“This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created. And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. After he begot Seth, the days of Adam were eight hundred years; and he had sons and daughters. So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died. Seth lived one hundred and five years, and begot Enosh. After he begot Enosh, Seth lived eight hundred and seven years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years; and he died. Enosh lived ninety years, and begot Cainan. After he begot Cainan, Enosh lived eight hundred and fifteen years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years; and he died. Cainan lived seventy years, and begot Mahalalel. After he begot Mahalalel, Cainan lived eight hundred and forty years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years; and he died. Mahalalel lived sixty-five years, and begot Jared. After he begot Jared, Mahalalel lived eight hundred and thirty years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred and ninety-five years; and he died. Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and begot Enoch. After he begot Enoch, Jared lived eight hundred years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years; and he died. Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and begot Lamech. After he begot Lamech, Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years; and he died. Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and had a son. And he called his name Noah, saying, ‘This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD has cursed.’ After he begot Noah, Lamech lived five hundred and ninety-five years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years; and he died. And Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah begot Shem, Ham, and Japheth.”
Today’s Scripture passage from Genesis chapter five presents the genealogy of Adam, and here, it is repeatedly mentioned how long a certain man of faith lived and when he died. The word “to live” here is “chayah” in Hebrew, and apart from its simple meaning, this word is used diversely to denote various meanings, such as “to have life, remain alive, sustain life, live prosperously, live forever, be quickened, be alive, be restored to life or health.”
The genealogy of Adam is the genealogy of the righteous. In other words, when God created mankind, He created it to establish a lineage of the righteous. Therefore, when the Bible says that our forefathers of faith lived for so and so years and died, this means that they returned to God after passing down their faith to countless souls. Put differently, they went to God after restoring people’s souls and bringing them back to life. Since this word was not used to mean that people were born in this world merely to eat and die after just laboring for their own flesh, the Hebrew word “chayah” shouldn’t be used for carnal people.
Adam is a man who found the grace of salvation from God. He is the very first father of the genealogy of faith. Of the entire human race, Adam is the man who received the grace of salvation from God for the first time. What, then, did he do while living for 930 years? As someone who put on the grace of salvation by believing in God, he spent his life teaching this faith to his children. In other words, he went to God after practicing his priestly duties faithfully. So through the lineage of Adam, God ensured that true faith would continue to be passed down in this world. The faith of Adam, the first man of faith, was handed down to Seth, and then to Enosh, Cainan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, and Noah, until it was handed down to us now.
Except for Enoch, all these forefathers of faith lived for more than 900 years on average. The fact that they bore children for an average of over 800 years after having the first son and then went to the Lord means that they had labored as priests for that long period of time. Among them, it’s Enoch who lived for the shortest period. Although he only lived on this earth for 365 years, he was a man who walked with God by believing in His righteousness. His faith pleased God so much that God did not just leave him on this earth but took him away to be with Him. So Enoch became the first man who went to God without experiencing the suffering of death. Also, Noah is the representative among the forefathers of faith who brought a great faith to us. When God destroyed this world, He raised Noah as His priest.
What, then, are the duties of a priest? By taking other people’s sins to God and offering sacrifices of atonement for them, the priest worked to enable them to receive the remission of sins. In other words, the priests of the Old Testament were those who ministered sacrificial offerings for people’s souls to be saved from sin, and thus made it possible for them to walk with the holy God.
This World Is Now Being Filled with the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit
The first world was judged and destroyed by water in the days of Noah’s flood. The Bible says that this water foreshadowed the baptism of Jesus: “Who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:20-21). By coming to this earth, being baptized by John the Baptist, shedding His blood to death on the Cross, and rising from the dead again, the Lord has brought true salvation to all those who believe in this Truth in the second world. Therefore, we who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit have also been saved from all our sins and become God’s children.
The average life expectancy for you and me is no more than 70 or 80 years. Even so, by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we were born again by faith just like our forefathers of faith, and we desire to bear God’s children until the day we go to the Lord. We are now ministering as true priests before God, and we will continue to offer Him the sacrifice of righteousness. Our spiritual ancestors inherited true faith from Adam the first man of faith and this faith was passed down to us through Noah and Abraham. Now that we have inherited this true faith to join its genealogy by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we need to reflect here to see if we are indeed spreading this faith faithfully as the priests of righteousness ministering before God.
