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Ancient Priestly Blessing

by Tom Brown

 Did you know that God gave a prayer of blessing to you so you can pray it over your life and others? He made it easy by giving you the exact words to say. If you will say it and understand what you say, then God will bring supernatural blessings in your life. You will have supernatural favor, abundant prosperity, complete health, better relationships, protection and steadfast peace and wisdom to make smart decisions. You will have supernatural guidance in life. What blessing am I talking about?

 

 I am referring to the anciently priestly blessing of Aaron:

'"The LORD bless you

and keep you;

the LORD make his face shine upon you

and be gracious to you;

the LORD turn his face toward you

and give you peace." '

(Num 6:24-26)

 

 This blessing worked during the 40 years Israel was in the wilderness. They received supernatural provision of manna and quail and even their clothes and shoes did not wear out. Their flocks increased even though grazing was poor. They received supernatural guidance in the form of a cloud by day and a fire by night. An angel also guided and protected them on their journey. They also received complete health. The Bible says there was not a feeble person among them. They also experienced supernatural worship—the shekinah glory of God filled the holy of holies.

 

 One word describes Israel in the wilderness: blessed! They were blessed and I believe their blessing was a direct result of the blessing Aaron spoke over the Israelites.

 

 This same blessing can work over your life as well!

 

Jesus Our High Priests

 

 You might argue, “But this blessing had to be spoke by Aaron, the high priest, and we don’t have a high priest anymore!” That may be true for the Jews and Muslims, but we Christians do have a high priest: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess” (Hebrews 4:14). Jesus Christ is not only the new high priest of God, but He is the “great” high priest. The word “great” speaks of the most possible highest and best of something. The Hebrew writer is not simply suggesting that Jesus Christ replaced the Old Testament high priests, but He supersedes them. And as One who is greater than them, then He can speak a blessing over us that is greater than Aaron and his sons.

 

 The Bible says that Jesus ever lives to intercede for us. He is praying at the right hand of God for us, and no doubt, part of His prayer is speaking blessings over you. This is what Jesus did as His last action upon earth, just as He was entering His high priestly ministry at the right of God. The Bible says, “[Jesus] lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven” (Luke 24:50-51). He has not stop blessing us!

 Interestingly, ancient tradition says that Aaron, when blessing the people, lifted his hands up, forming the letter “shen” which sounds like the first letter of God’s name. So when Jesus blessed the disciples as He was ascending into heaven, He also, lifted his hands, probably forming the letter “shen” as well. This was His way of showing that He is the new, great high priest that will bless us in our lives.

 

 God also explains that two things would be accomplished by proclaiming this special blessing: "So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them" (Numbers 6:27). First, God says that the priest would put God’s name on the Israelites. This means that God was branding His people in the same way a rancher brands his cattle. Satan recognizes this name on you and becomes afraid of messing with you! Hallelujah!

 

 The second thing God says is that He will personally bless the person who receives this priestly blessing. The word bless in Hebrew is an all-inclusive word to describe any good thing God could do for a person. There is no limit to what the word “bless” covers. Get ready for good things happening to you as you receive this blessing!

 

Priests on Earth

 

 Christians have a better covenant, and one improvement of our covenant is that God makes us priests of the Lord. Do you need proof? Consider these two passages in the Bible:

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God” (1 Peter 2:9).

God “has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father” (Rev 1:6).

 

 Since we are priests, we can speak the blessings over our lives and the lives of others that we are over in the Lord. Parents can speak this blessing over their children. Bosses can speak it over their employees. Teachers and speak it over their students. Of course, you can speak it over your life as well!

 

 Start practicing this blessing! Say it every day!

 

 Not only are you a priest, but God has special ordained priests in His church called ministers. The apostle Paul refers to himself as a minister and priest in Romans 15:15-16, “Because of the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” Just as the High Priest in the Old Testament ordained priests under him to serve as full-time ministers, Jesus Christ has also ordained priests to serve as ministers of the gospel.

