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REAL CHRISTIANS ARE NOT “KINGS AND PRIESTS”

 

This erroneous idea, with serious implications, is due to an incorrect translation in the KJV.

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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][1]

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.


[1] 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.

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: Announcing Part 4

Hello everyone. Hope all is well. I completed Part 4 of this series and will likely be posting it on Monday morning, March 29. It is entitled Spiritual Resurrection. There are many Biblical facts within it that some may not be aware of so I hope it will be interesting to you and fill in some gaps in your understanding. I wrote it on Thursday and it turned out to be five pages but I think it reads well. Because it’s been several days since I posted Part 3 I am making this announcement to make you aware it is on the way and to prepare for it.

The Lord Jesus greatly desires reconciliation with everyone and has done all He can to make that happen. When we do our part it does happen. The following is the central passage in His Word revealing The Ministry of Reconciliation:

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. [2Corinthians 5:18-20]

Thanks to all of you who have read all or parts of this series so far, and thanks for the many excellent comments that have added to our understanding of the subject matter. You are all appreciated. If anyone wants to read parts they may have missed I have added links and their titles below. Be blessed. See you on Monday.

3/11: THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: RESTORING RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD (1)

3/14: THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: WORD STUDY AND APPLICABLE VERSES (2)

3/17: THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: THE REMOVAL OF SIN (3)

3/29: THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: SPIRITUAL RESURRECTION (4) Coming Monday

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: WORD STUDY AND APPLICABLE VERSES (2)

There are two types of Christians in the world—those who desire and choose to have an actual relationship with God, and those who are content to pretend they have one.

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Thanks to everyone who read and enjoyed Part 1 of this series. In Part 2 we will learn the applicable New Testament English words and their Greek counterparts relevant to this study and also the verses where they occur. This will get a tad technical but I will keep it as concise as possible. It is important to gain a better understanding of the original Greek words and their meanings. As you read consider the apostle Paul as he dictated the NT letters from which we derive this study. Think about the original copies he created by the Lord’s inspiration and the rounds they made to the many groups of Christians in the various cities of that time.   

BIBLE VERSION

Those who follow this blog know my Bible version of choice is the New American Standard 1995 Update. This is an excellent version and likely the most literal. It is extremely important when doing NT word studies to use an accurate version faithful to the Greek and limited to its original transmission. The three translated English words used here are from the NASB95. They are (1) reconciliation, (2) reconciled, and (3) reconciling. The next section gives us a brief overview of each.

WORD STUDY

RECONCILIATION

The word reconciliation occurs four times in the NT. Each one is translated from the same Greek root word. Three of these occurrences are applicable to this study.

The Greek root word is katallagh. It is pronounced kat-al-lag-ay’. The following definition is from Strong’s Concordance (#2643):

(1) exchange (1a) of the business of money changers, exchanging equivalent values (2) adjustment of a difference, reconciliation, restoration to favor (2a) in the NT of the restoration of the favor of God to sinners that repent and put their trust in the expiatory death of Christ.

The following are the three applicable verses in which this word occurs:

And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. [Romans 5:11]

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, [2Corinthians 5:18]

namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. [2Corinthians 5:19]

RECONCILED

The word reconciled occurs seven times in the NT and is translated from three different Greek root words. Five of these occurrences are applicable to this study and are translated from two Greek root words.

Four of these occurrences are from the Greek root word katallasso. It is pronounced kat-al-las’-so. The following definition is from Strong’s Concordance (#2644):

(1) to change, exchange, as coins for others of equivalent value (1a) to reconcile (those who are at variance) (1b) return to favor with, be reconciled to one (1c) to receive one into favor

The following are the three applicable verses in which this word occurs:

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. [Romans 5:10]

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, [2Corinthians 5:18]

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. [2Corinthians 5:20]

One occurrence is from the Greek root word apokatallasso. It is pronounced ap-ok-at-al-las’-so. The following definition is from Strong’s Concordance (#604):

(1) to reconcile completely (2) to reconcile back again, bring back a former state of harmony

The following is the one applicable verse in which this word occurs:

yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— [Colossians 1:22] 

RECONCILING

The word reconciling occurs once in the NT and is also translated from the Greek root word katallasso as is the word reconciled (See the preceding).

VERSES IN CONTEXT

The title of this series is The Ministry of Reconciliation. The phrase ministry of reconciliation appears only once in the NT, in 2Corinthians 5:18. There are three epistles where Paul refers to this ministry: Romans, 2Corinthians, and Colossians. Regardless of the book of Romans appearing first in the NT among Paul’s letters, Paul wrote his Corinthian letters before he wrote Romans. Of these three he wrote Colossians last. According to New Testament scholars Conybeare and Howson,[1] Paul wrote 1Corinthians in the spring of 57 and 2Corinthians in the autumn of that year, both in Ephesus. He wrote Romans from Corinth in the spring of 58. He wrote Colossians in Rome in the spring of 62.  

From this we know he first revealed the Ministry of Reconciliation in 2Corinthians. Also, of the nine applicable occurrences of the three English words of our study, five occur in the three verse segment of 2Corinthians 5:18-20. Thus, we refer primarily in this study to Chapter 5 of that book, notably to verses 17-21, as the definitive passage of Paul’s teaching:

17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. [2Corinthians 5:17-21] [2]

© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[1] The Life and Epistles of Saint Paul by W.J. Conybeare and J.S. Howson

[2] 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.

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: RESTORING RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD (1)

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: THE REMOVAL OF SIN (3)

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: SPIRITUAL RESURRECTION (4)

 

IF HE CALLS HIMSELF A CHRISTIAN AND ENDS UP IN HELL IT’S HIS OWN FAULT

Blog Pic 10.11.19

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          He didn’t read the fine print.

