The Difference Between The Old and The New Testament Priesthoods

A priest is someone appointed of God to act as a go-between, a mediator between God and men. He acts as an intermediary between God and men, interceding for the forgiveness of the sins of the people, as well as beseeching God for merciful intervention in the affairs of men. He offers the appropriate sacrifices to access and appease God, in order to avoid God’s wrath and secure blessings for men.

Hebrews 5:1 for every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.

Hebrews 5:4 and no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was.

From the book of Genesis, we see the origin of the priesthood. Every family head was initially the priest for his house, offering sacrifices for sins, both for himself and for his family. We see Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Job, etc, acting as family priests. They led their families in worship and service of God, offering sacrifices to approach and appease God, and supplicating God for his favours for their various families.

When God established his covenant with the nation of Israel on Mount Sinai in the book of Exodus, he moved away from having every family head as priests, establishing instead, the Levitical priesthood. He separated the tribe of Levi unto himself, and appointed Aaron and his sons as high priest and priests respectively, with the other Levites to assist them in the service of God. With the establishment of the Levitical priesthood under the Mosaic Law, nobody outside the sons of Aaron could approach God for the people. To do so was to intrude into the office of the priesthood reserved exclusively for Aaron and his sons. The consequence of such presumptuous intrusion into this sacred office was grave. A king in Israel tried it and God struck him with leprosy and made him an outcast forever.

2 Chronicles 26:16 But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.

2 Chronicles 26:17 So Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him were eighty priests of the Lord—valiant men.

2 Chronicles 26:18 and they withstood King Uzziah, and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have trespassed! You shall have no honor from the Lord God.”

2 Chronicles 26:19 then Uzziah became furious; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense. And while he was furious with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead in the presence of the priests in the house of the Lord, by the alter of incense.

2 Chronical 26: 20 and Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and behold, he was leprous in his forehead. And they rushed him out quickly, and he himself hurried to go out, because the Lord had struck him.

2 Chronicle 26: 21 And King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death, and being a leper lived in a separate house, for he was excluded from the house of the Lord. And Jotham his son was over the King’s household, governing the people of the land.

2 Chronicle 26: 22 now the rest of the act of Uzziah, from first to last, Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz wrote.

2 Chronicle 26: 23 and Uzziah slept with his fathers, and they buried him with his farthers in the burial field that belonged to the kings, for they said, “He is a leper”. And Jotham his son reigned in his place.

So, the Levitical priesthood continued on a hereditary basis, from father to son, until Christ came and abolished the Old Covenant and its priesthood, by his sacrificial death and resurrection.

Hebrews 7:11 Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron?

Hebrews 7:12 for the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law.

Through the sacrificial death of Christ, God abolished the levitical priesthood and established a new high priest to act as an intermediary between God and men.

Hebrews 7:22 by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.

Hebrews 7:23 Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing.

Hebrews 7:24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.

Hebrews 7:25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

Hebrews 7:26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens;

Hebrews 7:27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.

Now we have a perfect, immortal and eternal high priest, who is seated at the right hand of God in Heaven, making intercession for us.

Hebrews 10:19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,

Hebrews 10:20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,

Hebrews 10:21 and having a High Priest over the house of God,

Hebrews 10:22 let 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 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

We have the great high priest, Jesus, now interceding for us in heaven. He offered the sacrifice of himself once and for all, on our behalf, to secure for us eternal access into God’s presence. We can now boldly approach God’s throne of mercy to find grace to help in time of need, because Jesus has reconciled us to God, and still intercedes for us in heaven continually!

Hebrews 4:14  Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Christianity has only one High Priest! He’s our Lord and saviour, Jesus Christ, the Founder, Owner, and General Overseer of the Church of God. He’s the only mediator between God and man!!!

1 Timothy 2:5 for there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

1 Timothy 2:6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,

Don’t allow any man to act as a mediator between you and God. Go through the only divinely approved and ordained mediator between God and men. You can access God on your own, through Jesus Christ, without the need for any man to act as a mediator.

Now, apart from having Jesus Christ as the only acceptable high priest between God and men, every born again child of God is a priest in God’s Kingdom.

