Is There A Standardized Priesthood In the New Testament?
How Did Paul Minister as a Priest?
How can We Relate The Gospel to The Priesthood?
Do the Real Ministers of Christ Jesus, Minister as Priests?
March 12, 2015
When we approach the subject of a functioning Priesthood in the New Testament there is a very limited explanation given. Even though we may create a “doctrine of Priesthood,” the practical experience and function of Priesthood remains a mystery. I am guessing that this ambiguity was designed by God to be ths way. Why? I am assuming that under the New Covenant NO STANDARDIZED Priesthood should or could exist. Why? That is because The New Covenant ministry is administrated by the Holy Spirit and NOT held within a Standardized System. The New Covenant Ministry CANNOT be mechanical or adhere to a predetermined program with an organized scheme of religious methods. Why? That is because, within the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit has come to dwell in us and He has come to fully function within the total dispensation of the Church Age! He came to be Lord and King within the Church and to function within Christ Jesus’ Maximum Authority over heaven and earth. Having a correct and accurate doctrine of priesthood is irrelevant if we have no real experience within a functioning priesthood. Creating more theories about priesthood is not helpful. The New Covenant is NOT just about a an abstract theology but about a life giving experience!
Since the Old Covenant priesthood, after the Order of Aaron, was administrated by the natural man, of the species of the first Adam, a standardized priesthood was the only option that was available. Since there could be no new inner man produced under the Old Covenant provision, only a mechanical priesthood, established by laws, statutes and ordinances, was possible.
Since the New Covenant “Gospel” is limited to the “ministry of the Spirit,” not of the letter, which kills, but of the Spirit, which gives Life, a clearer explanation is necessary! This is the only “definition” I could find about the “priesthood Ministry” and how it functions within the Gospel of God! No doctrine is necessary because ministering as a priest the gospel of God is an active, functioning, experiential process that results in raising up a people that are acceptable to God and whom are set apart by the Holy Spirit. In other words; “ministering as a priest” has a measurable result!
Rom 15:15 But I have written very boldly to you on some points, so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God, 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, that my offering of the Gentiles might become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17 Therefore in Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God. 18 For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, 19 in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. 20 And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, that I might not build upon another man's foundation; 21 but as it is written, "THEY WHO HAD NO NEWS OF HIM SHALL SEE, AND THEY WHO HAVE NOT HEARD SHALL UNDERSTAND." 22 For this reason I have often been hindered from coming to you;
While this explanation of the “priesthood ministry” contains few details, it is still clear that it is not by some mechanical method of ministry. Paul’s “life” and “testimony” is the clue to understanding this New Covenant Priesthood. The goal of this undefined system of ministry is that my offering of the Gentiles might become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
The Young’s Literal Translation says this: Rom 15:16 for my being a servant of Jesus Christ to the nations, acting as priest in the good news of God, that the offering up of the nations may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
The temptation is to try to use these verses to create a “standardized doctrine of
the Priesthood.” I am convinced that there is NO SUCH THING. Why? Creating a doctrine with NO measurable results is counter productive and a deception if there is no eternal effect. Then, brother, what is the process of beginning this ministry?
Rom 8:14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
2Cor 3:2 You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts. 4 And such confidence we have through Christ toward God.
2Cor 3:5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, 6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
2Cor 3:7 But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, 8 how shall the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. 10 For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory on account of the glory that surpasses it.
Standardizing a “System of Ministry” is the work of the flesh! While the information concerning the “priesthood” ministry seems limited, the explanation of what would take place with the coming of the Holy Spirit is clearly given. AFTER we understand that it is the Holy Spirit who is the Priest of the Most High God and that He has come as the King of Righteousness, the coming of the “priesthood ministry” simultaneously with the coming of the Holy Spirit seems very practical. Why? That is because the “ministry the Holy Spirit” is integrally linked to the Priesthood Ministry. The “ministry of the flesh” has been clearly condemned in the New Testament and the “Ministry of the Spirit” is officially accepted. The ministry of the flesh is linked to the natural man while the “ministry of the Spirit” is linked to the new inner man!
The “adequacy” of the Priesthood Ministry is inherently linked to the ministry of the Holy Spirit! In other words it is the “Anointing”, both the outer and inner anointing, that is the requirement for any functioning priesthood today. This is why Jesus warned His disciples NOT to leave Jerusalem until they had received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Doing “ministry” without the Holy Spirit, like the Old Testament priesthood, would be limited to the letter, be mechanical, functioning out of the intellect and carnal. None of that “system” can never qualify as New Covenant Ministry.
