THE PRIESTHOOD OF THE BELIEVER

 

The Lord is dealing with my heart lately about being a priest. I believe it is because it is time for His Melchisedec priests - those of His new order - to arise in the earth and to function in their ministry.

I am impressed that if we know our "roots" concerning our spiritual priesthood, that we would have more confidence to press into it. Do you remember the book "ROOTS" that Alex Haley, a black American, wrote? It had an impact upon the whole nation, for truth was brought to light. Similarly, I want to bring forth the truth about our priesthood as believers. I want to shake up your hearts so that you will believe the truth of what happened to our priestly calling so you may once again take ahold of it and walk in it!

Do you understand that every child of God is a priest? Every man and woman who is a true believer, has entered "the priesthood." The only high priest in Godís program today is in heaven (that heaven that is in us where He abides in His temple). The Bible does not authorize a special priesthood of a clerical class in this age!

I hardly know a believer who looks upon himself as a priest. That, to him, would seem presumptuous -- too high and holy for him to attain unto. And as for being a "saint", that, too, is a term he cannot apply to himself. Yet, we are both priests and saints!

I enjoy hearing from Mark and Debbie Peters by e-mail. They sign their names: Saint Mark and Saint Debbie. They recognize that they are sanctified and set apart by the Lord and are not "puffing themselves up" by acknowledging that.

The reason that Christians as a whole do not see themselves as priests is because the truth of this has been lost by having a professional, paid priesthood function in the capacity of "clergy". This puts the people in the place of being the "laity".

In the early church, there was no distinction between clergy and laity. The word "clergy" in the ancient sense, means "portion or lot", as "the service of God being the priestís lot". Godís clergy (portion or lot) consisted of Godís laity (people). Every member of the "laity" was a member of the "clergy", and vice versa. One entered the ministry by coming into Christ. All believers were priests. There was no special caste in Godís new order of the dispensation of grace.

They worshipped in utter simplicity. In fervent zeal, possessed of a deep love for each other, "all the believers kept together" and "among all those who had embraced the faith there was but one heart and one soul" (Acts 2:44; 5:32). Each did all he could to edify the others. None served for gain.

The early disciples did not invite the world to "come to church" to hear the gospel. They took it to them. They gathered together to eat the Lordís Supper and then scattered to preach the Word. As in the true church in China today, wherever there was a Christian and a sinner, there was a gospel meeting. They testified fervently of their faith in Jesus. The whole earth was their auditorium. They had no need of a pulpit.

In the early sixties, after I had been healed of leukemia, people started coming to our home for prayer and to hear of our faith. It was not long before our house could not hold all who came and we realized that the Lord was giving us a "revival". We prayed with the saints assembled, and felt the Lord would have us build a simple meeting-house. One man donated the land, another the lumber, and all that were able-bodied donated their labour. Soon, we had a small gathering place, fully paid for.

There was a core of 6-8 people who took the responsibility for the work. We never gave them any title at all (or any pay). Whenever a decision needed to be made, we would come together and pray until we knew clearly the will of the Lord in the matter. We never settled things by a vote. We tried always to be led by prayer and the word of the Lord to our hearts.

No manís person was held in admiration. We simply had hungry people coming to us and we wanted to feed them. We would take turns bringing a word from the scriptures and encouraged each one to share and to operate in spiritual gifts.

We never once thought of having a separate "Sunday school" for the children. They just sat with their parents and took part in the worship and prayer. Iíll never forget the time a brother was waiting for prayer for a painful knee. There were quite a few to pray for that night. Finally, a little boy around seven years of age asked if he could pray for him. The man consented. The boy prayed and the man was healed instantly, and all the people rejoiced! The children were always encouraged to pray for others along with the adults, and they felt they were a part of what God was doing. They saw the Spirit of the Lord move and felt Him move through them. They knew they had been called to be priests -- to bear one anotherís burdens!

The people who gathered together at this little meeting-place of "no name" and "no denomination" walked in the zeal of the Lord Who was given liberty to move in their midst. Throughout the week, they would share with others what the Lord was doing and how He had changed their lives. When their testimony was received and moved a personís heart, they would lead that one to the Lord and then bring him to the meeting-place for fellowship. I think that is Godís order, rather than inviting a person to hear a special speaker, or minister - you are the one they know and have confidence in. You should be the one to bring them to Jesus.

Through the years, I have had different friends ask if they could bring someone to us to pray for them. I would always ask why they were not praying for them. Always, the answer was that they didnít feel "worthy" enough -- they didnít feel like they were a priest! This truth has been obscured so that Godís people have not accepted the responsibility that the Lord has given them to minister the Spirit as a priest of God.

This is a striking difference from how the organized churches of today operate. Members of the church invite a guest to meet their minister, or to come to the church with the expectation of their coming to the Lord. The true way is to win those in your sphere of influence by your love and care for them, and then bring them into the fellowship of the saints. We had no special "minister" to bring people unto, so each one functioned in their priesthood and won souls to the Lord on a continual basis. I donít remember anyone coming to the Lord in the meetings -- each one who came had been brought to the Lord by their friend before they came. We came together to fellowship in the Lord and to worship Him, not to try, Sunday after Sunday, to exhort people to come to the Lord!

This reminds me of an experience Faith Williams had. She had moved into a new town and found that all the neighbors on her block were young mothers with families. She wondered where she would find someone with whom to fellowship in the Lord. When she prayed, the Lord said, "Just be a good neighbor to them."

Now, Faith really knows how to be a good neighbor! She befriended each young mother and helped in any way she could to ease their load and to encourage them. She did not feel to preach to them. She just lived Christ before them.

After a year had passed, one by one these young women came to Faith "wanting to know what made her tick", wanting to know what made her the kind of person she was. So, over coffee, Faith led them to the Lord and into the baptism of the Spirit. Then, she began to teach them the things of God at a very deep level and they just ate it up. There was no resistance on their part, for they were convinced of Christ walking in Faith right before their eyes. When she had laid a strong foundation in them, the Lord removed her from that town. Her priestly assignment there was ended. It had been very successful, for she had sought the Lord and obeyed what He told her. Just by being a good neighbor, these precious ones were brought to know the Lord.

