Every now and then I put off writing an article because it’s like fishing in a barrel…. too easy. This is one of those.
The Roman Catholic doctrine of the Priesthood is a blatant misappropriation by unSaved Gentiles of something that is commanded only to the Jewish People.
The tale is often told of a gentile who approaches the Rabbi’s Shammai and Hillel, wanting to convert if they can simply teach all of Judaism’s wisdom while standing on one leg. Shammai promptly chases the man off, hitting him about the head and shoulders with the ancient equivalent of a yardstick.
The man goes to Rabbi Hillel and makes the same request. Hillel, amused, takes up the challenge. He tells the man to start standing on one man, and answers.
“What is offensive to you, don’t do to anyone else. The rest is commentary. Go study.”
This has nothing to do with the preisthood, but it’s a cool story nonetheless. If any pastors are reading this, it’s a sermon illustration you’ll use, copy it.
Anyway, there is no command whatsoever in the New Testament for the establishment of a rival priesthood to Judaism.
The priesthood in the Old Testament was done in a manner to make sure Israel understood God’s choosing of Moses and Aaron, based upon love. Moses and Aaron sought after God, and obeyed the most amazing commands to do the most amazing things. Sure, they stumbled, they fell, and they paid for it. But they stood up and did things that most of us would beg God to find someone else to do.
So God, to show His choice of Moses and Aaron, selected the priesthood to be of Moses’s relatives, the tribe of Levi. That’s pronounced Lay-Vee, by the way!
The descendants of Aaron would be selected to be THE High Priests.
There is no provision for just any Jew to be the High Priest. I cannot be a High Priest. I cannot even be A priest, since I am not of the tribe of Levi, but rather, Judah.
There is no provision for a Gentile to become a priest. OR a High Priest.
The New Testament, before the Apologists start screaming, uses several words interchangeably.
17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. 18 And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, 19 Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: 20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, 21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. 22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: 23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. 24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. 25 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. 26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. 28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. Acts 20:17-28 (KJV)
Elders in Acts 20 are also called overseers. Another word for Pastor.
5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: 6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; Titus 1:5-7 (KJV)
Elders called Bishops.
1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 1 Peter 5:1-5 (KJV)
The words Bishop, Elder, Pastor, Overseer are all synonymous for the same office. THey have requirements that are all detailed in the Bible.
1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. 1 Timothy 3:1-7 (KJV)
This doesn’t sound like the model of the Roman Catholic church. Are there Bishops in the Roman Catholic church who have wives and children?
If you said no, look again. They’re not SUPPOSED to. But there are historically a great many Bishops who had wives and children throughout history, including one Pope who fathered his own successor while a Pope!
6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Revelation 2:6 (KJV)
Nicolaitan. That’s a combination of Nike, meaning victory, and Laity, the congregation. Nicolaitanism is the ruling over the congregation, the establishing of two classes, clergy and laity. Trust me, there’s very little reverence in Baptist churches for the Pastor. It’s been said, resist the Devil and he will flee from you, resist a Deacon and he’ll fly at you.