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Volume 34 - Page 62 of 261 Index | Zoom | |
and another at Bethel, by the command of God (Gen. 35: 1-7), and, last, but by no
means least, the great Sacrifice of the Passover was offered by the head of each family,
no priest being mentioned or necessary. In the Scriptures Priesthood is not introduced by
Divine command until the consecration of Aaron and his sons, recorded in Exod. 29:
Before that consecration, priests are mentioned in Exod. 19: 22 and 24, but these seem
to have occupied the same sort of position that was given to David's sons as recorded in
II Sam. 8: 18, where the words "chief rulers" is the Hebrew word kohen, or to Zabud in
I Kings 4: 5, where the words "principal officer" is the Hebrew word kohen. This
unusual use of the word kohen, ordinarily translated "priest", appears to hark back to the
primitive idea contained in the root meaning of the word, which signifies either "to
present oneself, or to present something or someone else" (J. M. A. in the Comp. Bib.
Dict.). It is a matter of scriptural testimony and not of inference or deduction, that only
priesthood recognized in Israel under the law of Moses was the Levitical priesthood, of
which the High Priest's office was given to the family of Aaron, and the Priesthood to the
tribe of Levi (Heb. 5: 4; 7: 5, 14).
When we turn to the epistle to the Ephesians, however, those belonging to the sphere
and calling there administered are seen to have been "redeemed" and to have been "made
nigh" by blood (Eph. 1: 7; 2: 13). They themselves constitute a "holy temple in the
Lord" and a "habitation of God in spirit" (Eph. 2: 21, 22). This company are "called
saints" (Eph. 1: 1), and find their inheritance "in the saints" and "of the saints" (Eph. 1: 18;
2: 19), yet without the intervention of a priest. This company has access, yea, boldness
of access, with confidence, but no priest is found necessary to open the way. In the
practical section, Christ is said to have "given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice
to God for a sweet-smelling savour" (Eph. 5: 2), and in the same practical section He is
said to have sanctified and cleansed the church, and will present it unto Himself . . . . .
holy and without blemish (Eph. 5: 26, 27). Yet in chapter 1: Christ is set forth not as
"High Priest" but as "Head" and the church is set forth as His "body". This two-fold title
occurs again in chapter 5:, and the "one body" is prominent in chapter 2: The calling
of the church of the mystery is not typified in the types and shadows of the law. The
extraordinary insistence upon Priesthood found everywhere in the law of Moses finds its
echo in but one epistle of Paul, namely in the epistle to the Hebrews. The earlier
position, namely that of head of a family, set forth by Noah, Job, Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob before the law, is more in line with the relationship that Christ holds to the church
to-day. Instead of indicating an enrichment, the addition of the Levitical priesthood was
a sure indication of failure. No perfection was possible or intended under the Levitical
priesthood, which was made after the law of a carnal commandment (Heb. 7: 11, 16).
In the case of Israel, Christ, by being a priest after the order of Melchisedec, fulfils the
office foreshadowed with such frailty by Aaron's priesthood. No such order is needed by
the Gentiles who come under the dispensation of the mystery; they find all, and more
than Israel can find in the King-Priest, in their ascended Head.
As space is precious, we will leave recapitulation of the findings of the preceding
articles until we reach the closing articles of the series, but the reader who is in any doubt
is advised to re-read what has previously been advanced so that the cumulative force of
the comparisons made may be felt.