The Royal Priesthood: The Beginning and the End Times

The Royal Priesthood ani

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people for His possession,
so that you may proclaim the praises
of the One who called you out of darkness
into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)

When it comes to understanding the meaning behind the authority of our royal priesthood, we need to have an understanding of what the “priesthood” in the Old Testament was in the first place.

In the Old Testament, God chose the tribe of Levi to serve as the priests in Israel, ministering in the tabernacle and later, the temple. The Book of Numbers tells us the Levites were viewed as belonging to God. They were set apart and considered holy.

levites

Behold, I have taken the Levites from among the people of Israel instead of every firstborn who opens the womb among the people of Israel. The Levites shall be mine” (Numbers 3:12)

However, amongst all the Levitical priests an even more anointed role was chosen, the role of the high priest of Israel. The high priest is the title of the chief religious leader of the nation of Israel. He oversaw the responsibilities of all the subordinate priests and lead the nation of Israel according to God’s will and direction.

AaronHighPriest

But, in the New Testament (found in the book of Hebrews) we are told that the Levitical priesthood, which came about under the old covenant made with Moses, has now been done away with.

Now, God has made a new covenant through His Son Jesus Christ. In this new covenant He has raised up a new high priest in Jesus, who is not a priest after the old order of the Levitical priesthood, but after the order of Melchizedek. “For it is witnessed of Him, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek”. (Hebrews 7:17)

0christ-our-priest

Under the new covenant, Jesus is our forever High Priest and all believers are subordinate priests underneath Him. “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5)

So now that we’ve gotten an overview of the meaning of priesthood, let’s take a look at the “royal” part of being a royal priesthood.

What we see throughout the story of the Bible is how God goes about reasserting His Rule and Kingdom over the kingdoms of the world.

God does this by singling out one couple in particular, Abraham and Sarah, and promises to make their offspring into a great nation, which we later know becomes the nation, or Kingdom, of Israel.

Abraham-and-Sarah

However, we know through the stories in the Old Testament that the Israelites fail miserably at being faithful to God and end up being captive to numerous evil kingdoms throughout history, namely Babylon, Assyria, and Rome. Even though the Israelites failed to remain faithful to God, God remained faithful to them.

In Isaiah we read about how God promises a day when He will save His people and free them from bondage and captivity as their future King (Isaiah 52:7).

Isaiah 52-7

The fulfillment of this promise is what we see in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus came as Israel’s promised King who established the Kingdom of God here on earth. So, Jesus is King, but guess what?

You are also royalty.

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, then you are now sons and daughters of God, heirs of God, and co-heirs with Christ. “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” Romans 8:17). Because Jesus is royalty, you are royalty, too. You are a member of God’s royal family.

kings-and-priest

Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords, and because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross our sins have been removed and we have been restored to our original design as the image bearers of God who are created to rule and reign on God’s behalf.

We’ve covered what it means to be kings (royalty) and priests, but now let’s look at what it means to be a royal priesthood. As believers we are called to be both a king and a priest, just as Jesus is both the King of kings and our forever High Priest. However, in the Old Testament it’s important to note that you could not be both a king and a priest at the same time.

KingsPriestGeneration

However, the idea of God’s people being both a king and a priest was always part of God’s plan.

In Acts 15 (which is a retelling of an Old Testament passage, Amos 9:11) God says He will rebuild the Tabernacle of David through the reign of King Jesus.

“‘After these things I will return, and I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen, and I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, so that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name.” (Acts 15:16-17)

You see, in the Old Testament the lineage of kings and priests looked like this:

From the tribe of Judah came the kings of Israel
From the tribe of Levi came the priests of Israel

Wavering from this rule was not allowed under any circumstance, and if a king were to take on the role of a priest, then that king would surely die.

This rule was firm for everyone without exception! At least, anyone except for King David.

King_David_Playing_the_Harp

David was not from the tribe of Levi; he was from the tribe of Judah, which is why he was a king. However, David had a uniqueness around him because unlike the other kings of Israel, David acted as both a king and a priest. While the other kings needed a priest in order to talk to God, David talked to God directly.

