Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 8, 1960

The Doctrine Of The Priesthood

Gordon Wilson, Sacramento, California

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." (Gen. 1:27) This statement does not mean that God created man on an equality with Himself, for how could the creature be equal to the Creator? There is here suggested, though, the idea that man is created in the relationship to God, that he might live on a level of communication with God. Thus, the first man walked and talked with God in the Edenic paradise.

The time came when man destroyed this level of communication with his Maker by the sin which he committed. "Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken." (Gen. 3:23) Sin on the part of man always has brought separation from God. "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither is his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you that he will not hear." (Isa. 59: 1,2) Since sins have separated man from God, it can be stated without challenge that man cannot approach God directly, until some atonement is made for his sins.

Christ is the only atonement for sin that God can accept. From the time that man first sinned, God in His grace began to make preparation for the sending of His Son to this world, that man might be saved. "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit." (I Pet. 3:18) "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness." (I Pet. 2:24) It is seen that the chasm between man and God is bridged; the gap is closed by the intercessory work of Christ. He stands between man and God — as priest.

Before Christ came to this earth, God established an order of priests to stand between the people and Himself. However, this does not militate against the idea that Christ is the only one who can occupy this position, because the Levitical priesthood was typical, prefiguring the priestly intercession of the Son of God.

Since Christians have their sins forgiven in Christ Jesus, it follows that the barrier between us and God is removed. This is the reason that the Bible teaches man that all Christians are priests. (1. Pet. 2:9, Rev. 1:6) But because man is finite and mortal in the flesh, there exists a need for one who is infinite, who only has immortality, to stand as the representative and Head of the priesthood. So Christ is our High Priest; the perfection of the priesthood is seen in him.

The priesthood of Christ stands with His power of advocacy, or His mediatorship. We all understand that certain qualifications are necessary for a mediator. He must have access to the Divinity, but He must also have sympathy, the ability to feel with humanity. Thus, the High priesthood of Christ was born in His temptations as a man. "Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself bath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted." (Heb. 2:17, 18) "For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." (Heb. 4:15)

The things recorded in the first half of the fourth chapter of Matthew are put there to teach us what is the foundation of the priesthood of Christ, that we might know His qualifications as a mediator between man and God, and will call upon Him to present our petitions for mercy before the throne of God in heaven. This is the great lesson that we should get.