St-Takla.org  >   books  >   en  >   pope-shenouda-iii  >   priesthood
St-Takla.org  >   books  >   en  >   pope-shenouda-iii  >   priesthood

Christian Library | Full Free Coptic Books | Orthodox Library

Priesthood, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

4- The spiritual meaning of priesthood

 

What is the spiritual meaning of the word 'Priesthood’?

Without doubt, priesthood is something spiritual, and in a sense, any believer can offer spiritual sacrifices and spiritual incense without actually being a priest.

David the Psalmist said:

(Psa 141:2) Let my prayer be set before You as incense, The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

This is the spiritual priesthood: raising this kind of incense and this kind of sacrifice. This is something which is granted to all.

In his Epistle to the Romans, St. Paul says:

St-Takla.org Image: Angel of incense, Coptic art صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: صورة ملاك البخور، فن قبطي

St-Takla.org Image: Angel of incense, Coptic art

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: صورة ملاك البخور، فن قبطي

(Rom 12:1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

This is the sacrifice which every believer can and should offer. In doing so, a person can be considered a priest', in a spiritual sense.

(Gal 5:24) And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

St. Paul also mentions other mortification of the flesh (2 Cor 4:10-12) always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. {11} For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. {12} So then death is working in us, but life in you.

All these spiritual sacrifices are part of worship and prayer. Another example is the sacrifice of praise,

(Heb 13:15) Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.

(Psa 116:17) I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, And will call upon the name of the LORD.

(Heb 13:16) But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

(Phil 4:18) Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.

Offering these kinds of sacrifice is what is intended in the spiritual priesthood of all believers.

But this does not in any way prohibit or prevent setting aside a special priesthood for the offering of the holy sacraments, for which God has chosen certain individuals to serve in this way.

Both these aspects can be found together in the Old and New Testaments, as we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other sections. The prayers of the Prophet David used to rise like incense before God, and the raising of his hands was an evening sacrifice.

(Psa 141:2) Let my prayer be set before You as incense, The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

Yet, David would have dared, even though he was the Lord's anointed and a prophet, to offer a sacrifice in the same way as the least among the priest of the sons of Aaron.

In the New Testament, every individual can offer a number of sacrifices of praise or hymns of thanks or make a gift or distribution or present his body as a living sacrifice or to raise his hands as an evening sacrifice, but that does not mean that he should dare offer the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of our Lord in the sacrament of the Eucharist. This is the role of the priest as affirmed in the New Testament.

Observe what St. Paul said about the priesthood of the New Testament.

(Heb 5:4) And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was.

If the one who is called by God, being the priest, then the priesthood is not for everybody, and not everyone can lay a claim to it.

The desire to seize the priesthood and declare it as a common right to all, is an old issue for which our unchangeable God, set right by severe and decisive punishment.


© st-takla.org : Saint Takla Haymanout Website: General Portal for the Coptic Orthodox Church Faith, Egypt / Contact us at:

Bible | Daily Readings | Agbeya | Books | Lyrics | Gallery | Media | Links | Contact us

https://st-takla.org/books/en/pope-shenouda-iii/priesthood/spiritual-meaning.html