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THE BIBLICAL FOUNDATION OF ‘PRIESTHOOD’

Posted by catholicfaithdefender on April 3, 2008

THE BIBLICAL FOUNDATION OF ‘PRIESTHOOD’/ Photos of my 7th Sacerdotal Ordination- December 28, 2007

* The photos presented in this post are taken during the 7th Sacerdotal Anniversary of this Blogger, Rev. Fr. Abraham P. Arganiosa, CRS. The Mass was held last December 28, 2007 about 7:00am at Sto. Rosario Parish in Minuyan, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan. I decided to post my simple research concerning the Biblical Foundation of Priesthood as a Thanksgiving to the Lord for calling me to share in His Eternal Priesthood.
The celebrant greets in the Opening part of the Mass; on his left serves the Diocese of Malolos newly ordained deacon Rev. Renato B. Brion, Jr [Rev. RJ for his friends] together with Sem. Alvin Presco and Sem. Nathaniel Carlo Degucena. Bro. Alvin is a 4th year theology student in the Diocesan Seminary while Bro. Nats is still a philosophy students. Both seminarians accompanied Fr. Abe during his 9 days of services in the Aguinaldo Masses serving in 8 chapels plus the Parish Church.
THE SACRAMENT OF PRIESTHOOD
* For Apologetic purpose the Bible used for this study is the King James Version [KJV] unless otherwise specified.

The Catholic Church teaches that the HOLY ORDERS OF THE PRIESTHOOD are: 1.Established by God the Father. 2.Perfected by Christ in New Testament 3.Sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Old Testament Proofs Ex 40: 13-15 1. Yahweh ESTABLISHED Priesthood as an OFFICE (Ex 29: 9/ Lev 16: 32). 2. It is acquired through CONSECRATION by ANOINTING (Ex 29: 7/ Lev 8: 12/ 16: 32). 3. Priests are MINISTERS OF GOD 4. Priesthood is PERPETUAL (Num 25: 13/ Ex 29: 9/40:15)

The celebrant, the Deacon & the Seminarian solemnly listen to the readings
The 2 Orders of Priesthood in Old Testament Heb 7:11Order of Melchizedek & Order of Aaron
1. Order of Melchizedek (Gen 14:18-19)

This Order is more ancient [Patriarchal Era] & more perfect than the Order of Aaron (Heb 7:11). The Order of Levites established only during or after the Exodus Event. OFFERING: BREAD AND WINE Examples of OT priests in the Order of Melchizedek

(a) Moses is a priest higher than Aaron [Ps 99:6]. He was the shepherd of Israel from Egypt to the Jordan Valley & could enter the Holy of Holies more frequently and with higher authority than Aaron. Moses’ priesthood must be in the Order of Melchizedek because he was a shepherd & a priest at the same time.
(b) David: Shepherd-King & Priest [2 Sam 6: 17-19]. David offered sacrifices to the Lord. Gave a cake of BREAD, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of WINE (1 Chron 16:2-4). David clothed in a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who carried the ark… David was also wearing a linen ephod… (1 Chron 15: 27 NAB) [David wore the vestment of priests. Thus, he is a Shepherd-King and Priest, a Type or Foreshadow of Christ]
(c) Solomon: Shepherd-King & Priest like David. He offered sacrifices reserved for priests following the example of David, his father [1 Kgs 8: 54, 63].

2. Order of Levite / Aaron (Ex 28:1-2/ Num 1:50-51) Fr. Abe delivers his homily reflecting on the Gospel [The Massacre of the Innocents] and relates it to his vocation as a Somascan Religious. Since the Somascan Fathers are known for taking good care of the orphans, following the footsteps of St. Jerome their father and founder so the Congregation dedicated this day as a SOMASCAN DAY. Thus, Fr. Abe had chosen this glorious day in honor of the Innocent Martyrs to remind him perpetually of his mission and consecration. It is much more meaningful because at that time Fr. Abe was still assigned in the Somascan House for Needy Children in Sorsogon. The 3 Kinds of Priesthood in the Old Testament:

1.The High Priest

Ex 28:1 Hebrew ‘tradition’ points to Aaron as the First High Priest, the beginning of Israelite priesthood of Sinai Covenant.