If all this is true, and it is, then the “priesthood ministry” is spontaneous, not predictable, revealed moment by moment by the Holy Spirit and designed to be effective and fruitful for any particular situation and for any people at that specific moment. In other words, Any ministry that is NOT being led by the Holy Spirit becomes irrelevant, is a big waste of time and is not acceptable to God in this dispensation. ANY ministry result produced by the natural man is not pleasing to God! How do we know that? This is because ministry is either in the Spirit or IN THE FLESH and there is no other possibility!
Romans 8:6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
All New Covenant Ministry, which is directly related to the Priesthood Ministry, is inherently linked to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the fulfillment of the “anointing oil” on the priests after the order of Aaron. Now the Holy Spirit IS the Anointing upon the true New Covenant Priesthood ministry. No priest after the order of Aaron could “ministry as a priest” who did not have the anointing and until they were fully consecrated.
Exo 40:14 "And you shall bring his sons and put tunics on them; 15 and you shall anoint them even as you have anointed their father, that they may minister as priests to Me; and their anointing shall qualify them for a perpetual priesthood throughout their generations."
Exo 30:30 "And you shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate
them, that they may minister as priests to Me. 31 "And you shall speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'This shall be a holy anointing oil to Me throughout your generations. 32 'It shall not be poured on anyone's body, nor shall you make any like it, in the same proportions; it is holy, and it shall be holy to you. 33 'Whoever shall mix any like it, or whoever puts any of it on a layman, shall be cut off from his people.'"
The present “anointing” that is a requirement for the priesthood is the baptism into and indwelling of HOLY SPIRIT. This “functioning anointing” is upon the New Inner Man.
Act 10:38 "You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him.
1John 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know.
1John 2:27 And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.
John 14:25 "These things I have spoken to you, while abiding with you. 26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
The Anointing, that teaches us all things, IS the Holy Spirit. Here again we understand that without the Anointing, which IS the Holy Spirit, no New Covenant ministry can take place and no other kind of ministry is acceptable to God. Without the Anointing, there is no priesthood and our “ministry” becomes just another religious exercise in futility. Why? It can ONLY be “in the flesh” because that is the only alternative that is given.
It is for that reason that we do NOT want to establish a “Doctrine of Priesthood” in order to create another mechanical system that is unacceptable within the New Covenant. These systems can only operate after the letter rather than after the Spirit!
The summation then is this; The coming of the Holy Spirit at the first Pentecost began a New Dispensation that will endure during the complete church age. This IS the Dispensation of the Holy Spirit! We should begin to experience the Holy Spirit, in this degree of ministry, when we experience our personal Pentecost. Of course, experiencing the fulness of the Spirit in ministry is a matter of growth. Ideally, the “fulness of the Spirit” in the priesthood ministry is a matter of functioning in the Holy Place under the illumination of the Seven Spirits of God.
Instead of rejecting the Holy Spirit and arguing about “tongues,” why don’t we just accept the tongues so we can pursue the New Covenant Priesthood Ministry after the Order of Melchizedek. Then forget about initiating any mechanics or establishing any more religious methods, or creating a system for “having church,” or searching out more man made programs, We must begin to limit our ministry to the Leading of the Holy Spirit. If we begin to treat Him as the King of Righteousness, with ultimate authority in the church, we may be surprised at how He will manifest Himself in His exclusive Priesthood Ministry. It seems obvious that we have not YET experienced this Maximum degree of the Anointing in the church yet in church history! My opinion is that the BEST is still to come! Why? We have really not experienced the Fulness of the Seven Spirits of God functioning simultaneously in His Eternal Priesthood Ministry.
Hebrews 7:1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace.
Hebrews 7:3 Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he abides a priest perpetually.
Hebrews 7:4 Now observe how great this man was to whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth of the choicest spoils. 5 And those indeed of the sons of Levi who receive the priest's office have commandment in the Law to collect a tenth from the people, that is, from their brethren, although these are descended from Abraham. 6 But the one whose genealogy is not traced from them collected a tenth from Abraham, and blessed the one who had the promises. 7 But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater. 8 And in this case (AARON) mortal men receive tithes, but in that case one receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives on.
No one can qualify nor can they meet these requirements EXCEPT THE HOLY SPIRIT who holds His Priesthood forever. When we ignore the Holy Spirit or shut Him out, we forfeit the New Covenant ministry! Since Jesus took up His Ministry after the Order of Melchizedek, and is High Priest, THIS IS THE ORDER OF PRIESTHOOD assigned to the Church Age. Establishing another lifeless doctrine about the “priesthood ministry” is another big mistake. However, if each of us would permit the Holy Spirit to raise US up INTO a New Covenant Ministry in our day, this would be revolutionary and produce Eternal Results.