Author: Ron Graham
Word Study: Priest
Word family: Priest, Highpriest, priesthood.
Synonyms: Mediator, intercessor, vicar
Related ideas: Christ, sacrifice, worship, preaching.
Definitions: A priest is person sanctified for service to God and privileged to enter into his presence in the holy place, and to offer sacrifices. In the Christian priesthood however, Christ alone made sacrifice for sins.
Greek References: `ιερευς (hierus) priest, 2409 (Strong) cf 2405-2418, αρχ`ιερευς (archierus) highpriest, 749. [Note: The English word "priest" is derived from the Latin presbyter, elder]
Christ Our High Priest
- Hebrews 4:14-15 "...we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God..."
- Hebrews 8:1-2 "...a high priest who has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens."
- Hebrews 9:11-12 "Christ came as a high priest... with his own blood he entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption,"
The Priesthood of All Believers
- 1Peter 2:5,9 "You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy [and royal] priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (cf Romans 12:1, Hebrews 13:15-16).
- Revelation 1:6, 5:10, 20:6 "He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to his God and Father... priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him..."
Comment: The book of Hebrews is the only New Testament book that has much to say about Christian priesthood. This book, however, compares the priesthood of Christ with the priesthood of the old testament, and says nothing about any other priests, except for one brief reference (Hebrews 13:15-16) which applies to all members of the church, as do the few similar references (cited above) to Christian priests and sacrifices.
The early church had "apostles", "elders", "deacons", and "evangelists" as special appointments and vocations in the church, but no "priests". Any priesthood in the church of God is therefore unauthorised, other than that of all believers under Christ our great high priest.