Guest Blog: You’re In God’s Army Now!

So, my second official Guest Blog, I hope you are as excited about it as I am. About a month or so ago, I got this awesome idea of comparing the concept of being the image-bearers of God to the real life context of how soldiers represent their country. I just had a small problem – I have never been in the military and would be forced to fake an article, which I was not willing to do. Fortunately, I have this amazing colleague who actually is military, and who studies with the Wisdom in Torah Talmidim teachers – so when I told him that I wanted and asked politely (begged might be more accurate), he said yes! So, without further ado – here is Matt Nappier of Beit Shalom congregation in Monroe, La.

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I often like to take inventory of my personal space and the interactions around my small slice of this world to see God wherever it is I happen to find myself.  Over time and as I’ve grown, like all of us, I’ve found Him within many different experiences.  When my wife and I decided to start a farm, our sole focus in the beginning, and hopefully still, was to learn to see God in a deeper way through His creation, digging our hands into the most basic aspect of it.  Before that, we became parents, and our prayer was that God would not only show to us how to be great parents but also reveal to us a deeper understanding of Him as Father.  Going even further back, as we were married, our prayer was that God not only would teach us to be fruitful spouses to each other but also that he would guide us in showing the world that relationship He desires to have with all of creation.

One other identity I hold is that of an Army soldier over the last 15 years.  Having just graduated from another leadership course, I find myself also looking for God in those experiences.  As the Army has trained me over the years to be a leader within its ranks, I have prayed God that God will continue to show me how to use those tools to be a leader within the ranks of His Kingdom on earth.  While I was away, one emerging area of contemplation for me has been that of the ancient concept of humans as the image-bearers of God; as a result, a physical picture of what that means has presented itself, as so many other times, in the experiences around me.

I’d like to offer somewhat of an analogy, a physical comparison of something we may relate to today to help illustrate what it means to be the image-bearers of God on earth.  I’d like to paint this picture through the palette of my career in the US Army.  Let me be clear that I’m not suggesting that the Army of the United States is a good or equal comparison to God’s Kingdom and reiterate that this is simply an analogy in the physical world around us.

Although my focus for this comparison is our current worldview and responsibilities as image-bearers in the Kingdom of God here on earth, carrying the identity we have through Yeshua (Jesus) our Messiah, it wouldn’t be correct if I failed to mention the original image-bearers of God – Adam and Eve.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  So, God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
-Genesis 1:26-27

At the very inception of our existence as human beings, the intention was that we should be the image-bearers of God.  Often, we overlook the middle section of those verses that states our image-bearing is in relation to the dominion of the world, bringing God to all creation.  Anglican bishop, professor, and theologian N.T. Wright explains that image as being like a mirror one looks into at an angle – seeing a reflection, not of themselves but another that is standing a few feet away.  When creation looked to Adam and Eve, they should have been able to see God, but Adam and Eve corrupted that image.  Since then, God has been working through His creation to restore the Creation Covenant made with us, humans, to restore us as His proper image-bearers on earth.

Fast forward to the first century, and we are given Yeshua, the incorruptible image of the invisible God, the One Who came to establish order and restore the image-bearers back to the intended image.  Through His restorative act of the resurrection, we are no longer captives to sin, nor are we slaves to bearing the burden and image of Egyptian captors, but are instead set free to walk out into the world bearing the true image of our God, King, and Creator.  That freedom, however, comes with a heavy responsibility.

When a person joins the military, their very first action as a soldier, sailor, marine, or airman is to raise their right hand and swear to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies.  We even call on God to help us do this, and this moment is always a very solemn one.  I don’t know many brothers or sisters in arms that don’t remember that moment of raising their right hand.  It’s serious.  There’s a real task at hand, one that can very well include an enemy threat.  As I assume anyone reading this would agree, the seriousness of the task we undertook by coming into Covenant and swearing allegiance to the Body of Messiah has often been diminished.  Can you imagine the seriousness of God’s oath to Abraham when it was promised that his offspring would be a blessing to all nations?  Can you imagine the seriousness of the oath taken at the base of Mt. Sinai, which carried the expectation of being true image-bearers to the nations?

