Monday, March 28, 2011

THE CHURCH AS KING AND PRIESTS WITH JESUS

THE CHURCH--“KINGS AND PRIESTS” WHO WILL REIGN WITH JESUS


Before I get into this segment, let me make a DISTINCTION between the Church and Israel.  We KNOW that Israel had PRIESTS who served God in the Tabernacle, and later in the Temple.  We also know that Israel called for a KING to rule over them, as in the surrounding nations, and God honored their request.  God established the throne of David, and anointed David to be their King.  (What about Saul?  He was THE PEOPLES’ CHOICE, and what a DISASTER he proved to be!  Much like the disastrous choice in our last election!)

What we need to understand is that Israel HAD their PRIESTS, and they HAD their KINGS, but in Israel, a man was NEVER a PRIEST AND KING at the SAME TIME.  In fact Israel’s Priests and Kings came from separate TRIBES:  Priests were from the Tribe of Levi; Kings from the Tribe of Judah.

The Church, however is PATTERNED after Jesus (and ONE with Him), Who is indeed a PRIEST AND KING at the SAME TIME, in the likeness of Melchizedek.  (I’ll return to the concept of Melchizedek after a few more paragraphs.)

Where do we find the Church described as being PRIESTS AND KINGS?  Let’s look at 2 Peter 2:9-11.

“But you are a chosen generation, a ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, an holy nation, a PECULIAR people, that you should SHOW FORTH the praises of Him Who has CALLED you OUT OF DARKNESS into HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT, which in time past (as Gentiles) were NOT a people, but ARE NOW the PEOPLE OF GOD; which had NOT obtained mercy (in the Old Testament as Gentiles), but NOW have OBTAINED MERCY.  Dearly beloved, I beseech you as STRANGERS AND PILGRIMS, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.”

We, in the Church, are indeed a PECULIAR PEOPLE, a SEPARATE BODY and UNIQUE from ALL of the REST of God’s people.  We, the Church ALONE, are BOTH KINGS AND PRIESTS, a “ROYAL PRIESTHOOD” (“Royal Priesthood” is the combination of those TWO offices).  We are therefore DIFFERENT, a very UNIQUE and DISTINCTIVE people!

We are NOT pre-flood people.  Neither are we Old Testament saints.  We are not Jews or Israel.  We are NOT the future Tribulation Saints!

We are THE CHURCH, who is CHRIST’S BODY on earth, and who are INDWELLED by the Holy Spirit!  NONE of the other groups of God’s people have THAT DISTINCTION!

Jesus, our Head, is a KING and PRIEST, in the like manner of Melchizedek, the KING of Salem--who was also a PRIEST.  (See Genesis 14:18.  Plus Hebrews 6:20 and all of Hebrews chapter 7.  Also Psalm 110, which prophesies of the Lord making the enemies His footstool.)  Jesus is A PRIEST forever in the order of Melchizedek--who was also the KING of Salem.  We, the Church, being ONE with Jesus--and JOINT-HEIRS with Him-- are KINGS and PRIESTS, too!

We’re called STRANGERS and PILGRIMS on this earth--in 1 Peter 2:9-11, because the earth is NOT our home.  We are ALIEN here, just passing through, because our TRUE HOME, those MANSIONS we anticipate, are IN HEAVEN, in the HOUSEHOLD of God.

Let’s continue by looking at Romans 5:17.

“For if by one man’s offense (Adam) death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of GRACE and of the GIFT of RIGHTEOUSNESS shall REIGN IN LIFE by One, Christ Jesus.”

We do NOT wait until we get to heaven to operate like Jesus.  We do so RIGHT NOW in THIS LIFE--through the EQUIPPING, GIFTING and POWER of the Holy Spirit, as Romans 5:17 makes abundantly clear!

We are CALLED to RULE and REIGN as Kings right now--in THIS LIFE.  In fact, I see our RULING and REIGNING in the present time as ON THE JOB TRAINING.  Then, once we’re Resurrected/Raptured to heaven, we’ll receive STEPHANOS CROWNS, the wreaths given for OVERCOMING and for GAINING A VICTORY.

HOW do we REIGN in life like what is being described?  By our FAITH, CONFIDENCE and TRUST in Jesus!


THE CHURCH AS “KINGS AND PRIESTS” IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION


There’s more about the Church being Kings and Priests.  Let’s look at Revelation 1:5-6 (which is addressed and sent to the SEVEN CHURCHES).