How is true faith passed on? Since true faith is one that is placed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, all that we have to do is just believe in this gospel of Truth and preach it exactly as it is. To blot out all the sins of mankind, Jesus shouldered the sins of this world by being baptized by John the Baptist, and He offered the perfect sacrifice of salvation by being condemned for these sins. He has then given the remission of sins to those who believe in His everlasting sacrifice of atonement, and He has also entrusted them with His priesthood.
Therefore, those who still have not received the remission of sins must first confess their sins to God, believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by the Lord, and thereby attain their redemption from sin. If you want to become a righteous person, then you must make the following confession to God: “Lord, I have committed such and such sins before You. Born in iniquities, I cannot help but commit sin all my life only to end up in hell. Lord, please have mercy on me, and save me from all my sins.” After this, you must then believe in the God-given gospel of the water and the Spirit with your heart, and thereby receive the remission of your sins. You will then also be able to become a spiritual priest before God, for you now believe in the righteousness of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
It is through our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we have become priests of faith. Those of us who were born again first must fulfill our priestly duties faithfully before God for the sinners of the world. The priests must pray to God for the sake of the sinners and confess those sinners’ iniquities before God on their behalf, ask Him to save their souls, and preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to them. It is those who minister such works that God approves as His true priests.
Those who now believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit as the real Truth of salvation must never forget that they have become priests before God by faith. These faithful priests must diligently fulfill the priesthood that has been entrusted to them until the day the Lord returns to this earth. Anyone who has been born again must faithfully carry out his priestly duties by believing in the righteousness of God fulfilled with the water and blood of Jesus. That’s because all of us must carry out our priestly duties by trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit until the day we return to God.
From now on, remember that you and I have become true priests of faith spiritually. From the moment we believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and were thereby born again from our sinful state, we have been assigned with priesthood by God just like our forefathers of faith. These forefathers of faith listed in the “genealogy of Adam” in Genesis chapter five lived for a long, long time carrying out their priestly duties before going to God. Likewise, while living in this age of the New Testament, we must believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, diligently fulfill our priesthood by this faith, and then return to God. Realizing that we are now priests before God, we must faithfully fulfill our priestly duties in our lives.
What Then Are the Specific Duties of the Priests of Righteousness?
Turning to our lives of faith, let us now examine more specifically what our priestly duties are.
First, while the door of the gospel proclamation is still open, we must pray for the souls that have not been saved yet. “Lord, please save from sin all those souls that are still locked in the prison of sin.” This is a duty that we must fulfill as priests. For the righteous to pray to God on behalf of sinners is one of the duties of today’s priests. For a more concrete example, we should pray for the souls that are taking the gospel class during this discipleship training camp, and this is actually practicing a priestly duty. We should pray for them as the following: “Lord, please save those who are taking the gospel class at this discipleship training camp. They have indeed sinned before You by breaking Your Law, and they have sinned by not believing in You. And they have also sinned by committing idolatry before You. But Lord, show mercy on them, and make them believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit by Your grace.”
Like this, we must pray to God for those who have not been born again yet on their behalf. We should pray for them as if they themselves were praying to God directly, and we should preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to them. That is what priests must do. We must set our minds as priests, confess their sins before God in their place, and pray to Him earnestly to save them.
Secondly, believing in the Truth that Jesus has washed away people’s sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we must preach this gospel to them. We must believe that God has also blotted out all their sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and we must go to them and let them know this Truth. That is how we carry out our priestly work. By believing in the righteousness of God, we have become His priests, and I believe that we must fulfill the duties of this priesthood. Above all, we must recognize our self-identity as God’s priests.
If you are clear about your identity as a priest, and if you fulfill your priesthood, you can then tolerate other people’s mistakes. In the Lord’s Prayer, it is said,
“Forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.” Even for us the righteous, it’s not always easy to tolerate when someone does something wrong to us and hurts our hearts. Even though we know very well in our thoughts that we have to forgive those who hurt us, in our hearts, it’s nearly impossible to actually do this. Why do such phenomena keep repeating? That’s because although we forgive others as the Lord told us to forgive, we don’t offer sacrifices of righteousness for them more concretely.
