Friday, May 31, 2013
Reading from Hebrews the other day and noticed an interesting correlation between the Levite priesthood under the Old Covenant and the New Testament priesthood of believers.
Under the Old Covenant, the Levitical priests were allowed to eat what was offered on the altar. Whether that was a sacrificed lamb or bull, after the animal was sacrificed and burnt on the altar, they were given the leftover meat to feed themselves and their families. In fact, it was one of the various ways that the other tribes of Israel provided for the well-being of those Levites who worked in the temple and had no land or property of their own.
Paul references this principle here:
“Don't you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar?” (1 Cor. 9:13)
Now, what struck me was how Jesus gave us His body to eat and stressed that if we did not eat it (receive His sacrifice) that we would not have life in us.
“Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.” (John 6:53-56)
Not only is this meant to illustrate the need for us to have the life of Christ within us, I believe it’s also meant to correspond to the sacrificial lamb which is eaten only by the priesthood.
So, because we who are in Christ are now members of the new Priesthood of Believers, we are privileged to eat of the One true sacrifice of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
No one else is allowed to eat of this sacrificial food from off of God’s altar, only those who are of the true priesthood.
Because we are the new priesthood of a new covenant, we are allowed to eat the body of the sacrificial lamb that was laid on the altar in sacrifice for our sins.