Q. What does the “priesthood of all believers” mean?
A. All of God’s people, both Old and New, are members of a priesthood.
In Exodus 19:6“…and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation,” refers to the Israelites of the Old Testament. In the New Testament, I Peter 2:9 (“But you are … a royal priesthood, a holy nation”)refers to Christians. So, in both covenants God considers the faithful, members of a priesthood. The function of a priest is to offer sacrifices to God. The ‘priesthood of all believers’ offer their own individual and personal spiritual sacrifices to God (I Peter 2:5)
Q. Then, why do we have priests if everyone is a part of the priesthood?
A. In both covenants God also, ordained a ministerial priesthood, separate from the ordinary faithful, who offered sacrifice to God for the people. In the Old Testament: Exodus 28:1 “Have Aaron your brother brought… along with his sons …so they may serve me as priest. Lev 21:1,10 “Then the LORD said to Moses,”The priest who is the highest among his brothers, on whose head the anointing oil has been poured and who has been consecrated to wear the garments....” In the New Testament: Acts 14:23 “And when they had ordained them presbyters in every church…” (Greek “presbuteros= English-“priest”) The priests in the Old Covenant offered the daily animal sacrifices on the altar, in the Temple in Jerusalem. And Catholic priests, today, offer daily the eternal sacrifice of Christ on our altars all around the world.