 

 By the second century the most common title given to Christian ministers were “priests.” Unfortunately, some priests convinced other members of the church that only the ministers were priests and, therefore, in order to receive grace from God, you must go through the ministers. This is wrong. All members of the church are priests. Yet the other error made today is that members think there is little need for ministers. This is wrong, too!

 

 Jesus Christ established an apostolic-led church, not a member-led church. There is an important role for modern day apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors and teachers. The five-fold ministry are the priests that can add to the blessings you already speak over your life and others. They can speak a special, anointed blessing over your life.

 

 I do this at the end of every Sunday service. I lift up my hands toward God and leaning toward the people and I speak this ancient, priestly blessing over the congregation. Pastor, you need to do this, too. Don’t cheat your congregation out of this blessing!

 

 When I speak this blessing over our church, great things happen. If members receive my blessing, then God will bless them. If they don’t receive the blessing, then God will not bless them. It’s that simple!

 

Blessing is New Covenant

 

 The high, priestly blessing is a preview of the New Covenant plan of salvation. First, the blessing is put in three sections, reminding us that God is a Trinity. The three sections have two points. The two points speak of witness. The Bible says that out of the mouth of two or three witnesses let everything be established. So, God makes all three Persons of the Trinity witness to the truth. Jesus came to testify to the truth. The Holy Spirit comes into us so we can witness to the gospel. Jesus says, “I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me" (John 8:18). The Father God is also a witness.

 

 The blessing also speaks to the message of the gospel. It starts off with “The Lord bless you.” It doesn’t say, if you promise to obey, then God will bless you. No! It starts off with God’s promise to bless. This is in conformity to the character of the gospel. We love because God first loved us. We bless, because God first blessed us. We believe, because God first called us!

 

 God initiates His blessings before we could ever respond! “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God was good to us before we could ever be good to Him. Now, with God blessing us, we get changed. His grace changes us.

 

 The priestly blessing also tells the story of the incarnation. In section two, it says, “May the Lord make his face to shine on you.” Under the Old Covenant God says that no one can look at God and live. Yet, according to the blessing, God will come and show His face toward us. This is what Jesus did when He came from heaven to earth. People beheld the face of God when they saw Jesus. In Hebrew, the word face, means a downward face—one that shows humility. This means the second section is dealing with God humbling Himself to become a man.

 

 In the third and final section of the blessing, it says, “The Lord lift up his face toward you.” Notice, now the face is “lifted”. This refers to Christ’ resurrection. With the lifted face, the Lord will give you peace. The first words Jesus spoke to His apostles in the upper room after His resurrection was peace. "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you" (John 20:21). Jesus is acting as High Priest by pronouncing the benediction over His apostles.

 

 Peace is the word “shalom”. Like the word blessing, it carries the idea of all things given to make one’s life complete with nothing missing or broken. This is what the priestly, blessing can do in your life.

 

Unzip the Blessing

 

 You need to unzip this priestly blessing! What do I mean? The blessing is like a zip file on your computer. The files on your computer are zipped when not in use. This makes your computer work more efficiently. For examples a file may contain 100 megabytes, and if all 100 were being operated all the time, it would slow up your computer. So most computers have a software to zip up the files not in use. It might shrink them to one megabyte with only an icon being seen.

 

 The priestly blessing is in a zip form. You do not see all that is there unless you unzip it to study the prayer of blessing more carefully.

This priestly blessing is a short, pithy statement that can be said in a few seconds. However, to get the most out of the blessing, you must understand more fully the meaning behind each word and phrase. When you study the priestly blessing and understand it, then the priestly blessing unzips so you can see much more than the few brief words being used. This is what you need to do next. You need to study this blessing until you more fully understand the meaning.

 

 It is not the scope of this article to do this, but there are plenty of resources that can help you do it. I even have a teaching series on this if you want it. Call the church office for it: 915-855-9673.

 

 

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