The whole community is holy

“They [Korah, Dathan, and Abiram] came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, ‘You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the LORD’s assembly?'” (Num 16.3)

Priesthood of all believers is one of the major tenets of Protestantism. They argued that there is no strict difference between the clergy and the laity. We can call it democratization of the people of God. Nevertheless, sometimes perhaps equality could lead to anarchy, as demonstrated by Korah, Dathan, and Abiram when they opposed the priestly rule of Aaron by arguing that the whole community is holy. Their argument was not totally off base. At Sinai, indeed YHWH declared that Israel “will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exo 19.6) So perhaps the problem lies not in the clergy-laity system itself, but how the system functions within the people of God; whether it actually liberates and equips the people to become holy, or that in the end it only serves to promote elitism within the church.


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