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            The New Testament is the fine print. It includes anything and everything one must know in order to secure one’s heavenly eternity. It includes primarily the unabridged original teachings of the Lord Jesus. It also includes the first Christian history book explaining in full detail exactly what it means to be a real Christian by seeing Real Christianity in action. The New Testament includes as well several preserved letters of correspondence and teaching explaining in great detail the actual teachings of original first century Christianity, most of which were written by Paul the apostle, who was also the best teacher of the early Christian Community.

         The early believers paid close attention to the Lord’s teachings. In their mature state they followed them to the nth degree. But this did not make them legalistic like the later dogmatic DAs of Unreal Christianity who, like the Pharisees, loved legalism and forced indoctrination. They majored on the letter (though they didn’t follow it) but disdained and rejected the Spirit. Paul said this:

         Our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. [2Corinthians 3:5-6]

         Those who major on the letter refused to be filled with the Spirit as per the Lord’s command. They will not walk in the Spirit, teach the Spirit, or be empowered by the Spirit. Consequently they walk around like religious zombies in new suits while deluding the world into following the dead faux forms of Christianity which the world is deceived into believing are the real thing. They also work very hard at attempting to make the real thing appear illegitimate.

         Some people, however, can see right through religious camouflage. Apparently, most people cannot. Thus, most Christians in the world do not follow the Lord Jesus; they follow their own pastors, ministers, reverends, denominational hierarchies, and etc. The more of a following the substitutes get the more powerful they become and the more easy it becomes to spout their false Christian teachings.

SO WE ARE WHAT WE ARE WHY?

         There are a few people, and only a few, who manage to discover the roots of their particular denomination. If they remain loyal to their denomination that’s as far as they go. If one is a Protestant, that is, a religious descendant of those who fiercely protested against the Roman Catholics, his roots go back about five hundred years at the most. If one is Catholic, his roots go back to Constantine in the early fourth century. That’s about seventeen hundred years ago. Of course, the Lord Jesus walked the earth two thousand years ago. Wouldn’t it be smart to just keep going back until arriving at the source?

          “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” [John 5:43-44] [1]

         Of course, the vast majority of Protestants and Catholics have absolutely no idea of their actual denominational roots, nor do they care to put any effort into discovering them. Denominational lifers are what they are for various reasons, none of which has anything to do with actually following the Lord Jesus. Why? Because when one actually begins following the Lord Jesus one will intently read all of His teachings and then begin studying His teachings in-depth. When one does this he will find discrepancies between the Lord’s teachings and those of his church or denomination. He will then seek answers for why this is so. His innocent queries will inevitably lead to the leadership. The leadership will then downplay such questions and attempt to further circle the wagons around the straying sheep in an effort to get him back into the denominational corral. This often works. Those who succumb are doomed to being longtime members of a mere religious club who care more for social inclusiveness rather than the Lord’s truth.

         Though they start out great following the early truth trail they get cut off at the pass by the religious chucklehead posse.

        They then become denominational Christians in which their own denominational teachings always trump the pure teachings of the Lord. Whenever questions arise they never ask “What did Jesus teach?” Instead, they ask, “What does my church teach?” Or “What does the Pope teach? Or Martin Luther, or John Calvin, or John Wesley, or Fatboy, or Smiley. Or “What does my own pastor teach?”

          Of course, all of these people are mere men but judging by their fawners they are worshipped as deities. They are never questioned. Questioning one’s pastor is the new unforgiveable sin. It only works in that tiny location, however. When you walk away and shake the dust off your feet you get to be “saved again” and discover the Lord still loves you. You also rediscover cool things like eyesight and liberty and sunshine and places where seldom is heard a discouraging word.

         For a New Testament illustration regarding what happens to people who actually question the leadership or particular church doctrines, there is that which happened to the Lord and pretty much all of His early followers: If one was a member of a local synagogue and everyone there did everything they were told to do by the leadership and believed everything they were supposed to believe, then all parties, especially the leadership, were all smiles. It was a quasi-contented and quiet place though there was likely a massive cloud of fear just under the surface. All the good guys—the no power or influence members who desired truth and love—were scared spitless to speak or act or move in any such way which may be rendered religiously incorrect because they knew their entire lives were built on being members in good standing. And that meant following the controllers 100%. There was no independence of thought or seeking of truth. There was certainly no liberty in the Spirit. There was only a sad and spineless kowtowing to “the leadership.”

       When one stepped out of line, those beautiful contented costumed clergy boys were suddenly transformed into stark raving mad lunatics who wanted to abuse, maim, and kill. They always had rocks very handy at their disposal.

         Does this sound familiar? Because it also accurately describes roughly 90% of Christian “churches.” It used to be that they would disfellowship a person in a nano second but seeing the error of their ways and that it too easily revealed themselves as the Christian Pharisees they were, they reverted to the tried and true Silently Disparage, Gossip About, Reject From Fellowship and Communication, and Treat Indifferently Method. This works just as well and allows the good members thereof to practice world class Holier-Than-Thou smugness. You know, just like the Lord did.

SOMETIMES, TRUTH IS SO INCONVENIENT

         The reason so many of these kinds of Christians are so apathetic toward the Lord’s teachings is because it doesn’t matter anyway. They are all told what to believe. They can only legally believe what they are told. If they divert from that they bump up against the edges of their party boundaries. Many therefore refuse even an attempt to seek further Biblical truth because they may inconveniently discover greatly discomforting facts which depreciate the investment in their chosen religious culture. This could in turn cause a weakening of one’s personal foundation and social standing. What then?

            In the words of Luke Skywalker, “NO-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O…!”                       

            © 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] 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.