(NOTE: This is a ‘rough draft’ of a chapter of my finished book- available on Amazon via Title Link: Thy Kingdom Come- Here and Now!)
Chapter 2- A Royal Priesthood: Our Profound Responsibility
1 Peter 2:9 (Amplified Version)… But you are a chosen race, a Royal Priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God’s] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
God’s Word is so AWESOME! Every time I have traveled through the Holy Scriptures from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 (in 9 English and 3 Spanish versions), I am fed divine food, and drink of the Holy Spirit beyond thirst.
In every book the Lord Jesus Christ is revealed, the Father’s Love is showcased, and the Holy Spirit’s Power is proclaimed and demonstrated. Time after time the Trinity is manifested, whether overtly or in types, symbols, and parables. For example: He is declared to be: “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob (Israel). Abraham means “Father of a multitude” and is a type of our Heavenly Father– through whom all nations of mankind have been and will be blessed. The Father’s Heart of love is a perfect love, full of compassion, tender mercies, and longing for our very best to be realized.
Isaac means “laughter” and he is the promised son who inherits all– just as Jesus will, according to the Divine Will of the Father. He is the faithful, obedient son for whom a bride is sought. Abraham’s servant Eliezer (which means “God of help” and is a type of the Holy Spirit) is sent to seek for a helpmate on Isaac’s behalf. This again shows how the Holy Spirit is busy in the world preparing a Bride for the Bridegroom, our Lord Jesus Christ. Jacob means “heel catcher” and in conflict with his brother Esau in the womb, is avoiding getting his head crushed by his sibling. Bill Cloud of Shoreshim Ministries presents a compelling argument studying the Hebrew more accurately, and shows that the conflict between the seed of God represented by Jacob, and the seed of Satan represented by Esau is what is actually played out in the womb of Rebekah. Jacob was not the supplanter or thief, but rather preventing the adversary from taking him out prematurely.
His name was changed to Israel which means “a prince who has power with God- in union and agreement with God’s purposes”. This has dual meanings: In a type it represents the Holy Spirit, and yet also reveals the transformation that the Holy Spirit works out in the life of the believer.
Yet another prophetic layer is developed beautifully by Watchman Nee in his book Changed Into His Likeness. These three persons– Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel) reveal the divine progression in the true believer’s life:
1) Like Abraham, each of us is called out of the world. He left Ur of the Chaldeans in Babylon, to go where God directed him– to a Promised Land, to inherit from God every inch of terrain where his foot stepped… once there.
2) Like Isaac, we become sons and daughters who inherit everything (the Kingdom). This is not based on working for it, or based upon our own merit– but just by receiving the full blessings of the abundance of the Father. These manifold blessings are in all areas spiritual, emotional, and physical. For us as it says in the New Testament:
Luke 12:32… Do not be afraid, little flock, because your Father has been well pleased to give you the Kingdom.
3) Jacob becomes Israel– this is our transformation unto full stature (see Ephesians 4:11-32) in becoming a prince or royalty of God. Salvation is a free gift– all that is required to receive it is is for one to agree with God and own up to our spiritually bankrupt condition. We are fallen, dead in trespasses and sins. We then acknowledge that without divine intervention through Christ’s atoning death on the cross– there would be no hope… no salvation… no deliverance or healing. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6).
Then repentance can begin to position us to receive the gift of salvation in confessing Jesus as Savior and Lord of our lives. This not only removes the stain of the past– all of our sin up to the moment, but also immediately empowers us by the coming in of the Holy Spirit– potentially to be fully able to resist and overcome the temptation to all future sin.
Receiving the Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, Redeemer, Healer, and Deliverer– as wonderful and miraculous as that is, is only the beginning. Now each of us individually begins the long, and often arduous process of being conformed to His image. We are to grow in all things and in all ways unto full stature in Christ. We are infused with His Holy Spirit at the new birth, but need to allow the merging of our quickened spirit with His Eternal Spirit, and to begin to germinate His fruit.
