Rabbi Eliezer explains that all the people in the world who reject and disobey the law of God here on earth will not be heirs in the kingdom of God. Being heirs in God’s kingdom means that after death every person will be rewarded according to his/her deeds, good or bad, believer or a non-believer. He specifies that the wicked and all the nations that forgets the Lord their God will go to hell. He does not exempt the high priests if they are rebellious to God but says “all nations”.
Rabbi Jeremiah explains that all people who believe in God are equal to priests through faith and through the practice of the laws of God. God will find favor with everyone who is blameless and follows His status. He will accept his praise, worship and prayers just as He does to saints and the high priests. Rabbi Jeremiah reveals that being a priest will not necessarily mean that one is acceptable before God but those who believe and walk in the ways of God having a clean heart and upholding righteousness.
In this context, both prophets explain that only those people who do right will be rewarded. In the first context we find that those who walk blameless before God will inherit the kingdom of God after experiencing the physical and first death. Those who oppose the will of God will die forever. i.e., go to Sheol, (psalms 17:9). It does not justify priests to do wrong and remain in favor with God; we find that those who sin will surely die. Again if a gentile does according to what the law states, he is liable to enter into the gates of the Lord, will rejoice in the Lord and the Lord will do good to them.
A great difference is observed in the setup and practice of the early church compared to what is there today. Judges, priests and saints were ordained as special men of God who were the only ones allowed offering sacrifices, performing certain rituals, presenting people to God through cleansing by use of blood and water. During war or draught, it was the work of the high priests to pray to God for people that God would change the intended punishment to the people. The high priest also led people to repenting their sins during such period by leading them to fasting and praying to God. The priests were responsible of showing people how to behave and live so that they would be right in the eyes of God. The uprightness of an individual was highly determined by how they follow the teachings of the priests and Levites and not on how one obeyed God.
It was the duty of the judges to ensure that the Law of Moses is observed and that all festive ceremonies for Israelites was observed in the right way and in time failure to which a person received a severe punishment such as death or being alienated from the community of the Israelites. Each punishment varied on the extent of the sin committed and the set laws on how to punish anyone who does a certain offence. The judges governed Israel before the coming of Kings. They made all decisions for people and ensured that everything was in order. They were responsible for ensuring that during war times people were represented by the warriors and that the nation of Israel was safe from attack by other nations.
No one was allowed to offer any sacrifice to God except a priest. Inside the temple of worship, there was a section which was referred to as “Holy of Holies” and only the priest were allowed to go in because they were believed to be the most holy people who were acceptable in the sight of God. The gentiles were not regarded as God’s people; they were not even allowed to go to the temples of worship because they were unclean people. According to the word of God it is clear that He died for everyone, the Greeks and the Gentiles all belong to Him if they are upright. This is the only condition for one to be acceptable to God i.e. being righteous and this was manifested through the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ where the curtain that separated the temple was separated into two meaning that everyone was allowed to go in the presence of God whether a high priest or a gentile. According to (Isaiah 26:2) it says “open the gates that the righteous may get in, not only the priests, nor the Levites but everyone who is righteous and this becomes a final proof that every righteous man before God is equal to priests.
Early church had its operations strictly under the control of priests and Levites but Rabbi Eliezer and Jeremiah have a different approach towards the same. They points out that all people who knows God and they walk blameless before Him are acceptable before Him no matter who they are, and where they come from. Those who reject and disobey the will of God will not have a share in the kingdom of God; they will perish in the Sheol. Jesus paid the price on the cross, so that all may be acceptable before God when they repent and renounce from their wickedness.
Abraham J. Karp, From the Ends of the Earth: Judaic Treasures of the Library of Congress, (DC: Library of Congress, 1991).