2 Kgs 25:18 Seraiah the ‘chief priest’ and Zephaniah the ‘second priest’/ Hag 1:1,12-14 Joshua the high priest.

Zech 3: 1-9 Yahweh protected the high-priest, Joshua, from Satan and removed his filthy garment, replaced it with MITRE and promised to make him: Judge of Yahweh’s House & Keeper of Yahweh’s Court. This was fulfilled by Yahweh in Zech 6: 11-13:

*A golden crown shall be set upon the head of the High Priest *He shall be called THE BRANCH (i.e. Sign of Unity of God and People) *He shall be given prominence (a priest upon his throne) and glory (honor) *He shall be a counsel of peace for the people (he shall judge the people) #It is quite obvious that today these dignity, honor and responsibility are given to the Pope as Vicar of Christ on earth. [Sirach 50 The Hymn of the Splendor of High Priesthood – at that time Simon, son of Jochanan].

Until the time of Jesus and the Apostles, the office of the High Priest of the Old Covenant continued (Lk 3:2/ Mt 26:57-62/ Mk 14:43-64/ Jn 18).

2.The Common Priesthood

Ex 19:6 And ye shall be unto me A KINGDOM OF PRIESTS, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shall speak unto the children of Israel. 3.The Ministerial Priesthood

Ministerial Priesthood in Pre-Sinai Exodus:

Ex 19: 21-22 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the Lord to gaze and many of them perish. And LET THE PRIESTS also, sanctify themselves, lest the Lord break forth upon them.

Ministerial Priesthood in the Post-Sinai Period: God’s ministers on the Altar, Tabernacle/ For Atonement of Sins

Ezek 44:15-16 To minister in the Sanctuary.

1 Chron 16:4 To minister in the Ark, to record & to THANK & PRAISE God.

The celebrant continued his homily presenting the Biblical Foundation of the Sacraments of Priesthood. That presentation is the abbreviated form of the lecture given on this very same post.

Prophecies about Priesthood: Priesthood will not be abolished but to be elevated, sanctified and perfected during the Messianic Age!

Ps 132:9 Let Thy PRIESTS be clothed with righteousness. Ps 132:16 I will also clothe her PRIESTS with salvation.

* This Psalm 32, being a Messianic Psalm, refers to the reign of the Messiah and His Kingdom on earth, the Church and that Kingdom will be characterized by saints and priests of the Messiah.

ON THE CONTRARY, ANTI-CATHOLICS CLAIM: – PRIESTHOOD HAD BEEN ASSUMED BY CHRIST – THE ONLY PRIEST! – THE SACRIFICIAL OFFERINGS ARE NO LONGER NECESSARY because the Sacrifice of Christ is ONCE AND FOR ALL! – THE MINISTERIAL PRIESTHOOD HAS BEEN ABOLISHED (Heb 7: 26-27) – THE MINISTERS OF THE CHURCH IN THE NEW TESTAMENT ARE NEVER CALLED PRIESTS (HIEROS).

CATHOLIC ANSWER:

1. THERE IS NO STATEMENT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT THAT PRIESTHOOD HAD BEEN ABOLISHED EITHER BY CHRIST OR THE APOSTLES. Otherwise, they will be guilty of contradicting YAHWEH Who declared priesthood as ‘PERPETUAL’. [Ex 29: 9]

Heb 7: 12 IT IS MERELY CHANGED BUT NOT ABOLISHED! Jesus and the Apostles honored the declaration of Yahweh on the perpetual nature of ministerial priesthood. 2. IT IS NOT TRUE THAT CHRIST IS THE ONLY PRIEST OF THE NEW COVENANT! THE LETTER TO THE HEBREWS REFERRED TO HIM AS ‘THE HIGH PRIEST’ [but not the only priest] (Heb 7: 12).

