REAL CHRISTIANS ARE NOT “KINGS AND PRIESTS”
This erroneous idea, with serious implications, is due to an incorrect translation in the KJV.
Yes, I know this may be shocking for some. There are errors in the Bible? Well, let’s call this particular one a transmission error. Here are the two verses in question in the King James Version:
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. [Revelation 1:6]
And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. [Revelation 5:10]
Here are the same verses in the New American Standard 1995:
And He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. [Revelation 1:6]
“You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” [Revelation 5:10]
I could go farther into this using the Greek words but the NASB95 is the correct translation (along with other versions). You may ask, “Why is this important?” Well, for one thing, the New Testament consistently states that the Lord Jesus is the only King. Nowhere else does it say He has sub-kings under His authority. This would otherwise be a common sense issue. Secondly, these are the only two verses in the KJV in which both words occur. Third, there are no other verses stating that believers are kings.
And then there is a fourth issue. You see, this verse and others like it in the KJV along with this Bible version’s strong authoritative bias, assisted in giving rise several decades ago to Dominion Theology. If you have not heard of this or know it by a different name I suggest you do some minor research. I happened to be in the thick of it when it came to the fore in the 1980s and am well aware of its harmful effect and deceit. It is just one more false notion that Christians accept wholeheartedly because they trust their church or pastor and are often not even aware of such things. I will not get into it here in this brief post but again, a better understanding and greater knowledge of New Testament Scripture will keep a believer much better informed and prepared for such false notions and deceptions.
Now, in Colossians 4:18 the apostle Paul uses the term “kings” in this regard also but in a sarcastic manner. He proves my point. Why don’t we let him explain this issue which also existed in his time and broke out among Colossian believers? In the following passage Paul also reveals what real ministry is about as opposed to that of the highbrow clergyites who deem themselves superior (sound familiar?) and by it lead people astray:
Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other. For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
You are already filled, you have already become rich, you have become kings without us; and indeed, I wish that you had become kings so that we also might reign with you.
For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor. To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now. [Colossians 4:6-13]
THE ORIGINAL NEW TESTAMENT LITERATURE
The written Word of God as originally delivered was accurate. It correctly communicated the truth of the writer. We know this in part because of the powerful impact the New Covenant writings had on the first-century world. These writings changed the course of history, as it were, as no other literature had ever done before or since. Millions of lives were changed for the better in dramatic fashion. The salvation of souls spread far and wide. People were transformed spiritually and received great otherwise impossible promises coming true in their lives exactly as the Lord Jesus had promised.
Much of this Good News in the early going, however, was not due to the written word but the spoken word. People received the Gospel message primarily through the oral transmission of highly anointed witnesses sent forth by God into a dark world straining under a great burden of sin and depravity. Most people were wearing the yoke of slavery, were under the heavy hand of dictators and evil authoritarians, and were struggling to survive. The Good News arrived as a shining beacon of hope. The message was different than any other preceding it and proved its legitimacy and genuineness by actually working and bringing forth exactly what it decreed.
Remember, the Lord spoke of “spiritual words.” He claimed there was “life” in the words He spoke. He said His words, or Word, had the power to overcome evil, break bonds, and greatly transform lives for the better. No other words had this power or inherent ability:
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.” [John 6:63-65]
We see by this passage, however, that though His Word was potentially spiritually transformative, it must be activated by belief. His Word does not work otherwise.
What follows is the definition of the original NT Greek word translated into English as “believe” which, if properly and wholly applied, activates the ever-present fruitful Word of God:
Strong’s Greek #4100: πιστεύω pisteúō (pist-yoo’-o); from G4102; to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e. credit; by implication, to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well-being to Christ):—believe(-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.
Intransitive, to think to be true; to be persuaded of; to credit, place confidence in;
Universally: The thing believed being evident from the preceding context,
Specifically, in a moral and religious reference, “the conviction and trust to which a man is impelled by a certain inner and higher prerogative and law of his soul”; thus it stands:
Absolutely to trust in Jesus or in God as able to aid either in obtaining or in doing something:
Of the credence given to God’s messengers and their words, with a dative of the person or thing used especially of the faith by which a man embraces Jesus, i.e. a conviction, full of joyful trust, that Jesus is the Messiah — the divinely appointed author of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God, conjoined with obedience to Christ.
