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I read somewhere that every christian believer in Jesus is a "priest", not just people who call themselves that. Is that true? Thanks.
Thank you so much for this question!
Yes, you are correct, the Bible teaches that every Church Age Believer "in Christ" is a "Priest":
First of all, a "priest" is a "go-between". In the Old Testament, the priest was between the Jewish people and God. The "priesthood" operated under the "High Priest", and offered animal sacrifices for the sins of the people. These sacrifices were a "picture" of the time when Jesus Christ would be the Lamb of God and the one final sacrifice, on the Cross, for our sins forever.
In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel was God's "holy nation". In Exodus 19:6, God told Moses "ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel". The priests also kept and taught God's Word and witnessed to and prayed for God's people.
In the New Testament, the "church", God's "ekklesia", meaning God's "called out ones", replaces the Nation of Israel, as God's "Holy Nation": 1 Pet 2:9 "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light". At the Rapture, the Church will be removed, and Israel will resume its position as God's "Holy Nation".
The Old Testament Levitical Priesthood was "between" the people of the nation of Israel and God, and now, in this "Age of Grace", God's "called out people" are His "priesthood", in the spiritual sense, in that we are "between" God and the "world". Now every believer in Jesus Christ IS a "priest", and our "High Priest" is Jesus Christ, and, as God's "priests", we "witness" to the world concerning the Grace of God and His Word, and we pray for those who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ:
1 Pet 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
1 Pet 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
Rev 1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Rev 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
Now, as "go betweens", we as Christians are all "priests" and are, in a sense, "between" God and the "world" of unbelievers. We witness to unbelievers and pray for them as we are led.
As New Testament Priests, Our "spiritual sacrifices" are listed:
--- Rom 12:1 Our body, as a "living sacrifice".
--- Phil 2:17 Our service to God.
--- Phil 4:18 Giving (to support Christian work).
--- Heb 13:15 Our Praises - "let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name".
--- Heb 13:16 Our Divinely motivated good works, and fellowship with God and His people.
If we accept God's Word as the truth (and where else could we possibly find it?), all of God's people here on earth are God's "priests", and have an equal standing, "in Christ", before God.
Heb 4:14 States that Jesus is our "High Priest": "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession".
Most important of all - After the Cross, there is NO ONE between the believer and the Lord Jesus Christ. We now have direct access to God, through Jesus, by means of prayer.
And, as Col 2:10 states: "ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power". Today, we do not need a "priest", we are a "priest".
Written in Christian love,
Your questions are a blessing! I hope my answers are clear, and an equal blessing.