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Priesthood, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

5- Denting Prieshood is an old but aborted attempt


An old but aborted attempt

There is nothing new about the problem of the rebellion against priesthood, and the attempt to seize it and grant it as a birthright to all, such rebellion was spearheaded by people who wrongly interpreted "a kingdom of priests", Image: Coptic art, an angel and the smoke of incense. صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: فن قبطي: ملاك وسط نار البخور: ملاك البخور. Image: Coptic art, an angel and the smoke of incense.

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: فن قبطي: ملاك وسط نار البخور: ملاك البخور.

(Num 16:3) 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?"

Korah, Dathan and Abiram spearheaded a group of rebels, grabbed the incensers and proceeded to offer incense. As recorded in chapter 16 of the Book of Numbers. The Lord commanded the earth to open up and swallow up all of them.

And as a result the Lord said to Aaron:

(Num 18:7) "Therefore you and your sons with you shall attend to your priesthood for everything at the altar and behind the veil; and you shall serve. I give your priesthood to you as a gift for service, but the outsider who comes near shall be put to death."

It is remarkable to observe the confirmation uttered by the Lord of the principal of selective priesthood for a group. Thus God quelled that rebellion decisively.

These circumstances were repeated in various forms, and Lord and in all cases, resulted in God’s punishment.

a) When King Saul dared to raise the burnt offering, (1 Sam 13:9) So Saul said, "Bring a burnt offering and peace offerings here to me." And he offered the burnt offering.

(1 Sam 16:14) But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the LORD troubled him.

the Lord rejected him, and the Spirit of the Lord departed from him and an evil spirit from the Lord descended upon him Yet, Saul was no ordinary person, he was the anointed messiah, as we have discussed this issue before here on in other sections. At some stage prior, the Spirit of the Lord had come upon him and he had prophesied. (1 Sam 10:10-11).

But none of this had given him the right to perform any of the functions of the priesthood, which were available to even the least important of Aaron's sons.

b) King Uzziah also dared to hold the censer to raise the incense, (2 Chr 26:19-21) Then Uzziah became furious; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense. And while he was angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead, before the priests in the house of the LORD, beside the incense altar. {20} And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and there, on his forehead, he was leprous; so they thrust him out of that place. Indeed he also hurried to get out, because the LORD had struck him. {21} King Uzziah was a leper until the day of his death. He dwelt in an isolated house, because he was a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD. Then Jotham his son was over the king's house, judging the people of the land.

His action was considered treachery and he was banished and excluded from the house of the Lord, where he remained a leper till the day of his death.

These are significant examples from the Bible. Though some people object and say, that priesthood belonged to the Old Testament and that priesthood was abolished in the New Testament, as God no longer puts a mediator between Himself and man!

This brings us to ask, ‘Is God in the Old Testament different from the God in the New Testament?’