earliest existence of the church. Jewish priests first were established in the
The major role of the traditional Jewish priest was to perform
needed to be kept holy by the priests. Their role of the priests was to perform
animal sacrifices to God as an offering. The priests performed these sacrifices
as specialists on behalf of a community or congregation in order to restore the
holiness of the community and of the Temple. It was believed that if there was
sin among the people then God would not come and be with them.
sacrifices were stopped, and there were no more active Jewish priests. The
religious leadership in the synagogue was led by the rabbis.
believers”(”Priesthood”, 529). This meant that each member in the community
serves as his or her own priest, with direct access to communication with God.
Protestants believe that the role of the priest is an “officiating
mediary”(”Priesthood”, 529), rather than a one who performs ritual sacrifices.
This stems from the Protestant belief that Jesus Christ served as “the ultimate”
sacrifice, and therefore there is no use in animal sacrifices. Protestants also
that he is of a higher level than his fellow man or that he has more access to
God than others.
vocational priests. A hereditary priest is a limited position in that it can
only be held by a person who a direct descendent of the tribe of Levi. This
There exists among this tribe one High Priests who head of the other priests. He
is the only priest who was allowed to view the holy Ark of the Covenant during
the existence of the Temple in Jerusalem. These hereditary priests, unlike most
The vocational priests are those which have been “called” to the
ministry by God himself. A “calling” is an “impulse by God that attracts
is beneficial in that it has the “potential advantage of selectivity for
devotional, intellectual, or moral qualities”(”Priesthood”, 530). The problem
with hereditary priests was that there often existed priests which were not very
priests are only men who became priests because the felt thats what God wanted
them to do.
There are certain requirements which must be kept by preists in order
cumminity leadership, this requirement is frequetnly supported by a notion of
perfection as appropriate to the sacrificial ritual. Just as a cacrificial
animal is expected to be whole and without blemish, so should the sacrificer
the hands of a priest, which perform the sacrament, be without
Some other interesting requirements of a priest is that he be a good
priest. Priests which were required to do animal needed to be trained as a
veterinary surgeon. Lastly, priests must also have background in theology and
history in order to also minister to the intellectual life of their congregation.
As you can see there are many aspects of priesthood. They provided the
church with the proper leadership and knowledge which is needed to be able to
serve God in the proper manner. They have been previlant throughout religious
history and they will surely continue to play a major role in modern religion
today and in the future.