The righteous must offer the sacrifice of righteousness on behalf of others. When someone torments us and hurts us, we have to remember that God has already cleansed away this person’s sins also. If we do so, we can then forgive all the wrongdoings and sins that others commit against us. That’s because all the sins of every human being have already been solved away in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. When we offer the sacrifice of faith for those who hurt us, our hearts’ hatred for them or injuries will all be healed. By offering the sacrifice of righteousness to God, our injured hearts will all be healed in no time. Because everyone’s problem of sin has been solved by the righteousness of God found in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that the Lord has given us, it is in this righteousness of God that true love is found.
Before, when we did not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we could not help but hate each other because of our sins, but now, in this gospel Truth, we are able to love each other wholly and tolerate one another’s mistakes. That is why we bring out people’s sins to the Lord, confess their sins on their behalf, offer the sacrifice of faith through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and thereby fulfill our duties as true priests. We do this because by believing that the Lord has blotted out everyone’s sins with the water and the blood, we can confirm that all the others’ sins have also been solved. That is how our hatred or disdain for those who have sinned against us is removed. Therefore, it is a wonderful offering to minister the sacrifice of righteousness for others by faith. And this is a sacrifice that everyone who has become a priest must know and minister. Through this, we ourselves can tolerate other people, face them without any reservation, and thereby abide in the true light of the Word.
Furthermore, we must also offer the sacrifice of faith for our own sins, believing in the Truth. Then we ourselves can also tolerate our own weaknesses, for the salvation that the Lord has brought to us by coming to this earth, being baptized, and dying on the Cross is now in our hearts. When you offer the sacrifice of faith, your heart’s self-condemnation and self-reproach of your mistakes or weaknesses will actually disappear. So a priest has to offer the sacrifice of faith for himself, for his brothers and sisters, for each and every soul that has not received the remission of sins yet, and for all the nations of the world. That is why those who have become priests by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are tremendously blessed people.
There are many people in this world who are obsessive-compulsive or suffering from other mental illnesses such as depression, and these people are tormented precisely because they cannot tolerate themselves. So they grossly abuse themselves, and, in some extreme cases, they even kill themselves. Even for those who have received the remission of their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, it is still possible for them to be bound by their own sins. In times like this, if they do not offer the sacrifice of faith by trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit to affirm the fact that these sins were already remitted away, they may abuse themselves and fall into a deep depression. It’s more than possible for such things to happen even to the righteous.
Therefore, priests must also offer the sacrifice of faith everyday for themselves and confirm their faith. It is our basic duty to offer the sacrifice of righteousness for our brothers and sister, and offer the sacrifice of salvation by faith for all those who still have not received the remission of sins. Also, we should never forget to offer sacrifices for ourselves.
It is written in the Bible that Job first sacrificed for himself, and then he sacrificed burnt offerings for each of his children. The Old Testament’s people of faith, such as Noah, Abraham, Jacob, and Samuel, frequently offered sacrifices to God with their unshakable faith in His righteousness. Those who offer the sacrifice of faith to God are restored to have communion with Him, and therefore, they are also spiritually strengthened to live in the light.
By offering the sacrifice of righteousness, we can also come out to the presence of God at any time. As we the righteous carry on with our lives in this world, there are times when we find our hearts darkened for various reasons, unable to come out to God. However, even when our hearts are confused and darkened like this, if we offer the sacrifice of faith trusting in the righteousness of God, our hearts will be brightened all at once. Like this, the very fact that we, as priests, can now offer the sacrifice of righteousness to God is a tremendous joy, a wonderful privilege, and an amazing blessing. No matter how tough and difficult our problems might be, and no matters how we or others might have sinned out of weaknesses, we should offer the sacrifice of God’s righteousness every day. If we the priests bring out such sins to God and confess them concretely for ourselves and for others as well, and offer such sacrifices of faith believing that Jesus Christ has solved all these sins, then our spiritual relationship with God will be restored, and our estranged relationship with our brothers and sisters will also be restored.
When a priest who believes in the righteousness of God offers a sacrifice, there must be an offering. This offering of righteousness is Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. Coming to this earth as the sacrificial offering for all mankind, Jesus gave the everlasting offering of atonement with the baptism He received from John the Baptist and the blood He shed on the Cross. We must believe that Jesus has fulfilled the righteousness of God by coming to this earth, being baptized by John the Baptist, shedding His blood to death, and rising from the dead again.
