Church of God, Carmichael, CA

Shadows of Good Things

Or the Gospel in Type

Russell R. Byrum, 1922

[Original Page Numbers]


CHAPTER IV

THE AARONIC PRIESTHOOD

  Priesthood, or an attorneyship in sacred things, is one of the most ancient of religious institutions, and has been characteristic of almost every known religion. The first mention of a priest in the Bible is that of Melchise. dec, king of Salem and priest of the most high God. To him Abraham paid tithes of the spoils from his battle with the kings. The priesthood of Aaron and his sons is the next mentioned of the true religion.

  But the priests of heathen religions are often mentioned in the Bible and history. The priests of Egypt were a powerful and privileged class to whom Pharoah gave a special portion of the land (Gen. 47 :22). The king of Egypt honored Joseph, his prime minister, by giving him theHigh Priest daughter of Potipherah, priest of On. Moses married the daughter of Jethro, priest of Midian. Four hundred and fifty priests of Baal ate at the table of the wicked queen Jezebel. Mention might also be made of the druids of Gaul and Britain, the Magi of Persia, the Sacerdotes of Greece and Rome, the califs of Mohammedanism, the medicine men of various savage tribes, and of the influential orders of priests in heathen lands today.

  But why is priesthood thus coextensive with religion? Like the altar, that other most ancient religious institution, the priesthood is the answer to a fundamental need in man's religious nature as he is now constituted. The guilt of sin is upon his soul, and he feels himself unfitted to come into the presence of a holy God. Therefore he needs a daysman, an arbitrator, or a mediator to deal with his offended Creator for him. Not only do the ethnic religions ancient and modern have such a middleman, and of the true religion not only the Israelitish, but, thank God, Christianity has its great High Priest, our blessed Lord [62] Jesus Christ. He is the true mediator between God and men. He intercedes for us.

  In the religion of the patriarchs no priesthood existed. Every man was his own priest for himself and family. Abel offered his own lamb. Noah officiated at the altar after leaving the ark. Nothing is more characteristic of the life of Abraham than his altar to Jehovah, on which he himself laid the offerings. Job also offered burnt offerings for his sons: this may be accounted for by the fact that they were either in an undeveloped state of society or sojourners among idolaters. Certainly God's original design was that every man should have personal acquaintance with him and worship him directly. In view of this it has been suggested that Mosaism was a step backward in religion in this particular. But may we not rather allow that the spiritual minded Israelite, like David, still had direct spiritual intercourse with God, and added to this and as an aid to it this typical priesthood to remind him of that true Priest greater than Aaron?

  Also the existence of the priesthood would the more forcibly remind the sin burdened Israelite of that awful | truth which he already knew instinctively, that sin had I separated between him and his God. He is too sinful to | be looked upon by the holy eyes of God. He is not worthy to commune with his Lord. He is as the guilty criminal before the righteous judge. He is a fugitive fleeing before infinite justice. An impassable gulf yawns between him and his Maker, and he himself can not bridge it. He is a rebel against his rightful Sovereign and needs a friend of I that Sovereign to entreat for him. Like guilty Adam he would hide from God. He shrinks from the presence of the Holy One, and, like the terrified Israelites at the foot of Mount Sinai when the voice of God spoke the Decalog in tones of thunder, he tremblingly looks about for one who can approach the holy God for him, and says with them, "Let not God speak with us, lest we die."

  On the other hand God also, desiring to become reunited to his sinful subjects, needs a middleman. He can not sacrifice his infinite dignity and righteousness to receive [64] to himself vile sinners. If he was ever to forgive his ungrateful, unworthy creatures one must be found who could serve as a connecting link and who could bring man to God by way of atonement for a broken law. To unite God and man there must be a spiritual attorney who can lay his hand upon both. There must be one such as is but dimly foreshadowed in those ancient priests, who shall reconcile God to man by making man holy as God is holy. [65]

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The Purpose of the Church of God is to spread and
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Original Page: 62-65
This Web Page: 16
Total Original Pages: 141
The Church of God!
Justification, Sanctification, Unity
Carmichael, California USA

5334 Whitney Ave. Carmichael, CA. 95608
Pastor, Church Telephone (916) 482-7128