charge of guarding the gates of the house of the LORD – the house called the Tent.  The gatekeepers were on the four sides: east, west, north and south.  Their brothers in their villages had to come from time to time and share their duties for seven-day periods.  But the four principal gatekeepers, who were Levites, were entrusted with the responsibility for the rooms and treasures in the house of God.  They would spend the night stationed round the house of God, because they had to guard it; and they had charge of the key for opening it each morning.

Some of them were in charge of the articles used in the temple service; they counted them when they were brought in and when they were taken out. Others were assigned to take care of the furnishings and all the other articles of the sanctuary, as well as the flour and wine, and the oil, incense and spices.  But some of the priests took care of mixing the spices.  A Levite named Mattithiah, the firstborn son of Shallum the Korahite, was entrusted with the responsibility for baking the offering bread.  Some of their Kohathite brothers were in chare og preparing for every Sabbath the bread set out on the table. – NIV 1 Chronicles 9:22-32

The preses and Levites put a great deal of time and care into worship. Not only did they perform rather complicated tasks (described in Leviticus 1 – 9), they also took care of many pieces of equipment.  Everything relating to worship was carefully prepared and maintained so they and all the people could enter worship with their minds and hearts focused on God.

In our busy world, it is easy to rush into our one-hour-a-week worship services without preparing ourselves for worship beforehand. We reflect and worry about the week’s problems; we pray about whatever comes into our minds; and we do not meditate on the words we are singing.  But God wants our worship to be conducted “in a fitting and orderly way” (1 Corinthians 14:40).  Just as we prepare to meet a business associate or invited guests, we should carefully prepare to meet our King in worship.

Divided into 24 groups:

A larger number of leaders were found among Eleazar’s descendants than among Ithamar’s, and they were divided accordingly: sixteen heads of families from Eleazar’s descendants and eight heads of families from Ithamar’s descendants.NIV 1 Chronicles 24:4

Eleazar’s descendants were divided into 16 groups (as opposed to Ithamar’s eight) for three reasons. (1) Eleazar had received the birthright since his two older brothers, Nadab and Abihu, had been killed (Leviticus 10).  The birthright included a double portion of the father’s estate.  (2) His descendants were greater in number than Ithamar’s.  (3) His descendants had greater leadership ability.  These 24 groups gave order to the functioning of the temple.

The first lot feel to Jehoiarib,

the second to Jedaiah,

the third to Harim,

the fourth to Seorim,

the fifth to Malkijah,

the sixth to Mijamin,

the seventh to Hakkox,

the eighth to Abijah,

the ninth to Jeshua,

the tenth to Shecaniah,

the eleventh to Eliashib,

the twelfth to Jakim,

the thirteenth to Huppah,

the fourteenth to Jeshebeab,

the fifteenth to Bilgah,

the sixteenth to Immer,

the seventeenth to Hezir,

the eighteenth to Happizzez,

the nineteenth to Pethahiah,

the twentieth to Jehezkel,

the twenty-first to Jakin,

the twenty-second to Gamul,

the twenty-third to Delaiah

and the twenty-fourth to Maazaih. – NIV 1 Chronicles 24:7-18

Each of these 24 groups of priests served two-week shifts each year at the temple. The rest of the time they served in their hometowns.  This system was still in place in Jesus’ day (Luke 1:5-9).  Zechariah was a member of the Abijah division.  During his shift at the temple, an angel appeared to him and predicted that he would have a son, John.

Few had the courage to confront the king:

In the seventh year Jehoiada showed his strength. He made a covenant with the commanders of units of a hundred: Azariah son of Jeroham, Ishmael son of Jehohanan, Azariah son of Obed, Maaseiah son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat son of Zicri.NIV 2 Chronicles 23:1

After seven years of rule by Athaliah, the queen mother, Jerhoiada the priest finally got up his courage and took action to get rid of the idolatrous ruler. To confront the king (or queen) with the demands of God’s law was supposed to be the role of every priest in every generation.  Tragically, many priests shield away from this duty, and thus only a few made a difference in the nation.

Had become poor spiritual examples to the people:

“A son honours his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honour due to me?  If I am a master, where is the respect due to me?” says the LORD Almighty.  “It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name.

“But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’  – NIV Malachi 1:6ff

God charged the priests with failing to honour him (to the point of showing contempt for his name) and failing to be good spiritual examples to the people. The temple had been rebuilt in 516 B.C., and worship was being conducted there, but the priests did not worship God properly – they were not following his laws for the sacrifices.  Ezra, the priest, had sparked a great revival around 458 B.C.  However, by Malachi’s time, the nation’s leaders had once again fallen away from God, and the people right along with them.  The worship of God was no longer from heartfelt adoration; instead it was simply a burdensome job for the priests.

What they did at the temple:

In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. – NIV Luke 1:5

A Jewish priest was a minister of God who worked at the temple managing its upkeep, teaching the people the Scriptures, and directing the worship services. At this time there were about 20,000 priests throughout the country – far too many to minister in the temple at one time.  Therefore the priests were divided into 24 separate groups of about 1,000 each, according to David’s directions (1 Chronicles 24:3 – 19).

Zechariah was a member of the Abijah division, on duty this particular week. Each morning a priest was to enter the Holy Place in the temple and burn incense.  Lots were cast to decide who would enter the sacred room, and one day the lot fell to Zechariah.  But it was not by chance that Zechariah was on duty and that he was chosen that day to enter the Holy Place – perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  God was guiding the events of history to prepare the way for Jesus to come to earth.

Believers as true priests of God:

In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.  Until now you have not asked for anything in my name.  Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

“Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name.  I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf.  No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.  – NIV John 16:23-27

Jesus is talking about a new relationship between the believer and God. Previously, people approached God through priests.  After Jesus’ resurrection, any believer could approach God directly.  A new day has dawned and now all believers are priests, talking with God personally and directly (see Hebrews 10:19 – 23).  We approach God, not because of our own merit, but because Jesus, our great high priest, has made us acceptable to God.

Levitical priesthood cancelled with Christ’s coming:

If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come – one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law.  He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no-one from that tribe has ever served at the altar.  For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.  And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life.  For it is declared:

“You are a priest for ever,

in the order of Melchizedek” – NIV Hebrews 7:11-17

Jesus’ high-priestly role was superior to that of any priest of Levi, because the Messiah was a priest of a higher order (Psalm 110:4). If the Jewish priests and their laws had been able to save people, why would God need to send Christ as a priest, who came not from the tribe of Levi (the priestly tribe), but from the tribe of Judah?  The animal sacrifices had to be repeated, and they offered only temporary forgiveness; but Christ’s sacrifice was offered once, and it offers total and permanent forgiveness.  Under the new covenant, the Levitical priesthood was cancelled in favour of Christ’s role as high priest.  Because Christ is our high priest, we need to pay attention to him.  No minister, leader, or Christian friend can substitute for Christ’s work and for his role in our salvation.

What is the priesthood of believers?

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. – NIV 1 Peter 2:9

Christians sometimes speak of “the priesthood of all believers”. In Old Testament times, people did not approach God directly.  A priest acted as intermediary between God and sinful human beings.  With Christ’s victory on the cross, that pattern changed.  Now we can come directly into God’s presence without fear (Hebrews 4:16), and we are given the responsibility of bringing others to him also (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).  When we are united with Christ as members of his body, we join in his priestly work of reconciling God and man.

 

©Kingsway “International” Church, St Barnabas 1973.

 

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