"Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession. He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house...but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house - whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end." Hebrews 3:1-2,6
We are holy set apart and chosen by God with a heavenly calling, to have a heavenly/eternal mindset and express heaven now...in relation to this we are exhorted to consider Jesus - the Apostle and High Priest.
Our heavenly calling is not merely related to our gaining access to heaven through the mediating work of Christ, but partaking of Christ and His heavenly calling (Heb 3:14) - as an Apostle and Priest. To enter into a heavenly mindset and fulfill our heavenly call, we must understand the priestly nature of our calling.
Apostle - Identifies Christ as the fully accredited representative of heaven...in the earth and before people. He is called, appointed and sent by God as the commissioned representative of Heaven and the Father.
Priest - Indentifies speaks of the work of Christ - who was set apart to carry out duties associated with worship and sacrifice and mediation/intercession.
The apostolic and priestly nature of Christ's heavenly call go together and cannot be separated. Consequently, we are not heavenly or apostolic unless we are priestly. We cannot hope to enter into a heavenly mindset unless we enter into a priestly mindset and reality. Today, the church is devoid of that which is truly heavenly and apostolic, because we are devoid of the reality of priesthood.
"And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ...You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9
The material reality of the temple and priesthood of the Old Testament are now superseded by the true heavenly reality of the Body of Christ - being built up into a spiritual temple of priests ("the priesthood of all believers") through the work of Jesus.
"He was faithful to Him who appointed Him." Hebrews 3:2
We have become His house and we must maintain our faithful commitment and service to it...as Jesus remains faithful - as "Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek" (Hebrews 6:20).
1. Priesthood is the call to faithfully minister to God...before anything else.It represents the sacrifice of our time and our earthly focus to enter into the presence of God and serve Him in the heavenly sanctuary.
"Therefore, brethren, since we have free access to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." Hebrews 10:19-22
2. Priesthood is the call to faithfully separate from that which is earthly and stand with heaven. We are called to wage war against the flesh and the ways of man, separating out the precious from the worthless.
"'Whoever is for the Lord, come to me!' And all the sons of Levi gathered together to him. He said to them, 'Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, "Every man of you put his sword upon his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate in the camp, and kill every man his brother, and every man his friend, and every man his neighbor." Exodus 32:26-27
"Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for my sake will find it." Matthew 10:34-39
3. Priesthood is the call to faithfully minister to the spiritual house - the people of God. Individualism and self-centeredness have nothing to do with priesthood. Being a priest of God means giving ourselves and our gifts in the service of God's people in community - as a living stone being built up together as a dwelling place for God.
"I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect...Since we have gifts that differ accordingly to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly." Romans 12:1-2, 6
The Holy Spirit is coming to purify and refining us as His royal priesthood in this hour...so we will be prepared for His coming and what is coming upon the earth.
"'Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,' says the Lord of hosts. 'But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness." Malachi 3:1-4
The work of the Holy Spirit is to refine us, so that we can fulfill our heavenly priestly calling before Him and in the earth. In these last days, the Lord will have a people of His own possession - and "there will be a distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him" (Mal 3:18).
Not all will respond, but to those who fear His name, "the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. You will tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing" (Mal 4:2-3).