We see then, that though the Lord Jesus is the most powerful Person in the entire Universe (no contest), has all authority in heaven and earth, is the greatest Champion of all time who has defeated all of His evil enemies (who are deathly afraid of Him), and that His holy Word is powerful, spiritually beneficial to the nth degree, and potentially greatly transformative, He presents Himself in His initial interaction with people as a gentle humble Man speaking an appealing message of love, life, and hope:
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30]
In essence, the Lord Jesus is the antithesis of a jacked-up duded-up Pharisaic empty suit authoritarian as illustrated by any number of religious or secular potentates who major on externals and personal accoutrements and have little effective regard for those over which they rule, much like the false apostles Paul referred to. Don’t ever forget that humility is a giant spiritual door while pride and arrogance is a concrete wall.
RULING AND REIGNING?
Many years ago I was doing my usual Biblical research and came across an in-depth study article, quite long as I remember, regarding the King James Version of the Bible. The author claimed this Bible version held a very strong authoritative bias. I was not surprised but certainly intrigued. The KJV was commissioned by the king of England, the translators were working for the king among the trappings of the court, and they made ample use of William Tyndale’s initial English translation of roughly eighty years before (for which he was burned at the stake by the English king, somewhat ironic, no?). King James had made sure that this new translation would be one that “properly” conveyed respect for authority in general and specifically for kingly and clerical rule. It was his intention to further the cause of the new hybrid Anglican Church and the supreme religious authority thereof. This high handed attitude of the Church of England is what drove the persecuted Bible believing Separatists from the country. The good news is that they eventually landed in America and established Plymouth Colony in 1620. You know the rest of that story.
PRIESTS YES BUT KINGS NO
In truth, the Lord’s people are priests but not kings. There is only one King in His Kingdom—the Lord Jesus. This misunderstanding is derived from our fore-mentioned bad translation in the KJV. Also, we must be careful of the encroachment and excesses of gross authoritarianism. There is no verse in the New Testament that claims the Lord’s people are to “rule and reign.” His people certainly have a level of spiritual authority and must exercise it, but their authority is always subject to the Lord’s highest authority. One cannot “reign” in life over spiritual death unless one is fully subjected to the one who has defeated sin and death (Romans 5:17). One can only “reign” with Him, that is, because of Him, by Him, or through Him, but never as a king and only as His subjects.
The Lord grants to His people spiritual authority over His enemies but His people must always be cognizant of what this actually entails. It has nothing to do with kingly honor or ruling over physical, material, or geographic kingdoms. It has nothing to do with the usual trappings of such in which sinful people lord it over others. This evil spirit and attitude came to power centuries ago within certain denominations and transformed willing impersonators into religious authoritarians ruling over people. There is no such rule in real Christianity except the rule of the Lord Jesus. Under His authority each and every one of His people are exactly equal. Some obviously have greater spiritual maturity. Some are developing into such and will get there in time. Those who are spiritually mature and have the evidence of it should be respected as elders but must never be seen as anything more than a fellow sibling.
It is the same regarding the priesthood of the believer. All real Christians are certainly priests but the Lord Jesus is the only High Priest.
He is also the only King of kings and Lord of lords.
© 2023 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
FASTING AND SPIRITUAL GIFTS
Our success as Christians must be defined in purely spiritual terms. Such success can never be gained without pure spiritual means.
When I first came to the Lord many years ago and was filled with the Holy Spirit I immediately received an intense spiritual hunger for the Word of God. I was doing hard manual labor at the time, working in a massive warehouse distribution center. It was often the case that I would spend my lunch hour fasting and reading the Word.
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Fasting was something entirely new to my life but before my born-again experience I had already understood the need for organic food, proper vitamins, and etc. I even went so far as to become a vegetarian. That lasted about five weeks… Much new information had come forth by the 1970s regarding the chemical-laden junk food in the standard American diet, whether store bought or not, and that it was causing a multitude of health problems for a great many people, most of them unaware of the cause. I had read a lot on the subject of natural foods and still have one particular book from that time entitled Eating For Life. Such literature mentioned the benefits of periodic fasting so I was aware of the practice though had never applied it.
That changed with my new church. They believed in fasting though primarily for spiritual reasons. We were taught to fast at least one day per week, every week—a full 24 hours. I began practicing it, usually on a work day, and it became routine. We were also expected to go on a two-day fast every quarter which I also began doing. This was a bigger challenge. I noticed, however, that despite the difficulties presented the spiritual benefits were quite evident. One had better spiritual vision, clarity, and strength. The Holy Ghost within you was more pronounced since the Lord had less flesh to deal with. One’s witnessing was more empowered. Prayer was more powerful and effective. It was easier to hear from God.
