There are several differences between the priests today and the priests of the temple periods of both ancient Egypt and ancient Israel. To understand these differences, first we must understand the pre-history of priest-hood in general.
Read the books by Zecharia Sitchin. They come as close as we are able to understand to the days before there were priests in ancient Egypt. According to Sitchin, there was a superior race before the flood of Noah’s days who ruled this earth. Their most noticeable characteristic was a brain over twice the size of the human of today. There are still some of their skulls on display in Latin America. There were two varieties of them: slope-heads like Nefertiti and Akhenaten, and cone-heads, of which there are no present-day, well-known examples but who differed by having their extra brain capacity stacked directly above their neck instead of attached like the old-fashioned automobile “rumble-seat”. Both Akhenaten and Nefertiti required neck supports at night to keep their spines aligned or their “brain baggage” would have been so great that just tucking their chin on their chest would not have been sufficient. Cone heads don’t have this problem.
Persons who know the history and structure of houses in the “old south” are knowledgeable that some patterns of homes were modeled after the houses taken from the giants in the “old country” which required the killing of the former occupants in order to inhabit the house. These houses were the ones that were built by the cone-heads and slope-heads in ancient Israel. These houses include the tall “mansions” with either 4 or 6 pillars holding up a porch in front of a two-story house, as well as the shorter four-post wide porch model with 12 foot ceilings that went out of fashion when heating them became prohibitively expensive. These two models marked the difference between the giants who had interactions with humans and those who didn’t. The ones without human interaction were farmers, herdsmen, craftsmen, and the usual array of current human activity.
The giants who lived in the larger houses were so fierce, and some to incredibly ugly, that they scared humans. The average human could not work for them because they would inevitably anger them and get killed in a fit of rage on the part of the giants. It took special training and certain characteristics on the part of the humans to be able to survive in the service of a giant. Enter the ancient priest-hood.
There were different levels of priests as well as different levels of giants, politically and functionally. The humans who “stood in the presence” of the giants, who worked with them on a daily basis, were called princes and priests interchangeably. The humans who enforced the directives of the giants were called priests. These were the teachers, police, record-keepers that we call government officials today, and supervisory personnel that were in charge of keeping the canals cleared and other maintenance types of activities. We call these “government officials” today. The entire governments were run by the dictates of the giants in the “good old days”.
Because these priests were in the service of the giants, killing or injuring one of them would result in a visit from the giant and a funeral for the associated family. No one “messed with” a human who was in the service of a giant. This has come down to us today in the form of special protections for police, fire, and other governmental workers of every description.
This is why the original of the word “worship” was “work-ship”, and why kneeling was a safe practice in the presence of a very powerful, 8-foot being who had no sense of humor at all. A lot of the people who worked for these giants never came home, and certainly those who did never showed the attitude of “good enough for government work”. They were very serious about their duties, and for good reason.
This understanding changes the definition of “religion” entirely, from an ethereal “religious experience” to a very concrete, reality-based way of conduct. Eternal life may still be the goal, but the road to get there was much different in the past than it is today.