According to Galatians 5:22 we begin to manifest the fruit of His Spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. We need to give free reign to the Lord in this process, for even as new born babes in Christ we can show forth fruit. As in the natural, fruit grows slowly– and is solely based upon our surrender, availability for transformation, and the desire to please our Heavenly Father in thought, word, and action. If we are careful to continually be aware of God’s Presence, and do moment by moment what He would want us to say or do, our growth rate would accelerate.
Once we are truly born again though, the gifts of the Spirit can immediately manifest– as He wills. As stated, fruit grows slowly– it takes time to sprout and mature. It also requires careful, thoughtful nurturing and maturing over time– fed by the Word and prayer. On the other hand the gifts can immediately and fully activate, and we can see the tangible evidence of its manifestation… again as He (the Holy Spirit) wills.
1 Corinthians 12:1; 4-11 (NKJV)… Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant… Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:
for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
This Is Our Priesthood…
…The daily sacrifice of praise, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Holy Name (Hebrews 13:15). This offering from our hearts daily… no matter what our temporal experience is–whether good, bad, or indifferent– pleases our Heavenly Father. Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit says:
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 (NKJV)… Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.
The organic Word of God– living and active, reveals the mind of Christ profoundly in this passage. What it does not say is that it’s God’s will for one to suffer. What it does say is that when we experience suffering, or in any manner of life experience– to give Him thanks for His continual daily blessings in spite of our circumstances. Often that very act of worship sets in motion the needed steps to deliver us from trouble; other times it gives us the comfort of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the fiery furnace.
This passage also emphasizes clearly our triune nature: spirit, soul, and body… and the fact that in each aspect of man we have the enviable capacity to worship the Living God. As willing vessels we praise and worship Him, and His Loving response is to sanctify (cleanse) us completely… and continually. In this attitude of worship we fulfill:
Romans 12: 1, 2 (lsm)… I exhort you therefore, brothers, through the compassions of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be fashioned according to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind that you may prove what the will of God is– that which is good, and well pleasing and perfect.
A living sacrifice, like Isaac on the altar (Genesis 22), we position ourselves in Christ on the cross– death to self and the ways of the flesh, and thereby alive to God so that resurrection power can freely work in us the life of Christ. In the sequel to this current work which will be called Cleansing The Temple, I will spend considerably more time dealing with the Old Testament symbols and types of the Aaronic and Levitical Priesthood, demonstrating how our precious Lord Christ is revealed, not only in each and every sacrifice, but throughout the Tabernacle in the wilderness, as well the Tabernacle of David, and the Temple of Solomon later in the history of the children of Israel.
It suffices to say that our Priesthood is not of either of these Old Testament forms. The Book of Hebrews systematically reveals that we again inherit something better. We inherit a better Priesthood based on a better Covenant, with better Promises– It’s the Melchizedek Priesthood: an Eternal Priesthood of worship… in songs of Praise, in dedicated lives, in massively productive endeavors in every conceivable realm of Kingdom activity. And we lay it all at the feet of our most precious, glorious, and loving Husband– the Lord Jesus Christ.
So we see that in our spirit, in our soul, and in our body we can worship God. The spirit as the innermost part possesses God-consciousness that we may contact God. As Jesus told the woman at the well in John 4:24… God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth. The soul is our self, the medium between our spirit and our body, and has self-conscious allowing us to develop a distinct personality. The body is the external part of our being, possessing world-consciousness and allows us to contact the material world. The body contains the soul, whereas the soul is the vessel that contains the spirit. In the spirit, God as the Spirit dwells; in the soul– our self dwells; and in the body, all our physical senses dwell.
