We read in Matthew 2:3 that Jerusalem was troubled by the message of the wise men, especially King Herod as well as the religious leaders. That same city, supposedly, the Holy City that was called the city of David, would find no interest in the things of God. (see our article, “The Wise Men”). That of course, was the time of the birth of Jesus. Now thirty years later, Jesus set His face to go to Jerusalem to offer Himself up as a living sacrifice and as a lamb slain for the sins of the world.
Luke 9:51, And it came to past, when the time was come that He should be received up, He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.
The expression, to be received up by Luke, means after His death, resurrection, and ascension. The miracles that were done by Jesus were for a Divine purpose. No miracles were done for the purpose of showmanship or to entice the crowds. Because of Jesus nearing the end of His ministry, there was one more miracle that needed to be accomplished by Him before His death, that is, the raising of Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, from the dead. When Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick unto death, He waited two days (John 11:6) before going to Lazarus.
The Apostle Peter says that a day with the Lord is as a thousand years, (2nd Peter 3:8). John 11:17 tells us that Lazarus was dead four days already. Applying Peters statement of a thousand years being equal to a day with the Lord, we can ask the question, what happened four thousand years ago? Going back that amount of time would be approximately the time in Genesis when Christ as the Tree of Life was rejected by Adam and Eve. That event of rejection caused all men to be void of the life of God and as good as dead, Romans 5:12. Jesus ,waiting two days after hearing Lazarus being sick unto death would go back to the first mention of a priest, Melchizedek, who met with Abraham, Genesis 14. At that time, Abraham fought to rescue his nephew Lot when suddenly we read about the Melchizedek priesthood, King of Salem, blessing Abraham. The raising of Lazarus was in type, God’s priesthood that had been dead for four thousand years, finally instilled into a man. Now, even though there will be a death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God’s priesthood would be established on the earth.
Why the Name Lazarus?
In the Old Testament, one son of Aaron, who was a faithful priest, was Eleazar. Eleazar is the Hebrew name that is the equivalent of Lazarus in the Greek language. Eleazar was a fine priest during his time but his priesthood was interrupted by reason of death. Because of human imperfection, the priesthood would cease to continue as God had intended until someone came along who was perfect in carrying out the will and Divine judgments of God.
The attitude of the religious leaders towards Lazarus was the same attitude they had towards Jesus. They knew that they were going to lose their following if they did nothing,
John 12:10, But the chief priests consulted together that they might put Lazarus to death also.
Jesus raised His Holy priesthood to rule as He would rule after His death and the religious leaders felt threaten.
At the time of the Exodus, we can read that all who were under the bondage of the Egyptians were considered by God as a priest.
Exodus 19:5, Now therefore, if you obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people, for all the earth is mine. 6, and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priest, and a Holy nation. These shall be the words ye shall speak to the children of Israel.
After God had rescued the people from Egyptian bondage, He considers all to be priests to Him. Even today, under New Testament teachings, we read where the Apostle Peter makes the same statement in 1st Peter 2:5 as was stated in Exodus 19:5. God gives His people freedom for the purpose of serving Him.
Jesus Christ told Peter that He, Christ would build his church (Matthew 16:18), and not even the gates of hell would prevail in accomplishing this. There can be no building of the church except through the spirit. No denomination, no seminary, no church history or doctrine will ever be used by God to build the true church and the kingdom of God. It is through the Spirit that God’s work will be accomplished. Zechariah 4:6 says, not by might, or by power, but My Spirit. This is one of the reasons why there are so many different denominations with many kinds of teachings. Down through the ages there have been many of God’s truths lost or watered down, especially the knowledge of worshiping God in the spirit.
John 4:23, But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. 24, God is a Spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth.
God created the ears for hearing, the eyes for seeing, the nose for smelling, and He created the spirit in man for a special function also. The spirit in man was created to be mingled with God’s spirit. The Apostle Paul says that man is composed with a spirit, soul, and body, 1st Thessalonians 5:23. Jesus says that the only way to communicate with God is through the spirit.