For us to offer the sacrifice of righteousness to God, we must first realize our own sins. We must acknowledge that if we have sin, we will be cast into hell and punished. Also, to pass our sins completely onto the head of the sacrificial offering, we must lay our hands of faith on the offering’s head, and then we must kill that offering. We then have to put the offering’s blood of atonement on the tablet of our conscience and on the Books of Judgment, just as the blood of the Old Testament’s sacrificial animal was put on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and the rest was poured, and then burn the offering. In other words, just as the priests of the Old Testament always offered sacrifices according to the sacrificial system, those of us who have become righteous by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit must also live while offering such sacrifices.
Even though we are trying to live by faith before God, as we carry on with our lives, the dust of sin piles up in our hearts in no time. So when we try to come out to God, sometimes we feel uneasy in our conscience. In times like this, we have to bring our wrongdoings to God, concretely admit our mistaken thoughts or acts, acknowledge that these are sins, and also recognize that we cannot avoid but be condemned for our sins and be cast into hell. When we then offer to God our sacrifice of faith by believing in His love—that is, by believing that the Lord came to this earth for such hopeless creatures like us, took upon all the sins of this world once for all by being baptized by John, and bore the condemnation of our sins on the Cross—we will always be free from sin. If this is done, then no matter how insufficient anyone might be, he will attain purification from God, and therefore he will be able to come out to His throne boldly at any time, have fellowship with Him, and also receive the spiritual power and blessings of Heaven from Him.
Young and old alike, all of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are priests; therefore, as those who have become priests, if we do not offer the righteous sacrifice of faith every day, then this can only mean that we have a spiritual problem. What will happen if a priest is lazy? If a priest does not offer sacrifices, then he is bringing darkness to himself and the others, rather than shining the spiritual light.
You and I cannot help but commit countless sins while living on this earth. Who among us would have no dust on his feet while walking in the desert on bare feet, and who among us would have no coal dust while working in a coal mine? Like this, it is inevitable for us to commit sin as long as we live in this sinful world. Whether we commit sin out of hatred or provoked by someone else, for whatever reason, we cannot help but commit countless sins in our lives.
What should we do then? Because we know and believe in the righteousness of God, we must offer the sacrifice of faith every day. It is by offering the sacrifice of righteousness that our hearts are freed from sin, and we are able to face others with ease. Even if someone wrongs us, because we have made an offering on his behalf ruminating that our Lord has also blotted out all these sins, and because the problem of sin has been solved spiritually, we are able to face him in peace. However, if we the priests do not offer the sacrifice of righteousness for others, then we cannot deal with them in peace.
Furthermore, a priest can spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit all over this world only if he offers sacrifices every day. For us to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to the people of the world, we must first offer the sacrifice of righteousness for them. If these people, who have not received the remission of sins from God yet, truly want to receive it, then before we meet them, we should bring their sins to God and offer Him the sacrifice of righteousness for them. “Lord, that person committed sin by not believing in You and standing against You. And he continues to commit sin. He doesn’t acknowledge Your Law of justice either. Nor does he give any recognition to Your Word. He is so arrogant and conceited before You. His soul cannot avoid but be cast into hell. Lord, please save his soul.”
We have to pray like this and look toward the Lord. Whenever we try to preach the gospel to any soul, we have to approach him affirming and believing that the Lord has also blotted out all his sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. “Lord, I believe in You. I believe that even though this man is such a depraved sinner, You have also blotted out all his sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit.” Like this, we should offer the sacrifice of righteousness by faith for others first, and then go looking for them and preach the gospel to them. Because we, who are God’s priests, have made the offering of righteousness for others on their behalf, we can preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to them by our faith in the Truth. Even if they say at that time, “I have so many sins that I am really ashamed,” we can still accept it all. “It’s okay. That doesn’t matter. We are all just like you. But you should admit that you are a sinner. The Word of God says that we are all such people. Just acknowledge this. Rather than resolving yourself to never commit sin again, reflect yourself on the Word of God and admit that you have sinned. And even though you were inevitably bound to hell, the Lord has blotted out all your sins with the water and the Spirit.” We should share fellowship like this and lead others to faith. As God’s priests, we must meet sinners and offer the sacrifice of salvation for them with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. A priest must preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit every day, offering sacrifices every day for himself, for his colleagues, for those who still have not received the remission of sins, and for the souls that are truly bound to hell.
