Believers Are True Catholic Priests
The word Catholic in Greek word is Katholikos and in Latin word is Catholicus—meaning universal or general. And God is the creator of the universe and everything in it. And the Bible tells us that believers or born again Christians are the children of God.
When Paul was talking to Galatians, he said in (Gal 3:26): “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Then in (Gal 4:6-7) he says, “because you are sons, God sent the spirit of His son into our hearts, the spirit who calls out Abba Father. So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.”
Then in (Ep 1:4-5) he says, “for he chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.”
It is shown today that believers are universal or catholic because we could find believers from different races or different religious groups in the world, either Christian or non-Christian denomination. All who truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are universal or catholic and they are called Children of God, Priest, Saint, Holy and Righteous. Because believers are also called Priest, (Rev 20:6), (Rev 1:16), and they are universal or catholic, then, they are also called universal or catholic priest, not Roman Catholic Priest.
To call all believers to be the true universal or Catholic priests is presented in the word of God, the Bible. In order to clearly understand the true meaning of a true universal or catholic priest, we should go back to the beginning, to trace the root or origin of priesthood in the Bible.
The Bible presented two orders of priesthood. The Priesthood Order of Melchizedek and the Priesthood Order of Aaron or Levitical Order.
Our Lord Jesus Christ could never have been a levitical priest because he was born of the tribe of Judah (Heb 7:14) and not the Tribe of Levi. Thus he must be associated with another Order of Priests, that of Melchizedek. Both Christ and Melchizedek were men (Heb 7:4); (1 Tim 2:5), both were king and priest (Gen 14:18); (Zech 6:12-13), both were appointed directly by God (Heb 7:21), both were called “King of Righteousness”, and “King of Peace” (Isa 11:5-9); (Heb 7:2). Melchizedek is clearly a type of Christ.
The first priest mentioned in the Bible was the priest of the most high god. His name was Melchizedek. (Gen 14:18) says “Then Melchizedek King of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God most high and blessed Abram! This man just walks out on the page of scripture with bread and wine, he blesses Abram, and then he walks off the page of scripture and that is it. I wonder where he came from, where he is going.”
Melchizedek is mentioned three times in scripture. In addition to this passage in Genesis, he is also mentioned in Psalm 110:4 which is prophetic of Christ. “…You are priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” Finally he is mentioned several times in Hebrews. The portrait of Melchizedek in Hebrew 7:3 says that he is “without father or mother, without geneology, without beginning of days or end of life, like the son of God he remains a priest forever”.
Here Melchizedek is a picture of Christ and a type of Christ in another way. The Lord Jesus comes out of eternity, and he moves into eternity. He has no beginning and no end. He is the beginning. He is the end. He encompasses all of time and all of eternity. Now how can you find a man who pictures that? Melchizedek is in the book of Genesis, a book that gives pedigrees. It is a book of families. But God did not leave out the geneology of Melichizedek, because he was to be a type of the Lord Jesus in his priesthood.
The preeminence of the Melchizedek Priesthood is explained in Hebrew 7:11 which says “If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical Priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come—one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron”? Another proof that Christ is superior to the law and its priesthood is that the law could not give the people perfection, complete communion with God. The sacrificial Levitical system never achieved its aim.
Then in Hebrew 7:12 says “For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law.” We are not under Mosaic Law. The Mosaic Law belonged to the Aaronic Priesthood where they offered bloody sacrifices. The Mosaic Law and the Aaronic Priesthood go together.
Then in (Heb 7:13-14) says, “He of whom these things are said beloned to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about Priest.” The Lord Jesus came in the Tribe of Judah and therefore he could never be a priest here on Earth. The priestly tribe of Levi. The priesthood had to be changed since Christ did not come from Levi.
Then in (Heb 7:15-17) says “and what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. For it is declared: You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek”. This is what the prophecy in Psalm 110 said concerning Messiah who was to come. Christ became a priest by his resurrection from the dead; he has an endless life.
