The Priest As The Redeemed Man: A Biblical-Theological Study Of The Priesthood -- By: Alex T. M. Cheung

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 029:3 (Sep 1986)
Article: The Priest As The Redeemed Man: A Biblical-Theological Study Of The Priesthood
Author: Alex T. M. Cheung

The Priest As The Redeemed Man: A Biblical-Theological Study Of The Priesthood

Alex T. M. Cheung*

Evangelicals have increasingly realized the value of Biblical-theological method in understanding God’s redemptive plan in the person and work of Christ. Yet it is an irony of modern evangelical scholarship that while much has been written on the kingly and prophetic roles of Christ from a redemptive-historical point of view, so important a topic as Christ’s priesthood has to date received very little treatment of a similar kind, notwithstanding the formidable literature the subject has elicited over the centuries in the sphere of systematics.

Overlooked though it has been, there is in fact in the Scriptures a foundational and pervasive theme underlying the idea of priesthood that lends itself easily to redemptive-historical treatments—namely, the priest as the redeemed (ideal) man.1 The present paper consists of exegetical studies of a Biblical-theological kind to suggest how this theme works itself out in Scripture, whether in historical narration, symbolic representation in cultus, didactic exposition, or eschatological expectation. While restrictions on length necessitate a selective rather than a comprehensive treatment, it is nevertheless hoped that this study may serve as a humble beginning to more fruitful research into this fascinating area.

I. Priesthood In The Old Testament

When one thinks of priesthood in the OT one usually associates with it the sacrificial, ritualistic, mediatorial and intercessory duties of the priest. The bulk of prescriptions relating to these duties in the Scriptures is overwhelming. Along with these one may also mention the teaching of the law (Lev 10:10–11; Deut 33:10; 2 Chr 5:3; Mal 2:6–9), the administration of justice (Deut 17:8–13; Ezek 44:24) and the discovering of the divine will (e.g. Num 27:21; 1 Sam 14:41; 28:6; etc.). That the OT priesthood includes all these functions is beyond question. It would be a mistake, however, to understand the significance of the priesthood solely in terms of these activities and fail to give attention to its nature. In the following pages we will endeavor to demonstrate that the priest-

*Alex Cheung is a doctoral candidate at the University of Sydney in Australia.

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