Once the oath is sworn, new recruits are then sent to Basic Training, the discipleship camp that transforms those who have never served into the image of a United States soldier.  Through long hours of training and intense study of material, those who once only dreamed of what it looked like to be an Army soldier now embody the role.  They’ve been given a uniform, taught how to stand and walk, and trained rigorously to be fit to fight.  The great transformation occurs over a short nine weeks, and it’s a remarkable change.  Parents and loved ones often have trouble recognizing the new soldiers after they’ve completed those weeks.  They’ve been transformed into the image that the Army desires.

These exterior changes, however, are not the important ones nor are they the most significant.  These changes are merely the simplest and easiest.  We throw some clothes on them, give them a haircut, and workout with them for nine weeks; this only accomplishes the external, or physical, changes.  The harder task is changing what can’t be seen: what’s inside the soldier.  The greatest change is only evident when we can see that a person has fully embodied the intent of their Army training – to be instilled with the Army Core Values that motivates us not only to be soldiers who can not only win any war but also have the integrity to win that war honorably.

For those who haven’t heard of the Army Core Values, they consist of Leadership, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage.  These are the weightier matters of our service.  That’s quite a hefty list of characteristics, and so it is readily understandable that Basic Training can only be the beginning of this molding process.  For many, it takes years to truly internalize these values, and for some, it never happens.  Yet, this is the intent of the Army – to train soldiers that will fight and fight honorably.

The United States Army has been the leading army in the world for quite some time now, and when we think back on why, it’s because we fight the honorable fight.  Sure, we may have hiccups along the way, but overall, we have fought to restore justice and righteousness in the world.  Being the strongest army isn’t all that matters – being the strongest and most honorable is.  Think of WWII when we saw the Nazis as enemies, a force that fought hard yet failed to overcome the prowess of the United States.  Yet, their strength never matters to anyone today because the world looks back with almost universal disgust at the shameful acts committed.  They may have had strength, but no honor.

The Body of Messiah should work in similar fashion.  We should be taking new believers through Basic Training, explaining to them in a quick, efficient manner those things which we are not to do at all. Our example is Acts 15 where we see new converts instructed to stop their overtly pagan practices, which was then supplemented with weekly training on how to walk out the task of becoming the image of God on earth.  These quick changes, doing away with idolatry and the overt acts of worldliness, are akin to the uniform and haircut given within the first week at Basic Training.  Yes, it changed our image a bit, but it wasn’t a full transformation.  Some may still look as weak and skinny as I did when I left for Basic Training.  Others may still need to trim a little fat.  Most importantly, they all need to continue to learn the values of how to take on the desired image honorably.

Every Sabbath, at our weekly training session, we should be learning more and more about what our new image in Messiah looks like and, following our Acts 15 example, that learning can and should come through the writings of Moses –  the Torah, the first five books of the Bible.  This is, functionally, the mission statement of our congregation, Beit Shalom Messianic Congregation.  In our beginnings, we made a decision that, no matter what else was taught, the instructions of Moses would be read in our community every Sabbath.  Therefore, every service opens with a reading of the entire weekly Torah portion.  This corresponds to the training, the putting on of the uniform, and the resultant trimming down or bulking up.

In the Messianic or Hebrew Roots movement, we’ve taken this new uniform or realized that maybe we weren’t given the full uniform when we became believers in Messiah.  Those that led us in giving us a haircut and a brown t-shirt sometimes innocently left us sitting in the barracks.  We weren’t given the full picture of what it meant to walk in the image of God.  Yet, in our current understanding, we’ve found the uniform and performed those nine weeks of training – only to forget that the original intent was to instill those unseen values within us that would allow us to become members of God’s Army fighting the enemies of His Constitution, the Torah, honorably.

We’ve taken these externals that are definitely part of the image of God, the uniform that anyone who sees us should know us by, and we’ve made that the end-all focus of our training as image-bearers.  We’ve taken the easier things to change, tying on tzitziyot, taking some days off of work, and changing our diet; we implemented those while forgetting to tackle the tough, internal sins that serve to separate our character from God’s character – as displayed in His love, righteousness, mercy, justice, and kindness.

In the Army, we judge those within our ranks to a harder degree, and this is done in the name of maintaining the proper image of an honorable institution.  When soldiers get caught doing that which is dishonorable, things that go against the Army Core Values, they aren’t allowed to remain in the ranks, and when we release them from the ranks, it’s usually done in a manner that publicly shows what we expect in terms of honor.

