Question: Can you tell me why the Catholic Church has priests and other churches have pastors? Is there any Scripture for the office of the priesthood today?
Answer: There is no Scripture sanctioned by God for the office of the priesthood today. The office of priest, as they are today, was created by the Roman Catholic Church, not God. Mainly, there are three aspects concerning the priesthood. First, you have the Old Testament priests (in the past). Secondly, you have the present priesthood, occupied by Christ alone. Thirdly, you have the future when the Christians will reign as “priests and kings” in the Millennial Kingdom with Christ, judging the Earth. Let us examine the Scriptures concerning each segment of the priesthood.
The Past: The Old Testament Priest. The office of priest was introduced to Moses by God. Moses was a Levite (Exodus 2:1,10); therefore, the priest would come from the tribe of Levi. Notice Deuteronomy 18:1,
“The priest the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi…”
Exodus 28:1 says,
“And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.”
The rest of the men (Levites) had the responsibility of the tabernacle; i.e., setting it up, taking it down, and tending all the vessels therein. (Read Numbers 1:50-53).
- There were many responsibilities of the Old Testament priests. Let us compare a few of the characteristics of God’s appointed priesthood and priests with those of man’s self-appointed priesthood, that of the Roman Catholic Church:
- God’s priest must be an Israelite and of the tribe of Levi.
ERROR: The Roman Catholic Church’s appointment of a Gentile priest is directly opposed to the word of God. Gentile priests are in a position God never gave them. The character and position are totally fictitious. The feminist movement has brainwashed America by doing the same thing in putting women into the office of a pastor. Your Pentecostals, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, etc., have “bowed their knees to Baal,” instead of the true and living God. 1 Timothy 3:1 says,
“This is a true saying, If a man (not a woman) desire the office of bishop (i.e. overseer or pastor), he (not she) desireth a good work.” (Read 1 Timothy 2:11,12).
- The priest has to be married. Leviticus 21:13, 14 makes God’s requirement perfectly clear,
“And he (the priest) shall take a wife in her virginity. A widow, or a divorced woman, or profane, or an harlot, these shall he not take: BUT HE SHALL TAKE A VIRGIN OF HIS OWN PEOPLE TO WIFE.”
ERROR: The Roman Catholic Church does just the opposite in requiring celibacy. They outright deny God’s word in the Bible. Is it any wonder that almost 50% of the so-called priests are homosexual, pedophiles, or both! Preachers today are required to be married; also included are the deacons of the church. (Read 1 Timothy 3:2,12).
- God’s priests offered blood sacrifices. In Leviticus 16:6, the priest was to...
“…offer his bullock for the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house.”
Read the rest of Leviticus 16, as it describes the priest offering the blood sacrifice of the slain goat; and the releasing of the live goat into the wilderness.
ERROR: Have you ever seen a Roman Catholic priest obeying God and doing this? Truly, these so-called priests, occupying a position manufactured by their organization, fulfill what Titus is describing in 1:16,
“They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable (Gr. “boelussoie,” to be rotten and to stink.), and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”
- The priest’s clothing was designed by God. Read Exodus, Chapter 28, and tell me if you have ever seen a Roman Catholic priest obey God’s word and dress as God told him to dress?
- God’s Old Testament priesthood was to function until Israel’s Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, buried and risen from the dead. The priest functioned in the office of the priesthood, teaching the Jewish people God’s laws. When Christ came and paid for our sins on the Cross, the Old Testament law and the priesthood ended. Romans 10:4 clearly states,
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”
The Present: Christ is the only priest today. Upon Christ’s death,
“…the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom…” - Matthew 27:51
showing us that,
“…we (Christians) have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our pro-fession.” ‑ Hebrews 4:14
The Book of Hebrews shows the contrast between the Old Testament priest ministering under the Old Covenant, made at Mount Sinai, and our High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, ministering and making intercession today for us because of the New Covenant made upon Mount Calvary. Hebrews 8:1 tells us that...
“...We (Christians) have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.”
When the veil was rent, it was showing us that the Old Testament priesthood had ceased, with its priests offering the blood of the animal sacrifices.