Of course, the Lord fasted often and taught fasting. The original apostles and disciples fasted. It was a practice of the Early Church in the first century AD. And though there are only three men listed in Scripture who ever managed a forty day fast—Moses (twice), Elijah, and the Lord—there is no doubt the apostles and others must have done this as well.
It is not difficult to understand that fasting one day a week is a type of resting every seventh day as the Lord rested on the seventh day of Creation. Giving your system a break every seventh day is highly beneficial and allows for restoration and cleansing. We see this same practice in the Lord’s command to let the agricultural land lay fallow every seventh year. It allows the land to recharge and regenerate. It allows for a rebuilding of the nutrients in the soil. Whenever this form of land management is practiced consistently, in a natural environment, the soil never loses its ability to provide an excellent crop. It is the same for one’s physical body. Fasting is especially necessary in these days of ubiquitous toxicity in which environmental poisons have increased exponentially. But again, for the Christian, fasting is primarily for spiritual purposes.
Even though I was working hard on fast days I got used to it. When one has a regular fast day (same day each week) the body adjusts and though it can be a challenge it is simply not as difficult as one who doesn’t fast may suppose. Also, by reading the Word at the same time, one gains spiritual strength to make up the difference for a loss of physical strength. Incidentally, I was never very good at longer fasts but I have done them on several occasions. Yet, back then in the early days I worked with a guy once who was a master at it. I had become a professional carpenter by that time. A carpenter I worked and went to church with had, on one occasion, gone two weeks without food and never missed a day of work. That was impressive.
Though all new believers have a hunger for the Word of God I noticed early on that I had it to a much greater degree. It did not take me long to read through the entire Bible. I then began doing word studies. Back then, before computers, the general practice for those who wanted the fullness of study was to get a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance which had every listing of every word in the entire King James Version of the Bible. One could look up any word from any verse and find its meaning. Of course, it contained only the root words and their definitions but it was plenty for general study. A Strong’s Concordance was likely the first study book I ever purchased. It had a light green hardback cover. I still have it. I spent untold hours going through that concordance for many years getting up to speed on Biblical words and meanings.
I soon branched out to other study material but could only afford so much. I didn’t have much to spare on a working man’s salary. However, no matter how much I studied and read it was never enough. I was always pressing on. Again, this was not normal. My fellow congregants all read the Bible, of course. We attended church services four times a week. We did much outside witnessing. We were very proactive in attempting to fulfill the New Testament commands of the Lord. But when it came to reading, study, and research, I outdid everybody else, even some ministers, as I had eventually discovered. I didn’t realize I had a gift.
I didn’t find that out until I took my first spiritual gifts test about six or seven years after becoming a Christian. I had never been aware of such tests before. I was absolutely blown away at the results. Romans Chapter 12 lists seven spiritual giftings of which every real Christian has one which is dominant:
Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. [Romans 12:6-8]
When I took the test I came up very high on Teaching. A close second was Prophesying. Whenever I took a test after this over the following years it always scored out the same. This explained everything. It explained why I had such a powerful desire to read and study the Word. You see, one cannot be a teacher unless he knows how and what to teach. I also discovered something else, however. Having the teaching gifting does not necessarily mean one will be a standup teacher with a class. What it actually means is that one is gifted to be as a spiritual detective to work hard at going where no one without this gift will go. The Lord gives a person this anointing and strength. The one with this gift will thus spend hour after hour studying the Word, searching out clues, and doing research not only to gain general knowledge but the hidden knowledge most Christians never gain.
Now, I am not talking about some esoteric nonsense but the “hidden” knowledge of the Word. It is not actually hidden but is effectively hidden since most Christians either don’t read the Bible enough or study it in-depth. Many Christians have a rudimentary knowledge of the Word of God but it is usually not very deep. Many ministers obviously have greater Biblical knowledge than most of their congregants but much of it usually has a denominational bias. It is therefore not so easy to be an independent Biblical researcher, which I developed into, because one eventually discovers false doctrines and bad interpretations of Scripture and has to deal with the societal implications thereof if you get my drift. One must always guard against extra-Biblical stuff masquerading as truth and such non-truth must be exposed for what it is. Otherwise the Christians taken in by the false will likely never be set free from it. They become deceived and stay that way. (When one is deceived he or she is not aware of it.) Such deception effectively cuts one off from a closer walk with God. Accordingly, false teachings are not good for one’s spiritual health for two reasons: They replace the truth the Lord taught and restrict one from gaining further truth.
