Question: What does the Bible teach about becoming a priest? Are there special qualifications for members of the church who would like to become a priest? Can women be priests?
Answer: According to the New Testament, every member of the church of Christ, male or female, is a priest. Listen to the Bible: “Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ,” (1 Pet. 2:5). To whom was Peter writing? Christians, (see 1:1-2). Thus, all Christians are “priests” in the Bible sense of the word.
Under the Old Testament, the Israelites were directed to recognize certain men from the tribe of Levi as “priests.” These men, whose qualifications are set forth in the earliest books of the Old Testament, offered sacrifices for the sins of the people, and served as “mediators” or “go-betweens” from man to God. Throughout the OT, the coming of a “great high priest” was predicted, until the coming of Christ himself, (see Heb. 9). Christ now serves in that role, on behalf of all Christians, (Heb. 9:11ff).
The wonderful message of the gospel is that all Christians are priests. Our sacrifices are not the blood of bulls and goats, but are spiritual sacrifices. As Paul declared, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service,” (Rom. 12:1; cf Heb. 13:15-16). It is not surprising, then, that children of God are referred to as “priests” in the New Testament (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6).
To become a priest, one must become a child of God, a Christian. To become a Christian, one must hear the Gospel, (Rom. 10:14-17); believe on Jesus Christ, (Heb. 11:6); repent of sins, (Lk. 13:3; Acts 2:38); confess Christ, (Rom. 10:10; Mt. 10:32); and be baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of sins, (Acts 22:16; Mk. 16:15-16). Becoming a Christian places a person into the church (Acts 2:47), also known as the “priesthood of believers,” (1 Pet. 2:5, 9).
COMMENT ON “ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS”
Many of you have been watching with disgust the spectacle of sexual perversion and cover-up now being exposed among the so-called priests of the Roman Catholic Church. Countless lives have been ruined, and many others have been blinded to the glory of the true church of Christ because of this filthy imposter. Long after many of its “priests” are dead, the gross reality of what has been going on within its whited sepulchers is only now partially coming to light. Many of its adherents will still turn a blind eye to its ugly corruption.
The honest Bible student knows there is no mention in all of the Bible of Roman Catholic (or any other denominational) priests. It is a human invention. This man-made system of designating only certain members of the church as “priests” is appropriated from the Old Testament Mosaic Age, during which the priests came exclusively from the tribe of Levi. A separate class of priests was a feature of the old law, but not the gospel of Christ (see above).
Under the law of Moses, the priests were also appointed to perform recurring services within the tabernacle, and later the temple. They wore special clothing and were subject to certain certain ceremonial regulations, (cf. Lev. 21, 22; Num. 18). There was also a high priest, with his own special duties. The Hebrew writer explains that the Levitical priesthood was a type and shadow of the priesthood of believers of which Jesus Christ is now our High Priest, (cf. Heb. 7). The lighting of lights, burning of incense, separate priesthood, etc. and the other shadows of the old law were fulfilled in Jesus Christ and his church, and it is a great mistake to attempt to go back to them today, (Mt. 5:17-18; Gal. 3-5; Eph. 2:11-21; Col. 2:14).Like every departure from the gospel of Christ, this one has lead to great harm and misery. May we use this current scandal as a timely reminder to forsake the churches of men, and go back to the pure and simple gospel of Christ, and his church!
-by Robert C. Veil, Jr.