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Priesthood, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

87- Mistaken & unwarranted jealousy of those who deny Priesthood


[1] People Who Deny Priesthood Are Mistaken In Their Unwarranted Jealousy For God

They imagine that we rob God of His glory, and give it to the priesthood.

They base their protest on the verse:

(Isa 42:8) I am the LORD, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images.

As if we have given the priesthood additional attributes, powers and responsibilities which are not his. Or as if we are paying them homage and respect which are Gods alone, and are not for humans.

In this chapter we will endeavour to search the Biblical basis of such jealousy. We will investigate this ill-informed jealousy, in the light of the Scriptures.

(Rom 10:2) For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for

God, but not according to knowledge.

[2] God ordered Moses to elect 70 prominent learned elders to bear the burden the peoples with him

(Num 11:16-17) So the LORD said to Moses: "Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tabernacle of meeting, that they may stand there with you. {17} "Then I will come down and talk with you there. I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone.

And it happened that while the Spirit was taken from Moses to dwell on the elect, two men who were still tarrying in the tent, started to prophecy. This news came to Moses and Joshua, who (Joshua) rebuked them to restrain them.

And here we see Moses the great prophet rebuked Joshua.

(Num 11:25-29) Then the LORD came down in the cloud, and spoke to him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and placed the same upon the seventy elders; and it happened, when the Spirit rested upon them, that they prophesied, although they never did so again. {26} But two men had remained in the camp: the name of one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad. And the Spirit rested upon them. Now they were among those listed, but who had not gone out to the tabernacle; yet they prophesied in the camp. {27} And a young man ran and told Moses, and said, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp." {28} So Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' assistant, one of his choice men, answered and said, "Moses my lord, forbid them!" {29} Then Moses said to him, "Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the Lord's people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!" Image: A Jewish High Priest in robes and breastplate - Unknown illustrator. صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: رئيس كهنة يهودي في ملابسه الكهنوتية والصدرية - لفنان غير معروف. Image: A Jewish High Priest in robes and breastplate - Unknown illustrator.

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: رئيس كهنة يهودي في ملابسه الكهنوتية والصدرية - لفنان غير معروف.

Here we so Moses above jealousy, so what would we say about God and His unlimited greatness? Would it be conceivable to imagine God being jealous of His children. Is it appropriate for us to be jealous for God, as if His Glory has been endangered by the rank of priesthood?

God is above Jealousy, as jealousy is for little people.

[3] I would like To Dwell On The Way God Honours His Beloved Children

I stand transfixed at Gods utterance:

(Num 11:17) I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them;

Here we observe God the giver and origin of all gifts, takes from the Spirit of Moses and pour it on the elders!

Are not Gods gifts unlimited? Was not Him, who granted Moses this Spirit from the beginning? Was He not able to pour upon the elders His gifts as He did before with Moses? The obvious answer is to the affirmative, but in this occasion God wanted to honour Moses before the people?

Here God asked Moses to elect the elders, and granted them the Spirit of Moses, as we have discussed this issue before here on in other sections. In this manner God made these elders subject to Moses and not his equal. And by Gods helping Hand, Moses was exceedingly glorified before the people.

[4] It Is Abundantly Clear That God Is Never Jealous Of His Children

God is not jealous of His children, but to the contrary. He exalts, honours and glorifies them. This point will be expounded in detail, to ensure that such wrong zealots are better informed of Gods gift of glory to His children.

[5] These Zealots Ask, How Can Humans Take On Gods Own Work And Names?

How can someone be a priest; while Christ is the only Priest?

How can any one be called master and teacher; while the only Master and Teacher is Christ

How can they be shepherds; while Christ Is the only Good Shepherd? (John 10)

How can they forgive sins; while God is the only one who forgives sins?

How can they mediate between man and God; while the only Mediator is Christ? (1 Timothy 2:5)

Most of the above questions were addressed in the previous chapters; But we will address the remaining points in the concluding chapter. But for now, we will address some general matters.