“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come…Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his (Christ’s) own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” - Hebrews 9:11,12
- Christ’s priesthood has never been transferred to the Roman Catholic Church or any so-called clergyman. Any church claiming the office of priest is totally fictitious and diametrically opposed to the word of God! Notice Hebrews 7:24,
“But this man (Christ), because he continueth forever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.”
The Greek word for “unchangeable” is “aparabatos.” It only appears once in the Greek New Testament and literally means “untransferable.” In other words, the Lord Jesus Christ is our High Priest; and has never changed; or transferred his Priesthood to any person, or church, as falsely claimed by the Roman Catholic Church.
- Christ only can forgive sins, not the Roman Catholic priest. When we sin after becoming a Christian, we are to confess our sin to Christ, NOT the priest. Notice 1 John 1:8,9,
“If we (Christians) say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he (Jesus Christ) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Notice. It is Jesus Christ we confess to; and it is Jesus Christ who forgives, NOT the Roman Catholic priest. I, personally, have asked many priests who they confess to when they sin? Some I could not get to admit that they do sin. A few have told me they confess to God. My next question to them was, “Why do you not teach the people to do the same thing as you do? Why do you put yourself in between man and God as a mediator, when the Bible says,
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” ‑ Hebrews 4:16
It does not say “Come unto the priest for absolution.” The priests give their people a false security and a confidence that is deceitful, by drawing the spiritually ignorant to themselves; instead of directing them to Jesus Christ.
- Christ is the only Mediator or Intercessor.
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” - 1 Timothy 2:5
Notice Romans 8:34,
“…It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”
How sad when people put their trust in a religious system; instead of the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, the false priests and teachers will continue, as we are told in Hebrews 10:11 with a warning,
“And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.”
The Future: All Christians, from the New Covenant made by Christ’s death and Resurrection until the Rapture, have been positionally given the title and position of kings and priests.
“…Unto him (Christ) that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood (5b) And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father;…(6)” (Revelation 1:5b,6).
Literally, from the day of Pentecost until the Rapture, every Christian makes up the spiritual Body of Christ known as the Church (Ephesians 2:16), the Body (1 Corinthians 12:13), the Bride (Revelation 19:7 & 21:9), the Building (Ephesians 2:20,21) and the One New Man (Ephesians 2:14,15).
In 1 Peter 2:5 every Christian, collectively, is referred to as,
“…an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
In Verse 9, Peter states again the priesthood of all the saved.
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people…”
The question is, “WHEN are Christians of the Church Age going to occupy their future position as kings and priests?” The answer is given in Revelation 5:10,
“And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”
This is when Christ sets up the earthly Kingdom for a 1,000 years. At the Rapture, all Christians disappear from the Earth and go to be with Christ. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Then follows the 7‑Year Tribulation Period, which culminates with Christ returning to the Earth. We accompany Christ’s return; and will assume our position and authority as kings and priests as allocated to us by Christ, Himself. Revelation 20:6 makes this clear.
“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death (i.e., the Lake of Fire) hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
1 Corinthians 6:2 also sheds some light on this.
“Do ye not know that the saints (Christians) shall judge the world? (i.e. during the Millennium) and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?”
Notice in Verse 3,
“Know ye not that we shall judge angels…”
These are the angels that followed Satan, now known as demons and unclean spirits.
The Conclusion: The Roman Catholic priesthood is a manufactured priesthood to perform religious and traditional practices. They in no way follow the Old Testament priesthood which has ceased with Christ. Christ is our High Priest and His position has never been relinquished to any man or church. In the Millennium, every Christian will be appointed by Christ as to where he will judge the Earth as a king and priest. But, notice, only Christ is called the High Priest, and that position is never given to us as Christians.
In 1 Peter 2:5 we are called a “holy priesthood”; and, in Verse 9, Christians are collectively called a “holy nation.” The only reason I know for being called “holy” is because the holiness, or righteousness of God is placed to our account the moment we trust Jesus Christ as Savior. 2 Corinthians 5:21 makes this clear.
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Read Philippians 3:9.
"And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:"