This is significant because as already discussed, a king was not allowed to act as a priest. Furthermore, only a person from the tribe of Levi could be a priest and take on the priestly duties.

But in 1 Samuel 30:7 we see David acting as a high priest by putting on the ephod, which was a ceremonial garment worn only by the high priest and speaking directly to God.

“Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelek, “Bring me the ephod.” Abiathar brought it to him, and David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?” (1 Samuel 30:7-8)

ephod

Then in 2 Samuel 6:17 we see David again acting as a priest by sacrificing burnt offerings.

They brought the ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the Lord.” (2 Samuel 6:17)

King_David_sacrificed

Why did God not kill David for these acts?

The reason is because God had given David a revelation of the promised King Jesus who would be both a king and priest in the order of Melchizedek.

In fact, it was David who wrote Psalm 110 where he says:

The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind: “You are a priest forever [referring to Jesus], in the order of Melchizedek.”” (Psalm 110:1-4)

melchizedek

We’re not told a whole lot about Melchizedek except that he was a king, and also a priest.

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High.” (Genesis 14:18)

Melchizedek’s reign and priesthood was before the time of Moses which was when the Levitical priesthood was established. So Melchizedek’s kingship and priesthood actually pre-dated the rules established in the time of Moses regarding priests only coming from the tribe of Levi and kings only coming from the tribe of Judah.

melchizedek (1)

So, what God actually did was show David another priesthood that was different than the Levitical priesthood where you could be both a king and a priest at the same time. God had revealed to David a priesthood that was in the order of Melchizedek, otherwise known as the priesthood of Jesus Christ.

What we have here are actually two priesthoods:

Hebrews+7-11+The+Levitical+Priesthood+and+the+Melchizekek+Priesthood+gray

The Levitical priesthood – where you are only a priest (Old Testament)

The priesthood of Melchizedek (or better known the priesthood of Jesus Christ) – where you are both a king and a priest at the same time (New Testament).

Hebrews 7 says this about the priesthood of Jesus Christ:

Another priest [referring to Jesus] arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. (Hebrews 7:15-16)

High Priest Jesus

How does all of this apply to us as believers today living out our royal priesthood?

Well, upon the establishment of the church in the book of Acts, Acts chapter 15 declares that the building of the church and the expansion of the Kingdom of God will be done by rebuilding David’s tabernacle.

Technically David’s tabernacle is no more than a fancy name for the tent he put the Ark of the Covenant in. However, the meaning behind what David’s tabernacle represented is significant.

David’s tabernacle is a reference to how David renewed the nation of Israel in the worship of Yahweh (God) by his steadfast devotion to the Lord, the establishment of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city, and bringing the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem, which had been lost a generation before.

However, the most important thing to take note of here is David’s tabernacle represents David’s kingship where he ruled over Israel as both a king and a priest in the order of Melchizedek. David’s tabernacle was the establishment of a new priesthood according to the order of Melchizedek in anticipation of the future reign of King Jesus as both our King and forever High Priest.

God declared He would expand the Kingdom of God here on earth by rebuilding the tabernacle of David so that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord.

“‘After these things I will return, and I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen, and I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, so that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name.” (Acts 15:16-17)

So, when 1 Peter says we are a royal priesthood, what that means is we are both a king and a priest at the same time.

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we are a royal priesthood

We are a king who takes territory and expands the Kingdom of God with authority and influence, and we are a priest who serves God with direct access and fellowship with Him in the throne room of God.

So, if anyone ever asks you what it means to be a royal priesthood, all you have to say is you have access and authority to enter into the presence of God as a priest, and to rule and reign as a king.

The Book of Genesis shows us our past, and the Book of Revelation shows us our eternal future as priests and kings:

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In the beginning ani 4

The first words in Genesis are: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (1:1).

In the beginning ani 2

Almost the last words in Revelation are: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away… (21:1).

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The gathered waters he called seas ani

Genesis: God called the dry land “earth,” and He called the gathering of the water “seas.” And God saw that it was good. (1:10).

new Jerusalem 1

Revelation: and the sea no longer existed. (21:1).