However, if soldiers simply fail in maintaining the outward appearances, those physical changes that are easy to adjust, we help our brother or sister in arms make the necessary corrections.  If we see a deficiency in a uniform, we make a simple on-the-spot correction, and we do so respectfully.  We don’t rip their uniform off and show everyone in the unit how they had missed a string on their pocket or had their boot laces out.  If someone gains a little weight and can’t pass the physical requirements, we put them on a program towards success and get them back in right standing, again, doing so respectfully.

I can see our flaws as a movement through these experiences – and how we can improve.  We put on these uniforms, get a haircut, lost a little weight, and then we go around kicking in the doors of innocent people – poking our chests out as though wearing medals, yet having earned none.  We’ve put on the easy physical changes, but haven’t embraced the deeper changes that come through painful refinement.  I see our Core Values plainly laid out in the Scriptures, but are we working diligently to make sure those are our priorities in training?

For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.
-Genesis 18:19

We all know that Abraham was blessed for keeping the instructions of God, but Abraham’s leadership, his installation as the progenitor (commander) of the Israelite people, is ascribed to his walking in righteousness and justice.  He not only kept the instructions of God but kept them honorably.  He took the full image of God, inside and out, and went train those others coming after him, the children and his household to do the same.

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
-Matthew 5:3-12

Are we walking in the deeper image that was shown to us through the perfect image of God made manifest in the flesh?  Are we seeking mercy, peace, and righteousness?  Are we turning the other cheek when others mock us through the new 1st Century world of shame: Facebook and YouTube?  Are we putting on the uniform and cutting our hair but forgetting to comfort those around us, humble ourselves, and serve as Yeshua taught us to serve?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
-Galatians 5:22-23

This list, given to us in Galatians, represents our Core Values.  When people look at us, the covenant members of Israel and God’s Army, do they see love, joy, and peace, or do they see a bunch of strife, bitterness, and hatred wrapped in the physical changes of tzitziyot, Sabbath, and Feast Days?  I can’t tell you how many times in the past I’ve been involved in arguments full of sarcasm and negative speech towards others on the Sabbath, and I see it going on every week around the world.  Are people seeing us and seeing the image of a longsuffering God, or are the seeing short-sightedness that cuts people down if they don’t immediately mold to the image of ourselves?  Do people see kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness in our walks, or are they seeing harshness and rudeness towards those that don’t agree with us?  And finally, do they see the image of our God in self-control, or do they see people who can’t control their tongues?

Have we become First Century Judaism, a sea of people trying to build others into the image of ourselves rather than the image of God, not hesitating to cut down our brothers and sisters when they don’t conform?  Have we lost sight of the fact that we are supposed to be the image of a God who is abounding in mercy, goodness, graciousness, and longsuffering?

And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”
-Exodus 34:6-7

I want to share one more Core Value verse with you, one that has been a focus for me over the past year, one that God keeps bringing back to me.

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord
-Hebrews 12:14

How do we present the image of the one true God to the world, being right and honorable image-bearers for His name’s sake?  – We pursue peace with all people, as well as holiness.  We don’t forsake those things that we realized we weren’t taught, the holiness in our walk of Sabbath, Kosher, Feasts, Tassels, and more.  We most definitely need those physical acts of holiness to point the world around us to the invisible God that desires an intimate relationship with all – but when we pursue holiness without peace, without walking out that holiness honorably, the world cannot and will not see the true image of God.

www.beitshalommonroe.com
www.facebook.com/beitshalommonroe
220 Desiard St
Monroe, La. 71201
(318) 789-7359




What is the Temple? – New Talmidim Teacher Hangout *FREE**LIVE* Wednesday 9/7/16 @ 8pm EST

wit-newThe Wisdom in Torah Talmidim teachers are back with some new faces (but without mine – I am too busy getting my house ready to sell for our move to the wilds of Idaho!). The topic will be:

What is the Temple? The Use of Metaphor in Paul’s Writings

If you want to do some prep work ahead of time (recommended) it is suggested that you read I Cor 1-3

Scheduled for the round table discussion are Rico Cortes, Ryan White, Matthew Vander Els, Matt Nappier and Nathan Mancuso.