God sanctifies us first, by taking possession of our spirit through regeneration (John 3:5, 6); second, as the life-giving Spirit from our spirit He spread himself saturating and transforming our soul (2 Cor. 3:18), and finally– He quickens or makes spiritually alive our mortal body through our soul (Romans 8:11 & 13) by His power… which will inevitably lead to our bodily transfiguration (Phil. 3:21). We are blameless when we are born-again and all our sin– past, present, and future are under the blood of Christ, and yet we are sanctified and cleanse daily as we maintain an attitude of humility, surrender, and in repentance and confession maintain unbroken communion with God.
The corporate Body of Christ is gaining an expanding awareness of the need for surrendered hearts; the need for greater spiritual growth as we worship the Living God in spirit and in truth. This felt need will continue to carry greater and greater weight because God the Holy Spirit is preparing the Bride of Christ, who will make herself ready for her coming Bridegroom (Rev.19:7). In not being conformed to this world system, we are not assimilated by it, but having been separated unto God– we experience the continual transformation of our soul by the Lord Spirit in us. Transformation is the inward metabolic process in which God works to spread His divine life and nature throughout every part of our being, in particular the soul, which brings Christ and His riches into our being– this new element gradually replacing the old, natural element. This is how we are transformed into His image (2 Cor. 3:18)– conformed to the image of the firstborn Son of God as His many brethren (Rom. 8:29).
After presenting our body, we need to have our mind continually renewed. When we set our mind on the spirit (Rom. 8:6) renewal is possible and actually automatic. We do our part, God faithfully does His part. Our mind is the leading part of the soul, and as it is renewed, then our will, emotion, imagination, motives, aspirations– all follow suit to be renewed also. In this process we then prove the will of God. In the book of Romans up to Chapter 12 we see that we whom God has chosen, called, redeemed, justified, sanctified, and conformed unto His image are to be members one of another in the living of the Body of Christ. This Body of Christ is the epitome of God’s divine revelation; the divine life for divine expression.
We are one Body in Christ in organic union with Him. This union makes us one in life not only with Him, but also with all other members of His Body. The Body is not an organization but rather an organism produced by the union in life that we have in Christ. God’s purpose in salvation is to have Christ reproduced in multiplied millions of saints that we may all become members of His Body. We each need the function of all other members– coordinated together and actively practicing Body life toward the ultimate goal of complete preparation of the Bride. See, beloved– our Lord Jesus is not coming back for a harlot; not for a lukewarm, worldly, dispassionate game player. He will only return when the Bride is fully prepared– having made herself ready for her Divine Bridegroom. I find it almost laughable, and often pathetic– the over-emphasis on misguided teaching about the rapture of the church, and the end time prophetic scenario. So many are predicting one thing or another about how imminent our Lord’s return is.
Sorry, friend… the Bride is nowhere near ready. We have much to do, and it will take some time. Across generations we all need to get committed whole-heartedly to the program. My children and little grandchildren, my generation, and even the elder generation that is mature in years… all and every one of us are needed in this epic transformation. We will look at the future effects of our growing unity in the Body in coming chapters.
Potentially in everything we are and do we worship: In how we care for our bodies by fitness, proper diet, appropriate rest and recreation (See Maker’s Diet by Dr. Jordan Rubin); our personal hygiene, our dress, our home environment, our family relationships, our church involvement- both locally and globally, our vocations, hobbies, recreation, our giving, our reaching out to others in need… especially the lost- in peril without God… every waking moment we can commit as an act of worship to our God, who is worthy of all praise and adoration.
Our living out our lives as Priests unto God, rejoicing in all things with a heart of worship, is the catalyst that manifests the Kingdom. Jesus said that the Kingdom of Heaven has drawn near (Matt. 4:17). In Him is the Kingdom for He is the King, and now with His indwelling life-expanding Spirit dwelling within us, we carry the Kingdom wherever we are and in whatever we do. Like the song by the group Petra says, “There is a road inside of you… the road to Zion’s in your heart”. The Kingdom is within us, crying for full release in all facets of our daily lives. We will be studying many of the 53 references to Zion (the city of God) in the Bible, and delve in detail into the 14 parables of the Kingdom… as well as its “Constitution” (the Beatitudes) where the Lord Jesus taught about the Kingdom in great depth.