My fellow believers, after being born again, do we commit sin or not while leading our lives of faith? We are still more than capable of sinning at any time. Even those who have received the remission of sins can still commit sin. Sometimes, while serving the gospel inside the Church, even the righteous may get their hearts hurt so much that they don’t even want to see the faces of the saints, and be disillusioned with God’s Church as well. Do you know just how vicious the human heart is, that one is capable of even forsaking Jesus if his heart is hurt? The heart of mankind is even more venomous than a serpent. Because we can also go astray like this, we have to offer by faith the sacrifice of righteous for ourselves first. Those who often offer the sacrifice of righteousness to God are spiritual people before Him, and those who offer sacrifices many times in a day can preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit all over the world.
What about you and me then? Have we offered many sacrifices of righteousness to God so far? Or have we not offered that many sacrifices? Have you scarcely offered any sacrifices for yourself, even though you have brought other people’s sins to God and offered many sacrifices on their behalf? Some righteous people probably have not been able to offer sacrifices neither for themselves nor for the others. That’s because they are now living in such a difficult age.
A Spiritually Upright Priest First Offers His Sacrifice of Righteousness for Himself, and Then Preaches the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit to Others
The priests of the Old Testament made regular offerings twice in a day, in the morning and in the evening (Numbers 28:1-8). If we also bring our insufficiencies and weaknesses by believing in the gospel of righteousness through which the Lord has blotted out all our sins, and present our offering of faith day and night, then we will gain many spiritual benefits, and we will also be able to run toward God successfully. Simply put, if you offer your sacrifice of faith as often as possible, you will be filled with the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, if you neglect your sacrificial duties as a priest, then you will turn into a priest without the fullness of the Spirit. What, then, should you do in order to lead a life of faith that’s filled with the Spirit? You should sacrifice as often as possible. What should you do to preach the gospel well? You should present your offering of righteousness as often as possible.
If our hearts are darkened, and if we find it difficult to live spiritually even though we yearn to do so, then this is all because we haven’t made the offering of faith faithfully enough. There is no other conclusion to be reached. If your heart is dark and you have no fullness of the Spirit, even though you clearly love God and your heart undoubtedly desires to serve the Lord more, then it’s because you have failed to offer your sacrifice of righteousness frequently enough. It’s critically important for the righteous to offer every day the sacrifice of faith to God—that is, the offering of faith. This is absolutely indispensable for all the born-again righteous people.
The forefathers of faith listed in today’s Scripture passage were exceptional priests before God. Beginning with Adam down to Seth, Enosh, Cainan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, and Noah, they were all spiritual priests. And you and I who have inherited their faith are also God’s priests. The very moment we were born again to become God’s children by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, God entrusted us with priesthood, and therefore we have the duty to faithfully fulfill this priesthood.
What have we learned from today’s Scripture passage? We have learned that God has raised us as His priests to carry out the work of saving mankind. We have also realized from this passage that priests are not made by themselves, but are appointed by God from the beginning, that is, from the first man Adam. Furthermore, we have now come to know that God made us humans be born again as holy people in the likeness of His image, and took us in as the priests of His righteousness. Therefore, it is not strange at all that we have become righteous people and God’s priests in this present age, and we have also come to realize that this is congruent to God’s intention that was set from the beginning to bless us.
There is now nothing strange about the fact that we the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are God’s priests. Before, it may have seemed as if priests had existed only in the age of the Old Testament, and their priesthood may have seemed to be hardly related to us, but that is not the case. We have come to realize and believe, “It is a statute of tradition for those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit to take on priestly duties before God. This was appointed by God from the very beginning, and it is the unchanging Truth. We are now standing on a blessed place.” So we the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are truly blessed.
While reading today’s Scripture passage, I’ve come to the following realization: “Ah, how true it is! We the born-again righteous people are the priests of righteousness in this world, and therefore, we should offer such sacrifices of faith as often as possible for ourselves, for our brothers and sisters, and for everyone else to whom we’ll be preaching the gospel. So how far the gospel is spread depends on how often we the priests offer the sacrifice of righteousness.” Do you also think so?
How, then, should we lead our lives of faith? We should offer the sacrifice of faith as often as possible for both the sinners of the world and ourselves. Our lives of faith will then be filled with the light, and we will be able to walk with God just like Enoch.