You can find the teaching at the following link on Wednesday night




Talmidim Hangout *LIVE* and *FREE* on youtube, Wednesday June 29 at 8:30 -9:45pm EST

wit-newThis week we’re taking a break from our busy schedules to get together and discuss the meaning of Encroachment and the Judgement of Elohim from this week’s and next week’s Torah portions of Shela Lecha and Korah! What happens when we try to take someone else’s gifts for ourselves? What happens when we demand things that are not ours by right or give what God has given to one person, family or nation to another person, family or nation?

That will include me, Rico Cortes of wisdomintorah.com, Ryan White of rootedintorah.com and Matthew Vander Els of Foundedintruth.com. Small panel – maybe we will run out of things to talk about early!

Here’s our youtube channel – be there or don’t be there, your choice!




New WIT Talmidim *FREE TEACHING* Live on Youtube, Wednesday May 11, @ 8pm EST – Corinth, Ephesus, Rome, Galatia and the cities of Revelation!

wit-newHey all, we’re back again for another WIT hangout – we’ll be talking about the context of the Mediterranean world.

Last I heard, Rico Cortes will be talking about Corinth, Matthew Vander Els about Ephesus, I will be talking about Galatia, I imagine Ryan White will be talking about Rome, and Dinah Dye will be wrapping everything up by talking about the seven cities of Revelation. Should be a great time!

Here’s the link to our youtube channel, be there live or catch it later when it gets posted.

Here’s the final show – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uXIXgnEY3k




WIT-Talmidim Roundtable live on Youtube Wednesday, March 9, 2016 @ 8PM EST

wit-newBack by popular demand (and some of you guys have been pretty demanding haha), we will be having a roundtable discussion where each of the teachers will explain their study process into their specialty fields and of the Bible in general. Here’s the link to our youtube channel. There’s a lot of interest out there in studying and verifying what we are being taught – this is your chance to find out how we do what we do, how we select and reject source material, why we use multiple sources, etc. and how we tell if a teaching is true or false based on that research.

In attendance will be (as of now):

Rico Cortes of wisdomintorah.com

Dr Dinah Dye of Foundationsintorah.com

Ryan White of Rootedintorah.com

Matthew Vander Els of foundedintruth.com

Daniel McGirr of ancientcovenant.com

and of course, myself, Tyler Dawn Rosenquist of theancientbridge.com and Context for Kids youtube channel.

We are a team of teachers working together in order to keep each other accountable both in what we teach (which we have to be able to document and support through legitimate sources) and how we behave ourselves. Other affiliated teachers, who won’t be in attendance are Joseph Good of jerusalemtemplestudy.com and  Joel Sanchez of crucifiedlifeministries.com.




WIT-Talmidim Teachers – *FREE* July 8, 2015 8pm EST – Citizens of the Kingdom

wit-newWe’re back! Ryan White is going to summarize his incredible new teaching: Citizens of the Kingdom on our youtube channel on July 8, at 8pm CST.

Israel has been the vehicle of God’s salvation for mankind since Abraham came into covenant with Elohim.  The Tanakh is filled with prophecies of the regathering not only of the whole house of Israel, but also the inclusion of the Gentiles/nations into the Kingdom.  The question is, do they remain Gentiles when they are joined to the Kingdom or do they gain full citizenship?  Are they supposed to be treated like second class citizens?  We are going to examine the evidence from the Tanakh, the Brit Chadashah, and from early rabbinical writings to see if those who believe in Yeshua and keep the commandments of Elohim should be separated into the groups of Jew and Gentile, if there is any benefit to converting to Judaism in order to attain “Jewish” status today, and also which commandments the believers in Yeshua should be keeping.

Here is the power point he will be using:  http://rooted-in-torah.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Citizens-of-the-Kingdom.pdf

Homework:

http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/eq/1976-1_003.pdf

http://www.dburnett.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/The-Apostle-Paul-and-the-Introspective-Conscience-of-the-West.pdf

http://markgoodacre.org/PaulPage/New.html

And if you have my new book, King, Kingdom, Citizen: His Reign and Our Identity, I will be covering some of the information from the fourth section, Citizen, as well.
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Other related teachings:
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The Laws of Adoption in the Bible and the Ancient Near East – Rico Cortes
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The Concept of Adoption – Daniel McGirr



WIT Talmidim Teachers 5/6/15 – Introduction to the Imperial Cult in the First Century

Talmidim

Here is the video of the teaching here.