Then in (Heb 7:18-19) says “The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (For the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.” The Mosaic Law was set aside. It never gave what man must have: perfection. We come to God through Christ. We have seen that the Lord Jesus Christ is a perpetual priest and he is a perfect priest. The Aaronic Priesthood could not meet the requirement. Now we have a perfect priest and that one is the Lord Jesus Christ. He has provided salvation for all who believe. God has taken us out of Adam and put us in Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” We are no longer joined to Adam but are now joined to the living Christ (2 Cor 5:17).
And in (Heb 7:20-21) says “And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him: The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: you are a priest forever.” One thing that makes the priesthood of Christ superior is the very simple fact that it rests not only upon the word of God but upon the Oath of God. All the Old Testament tells us that the Tribe of Levi is that they were set aside for that particular function—no oath was given concerning them.
Then in (Heb 7:22) says “Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.” We have not only a better priesthood in Jesus Christ, but it is also by a better covenant. Chris is our high priest. He ministers in a superior sanctuary, by a better covenant, and built upon better promises.
“Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he was a permanent priesthood” (Heb 7:23-24). In other words, the Aaronic Priesthood of the Old Testament always ended by death. Aaron died, just as Moses did. In his death they lost their high Priest, the one who had gone with them from through the wilderness. The one who knew them and understood them. Now they would have to have a new priest. And we do not have to have a new priest. And we do not have a changing priesthood—Christ will always live to make intercession for us.
At the death of Christ several very notable things took place. One was an earthquake. Another one was the veil in the temple, the curtain which separated the Holy of Hollies from the rest of the temple was torn in two. (Matt 27:50-51) says “And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to its bottom. The quake shook and the rocks split.” Notice the veil was torn, not from the bottom to the top but from top to bottom. It was rent by God, not by Man. The veil symbolizes the body of Jesus. When His body was torn upon the cross, when he had paid the penalty for our sins in his own body, then the way was opened into the presence of God for us. Therefore, we do not have to have a priest or a preacher go into the presence of God for us; we can go directly to the throne of God through Christ. Let’s emphasize that the only way to the Father is through His Son. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5).
It has been told previously that Christ became a priest forever by his resurrection from the dead. He could never be a priest here on earth, because he came from the Tribe of Judah, and the priestly tribe on Earth was the Tribe of Levi. The priesthood had to be changed since Christ did not come from Levi.
Now Christ is in Heaven and is seating at the right hand of the Father. (Heb 10:11-12) says “Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest (Christ) had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.” The offerings could only cover the sin; they were an atonement, but they could never take away sins. The offerings were just a reminder that men were sinners and that the sin question had not yet been settled. But Christ after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, he sat down on the right had of god, meaning his work was finished—“One sacrifice for sins forever.” And he was designated by God to be high priest in order of Melchizedek (Heb 5:10).
There are many verses in the Bible that believers or children of God are called Priests. (Rev 1:5-6) says “To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father—To Him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.” Believers are a Kingdom of Priests and are going to rule with Jesus Christ ). (Rev 20:6) says “Blesses and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.” (1 Peter 2:5) says, “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a Holy Priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (Acts 6:7) says “So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priest became obedient to the faith.”
Now that it has been shown that believers in the Bible are called Priest and they are Universal or Catholic so they are the true Catholic Priest, not Roman Catholic Priest, and Jesus Christ is their High Priest who is now seated at the right hand of God in Heaven and the mediator between God and Man.
I know that a big question will be asked. How can believers become the true Catholic Priests? What is their fuction? What is their religion? What church do they belong?
It is obvious that if there are true Catholic Priests, there must also be a true religion and a true church. To understand the functions of a true Catholic Priest, first we must understand the meaning of a true religion and a true church in which true Catholic Priests functions are base in the word of God.
The True Religion in the New Testament
What is the meaning of religion? From the Greek word “threskeia”, comes the Latin, “re-ligio”. And from “re-ligio”, the English word “religion” was formed. The meaning is accurately derived from the Latin “re-ligio”. “Re” means again; and “ligio” means to tie. Therefore, the English word “religion” means “to tie again.”
Man Needs the True Religion; There is Only One True Religion
The True Religion or the True “Tie Again” of man to God can be outlined
First: God created man. God put man and his wife in the Garden of Eden. They were created sinless. God and man had a perfect fellowship and right relationship with each other.
