THE GOVERNING PRIESTHOOD
Copyright © 2017 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.
And you will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. (Isaiah 61:6)
The purpose of the present age is to select, test, and train a holy government that will rule for eternity the people from the nations. This is the Kingdom of God, the Royal Priesthood. The period to be devoted to the preparation of this Priesthood is three thousand years. We have a thousand years yet to go. At the end of that time, this governing priesthood, which is the new Jerusalem, will come down through the new sky to the new earth, and its ministry of governing will commence.
The Body of the Anointed Priest will be perfected on the third day.
And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. (Luke 13:32—KJV)
After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. (Hosea 6:2)
If you are a Christian, and someone asked you, “What does it mean to be saved?”, what would your answer be? Perhaps it would be, “I am saved from Hell so I will go to Heaven when I die.” What if he then asked you, “What are your Bible references for your belief?” What would your answer be?
I believe this is a difficult question for many Christians. They assume that the New Testament states that by believing in Christ, we are saved from Hell so we will go to Heaven when we die. But the New Testament does not state that belief clearly! The New Testament primarily speaks about eternal life and spiritual death, not about deliverance from Hell so we can go to Heaven. However, there are mentions of Hell.
“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” (Matthew 23:33)
But according to the New Testament, being placed in Hell is associated more with our behavior than our belief in Christ. It is not belief in Christ that saves us from Hell but obedience to Christ. There can be quite a difference between believing about the things of Christ and obeying Christ!
There are other penalties for wicked behavior, such as the Lake of Fire. And notice the following:
Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2)
It may be true that some of us would prefer being sent to Hell rather than living among people and being regarded with shame and everlasting contempt! How do you feel about that?
We must confess that we have many traditions that are not true to the Scriptures.
Notice that, although believing in Christ is essential when God presents Christ to us, assignment to condemnation on the Day of Resurrection is not dependent on believing in Christ, but rather on what we have done, how we have behaved, whether or not we have received Christ.
Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. (John 5:28,29)
Receiving Christ does not mean we can continue to act wickedly and rise to eternal life in the Day of Resurrection. God did not give His Son so that whoever believes in Him will not go to Hell.
He gave His Son so that they who believe will have eternal life, which is immortality in the body. We lost bodily immortality in the Garden of Eden, and that now is one of our main goals.
The people who are emphasizing “grace” will claim that those who have “accepted Christ” will be resurrected to immortality in the body even though they have “done evil.” This is one of the principal heresies of our day. Divine grace is not an alternative to obeying Christ.
Rather, grace is Divine wisdom and power given to us through Christ that make it possible for us to obey God. God sent His Son so that through Him we can obey God and thus be saved from the consequences of disobedience to God.
The Law of Moses cannot make us righteous because it depends upon our sinful nature to obey the Law. New-Covenant grace, on the other hand, furnishes us with Divine wisdom and power so we can obey Christ at all times.
The belief that “we are saved to go to Heaven” is impossible to find in the Bible. It is a longstanding tradition but it is not Scriptural. In the day in which we are living, God is ready to move us past the Pentecostal experience into the third great platform of redemption. In this third work of Divine grace, we will be freed from the bondages of sin, filled with the Fullness of God, given a body that is righteous and holy in its inclinations, and brought into our inheritance in Christ. Our inheritance is not Heaven but the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God is Christ in the governing priesthood bringing God’s Presence, will, blessing, and healing to the saved people of the nations of the earth.
The Christian Church is the Body of Christ. It is not of the world. Each member, each true Christian, is part of Christ.
The Kingdom of our Lord, Jesus Christ, is eternal. One million years from now there still will be people being born, people that never will die.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
The purpose of the present age is to select, test, and train a holy government that will rule the people from the nations for eternity.
The almost total emphasis upon evangelism in our day is missing what God desires. Some thought must be given to maturing those who already were brought into the churches. They are not acquainted with God’s plan for them as governing priests. They have little understanding of why God has called them out of the world.
I’m afraid what Jude spoke has come to pass. The grace of God has been turned into an excuse for immorality.
If we are to lay hold on the Divine Virtue that is being presented in our day, which is a further work of redemption, we must grow in righteous behavior.
We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:11-14)
Could the above be true of us today?
Some are claiming that the Book of Hebrews was written only to Jewish believers because it speaks of the necessity for righteous behavior. Can you believe the depth of apostasy of our day? When I first became a Christian, I was taught by followers of Dawson Trottman that the Bible is the infallible Word of God. I still believe this to be true, and all my written works are founded on this belief.
God has called us out of the world in order to form a government, a kingdom, that will rule the vast multitude of people whom He intends to create. These called-out are the Church, the Royal Priesthood.
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. (I Peter 2:5)
If we decide that God has called us out of the world in order to prepare us to govern the people He has created and will create in the future, the “sheep” of the nations we might say, then we understand that we are a holy nation that belongs to God in a special manner.
I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. (John 17:14)
This is why we are referred to as saints (holy ones).
Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (II Corinthians 7:1)
To begin with, we are holy because we have been chosen as priests. Then we must cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, that we may be actually holy in being and behavior.
