Monday, 4 March 2013

Why Do We Need Priests? We're All God's People!

I've seen so many Christians sneer and scoff at the institution of a priesthood, particularly of a Pope. It is an old complaint. Listen to what they sound like (Numbers 16):

"They gathered together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “You take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?"

I bet Moses would say something like we would say. Something like," The laity is no small thing. You are all priests, prophets, and kings. The Lord has called you near to himself to do His holy works. What more do you want?" Let's see what he says:

“Hear now, you sons of Levi: ?IS IT A SMALL THING? to you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself, to do the work of the tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before the congregation to serve them; and that He has brought you near to Himself, you and all your brethren, the sons of Levi, with you? And are you seeking the priesthood also? Therefore you and all your company are gathered together against the Lord. And what is Aaron that you complain against him?”

I'm sure that would fall on deaf ears. They'd probably insolently retort:

"Is it a small thing that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, that you should keep acting like a prince over us? Moreover you have not brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, nor given us inheritance of fields and vineyards. Will you put out the eyes of these men? We will not come up!”

It would be so convenient if we knew what the Lord would say about such a protest, wouldn't it? Oh, yes... that's right. We do know:

"... the ground split apart under them, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men with Korah, with all their goods. So they and all those with them went down alive into the pit; the earth closed over them, and they perished from among the assembly. Then all Israel who were around them fled at their cry, for they said, “Lest the earth swallow us up also!” And a fire came out from the Lord and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were offering incense."

Then, of course the cry babies would come out and say that isn't nice and try to levy some moral argument against God's representative. I wonder what God would want to do to them? Let's take a look:

On the next day all the congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, saying, “You have killed the people of the Lord.”  Now it happened, when the congregation had gathered against Moses and Aaron, that they turned toward the tabernacle of meeting; and suddenly the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord appeared. Then Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of meeting.
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Get away from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.”

And they fell on their faces. So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a censer and put fire in it from the altar, put incense on it, and take it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them; for wrath has gone out from the Lord. The plague has begun.” Then Aaron took it as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the assembly; and already the plague had begun among the people. So he put in the incense and made atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; so the plague was stopped. Now those who died in the plague were fourteen thousand seven hundred, besides those who died in the Korah incident. So Aaron returned to Moses at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, for the plague had stopped."

Hmmm... imagine that. Moral of the story: "Know your role and shut your hole." Be grateful for your place in the Body of Christ. Give due honor and respect and deference to the priesthood, and to God's representatives. Lesson over.

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