In looking again at 1 Peter 2:9 with respect to our being a Royal Priesthood, we need to see it in this way: We are born of God. Just like Jesus was conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit, each of us who is truly born again– is also born of the self-same Holy Spirit.
John 3:5-8… Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I say to you, You must be born anew. The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from and where it goes; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.
You are either born once (physically) and die twice (physically and spiritually), or you are born twice and die once. Of course if you live long enough to experience the actual rapture of the church in the return of our Lord, you could be born twice (physically and spiritually) and never suffer death at all! That would definitely be the ultimate. When I considered myself a Buddhist in the late 60’s and early 70’s, I had the misguided notion about reincarnation and was motivated to be a better person solely for the selfish motive of returning as a higher life form with better circumstances. When I came to the knowledge of God’s truth in the mid-70’s, I rejected all the idolatrous and deceptive lies of the evil one in the false religions that I had become enamored with.
The stark difference between the One and Only Way to God in Christ Jesus, and the pandemic view of “many roads” to God foisted on a gullible mankind by the rebel prince of darkness– makes our presentation of the Good News controversial to say the least. The world calls us religious bigots, hypocrites, and myopic– and when not being offensive, they pity us for not being open-minded and in touch with reality.
2 Corinthians 4:1-6… Therefore having this ministry as we have been shown mercy, we do not lose heart; But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every conscience of men before God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled in those who are perishing, In whom the god of this age has blinded the thoughts of the unbelievers that the illumination of the gospel of the glory of Christ,, who is the image of God, might not shine on them.
For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. Because the God who said, ‘Out of darkness light shall shine’, is the One who shined in our hearts to illuminate the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Also 2 Cor. 2:14-17 (NKJV) … Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death to death, and to the other the aroma of life to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak the truth in the sight of God in Christ.
And yet again 2 Cor. 5:17-21 (lsm)… So then if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away; behold, they have become new. But all things are out from God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; Namely, that God in Christ was reconciling the world to Himself, not accounting their offenses to them, and has put in us the word of reconciliation. On behalf of Christ then we are ambassadors, as God entreats you through us we beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. Him who did not know sin He made sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
If God is in fact our Heavenly Father, the Lord Jesus Christ is King of the Eternal Kingdom, and we by the Power of His Holy Spirit have been born into the Kingdom for such a time as this. Children of Kings and Queens are automatically Royal blood. The bloodline has certain requirements of conduct and training, and those considered princes and princesses in a royal household are held to a higher standard than common man. Please consider getting a copy of the outstanding book Revisiting the Kingdom by Dr. Myles Munroe in which he describes the protocol of a royal family, and applies it thoughtfully to our required training in Kingdom principles.
Therefore whether you feel like it or not, you are the child of The Eternal King and are therefore by the nature of your re-creation forever Royalty. Let no false humility blind you to this truth; but allow true humility in the character of Christ cause you to always think of others more highly than yourself (Philippians 2:3). This reality of royal standing in Christ can never be taken away from you… although unfortunately you can relinquish your positional authority and delegated power of dominion by willful rebellion and sin– like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Always remember:
1 Cor. 6: 9-11… Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the Kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus by the Spirit of our God.
Like in the parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), all are apparently saved since they are virgins awaiting their Bridegroom, with the oil of the Holy Spirit in their ‘vessels’. Their light was shining which speaks of the presence of God, although the foolish ones allowed the oil to run out and were therefore unprepared to meet the Bridegroom at His return. We must be prepared at all times, since we do not know when the Lord is returning– and individually we certainly don’t know when any one of us will be called home; all of our days are in His hands.
Therefore Royal Priesthood- walk soberly before God, at any moment ready to give an account before Him of every thought, every word, and every action… in the Holy Fear of the Lord which is after all the beginning of wisdom (see Proverbs Chapters 1-4) .
Keith Green- ‘There is a Redeemer’