The Ministry of Priesthood (Part 2)
By: Apostle Skhumbuzo Sangweni
In the Old Testament on the Day of Atonement, on that day and that day alone, the High Priest entered in beyond the veil, from the Holy Place into the Holy of Holies. That great veil which had hung there for so long kept out any who might enter into the presence of God. There in the Holy of Holies, in that perpetual darkness, God dwelt in the Shekinah Glory between the outstretched wings of the two Cherubim on either side of the Ark of the Covenant, beneath which were the broken tablets of the law and over which was the gold-covered Mercy Seat. Once each year, and only once, the High Priest could touch that veil, They had been carefully and sternly forewarned that should any man touch that veil, he would instantly be struck dead by God, reminding us that no man can enter into the realm of God unless he comes in God’s way and in God’s time and in God’s appointed method. And so the High Priest comes not without blood, having first confessed his own sins, and the sins of the people, and offering a sacrifice for his own sins, and for the people’s.
The mystery of it is that ALL ISRAEL – every man, woman, and child – were on that day identified in the person of the High Priest. He was a representative man, a corporate man as it were. The whole congregation of Israel went into the glory beyond that veil IN HIM. He drew nigh unto God on their behalf, and they were brought nigh unto God in him. The people of Israel never knew when the High Priest would come out again. They never knew whether the sacrifice for his own sins, and for theirs, had been acceptable, if he had done all things right, or that coming there in the darkness where God dwelt he might be struck dead. And so they had placed golden bells all around the hem of his robe. As long as they heard those bells tinkling they knew that the Priest was still alive and their hopes were alive in him. They knew that soon he would emerge from that awesome realm and come forth to bless them in the name of God. They knew that even as they had gone in beyond the veil in the High Priest, so would God come forth from beyond the veil in the Priest to bless them, imparting of Himself into them.
The High Priest was thus the mediator between God and the people. He carried the presence of God the sins and needs of the people, and carried the people in him. He obtained from God the power to declare the remission of sin and the right of blessing the people. God drew nigh unto the people in the person of the Priest. God ministered of Himself unto the people through the blessing of the Priest. “And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and BLESSED THE PEOPLE: and THE GLORY OF THE LORD APPEARED UNTO ALL THE PEOPLE” (Lev. 9:23). The service of the priesthood is clear, FIRST TO MINISTER TO THE LORD, then to stand between the Creator and His creation, to minister the life of Christ to those who sit in darkness, in the region of the shadow of death, until all are fully reconciled to God again. The body of the Christ, as its glorious Head, must be a kingdom of priests, a people for His purpose