Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Levitical Priesthood vs. The Royal Priesthood: Part One

Lately, my Bible reading has found me in Exodus and Leviticus. That's right - smack-dab in the midst of all the laws, sacrifices and requirements for the priests. While no one would argue that this is a fairly dry area of the Scriptures, I usually force myself to stay focused so I do not miss one of the many nuggets in these passages. 

God had the temple built. God made the laws. God gave the requirements for the priests...those who would represent Him and present to Him. God's personality and desires are all over these 'dos' and "don'ts"

It is on the priests I would like to focus. I have noticed this time more than any other time I have read through the Law the correlation between the Levitical priesthood and the royal priesthood of Christ.

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath call you out of darkness into his marvelous light.   -I Peter 2:9

Aaron was called to be the priest of God for the nation of Israel - God's chosen people.  He was made peculiar in the laws he had to follow and in his attire.  Just as Aaron was, we have been called out to shew the praises, glory, goodness, and holiness of God.  We are now the holy nation and, in our lives and our attire, we ought to be a peculiar (odd) people to the world.  We are to be a light in the darkness - just as God's holy fire lit up the night over the Tabernacle in the wilderness.

In Exodus, we learn about the required garments of Aaron and his sons when they worked in the tabernacle.  There is the breastplate, the girdle for the loins and a piece for the head.  We in the royal priesthood are encouraged in Ephesians to put on special apparel, as well. It is known as the armor of God. Among other things, it, too, has a breastplate, a girdle for the loins and a headpiece.

Aaron's breastplate is referred to as the "breastplate of judgment" (Exodus 28:29).  As a part of the armor of God, it is called the "breastplate of righteousness" (Ephesians 6:14).  Righteousness and judgment go hand in hand.  Our God is a righteous judge.  Through wise judgment, right is made.  

Aaron and his sons had their loins girt with a girdle of needlework "for glory and for beauty" (Exodus 28:40).  Those of us who are of the royal priesthood are to have our "loins girt about with truth" (Ephesians 6:14).  Truth is beautiful.  Truth brings glory to God.  God is full of grace and truth and He is beautiful. 

Finally, the priests of the old testament wore a headpiece which is called a bonnet in Exodus 28:40 and a crown in Exodus 29:6. On the crown was a "mitre", defined as:   a sacramental ornament worn on the head by certain religious leaders on solemn occasions.  On the mitre was engraved, "HOLINESS TO THE LORD" (Exodus 28:36).  The armor of God is topped with the "helmet of salvation" (Ephesians 6:7).  Aaron was found worthy to enter into the dwelling place of God - he was holy.  Those of us in whom the Holy Spirit dwells are holy (perfect, entire, made whole) to God in that we have been made "worthy" of heaven by the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.    Aaron's mitre  could also be seen as a proclamation to God's holiness.  As Christians, we also are to proclaim the holiness of God to the world. 

We are, indeed, priests of the One True God.  Are you peculiar?  Have you put on your armor?  Are you serving Him today and proclaiming His holiness?

Next time, we will discuss how this relates to a controversial subject amongst Christians today.  For now, go and serve!

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