This lengthy post is part one of a two-part teaching. It is an excerpt of my portion of a soon to be released book which I am co-authoring with Don Atkin and Greg Austin — Royal Priesthood: The Pathway to Kingdom Authority. Part two will soon follow.
Exodus 19:6 – And you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.
1 Peter 2:9– But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people.
The unsearchable riches of grace that accrue to believers can obscure God’s eternal purpose for His children, and the planet. If we’re not careful, we can preach and teach a human-centered gospel: a gospel that emphasizes the benefits of salvation to us, and neglects what Father desires to accomplish in and through us, for Himself, and the benefit of others. Not only do we have an inheritance in Christ and in the heavenlies, but Father also has an inheritance in the saints.
It can be hard for us to grasp that His plan of salvation for humanity fulfills something in His plan for the cosmos, not just our eternal benefit. That is, there’s something that accrues to Him, for His delight, purposes, and satisfaction, as well as an inheritance that accrues to us. The plan of God is not just to “save us and get us to heaven.” God had, and has, a redemptive plan for this planet: to fill it with a quality of life that images Himself—that the very life of Jesus would be found in mortal flesh, on planet earth, filling the earth with the glory of sonship, as the waters cover the sea.
Yes, Father has always had a dream. Jesus is the firstfruit/seed fulfillment of that dream. And yet, there still remains a fulfillment in scope and scale that involves all of us as believers. The Seed that was sown in death and resurrection is to bear fruit and multiply in us and through us. As He was sent (apostolically seeded) into the world, so are we.
What is that dream?
That the world will be populated/filled with a caring, serving, kingdom of priests who are prophetically empowered by His death and resurrection life.
As the Scriptures in the opening of this chapter plainly indicate, this was God’s dream from the beginning of His calling a people (a nation) unto Himself at Sinai. The dream finds its realization in the glorious new covenant. There will literally be on earth, a new “nation”—a new people group, a new race, a new creation, a new citizenry whose nature is regal, whose service is priesthood, and whose empowerment is His resurrection life.
They will be governed by the Holy Spirit, serving One King, under His rule, representing His interests to humanity, and representing humanity’s needs to the King: a royal priesthood of new creation beings, a never-before-seen race of humanity, testifying to the world by the quality of their life and existence that He is risen, and the new age has dawned. The end has begun. The kingdom is here: partial, but present. God’s dream is no longer a future hope, but a present reality. That dream is you and I, in Christ.
How does this royal priesthood come about? How does it “work”? How is it realized in humanity? In Part One, we will look at the issue of a kingly priest in the Seed, Jesus, and then in Part Two, we will see how that quality of royal priesthood is realized in and through you and I. It’s my conviction that there are fewer topics as vital to God’s eternal purpose, and the accurate, practical manifestation of His life on earth, than this.
Jesus – The King-Priest
The first generation apostles faced many interesting challenges. Before facing the issues of legalism and Gnosticism, they had the formidable task of trying to explain (to themselves and others) . . . “What just happened?” A resurrected God-Man, Lord of glory who walked among us, requires . . . uh, “a little explanation!” They also had the difficult task of trying to figure out just how new the “new” covenant is from all that they had understood up to that point.
Imagine being a Levite who has believed in Jesus, seen Him alive from the dead. The week before resurrection, you were serving God by sacrificing animals, and now in one weekend’s time, your career, your devotion to God, everything you have believed and practiced, is blasphemous, and an insult to the God you profess to love. That is a bit of a difficult “change” to process. Sometimes change in God’s way of doing things is very unsympathetic to the “human complications” associated with aligning with the change He brings. Throw in (“God forbid”) the Gentiles getting in on things, and it’s quite a stew.
I trust we can have some respect and sympathy for the daunting nature of the task facing the first generation apostles.
Of course, the apostles had the Torah, Psalms and prophets at hand. From that Scripture base, they tried to explain this crucified and resurrected Lord, and to explain the new “arrangement” (covenant) of God’s dealings with humanity. How the apostles handled the Torah, how they interpreted and applied it, is the “scriptural” basis for the legitimacy of Christianity. The first century squabbles with the Jews were all hermeneutical fights. The apostles had the unenviable task of trying to claim continuity with the old order and differentiation from it at the same time. It wasn’t easy then, it’s not easy now.
The Jews took strong objection to how the apostles went about this with nonliteral interpretations and applications. The apostles attempted to explain Jesus from a Torah-base of two primary passages of Scripture: Psalm 2 and Psalm 110.
