Chapter 05 - The Transition to Shepherd
Up until the book of Jeremiah, it was all about the priests. However, a shift started to take place.
Jeremiah 23:4 I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,Ã¢â‚¬Â says the Lord.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, this word Ã¢â‚¬Å“shepherdÃ¢â‚¬Â came in. It had not been mentioned before. Again, just like I shared on the evangelist, we started seeing a bit of a transition. It was not just about the priests performing service anymore.
From Priests, to Shepherds
What happened at this time was that the priests were really involved in everyoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s daily lives and they were the ones responsible to teach the law, so they naturally became leaders.
That is what we see in the time of Jesus as well. They considered the chief priests, chief rulers - as leaders in the community. They started becoming shepherds. It is obvious that if you are coming to someone with your personal sin and you are looking up to them, you are going to start looking up to them as a leader. Considering that they had to live holier lives and consecrate themselves to the Lord, people would naturally look up to such a person as a model and example.
Is that not why the Lord took Eli to task - because of his sons? They were being a bad example. So, we see this example and I love the Lord and His Word because we see how He put this nation together. He put all the leadership in place and then as the years developed, we see a maturity taking place within that structure.
We start seeing a progression in those that started out as Levites. Aaron, one of the sons of Levi, became a high priest. Then, later we see those priests rising up in stature within that community and nation, to the point where they were not just servants, but shepherds to the flock.
This word Ã¢â‚¬Å“shepherdÃ¢â‚¬Â was then carried on through the prophets and they started challenging the priests, not because of their service, but because of their being bad shepherds.
They did not tell the priests that they were doing the sacrifices wrong. They told them that they were being bad shepherds - bad examples. They were being bad models to the children of Israel. That is what God had raised them up to become, just like in today's Church.
This was the start of something new. The Lord was preparing us for the New Testament pastor. The priest of the Old Testament is a type and a shadow. It is not the full picture.
The New Testament
Hebrews 8:8,10 Because finding fault with them, He says: Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
Here is our transition right here. I love this particular chapter in Hebrews because it is all about the high priest of our faith. He speaks about how we needed someone to go and present the sacrifice, but with the coming of Christ, how that changed things up.
We do not just have anyone bringing our sins to the Father anymore. Jesus Himself who was pure in every way, is the one that brings our sins to the Father. We do not have to go to the priests. We can go to Christ.
The New Testament Difference
I love this scripture because it brings the allegory of the pastor to life so much. In the Old Testament, they had to do everything by the book. It was all about the rules. However, now that we have the Holy Spirit, things are not the same. After the day of Pentecost, something changed and they started doing things by the Spirit.
The law was not written on a tablet of stone anymore. The law was not hidden in a book in the Ark of the Covenant anymore. From the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came and He put that law in our minds and hearts.
We received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and that law is now in us. Was the law abolished? No, the law was implanted. That is what Jesus came to do.
In that He says, Ã¢â‚¬Å“A new covenant,Ã¢â‚¬Â He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
The New Covenant displaced the Old Covenant. I am not saying that it did away with it, but more that it progressed and naturally displaced it. It took the elements, the structure that God had set since the beginning of time, and He added to it His anointing and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Moses had to go up the mountain at least seven times to get the law. He went up and down. He must of have been a pretty fit old man. He had to go high enough that he went into a cloud. That must have been quite the hike.
He did it a number of times. I wonder if they made him a lift eventually!? I am thinking, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Lord, I love you, but really? I need to climb the mountain again?Ã¢â‚¬Â Moses would have loved the day of Pentecost. The fire came and there was the law. It is so much easier. It is on our minds and hearts, and it makes everyoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s job so much easier.
Position vs. Ministry
What was a ministry of works, is now a ministry of the Spirit. A transition took place when the New Covenant came. Now, position and ministry are two very different things.
In the O. T. priests were appointed by blood and by position. There were some strict laws. You were not allowed to be lame and you had to be perfect in body and mind. There were certain things to abide by, but for the most part, you were appointed just because you were in the right family.
You were given the position because you were born and bred for that position. You did not need any ministry call and what did they need the anointing for? They were just policemen who went by the letter of the law.
They just had to go by the letter of the law and make sure that it was enforced. However, things changed in the New Testament, the law was put on our hearts and now we needed more than just policemen.
We needed someone who could flow by the spirit and let us know which law to use when. We needed someone who could flow with God that we could identify with, that could lead us the way that we needed to go.
We went from getting natural elders (elders meaning those who were mature or away in years), to now being spiritual pastors.
New Testament Comparison
In the Old Testament, if anyone was sick, they went and showed themselves to the priest. If you were afraid that you had leprosy or you had some disease or cough or something you were not sure about, you did not go to the doctor, you went to the priest.
James 5:14 Is anyone among you sick? 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
Before, they went to the priests for this. However, now James is telling them that the dynamics have changed. As Israelites, James and any other Hebrew would have gone to the priests for any sickness.
Yet, James said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Do not go to the priests. Go to the elders or the pastors. Those are the new priests.Ã¢â‚¬Â These were not just any old priests. These people were spirit-filled and would be led by the spirit.
They were not people that were obeying the letter of the law, but people that were obeying the spirit of the law.
They were the ones that were going to continue taking this new nation and new covenant that has been birthed and help the people to keep that law.