I’m a big proponent of the Priest, King, Prophet cycle taught by James B. Jordan. To put it simply, the ‘Priest’ stage can be viewed as a childhood stage; the ‘King’ stage is the adult stage; and the ‘Prophet’ stage is the elder stage.
We can see these stages throughout Jewish history (before Jesus) and throughout Church history. The cycle repeats itself over and over and will again. This theory is nothing to burn at the stake over, but it is interesting to see and use to plan for the future of missions and the Great Commission.
In Jewish history we can see the priestly stage from Moses to David; the kingly stage from David to Elijah; the prophetic stage from Elijah to John the Baptist.
The Western Church has been in the prophetic stage since the Reformation. The Western priestly stage can be seen as the first few hundred years or so of the Church, when the Church was learning how to be the Church. The kingly stage can be seen as Western Christendom, when the Church actually ruled.
The Asian Church, today, is in the priestly stage. The elders of the Western Church need to come and teach the young Christians and churches in the eastern world.
In the future we can expect to see the Asian Church grow to its kingly stage, and then its prophetic stage. Perhaps in the future, the Asian elders will lead the Church to the completion of the Great Commission worldwide. Or perhaps, we’ll see the cycle repeat with a different group of people.
Christendom is not a bad thing if the kings rule righteously. If the kings become corrupt, God will send prophets to shut them down. If the kings rule well, the prophets will come and give more power to them. We have not seen that happen yet in our history, before Jesus or after.
I believe the Great Commission will be completed (the discipling of all nations) and it will happen through the Priest, King, Prophet cycle.