It’s an understatement to say that these two passages, as the apostles applied them, are the foundation for everything we believe in the new covenant era. There are more references to Psalm 110 in the New Testament than any other Old Testament passage. The apostolic exegesis and application of these two Psalms is the scriptural foundation for all other subsequent New Testament doctrine, including Paul’s.
These Psalms were written by and for David. However, the spirit of revelation in the apostles applied them to Christ in resurrection. Apostolic revelation takes precedence over biblical literalism. The Scriptures mean what the apostles say they mean. If we do not believe this, we need to rethink the implications of our belief systems. Much is at stake.
These two Psalms deal with kingship and priesthood as they relate to Messiah. Since as He is, so we are in this world, we cannot bypass the importance of these two Psalms. I trust you can refer to common translations for reference throughout this chapter, but for fullness effect, I have provided some amplified (and fairly literal) renderings from Ed Corley’s Maschil publications. Please pay special attention to the speakers in Psalm 2.
The Rulers of the Nations Speak
1. What is the reason for this tumultuous assembly of the nations, even the peoples who connive this impoverished device?
2. The kings of the earth assume their stations, and the chief ones of them gather in private conclave against Yahweh and against his Messiah resolving:
3. “Let us tear off the binding restraints they have placed on us, even let us cast off the cords with which they have restricted us.”
4. The One who remains enthroned in the heavens derides such a resolution with laughter. Yea, even Yahweh scorns them.
5. At that time He makes a declaration to them in His wrath. He even dismays them in His burning anger by saying:
6. “ I have already established my king upon Zion, the mountain of my holiness.”
The Son Speaks
7. I will recount the decree of the appointment. Yahweh said to me: “You are my son: I have begotten you for the day.
8. Ask of me and I will give you the nations for your inheritance and the extremities of the earth for your possession.
9. You will govern them with an inflexible scepter of iron. You will break them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
The Prophet Speaks
10. This is the time of opportunity, O kings. Diligently consider this. Be admonished, you who rule as judges in the earth.
11. Serve Yahweh with fear and rejoice with trembling. Submit to the Son with a kiss, lest He become angry and you and all your way perish, for His wrath will soon be kindled.
12. O, the blessings of all those who flee to Him for refuge.
1. Yahweh declared to my Lord (Adoni): “Sit at my right hand until I set your enemies as a stool for your feet.”
2. Yahweh will send the staff of your strength out of Zion. Have dominion in the midst of your enemies.
3. Your people are willing offerings in the day that you wage warfare in the majestic array of holiness-from the womb of the dawning day.
4. Yahweh has sworn and He will not repent: You are a priest forever according to Melchizedek.
5. Yahweh at your right hand will shatter kings in the day of His anger.
6. He will judge among the nations He has amassed bodies. He has shattered the head over the earth. Much!
7. He will drink from the flowing river that runs by the pathway; therefore He will exalt the Head.
These two Psalms are the personal oath/decree of the Father, to the Son, concerning the Son’s inheritance. The lofty sacredness and far reaching implications of a covenantal oath made by the Almighty, by, for, and in Himself, is so exceedingly precious as to occasion awe. It becomes even more wonderful when we understand that this same divinely determinate decree and oath of the Godhead, applies to you and me . . . more on that later! For now, let’s see how broadly and deeply these two passages permeate the new covenant Scriptures at the apostles’ hands as they relate to Jesus as king and priest.
Psalm 2 – Apostolically interpreted and applied
- Acts 2:30 – Christ in resurrection
- Acts 2:36 – crucified and resurrected Lord and Messiah.
- Acts 13:32-33 – Christ in resurrection, the first begotten from the dead
- Hebrews 5:5 – Christ in resurrection, begotten unto priesthood
- Acts 4:25 – refers to the person of Christ, not David
- Rev. 2:26 – the scepter of iron promise made to the Messiah is made to the overcomers
- Hebrews 1:5 – Christ’s identity, superior to angels
- Revelation 1:5; Luke 4:5-7 – implied reference to Psalm 2 as apostolically understood.
We could go verse by verse through this wonderful Psalm, but it would be too much of an excursion for this brief work. I just want to highlight a couple of portions as they relate to Jesus’s kingship.