Much of the irreverence, formality and cold ritual of these days is the result of a loss of significance of a priesthood of all believers. The sense of individual relationship to God with its responsibilities has disappeared and believers are usually mere spectators rather than participants when they come together. So often the spirit is quenched rather than kindled. In the early church, the believers claimed to love each other and they talked about Jesus. Now, they claim to love Jesus and they talk about each other. In those days, all exerted an effort to exhort - now all must be exhorted to exert an effort! Faith has said to me, "I want to talk about the Lord, but most church-goers are embarrassed by that. They simply want to talk about "church" and its programs. With this, they feel more comfortable."

How has "church" claimed such a strong place in the hearts of Godís people? The word "church" was never applied to a material structure in the scriptures, nor did God ever in the New Covenant sanction "a temple" made of wood and stone. The "house of God" is made up of living stones. The children of God do not go up to Godís house - they are Godís house! We are "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord."

I have a difficult time when people ask me, "Where do you go to church?" All I want to answer (and sometimes do!) is, "I am the church."

The word "church" comes from the Greek "ecclesia" which means "called-out ones". It has no bearing on a building or a religious organization. I am a part of the ecclesia wherever I happen to be because I am a "called-out one". It is not necessary for me to be in a certain building to be counted as a worshiper of the Lord.

This was illustrated to us very forcefully some years ago when a friendís two children were in their pre-teen years. Their mother was a woman of prayer and she encouraged them to seek the Lord for themselves - to speak to Him personally and to wait upon him and expect to hear Him speak to them. I encouraged them to write down what the Lord said to them. They began to grow in the Lord and were learning to hear His Voice.

Then the bomb fell! A friend invited them to a young peopleís meeting. They were having a special speaker that they just had to hear! Their parents agreed that they could go, but it didnít stop there. The friend begged them to come to church on Sunday. After that, the church leaders insisted they attend all the mid-week meetings also. They taught them that whenever the church doors were open, they needed to be there. They were left with the feeling that if they werenít there, they had "missed God" and would be in disfavour with Him.

The two children got so busy running to "church" that they had no time left to sit at the Lordís Feet and learn of Him and hear His Voice. When I came to visit and asked to see their books where they wrote down what the Lord said to them, the pages were now blank. I felt sad, as did their parents. A building -- and an organization -- had taken the place of a personal relationship with the Lord. I fear this has happened to many believers if they would but acknowledge it.

I would be remiss if I didnít tell you what became of our gatherings. After a year, a pastor of some "charisma" came to town and asked if he could be our pastor. I canít remember if we prayed about that, but we all agreed to let him be the pastor. Predictably, the believers slackened up and began to put all the burden of the ministry upon the pastor (which he encouraged).

Shortly after this, my husband and I felt led to help some missionaries in Canadaís far North. Our pastor, with another pastor friend, came to see us with big Bibles under their arms, to tell us that this was a foolish thing to do and the Lord was not in it. We withstood them and said we had to walk in what we felt the Lord was saying to us.

Shortly after this, I had a word concerning the work we had left behind. I felt the Lord say it was "graduation time". It was time for the more mature ones to go forth as the Lord would lead them. If they would do so, He would send new people to take their place.

When I returned to that town three years later, the doors were closed. The man who had been the pastor came to visit us, to reprove us because he heard that we were believing some doctrine that he had not taught us! That was true, for while we were communing only with the Lord in that isolated place, He showed us there would be no rapture, and opened up our understanding that to be caught away, was not the hope of the church! To be filled with all the fullness of God (rather than walking in an in-part realm) was our hope -- even entering into the next great move of God -- the Feast of Tabernacles!
 

A Copy - A Shadow

When dealing with people at different levels of growth and understanding, often this question comes up: "What is the necessity of being baptized in the Holy Spirit? I thought we received the Holy Spirit when we were born again!"

There is no denying the truth of that. "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body . . . and have all been made to drink into one Spirit" I Cor. 12:13. Yet, I have experienced the further outpouring of the Pentecostal anointing. What I really needed to know was: Where do the scriptures tell us when the first followers of Jesus were born again? The Lord showed me it was in John 20:21-23 where Jesus "breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost". So, the two times of anointing by the Spirit are very clear -- first, the born again, or Passover experience in John 20, and the subsequent Pentecost experience of baptism in the Holy Ghost as recorded in Acts 2. It couldnít be plainer!

I say, without fear of contradiction, that the greater part of Christendom embraces the first Holy Ghost experience and denies the second. How can that be? Manís carnal mind has decided what portions of holy writ it will believe and what it will deny.

If the "powers that be" in the church system could teach such gross error in something that is so plainly stated, with abundant proofs on every hand, it is then no wonder that they have almost totally missed out on the far-reaching implications of John 20:23. These powerful words follow directly the imparting of the Holy Ghost to the first believers. "If you should be forgiving anyoneís sins, they have been forgiven them. If anyoneís you should be holding, they are held" (Concordant Literal). The King James Bible says, "Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained."

Matt. 16:19 agrees with this thought: "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

What can forgiving sins be but the ministry of a priest? When the Lord Jesus breathed His Spirit into man, He gave him the power to forgive sins. In other words, he is declared to be a priest! I really believe this has been one of the "best-kept secrets" of Christendom. The leaders didnít want the people to know about it, lest they lose their power and position over them. They wanted to keep the priesthood of Levi going as long as they could and keep the people dependent upon them for forgiveness of sins.

There was a change of the order of priesthood when Christ came and we need to understand what that means so that we may enter into His order of priesthood -- even the order of Melchisedec. It is our birthright! We were born into it and it has been kept from us! But our holy Melchisedec is rising up within us to restore what is rightfully ours through Him.

We need to take a careful look at the Levitical order so that we can understand why it had to pass away. The service of the Old Covenant priesthood constituted a type of our service and sanctuary in the Christian era. "They are only a shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ" Col.2: 17. As the substance is superior to a shadow, so is the present system superior to that which preceded it.

The high priest of the Old Covenant foreshadowed Christ. Both were specially called of God to their positions. There could be but one high priest at a time under the Levitical order, and there can be but one high priest during this dispensation. "He holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever" Heb. 7:24.

