THE PRIESTHOOD OF THE BELIEVER
THE "IF" "THEN" PROPOSITION
In human history, God made two covenants with the house of Israel. Speaking about these covenants the writer to the Hebrews, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote, “Behold, days are coming, says the LORD, WHEN I WILL EFFECT A NEW COVENANT with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah ...When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear. (Hebrews 8:8, 13) A summary of the covenant spoken about in Hebrews 8 can be found in (Exodus 19:5 & 6).
"Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." (Exodus 19:5 & 6) The first covenant as stated in verse 8 above was conditional upon Israel's obedience to God's voice and keeping His covenant. Had Israel obeyed God then according to Exodus 19 they would have been God's own possession among all the peoples, they also would have become a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.
By the word "among" in the phrase "...you shall be My own possession among all the peoples..." we understand to mean that Israel was to be a light of God's will to the surrounding nations. In fact, what they did become was a warning of taking the Lord's name in vain. To take God's name in vain was to profess oneself an Israelite or a child of God when no such thing was true. The same is true today about anyone who professes themselves to be a Christian when in reality no repentance and faith are present.
To be a priest was to be one who interceded for the people on behalf of God, and to intercede with God on behalf of the people. Israel failed miserably as a kingdom of priests. They were forbidden to interact with the people because God understood that such interactions with corrupt the people worse and make their testament to their God even more blasphemous. The only way for God to make people His own possession and for them to become a kingdom of priests and a holy or complete nation would be if He accomplished the work Himself.
Therefore, God instituted a second covenant. The first covenant was conditional upon the people keeping the law of God. Actually there is little difference in this regard between the first and the second covenants. The difference being who is the source of man's obedience. Man must be obedient to God, oh, not for salvation but for priesthood and holiness. So in the second covenant, God became the source of eternal obedience through the death and resurrection of His beloved Son. Concerning the second covenant, God said the law made no one perfect.
"For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near." (Hebrews 10:1) Therefore, the terms of the second covenant were not contingent upon men but upon God in the person of the Son.
"Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, "SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME; IN WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE TAKEN NO PLEASURE. “THEN I SAID, ‘BEHOLD, I HAVE COME (IN THE SCROLL OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF ME) TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD.’” (Hebrews 10:5-7)
The reality of the second covenant God made perfectly clear though the author of the letter to the Hebrews in verses 8 through 10.
"After saying above, “SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS AND WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, NOR HAVE YOU TAKEN PLEASURE in them” (which are offered according to the Law), then He said, “BEHOLD, I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second. By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." (Hebrews 10:8-10)