Second: Man committed sin against God. Adam and Eve commited only one sin. That one sin was enough to break their fellowship and relationship with God. Broken from God, man suffered the death penalty; which is spiritual separation from God (Isa 59:2); (Eph 2:11). The children of Adam and Even, of course, up to the present, have committed many more sins. The broken gap between man and God must be so wide due to the thick wall of sins he committed. Man faces two problems as he stands before a Holy God: his sins, and the death penalty imposed on him.
Third: Man’s immediate need, therefore, is to be tied back to God, before physical death comes. Physical death will send his soul to hell, and that will end his chance to be reconciled to God. Man needs the true “re-ligio”—true “tie-again”. There are so many false ones, so many pretenders.
Man cries: who can tie me back to God? Who can pay for my death penalty? Who can wash away all my sins? No man, born in sin, can meet the challenge. The need is a sinless one.
So God, in His love for sinners, sent His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. “In due time Christ died for the ungodly—God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:6,8). Yes, he lived on this earth for 33 years, yet without sin. “That he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” (Heb 2:9). “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God…” (1 Pet 3:18). And when he died on the cross, he shed his precious blood, and that blood of the lamb has the power to cleanse any repentant sinner from all his sins, thus removing every single sin that separates him from God.
Fourth: Therefore, Christ, who died and shed His blood, is the True Religion-The True “Tie Again” of man to God. He paid man’s death penalty, and removed all the sins of the believer (1 John 1:7, Rev 5:9).
Religion and Reconciliation
Both terms, religion and reconciliation, as seen in the life of the believer produce the same result. (2 Cor 5:18-19) says, “and all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ—to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.
Three Marks of a True Religion
First: Initiated by God. “And all things are of God” (2 Cor 5:18). All false religions are man made. The True “Tie Again” re-ligio was all arranged by God. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son…” (John 3:16).
Second: There is a death of a sinless substitute. “….the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Christ died for the ungodly. “For He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin…” (2 Cor 5:21). Yes, Christ, the true religion, paid our death penalty as our sinless substitute.
Third: There is a shed blood. The blood of the lamb shed on Calvary’s Cross was an absolute necessity to effect reconciliation by the removal of all sins in the human heart. The blood of Christ that purify the heart of believer facilitates the entrance of Christ, effecting perfect restoration of full fellowship and establishing right relationship between God and man.
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith…” (Ep 3:17); Chris liveth in me” (Gal 2:20); “…now if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom 8:9); “…which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27). Christ, the true religion, must enter the heart of man, the effect of salvation.
Christ may only be in the mouth and lips of man. Christ said, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me…” (Matt 15:8, 9a).
Jesus Christ, who died and shed his blood, is the true religion in the new testament. “For I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2).
Marks of a False Religion
First: It is man-made, or initiated by a mere man.
Second: There is no death of a sinless substitute
Third: There is no shed blood
The Man-Made Religion
When Adam and Even committed sin against God, they realized at once that they had sinned; that they were naked; and could not possible face a Holy God. The unconsciousness of a broken relationship bothered their consciousness and immediately both tried to remedy the awful situation. They expected God to come into the garden soon, “and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons” (Gen 3:7). Was that sufficient to cover their sins and establish connection between them and the Holy God? Could they now, with their aprons, stand before God? Genesis 3:8 says, “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and Even his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” Then in verse 9 says, “and the Lord God called unto Adam and said unto him, where art thou?” Adam lost his fellowship with God. Their coverings would not do before a Holy God. Why? First: It was man-made. Second: There was no death of a sinless substitute. Third: There was no shed blood.
God Provides the True Religion
After giving in detail his punishment to the serpent, God in Genesis 3:15, promised Adam and Eve a redeemer, “and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou (Satan) shalt bruise his heel.” In this verse, spoken to the devil, God said, the redeemer should be the seed of the woman, and Satan shalt bruise his heel, nailing him to the tree.
