Pray that the saints would see God’s intention that all His people would be priests and would see the turn from the Old Testament priesthood to the New Testament priesthood—an age-turning priesthood that includes every believer (Exo. 19:6 and note 61; Rev. 1:5b-6 and note 62; 5:9-10; Matt 3:1-2, 5-6).
Exo. 19:6—And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the children of Israel.
Exo. 19:61, kingdom—As God’s people remain in His presence, they become a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 1 Pet. 2:9). As priests, God’s people live in God’s presence, enjoying Him as their portion, even as He enjoys them as His treasure (v. 5). The mutual enjoyment between God and His people separates His people unto Himself from everything other than Him, making them a holy nation.
Rev. 1:5b-6—To Him who loves us and has released us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be the glory and the might forever and ever. Amen.
Rev. 1:62, priests—The redemption accomplished through Christ’s blood made us not only a kingdom to God but also priests to God (1 Pet. 2:5). The kingdom is for God’s dominion, whereas priests are for the expression of God’s image. This is the kingly, royal priesthood (1 Pet. 2:9), which is for the fulfillment of God’s original purpose in creating man (Gen. 1:26-28). This kingly priesthood is being exercised in today’s church life (5:10). It will be practiced intensively in the millennial kingdom (20:6) and will be ultimately consummated in the New Jerusalem (22:3, 5).
Rev. 5:9-10—And they sing a new song, saying: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, for You were slain and have purchased for God by Your blood men out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made them a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign on the earth.
Matt. 3:1-2, 5-6—Now in those days John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near…At that time Jerusalem and all Judea and all the surrounding region of the Jordan went out to him, and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins.
The truth concerning the priesthood began to be recovered from 1828 when the Brethren were raised up by the Lord in England. They saw the universality of the priesthood. Before that time Bible teachers thought that the priests were a particular body of special people. This was the reason that the clergy-laity system was built up. The so-called common believers became the laity. According to this concept, someone who is not of the clergy is a layman, and if someone preaches the gospel who is not of the clergy, he is a lay preacher. Thus, two classes of believers came into being, and this brought the Lord’s children back to the Old Testament. In the Old Testament the majority of the children of Israel could be considered as the “laity.” God’s original intention was for the entire nation of Israel to be a “kingdom of priests” (Exo. 19:6). However, because of their worship of the golden calf (32:1-6), most of the Israelites lost the priesthood. Later, only Aaron and his sons were the priests, and the Levites served the priesthood in practical matters (Num. 3:6-10). The British Brethren, however, saw that in the New Testament, according to Revelation 1:5b-6 and 1 Peter 2:5 and 9, every believer is a priest. (CWWL, 1989, vol. 4, “The Advance of the Lord’s Recovery Today,” ch. 1, p. 5)
A priest is one who offers sacrifices to God. The sacrifices offered by the Old Testament priests were the bulls and goats. The sacrifices offered by the New Testament priests are the saved persons. The strongest proof of this point is in the case of John the Baptist. He was born into a priestly family and was therefore born a priest. Moreover, he was the firstborn and the only begotten, and he should therefore have inherited the priesthood from his father. However, John the Baptist did not behave in this way. He did not live in the temple. On the contrary, he lived in the wilderness (Luke 1:80). When he came out to work, he did not kill bulls and goats for sacrifices. Rather, he called for people to repent and offered the repentant ones to God one by one (Matt. 3:1,5-6). Hence, what John the Baptist did was a sign, showing others that the age had changed. The Old Testament age was over. The Old Testament priests have now been turned to become the New Testament priests. This can be proved from Romans 15:16. There Paul says, “That I might be a minister…to the Gentiles, a laboring priest of the gospel of God, in order that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, having been sanctified in the Holy Spirit.” Today we are all priests of the gospel. If we do not bring sinners to salvation and offer them up to God, we have forfeited our priesthood. We have seen in the past that according to God’s desire, the priesthood is not composed of a minority of people. It is not composed of one tribe, or one clan. Rather, it should include all the saints. (CWWL, 1989, vol. 1, “The Organic Practice of the New Way,” ch. 2, pp. 494-495)
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