* Thus, only the Office of the High Priest had been assumed by the Lord! THE PEOPLE OF GOD ARE ALSO PRIESTS, they are not High Priests but they share the priesthood of Christ. This is the Universal Priesthood of the Believers.

Fr. Abe starting the recitation of the Roman Canon I

THE COMMON PRIESTHOOD RETAINED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

1 Pet 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built upon a spiritual house, A HOLY PRIESTHOOD, TO OFFER 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…

The Common priesthood perfected in heaven

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 hath made us unto our God kings and PRIESTS and we shall reign on the earth.

Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be PRIESTS OF GOD AND OF HIS CHRIST, and they shall reign with him a thousand years. * The High Priest is the Head of an Order; that office necessitates the presence of the Lower Priests – Ministerial & Common. THE MINISTERIAL PRIESTHOOD OF THE NEW TESTAMENT IS ‘SUBSTANTIALLY BETTER’. IT OPERATES ACCORDING TO THE PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST. IT IS NEITHER LEVITICAL NOR AARONIC BUT OF THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.

The Epiclesis – The celebrant calling on the Holy Spirit to come upon the gifts

THE MINISTERIAL PRIESTHOOD IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

Jesus had chosen the Apostles and made them leaders of the Church just like Yahweh who separated the priests from common believers – this is the HIERARCHY (cf. Mt 10: 1ff/ Mk 3: 16ff/ Lk 6: 14ff/ Acts 1: 13ff). The Apostles were solely and specifically instructed TO TEACH THE PEOPLE OF GOD (Mt 10:1-16). This is a ministerial duty of the Priests in the Old Testament and the penalty for not listening to the teaching of the priests is DEATH:

Dt 17: 11-12 And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto THE PRIEST that standeth TO MINISTER there before the Lord thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall DIE: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel. (Cf. Acts 5: 1-11 St. Peter on Ananias and Safira).

2 Chron 15:3 Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a TEACHING PRIEST, and without law [See 2 Chron 19:8-10].

Ezra 7:6,10,25-26 Ezra, priest and scribe, taught Jewish Law to Israel. His authority was binding, under penalty of imprisonment, exile, loss of goods and death.

Neh 8:7-9 The priests and Ezra explained the meaning of the Law passage by passage.

The Teaching Authority of the Ministerial Priests of the Old Testament given to the Apostles:

Mt 13:10-36/Mk 4:10,33-44 The Parables of the Kingdom were explained only to the Apostles making them the sole authority to interpret the oracles of the New Covenant.

Mt 18:1-35/Mk 9:35 The Apostles were the ones instructed on the manner of ruling and correcting the faithful in the Church.

Lk 10:16 He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me (NIV).

Christ committed His Mission to the Apostles alone

Jn 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I to you.

Mt 28: 18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…

Christ gave to the Apostles the power of Teaching, Ruling and Sanctifying

Read again Mt 28: 19-20 (NAB/NIV/NRSV) Here the TRIPLE POWER of Teaching, Ruling and Sanctifying were handed to the Apostles:

‘Make disciples’ ‘Baptizing them’ ‘Teaching them’

The celebrant raises a little the host for the Institution Narrative

The Power of Teaching

Mt 10:7,27 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand…What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light : and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.

Mk 3:14 and he [Jesus] ORDAINED TWELVE, that they should be with him, and that he might SEND THEM FORTH TO PREACH…

Mk 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and PREACH THE GOSPEL TO EVERY CREATURE. The Power of Sanctifying

Lk 22:19 Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them saying, This is my body, which will be given for you; DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME [NAB] (See Jn 6:52-53).

1 Cor 11:24 …and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME.” [NAB]

Jn 20:22-23 Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and gave them power to forgive sins.

Acts 8:17 Then laid they [Sts. Peter and John] their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

The Power of Governing

Acts 15:1-16:5 The Council of Jerusalem

1 Pt 5:1-2 The elders (Presbyteroi) which are among you I exhort… Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.

2 Tim 4:1-2 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ… Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

Elevation of the Body of the Lord

Christ obliges all people to submit to the Authority of the Apostles

Lk 10:16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.