Both Aaron and Christ were ordained to serve on behalf of others in matters pertaining unto God. Aaron wore special robes of office, created for glory and beauty. Isa. 63:1 pictures our Lordís garments as, "glorious in His apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength."

The high priest bore upon his breast, next to his heart, the names of all the tribes on whose behalf he officiated. Just as he could never forget those whose care weighed heavily upon him, and for whom he interceded before the mercy seat, so our high priest carries a sympathetic understanding of all our needs. "For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" Heb. 4:15, 16.

Aaron began his public ministry by being washed by Moses. Our Lord began His personal ministry by being washed in the waters of baptism, being immersed by John the Baptist.

Aaron was anointed with oil that was poured upon him so generously that it flowed down his beard and onto the hem of his garment. Our Lord was anointed with the Spirit sent down from heaven. It was this anointing that "Christed" him and it was given to Him without measure (John3: 34).

In his official capacity, Aaron was a mediator, standing between God and the people. Now "there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" I Tim. 2: 5.

Aaron was also a judge, and by the aid of the Urim and Thummim, he could render a perfect decision. These words mean "lights" and "perfections" and signified the perfect light by which the high priest could ascertain Godís will in any matter. The apostle declares that God " has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom He has appointed, and of this He has given assurance to all men by receiving him from the dead" Acts 17:31.

Aaron looked at something "outside of himself" (the stones of Urim and Thummim), but we, as priests today, look "within" to the witness of the Spirit Who guides us into all truth and gives us light and understanding. One who knows he is a priest, knows that he can trust the rise and fall of the Spirit within him.

The high priest secured atonement for all of the nation. Every year he took the blood into the holiest of all for their redemption (Heb.9: 6-16). But Jesus "has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" Hebrews 9:26.

On the Day of Atonement, the high priest was forced to carry out the ritual alone. "There shall be no man in the tent of meeting when he enters to make atonementÖ" Lev. 16:17. Our High Priest also was bereft of all help or comfort in His great sacrificial atonement for the whole world. His response, from Isa. 63:3 was, "I have trodden the wine press alone, and from the people's no one was with me."

The ancient high priests came into their office due to their fleshly descent, or genealogy from Aaron. But of Christ it is said, "Who has become a priest, not according to a legal requirement concerning bodily descent but by the power of an indestructible life" Heb. 7:16.

When the Jews returned to restore Jerusalem (after their Babylon captivity), they purposed to follow the word of God closely. When certain of the priests sought their registration among the genealogies, and could not find their names, they were excluded from the priesthood. "The governor told them that they were not to partake of the most holy food, until a priest with Urim and Thummim should arise" Neh. 7:65.

If Jesus had been in the midst, he would not have qualified as a priest, either, for He sprang, not from Levi, but from Judah, from whom came no priest! Yet, Christ brought in a better covenant based upon better promises. This involved "a change in the priesthood", and of necessity, "a change in the law as well" Heb. 7:12. Jesus was that priest who should arise with Urim and Thummim! The "lights" and "perfections" were within Him in all their fullness so that He could truthfully say, "I do only those things I have seen with my Father." His descent was after the Spirit of His Father, and not after a bodily descent.

Those who formerly became priests took their office without an oath, but this One was addressed with an oath, "The Lord has sworn, and will not change his mind, Thou art a priest forever" Heb. 7:21.

The former high priests were 81 in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; but Jesus holds His priesthood permanently, "because He continues forever" Heb. 7:23, 24.

The priests associated with Aaron were typical of all Christians, associated with our great high priest in the service of God. There are many priests. Every believer is consecrated and sanctified as a priest. Besides these, there are no other priestly orders. There can be no hierarchical distinctions in the church. Every priest of God is of equal dignity in the divine arrangement. There is no distinction between clergy and laity.

The common priests of old were all sons of high priests. (Donít you love that?). Their priesthood came out of their relation to their father, the high priest. They became priests because they were born into his family. In this dispensation, we are priests of God because of our relationship to Christ and for no other reason. We become priests by being born again. It is only as Christ lives in us and we live in Him that we become a kingdom of priests unto God.
 

The Temple Service

My purpose in writing on the priesthood of the believer is because I discern that many cannot relate at all to being a priest. They feel that is too far above them. That is why I am examining the Levitical priesthood order so that we may gain some insights as to being a spiritual priest. Whatever those priests experienced is a shadow of what we are to experience in the Spirit.

1. Let us first consider the consecration of Aaron and that of his sons (the common priests). The consecration was the same. They partook of the same ritual for sanctification in their priestly function. "For He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why He is not ashamed to call them brethren." Heb. 2:10.

Jesus, our High Priest, was born of the Holy Spirit from His motherís womb. We, as priests, must also be born from above, as the Spirit draws us.

Jesus submitted Himself to being baptized by John in the Jordan River, signifying death to his self-life. There He had the Spirit settle upon Him as a dove. In like manner, we are likewise consecrated for priestly service: being born again, baptized in water and in the Spirit, and entering into a commitment of dying- to - self. Our consecration of priesthood is identical to that of our High Priest. So -- if our consecration is the same, can we not serve in a priestly office as well as He?

"And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." Galatians 4:6.

2. The priest of old required first a blood sacrifice before they could be consecrated. The same holds true for ourselves, but it is not with the offering of bulls or goats, "But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you" I Peter 1:19, 20.

3. As those priests were completely washed in the laver, we must submit to "the washing of regeneration" Titus 3:5.

4. After being washed, the priest received an application of the anointing oil. This happens also to us when we are saved "by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour" Titus 3:5,6.

5. Those priests were required to put off their old garments. We are required to "hate the garment spotted by the flesh" Jude 23. And to His priests who stand before Him in the frailty of their flesh, He says, "Take away the filthy garments from him ÖBehold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment" Zech. 3:4,5. The Old Testament priests were adorned with robes of glory and beauty. This shows us that we are to "Put on then, as Godís chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness and patience" Col 3:12. These are our new garments.

