A Kingdom of Priests
And you shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation – Exodus 19:6
God told Moses that it was His desire for all of His people to be priests. Moses must have wondered how that could be when God said only those from the tribe of the Levites were permitted to minister before Him in the holy order of the priesthood. Was God contradicting Himself? No, He was prophesizing of a time when there would be a change in the priesthood which was fulfilled through Messiah Jesus.
A pastor I know shared this insight with me. He said that in the Old Testament the Levitical priesthood would represent the people before God, but Jesus is a priest of a different order, a priest after the order of Melchisedec (Hebrews 5:6,10), who represents God to the people. Melchisedec came to Abraham offering him bread and wine. Jesus came to earth representing God the Father; He is the image of God, (Hebrews 1:3.) When Jesus offers us His bread and wine, He is inviting us to partake of His royal priesthood and we are also called to represent God before the people; we are “Ambassadors of Christ” (II Corinthians 5:20.)
When we receive the bread and wine of His sacrifice for us, then we too are clothed in fine linen, the clothing of the priests which represents our God bestowed righteousness (Revelation 19:8.)
We are a Royal priesthood and a chosen generation (I Peter 2:9) and we are admonished to walk worthy of our high calling in Christ (Ephesians 4:1, Colossians 1:10.)
After God tells Moses that it is His desire for His people to be priests before Him, He gives the law and the order of conduct for His people.
The twentieth chapter of Leviticus is almost a summary of the major issues. There are warnings against child sacrifice which can be a parallel to the practice of abortion. There are stern admonishments against practicing any form of witchcraft, and very specific warnings against certain sexual practices that God refers to as “abomination.”
We read these things and when the list comes to an end, can we picture our heavenly Father pause a moment before He continues, for He has come to the most important part, the reason why.
Is He speaking softly, earnestly as a Father would counsel His children desiring for them only His best? He draws close and speaks through the lips of His servant Moses – “You shall not walk in the manners of the nations which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.” – He’s saying, ‘I want you to be different. I have something better for you.’
He continues – “But I have said to you, you shall inherit their land, and I will give it to you to possess it; a land that flows with milk and honey: I am the Lord your God, who has separated you from other people.”
He tells His people then to put a difference between clean beasts and unclean. These dietary restrictions have a symbolic meaning. Their food choices are to remind them of their special status, their separation to God. It is a characteristic of a priest to “put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean – Leviticus 10:10. Although we are no longer required to follow these same dietary restrictions as law, the principle remains. It is always a sign of apostasy in the church when God’s people can no longer discern what is clean and unclean.
A pastor’s daughter was spending Saturday night with her friend who was the daughter of the worship leader. The next day she told her parents that the worship leader and his wife were watching television and the children were asked to leave the room because they were going to watch an R rated move. The pastor’s wife confronted the worship leader. “You’re going to watch an R rated movie and then lead worship the next morning?” The worship leader honestly could not see anything wrong with his behavior. He could not discern what was clean and unclean.
“And you shall be holy unto Me, for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people, that you should be Mine.”
“You shall be Mine” – We are separated from the practices of the pagans to belong to God. What a wonderful thing it is to be His own, to belong to the God who made the universe to be loved by Him and chosen to share in this special relationship with the One who made us. He has a promise for us. We have been assured through Messiah Jesus that we shall be given a land flowing with milk and honey, which is a prophecy of eternity, for that which is separated to God through the blood of His covenant, cannot be separated from God.
We are His by the blood of the everlasting covenant through His Son.
We want to be like our Father who loves us so much He sent His son to provide the means through which we can enter this special priesthood. He has given us His Spirit to help us lead holy lives.
God’s call to us here in these precious Scriptures is not to emulate the practices of those who are led by the powers of darkness. For when we do these things, we are allowing the devil to use us to mock the One who loves us so much.
His call to us that was written in these ancient pages is echoed again by His Spirit through the hearts and voices of His Apostles who remind us that we are a Royal priesthood, a chosen generation. Be holy, for I am holy – be separated. Let your light shine, let it be seen as something unique in a world that has no light. Let them see the difference and glorify your Father in heaven.
Those He has called out of this world to represent Him are more than priests, for there is a much higher calling than that. They are worthy to be called His children for – “They are Mine.”
Copyright 2009 by H.D. Shively