What is the difference between a priest and a pastor according to the Bible?


I would like to ask you what is your religion? It is clear that you are not an Orthodox although you are using the title of a priest? And because you use this title, I think it is a site that manipulates by the fact that you call yourself a priest.

It is true that I am a pastor at the “Bunavestirea” Church (“Good News”) from Chisinau and I have many times mentioned this thing on the site, at press conferences and elsewhere. I do not hide my identity as some are doing or as some accuse me and that is why, it is no reason to be accused of manipulation. As regarding the title of a priest I did not call myself, but even the Lord Jesus in the Holy Scripture calls me so. Let’s go to the Scripture to see.

Who is a priest?

I do not know why some readers think that only within the Orthodox Church can be used the term of a priest. No way. It is a term very often used in the Bible. The servants of the Old Testament were called priests. In the New Testament priests are called all those who believed wholeheartedly in the Lord Jesus Christ, receiving forgiveness of sins and were born again. The Apostle Peter wrote his first Epistle to the Christians who believed in Lord Jesus and have recently been born again and he tells them:

Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture: ”BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, ”THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,” and, ”A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY. (1 Peter 2:1-10)(NASB)

Because I believed wholeheartedly in the Lord Jesus, He gave me a new life, the Holy Spirit and the honor to be named a priest, because I am a part of the holy and royal priesthood.

The name of the PRIEST received from God directly relates to the responsibility of every Christian to proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Apostle John in his greeting to the seven churches of the Book of Revelation writes:

John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, d from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood– and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father–to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1:4-6)(NASB)

When the Lamb came to take the book from the right hand of the One sitting on the throne, Revelation says that:

When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nationYou have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” (Revelation 5:8-10)(NASB)

Priests are people who have received by faith the redemption that the Lord Jesus Christ made with His precious blood. They are those who will have part in the first resurrection and about them to the end of the Book of Revelation God says:

Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)(NASB)

So the priest is a biblical title that God gives to those who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ with all their heart and were born again. And the new birth is not an allegory, but a reality that God insists on a lot and that I have experienced and thousands and millions of other true Christians can tell this thing. Furthermore there is no other way to become a Christian than just by being born again and he who believes that he is a Christian because he was born in this religion, or because he inherited it from parents, or because he goes to a church or to another one he is very wrong. Lord Jesus said that unless one is born again he can not see and can not enter the kingdom of heaven. And now let’s see …

How is it with the title of a pastor?

In Ephesians the Apostle Paul writes:

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16)(NASB)

To be a pastor is a gift and a ministry that Lord Jesus gives to some people of the Church which is His body and it is their responsibility to perfect the saints for ministry. So, this is an internal responsibility, to the church, while being a priest is a liability to those outside the church to proclaim the Gospel.

The Apostle Peter writes:

Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (1 Peter 5:1-4)(NASB)

So, the responsibility of the pastor is to shepherd God’s flock, or local church, which is under his guard. According to this verse, pastors are also elders.

Let us return to the question that was addressed to me. I use the name of a priest because I received this honor from the Lord Jesus and through the things I write I do this, I benefit by Internet technology to preach the Word of God to all who speak Romanian, Russian and English across the globe. At the same time I shepherd “Bunavestirea” Church from Chisinau. God help me do the ministry He gave me.

Translated by Felicia Rotaru