A Kingdom of Priests

The Governmental Reign of the Believer

The Branch of Jesse was to be both King and Priest – a double office with a double anointing.
It is he who will build the temple of the Lord, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.[1]
In every worldly society, there is conflict between the two offices of civil and spiritual authority. Government and spirituality never mix well – and church history proves this true. But when Christ sits as King and Priest, “the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”[2]
In a series of visions about Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel the governor, Zechariah saw two olive trees that were two witnesses – sons of golden oil. The holy anointing oil Zechariah saw was a twofold anointing of both King and Priest. This represents both earthly authority and heavenly authority.
Another dimension of the two witnesses is this: they are Heaven and Earth.
Heaven and Earth both testify to the gospel, as both are reconciled in the gospel. When the kingly and priestly offices are rightly joined, there is harmony between the natural and the supernatural. The word, in a sense, is incarnate.
The twofold anointing of both king and priest was prefigured in the life of King David. He wore the linen ephod and ate the shewbread – both were legally set aside only for the priest.  Christ now sits on David’s throne.
David was also a prophet. In fact, Christ has a threefold office of prophet, priest and king. Remember that the two olive trees are also called two “prophets.”[3] In addition, there was another prototype of this threefold office in scripture – Melchizedek. He was the king of Salem who offered Abraham the bread and wine – a type of Christ – and received a tithe from him. Jesus came in the “order of Melchizedek.”

+ The Kingly Office

I personally believe that Zerubbabel is one of the most understated figures in the scriptures. He represents Christ as King, and also the authoritative dimension of the believer in the natural affairs of the Earth. Note that Zerubbabel, though building with natural stones, was still laboring toward a spiritual end – that of building God’s temple.
So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’” Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands shall also finish it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the Lord, which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.”[4]
This corresponds to Christ’s finishing work – with shouts of grace, grace! How would you like for your earthly career or occupation to be so infused with this great grace, that your job feels more like a vacation than a laborious task? Adam worked in the garden, but he didn’t break a sweat. He didn’t strive or toil.
Grace and favor can freely flow through worry-free areas of our life. Worry and anxiety are the antithesis of peace. And peace is the atmosphere where God manifests his oil of authority. Melchizedek was the King of Salem – the King of Peace.

+ The Garden Works                                                                                                             

Mountains can supernaturally level for you and low places rise up to meet your feet on even ground. It is time to return to garden works. Where the supernatural dimensions of grace meet our earthly callings. This realm only opens up through faith – that is, through trust. Trusting that the whole wide world is in His hands! The more we trust God with the natural affairs of our lives, the less likely we are to stress out, micromanage and worry. It sets us up for miraculous breakthroughs. It allows the oil of favor to bring ease and increase.
The Lord wants us to bear more fruit with less personal effort. This comes through a realization of our present authority over the natural realm. Moreover, it comes through realizing that we are not called to bear burdens, but that Christ is the burden bearer. He carries the government on His shoulders.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.[5]
While the church teaches much on priesthood, little attention is afforded to the kingly office of the believer. This office relates to our natural, civil affairs of authority in the Earth. It concerns our careers, occupations, callings and vocational destinies in this life. It concerns rulership, monetary affairs and administration of earthly goods. It speaks of natural influence over people groups.
Of course, Christians are taught to work hard, to be diligent with their hands and to be good stewards. But little emphasis is given to ruling and reigning in this life.
Unfortunately, most Christians have little vision for their time on Earth. They are preoccupied with just squeaking by. Because Christ’s Kingdom is a spiritual one, this life is considered to be a write-off for most people. They are just counting the days on the calendar until they get to Heaven and have a mansion.