Join us at 8pm EST on Wednesday May 6, 2015 as Rico Cortes teaches on the Imperial Cult. I know, you’ve probably never even heard of that before – Imperial what? It’s specifically mentioned nowhere in scripture and yet we see it in the Gospels, and especially in the writings of Paul and even in Revelation. What was that “render unto Caesar” comment really all about? What was going on in the specific churches that Paul was writing to all over Asia Minor? Why hadn’t Cornelius simply converted to Judaism years before hearing the Gospel from Peter?

Well, I’m not going to tell you. But you can read the homework here

ruler cult

and here

ROMAN IMPERIAL CULT

and tune in for the broadcast here in two weeks as I am still without high speed internet, so we are skipping my regularly scheduled turn, and Rico is having eye surgery done next week – I know prayer would be much appreciated. We all very much appreciate your support and your giving us the opportunity to present you weekly with these free teachings.




April 22, 2015 – WIT Talmidim Teachers present – The Structure of God’s Righteousness and the Perfect Law of Liberty

Talmidim

Here is last night’s teaching, it got very emotional and passionate as this is at the very center of what it means to represent the character of our King.

Join us on Wednesday 8pm EST on our youtube channel as we discover the reality of the “right hand of God” and what it should mean to us. We know God reigns with righteousness, but what does that mean and how does it affect us in our day to day lives? Matthew Vander Els will be taking the helm this week, he is a great teacher and a Pastor in the Charlotte, NC area.

Homework here from Moshe Weinfeld’s Social Justice in Ancient Israel and the Ancient Near East.




April 15, 2015 WIT Talmidim Teachers **LIVE** Teaching – “The Macro-Temple of YHWH in the Cosmos”

three heavensHey all,

Here is the link to last night’s teaching. I will be out of the loop for a month while we have really awful internet access where I am staying while we are waiting to move in to our permanent house. Right now we are staying with some wonderful believers.

Okay, for all of you wanting a head start on next week’s class, Daniel McGirr will be teaching about the way that the Ancients saw the Cosmos. This is another one of those teachings that is essential to understanding the language of the Psalms and Job. The teaching will be accessible through our youtube page here.

Here is Daniel’s description

Understanding Ancient Cosmology.  Ancient Cosmology is the belief of the ancient cultures of how the universe came into existence as well as which god or gods they believed managed that universe. The interesting concept is that this all directly linked to the temples of these gods in the Cosmos.  By investigating these cultural ideas we can begin to look at Genesis 1-3 in its context of of it  being the establishment of YHWH’s Macro-Temple in the Cosmos. Remember that Moshe is shown the pattern of the Heavenly Temple for instructing on how to build the Earthly Tabernacle. We see evidence of this all though out the Bible, including the First Century Writings. With this being the case, I believe it is safe to say the we should be able to see that YHWH would show mankind the template of HIS Macro Temple in the Covenant Text prior to the pattern or microcosm of it extending to the Earth. My hope is that after seeing the evidence of the cultural ideas pertaining to ancient cosmology Macro-Temple of YHWH in the Cosmos, is that we will have a much clearer understanding of Scripture from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 indeed being a “Temple Text, a Text that is written in Temple Language”

Here is the homework that Daniel has provided

Creation as Temple building and work as liturgy in Gen 1-3 

Review of Walton’s Genesis as Cosmology

Genesis 1 as Temple Text in the context of ancient cosmology

And two videos he recommends:

John Walton on Genesis 

and NT Wright on Genesis




How can we all be Priests and Kings?

priestkingEx 19:6a “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.”

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”

If you didn’t get the chance to catch my teaching on this subject on the Wednesday night WIT Talmidim a few weeks back, I encourage you to do so because I laid out a half hour worth of context that I am about to skim over.

What did it mean to be a Priest or a King in the Ancient Near East, in terms of one’s relationship with their god? Well, first of all, the common people had no relationship with the chief deities whatsoever. Whereas they took care of their ancestral teraphim (believed to represent their ancestors, and needed to be fed and cared for), the pantry gods (snakes), and the hearth and threshold gods, the worship of the city gods was the duty only of the chief priests and Kings. This was a professional duty, to care for Ba’al and Ashtoreth and other major deities, so that the universe would run smoothly. The “big gods” had a lot of work to do – causing the sun to shine and the rain to fall and the crops to grow – and so it was the duty of the ruling class to make sure that their physical needs were taken care of. They were dressed in the morning, fed throughout the day and put to bed at night. Now, no one thought that these idols were actually the gods but instead a physical receptacle for the essence of the god. Feeding the idol, therefore, was feeding the essence of the god. A contented god does his or her job and the universe maintains its order, a hungry god gets distracted and cranky and bad things start happening.

