Learn About the Christian Priesthood and Doxology of the New Testament Church
The Priesthood is Holy
Lesson 6 of 8
What is holiness? The point of this lesson is to make the connection between your priesthood and the fulfillment of God’s expectation that we would be holy as He is holy. The Lord spoke to Moses saying, “Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy” (Leviticus 19:2). As we have read, God is holy. The people were to be holy as He is holy, but how could imperfect vessels be holy? This question has presented itself as a great challenge to the church, especially in the light of Jesus’ command to the church through apostle Peter who said, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16).
God still has the same expectation for each individual Christian as He did for the children of Israel. God’s expectation that each be holy as He is holy seemed, by all standards known and used by the church, to be impossibility, which presented holiness as a paradox (God is asking something of us that we are incapable of performing). But as we will see, the paradox exists in darkness, not in the light.
When one’s perception of holiness is tethered to the kingdom of darkness, there are a great many things that are used to try to extrapolate holiness from the cloth of the flesh. True holiness does not carry the paradoxes of a darkened perception.
God never said that we were capable of holiness. He said that He is holy. Trying to fit the flesh into a divine form through will worship only exhausts the will and furthers the bruising of the soul. How then can we be holy as He is? Let’s go back to the First Covenant and observe what God did. God put portions of Christ within the tools and articles of the First Covenant. We see this as God followed each command with this statement: “I am the Lord your God.”
Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my Sabbaths: I am the Lord your God (Leviticus 19:3).
Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the Lord your God (Leviticus 19:4).
And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the Lord your God (Leviticus 19:10).
And in the fifth year shall ye eat of the fruit thereof, that it may yield unto you the increase thereof: I am the Lord your God (Leviticus 19:25).
When God said, “I am the Lord your God,” He was saying, “Think about Me when you do this. I am your faith. I am your holiness.” In the same way, when Jesus broke the bread and passed the cup of wine at the final Passover before His death He said, “Do this in remembrance of Me”, meaning, “I am now your faith; I am your holiness; I am now your law. As often as you touch the things that are of My fullness, think about Me.”
Now let’s turn our attention to the Levitical priesthood and carry that same thought forward, and see how God also had an expectation for their holiness. Leviticus 21:6,23, “They [the priests] shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God: for the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and the bread of their God, they do offer: therefore they shall be holy.23. . .for I the Lord do sanctify them.”
God sanctified the Levites by providing for them the things they were to handle for their separation unto Him. They handled the sacrificial offerings of blood, the drink offerings, and wave offerings. They handled the sacred bread and the incense. They kept the candles lit at all times, and they were to receive the tithe. The priests were ministers of God’s holiness. Their garments were holy, and all the things they touched for service was holiness unto the Lord (Exodus 39:40).
The Levites touched Christ in part as each part represented Him; they ministered in the holy things, touching portions of Christ, and by these holy things they ministered to God. By this God was saying, You need to touch Me to be holy. When Jesus came to die for the sins of the world He came in His fullness, and God no longer sanctified Him in part. At the final Passover before His death Jesus spoke of our keeping Him in remembrance rather than Moses. “You are going to touch Me now for your holiness.”
God graphically symbolized His transference of the law, commandments, and contact points for holiness from Moses to Jesus Christ. For when Jesus died “the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom.” (Mark 15:37-38). By this act God signified that He no longer sanctified the priesthood of Levi and that the things of Moses were no longer holy, no longer to be handled, no longer to be touched. To this Paul agreed when he wrote, “ Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22Which all are to perish with the using; after the commandments and doctrines of men” (Colossians 2:21-22).
Christians are neither permitted to touch portions of Jesus, which are seen in the observances of feast days, laws, and commandments of the house of Moses, nor worship God with these portions of Christ. Believers now minister to God of the holy things, which is Christ Himself. We are ministers of Christ’s holiness, touching only Him, and we live unto His righteousness, fulfilling that which is written, “Be ye holy for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).
When we say that Christians are not “permitted” or “allowed” to worship God with the portions of Christ, we’re saying that because God is no longer sanctifying those contact points, the Spirit is no longer using them, and He will not justify their usage for faith. The meaning of justification is: freedom from condemnation; freedom to act in God’s interest. Christians are not free from condemnation by the things of Moses; their justification is in Jesus Christ. We are fully justified to act in God’s interest, which is to observe Christ in His tools alone.