+ Subjugating the Earth

The Jews, on the other hand, were expecting the Messiah to set up a civil kingdom, and so they missed Him when he came as a peasant, riding on a humble donkey, establishing a spiritual one. Make no doubt about it. Jesus is clear about the idolatry of wealth, basing importance on material standards and wielding control unjustly through brute force. His Kingdom is not of this world, but it is over this world.
Jesus clearly demonstrated that the natural elements of this world – the very wind and waves – obeyed Him. But He did not use natural power to implement His government – He used the weakness of the cross to establish all reign and authority. He instituted humility over control, meekness over pride and the submission of His servant body to overcome tyranny.
The “kingdoms” of this world that are subjugated to Him in Revelation 11 can actually be translated as kingdom singular. Plurality would indicate numerous earthly political units which must one-by-one be given over to Christ’s rulership. But the singular word indicates that Christ has regained rule over the entire dominion of the Earth as a solitary unit. That which had once been forfeited to satan is now His.
The earth is the Lords and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.[6]
Jesus has no problem with the natural world itself. For God so loved the world. ...[7] Rather, it is the spirit of the world – the fallenness and corruption – which He came to destroy by taking its curse upon Himself. Friendship with worldliness is enmity towards God. But this is no wicked indictment of either redeemed man or the natural cosmos. With His blood He “purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”[8]
In dying to the world, Christ purchased it. In a similar way, by not idolizing natural things, they find their proper role. Your physical body makes a wonderful servant but a terrible master. The same is true with money. You will either serve money or money will serve you. God never said money was evil – only the love of it. When we seek first Him and His Kingdom, all these natural things are added to us. Wealth, fame and power can be horrible masters or wonderful tools.
A righteous king does not reject the tool, but submits it to the Lord.        
My point is that Jesus never diminished the importance of natural authority – He even gave to Caesar what was his. It’s just that Jesus emphasized the overarching importance of spiritual authority as the bottom line. The world is not the problem. The problem is idolatry of the world. It’s an issue of priority of the heart.
Jesus gained the whole world, but His means of accomplishing this and His modus operandi were completely opposite of the world system.

+ A Future Kingdom?

Now, Jesus has commissioned us to boldly take possession of the Earth by the Spirit and the Word. We have forgotten this important verse:
The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.[9]
You may ask: isn’t that in the future? After the breaking of the seventh seal? Every seal is broken in Christ. He is the lamb who is worthy to open every seal. A complete victory was achieved on the cross, and every kingdom has come under His dominion.
And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.[10]
One of the greatest misconceptions plaguing Christendom is the concept that Jesus is only a future King. Everyone is waiting for a millennial reign where He will somehow establish a coming kingdom over the Earth. By projecting this kingly role to a future dispensation, we fall into a number of problems:
1. We diminish the role of the cross as the champion event that subjugated the Earth under His control and reversed the entire curse of the fall.
2. We neglect our role as princes who rule in righteousness. This abdication of our own authority is as disgraceful as Saul hiding among the baggage when he was meant to lead the people into victory.
Jesus is not just a future king. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords right here and now. Kim Riddlebarger makes some great points in his article The Triple Cure: Jesus Christ – Our Prophet, Priest and King:
The biblical writers would have been quite mystified, I think, at much of the evangelical discussion about “making Christ Lord” – as though it was through a decision on our part that Christ becomes “the Lord over our lives.” And they certainly would have been perplexed by those who insist on reading the kingdom language of the New Testament through the grid of the American nationalism of the Christian right, or the moralistic social gospel of the Christian left. They would, I think, be equally confused by our dispensational brethren, who insist on undercutting the present reign of Christ by arguing that Christ's kingly office (especially the regnum gratiae – the “kingdom of grace”) does not come fully into view until a future millennial age commences and at long last Christ supposedly begins to exercise his full authority from the earthly city of Jerusalem. Most of this confusion comes from a failure to understand this third office of Christ, his kingly rule.[11]
Scriptures are clear that that “the Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.”[12] If God is not king now, then who is? Some try to excuse problems in the world by pointing to the delegated authority of the Earth to mankind: The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to man.[13]
It’s true that God delegates, and that our sins were the root of problems here – not Him. But that does not mean that our authority is separate from His. In fact, that was the whole problem to begin with. Our concept of a separate existence from God – or a separate free will – is the reason our union was broken in the fall. Everyone has a will, but it is not truly free outside of His will. God is still sovereign, and the only freedom is found in our union with Christ that brought us back into alignment with His glorious reign.
Yes, He is king right now.
And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.  And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.[14]
On our own, we were unable to rule the sphere of Earth. Our one attempt in the Garden of Eden to make a decision outside of His government caused the whole thing to get botched. In the same way, only He was able to restore it all on the cross.
Even before the era of the fall, God had already previously laid His plans for reconciliation. Prior the rebellion, the lamb had been slain from the foundation of the Earth to quench it. There has never been a moment pass by where God was not on the throne. Now that Christ has been manifest, He says, “All things have been delivered to me by my father.”[15] And again, “… All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”[16] Furthermore, the Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand.[17]
For the apostle Paul, this was a present reality. He addresses Christ as “The King of Ages, immortal, invisible, the only God.”[18]