True Religion Demonstrated
After the promise in (Gen 3:15), God demonstrated (in Gen 3:21) what should be done to the redeemer. “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” It means, God took a lamb, no doubt, without blemish and without spot, and before Adam and Eve, killed the lamb (as Adam and Eve’s sinless substitute), shedding the blood of the lamb (as covering for their sins), and with the skin of the same lamb, God himself, made coats of skins and clothed them. Here are manifested the three marks of the True Religion: First: God made it—He did it. Second: The lamb died as Adam and Eve’s sinless substitute. And third: the shed of blood of the lamb covered their sins, and the skin covered their nakedness. The lamb who died and shed his blood, pointed to the lamb of God—the seed of the woman—whom Satan crucified and whose heels were bruised. This simply means that, in shadow or symbol, Jesus Christ, the lamb of God, was the religion also of the old testament. Jesus, therefore, is the True Religion of both the Old and the New Testaments. While we, in the New Testament, are looking backward, they, in the Old Testament, were looking forward.
The True Church
Acts 2:47 (KJV) says “and the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
Only saved persons are added to the True Church
It is the Lord that adds saved ones to His church
The adding of the saved ones is done daily
The True Church is composed of saved ones only
No unsaved person is in Christ’s True Church
Meaning of Church
The word “church” and what it stands for is derived form the Greek word “ecclesia”, which means, an assembly of called-out ones. In the proper use of the term, the church is a congregation of saved people, called by God through Christ, constituting themselves as a body of believers, for worship and fellowship and the spread of the gospel to all nations. This refers to a local church. In a fuller sense, the church is the body of believers from all over the world, called from the time of Christ’s death to His second coming; some are physically dead and other are still alive, and whose names are all written in the lamb’s book of life. This is the Universal Church.
Added by the Lord to the Church
First: Any man with the spirit of Christ in his heart is saved from sin and death; saved by grace through faith (Ep 2:8). He possesses the True Religion (Christ) in his heart. “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith” (Ep 3:17).
Second: That very moment Christ entered his heart, being saved, the Lord added his name. First, to the Universal Church. The Lord wrote his name in the book of life of the lamb—in heaven (Rev 20:15, 21:27). Then the Lord added him to the local church, a local congregation of saved believers, by water baptism. A true believer as God’s child, must obey God’s command to receive water baptism. By this public confession he is known to the world as a believer: that he is not ashamed to confess Christ before men. He meets regularly with all saved believers for fellowship, worship, the study of the word, and the spread of the gospel. The house of worship is the chapel. The True Church, therefore, is a group of saved people. They believe that they are saved and know and confess it. They believe that their sins are all washed away by the blood of the lamb shed on Calvary’s Cross, and believing they are children of God, they are sure that they are going to heaven after their short sojourn on this earth.
Marks of Satan’s Imitation Church
Satan, the author of confusion, has established his own local churches all over the world. Some outstanding marks can be easily noted:
First: Their plan of salvation is by good works and other human efforts. They profess salvation but not possess it.
Second: They do not claim assurance of salvation as a present possession. No assurance.
Third: Their claim of salvation is a future possibility, perhaps or maybe.
Fourth: The text of the Holy scriptures are used as pretext, not based in the scripture.
Fifth: The blood of Christ, as a must in the salvation of the soul from sin, is avoided. They reject the blood.
Christ and the True Church
First: The True Church is Divinely Instituted
“And I (Jesus) say also unto you, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock (Christ the Son of the living God) I will build my church” (Matt 16:18); (1 Cor 10:4).
Second: Christ is the Foundation of the True Church
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 3:11).
Third: Christ is the Cornerstone of the True Church
“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God. And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone. In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an Holy Temple in the Lord. In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ep 2:19-22).
Fourth: The True Church is Blood-Bought.
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves. And to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).
Fifth: Christ Died for the Church
“…Even as Christ also loved the Church and gave himself for it” (Ep 5:25).
Sixth: The True Church is the Body of Christ
“So we, being many, are one body in Christ and everyone members one of another” (Rom 12:5). “Now ye are the body of Christ. And members in particular” (1 Cor 12:27). Christ is the “head over all things to the church, which is His body the fullness of Him which filleth all in all” (Eph 1:22-23; 4:12; Col 1:24).
Seventh: The True Church is the Bride of Christ
(Eph 5:21-32); (Rev 19:7-9)
Written by Osmundo Sabado
Edited by Orman Sabado