6. The priests of the former dispensation were made priests by obedience to the commands of God. Moses didnít devise any rituals or modes of induction. He told the people, "This is the thing which the Lord has commanded to be done" Lev. 8:5. It is those who have come into obedience to the voice of the Lord within, that shall be inducted into the Melchisedec priesthood in our day.

7. Old Covenant priests were ordained to serve and not to be served. They were set apart to minister and not to be ministered unto. The priests did not hire a substitute to officiate in their place. They did whatever fell to their lot at any given time.

When we were invited in October to minister at a camp meeting in Ohio, the Spirit registered, "Yes!" Yet, we had never met Mark and Debbie Peters except on the Internet. This was something of "an unknown quantity" for all of us. It was rather funny -- Mark seemed glad to know that we had also kept goats at one time (so, we couldnít be too proud!) And, for us, all my little doubts dissolved when Mark announced, "I donít consider myself a minister. I am learning how to be a servant." And a true, humble and loving servant he is and we were so blessed that the Lord had given us the privilege of meeting this precious couple.

Godís priests today should be happy to perform any service, however humble, that the Lord puts before them. Faith was telling me that a sister was quizzing her about when she was going back into ministry -- the Lordís service -- again. Faith declared, "I am in ministry. The Lord has me caring for this lady who is a paraplegic. That is my ministry right now." The sister couldnít understand that. She protested, "I mean, when are you going back to exhorting and prophesying in the church?" To her, only that could be "ministry." But, a different "lot" had been cast for Faith at that time and it was just as much "ministry" as when she was "seen of men, speaking the words of God." We need to understand this, priests! We cannot separate our service as "profane" and "holy". If we do whatever the Lord puts before us, we are "serving God", though it be hidden away and unseen by men!

8. It was not enough that the sacrifice be killed and the blood shed. The blood had to be applied to each priest -- placed upon the tip of his right ear, on the thumb of the right hand, and on the great toe of the right foot. The whole hearing, the service, and the walk were dedicated to God.

With Godís present-day priests, the blood must be applied to each heart. "For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God." Heb. 9: 13,14.

The Christian is Godís man. He belongs wholly unto God. "You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body" I Cor. 6: 19,20. A Levitical priest met death if he forgot the sanctification of the blood. We can be acceptable only through the Blood that bought us back from our condition of death. There are no "do-it-yourself kits" here!

Some teach, "There are many ways to God." Hearken not unto such voices. Our redemption and our reconciliation back to God are only through the shed Blood of the Lamb who purchased our redemption. There is no other way and no other person (dead or alive) who can do for us what the Lamb has done! Only He can give us life from the Spirit, for only He has it to give! There is only one way and that is through Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Look not to another!

9. In the holy place was the table on which stood the bread of the Presence. There were twelve loaves, one for each tribe. Only the priests could eat this bread. It was changed once every seven days and was eaten at that time.

The Lord has a table in His church today, but there is only one loaf upon it. There is no longer any tribal distinction, "Because there is one loaf, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the same loaf" I Cor. 10:17.

In the primitive church, the disciples met together upon the first day of the week to break bread. The hallowed bread is to be eaten only by believers. It is His spiritual substance.

10. The only source of light in the tabernacle was the golden lampstand. It consisted of a centre shaft that supported three branches on either side. These branches received oil that came through the central shaft that was submerged in a vessel of oil. (There were no candles there. This was a lampstand.) The priests had to attend the lamps daily to see that they always shone brightly, and that they were "set up so as to give light upon the space in front of it" Lev. 25:37.

Do you see the relationship here with the light that is within us? We have to "attend it" daily to see that it shines round about us for people to see His light. We cannot be careless about His light!

We could say that this shows us that today, as priests, we should daily attend unto the study of the Word and prayer, but it is bigger than that. The lampstand with its seven branches signifies the seven-fold spirit of God as spoken of in Isaiah 11:1-5. Instead of moving in the gifts of the Spirit, those who come into the fullness shall function in the fullness of:

The Spirit of the Lord (central shaft) Branches:

--the spirit of wisdom (rather than a word of wisdom, as in the gifts of the Spirit)

--the spirit of understanding

--the spirit of counsel

--the spirit of might

--the spirit of knowledge (not just a word!)

--the spirit of the fear of the Lord.

11. Also, in the holy place, stood the golden altar. Upon it, incense was burnt to send up a sweet odor before the mercy seat of God. The incense was burnt every morning and every evening.

Rev. 5: 8 tells us of Ďgolden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints." The sweet singer of Israel entreated, "Let my prayer be counted as incense before thee, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice" Psalm 141:2.

Godís priests in this age should love to minister daily at "the golden altar", for we are instructed, "Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips that acknowledge His name" Heb. 13:15. That golden altar is within and is his new nature (the gold) that is coming forth in us. We lift up His nature and praise Him that He is inworking it into vessels of clay!

I felt you might be interested in some of the "feedback" we have been receiving from the remnant company since we began writing on the priesthood of the believer. Cheryl Evans, of Texas, writes: "You reaffirmed that we are priests of the Lord. When I asked the Lord what that means for me, He reminded me of Isaiah 61:6 "You shall be called the priests of the Lord; people will speak of you as ministers of our God." And we are priests, ministers, or servants of our God, wherever and in whatever circumstances He has placed us.

"I know that the Lord places some of His priests in established churches, and some are a part of gatherings as He brings them together, but some He keeps apart. I listen to tapes of different services across the country, and so often hear the speakers emphasize the absolute necessity of joining a church, because you have to be a part of a group of believers learning together and exhorting one another. That used to confuse me and make me wonder if I was hearing the Lord clearly, because He has taken me out of every church Iíve tried to be a part of, and He finally made me realize that I am not to be a part of a group -- at least for now. And when I ask Him about fellowship or worship with others, He always asks me, "Am I not enough?" and, of course, there is only one answer. So, I wait until He causes us to all pray with one voice and speak with one voice and hear with one ear and see Him with a single eye -- and let Him lead us and do and be where and when He will".

