Copyright © 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
The members of the Body of Christ compose the Royal Priesthood. Each one has a measure of Christ in him or her. The term “Christ” refers to the “Anointed One,” that is, the One anointed with the Spirit of God to serve God as a priest. As such, every human being who has a portion of Christ living in him or her is no longer of the world, just as the Lord Jesus no longer is of the world.
The holy city, the new Jerusalem, is the home of the Royal Priesthood.
There is a great wall separating the Royal Priesthood from the nations of saved people of the earth. The saved people, the “sheep,” mentioned in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Book of Matthew, have been brought forward to life on the new earth. They can enter the new Jerusalem and receive eternal life and healing, but they are not of the priesthood. The priesthood is by Divine calling, and no one can take this honor to himself.
I do not believe there is any limit on spiritual growth that may be achieved by a member of the nations of saved people. They may enter through the gates into the new Jerusalem, but they must keep the laws of God.
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. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (Revelation 22:14,15)
The people who are not of the priesthood may wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb by repenting of any sin in their life, and then they may have access to the Tree of Life on the banks of the River of Life.
The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. (Revelation 21:24)
But the members of the Royal Priesthood have been chosen from the beginning of the world. That is why the Apostle Paul does not refer to the believers as Christians, but as “saints” (holy ones).
However, even they must life a victorious life, or they will be removed from the priesthood.
Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. (Revelation 3:4)
To walk in white with the Lord Jesus means to be a priest of God.
As I said, every member of the Royal Priesthood has a portion of Christ in him or her. Considered as one whole, they are the Body of Christ, the Body of Him who is the High Priest of God. The members are priests because they are part of the High Priest. Each priest is anointed with the Holy Spirit in order to perform the work of the priesthood.
The following passage reveals that the priests are at three levels of maturity.
We have a young sister, and her breasts are not yet grown. What shall we do for our sister for the day she is spoken for? If she is a wall, we will build towers of silver on her. If she is a door, we will enclose her with panels of cedar. (Song of Solomon 8:8,9)
The most mature of the priests is described as follows:
I am a wall, and my breasts are like towers. Thus I have become in his eyes like one bringing contentment. (Song of Solomon 8:10)
Such are the hundredfold Christians. They are God’s Firstfruits. They are a wall against the works of Satan.
Their breasts are like towers, meaning they have brought forth and can nourish sons of God who will wage war victoriously against the enemy.
They bring contentment to the Lord Jesus. He finds rest in them because they live by His Life, always doing His will with delight.
Then there are the sixtyfold. She also is a wall. Her reward for resisting Satan is that the fully mature sister will build towers of silver on her.
The “towers” are fortifications, signifying victory over the enemy. The “silver” refers to God’s program of redemption. She will move forward in God’s plan until she has been delivered fully from the person and works of Satan and has been filled with the Fullness of the Godhead. This is her reward for fighting the good fight of faith.
In addition, there are the thirtyfold Christians. They are of the Royal Priesthood, but they are doors. It seems they forever are falling into the snares of Satan.
The fully mature sister will pray for her until she is enclosed with panels of cedar. Thus she will be preserved until she has a chance to grow in Christ.
The inside of the Temple of Solomon was made of cedar. By enclosing the immature sister in cedar we are stating that she, although immature to begin with, still is of the Body of Christ, the eternal Tabernacle of God.
The inside of the temple was cedar, carved with gourds and open flowers. Everything was cedar; no stone was to be seen. (I Kings 6:18)
There are weak, immature members of the Body of Christ. I am not speaking of those who turn back to the world, but believers who just can’t seem to resist sin. They love God, but they are “doors” through which Satan can enter almost as his will.
The question is, how should we regard them? On occasion the strong members of the Body of Christ despise the weaker, thinking, I suppose, that they will have a smaller mansion in Heaven.
But we have been commanded to do otherwise:
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” (Romans 15:1-3)
All the Israelites were a holy nation:
You will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites. (Exodus 19:6)
There were the people of Israel, then the Levites, then the priests. These also were in three divisions. The difference with the Royal Priesthood is that the less mature members can be ministered to until they attain to the fullness of maturity; whereas the people, Levites, and priest of Israel were frozen in their position according to the calling of God.
It is my understanding that the purpose for the thousand years of the Kingdom Age (Millennium) is to give God’s Firstfruits an opportunity to minister to the “walls” and the “doors” who are residing in the heavenly Zion while they are gaining in maturity.
When the entire Royal Priesthood has been brought to the fullness of maturity, then it will descend as the beautifully dressed Bride of the Lamb to be located forever on the new earth as the Tabernacle of God.
Meanwhile the fully mature members of the Body of Christ, God’s Firstfruits, will be governing the nations of the earth for the thousand year Kingdom Age. They will be busy at the task of working alongside Christ in establishing the will of God on the earth. This is the initial fulfillment of the prophecy of John, Jesus, and the Apostles, of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
Some, or perhaps all, of these kings will go up to the heavenly Zion from time to time to impart eternal life, wisdom, and courage to the “walls” and “doors” in the heavenly Jerusalem until they are towers of silver on the outside and furnished with cedar on the inside.
Here is fulfilled the Scripture that the members of the Body are to build up each other in love.
So if we are a “wall” or a “door,” if we do not cease to keep our faith strong in the Lord Jesus, even though we may stumble a time or two, we have hope that eventually Jesus will see to it that we are brought to spiritual maturity.
I must enter a word of caution here. In my writings I often refer to the opportunities we shall have in the spirit world after we die.
We indeed shall have such opportunities, but only on the condition that we are doing our best now. If at any time we knowingly turn away from Jesus and do not obey Him in the small challenges He places before us, we place ourselves in great spiritual danger.
We may imagine we can repent at any time. But let me remind you that repentance is a gift from God. There are people who have ignored their salvation who found, later in life, that they no longer were able to repent. Like Esau, they sought repentance in tears, but repentance was not possible.
I do not write this to frighten anyone, but to warn the believers that if they displease Christ during this present life they will be horrified when they die and enter the spirit world. Neither “accepting Christ” nor grace will help them in that hour! Remember the servant who buried his talent!
Christ in the next world will minister to the weakest believer until he or she becomes strong in the Lord. He will not crush the bruised reed or extinguish the smoking flax.
But the Christian who continues to sin wilfully has made himself or herself the enemy of God. The end of that individual is fiery judgment that will consume the adversaries, even if he or she has “accepted Christ.”
So there is a bright future awaiting the person who has done his or her best to please Jesus. There will be help and redemption in the next world.
But of all the terrifying experiences possible for a human being, the very worst is to die and pass into the spirit world, having known the will of God and yet refused to do it.
(“Three Sisters”, 3880-1)