On the eternal office of the priesthood

H/T: The Orthodox Church (here)

Jesus Cried out:”It is finished”

I received the following questions from an Internet writer for my comments. I am sending it to you for posting in the site because it relates to the fundamental doctrine of our church.

Quote.”Do we need a priest?

But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.(1 pet 2:9)

God is equally accessible to all the faithful, and every Christian has equal potential to minister for God.

1 Corinthians 4:1: “No one should regard us as anything else than ministers of Christ and dispensers of the mysteries of God.”

When the thick temple veil that covered the doorway to the Holy of Holies was torn in two by God at the time of Christ’s death (Matthew 27:51), God was indicating that the Old Testament priesthood was no longer necessary. Now people could come directly to God through the great High Priest, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:14-16). There are now no earthly mediators between God and man as existed in the Old Testament priesthood (1 Timothy 2:5).The Epistle to the Hebrews calls Jesus the supreme “high priest,” who offered himself as a perfect sacrifice (Hebrews 7:23–28)”

Unquote. It is finished. Yes, the redemptive process of earning salvation by blood sacrifice is finished by the Calvary crucifixion of the Lamb, but dawned the age of the Holy Spirit to continue the same . It doesn’t mean that the priesthood is abolished and deleted. But the procurement of salvation is a continuous process. Therefore, He abolished the first in order to establish the second covenant, Heb.10: 9. Thus a second covenant of worship is established to continue under the shadow of the first. 1.Pet.2: 9 has a connecting reference to Exo.19: 6 and Rev.5: 10, where it says that Israelites `is a kingdom of priests and a holy nation’. It is a group, old and new Israel(church) , not one individual or every individual. He formed the church as the “kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth”, Rev.5: 10, certainly pertains to the church(holy nation, and its royal priesthood’ (spiritual church hierarchy). They(church hierarchy) will have to reign on earth till His second coming. Though it was a kingdom of priests, only the Levites were chosen as their priests, not from any other tribes in OT period; similarly only the anointed one from any tribe or place in the world is allowed to be the priests in the second covenant. Therefore, a way for everyone is opened for serving the Lord in a general sense and also in the liturgical order, 1.Cor.4: 1, but not in the way as the non-Episcopal churches preach and practice. Mt.27: 51 signifies that the wall of separation between the Father and His children is torn apart by the sacrifice of Jesus who opened the way to the Father, Jn14: 6.

A similar type of New Testament statute of priesthood, by the confluence of the Melchizedekan and Aaronite priesthood at river Jordan baptism, was established `to fulfill all righteousness’ , Mt.3: 15. This `all righteousness’ pertain to the eternal Melchizedekan and Aaronite union of priesthood. This was the reason for Jesus to receive the baptism from the Levite John the Baptist at the age of 30, just before commencing His public ministry to indicate that anyone who wishes to be a priest to be ordained by a bishop. The Pentecostals don’t understand or recognize that it was the occasion of the merger of the Heavenly and Aaronite priesthood, the reason for the certificate from the Father that `this is my beloved son’ and the instantaneous descent of the Holy Spirit in the form a dove. Jesus started his public ministry only after this recognition( High priestly consecration) from above.

Trampling over by this eternal truth of the Priesthood of Jesus who passed it on to the elect of the spirit, the Pentecostals don’t accept the infant baptism, thinking that the Pentecostal baptism in the creek at the age of 30, not at river Jordan, make a person of the highest priestly order and the member of a holy nation. Even Jesus the High priest received His baptism by a Levite priest. If God has to receive the Aaronite priesthood before His ministry in this world, there is no meaning in the charismatic groups’ shunning and scolding of the NT priesthood order, the essential ingredient for salvation. Jesus passed on the priesthood that he received from the herald to His apostles and the successive anointing of the elect of the spirit through the centuries.

The NT sacrifice is a bloodless sacrifice, the prologue of which was done by Melchizedek offering bread and wine to Abraham, Gen.14: 18; there by the Father of faith promising to give the tithes to Melchizedek. This bloodless sacrifice was offered by the High Priest Melchizedek Himself, celebrated with bread and wine in St.mark’s mansion during His last supper with His apostles, just before spilling His blood at Golgotha. Thus the OT sacrifice is conjoined with the new one at river Jordan, in st.mark’s building and on Calvary, culminating in the establishment of the second covenant. Jesus is our Eternal High Priest who gave His body as a symbol in advance during the Last supper, just before shedding Hid blood once for ever.

Key to the kingdom of Heaven

We need a priest because the priestly authority which forgives the sin of the repenting believers is the key to Heaven. This authority was first promised, not given, to His apostle Peter, Mt.16: 19 (I will give you…), then repeated this promise to all His 12 apostles, Mt.18: 18. A resurrected Christ gave it really to all His apostles by breathing on to them, Jn.20: 21-23, 27; and by blessing, Lk.24: 50-51, Mt.28: 18-20. The bestowing of this priestly authority was culminated on the day of Pentecost. The tongue by which this priestly authority of the forgiveness of sins confirms that the key to the kingdom of God is the tongue of the confessor who forgives our sins.

There was a mediator between man and God in OT period. Read Hebrew 5 to confirm this. ” For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God…., just as Aaron was.” Because of this he is bound to offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. Jesus is the only mediator between God and man, between the OT and NT. There is a spiritual hierarchy in Heaven, so also on earth. Then who is the mediator between Jesus and man? Because the Son of man finished His work on earth and given the overseering charge to the Holy Spirit who broods over the church from the day of Pentecost? If Jesus the Word Incarnate is the mediator between man and God, the mediator between the Holy Spirit and man is the anointed man, clerics like Aaron or the church hierarchy.

The anointed man is the priestly hierarchy, the reason for the apostles to elect Deacons and bishops to administer the sacraments to the people. Just as there was anointing in the OT, the Aaronite anointing continued from Moses and Aaron, the Levites, through the High priest Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist who passed it on to Jesus by baptizing Him at Jordan, and the Lamb gave it to His apostles and continuing till today by the successive generations of clerics by laying of hands and anointing with oil. These clerics are the empowered or authorized ones to work on behalf of the church to mediate between the Son of man and lay believers. The sacrifice served by the clerics is accepted by the Saviour for transmitting it to the Father.

This acceptance is notified to the Holy Spirit by the Father that He has reconciled to the sinful humanity. “…how much more will the Heavenly Father give the Holy spirit to those who ask him”, Lk.11: 13. The prayer or the liturgy offered by the clerics also go through the prayer of the incense of the saints, with golden bowls full of incense of the saints, 24 elders and living creatures, Re.5: 8., before it reaches to the throne of the Lamb. Thus the cycle is completed just like a prick of the skin by a pin is communicated to the brain which gives consent for the hand to give protection to that part or the body.

“The Epistle to the Hebrews calls Jesus the supreme “high priest,” who offered himself as a perfect sacrifice (Hebrews 7:23–28).”

Thus Jesus is the High priest who sits at the right hand of God to accept our supplications that are offered by His anointed representative for passing it on to the Father Almighty.

E.S.John, Australia
OCP MEDIA NETWORK

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