Revelation 5:9 and they sang a new song, saying:“You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; for you were slain, And have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

Revelation 5:10 and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.”

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

1 Peter 2:10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

Brethren, every believer in Christ is a priest, while our Lord Jesus is the High Priest! As a priest, you can access God directly, through your high priest, Jesus Christ. You don’t need any man to talk to God on your behalf. You don’t need a pastor or a prophet to pray for you for God to accept you or answer your prayers. As a born again child of God, you have direct access to God. God is your father! You don’t need anybody to stand between you and your father. All you need to do is deepen your relationship with God your father. Get to know him better through studying your Bible and attending fellowship with other children of God. Get to spend more time with him in fellowship and prayers.

Ministers of God are not to act as mediators between a child of God and God. The purpose of their ministry is to teach you to understand your position and standing with God, as well as your rights and privileges as a child of God. They are to help you grow in spiritual maturity, so that you can relate properly with God, and enjoy the full benefits of your sonship.

Ephesians 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

Ephesians 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

Ephesians 4:13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

Ephesians 4:14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,

The reason we have ministers in the five-fold ministry (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) is to equip other believers and help them develop and cultivate their spiritual gifts and talents, so that they can grow to spiritual maturity and independence. Every believer has a ministry and a gift to use in the body of Christ and to serve the world. We don’t just go to church to support pastors in their ministries. No, that’s a wrong concept of the Church! The true church is not a one-man ministry as we see it today. Everybody is a minister in the house of God. Everybody in the body of Christ has a gift and talent to be developed and used in the service of the body of Christ and the world in general.

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Romans 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

Romans 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

Romans 12:7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teaches, on teaching;

Romans 12:8 Or he that exhorts, on exhortation: he that gives, let him do it with simplicity; he that rules, with diligence; he that shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Don’t allow any pastor or prophet to cage your gifts and talents and make you a perpetual supporter of his ministry, while neglecting your own gifts and ministry. Don’t tend other people’s vineyard and neglect your own.

Songs of Songs 1:6 Look not on me, because I am black, because the sun has looked on me: my mother’s children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of their vineyards; but my own vineyards have I not kept.

1 Timothy 4:14 Neglect not the gifts that is in you, which was given you by prophecy, with the laying of the hands of the presbytery.

2 Timothy 1:6 why I put you in remembrance that you stir up the gift of God, which is in you by the putting on of my hands.

True ministers of God will help you stir up and make use of your own gifts, and not just use you to enlarge their own ministries.

Don’t allow any body to make you a perpetual child in the things of God, by not allowing you to grow up spiritually. You can’t continue to be a babe forever. Any parent who desires to have his or her kids in perpetual childhood, so they can continue to serve them endlessly without becoming mature independent adults, is nothing but a witch and a wizard. True parents want their children to grow up and become mature and responsible adults. That’s their pride!

3 John 1:3 For I rejoice greatly, when the brothers came and testified of the truth that is in you, even as you walk in the truth.

3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

Recognize who you are in Christ, grow up in the things of God and learn to approach God on your own. He is your father and desires a close and personal relationship with you, devoid of any intermediary. You are a priest and a prince (or princess)! Start living and acting as one!!! If you’re not born again, if you don’t know Jesus as your personal Lord and saviour, then you are not yet a priest. You can’t access God on your own.

You can be born again right now.

Just kneel down wherever you are and ask God to have Mercy on you. Tell him you acknowledge you’re a sinner, and that that you believe Christ died for your sins. Tell him to forgive your sins based on the sacrifice Christ paid for you on Calvary, then accept Jesus as your Lord and saviour. If you do that sincerely from your heart, God has accepted and forgiven you your sins.

Next, you need to get to a Bible-believing church and get baptized with water and with the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

The Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 2:39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

The Acts 2:40 and with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.”

The Acts 2:41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

God bless you all!

Published by Dr. Ndubuisi E. Ojo

Dr. Ndubuisi E. Ojo is a teacher and an expositor of the word of God with an intense passion for doctrinal purity and the restoration of the Church to the original Apostolic faith.

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