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Eternity 63 - A Kingdom of Priests

Gen 14:18 And Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine; and he was the priest of the most high God.

Exodus 19:4-6 LITV You have seen what I did to Egypt; and I bore you on wings of eagles and brought you to Me. (5) And now if listening you will listen to My voice, and will keep My covenant, you shall become a special treasure to Me above all the nations, for all the earth is Mine. (6) And you shall become a kingdom of priests for Me, a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the sons of Israel.

Heb 7:1 For this "Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God," the one meeting Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, "and blessing him;"

1Pe 2:9 But you are "an elect race," "a royal priesthood," "a holy nation," "a people for possession," so that "you may openly speak of the virtues" of the One who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

Rev 1:6 and made us kings and priests to God, even His Father. To Him is the glory and the might forever and ever. Amen.

What does the Bible teach about Christians be a "kingdom of priests"?:
1. In the O.T. Melchizedek was both a king and a priest and Israel was called to be a "kingdom of priests".
2. Melchizedek was a type of Christ who is a High Priest "of the order of Melchizedek". (Hebrews chapters 5-7)
3. Christians are "in Christ" and therefore we are also kings and priests, of the order of Melchizedek - the King-Priest line. 1 Peter and Revelation make it clear that this applies to all Christians.
4. Christians do not act like Jewish or pagan priests offering sacrifices in a Temple because that has all been fulfilled in Christ (see the whole book of Hebrews). Neither are we to observe a religious calendar of "days and months and seasons and years" (Galatians 4:10) or engage in other religious dietary and worship practices that have passed away (Colossians 2:8-23)
5. Rather our priestly task is given in 1 Peter:
that "you may openly speak of the virtues of the One who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;"
and in Hebrews:
Hebrews 13:15-16 LITV Then through Him let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God always, that is, the fruit of the lips, confessing to His name. (16) But do not be forgetful of doing good and sharing, for God is well pleased with such sacrifices.

As priests we seem to have four main duties - proclamation, praise, doing good, and sharing. As kings, our duties await us after the resurrection when we will "rule with Christ". Paul makes it perfectly clear that the Corinthians belief that we can presently rule with Christ, is mistaken (1 Corinthians 4:8) and 1 John 5:18,19 plainly says that this world is under the control of the evil one. So ruling has to wait! But our priestly duties can and should begin now.

Some Christians major on the first two priestly duties - proclamation of God's excellencies and praise and worship. While others major on doing good and sharing with their social action. Its not either/or - but "both and". But the latter seem to have a greater weight - the OT prophets castigated worship - even if it was lavish and highly accomplished - if the heart was hard and the actions unjust:
Micah 6:6-8 ASV Wherewith shall I come before Jehovah, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt-offerings, with calves a year old? (7) will Jehovah be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? (8) He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth Jehovah require of thee, but to do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God?

There are dozens of similar references in the OT and Jesus Himself spoke about those who majored on the minors - being obsessive about Sabbaths and rituals and neglecting mercy and justice - "the weightier matters of the law" (Matthew 23:23). As a kingdom of priests we should be living holy lives and building communities that engage in proclaiming the gospel, praising the Lord, doing good to all and sharing with the poor and needy. This will be a fragrant offering unto God.

(For an interesting article on developing a Learning Community in your church try:


John Edmiston


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