DeAnn Borden shared: "Issue #146 was an answer to prayer. A friend and I have been called to minister to a group of people just starting a church called The Church of Acts. The pastor has been given some things that are right on and some things that are still traditions of the church system. The Lord has had my friend and I praying for these people and we are received when the Lord uses us to speak things to them. We have been speaking when the Lord says and praying at other times. We have been praying about why it is so hard to have someone sit in the seat of pastor and how we needed to pray about it. That was yesterday morning. I received this issue in yesterdayís mail after we prayed. I also received two other writings that dovetailed into all that we had prayed. Your paper spoke right to the issue of the professional, paid priesthood.

"Last week I confessed to this man, who wants to be my pastor, that I didnít want him as a pastor, but as a friend. I said, 'The Lord Jesus Christ is my pastor and my head and I cannot have a man over me.' He was not sure how to receive that. I also said, 'I donít believe it is right to do something just because Ďa leaderí speaks that I should. I have to be led by the Spirit. If it is by the Spirit of God that someone else speaks, I know I had better pay attention.'

"On Sunday morning the Lord had me give a word about people accepting the King as their ruler and putting aside all other things they give place to rule them. The question the Lord asked was whether they wanted to be ruled by a man or the King of kings. Your issue put into words things that have been swirling around in my spirit, not quite ready to come forth.

"I know the Lord is desiring this man to lay down the idol of position and I also know there are people in this group the Lord would like to bring along quickly into deeper things. I covet your prayers in this situation.

"In the spirit, I have been seeing a man walking on the horizon. I asked the Lord, 'Who is this man?'

His reply was 'Melchisedec.' I have also been waiting and looking for this man to impart something to me." (end quote)

Tena Walker called from Alaska. She told us how her eight-year- old son had been saved when the Spirit of the Lord moved upon his heart when he was in bed. He came into his parents' room with tears streaming down his face, knowing that Jesus had come into his heart. Some time later, the Lord visited him again (though he didnít see Him), and imparted unto him the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

One day, when he was nine or ten, he said to his mother, "I keep hearing a word in my head, but I donít know what it means."

His mother asked him what it was and he answered, "Melchisedec."

Then the lad asked, "What is a Melchisedec?"

His mother told me that she quizzed him to try to find out if he had ever heard that word before and he assured her that he had never heard it.

What can we say of these things? The Lord is giving abundant confirmation that it is time for His priests after the order of Melchisedec to arise and to function in their priesthood -- to let Him be that priest within them! If you have not yet sent for our two new booklets and a tape on "There Ariseth Another Priest", please do so. It is time for us to enter into our priesthood after this new order!
 

The Decadence of the Priesthood

The writer of Hebrews tells us that the high priest under the Mosaic law could "deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness" Heb. 5:2. He has no need, like those high priests, to "offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people" Heb. 7:27.

The human weakness of the priests was shown quite early when Aaronís sons, Nadab and Abihu "each took his censer, and put fire in it, and laid incense on it, and offered unholy fire before the Lord, such as He had not commanded them" Lev. 10:1. Their sin was substituting something else for what God had specified as essential in worship. They would offer to the Lord a fire of their own making -- the zeal of the self-life -- rather than the Spirit-life that comes from God! They were divinely disciplined, and fire came from the most holy place to devour them. This punishment was so startling that it had a sobering effect upon the remaining priests.

Generations drifted by and the priests fell victim to their own lusts and exercised an evil influence upon the congregation. Bear in mind, that though they had been placed into a holy office, they had not received a change of nature from above to enable them to walk purely in that holy office.

When Eli was priest, his sons "were worthless men; they had no regard for the Lord" I Sam. 2:12. They were covetous and greedy to eat of the best offerings and they treated the offering of the Lord with contempt.

To these faults were added grave immoralities, for the priests engaged in illicit intercourse with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of the meeting. Eli remonstrated with them: "Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil doings from all the people. No, my sons: it is no good report that I hearÖ" They paid no attention to the words of their father and were slain in a battle with the Philistines. Eli died upon hearing the news and his daughter-in-law died in bearing Ichabod whose name means "the glory has departed" (for that is what happened!)

The decadence of the priesthood is given as one of the basic reasons for the grievous transgressions that resulted in the exile of the people to Babylon.

By the time of Isaiah and Jeremiah, stern indictments were spoken against them; "The priest and prophet reel with strong drink; they err in vision; they stumble in giving judgement" Isa. 28:7.

Jeremiah declared, "An appalling and horrible thing has happened to the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?" Jer.5:31.

The people preferred smooth prophecies to the real truth. They were willing to support men who taught error and who reassured them that Godís vengeance would not come. (They would all be raptured out of trouble! And all the "bad guys" would be left behind to face the tribulation).

Micah said, "Its priests teach for hire; its prophets divine for money; yet they lean upon the Lord and say, "Is not the Lord in the midst of us? No evil shall come upon us" Mic. 3:11. God had provided for the sustenance of His priests. They were to trust God to meet their needs through their brethren. But we see something else here -- the priests were teaching for gain. They had become "professionals" and were doing their task -- not always for God -- but because of the money they got for it.

God said, "Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my sheep at their hand, and put a stop to their feeding the sheep; no longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they be not food for them" Ezek. 34:10. It is clear that God intended to wrest His flock from the grasp of mercenaries and hirelings.

The new order when this was to be done was to be set up when one shepherd called "my servant David" would rule over them. Since David slept with his fathers, this spoke of the greater David -- Jesus, the Christ, Who said, "Öthere shall be one flock, and one shepherd" John 10:16.

The new covenant was to be "a covenant of peace". It was to secure liberty and freedom. Wild beasts (the carnal natures) were to be banished from the land that the sheep "may dwell securely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods." Isaiah saw the walls of the city of God would be called "Salvation" and the gates "Praise." The sun (of reason) would no longer be needed for light by day or the moon (the reflected glory, a shadow) by night. Instead, the Lord, will be an everlasting light and the glory of His people. Jehovah declares, "Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the shoot of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified" Isa. 60: 18-21.

It is a common thing today for a ministry to demand a certain sum of money be paid him if he agrees to minister at a certain place. We know that "the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel" I Cor. 9:14. I have proven that the Lord supplies for what He wants done.

When George Mueller, the "Apostle of Faith", started to minister as a young man, the Lord directed him to ask no offering of the people and to take no wage. He learned to depend solely upon the Lord as his provision and the Lord used that training to raise seven million dollars to help orphans in a time when money was not plentiful.

