Vol.XII No.II Pg.2
April 1975

"Ye Are All Brethren"

Robert F. Turner

Perhaps no single doctrinal principle has more greatly effected Reformation and Restoration, than the priesthood of believers, yet many of our brethren today scarcely know the expression. As we read much of mans struggle against ecclesiastical hierarchy, in preparation for our historical series (p.4), we wished all our readers could follow the story line by line instead of having to take our boiled down version of it. And we decided to use this page for a brief scripture study on the subject.

Isaiah prophesied the redeemed of the new covenant would be priests of Jehovah (61:1-6, 66:18-21), and Jesus relates that day to His day (Lu. 4:17-21). Physical Israel was called a kingdom of priests (Ex. 19:6), and although the people apparently forfeited this right (Ex. 20:19 Deut. 5:23-f), the language is applied anew to spiritual Israel, Gods people of the New Covenant. In Heb. 7: Christ is declared to be our High Priest after the order of Melchisedec — who was both King and Priest. Then 1 Pet. 2:5 says that Christians are a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. As if to clinch the matter, the 9th. verse of that chapter says we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people. The priesthood is both and royal, conforming to our High Priest who is both Priest and King.

The Christians life is described in terms of priestly service (Rom. l2:1). In Rev. 1:5 and 5:10 saints are called priests and kings or a kingdom, priests (A.S.) which is the language of Ex. 19:6. A general priesthood (all saints) is well established in the N. T., and we have now but to note some consequences of this truth.

Since all saints are priests, the church has no clergy-laity distinctions. Christ said, Matt. 23:8, One is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren. Concerning high positions and arbitrary rule, Christ said, It shall not be so among you (Matt. 20:26). A direct and immediate relationship exists between saints and God, through Christ (1 Tim. 2:5), and no other mediator is needed. The overseers have a function to perform, but are not officers in any hierarchal sense. (Study the Greek text of 1 Tim. 3:1). Gods church has no official administrators of baptism, the Lord s Supper, etc.; nor does the church have to validate such matters. The J.W.s concept of 144,000 special elect is a contradiction of the general priesthood principle. And on the positive side, purity and obligation to serve is demanded of each saint.