(The following lesson is from the book "The Faith that Prays" by Steve Bray)  

     Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am {sharing in the life and power of the kingdom}, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me... (John 17:24)
      If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me {through the cross}; and where I am {at the throne of power}, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me {in the resurrection power of the Spirit}, him My Father will honor. (John 12:25-26)
     But you shall be named the priests of the Lord, they shall call you the servants of our God. (Isa. 61:6)
     A holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Pet. 2:5)
     Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore... (Rev. 7:15-16)

God intends for His children to enter into the firstfruits of the heavenly life that exists in His eternal kingdom while we are in this world. The Holy Spirit is able to take of this heavenly form of life and begin making it known within our inner being. (1 Cor. 2:9-10; John 16:14-15) We can begin to know the glory of our Great King and begin serving Him night and day as priests at His throne of power. When we are sharing with Him in His life our soul is satisfied and He keeps us from hungering and thirsting after the things of this world. He completely sets us free from its self-seeking and self-exalting ways so that we may serve Him with undivided devotion.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. (Eph. 1:3)

But God...because of His great love...made us alive together with Christ...and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Eph. 2:4-6)

Today is the day to choose to enter into this great salvation. "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord...?" (Heb. 2: 3)

Jesus was anointed by the Spirit to become the Great High Priest. "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me." (Isa. 61: 1; Luke 4:18) We too can now share with Him in that same anointing. "But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things...and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him." (1 John 2:27) This anointing with the Holy Spirit teaches us to abide in the Son so we may live with Him and share with Him in the power and the glory of His throne.

Christ's disciples, through this divine anointing, become as one with the Great High Priest and Intercessor. They are made high priests who live to bring blessings to others through the ministry of intercession.

Like every son of Aaron, every member of Christ's body has a right to enter into the priesthood. But not every Christian exercises their right and enters into their inheritance. They possess a birthright, but not everyone enters into the blessing. Many are still entirely ignorant of it. "For many are called, but few are chosen." (Matt. 22:14) In fact, there are many, like Esau, who end up trading this birthright so they may live for the temporal pleasures they can have from this world. (Heb. 12:16) God sees it as spiritual adultery. (Jam. 4:4)

We need to lay hold of an understanding of what our Lord's salvation was really intended to do if we hope to avoid missing out on this glorious inheritance in the saints. As priests we are to stop living for ourselves so that we are free to serve the Lord night and day at His throne of power. Living wholly to carry out the "greater works" of leading others into the eternal kingdom of God becomes the clearest sign we are abiding in the One who "always lives to make intercession." (Heb. 7:25)

God used the tribe of Levi as an example to help reveal the work of a priest. "The Lord separated the tribe of stand before the Lord to minister unto Him, and to bless His Name." (Deut. 10:8) The priest's role of blessing the Name of the Lord included leading others into a close relationship with God.

The priest had the right to dwell with the Lord in His house and to be a means for bringing blessings to the people. He was also responsible for making the people aware of the sacrifices required of them. After the priest had determined that an acceptable sacrifice was made, he would present it to God. Only then could he ask and receive the blessing.

As priests of the Lord today we are in a place to make petitions for the heavenly bread that is able to sustain God's eternal life within the soul. Once the sacrifice has been examined, and we are sure it is complete and without blemish, we can begin praying for the blessing.

A priest is thus a man who does not live for himself. He walks in communion with God and lives to serve the Lord and His purposes. His work is to call people to repentance and to explain how they must present themselves to God as living sacrifices so they may come into a right relationship with Him. (Rom. 12:1) The priest knows that God will only send the fire from heaven to show His acceptance of the offering when their sacrifice is offered without blemish.

Christians, after being called out by God through the new birth, need to be led to the point where they are willing to present themselves to the Lord without holding anything back. The offering must be total before it is considered "unblemished." The objective is to bring them to the place where the fire from heaven comes down to consume the remains of the old self-exalting and self-seeking nature. It is in this sense that A.W. Tozer speaks of Christians needing to be men and women who have come out of the fire. Jesus Himself said, "For everyone will be seasoned with fire." (Mark 9:49)

Isaiah once asked, "Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire?" (33:14) In verse 15 and 16 he says that it is those who "walk uprightly." Once the flesh-life has been consumed, the child of God is able to reside in the presence of the Holy Fire without feeling pain. It is only painful when the flesh-life is alive and active. The fire only consumes what is not of God. Once the believer has passed through this consuming fire he "shall dwell on high" and become a partaker with the life of our holy God. While this consuming of the flesh-life is painful, it enables us to become "partakers of His holiness." (Heb. 12:10)

Malachi, as God's prophet, told the people how the Lord would come as a refiner's fire to purify the temple and enable the Levites (those who where consecrated to God) to walk in righteousness. (Mal. 3:1-3) When the Refiner came no one would be able to "stand" in the pride of life. He comes to destroy the old self-exalting nature so that no flesh will ever glory in His presence.