The Lord withholds from none of His priests, but He tries their hearts whether they are serving Him for gain or out of love for him and for His children.

By the time Jesus came on the scene, the priesthood had become the pawn of crafty politicians. There was often a conflict between the Jews and their conquerors so that sometimes two high priests were recognized at the same time. They were put in and out of the priesthood like yo-yos until the Jewish State came to an end in 70 A.D. The temple was burned -- altar, sacrifice and priest were taken away. A new day had dawned for the world. A new high priest had been crowned in the heavens -- a new mediator had been ushered in through His shed Blood. The time of which the prophets had spoken had finally arrived.

In Ďthe time of reformationí, every person who accepted the good tidings was to be a priest -- every such person was to be a minister (one who serves). Every priest was such because he ministered (served); every person was a minister because he was a priest. In priesthood and ministry all were to be of equal rank insofar as liberty, privilege, and relationship to God were concerned. Godís people were no longer to be a kingdom with priests, but a kingdom of priests. They were not to be a congregation with ministers, but a congregation of ministers.

God had promised Israel that if they would obey His voice, and keep His covenant, they would be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation unto Him. But they did not come into this promise because they failed to meet the conditions. They neither obeyed His voice nor kept His covenant.

Godís purpose was not defeated! He created a new Israel of God (Gal. 6:16), made up of those who are born of God and are Abrahamís offspring and heirs according to the promise. Every one of these is a priest of God!

By substituting those who are the children of Abraham by faith for those who were His children by flesh, God made every spiritual son of Abraham a priest. At last, every real Jew is a priest! And who is a real Jew? "For he is not a real Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external, or physical. He is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart, spiritual and not literal" Rom. 2:28, 29.

It seems to be the fad today -- particularly in Hollywood, to join the Jewish religion to really "get it right" before God, as if to be counted a Jew in the natural sense would make them more acceptable in Godís sight. They clearly donít understand that the only real Jew is that one who has been washed in the Blood of the Lamb and has been born from above! Iíll go a step further and declare that most of Christendom considers the Jew as "Godís chosen people" and believe they will be evangelizing the world after the "gentile" believers have been raptured! What a charade!

The blind leaders of the blind are trying to hold the Jew in the place he had under Moses. They canít see that there has been a change of priesthood. Now, Godís chosen people are those who are born of His Spirit. It is only by the Spirit that they are able to hear His voice and to obey it and to minister as priests of the living God! Those still bound in tradition would resurrect Mosesí law and rebuild the temple again in Jerusalem, doing despite to that holy temple in which the Lord abides by His Spirit, even His blood-washed ones. The decadence of the priesthood continues even in our day.

The evangelical church world gives only lip service to "the Lord dwelling in temples not made with hands in this day", for they have been erroneously taught to look for the rebuilding of the Jewish temple and a return to animal sacrifices as it was under Moses. They would take as good news this article recently published by the INS News Service-Israel.

"CHILDREN WANTED FOR FUTURE TEMPLE SERVICE: "An Ultra Orthodox Jewish sect is searching for parents willing to hand over new-born sons to be raised in isolation and purity, in preparation for the rebuilding of the Biblical temple in Jerusalem. Only members of the Jewish priestly cast (Kohanim) need apply. The Movement for Establishing the Temple wants to keep the children in a secluded compound in the hills of Jerusalem. The idea is to raise a child, who from the moment of birth will not touch the dead, not be under the same roof with the dead, and will not even be in a hospital, where the dead are also found.

"Yosef Elboim, the rabbi assigned to finding willing parents, said that once the boys turn 13 they will be able to slaughter and burn a sacred red heifer, literally a holy cow, and sprinkle its ashes on people, in a purification ritual last performed in Biblical times. This ritual is meant to cleanse those who have come into contact with the dead and prepare them for the reconstruction of the Temple that was destroyed in 70 A.D. ĎToday, when there is no one undefiled who can prepare the ashes in a state of purity, there is a problem, which we intend to solve with the help of priestly children,í Elboim said. Even if willing parents step forth, the sect will still face a major problem of finding an unblemished red heifer. (Reuters)."

I awoke this morning with this old hymn singing inside of me and I knew it was the answer to the above article:

What can wash away my sin?

Nothing but the Blood of Jesus!

What can make me whole again?

Nothing but the Blood of Jesus!

O, precious is the flow

That washes white as snow.

No other fount I know,

Nothing but the Blood of Jesus!

Neither the Jews not the organized church understands Godís plan of the ages. Stephen Jones says it so well, "God is presently working with the remnant of grace. Once He has brought this small company into the fullness of the promise, then they will be fully empowered by the Spirit of God to manifest the divine presence and character of Christ to the rest of the world. Their testimony and work will then bring the rest of the Church and the world into the blessings of the kingdom of God."

This small company shall learn to function as priests after the order of Melchisedec, for there ariseth in the earth another priest, and there is no question as to His purity and sanctification!
 

The Nicolaitane Spirit

At the Feast of Tabernacles gathering one year, a young lady told me, "It is so exciting to be at a meeting where each person is free to share what is on his heart. In the Lutheran Church where I attended, I never spoke a word." I just had to tell her about the Nicolaitanes!

When the Lord was showing John on Patmos what the seven churches would be like, He commended the early church at Ephesus. He said, "Öyou have this to your credit, that you hate the practices of the Nicolaitanes, which I myself detest" Rev. 2:6. In Pergamos, the third church, these practices had become accepted doctrine. "So hast thou also them that hold the doctrines of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate" Rev. 2: 15.

What was this thing that God hated but man loved and would not stop doing? Weíll understand if we know what the name means. "Nico" means "to overcome, or to be victorious over" and "laity" refers to the "laity" or "people". The word indicated followers of Nicholaus, whose name means "victorious over the people; a heretic".

Ah! We have here once again a "caste system" of "clergy and laity" which was abolished in Christ! Men love to rule, even though God has called them to serve.

The Roman Catholic Church built up a system of special priesthood on a hierarchical basis. This word "hierarchy" means "a ruling body of clergy organized into orders or ranks each subordinate to the one above it." The Protestants, in similar fashion, adopted a clergy system (persons ordained for religious work) which relegates the members to "lay status". They have adopted the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which the Lord hates!