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Genesis:  God called the light “day,” and He called the darkness “night.”  (1:5).

day night ani

Revelation: Each day its gates will never close because it will never be night there. (21:25).

new Jerusalem 3 ver2

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Genesis: God made the two great lights—the greater light to have dominion over the day and the lesser light to have dominion over the night… (1:16).

sun rise ani

Revelation:  The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because God’s glory illuminates it, and its lamp is the Lamb. (21:23).

new Jerusalem 7 ver 2

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Genesis: …but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die. (2:17).

tree of the knowledge of good and evil

Revelation: He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Death will no longer exist… (21:4).

new Jerusalem 2

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Genesis: He said to the woman: I will intensify your labor pains; you will bear children in anguish. (3:16).

I will intensify your labor pains

Revelation: grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away. (21:4).

garden of eden ani 1

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Genesis: And He said to Adam, “Because you listened to your wife’s voice and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘Do not eat from it’: The ground is cursed because of you. You will eat from it by means of painful labor all the days of your life. (3:17).

adam ground cursed

Revelation: …and there will no longer be any curse.  (22:3).

no more pain

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Genesis: “No! You will not die,” the serpent said to the woman. “In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (3:4-5).

garden of eden ani 2

Revelation: The Devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (20:10).

The Devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire ani

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Genesis: The Lord God said, “Since man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil, he must not reach out, take from the tree of life, eat, and live forever.” So the Lord God sent him away from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove man out and stationed the cherubim and the flaming, whirling sword east of the garden of Eden to guard the way to the tree of life. (3:22-24).

The ground is cursed because of you

Revelation:  The tree of life was on both sides of the river, bearing 12 kinds of fruit, producing its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree are for healing the nations… (22:2).

tree of life ani

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Genesis: A river went out from Eden to water the garden. From there it divided and became the source of four rivers. (2:20).

garden of eden ani 3

Revelation: Then he showed me the river of living water, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the broad street of the city. (22:1).

river of living water 2

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As kings and priests of God Most High, the 7 blessings in the Book of Revelation apply to us:

The first blessing is found in Revelation 1:3: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”

The second blessing is found in Revelation 14:13: “Then I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.’” 

The third blessing is found in Revelation 16:15: “Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.”

The fourth blessing is found in Revelation 19:9: “Then the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ And he added, ‘These are the true words of God.’” 

The fifth blessing is found in Revelation 20:6: “Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.” 

The sixth blessing is found in Revelation 22:7: “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.” 

The seventh blessing is found in Revelation 22:14: “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.”

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new Jerusalem 12

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

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If you are not a Christian, God has not brought you here by accident. and you now have a wonderful opportunity. Christ calls you, He invites you to join His priesthood. To do so, you need to put your faith in Him, turn from you sins, and He will bless you with His own righteousness. You will no longer need to fear death and judgement – when your sojourn here on Earth is over, you will join Him in heaven, for eternity.

If you are not sure that you are saved, you can accept Christ into your life right now, by praying:

“Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins.  Please forgive my sins and give me the gift of eternal life.  I ask you in to my life and heart to be my Lord and Savior.”

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Spread the Word:

Send any comments or suggestions to raptureandendtime@gmail.com 

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Reader Comments:

Sounds interesting, thanks for sharing.

shortangel, July 17, 2022

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Thanks for sharing.
My perspective and belief as well.

Most excellent presentation, to the point, very appropriate selected graphics for the visual aid, most beneficial for young and old.
Your time and effort is noted, thanks again.

Glory to God,

Taken, July 17, 2022

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What makes us a “royal priesthood” is the fact Christ was a different kind of priest–he was a “royal priest.” What he did for us in forgiving our sins was due to his authority as king.

We belong to his priesthood because we share the testimony of what he did. It’s a great privilege, and the message does need to get out.

Randy Kluth, July 17, 2022

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Christians are the children of God, so having the King of the Universe as father must make us royalty too..:)
“What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?.. Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord, I will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

Dropship, July 17, 2022


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