Besides the job of keeping the temple clean and pure, the Levite priests had the important task of giving various offerings to the Lord. Christ is the High Priest. He made the final sacrifice for sins by offering His body up on the cross. Thus, we no longer need to make animal sacrifices. “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10). Because of this, the Father says, “their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more” (Hebrews 10:17).
There is still another kind of offering that the priests made that we are to continue to make today. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness and into His wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). We are still to give offerings of praise. No longer are we to bring incense, but our praises, worship, and prayers are the “incense” we are to offer to God. “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of our lips that confess His name” (Hebrews 13:15). Throughout each day, we should be speaking out praises to God through giving thanks (Philippians 4:6), words of adoration, worship songs, and admonishing and teaching others with God’s Word (Colossians 3:15-16).
Revelation 5:8 and 8:3-4 reveal to us that our prayers are “incense” offered to the Lord. As we intercede in prayer for others, we are actually engaging in spiritual warfare to defeat the enemy (2 Corinthians 10:4). We are doing the work of a minister as we pray for God’s will to come about in others’ lives.
Finally, the role of priest and minister in the New Covenant church (that is us!) is to preach the gospel and use the spiritual gifts God has given us to help fulfill the Great Commission. We have been given the “ministry of reconciliation.” Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5 that this entails telling others the message of the gospel and how they can be reunited with God through Christ. In fact, he calls us “Christ’s ambassadors” (2 Corinthians 5:20). An ambassador lives as an alien in another country representing his home country. Through him, others are to understand the customs, thinking, policies, culture, and government of his nation. In the same way, we are Christ’s ambassadors, helping others to understand about heaven, God, and our “heavenly culture” on earth. We are now a holy nation, living as “aliens and strangers in the world” (1 Peter 2:11), making disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18).
Ask the Lord how He wants you to fulfill your role as His priest and minister. What changes does He want you to make?