Melchizedek Priests - by stk
I've recently been developing a series of messages around the concept of believer priesthood, ever since I read Voltaire's Candide and saw that his idea of Utopia (El Dorado) was influenced by the concept that everyone could be a priest. Voltaire, the 18th century French philosopher who was a vehement opponent of Christianity, was nevertheless influenced by a group of Waldensians that he met in Geneva, Switzerland. The Waldensians were a group that had rebelled against the clergy/laity system of the Catholic Church long before the Protestant Reformation swept Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. So Voltaire was exposed to the concept that every Christian is a priest and we don't need a special clergy to intercede with God on our behalf, because there is "one mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5). And that concept found it's way into his most famous fictional work, Candide. So that’s where this train of thought started for me.
It's really neat when you start fleshing it out from Scripture how God intends every Christian to carry out a priestly function both in the Church and in the world around us. What this means practically is that whenever someone comes in contact with us, they are to come in contact with Heaven. We are to be a people for God's own possession, living conduits bringing Heaven down to earth. That's why Paul says in Colossians 3:1-3, "keep seeking the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God." The nation of Israel was supposed to be a "kingdom of priests and a holy nation" unto God (Exodus 19:2-6), but now that Christ has come as our high priest (Hebrews 9:11-14), we, the Church, have inherited that position as a "chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that [we] may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called [both Jews and Gentiles] out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9).
Something I just recently noticed is that at the baptism of Jesus at the Jordan River by John the Baptist the baton was symbolically being passed from the Levitical priesthood (Luke 1:5) to the Melchizedek Order (Hebrews 7:11-17). The anointing of Jesus by the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove at the time of His baptism (Matthew 3:16 and Acts 10:37-38) parallels the anointing of Aaron as high priest with the "holy anointing oil" (Exodus 30:22-33 and Psalm 133:2). As members of His body, the "fullness of Him who fills all in all" (Ephesians 1:23), we each have a manifestation of that same anointing by way of the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). There is an aspect of our priesthood that expresses itself in the way we use our spiritual gifts to build up the Body of Christ, but this is primarily so that we can collectively be more effective as living conduits of Heaven to earth. We are to have the "Midas Touch of Heaven," so to speak, bringing life and peace into every relationship, every situation, every circumstance. The Israelites were to wear a fringe of blue on their garments, reminding them of their heavenly calling (Numbers 15:37-41). It was this fringe of blue that the woman in Luke 8:43-48 touched on Jesus' cloak and was immediately healed of her hemorrhage. Our high priest was showing us by example the nature of our heavenly calling as Melchizedek priests: when someone touches us, power is to go out of us; when they touch us, they are touching Heaven itself.
This is indeed a high calling, this thing called Christianity. And the only way to live up to it is to live daily in the Word, which brings us in touch with the source of our heavenly life: our high priest in the Melchizedek Order, the Lord Jesus Himself, “the living bread that came down out of Heaven” (John 6:51). The secret is to fall in love with the Word, for all the Scriptures "bear witness of Me," Jesus said (John 5:39-40). Then the "livingness" that begins to spread from inside us to the world around us (see Psalms 1:1-3 and John 7:38) is an inevitable after-effect of being linked to our heavenly Source through His Word. To be a Christian is to be truly ALIVE in a way that's contagious! And that's what believer priesthood is all about. More than merely living, we become life-giving like the last Adam, into whose image we are being conformed by our heavenly Father (1 Corinthians 15:45 and Romans 8:29-30).
And yet the Church today falls so far short of this organic “livingness!” It seems to me that the essential ingredient for revival in these last days before Christ’s return is for each member of each local body of believers to fully comprehend what it means to be a Melchizedek priest, totally dependent on the Source Himself. The primary focus of our coming together should be to feed on Christ, the self-proclaimed “bread of life” (John 6:48). When we break bread together in keeping with His command (Luke 22:14-20), we are doing just that. But the centrality-of-Jesus-Christ message should be intrinsic in all of our meetings, not just the Lord’s supper. Bible studies, prayer meetings, ministry meetings, fellowship gatherings – all should be Christ-centered, for “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). As we continually calibrate our perspective against Christ alone, we will find that services and ministries and fellowships and outreaches simply HAPPEN. They aren't planned or coordinated or micromanaged, they simply HAPPEN as the Spirit of God moves in the hearts of the individuals that comprise His Church.
The Holy Spirit’s work in the Church is the anointing of the Melchizedek Order in which we all participate (1 John 2:27-28). Church is meant to simply HAPPEN, because it's ALIVE; and it's alive to the degree that each member of the Body is in tune with our living Head through the Spirit He has provided (1 Corinthians 2:12). We each move to the rhythm of a heavenly cadence, intoned in our hearts by the Spirit who is from God. That is what the first-century Church experienced in those early years of turning the world upside down. That is New Testament ecclesia as it was originally intended. And that is what the Church today needs in order to experience revival in our generation. So we faithfully "proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me" (Colossians 1:28-29)!
Stephen T. Kia, 7/12/03