In this chapter we will discuss about the ministry of New Testament in the light of Kingly and Priestly offices:
- Ministry of the New Testament.
- Key Observations of Kingly and Priestly office and duty
In the last chapter, we touched on the order of Melchizedek.That we are to minister under this order after we are established in the Household of God and in the Kingdom of Christ as a son of God.
In this chapter we will continue with this discussion.
In the past 2000 years, the followers of Christ have made many attempts to restore the practices of the Early Church, earnestly seeking to recover its past glory. Some have succeeded to a certain extent, some were just the efforts of men charged with a religious zeal. On closer inspection, they have often tended towards creating an antidote for the ills of the day: the believers in apathy, the church in apostasy, the society in decadence and the culture in decline.
The norm of the day could no longer contain the passion and expectation of some devout ones. At their dissatisfaction and disillusionment, the Lord would answer their cry for revival, then through them bring about some reformation to the people and to the culture of the day.
Yet, even the best of these seem never to move beyond the framework of a “past glory”, which gradually receded as the purity and the spirit of the Early Church began to dwindle. As a result, the effort to “institute” what has been achieved, seems to always serve as a clear sign when a movement or a revival has begun to wane. Able men or women, concerned about their cause, would fashion and emphasize their way of doing things, stipulated with their brand of biblical or spiritual understandings and connotations. This is especially true for the modern day christianity, evidenced by the explosion of various denominations and movements in recent history.
Is this the norm? Should this be the norm? Will this be the norm? The answer to each evidently is a resounding NO.
A people prepared, even now, endowed with the Lord’s wisdom and grace, will yet again unveil God’s plan for His people. They will lead us back to the “ancient path” paved out from the “ancient of days”. This is not wish-wash thinking on any man’s part. No. This is precisely and repetitiously what is prophesied in the Bible, in the Old Testament (Psm. 24:6; Psm 110; Dan. 12:1-4; Isa. 66:18-24; Hagg. 2:6-9; Mal. 4) as well as in the New (Matt. 13: 39-43; Matt. 24-25; ).
For this prophecy to come to pass, it inevitably will require a restoration of the foundation of what has long been “lost” concerning the teachings of Jesus Christ. That is the genuine discipleship in the context of a life in the Kingdom by the Spirit, not in the context of a life built upon man’s traditions. It is our hope that these writings will somehow assist you to depart from the “Babylon” of this world and to worship the Most High in the New Jerusalem of Heaven. Not in the future, but “now and here” “in spirit and in truth”.
Teaching of such a nature will bear certain characteristics. To name a few:
- It will not be founded upon the traditions and rules of man, nor will it end itself there. Rather it will be oriented in the Kingdom of God and centered around one’s spiritual life-the new life in Christ Jesus.
- It will not appeal to man’s intellect, but by the power of the Holy Spirit-the spirit of wisdom and understanding, as Paul puts it.
- It is not to reform or perfect a movement or a religious system, but is to release and establish us into Eternal Life with the Kingdom Reality.
- It will be the real return back to the New Covenant ministry, with the authority and power granted to the disciples when the Lord sent them out to disciple the nations (peoples). (Matt 28)
New Covenant Ministry
Again, due to the introductory nature of this series, we will only visit some of the key points of the New Covenant ministry.
Promised in the Old Testament
“The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Jer. 31:31-34 [NIV]
I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people.
Ezek 37:26-27 [NIV]
Fulfilled by Jesus
These prophecies were fulfilled when Jesus Christ, who is from the line of David in the flesh, choosing to die on the cross as the Son of God and the Son of Man, once for all nullified the Law of sin and death, establishing the covenant of Eternal Life. The moment He died on the cross, He exclaimed: “It is finished.”
Entrusted to the disciples
Before Jesus went to the cross, He had the Passover dinner with them. This is a symbolic act through which He instructed them to partake of His Body and His Blood, thus setting them apart as ministers of this New Covenant. ( 1 Cor 11:23-26)After He resurrected, He came to His disciples and taught them for 40 days, then instructed them to preach the gospel and disciple all nations. But before that, He told them to tarry in Jerusalem till they received power from on High. (Matt. 28:16-20, Luk. 24:45-53)
Then, on the day of Pentecost, they were baptized by the Holy Spirit and began to preach and share the Gospel with power. (Acts. 2-3.)
Passed on to us
This Gospel was passed on to us as disciples of Jesus Christ. When Jesus prayed for the disciples before His Father, He included us in His prayer. Some refer to this as the High Priest Prayer. Let’s take a look,
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.
John 17:20-22 [NIV]
Now, this oneness Jesus prayed is an inclusion of us as His Body, with Himself being the Head. Certainly this can’t be a work done by man with his own strength and power, but by the chosen vessels (the Elected) that God raises up and empowers through the Holy Spirit.
This is the pattern or model of the ministry of the New Covenant, that through discipleship, we can learn of His ways and receive the Power of the Holy Spirit. After being firmly established in Him, we then can proceed to being about the Father’s business as well.
This ministry is fundamentally different from the one under the Old Covenant. It is a ministry of God’s Eternal Life and Glory in the Spirit. It can’t be accomplished, or even comprehended by man’s flesh. (2 Cor. 3)
The role of both King and Priest and duty as the content
As we mentioned before, Kingly office and duty is the content of discipline or discipleship in the Kingdom of God, whose king is our Lord Jesus Christ; Priestly Office and duty is the content of discipline or discipleship in the family of God under the headship of Jesus Christ, who acts as the High Priest under the Eternal Covenant in the Heavenly Tabernacle. These are two inseparable realities that we will enter into after we are born again in Christ Jesus.