Psalm 2 deals with God preemptively “setting” His King on Mt. Zion in the face of the rebellion in the nations. The raving mad rebellious leaders of the nations cannot get past the eternal covenantal decree that has gone forth in eternity past in the Godhead! In a modern way, it is like saying: “It’s too late boys, go ahead, scheme all you want!” “I beat you to it!” I have already set in My king!
Christ in resurrection is the king over the nations. The English word “set” in verse six is a Hebrew word nāsak (yasak), meaning to “pour forth.” It is a reference to the anointing a king would receive from a prophet’s horn as he would receive investiture to the throne of the kingdom. The “setting in” of a king (as well as a priest and prophet) including a “pouring forth” (please keep this phrase in mind for later . . . it is going to be significant) of the anointing oil.
The apostles refer to Jesus’s resurrection as the fulfillment of His “setting in” as the King upon Mt. Zion. The apostles also interpreted and applied Mt. Zion to you and me, the people of God. We are the Zion of God. Jesus, by His resurrection from the dead is the Davidic king promised in Psalm 2 and the new creation nation is His “nation/s.” This is going to be very important for you and me, in what is to follow in the section regarding Pentecost. We’ll get there. For now, catch this:
Jesus is king by resurrection.
Psalm 110 – Apostolically interpreted and applied
- Matthew 22:41-46 – baffled the Pharisees
- Matthew 26:63-65 – enraged the high priest
- Mark. 12:35-37 – gladdened the common people
- Mark. 16:19-20 – released the power of God
- Acts 2:27 – accompanied the outpouring of the Holy Spirit
- 1 Corinthians 15:24-26 – is effective until death is conquered
- Eph. 1:1-23 – obtained a complete triumph for His body
- Hebrews – 1:3, 1:13, 8:1; 10:12-13; 12:2 . . . wow!
As in Psalm 2, we could go verse by verse into a detailed examination of the priesthood of Melchizedek. Again, it would be too large an excursion for this brief chapter. Suffice it here to make a few significant points.
Psalm 110 is the covenantal oath/promise made in the Godhead concerning Christ in resurrection as king and priest. The author of Hebrews (see the verses above) ties in Messianic kingship (Hebrews 5:5-6) with priesthood associated with resurrection. Jesus is the new high priest.
The language in Hebrews 5:5 is interesting. The English reads “begotten.” The Greek is from the word ginomai, meaning “to come into being.” The apostles did not apply this to Jesus’s natural generation from Mary, but His being the firstborn from the dead in resurrection, as a king and priest! His “begotten-ness” is as a resurrected king-priest, the first of a nation that is to follow!
Melchizedek is the only character of the old economy that we know functioned as both priest and king, something the Mosaic order strictly prohibited. The two offices were not to be found in a single individual, yet in Melchizedek, they were. The apostolic authors applied Psalm 110 to Jesus in resurrection as a fulfillment of a unique priesthood, not according to Aaron and the Levitical order, but according to Melchizedek.
So, we see Jesus: declared to be king by a covenantal oath/decree/promise of the Godhead in Psalm 2 and declared to be priest by a covenantal oath/decree/promise of the Godhead, fulfilled, by the resurrection from the dead.
Jesus is high priest by resurrection.
As glorious as this is, as marvelous and praiseworthy as this all is, there is yet more glorious good news. The apostles did not stop in their application of these glorious verses to Jesus. The apostles linked them to us in Him, the body, the nation–the people of God
Copyright 2012 Dr. Stephen R. Crosby www.swordofthekingdom.com. Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references. For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Eph. 1:18.
 2 Cor. 4:11.
 A present reality with a future consummation.
 The science and art of biblical interpretation.
 Maschil Numbers 1 and 3. Pinecrest Bible Training Center, Salisbury Center, New York. 13454. No date. I have taken editorial liberty in changing Ed’s references to Jehovah to Yahweh.
 That’s the sense in Hebrew. Some believe, with good reason, that in Daniel 7:25, the phrase referring to the “little horn” desiring to “change times and laws” would be better rendered “decree” than “laws” as the word in Hebrew is singular. I am easily persuaded that the animus of the “little horn” of Daniel is directly aimed at the decree of Psalm 2 concerning the kingship of the Son. This is the raving mad ambition of the little horn and the kings of the earth: undo the eternal decree concerning the Son, sealed forever by His resurrection. He who sits in the heavens, laughs at them. Do you feel like shouting praises? I do.
 Hebrews 12:22
 In an interim sort of way, Samuel somewhat functioned in an “executive” as well as priestly and prophetic capacity, but he was never “anointed” as king.