“And from Jesus Christ, Who is the faithful witness (Prophet), and the first begotten of the dead (Priest), and the prince of the kings of the earth (King).  Unto Him that LOVED us, and WASHED us from our sins in HIS OWN BLOOD, and has MADE US KINGS AND PRIESTS unto God and His Father; to Him be the glory for ever and ever.  Amen.”

The Church is WASHED in the BLOOD OF JESUS.  We’re ALREADY made clean and ready to MEET Him--by His sacrifice at THE CROSS.  As a result of that work, Jesus MAKES us KINGS AND PRIESTS unto God and His Father.

What a PHENOMENAL trade!  Our sins are CAST INTO a sea of forgetfulness, always covered by Jesus’ precious blood!  And we ARE, in God’s eyes, KINGS and PRIESTS-- ROYALTY IN HIS KINGDOM!

We’re destined to RULE and REIGN with Him in the coming Millennial Kingdom, and FOREVER.  Who can know all the things (that Jesus plans for us) as we fill in that role?

We’ll know FOR SURE when we’re Resurrected/Raptured and SEE Him FACE TO FACE.  I’m certain we’ll NOT be disappointed!


THE CHURCH AS “KINGS AND PRIESTS” AND THE 24 ELDERS IN REVELATION.


I’ve written a teaching about the 24 elders (Revelation 4 and 5) in another article, and  there’s way TOO MUCH information to include in this lengthy series.  However, allow me to make a quick statement.  (Honestly!  I don’t think I CAN be brief!  So please bear with me.)  Here’s the Biblical description of the 24 elders:

(1.)  Elders--a term used for Church leadership.

(2.)  Elders, the Greek “presbuteros.”  Church terminology--the “Presbytery.”

(3.)  Number 24.  In 1 Chronicles 24, King David DIVIDED the Israeli Priesthood into 24 COURSES because they’d grown too large.  There was NOT room for all of them to assemble at the King’s throne.  When the 24 LEADERS of the divided COURSES met BEFORE David’s throne, the WHOLE PRIESTHOOD was REPRESENTED in their number.  LIKEWISE, the 24 ELDERS represent the ENTIRE CHURCH before God’s throne--a picture the Church in our role as PRIESTS.

(4.)  Number 24 (part 2).  The Church is composed of both Jews and Gentiles.  12 tribes of Israel.  12 apostles of the Church.  A total of 24.

(5.)  The Elders SIT.  The work of the Church on earth in “the age of God’s Grace” is done.

(6.)  The Elders sit on THRONES--the Church is seated on THRONES as KINGS.  A picture of the Church in our role as KINGS.

(7.)  The Elders wear “SPECIFIC” WHITE “RAIMENT.”  The Church is promised white garments.  (The “specific” RAIMENT is NOT the Greek “stole”--which is seen on the Great Multitude of Revelation 7.  There’s a difference!  The Great Multitude is NOT the Church.  Instead, they are saints that come out of the Great Tribulation.  Be careful to make those comparisons!)

(8.)  The Elders wear CROWNS, which are STEPHANOS, given for OVERCOMING and GAINING A VICTORY (and for finishing the race).  The same kind of CROWNS are given to the Church.  (1 Corinthians 9:25-27.  1 Thessalonians 2:19-20.  2 Timothy 4:8.  1 Peter 5:4.  Revelation 2:10.  Revelation 3:11.)

(9.)  The Elders wear crowns OF GOLD.  Gold shows KINGSHIP.  Again, this is the Church as KINGS.  The Church also SHINES with THE LIGHT of Jesus, REFLECTING His Deity.  Gold in scripture also speaks of Deity.

(10.)  In Revelation 5, the Elders sing a NEW SONG of THEIR REDEMPTION (as seen in the King James Version--translated from a MORE RELIABLE old manuscript known as the Codex Siniaticus).  The Elders sing of being saved by the blood of Jesus.

(11.)  The Elders are saved “out of” (“called-out of”) every kindred, tongue, people and nation on earth.  The Church is predominantly Gentile, “called-out of” the world.

(12.)  In Ezekiel and Daniel we find SIMILAR DESCRIPTIONS of heaven as shown in the Revelation.  EXCEPT FOR ONE THING.  The Old Testament prophets did NOT see 24 Elders!  Why?  The Church is a MYSTERY which was NOT clearly revealed in the Old Testament.