To keep this from happening, the priests and kings had very intricate ceremonies that they had to perform. If they did anything wrong, anything at all, the fate of the country would hang in the balance – famine, pestilence, defeat in war, barreness, terrible things. So the common people could not be trusted to pray, and make petitions, and worship – in fact, they didn’t want the common people anywhere near the big gods.

In Ancient Israel however, we see YHVH set up a radical counter-cultural precedent. He didn’t want only the Priests and the Kings to have a relationship with Him, He desired an entire holy Nation that would afford each person individual access. This was not a conferring of position, but a revelation of the type of relationship with the Chief Deity that had always been reserved for priests and kings.

Sadly, I have heard those who call into question the first priesthood as having been replaced. Is this possible, based on Covenant Law? Now, before the golden calf incident, the first-born of the family was intended to be designated priest, but because of the actions of the Levites, the priesthood was given forever to the sons of Aaron as a Royal Grant Covenant, sworn by oath in the Name of YHVH. Note that nowhere in scripture is the priesthood given by Covenant to the firstborn, but it was given by Covenant to the sons of Aaron forever, and the tithes to the Levites. When there is a Temple, it is their privilege and obligation to serve.

Num 18:19-24

All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the Lord, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever before the Lord unto thee and to thy seed with thee.

And the Lord spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel.

And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.

Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die.

But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance.

But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the Lord, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.

 

So we see that there are actual priests, and will be forever, whose job would be the ministry within the Tabernacle/Temple. That actual earthly priesthood cannot be given to anyone else or God has broken his own Covenant, which would bring dishonor to His Name. The Temple duties belong to the sons of Aaron. The tithe belongs to the Levites. We can’t touch either of those without calling God’s integrity into question.

Some might say, “Well what about the Melchizedek Priesthood?”

Well, the Name of Melkizedek is only mentioned three times in scripture – the first being in reference to the actual Melchizedek who Abraham encounters, the second in Psalm 110 and the third in the book of Hebrews, quoting Psalm 110.

Psalm 110:4 The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

And so we have a promise made to one person in the Psalm that they and they alone are a priest forever according to the order, not of Aaron, but of Melchizedek. But we see that only the sons of Aaron may serve as the earthly priesthood, by God’s sworn word. So where is the only remaining place that the Melchizedek priest can serve? As the author of Hebrews states – in the Heavenly Temple. There are human priests who are authorized to serve in the earthly Temple.

Heb 8:3-5 For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. (this is not past tense, but present tense)

For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: (Who cannot be a priest on earth? Yeshua, He is from the wrong tribe and again, we see that there are, present tense, legal priests)

Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. (Present tense, again, the priests serve the purpose of priests – showing us the difference between the holy and the profane, as well as the clean and unclean)

Now, a grant covenant is made to a man and his descendants for good and faithful service, and so Yeshua and His children would be eligible for this “Melchizedek” priesthood. But Yeshua has no children, at all. When we accept His blood we become adopted by the Father, not Yeshua, so we are all of us neither eligible to be actual priests in the Heavenlies nor here on earth. It would be illegal. We are not descendants of the Melchizedek priest but children of the Living God – whom the eternal  Heavenly priest serves.

Neither are we actual literal Kings because the Kingship was given by Covenant only to David and his descendants through Solomon.

No, those who make us literal priests and literal kings must do so outside of the context that those to whom the Bible was directly written would have understood. They knew that the big deities were only in relationship with the priests and kings – from the time of Abraham up to and beyond the time of Yeshua, from the pantheon of the Ancient Near East to the Imperial Cult of Rome. The big gods were for the big people, not the common people. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob changed all that.

He gave a holy Nation access to Himself. He did not give them all the same function, but He did give them all the same rights to pray, petition and worship. He made a Nation with priestly access and kingly access to Himself. It was nothing short of revolutionary.

If you want to study for yourself, here are two very excellent books, one by John Walton and the other by Everett Ferguson.