Jn 13:20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

THE APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION: The Authority of the Apostles had been handed to their Successors

Paul defines ‘Succession of Authority’

2 Tim 2:2 And what you heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will have the ability to teach others as well. [NAB]

Elevation of the Chalice of the Lord’s Blood

Bishops (Episcopoi)

Acts 1:20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, and HIS BISHOPRIC LET ANOTHER TAKE. (KJV/ also in DRV)

1 Tim 3:1–2 Whoever aspires to the OFFICE OF BISHOP (episcopos) desires a noble task. [NAB/KJV/DRV]

Tit 1:7,9 For a bishop (episcopos) as God’s steward must be blameless, … holding fast to the true message as taught so that he will be able both to exhort with sound doctrine and to refute opponents. [NAB/KJV/DRV]

Presbyters, Priests, Elders (Presbyteroi)

Titus 1:5 For this cause I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and shouldest ORDAIN PRIESTS (presbyteroi) in every city, as I also appointed thee. [DRV] in KJV ‘Ordain elders’

1 Tim 4:14 Neglect not the grace that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with imposition of the hands of the PRIESTHOOD. [DRV]

1 Tim 5:17 Let the PRIESTS that rule well, be esteemed worthy of double honor: especially they who labor in the word and doctrine. [DRV]

Deacons (Diaconoi)

Phil 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons…

1 Tim 4:6,13,16 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained…Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine…Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

1 Tim 3:8–9 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

The Doxology
THE IMPORTANCE OF ORDINATION
Paul reminds Timothy that the imposition of hands on another is not to be taken lightly.
1Tim 5:22 Do not lay hands too readily on anyone… [NAB]
The Acts of the Apostles testifies to the belief and practice of creating orders in the early Church.
Acts 14:23 They had ordained them elders in every Church, & had prayed with fasting, they commended them…
Acts 6:6 The Apostles laid hands and prayed over the Deacons.

The Lamb of God

PRIESTHOOD OF THE APOSTLES

Rom 15:15-16 …because of the GRACE GIVEN ME BY GOD to be MINISTER OF CHRIST JESUS to the Gentiles in THE PRIESTLY SERVICE OF THE GOSPEL OF GOD, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. [NRSV]

* This translation is closer to the original Greek of Rom 15: 16eiz to einai me leitourgon Cristou Ihsou eiz ta ethne, hierourgounta to euaggelioion tou theou…

* This is the reason why in the Catholic Church only the ORDAINED MINISTERS (Bishops, Priests and Deacons) are mandated to preach and offer the Holy Mass.

HIEROURGOUNTA = PRIESTLY SERVICE Thus, even if the word HIEROS (PRIEST) is never used for Church ministers in the New Testament the word Priestly Service was given. It is a solid proof that St. Paul is a New Testament priest, a privilege that he received from the Apostles when they laid hand on him (cf. Acts 13: 2-3).

In New Testament, priesthood is being passed neither by blood relation nor by biological generation, as in the Old Testament, but by APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION & ORDINATION. [Acts 1: 15-26/ 14: 22/ 2 Tim 1: 6/ 1 Tim 5: 22]

Fr. Abe and Sem. Alvin Presco clears the Altar Table after Communion

THE REBELLION OF KORAH

What is Korah’s rebellion? See Num 16: 1-35 This was the case of rebellion against the priesthood of Moses and Aaron. Korah didn’t want to submit to the authority of the ministerial priests and he accused Moses of setting himself above the people who are also ‘HOLY’ to Yahweh. Korah and his companion even dared to offer incense to the Lord and claimed for themselves the duty and honor exclusive of the ordained ministers. Their foolishness earned the penalty of DEATH.

The Concluding Prayer

Fr. Abe acknoledges the greetings of the faithful after the Mass

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