Because of the sin nature in man, God had to raise up, in type, the Aaronic priest order for the dealing with the sin nature in man. God had to deal with the sin nature in man through the sacrifice of Christ. The Aaronic order satisfies man’s sin because we are all brought to God through the redeeming blood of Christ.
There Are Two Orders of Priest, The Aaronic order and the Melchezedek Order.
The 1st order of the priesthood is a Holy priesthood. This is , in type, where we as Aaron confess our sins as well as the sins of the nation.
2nd Peter 2:5, Ye also as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an Holy Priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices by Jesus Christ.
We will be accepted by God because we believe that Christ is the propitiation, atonement sacrifice between man and God. Christ has made it possible for us to enter the Holy place, and the most Holy place. The mingling of our human spirit with God’s Holy Spirit is then accomplished. Jesus Christ has dealt with our sin, and the only thing we can offer up is ourselves, Romans 12:1, through the sacrifice of Christ.
We need to claim Christ as our burnt offering, the meal offering, the trespass offering as well as the sin offering. These offerings that Christ became are the only offerings acceptable to God. We can’t offer up anything of ourselves. Even our natural goodness and ability, typified by honey, Leviticus 2:11, will not be accepted. Without Christ, all our works are dead works, Hebrews 9:14. We need to confess our sins, our shortcomings, our mistakes to Him as well as the need of other believers and the needs of the nation. When we do this as a priest, our spirit will open up for God has accepted our prayer because of the grace through faith of the sacrifice of Christ.
Another thing needs to be said concerning the Holy place and the most Holy place. When we, as Aaron, enter the Holy place, in type, it is completely dark. There are no openings to let light in. Only a veil to allow our entrance. In the Holy place there is the golden lamp-stand, the oil and the wick. God is represented by the golden lamp-stand, the oil is represented by Christ, and we, as priests are represented by the wick. Without the lighting of the wick, there would only be darkness. We, as the wick, are always growing by the burning of the imperfections within, because of our sinful nature judged by God’s fiery law, Deuteronomy 33:2; Jeremiah 23:29. Examining ourselves by the standard of God’s leading and His fiery law is what lights the wick.If we don’t confess our sins and our shortcomings, we may be in the Holy place but we will be in complete darkness and never realize that the table of show-bread, God’s word, is within our reach but we will not see it or if we did, will not understand it.. As long as we are in the flesh, growth will come but perfection will never come. Thanks to Christ, He is our perfection and light.
The 2nd order of the priesthood is the Melchizedek order.
1st Peter 2:9, But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a particular people, that ye should show the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
The 2nd order is a royal and kingly order, sent by God to minister to the people and supply them in their needs. We first hear of this kingly order in Genesis fourteen.
Genesis 14:18, And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine, and He was the priest of the most high God.
Because God has accepted the sacrifice of Jesus, Jesus has entered into the Melchizedek royal kingly order.
Hebrews 6:20, Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made a high priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.
Melchizedek brought forth bread and wine. These are the same items that are used at the Lords table, the Passover. As priests we take Aaron’s holy priesthood position as to confession and the dealing of sin and God supplies us with our needs through the Melchizedek priesthood. We then have something to share with others. We as God’s redeemed people should use both functions
There is one other statement of importance that needs to be said to satisfy the workings of God’s Holy Spirit, and that is truth. We can never substitute the traditions and distortions of men in the place of God’s truth, Matthew 15:3; Mark 7:13.
The priesthood consists of two functions, or better said, two witnesses. One on the earth and the other in the heavens. The principle is the same as completing a circuit with electricity through wires to light a light bulb. If there is a break in one of the wires, the light bulb will not work.
While Christ ministered on the earth, there was no Holy order of priests. The religious leaders were all put in place by the Roman Government. This is why Christ was put to death and the life of Lazarus was at risk. Christ had to raise Lazarus from the dead picturing the Aaronic priesthood as being dead also. Both men, Lazarus and Jesus were both raised by resurrection. one to remain on the earth and the other seated on a throne in the heavens. If there is no earthy ministry, God will never be able to supply the needs of the people. Now, because of the work of Jesus raising the Aaronic priesthood and He being seated as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the circuit is complete and our needs are supplied.