Monday, July 18, 2011

Kingdom of Priests

God mentions several times that he will make his people a kingdom of priests. This means that all of  his people are priests. All of them are representatives of God to the rest of mankind. All of them are interpreters of God's will to the rest of mankind.

He first spoke to Israel about this. And the history of Israel follows a pattern.
  • God give favor and blesses.
  • Israel becomes complacent and does not follow the ways of the Lord.
  • God send prophets to warn the people that punishment is coming.
  • God finally sends the punishment.
  • Usually a foreign power invades or oppresses them.
  • Israel repents of not following God.
  • God delivers them. Usually using a human agent.
  • repeat the cycle many times.
Eventually, Israel leftthe stage of history. And God chose a new group to represent him. (And I am fully aware of the re-founding of the nation of Israel. And I am fully aware of the theory that God will once again use Israel as his representatives on earth. I call it a theory because it has yet to be proven. If true, it has yet to happen. If false, ... well there are other theories.)

We tend to refer to this group as the church. The Greek word that is translated as church is "ekklesia." An "ekklesia" is a group of people assembled for a particular purpose. Usually used to referred to a city council. A group assembled to wisely chart the course of the city to the mutual benefit of its inhabitants and the city as a whole. In our case, an "ekklesia" is the group assembled to represent God and Christ in the world, and to live so he will be glorified.

As a part of that assembly, each one is declared God's ambassador, God's priest. From one perspective, our functions are different. For another perspective, our functions are the same.

A priest's functions are: offering gifts, offering sacrifices, prayer, instructing in the ways of God and completing the ordinances of God. (In most forms of Christianity, there are two ordinances, baptism and communion. In others, there are more.) If we are all priests, then:
  • We are all supposed to encourage.
  • We are all supposed to pray.
  • We are all supposed to proclaim God's word.
  • We are all supposed to explain God's word.
  • We are all supposed to officiate a baptisms and communion.
We are a nation of priest. We are all priests. If it is a function of a priest, we are expected -- each one of us -- to perform and complete that function.

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