In the Old Testament the anointing for priests is described in Exodus 28 :41, “Then you shall put them on Aaron your brother and on his sons with him; and you shall anoint them and ordain them and consecrate them, so that they may serve Me as priests”. The Aaronic priesthood came forth from the Levites who were set aside, appointed by God, for their work as mediators between God and man, by offering sacrifices in the tabernacle and subsequently the temple. They were anointed with oil as described in Exodus 30:22-33 in which the oil is described as an agent for consecration of the tabernacle and the articles therein. This was to show the people of Israel who were the appointed priests and which were the articles to be used in the tabernacle. The anointing with oil in and of itself had no relevant significance, but as an outward sign to the people and as an assurance to the priest of his appointment.
In the New Testament there is no longer a need for mediation between humanity and God, because of the role of Jesus the Christ. There is no reference of priests within the New Testament experience, however it is noted in 1 Peter 2:9 (NASB) “But you are A CHOSEN PEOPLE, 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 marvellous light”. As all flesh was anointed by the Holy Spirit in accordance with the Joel 2:28 prophecy, we have all been anointed as priests since Pentecost. So therefore the roles of the Old Testament type priests are now restricted to the execution of the rites for believers, such as marriage, funerals and the appointment of officers for a congregation. They are more likely to fill the roles of administrators, and in the New Testament are usually referred to as ‘elders’. If we acknowledge their ‘eldership’ with the ‘laying on of hands’ and/or ‘anointing’, then it is as an outward sign to the people and as an assurance to the ‘elder’ (priest, pastor, reverend, etc) of their appointment . But as a Royal Priesthood, our priestly mediation is as intercessory prayer for others and the Creation.
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