Introduction

  1. The Levitical Priesthood was terminated by Jesus, March 31, AD 33 (Mark 11:11-18).
  2. Institution by God of a new priesthood was not introduced or alluded to by prophecies for any or all of the generations from Moses to Malachi.
  3. Seldom, if ever, is the Ecclesiastical Priesthood referred to by preachers and/or teachers in present-day evangelical churches.
  4. The Ecclesiastical Priesthood is presently distorted by several ersatz priesthoods (e.g., Anglican, Mormon, and Roman Catholic).
  5. The Ateret Cohanim yeshiva, established in 1978 in Jerusalem’s Old City, is evidence of the pending restoration of Levitical Priesthood (cf. Matt. 24:15).

Biblical Characteristics

  1. The reality of a new priesthood’s existence was revealed by Peter (1 Pet. 2:5, 9) and John (Rev. 1:6; 20:6).  Peter’s AD 67 letter to Jewish believers in the Diaspora—Peter, the Apostle to the circumcision—was to integrate the generations of Jewish history and the Levitical Priesthood (cf. 1 Pet. 2:9 quoting from the Hebrew scriptures) with God’s new Ecclesiastical Priesthood of the church.  Gentile believers have no such need for an explanation or integration of a second priesthood so Paul (the Apostle to the uncircumcision) simply doesn’t address the issue directly in his letters.  However, there are allusions in his letters to the gentiles being part of a priesthood.
  2. The Ecclesiastical Priesthood is a “royal” priesthood because its members are sons of God (1 Pet. 1:9; Rom. 8:14-17)
  3. Members are called and chosen by God, are priests to God, and proclaim God’s excellencies (i.e., “worship” God), 1 Pet. 2:9.
  4. Temporarily replaces the Levitical Priesthood.
  5. Will reign over nations (with Christ) for a thousand years.
  6. Comprised of both male and female believers.
  7. An individual becomes an ecclesiastical priest at the moment he/she is called and chosen by God.
  8.  Provides service to others (e.g., some as apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor/teachers (cf. Eph. 4:11-12).
  9. Priesthood ushered in by God historically on Pentecost, May 24, AD 33.
  10. The priesthood lives under the New Covenant.
  11. The Ecclesiastical Priesthood is terminated or concluded (at the Rapture) when believers meet Jesus in the air.
  12. The Levitical Priesthood will be restored at the termination of the Ecclesiastical Priesthood.
  13. Ecclesiastical Priesthood is worldwide.
  14. Requires confession of one’s sins to God to maintain fellowship with the Father and Son.
  15. No special dress or attire specified.
  16. No particular language required.
  17. Activities not confined to a particular structure in a specific location.
  18. Comprised of men and women who can own land and work for their own living.
  19. Not supported financially by donations from others.
  20. Not chosen by the election of others.
  21. Intercedes for other believers (Col.4:12; 1 Tim. 2:1).
  22. Fulfills the law to love one another.
  23. No denominational affiliation.
  24. No hierarchy with the exception of Christ as High Priest (please note: the word “bishop” does not appear in the scriptures).
  25. A priest’s mortal body is a living sacrifice; one’s body becomes God’s property (Rom. 12:1).
  26. Behavior manifesting Christ’s presence within the believer-priest’s mortal body is metaphorically speaking a “sweet” aroma to God, 2 Cor. 2:14, versus a “soothing” aroma to placate God’s wrath under the Old Covenant, Exod. 29:18.
  27. No specific ethnicity or race required.
  28. Marriage among priests is quite appropriate.
  29. Members will receive glorified bodies.

Conclusion

An aspect of living under the New Covenant is being part of the Ecclesiastical Priesthood that includes sacrifice, service, and worship of God.  Sacrifice, service, and worship are not commandments that must be obeyed.  Rather, they are manifestations of Christ’s life in the believer through the believer’s life of faith.

Being a part of the Ecclesiastical Priesthood in NOT something which requires one to perform a retinue of activities at certain events (e.g., officiating the Lord’s Supper).

Two priesthoods cannot be functioning upon the earth simultaneously.  Therefore, when the prophet Daniel’s 70th week begins (featuring 12,000 sealed Levites who will live throughout Daniel’s 70th week, Rev. 7:7), the church with its Ecclesiastical Priesthood has to have been removed from the earth.

Finally, the seemingly total absence of reference to the Ecclesiastical Priesthood presently in local churches may signal the eschatological need and reality of returning to the Levitical Priesthood.

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