Paul mentioned to the Corinthians “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” God has not enabled any of the Apostles to perfectly reveal all the blessings contained in salvation. There has not been a prophet or poet authorized to explain what eternity with God will be like. There are no Biblical similes with which to whet our appetites for our future state in God’s holy abode. In fact it is difficult to understand even what we currently possess by God’s grace. Do you fully understand what Peter tells us? “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people.” This evening I’d like to return to one of these Christian offices, even though I’ll not be able to explain all that it entails.
Every Christian is a king, or if you like, we are kings and queens. We are not just princes and princesses. Even though nearly every little girl dreams of being a princess, Christian ladies are more than that. We are not mere mayors, governors, councilmen, and prime ministers. The Bible says that we are kings as well as the priests which we considered last week.
Christian, you are a king or a queen.
Revelation 5 is the chapter which precedes the Tribulation – you could say that it is the introductory chapter. Please turn to Revelation 5:1 – “And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?” No man was sufficient to break any of those seals until up stepped the Lamb of God. Verse 7 – “And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Verse 14 – “And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.” Then with the breaking of the first seal a description of the Tribulation period began.
Notice verse 10 once again – The twenty-four elders – who most commentators interpret to be God’s saints Those Christian priests – Melchisadecian priests like Christ, sang a song of praise to their Saviour. “THOU wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” In regard to the elders’ office as kings, notice the two tenses of verbs – “hast MADE us” and “we SHALL.” We ARE kings and we SHALL reign.
I am not even going to try to describe how we are going to reign as Kings under Christ during the Millennium. I am not sufficiently familiar with mind of God to parse out our future authority, other than to say I believe we shall reign as kings under the supreme authority of the Messiah.
Revelation 20:6 – “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” Will our kingships change at the conclusion of the Millennium? If so what will it be during eternity? I don’t know, and I am not prepared to speculate, leaving that to people more expert than I am. But please note – by grace the Lord “hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” This scripture seems to say that we are kings now, even though our reign has not yet taken effect.
Now turn to Revelation 1:4. “John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Once again the Apostle John tells us that we are kings as well as priests, and the verb tense declares that this is in effect before the Millennium and even before the Tribulation. So I reiterate – God’s saints ARE kings and priests now. You are a king in the omniscient sight of God.
The word “king” is one of the most simple and non-confusing in the Word of God – in either Testament. So many of the English words in the KJV have more than one original word translated that way. And many Greek and Hebrew words are translated into English in more than one way. But “king” is an exception. “Melek,” the Hebrew word, is translated in some form of “king” more than 2,000 times and almost in no other way. While “basilius” the Greek word is translated “king” about a 120 times, and again that is its only translation. Note that word again – “basilius.”
Now please return to I Peter. 2:9 – “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” To what kind of priesthood does Peter say we belong? We are a part of a “royal priesthood.” The Greek word translated “royal” is “basileios” (bas-il’-i-os) – we are a part of a “kingly” priesthood. And once again the verb is in the present tense – “Ye ARE part of a kingly priesthood.”
How can this be? What is the source of this kingship?
It goes without saying that this is due to the grace of God. We no more deserve to be God’s kings than we do to be His children. We are far more deserving of execution than coronation. But the grace of God is somewhat inexplicable; it makes sense only to Him.
How is it that we have been made the Lord’s kings? To begin an answer, I take you to the Books of Hebrews, Genesis and Psalms. Psalm 110:4 says of Christ, “The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” Then the Book of Hebrews touches on that oath of God in three successive chapters. Hebrews 5:5 – “Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” Verse 9 – “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered….” Hebrews 6 reminds us that Christ is our Saviour – “our high priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.” And then in chapter 7 Paul tells us that even the Levitical priests needed a greater priest – “Another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec.”
