Priesthood

OK, so Natalie asks the questions "Are there priests in the church? What does the priesthood mean?"

The idea of priests comes from the system set up by Moses in the Old Testament. (Actually, the first priest I can think of is Melchizadek in Genesis 14, but the main system was from Moses 500 years later.) Moses set aside one of the twelve tribes of Israel, the tribe of Levi, to run the sacrificial systems, guard the teaching of the law and intercede on behalf of the people. Unlike the other 11 tribes, they did not own land, but were dedicated to God.

Priests did the rituals, taught the scriptures, and were thought to be the intermediaries between people and God. In the New Testament this all changed.

After Jesus came, the Bible teaches that we have direct access to God through Christ. We don't need sacrifices or intermediaries. We are called a "Kingdom of Priests". The concept that is taught is the "Priesthood of all believers". The fascinating thought is that we all have direct access to God for forgiveness, and hope, and life.

Some denominations still use the term 'priest' for the leaders of their churches. This can be totally appropriate as a title. But conceptually, we do not need intermediaries to go to God or forgive us or do rituals on our behalf. We have direct access to the throneroom of heaven. And that is good news!