As our greatest example in this area, look at what happened to God Himself when He walked this earth trying to reveal truth and expose error. The religiously brainwashed didn’t take long to resort to outright hatred against Him because He revealed them as posers. Simply by shining His light He revealed their ignorance and sinful motives. It was a severe blow to their spiritual pride. They didn’t appreciate that. They didn’t think they were posers. They believed they were highly accomplished. They thought He was a poser. See how that works? This is where Christian-on-Christian persecution comes from.
All real Christians will be persecuted, of course, but some will be especially persecuted. Again, the reason why should be obvious. Christians who are never persecuted probably need to check their oil because something isn’t adding up. Also, one must remember the Lord Jesus had all seven giftings operating at 100%. He was filled with the Holy Spirit without measure. He is God. He is the Holy Spirit. Therefore, when He taught He was doing so with the highest and most pure form of spiritual light. His light would shine upon all darkness. Those fake religionists thus had no chance to hide. They managed to fool most of the people with their obtrusive costuming, smug manner, and societal standing, but the Lord performed what amounted to a spiritual X-Ray upon them which went right through their false façade and revealed to those paying attention exactly what they were.
The majority of Christian ministers do not do this. Why? Because rather than operating as an extension of the Lord Jesus they are actually doing the opposite. They cannot, therefore, shine a light on darkness because they are darkness or lack the light, though duded up to look otherwise. Many are mere Christian Pharisees. It is why they banish anyone who happens to reveal them for what they are. They are threatened by spiritual light. The only way they stay unexposed and in power, therefore, is to get rid of or silence those who would reveal them. It is the way all authoritarians stay in power.
The Christians who actually get what the New Covenant writings teach know that there is only one who must be in power and control. He is the one who has all authority in both heaven and earth. Sadly, of course, all of heaven and earth does not include many churches who are manned by counterfeits. The real Church has only one King. Everybody else in His Kingdom is not a king and are all on the same plane. When we structure our gatherings in such a way that the Lord Jesus is the only authority it eliminates the notion of a single “pastor” ruling a congregation. It supports the truth of the NT format in which a group of mature Spirit-filled elders oversee the operation from a secondary position to the Lord and in which the Lord is able to do anything He wants anytime He wants.
WE KNOW WHEN THE LORD JESUS IS IN CHARGE BECAUSE HIS GOSPEL DOINGS AND THE BOOK OF ACTS BREAKS FORTH.
Well, what self-respecting Christian minister wants that? The whole church would be in an uproar. The surrounding town or neighborhood would think he lost his mind. He would certainly lose his dignified status and pretty soon his job. He would quickly be knocked back to the Stone Age and have to start all over again (you know, like when one first comes to the Lord in real repentance). What Christian Pharisee would ever allow such a terrible outcome?
Remember, the fakers can last forever with their true identities hidden to the masses until the Light shows up. It is then when their cover is blown. Until Christians start waking up to the fact that many Christian ministers are simply not endowed by God, equipped, or gifted, and are not bringing the goods but are getting by on shallow non-spiritual blatherings that sound great but do nothing or little spiritually substantial, they will keep getting what they’ve always got: The needle won’t move and the creeping enemy will continue to take over until the local church looks exactly like the fallen world. The Lord Jesus did not give His life for that.
And such shallow Christians will also discover the biggest thing, something they REALLY don’t want: They will have to take upon themselves their own spiritual responsibilities, embrace discipleship, and do their spiritual work as the Lord commanded. It is no wonder then that most would rather maintain the status quo. The majority of the Israelites in the first century AD had the same attitude.
We must thank the Lord then, and show great gratitude and appreciation for those Israelites who saw it differently. They decided to give everything they had for the one who died to save them. Though in the minority, and though facing spiritual and cultural persecution, they didn’t hold back. They were great spiritual warriors who received the spoils of victory on a daily basis. Because of their foundational work way back then we have the opportunity today for every ability and gifting we need to do the work that must be done so that we can have the same outcome they had.
In future records, may it be written of our generation as it was for theirs:
“These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.” [Acts 17:6 NKJ]
© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.