In my 45 years of walking with the Lord, I have also learned to hate that which would "overcome the laity" -- Godís people -- and keep them under its heel. I could write a whole book on this subject!

One brother who was pressing on in God but didnít want to leave his Lutheran Church asked his minister why they couldnít have deeper teaching in the church. The answer was sincere, but pathetic: "When I took my ministerial training, I had to promise not to teach anything that would be beyond the understanding of the level of a twelve-year-old. And I have kept that promise all these years!"

Needless to say, the brother left his family church so that he could walk more closely with his Lord.

The church is no longer regarded as a functioning body served actively by every member, but is looked upon as an institution which may purchase services on its own behalf. The "clergy system" is now so venerable with age that it is accepted as being of divine origin. Most people believe that the Christian religion would be powerless without it.

It seems that among the millions of the Underground Church in China, the very fact of persecution keeps them free from this Nicolaitane spirit -- of setting up a "ruling class" over Godís people. Iíve heard that no one will permit his name to be used in any title, or as a leader, because as soon as it is on the lips of the people, the police come to pick up the leader. Each one serves as a true minister but is not "lifted up" or placed "above" the people.

The word "minister" comes from the Latin "ministro" which means "to serve, to attend, to wait on." The word minister designates one as a servant but never expresses the kind of service rendered. A preacher is a minister in the congregation, but so is the custodian who sweeps the floor, the one who supervises the children and the one who folds the bulletins. Those who visit the homes for the aged, who look after the needy, are all ministers. By the very designation of one as the minister, we have convinced all of the others that they are not ministers. They do not even think of themselves in that way.

There are two great sources of intellectual evil in the interpretation of Godís revelation. One is to create distinctions where God has made none; the other is to destroy or lose sight of the distinction which God has made.

The life of the saint is expressed in the word ministry, or service. Jesus came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. He declared that He was among men as one who served. Those who follow Him must do likewise. The community of believers should provide an opportunity for every member to share his revelation and gifts. Any system which commits the edification of the body to one person hired for the role, reduces the rest to mere spectators, which is contrary to the plan and purpose of God.

At a camp meeting, Bill and I had shared along with a number of others through the course of the week. On the last night, I heard the Spirit whisper, "Gather up the fragments that remain." I searched in my mind as to what this could mean. Finally, the Lord showed me that there were some who had come and had not shared one word. He wanted to receive all the "fragments" each one had, to make up the whole loaf.

It was unforgettable to see those shy ones get up and minister out of their wells. We were all blessed! It was wonderful! I began to understand how God wants each of His children to be "ministers of the spirit" one to another, edifying the Body of Christ.

The freedom you find in a camp meeting is similar to the gatherings of the saints in apostolic times. They were like family reunions. Even the least one was heard with appreciation; and those who were less forward were greatly urged to share. This is in sharp contrast to the modern institutional church, which is concerned with its "image" in society. It is involved in presenting good "programs" to impress the visiting public, which it calls "worship services." The idea of a personal heart-to-heart relationship with God through the Spirit and being taught of Him, has been replaced with the philosophy that one should be allied with "a successful church".

By what scriptural authority do men set themselves up, or offer themselves for hire, as the ministers of the congregation? On what basis do some priests claim such exaltation, eminence, and esteem over the other regal princes of the priesthood of heaven? Is it by virtue of a more noble birth? Is it the result of superior knowledge imparted to them by other mortals? Are they composed of a more worthy clay than others?

Every Christian is a priest! Every Christian is a minister! Every priest of God has a divine right as a minister of God to serve the King of kings and His loyal subjects.

I have observed this "Nicolaitane spirit" even in a few who teach the truths of the kingdom of God. Alma McClure contacted me a few years ago and asked me to write to a sister who was being "brow-beaten" by a pastor who taught about the kingdom. She had observed that they were being held in bondage by him, so he was attacking her as being rebellious and threatening her that she would never be able to enter the kingdom if she didnít submit to him and to his teachings.

It took Alma and I a number of letters to "pick her off the floor" and cause her to realize that she was being intimidated. She has since thanked us for helping her to get free from such a spirit.

Nowhere is the Nicolaitane spirit stronger than in the Church of Rome. A writing by one of its eminent bishops states that "The Catholic Church differs from the various denominations in that it alone possesses an altar and a priesthood. It worships Almighty God, not alone by prayer, but by sacrifice as well. It offers up, in an unbloody manner, the Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary.

"Without a priesthood there can be no altar and no sacrifice, as the experience of our separated brethren (Protestants) abundantly demonstrates. There can be preaching and prayer. But that essential element of worship -- sacrifice -- which builds so large in the Old Testament, is lost without a priesthood. Did Christ found a Church but make no provision for a priesthood to offer sacrifice?" (Unquote)

In answer to this charge, we state that "the mass" is nowhere mentioned in the New Covenant writings. In I Peter 2:5 it is clearly said that Godís holy priesthood will offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God. Every child of God is required to present his body "a living sacrifice".

"Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name" Heb. 13:15. Are not the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name the offering and incense of the New Covenant? If Romanists object to this, let us hear David, "Let my prayer be counted as incense before thee, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice" Psalm 141:2. John saw "golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints". Rev. 5:8.

So, Christ did not, as the Bishop states, "found a church and make no provision for a priesthood to offer sacrifice". He did not "fail to institute a priesthood which would continue in all ages the work He had begun". He did not "launch His bark without captain or crew to guide it over the uncharted waters of the centuries yet to come". He is the Captain of our salvation and every believer is a part of the crew because each member is a priest and a minister.

What Rome must do to substantiate her claim is show that God ordained a captain, a crew, and a third class composed of paying passengers who are on board, not to serve, but to be served. This is the Nicolaitane spirit which we also hate!
 

In Spirit and In Truth

When the woman of Samaria was contending about "where" was the "right place" to worship, Jesus uttered these immortal words that were to be a guideline unto His children for all ages: "the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God (is) spirit, and those that worship Him must worship (Him) in spirit and in truth." John 4:23,24.

