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The Kingdom of Priests (1: 6).
pp. 65 - 69
Some are redeemed that they may walk the streets of the New Jerusalem, some to
people a renewed earth, some to constitute the fulness of Him that filleth all in all. In
Rev. 1: 5, 6 redemption has in view the forming of a kingdom.
"And He made us a kingdom, priests to God and His Father."
The A.V. reads "kings and priests," but the critical Greek Editions read "kingdom,
priests." The word "priests" must not be understood as something separate, but as filling
out the word kingdom. It is not an ordinary kingdom that is in view; it is a priestly
kingdom, or as Peter puts it, "a royal priesthood" (I Pet. 2: 9). This is the LXX rendering
of Ex. 19: 6, "a kingdom of priests."
In Rev. 5: 9, 10 we have another ascription of praise which is in many ways
"Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: because Thou wast
slain, and didst make a purchase to God with Thy blood out of every tribe, and tongue,
and people, and nation, and madest them a kingdom and priests to our God; and they
shall reign upon the earth."
The fulfilment of this is found in Rev. 20: 6:--
"Blessed and holy who hath part in the first resurrection: over these the second death
hath no authority; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with
Him a thousand years."
As we view these three passages of Scripture together, it seems that the priestly
kingdom is the millennial kingdom, and that only those who have overcome, and who
have had their part in the first resurrection constitute its members. We cannot help but
feel that Old Testament prophecies concerning future blessings have been too hastily
generalized as millennial. We believe investigation will prove that much that has been
considered millennial does not take place till the thousand years are finished, and that a
place in the millennial kingdom is largely a matter of being "accounted worthy." This
will be considered in its place. If it is established, it will be nothing short of
revolutionary in its effect upon the teaching of Scripture relative to the ages to come. To
one people only has the promise or the possibility been given of becoming a kingdom and
priests, and that is Israel. The various companies of believers that are called churches at
different times have their place in the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of the heavens,
but that is not being constituted a kingdom as the passage before us states.
It will be well if we turn back to the passage in Exodus 19: which speaks of this royal
priesthood, and note the context. In the third month from the exodus from Egypt the
Lord gives a message to Israel:--