Let us discuss this with more detail.
Key Observations on Kingly and Priestly office and duty
As we discussed before, the Kingdom of God is an invisible spiritual reality, flowing from and into an eternal reality. It is revealed through the Son of God, Jesus Christ and is entrusted to Him. Perfection of such a reality can only be wrought through the divine order revealed through His ministry or discipleship, for life and for peace (Mal. 2:4-6); thus when it is revealed through the Son, it is also perfect in every way pertaining to its order and function. Accordingly, as we are perfected in Christ in His life and in His ministry, not only will we be introduced to a reality of oneness, or fellowship (communion), with the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit. More importantly we will be transformed from glory to glory in the life of God our Father, even unto the fullness of the life of Christ Jesus, who is the exact representation and perfect image of His Father.
In the very beginning, Christ, the Anointed one, the first born over all creation through whom everything exists, chose to obey the Father out of His love unto the Father and identified with the Father’s love unto His creation, the crown of which is man. At the appointed time, He was sent by the Father into the visible world, became a Man of flesh as the last Adam, born of a woman, endured all temptations and sufferings even unto death on a cross, yet without sin and disobedience. Thus He was perfect in every way as a son of Man, was able to fully embody the life as the son of God and carry out the power of the Holy Spirit as the Anointed one. More than that, He, who is without sin, chose to be identified with sin, and condemned to death, even to bear the wrath of God in its fullness. Thus he was able to disarm the power and dominion of sin and death, break off the bondage that the Evil one had laid upon mankind. He offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice once for all. Having taken away of the curse of sin and death, He sat at the right hand of God and was given all authority and power over the Evil one and His dominion, even for the benefit of those believe in Him.
And through our faith in Christ Jesus, we are then included the Kingdom of Christ, having been delivered from the Kingdom of Darkness.
13For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Col 1:13-14 [NIV]
However, this Kingdom is not isolated from God’s Family; rather it is one with the Family of our Heavenly Father. Let’s offer some observations on this.
The intent of God the Father is never just to be acknowledged as the Creator (Jehovah, Gen 14:22), or just to be exalted as the Most High (El Elyon), or just to be worshiped as the Almighty (El Shaddai, Gen. 17:). That is He wants not merely to be worshiped as God. Rather it was and is His desire to have Man included as His Family and through Man, He would subdue all creation and make His Name known to them. That is, He wants to reveal His Fatherhood to man and through man, unto all creation. God the Father is Love and Christ Jesus is the perfect expression of that Love, even through His Sonship. Yes, God is the Sovereign One (Jehovah), or Creator and Lord, over all that He created. Yet before He created anything, He had set apart Man as His own representation and His embodiment to govern and administrate His perfect will concerning all that which is created, so that His love and wisdom, His righteousness and justice, His faithfulness and goodness can be made known unto all creation. (1 Tim. 3:15-4:9, Col. 1:9-29)
When we are saved through Christ Jesus, we are restored back to this inheritance in God the Father as His children. We became co-heirs with Christ Jesus in His family. We are to rule creation with Him. In this we derive our kingly office and duty in Christ.
17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. ……
29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Rom. 8 [NIV ]
In order to do this, God firstly adopts us through Christ Jesus to become His family, or His Household (predestined and called). Then He will teach us through His Holy Spirit as His sons two kind of wisdom, Kingly and Priestly, as we mentioned briefly before (sanctified and justified). When we are established in this, He will give us the authority and power to go about His business (glorified and sent). This is the life our Lord Jesus had demonstrated to us. Our life in God the Father as a son indeed is from grace to grace (empowerment) and from glory to glory (transformation).We are also to make His Name known to creation. We are to be a Kingdom of Priests. This is the true and ultimate intention when God created Man, when He called and set apart the Israelites, when He gave us His Son and made anew of His promises, when He called us out of and sent us into this creation.
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Pet. 2:9 [NIV]
and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
Rev. 1:6 [NIV]
Notice that the way of rule or reign in the Kingdom of God is not like the way in the world, which is ruled by the Evil One. Rather it is the opposite. Jesus explains this very well:25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Luk. 22:25-30 [NIV]
The authority and power conferred to us in the Kingdom of God is to help others to know Him and be built up in Him. In essence this is our priestly office and duty.
We will discuss this more in the following chapters.
New Covenant Ministry
2 Cor 2:4-11 [NIV]
4For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you. 5If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you, to some extent—not to put it too severely. 6The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. 7Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. 9The reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. 10If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
2 Cor 5:18-19 [NIV]
18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
Kingly and Priestly Office and Duty
Eph 2:19 [NIV]
19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household,
Rom 15:14-16 [NIV]
14I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another. 15I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me 16to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
Rev 20:6 [NIV]
6Blessed and holy are those who have part 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.
Questions for Review
- From your own observation, can you identify some of the problems with Christianity? What are they?
- What is the essence of New Covenant ministry?
- Who is the main “actor” in New Covenant ministry? How so?
- Please give a brief observation of the relationship between the Kingdom of God and the Household of God.
Questions for Meditation and Application
- What is your concept of being a minister? How are you to become a New Covenant minister?
- How do you think you can practically doing ministry in the place where God has you?
- What is Kingly and Priestly duties means to you? Do you think there are only heavenly things? If not, why?
- How do you think you can attain to a deeper level of God’s wisdom? What for?