We are first introduced to this mysterious Melchisedec back when Abraham was returning from the battle which saved the life of his nephew Lot In Genesis 14 victorious Abram was congratulated by the wicked King of Sodom, but he cared nothing for that. Then out of the city of SALEM, came a very special PRIEST who blessed Abram and received a tithe of his spoils. He was also KING of the city – he was a “royal priest.” His name was “Melchisedec.” Hebrews 7:1 – “For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him. To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.”
This, beloved, is how WE became a part of a royal priesthood. Christ Jesus is a priest after the order of Melchisedec. In fact, there is good reason to believe that the Melchisedec who met Abraham was this same Christ Jesus before His incarnation. And we were made priests under Him.
I say it with joy – with humility – with gratitude – you and I are royal priests – kingly priests. As Christ was a PRIEST after the order of Melchisedec, so are those whom He has saved. As Christ is a KING even as Melchisedec was a King, so are we whom the Lord has saved and sanctified. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
But what good is it to be a king without a kingdom? Do we have a kingdom?
First, let me point out that it IS possible to be a king and not to possess a kingdom. David, for example, was anointed king of Israel in I Samuel 16. “And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.” For the next sixteen chapters David was a fugitive, pursued by the outgoing monarch. It wasn’t until II Samuel 5 that David was crowned King of Israel. In God’s eyes, David was king, but it was not actually the case. He was king de jure, but not king de facto – until fifteen years later.
And today, at this moment, YOU are a king in the sight of the Almighty God. Perhaps in as little as seven years, you will be given dominion over some small part of God’s creation. But today you are in exile, perhaps even a fugitive before the eyes of men. But don’t either despair or forget your royal blood – it is the blood of Christ our Melchisedec.
I have asked myself how the Lord will determine and designate our various little Millennial realms. Should we assume that every saint will rule over an equal number of square miles or cubits? Using the Lord’s parables for direction, doesn’t it make sense to think that the servant who invested his talents well will rule over more than the servant who buried his single talent in the earth? Could it be – isn’t it both logical and even Biblical – to think that this future position will be a reward for services rendered to the Lord today? If, I am correct, what will be the criteria for those future rewards?
But remember, we have been made – even today – “kings and priests.” “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” No, it is true, we haven’t been crowned monarchs over anything. We don’t have armies of soldiers or even loyal subjects today. We lack even what David had while he was fleeing before Saul.
And yet, there is a point of dominion over which we are kings, and where we ought to reign – our own hearts and lives.
Solomon tells us that we possess something greater than the armies and armament of kings. “Wisdom is better than weapons of war” – Ecclesiastes 9:18. Proverbs 16:32 – “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” Proverbs 31:4 – “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink.” Even kings have rules by which they shall be judged. Kings have personal kingdoms within their own lives and hearts.
Just think about it – before our salvation, we were nothing but slaves. The world, the flesh and the devil, dictated our every move. Sometimes we bowed our necks and put our foot down, refusing to obey their demands. But only a few moments later we gave in, as our dictators pushed us in other wicked directions. But now, as kings with the Holy Spirit as our chief advisor, our chief of staff, we have the authority to rule our own personal kingdom – our hearts. Whether we actually do is another matter.
We are surrounded by an army of servants, if we have faith enough to see them. Remember Elisha and his servant when their little kingdom on the hill was surrounded by the armies of Syria? The servant was terrified, but the prophet was not. Elisha to him, “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” You and I have the authority of Christ to say to our ultimate enemy – “Satan, get thee behind me.” We have exousia sufficient to order our flesh to be silent and submissive. In fact, we can demand the execution – the crucifixion – of the flesh. Are we kings enough to give such orders?
If I am not mistaken, it is the goal of every sinful child of Adam, to rule and reign as king of his life. It was the sin of Lucifer, and it was the temptation which he placed before Adam and Eve. But when they reached for it, God cut them off. Now, in Christ, through His gracious salvation, we have been made priests and KINGS. There is much more of this kingdom yet to come, but even today we hold the scepter of our lives just under the hand of our Saviour. We have, by God’s grace, what our mother Eve craved. What a joy it is to be a child of God. What privileges are ours.