High Priests: Old and New
NCW 29, Special Edition II (January 1996):
Answering the Third Rebellion
Q. The New Covenant Church has had High Priests and an "Aaronic Priesthood" in the past. The New Testament (Hebrews) says that Jesus is our only High Priest and that the Aaronic Priesthood has been replaced. Therefore your Church has been in error, claiming to be an intermediary between man and God, has it not?
You are confusing terms. The Old Testament High Priest was an intermediary between man and God, being a type of Christ Himself, and making animal sacrifices in similitude of the Son of God. This Priesthood was the highest office of the Levitical or Aaronic Priesthood in the Mosaic Covenant.
If you read our literature carefully we will find that we have never claimed to be operating under the Mosaic/Aaronic Priesthood. We have claimed that there was only one New Testament Priesthood -- the Melchizedek, which replaced the Aaronic system. We have taught that this Priesthood (the Melchizedek) has a three-fold nature which we have labelled 'Patriarchal', 'Melchizedek' and 'Aaronic' (latterly, 'Patriarchal', 'Enochian' and 'Zadokian' in order to remove the misconception about 'Aaronic'). We have never claimed that there are any priesthood intermediaries standing between the people and God but have taught consistently that Jesus is our only advocate with the Father.
The term "High Priest" is both an office in the old Aaronic Priesthood as well as a generic term describing a minister in a presiding position, just as there are "presidents" of business corporations and the "President" of the United States. You will find exactly the same is true with regard to the "Priest". The "Priest" was an office in the old Aaronic Priesthood as well as being a general term for any kind of priestly minister. (Interestingly the reverse has happened with the concept of an "elder"; in the Old Testament an "elder" was simply a "senior citizen" by virtue of age, whereas in the New an "Elder" is an office or a calling).
In the book of Hebrews you will find Jesus described as both a "High Priest" (Heb.7:26) as well as a "Priest" (Heb.7:17). Does that mean that Christians are neither "High priests" nor "Priests" in that general sense? Of course not. We find ample reference to the fact that we are all "Priests", indeed a "kingdom of Priests" (e.g. 1 Pet.2:9, Rev.1:6; 5:10; 20:6) and not just one clan or tribe (the Levites).
There are no Old Testament "High Priests" or "Priests" in the New Covenant Church of God, never have been, and never will be. But there are plenty of New Testament "Priests" and "Presiding ('High') Priests".
As from 6 April 1996 the New Covenant Church will be merging its "three Priesthoods" into "one Priesthood" not because it is changing its doctrine or Priesthood but because it wishes to avoid needless debates over words. The single Melchizedek Priesthood will still have a three-fold division of Deacons, Elders, and Patriarch-Apostles, all of whom are, generally speaking, 'priests', of whom the Patriarch-Apostles are the 'presiding priests' or 'high priests'.
Our doctrine has not changed, but the doctrine of the schismatics has, for they are rejecting the specific and replacing it only with the general. Our labels have changed but not the substance of what we have taught.
As a footnote to this may I add that these Christian Priest-Kings are to become rulers in the Millennial World (e.g. Rev.20:6), a thought totally alien to the schismatics' belief for they reject "rulers" of any kind -- rulers together with Christ. Who will they be ruling? Those who have not received this Priesthood. And that is exactly the same position in the Church of God today, for the Church is the Kingdom of God, of which there are colonies (congregations) scattered throughout the domain of Satan.
This has grave consequences for the schismatics who claim only Christ is their 'ruler' or 'leader', for it means that they, who have rejected God's divinely ordained Priesthood structure, will reject it in the Millennium too by refusing to place themselves under "Priest-Kings" who are men.
Speaking of the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Lord has said: "These dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings" (Jude 1:8, NIV). Notice the three-fold condemnation of the cities of the plains included "rejecting authority". I fear greatly for anyone who rejects Biblical and Priestly authority for they place themselves on a path whose end is destruction.
The New Covenant Church of God is soon to simplify its terminology in order to minimise possible misunderstandings by people who do not know the Bible well. But the substance remains the same, as it must, if it based on the truth. Therefore God's Church is not in error, but rather the schismatics who choose to ignore the plain truth in support of their rebellion. Were they of God, "any kind of faction of schism (would be) an abomination to (them)" (1 Clement 1:19).
The leader of the Third Rebellion, to whom this answer was addressed, now rejects all law, secular as well as religious. He has become, in effect, an anarchist. Both he and his wife have served jail terms for contempt of secular law (980508).
This page was created on 8 May 1998
Last updated on 8 May 1998
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