I gave this description because I’m going to quote the NEW SONG of the 24 ELDERS in Revelation 5:10.

(This is a UNIQUE “new song” of a PECULIAR group of GOD’S PEOPLE--the 24 Elders--THE CHURCH.  We are redeemed by Christ’s blood from every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation).

“And (He--Jesus) has made US unto our God KINGS AND PRIESTS:  and WE shall REIGN ON THE EARTH.”--(during the 1000 year MILLENNIUM, with Jesus on the throne of David in Israel).

Do you recall WHAT we discovered in Romans 8:17, that we (the Church) are JOINT-HEIRS with Jesus?  God’s Son INHERITS the MILLENNIAL KINGDOM from His Father, which is the FULFILLMENT in Israel of their MESSIANIC PROPHECIES.  Jesus is the ONE Who will RULE and REIGN with a ROD OF IRON during that time, and we (Church) will RULE and REIGN with Him.  That’s the CLEAR TEACHING of OUR DESTINY, as SUNG by the 24 ELDERS (who are a SYMBOL for the Church).

If we, true Church, were CAST into the time of the Tribulation, we could NOT rule and reign!  The Tribulation is NOT a time in which God’s people are free, or able to rule or reign.  The Tribulation is a time of the wrath of God, ALL of it SENT from God’s throne, from the seals to the last of the bowls!

Who reigns in that terrible time?  A wicked One World Government.  The horrible false religion of Mystery Babylon.  The Antichrist.  Satan and his hordes of demonic forces.

Tribulation saints do NOT rule and reign in the Tribulation.  They are OVERCOME by the Antichrist and his minions!

Israel does NOT rule and reign in the Tribulation.  They’re under the false covenant of the Antichrist, and ONLY EXIST as he ALLOWS them.

Plus, AFTER the Antichrist commits the “abomination which makes desolate,” Israel will need to FLEE FOR THEIR LIVES.  That’s certainly NOT reigning.

Even in the Millennium, ISRAEL does NOT reign as kings.  They enjoy the blessings of living under the REIGN of Jesus and His Church, but Israel does NOT act in the position of kings themselves.

Since the Church REIGNS in THIS LIFE by One Christ Jesus, it’s IMPOSSIBLE for us to be cast into the Tribulation--where we CANNOT reign.  Can you see these truths?  I pray you can!


A SUMMARY--FACTS ABOUT THE CHURCH THAT WE’VE SEEN IN THIS SERIES


To sum up, we, the true Church, are a UNIQUE people among ALL groups of God’s people.

1.  We ACCEPTED the work of the Lord Jesus Christ AT THE CROSS and have been MADE RIGHTEOUS by His shed blood.

2.  We are “ACCEPTED” IN THE BELOVED.

3.  We are FILLED and SEALED with the Holy Spirit and have His POWER to OVERCOME.

4.  We are Christ’s BODY--made ONE with Him.

5.  He is the HEAD, and we are HIS MEMBERS--living building blocks in the LIVING ORGANISM called HIS CHURCH (toes, fingers, hands, feet).

6.  We are the “sons of God” in His “HOUSEHOLD”, “adopted” into God’s family, where we are HEIRS of God and JOINT-HEIRS with Jesus.

7.  We are Christ’s AMBASSADORS on earth in this AGE OF GRACE, representatives of Jesus to the world around us.

8.  We are CITIZENS OF HEAVEN,

9.  We are the CHURCH OF THE FIRSTBORN,

10.  And we’re “FIRSTFRUITS unto the Lord,” as well as “FIRSTFRUITS of the Spirit.”

11.  We REIGN with Jesus, made unto Him KINGS and PRIESTS.

12.  We’re TRANSLATED into the KINGDOM of God’s dear Son.

13.  We’re also the BRIDE OF CHRIST, and will be married to Him IN HEAVEN, after our Pre-Trib Rapture.

14.  At the END of the tribulation, Jesus AND His BRIDE will RETURN to earth for the MILLENNIAL KINGDOM.
  
Is this enough to convince you of OUR UNIQUENESS as THE CHURCH, and WHY we’ll NEVER find ourselves in the Tribulation?  I hope so.

May you be abundantly and eternally blessed in Jesus Christ.  Let’s look with joy for His appearing to snatch us up in the Pre-Trib Rapture.

Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!

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