The righteousness that God intends to present to the world will come through the Ruling Priesthood.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. (Isaiah 61:11)
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. (Isaiah 62:1)
Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:3)
So through Christ’s power and wisdom, we have been able to turn away from sin and self-seeking, and by this means have escaped the consequences of committing sin, whether the consequences may be incarceration in the Lake of Fire, or a personality that is repulsive to behold.
Also, we have fellowship with God and Christ. We have become a chariot in which God can visit the farthest limits of His creation and govern and bless His creatures. Revelation chapter 21 tells how the Dwelling Place of God, which is the Bride of the Lamb, the Church, the Body of Christ, the new Jerusalem, has come down to earth in order to bring God’s blessings to the “sheep” saved from the nations.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’” (Revelation 21:3-4)
The Dwelling Place of God. This is the Church, our destiny.
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22)
The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. (Revelation 21:24)
Our future role, and the reason God has called us out of the world and is examining us so closely, is that He intends to use us to bring peace and justice to the people of the earth. This role is mentioned several times in the Old Testament as being the responsibility of Christ and His Body, the Servant of the Lord.
“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.” (Isaiah 42:1)
Obviously we must experience growth in righteousness and obedience to Christ before we are qualified to govern God’s creation in the manner God will approve. We must choose to give over our right to plan and carry out our own desires until every aspect of our behavior is an integral part of Christ Himself.
I am certain that many other Christian writers have explained John 17:21-23 more effectively than I am able to do, but I feel impressed of the Lord that I should add my thinking at this time. It is the eternal union of the Father, the Christ, and the members of Christ’s Body.
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. (John 17:21)
I believe the Apostle Paul made the Divine union quite clear:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
Here is the necessary experience if we hope to be clothed upon with immortality when the Lord Jesus appears, that is, at the first resurrection.
Here is the required experience if we are to govern with Christ.
Here is the common attitude of all who would be a chariot of God.
From this point forward it is “Not I but Christ”!
Consider that the Apostle Paul embraced the Lord’s crucifixion.
Think intensely that Paul regarded himself as no longer alive as a mortal (although we understand that Paul was still Paul and alive in the ordinary sense).
Here is the concept: Christ was living in Paul’s personality. From this point forward, Christ could count on Paul being an integral part of Himself. This of necessity meant that whoever would have Christ must have Paul also, and whoever had Paul would have Christ also. Paul now was living, not by faith in the Son of God but by the faith of the Son of God—the same faith that brought heaven and earth into existence.
When the Bible states that we live by faith, it means that we live by the faith that Christ gives to us. If we were conquering by our own faith, we would go down in defeat every time.
Now, how do we go about transferring our individuality to that of the Lord Jesus Christ? All through every day we must make decisions. They may be decisions of thought, or of speech, or of action. We can make all these decisions from our experience or intelligence. Or we can look to the Lord Jesus to help us with each decision.
The reason the twenty four elders remain in the company of God and the Lamb is that they continually are casting down their crowns before God. This means that they are looking to God for all their decisions. When we live our lives pursuing our own goals and bringing them into accomplishment by our own efforts, we are acting as our own God. We actually are our own god, in competition with the Father.
You will not be a governing priest until you are continually casting your crown down in the Presence of God and the Lamb.
I believe this is the key to attaining to the destiny to which God has called us. It is the rest of God. We accept the destiny God has chosen for us from the beginning of the world, whether it is an exalted position or that of lesser importance. It does not matter at all. We cease from our own works and obey Christ completely, promptly, cheerfully, for eternity.
This idea of total union may be the reason I have felt prompted to put in writing what God is doing in His people in the present hour. It actually is a coming of the Lord to get us ready for His worldwide appearing.
“If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23)
The role of the Holy Spirit is to direct us in making the required change in our personality so that we are a suitable home for the Father and the Lamb. We are to be God’s family. The Lord Jesus is the beginning of God’s family. We are to be part of God, in this sense. This is why, as Peter wrote, we are given of the Divine Nature.
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (II Peter 1:4)
Being born again of God means we are destined to be both son of man and son of God, just as our elder Brother is. We are not as great in position, authority, and power as the Lord Jesus is, but we are genuine brothers and sisters because we have the same Father.
I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” (Psalms 2:7-9)
Our traditional belief is that Heaven is our inheritance. It is true rather that the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth are the inheritance of the Lord Jesus, and we are coheirs with Him.
Notice that as soon as we are true sons of God, the earth and its peoples become our inheritance.
It was not possible for us to be closely related to the Word. But now that the Word has been made flesh and blood, we can become true brothers and sisters of God’s King.
So there it is. God so loved the world that He gave His Son for us that we might regain the bodily immortality that was lost to us in the Garden of Eden.
God has given us more than this. He and His first-begotten Son plan on making us Their eternal Tabernacle that will rule and bless the people whom God has created and yet will create.
The best of all treasures is fellowship with the Lamb and His Father. This fellowship will be ours if we are totally obedient to Christ from now until He appears.
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)
(“The Governing Priesthood”, 4296-2, proofed 20210810)