The Priesthood BirthrightEdit
There was a change in the order of priesthood when Messiah came and we need to understand what that means so that we may enter into His order of priesthood -- even the order of Melchizedek. This order of priesthood is our birthright! We were born into it but generally it has been kept from us. The enemy has sought to rob God's people of their God-given function as priests and make them ineffective in the earth, having a form of righteousness, but without the dynamic power of it. 1 Timothy 3: 5
The enemy has done this by infiltrating the ecclesiastical system with a perversion of the truth. His strategy of old has been to cast doubt on the validity of the Word and then change it and bring in a counterfeit. He has changed the order of priesthood by this method and substituted a hierarchical system originating out of the Babylonian structure that came down through the Roman Catholic Church, which from there, has continued through to each denomination which has come out of her.
The Babylonian system is a harlot and a mother of harlots. Revelation 17: 5
In the early structure of the assembly, there was no distinction between clergy and laity. One entered the ministry by being born into it through Messiah. All believers were priests and functioned as such. There was no special hierarchy in His order of the new covenant.
They worshipped in utter simplicity. In a fervent zeal, they possessed a deep love for each other,
- "all who believed were together" and " the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul" (Acts 2:44; 5:32). Each did all he could to edify the others as members of one spiritual Body who each had a service to perform for the maintenance and growth of the whole. None served for gain.
There was respect for the leadership as of those who served them, but not the element of separation that comes in a hierarchical system of clergy and laity. They all remained as 'brethren'.
The early believers did not invite people to "come to church" to hear the gospel. They were the 'church' and took the good news to them. They gathered together to eat the Lord’s Supper and then scattered to preach the Word.
The Hierarchical SystemEdit
The Spirit of Yahweh expressly spoke against the developing hierarchical system in the early assembly in Pergamos "Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent or I will come quickly and fight against them with the sword of My mouth" Revelation 2:15-16
It had begun in the time of the first assembly at Ephesus (2: 6) and by the third assembly it had become entrenched. Pergamos was the seat of Babylonish religion at that time, having been transferred there after the fall of Persia, hence Yahweh's mention of them dwelling "where Satan's throne is" (2:13)
The doctrine of the 'Nicolaitans' is the doctrine of there being a "clergy" and a "laity" - a dividing between the common people and those ministering. :"Nico" means "to overcome, or to be victorious over", and
- "lait" refers to the "laity" or the "people".
The term indicated followers of Nicholaus, whose name means "victorious over the people".
This doctrine implies being a 'conqueror of the people' and its practice is the control and subjugation of the people by retaining the power and authority to minister in their own hands, through their own established position of superiority. By doing that the people are kept believing that they are dependent upon them for spiritual benefits and ministry. Men love to rule, God has called us to serve.
The structure and financial support of this system depends on maintaining this power over the people.
Although Babylonish in origin, the present established church system is continuing somewhat in a Levitical pattern and the Roman Catholic Church has made statements to the effect that they are custodians over the continuance of this Levitical order. They find legitimacy for a clergy/laity pattern in the division between the functions of the Aaronic priests who did the service within the sanctuary, to the ministry of the ordinary Levite who performed the more menial tasks of service for the temple maintenance and practice. That is, one section of the community (one tribe), serving the whole nation.
The word translated "church" in the KJV, comes from the Greek word "ecclesia" which literally means "called-out ones" and is better translated 'assembly'. The word 'assembly' has no reference to a building or a religious organization, but is a word used for a gathering of people in a group.
We are called out of the kingdom of darkness of this world's system and as such are the 'called out' ones, the 'assembly' of Yahweh. The people indwelt by the Spirit are the 'church' - the assembly, and not a ministry or a denomination as such. The apostles appointed the leadership as the Spirit raised up those among them with the necessary giftings. They were not appointed by man but by the Holy Spirit.
Reclaiming our BirthrightEdit
John records how on one of the occasions when Y'shua came to them before His ascension He commissioned them "As the Father has sent Me, I also send you" and then He breathed on them and said "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them, if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" John 20:22-23
The Literal Concordant translation puts it this way - "If you should be forgiving anyone’s sins, they have been forgiven them. If anyone’s you should be holding, they are held"
These powerful words follow directly the imparting of the Holy Spirit to the first believers and was the authority given to them with the impartation. Y'shua had said to them, " I will give (future tense) unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." :Matthew 16:19 Here in this manifestation to them after His resurrection, is the impartation of this authority. When the Messiah came and breathed His Spirit into the disciples, He gave them the power to forgive sins in His Name. This was the 'keys' or the authority that He had promised them, to allow others into the kingdom, based upon Him obtaining eternal redemption for us. This was their induction into the priesthood. Forgiving sins is the ministry of a priest.