In a reference to this promise, John the Baptist said, "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance {for the remission of sins-Mark 1:4}, but...He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." (Matt 3:11) It was the tongues of fire coming to rest on each individual disciple in the upper room on the day of Pentecost that purified their hearts and turned them into vessels of God's glory - His life of self-sacrificing love. (Acts 2:1-3; 15:8-9) These priests of God, once their hearts were purified, were then able to use intercessory prayer to bind and loose here on earth. (Matt. 16:19)

This is the high calling of every believer. Every member of Christ's body has been redeemed for the one purpose of becoming one of God's sanctified priests in the midst of the perishing millions around them. In conformity to Jesus, who is our Great High Priest, they are to be the ministers and stewards of God's grace in the world. After leading the people to make the required sacrifice, they are to bind the work by asking the Father to sanctify the hearts of these true worshippers. The fully sanctified priests of God, in this sense, have been given the keys to the kingdom of God.

As God is holy, so the priest was to be especially holy. This implies not only being separated from everything unclean, but completely devoted to serving the Lord. They had to be set apart to live for His purposes alone. They were not permitted to have personal ownership. Everything in their possession truly belonged to God. Only as they lived in this form of relationship with God could they serve Him as a priest within the holy place.

It is important to understand this principle about the priestly tribes having no earthly inheritance of their own. God was to be their inheritance. They were to live by faith. Set apart unto God, they were to live on Him as well as for Him. Their hearts were not to be tied to anything from this world.

This is all symbolic of how the New Testament priest was to live in this age of fulfillment. The true Christian life is a very special calling. Every believer was to become a priest unto God. "You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people." (1 Pet. 2:9) And as God's holy and heavenly priesthood we were to live as "strangers and pilgrims on the earth." (Heb. 11:13) We are not to expend our time and energies seeking to possess temporal things. We are to overcome the world and reside within the eternal Kingdom-life of our Lord where we are empowered by the grace of God to expend ourselves in a life of living for the good of others.

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. (1 Cor 15:10)

We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain... Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Cor. 6:1-2)

God had chosen all of Aaron's sons to be priests. Each was a priest by birth. However, they could not begin their work without a special act of consecration. They were required to consecrate themselves entirely to God. Similarly, every Christian is a priest by right of his blood relationship to the Great High Priest. But the believer's inheritance, which includes sharing with Christ in His divine life and power, can only be received by entering into a full consecration to Him.

Aaron and his sons were consecrated in a special way. (Ex. 29) After being washed and clothed in new garments, they were anointed with the holy oil. After preparing themselves according to God's specifications, they were sprinkled with the blood and the oil together. In a spiritual sense, the blood in this special anointing represents Christ's power to do away with the sinful nature and the oil represents the new nature - the fruit of God's Spirit.

As a penitent, when the future priest first sought forgiveness for his sins, the blood was sprinkled on the altar - not on his person. But now, for priestly consecration, there was to be a closer contact with the blood. The ear, hand and foot (the parts of the body in contact with the world and needed for God's service) were brought under its power through this special baptism. The whole being was then sanctified or set apart entirely for God's service. This is the blood that cleanses from "all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:7) It destroys the independent nature - the source of self-will and sin.

When the believer is led to seek full priestly access to God, he feels the need of a fuller and more enduring experience of the power of the blood. Where he had previously been content to have the blood sprinkled on the mercy seat to gain his needed pardon, he now needs a more personal sprinkling and cleansing of his heart. He desires to be fully separated from the old man. This purifying work of the blood is what permits the priest to come into the presence of God within the holy place and live as an effective intercessor before His throne. "Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God." (Matt. 5:8)

Are you willing to stop living for yourself and live as a priest unto God, within His presence, so you may begin performing this holy work? You know what kind of surrender it demands: The seed must be buried in the ground where it completely breaks down into nothingness before it can rise up. (John 12:24-26) You cannot live in God's Presence while you are still seeking to have some of your own honor and glory. There needs to be a real loss of this old form of life before it is possible to be highly exalted to the place where there can be a sharing with Christ in the power of His throne.

Abiding in this heavenly union with the Great High Priest, "You shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you." You will have power to pray the effective prayer that accomplishes much for the kingdom of God.

Come, brother and sister, come! Be a priest, only a priest, and all priest! Let go of the world so that God Himself can become your inheritance. Continue to wait on God until you are walking before the Lord in the full consciousness that He has personally anointed you with His life of intercessory prayer.