Priest; Priesthood

Concise Bible Dictionary:

It is remarkable that the first priest spoken of in scripture is Melchizedek: he is said to be “priest of the most high God.” Nothing is said of his offering sacrifices, but he brought forth bread and wine, and blessed Abraham (Gen. 14:18-1918And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: (Genesis 14:18‑19)). He is a type of Christ, who is constituted a “priest after the order of Melchizedek,” and who will come forth to bless His people in the future. See MELCHIZEDEK.
Before the institution of the Levitical priesthood, Israel had been redeemed out of Egypt. The object of priesthood was not therefore to bring them into redemption, but to maintain their position based on redemption before God. At first it was said that they should all be priests (Ex. 19:66And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. (Exodus 19:6)), but law afterward came in, and the service of priesthood was very definitely confined to the house of Aaron. The names of the twelve tribes were engraved on the breastplate and on the plates on the priest’s shoulders: whenever he went in to the presence of God, the people were thus represented. So Christ is the great High Priest at the right hand of God, not for the world, but for His saints: “We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Heb. 8:11Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; (Hebrews 8:1)). He represents His saints there, and in virtue of His presence there, and of His experience here, He is able to sympathize with them in trial and to succor them in temptation.

“Priesthood of Believers, The” From Anstey’s Doctrinal Definitions:

There are three spheres of privilege and responsibility Christians have in the house of Godpriesthood, gift, and office.
As to the priesthood of believers, the book of Revelation teaches us that all Christians are “priests unto God,” and that they have been made so by the finished work of Christ on the cross (Rev. 1:6; 5:106And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1:6)
10And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:10)
). The Apostle Peter confirms this, stating that we are “an holy priesthood” who have the privilege to “offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable unto God by Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5, 95Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5)
9But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: (1 Peter 2:9)
). Since we are all priests, the epistle to the Hebrews exhorts Christians as a whole to approach God within the veil (in the holiest of all), and to engage in something that only priests can do (Heb. 10:19-2219Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21And having an high priest over the house of God; 22Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19‑22)). Such an exhortation would not be given to any but those who are priests. Moreover, the fact that this epistle says that the Lord is “an High Priest implies that there is a cast of priests under Him.
Since Scripture teaches that all Christians are priests, and that all brothers have an equal privilege to exercise their priesthood publicly in the assembly, in meetings for worship and prayer, we simply need to wait on the Spirit of God to lead out the prayers and praises of the saints. If we allow Him to lead in the assembly, in the place that is rightfully His, He will lead a brother here and another there to audibly express worship and praise as the mouth-pieces of the assembly. Of course, the exercise of priestly functions are not confined to the assembly but can be exercised privately as well—in any place and at any time.

“Priesthood of Christ, The” From Anstey’s Doctrinal Definitions:

This is one of two functions which comprise the Lord’s present work on high for His people—His priesthood and His advocacy. Both have to do with intercession (Rom. 8:3434Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (Romans 8:34)), but in different ways:
Many have wondered why any of the Lord’s people fail when they have the Lord interceding for them so that they wouldn’t. They are perplexed because our failure in the path surely couldn’t be due to a fault in His high priestly work. R. F. Kingscote wrote to Mr. Darby asking him about this. He replied, “Intercession is a general term, used even of the Holy Ghost in us (Rom. viii); but priesthood (in Hebrews) is with God, for mercy and grace to help in time of need: advocacy is with the Father to restore communion when we have sinned. You do not have it for sins in Hebrews because the worshipper once purged has no more conscience of sins. This answers your first three questions, save the end of the third; ‘Why do we fail?’ It is because it is part of the government of God to have us responsibly exercised, though not without grace sufficient for us and strength made perfect in weakness. But if we forget our weakness and dependence, we forget the grace, too, and are in the way of a fall. See Peter’s case, the Lord did not ask that he might not be sifted; He wanted it. The evil is not in the fall, really grievous as that is, but in the state it manifests. God may allow it that we may learn this” (Letters, vol. 2, p. 274).
Thus, if our state is low and we are not hearing the Lord’s voice to us about it, He may allow us to learn dependence through a humbling failure. Thus, on certain occasions, He may cease to intercede for us in His normal way. With Peter, the Lord did not pray that he wouldn’t fall, but when he did, that his faith would not fail (Luke 22:3232But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. (Luke 22:32)). His intercession led to Peter’s restoration. Thus, to gain from the Lord’s priestly intercession, we must be responsibly exercised to “come unto God by Him” (Heb. 7:2525Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)), which implies expressed dependence in prayer. If we habitually neglect this, we cannot expect to be kept.

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