Previous Question   Return To Questions   Next Question
In both churches, were there holy ordinances that only ministers performed?

Old Testament

In Moses' day, there was a contingent of 250 princes, men of renown, who stood in direct opposition to ministerial priesthoods. They were led by a man named Korah who started a rebellion against the priesthood of the Aaronic order. They demanded that the priesthood of all believers be allowed to usurp the authority of the God's ministers in administering holy ordinances.

And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown. And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?
Numbers 16:2-3

These rebels suggested that the priesthood of all believers should replace the ministerial priesthood of the Old Testament church. How did God respond to their demand that all believers be allowed to administer holy ordinances? All 250 leaders were swallowed by the earth, and 14,700 were stricken by a plague (Numbers 16:31-50).

God's response to Korah's rebellion indicates that there clearly were functions in God's church that only ministerial priesthoods were to perform. In the New Testament church, there continued to be a ministerial priesthood and a priesthood of all believers.

New Testament

Even after the cross, holy ordinances continued to be performed by the ministers of Christ's church:

But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women..... Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
Acts 8:12-19

Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
James 5:14

Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
I Timothy 4:14

The holy ordinances of Christ's New Testament church even had an impact on the salvation of souls:

I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
John 6:51-57

Previous Question   Return To Questions   Next Question