Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
According to the New Testament, the goal of God’s salvation is to make all those who believe in Christ priests of God. Therefore, if a person is saved but fails to become a priest to serve God, he cannot fulfill God’s purpose or satisfy His desire. In the last book of the New Testament, Revelation, we see that the redeemed ones are all priests of God. In Revelation 1:5 and 6 we are told that Jesus Christ has loosed us from our sins by His blood and “made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father.” Likewise, Revelation 5:10 says that we have been made “to our God a kingdom and priests.”
From the typology in the Old Testament, we see that God first redeemed His people, then saved them, and then educated them. These three matters are revealed in the book of Exodus. First God redeemed the children of Israel, then He rescued and delivered them, and after that He educated them. While they were in Egypt, they were redeemed, and then they were rescued from Egypt. In the wilderness they enjoyed God’s provision. Eventually, they arrived at Mount Sinai, where they received a divine education. At Mount Sinai God came in to sanctify certain ones among the children of Israel to be His priests.
If we consider the entire revelation of the Scripture, we shall see that it was not God’s intention to sanctify merely some of His redeemed ones to be priests. No, God’s intention was to sanctify all of His redeemed people for this purpose. This means that God intended for the whole people of Israel to be a kingdom of priests. Exodus 19:6 says, “Ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.” However, due to the degradation of the people, eleven tribes fell away. Therefore, God chose one of the twelve tribes, the tribe of Levi, to be His priests.
We should not think that God wants only some of His people to be sanctified as priests. On the contrary, God is sanctifying all believers in Christ to be His priests. For this reason, some Christian teachers speak of the New Testament priesthood as the universal priesthood. Because the priesthood is universal, there should not be some believers who are priests and others who are laymen. There should not be any clergy-laity system among New Testament believers. All those who believe in Christ, all the redeemed and saved ones, should be educated and sanctified to be priests of God. As revealed in the New Testament, God’s desire is that all who have been redeemed in Christ should be His priests. This is spoken of not only in Revelation, but also in 1 Peter. First Peter 2:5 says, “Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (lit.). Moreover, 1 Peter 2:9 says that the believers are a royal priesthood. This reveals that God’s New Testament economy is to have all His redeemed people to be His priests.
Although the New Testament reveals clearly that all the redeemed ones should be God’s priests, the New Testament does not provide a detailed description of how we may be priests serving God in a practical way. There is no detailed account in the New Testament of how we may actually be sanctified to serve God as priests. The New Testament tells us that God wants us to be priests, but it does not show us how to become priests. But in the Old Testament, specifically, in the book of Exodus, there is a chapter that gives such a detailed description of the sanctification of God’s priests. This chapter is Exodus 29. Concerning this, chapter twenty-nine of Exodus is precious. I can testify that I love this chapter very much.
In order to love anything it is necessary to have a proper appreciation of that thing. For example, in my home province in China there is a mountain known for yielding crystal used in making eye glasses. Outwardly, the stones containing this crystal are rough and uncomely. But if these stones are cut open, the high quality crystal within them can be seen. Only by having the proper appreciation of these stones can we value them. In the same principle, if we would have a love for chapter twenty-nine of Exodus, we must first come to appreciate this chapter. I believe that if you spend adequate time in this portion of the Word, you also will come to love it. It may be that after all these messages on Exodus 29, you will love this chapter as much as I do.
Why is Exodus 29 so precious? The preciousness of this chapter consists in its detailed description of how God’s redeemed people can be sanctified to serve Him as priests. As we have pointed out, what this chapter describes is not ordination or even just consecration, but sanctification. The first verse of this chapter says, “And this is the thing which you shall do to them to sanctify them to serve as priests to Me.” God commanded Moses to sanctify Aaron and his sons to serve as His priests.
Christians today are familiar with the words sanctify and sanctification. If we have a heart to seek a full sanctification in our experience, we must come to chapter twenty-nine of Exodus. This chapter is not only on the priesthood; in particular, it is a chapter on sanctification.
Sanctification is an important subject in theology. It may be as great in importance as justification. Among believers there are different schools of teaching concerning sanctification. What we need is an understanding of sanctification as described in Exodus 29. In these messages I shall try to give a brief sketch of the sanctification of the priests as portrayed in Exodus 29.
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