+ Tangible Utopia                                                                                                              

Zechariah saw into a day when this rule would be manifest and seen. His prophecy says that, “the Lord will become King over all the earth; on that day the Lord will be one and his name one.”[19] The issue at hand is not God’s rulership, but rather His show of power. This outward display of an ever-present rulership is the thing we are progressively seeing and taking part in. But that era of manifestation began with Christ’s work on the cross. It is sealed in His triumphant return.
Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.[20]
Two equally important principles that I wish to convey here are Christ's present dominion in the Earth and the nature of that dominion. His present kingship enables us to have authority now in earthly matters. The nature of that kingship means we don't wield our power in the same way that the world does.
Christians should have no problem owning billions of dollars. And they should have no problem giving it away.
His Kingdom consists of real ownership, but it is not greed-based. It consists of real reigning, but it is not fear-based. His authority is not based on fear, but rather He will have troops who volunteer freely in the day of His power.[21] There are no conscripts in the Lord’s army.
He rules His government by a rod of iron, indeed! But this is only to keep the wolves away from His children. In the same note, His rule is more liberating than any democratic society we have ever known. More personally empowering than any earthly constitution or Magna Carta could fathom. The highest ideals of democracy, communism and socialism combined could not fathom the utopia of a monarchy ruled by this King. It is a society unlike any political dreamer could imagine.
The two witnesses that Zechariah sees are also found in Revelation. Their sphere of influence is figuratively Sodom and Egypt.[22] Egypt represents the oppression and control of corrupt government – that which enslaves God’s people. Sodom represents licentiousness and moral corruption. Control produces rebellion. Rebellion requires and incites control. Sodom and Egypt are a double cord of darkness found in every earthly kingdom from Rome to Babylon. But never do they thrive better than in the spheres of religion, which is why the two witnesses are located somehow literally in Jerusalem, “that great city ... where also their Lord was crucified.”[23]
Neither control nor rebellion are found in this Kingdom of bliss. For the King and Kingdom are inseparable.

+ The Grace Grace Generation                                                                                                             

Revelation 1:6 tells us again that we are a “Kingdom of priests.” We are declaring a word of reconciliation between Heaven and Earth. We’re proclaiming by the inexhaustible power of a complete and sevenfold unction the good news of Christ’s finished work. The seven eyes of the Lord do not just range throughout an intangible, unseen heavenly kingdom. They range throughout the earth.
There are believers who will emerge in these days who possess billions and can raise the dead. The patriarchs of old were made famous both for their natural authority and spiritual authority. Abraham owned the riches of more than five kingdoms. But this friend of God was also able to heal an entire nation’s physical barrenness with one prayer. When the spiritual and natural orders are in cohesion, it is fertile ground for the miraculous, freedom from poverty, righteous living, healthy homes and happy holiness. Governments are righteous. Pollution and disease are eradicated from society. The perfect cohesion of Eden is restored. The fulfillment of all our dreams comes from our boast in the great grace of Christ’s reconciliatory work.   
For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.[24]
Kingdom authority is yours now to reign in life. And it is effortlessly based on the grand accomplishment of Him. It is not by might, nor by power, but by His Spirit.

This article contains excerpts from John Crowder’s new book: Seven Spirits Burning. Get a copy by clicking HERE.

[1] Zech. 6:13, New International Version
[2] Zech. 6:13, English Standard Version
[3] See Rev. 11:10
[4] Zech. 4:6-11, New King James Version
[5] Isa. 9:6-7, King James Version
[6] Ps. 24:1, NIV
[7] See John 3:16
[8] Rev. 5:9, NIV
[9] Rev. 11:15b, NIV
[10] Dan. 7:14, KJV
[11] Kim Riddlebarger, “The Triple Cure: Jesus Christ – Our Prophet, Priest and King” (1995). http://www.graceonlinelibrary.org/articles (accessed July 2010).
[12] Ps 103:19, NIV
[13] Ps. 115:16, NIV
[14] Eph. 1:19-23, NKJV
[15] Luke 10:9, Darby Holy Bible
[16] Matt. 28:18, NIV
[17] John 3:35, ESV
[18] 1 Tim. 1:17, ESV
[19] Zech. 14:9, New Revised Standard Version
[20] 1 Tim. 6:15, American King James Version
[21] See Ps. 110:3
[22] See Rev. 11:8
[23] See Rev. 11:8
[24] Rom. 5:17, NIV

John Crowder, 7/31/2010