Our High Priest has obtained forgiveness of sins for us, and has now given us the authority to minister this forgiveness to others. We now are ministers of the new covenant, not by our own abilities but "our sufficiency is of God" through His Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3: 4-6)
"If anyone ministers, let him do it with the ability which God supplies.. " (1 Peter 4:11)
Paul and Peter are speaking here to the ordinary believer - "As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God" (1 Peter 4:10) The benefits of the atonement are not solely related to the forgiveness of sins, but to all that was lost in the fall of man's spiritual stature in the image of God and it's resultant curse. (Deut. 27; Isaiah 53: 5-6)
Each believer thereafter came into the priesthood through the new birth by repentance and baptism.
We, as priests, must also be born from above, by the Spirit just as our High Priest, Y'shua was born of the Spirit in His mother's womb. In the fullness of time Y'shua presented Himself for His calling to the ministry. He submitted Himself to being baptized by John in the Jordan River, signifying death to his self-life and consecration to the ministry. There He had the Spirit settle upon Him as a dove. In like manner, we are likewise consecrated for priestly service through being baptized in water and in the Spirit wherein the old man is put to death. (Romans 6: 3-7) Our induction into priesthood is identical to that of our High Priest.
We need to be renewed in the spirit of our mind to take hold of our birthright and break through the deception that the enemy has held us in, of being subservient to 'ordained' ministry and realise that WE are the ministers, WE have a gifting which we received when we were baptised, WE have a service to perform to other believers. The welfare of His Body depends on us being faithful to fulfill our ministry of serving the brethren by using the spiritual gifts that He has given us.
"to each one of us grace (spiritual impartation) was given according to the measure of Messiah's gift. Therefore He says, 'When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men"
These spiritual gifts are given to all and each receives a different measure. :Ephesians 4:7-8 Only some are given the ministry of being apostles, prophets, teachers, pastors and evangelists, but the whole Body is joined and knit together by that which every part and every joint supplies, and thereby gets built up and grows to maturity in Messiah by everyone's contribution. Ephesian 4:11-16
Y'shua came not to be ministered unto, but to serve, to minister, and we are called as followers of Him to do the same. WE are all to serve one another, There are no spectators in a congregation with a selected few doing the work of the ministry. Those of the fivefold ministry are called to equip the saints with the impartation and the knowledge so that they, the rest of the assembly, can do the work of the ministry. (Ephesians 4:11-12)
We need to give Y'shua His rightful place in our midst as King and Priest over His "kingdom of priests" and allow Him to pray through us and move through us in whatever way pleases Him. We need to cast off the bondages in our minds 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 and allow Him to fulfil His holy priesthood through us. This is not putting yourself in a high position - it is allowing His Spirit and His Truth to rule - this is true worship indeed!
The Melchizedek MandateEdit
Y'shua, our holy High Priest of the Melchizedek order is calling His priesthood to rise up and take hold of our rightful inheritance and fulfill our function in the earth. As part of the end-time restoration of all things, His Body needs to come into its inheritance as priests of the Melchizedek order.
David speaking prophetically of the Melchizedek order, said, "Your people shall be willing in the day of Your power, in the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning"
"You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. The Lord is at Your right hand; He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath. He shall judge among the nations." Psalm 110: 3-6
Messiah, sitting now at the right hand of the Father needs His Body - His feet upon the earth, to be willing for the day of His power when His dominion shall be established in the earth. It is yet the womb of the morning of that new day dawning when He shall establish His authority on the earth. "And we shall reign on the earth" as kings and priests. (Revelation 5:10) They have a new song to sing - a testimony that expresses all that He has done for them not only in redeeming them, but also in what He has 'made' them to be and has accomplished within them, for they have attained their right to the throne of His authority. Revelation 5: 9
Yahweh's original call for His people "to be a kingdom of priests" (Exodus 19:6) will be fulfilled.
The Hebrew word that is used in this text for "kingdom" is "mamlacha", which can mean "priests who are under a kingly authority", or "priests who themselves have dominion, sovereignty or royalty". This priesthood will stand in Messiah's kingly anointing and sovereignty, executing His will in the earth.
"And he who overcomes, .. .. .. to him I will give power over the nations - 'He shall rule them with a rod of iron; .. .. .. '" (Revelation 2:26-27 from :Psalm 2: 9)
This was a prophetic proclamation for Messiah spoken through David, and now as a result of Messiah's triumph, it has been opened up to all who will 'overcome' - to all who will overcome the snares that the enemy will put in place to hinder them taking up the role of the Melchizedek priesthood and entering into their spiritual mandate to rule and reign with Him on the earth.
"Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments upon the peoples; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute on them the judgment written -- this honour have all His saints." Psalm 149: 5-9
All His saints are called to take dominion over the rulers of the darkness of this world which exercise authority over the nations on earth and have bound the children of Adam in spiritual 'fetters'.
We need to rise up and take hold of our priestly mandate of the new covenant order, and execute His purposes on the earth for the coming of His kingdom.