We acknowledge that there have been many changes in worship in these past 2000 years, but the criterion of worship is still: in spirit and in truth. There is quite a wave toward Protestant churches returning to their "mother", the Roman Catholic Church. This idea is finding broad acceptance in high places. Keeping in mind these words, spirit and truth, let us look at what they would return unto.

The central theme of Rome is "the mass", which is nowhere mentioned in Holy Scripture. They teach that when Jesus said He would give them His flesh to eat and His blood to drink, that He instituted the Eucharist Sacrifice as a permanent and official act of worship. They say that when He commanded His apostles to do what He had done, He gave them power to consecrate and offer that Sacrifice over and over. The Church of Rome claims that this made the Apostles and their successors the sharers of His eternal priesthood.

By the ĎHoly Eucharistí is meant, according to the doctrine of transubstantiation, that the bread and wine were changed into the literal body and blood of Christ. The Council of Trent in 1563, made an edict that said: "If any one shall deny (that this is not true -- Elaine), and shall say that Christ is in the mass only as a sign, or in a figure, or virtually -- let him be accursed."

The "host" of the mass is made of wheat flour and water and is unleavened. It is baked with heat. Rome teaches that when the priest utters the word "Hoc est corpus meum", this bread is converted into the real Christ. Thus a god is produced by the work of menís hands.

Bishop Dr. OíBrien writes: "When the priest pronounces the tremendous words of consecration, he reaches up into the heavens, brings Christ down from the throne, and places Him upon our altar to be offered up again as the victim for the sins of man. The priest speaks and lo! Christ, the eternal and omnipotent God, bows His head in humble obedience to the priestís command." (Unquote)

Can the priest "reach up into the heavens and bring Christ down from his throne?" Paul declares, "The righteousness based on faith says, Do you say in your heart, "Who will ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down)" Rom. 10:6. Jesus was elevated to His throne by the power of God. Should He be removed from it by the power of men?

Shall the Holy One be "offered up again as the victim for the sins of man?í The Bible says, "But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God, then to wait until His enemies should be made a stool for His feet. For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified" Heb: 10:12-14.

Do the words of Christ imply that He was commissioning a special priesthood to offer an unbloody sacrifice? Far from it! The Lordís supper is a feast, not a sacrifice! It is observed at a table, not an altar. It is eaten, not offered up. It is a communion of a congregation of priests, not an oblation of priests for a congregation.

Jesus did not tell the apostles when He ordained the feast, "I appoint unto you an altar at which you may officiate." He said, "As My Father hath appointed a kingdom for me, so do I appoint for you that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom" Luke 22:30. Our Lord meant that we should all eat and drink in memory of Him, and that is all He meant! Paul delivers the same charge to the congregation by saying, "For as often as ye eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lordís death until He comes" I Cor. 11:26. It is here that the whole philosophy of Romish priestcraft comes tumbling down.

If you have read Foxesí "Book of Martyrs", you will find that thousands, of both low and high degree, gave their lives to the fire or to the block because they would not deny that they had been born again -- born from above -- by the Spirit of God. This was their reality, not the mass! Since nothing has changed since that time, why would Protestant churches want to go back to that which is neither spirit nor truth?

This same Catholic booklet asserts that Catholic priests are "called into the line of Aaron, into the tribe of Levi, into the family of Samuel, into the priesthood of Melchisedec, into the discipleship of Jesus Christ." It is quite clear that those who are in the "tribe of Levi" cannot serve God under the Christian dispensation as special priests, because there has been "a change in the priesthood, and necessarily a change in the law as well" Heb. 7:12.

Our Lord was not of the line of Aaron, or of the tribe of Levi, or of the family of Samuel. He was of the order of Melchisedec! "For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests" Heb. l7: 13,14.

We are told in Ezekiel 44:10-14 that the "idolatrous priests" would be limited to the "outer court" in ministering to men, rather than to the Lord. These priests are not Godís elect because of heart idolatry. They are carnal Christians who will not experience fullness. It is the "Sons of Zadok" who will have authority to move in the inner sanctuary before the Lord as well as in the outer court (the earthly realm). These priests, as Jesus their High Priest, have authority in both realms, heaven and earth.

If the Romish priests claim the priesthood of Melchisedec, they must surrender all of their pomp, pageantry, ritual and sacrifices, for these belong to the Levitical priesthood. They cannot claim to be members of both priesthood orders, for if they do, they have no connection with our High Priest, seeing He was not of the line of Aaron, or the tribe of Levi. All groups who wish to return unto "Mother Church" would find themselves neither of Levi (for the priesthood has changed!) nor of Melchisedec, who is a priest "after the spirit of an endless life!"

The Protestant ministers have also magnified their offices above what they should. I have a friend, a former Catholic, who is saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit. She told me that she believed that having the Spirit qualified her to bring others to the Lord and even to baptize them. She and her husband baptized three new converts in their bathtub. When a pastor heard of this, he accused them of committing Ďa blasphemous actí. Since one sister received the baptism of the Holy Spirit when she was baptized in the tub, it seems like the Lord put His stamp of approval on it. It seems the baptizers needed no further qualifications than that which they had from the Lord.

Their three converts and friends were so intimidated by what was said by the pastor that they withdrew from my friend and her husband. I feel they were fully qualified as priests to perform this ordinance, donít you? They possessed all the necessary spiritual qualifications to do so, even though they lacked all of manís qualifications according to their "carnal commandment" and traditions of men.

We who are born from above are "also as living stones built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." We are a part of the royal priesthood of all believers. We can give Jesus His place within us as the Priest, Melchisedec, and let Him pray through us and move through us in whatever way pleases Him. We give Him His rightful place as King and Priest over His "kingdom of priests".

Cast off the bondages in your mind as to what a priest is or does according to the traditions of men, and enter into the reality of the Priest who abides within you and let Him fulfil His holy priesthood through you. This is not putting yourself in a high position - this is giving the Lord His rightful place, letting His Spirit and His Truth rule! This is true worship indeed.
 

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Bill and Elaine Cook
P.O. Box 2221
Grand Forks, B.C.
Canada V0H 1H0
Ph/Fax (250) 443-3133
email: ecook@vip.net