The Priest, King, Prophet Cycle

dsc_5511ps
Above: My last teaching trip to India

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.

Coming or Going?

cloud
Sometimes we assume something because we don’t know all the facts and we don’t take the time to investigate. We often read scripture and make the same mistake — especially when we’re dealing with the end-times.

Consider this passage:

“And the high priest arose and said to (Jesus), ‘Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?’ But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, ‘I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!’

Jesus said to him, ‘It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.’

Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, ‘He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy!’”
~Matthew 26:62-65

It’s easy to think that Jesus is talking about His second coming here. But look at how offended the high priest was at what Jesus said. The high priest knew nothing of Jesus’ second coming. But, the high priest knew very well what Jesus was saying here. And it offended the high priest so much that he tore his own clothes — something he was commanded not to do (Leviticus 21:10).

Jesus was quoting two Old Testament passages, and the high priest would have known exactly what Jesus was saying as he, the high priest, was an expert in scripture.

“The Lord (the Father) said to my Lord (Jesus),

‘Sit at My right hand,

Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’

The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion.

Rule in the midst of Your enemies!”
~Psalm 110:1-2

“‘I was watching in the night visions,

And behold, One like the Son of Man (Jesus),

Coming with the clouds of heaven!

He came to the Ancient of Days (the Father),

And they brought Him near before Him.

Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,

That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion,

Which shall not pass away,

And His kingdom the one

Which shall not be destroyed.’”
~Daniel 7:13-14

Jesus “coming on the clouds” is not referring here to His second coming, but rather His ascension and coronation as King (He came to the Ancient of Days, not to the earth). And notice what was given to Jesus at that time: dominion, all peoples, all nations, and all languages. That happened two thousand years ago. Jesus rules now as King at the Father’s right hand.

And how long will He rule in heaven as King?

“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His (second) coming. Then comes the end, when He (Jesus) delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He (Jesus) must reign till He (the Father) has put all enemies under His (Jesus’) feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For ‘He (the Father) has put all things under His (Jesus’) feet.’ But when He (the Father) says ‘all things are put under Him (Jesus),’ it is evident that He (the Father) who put all things under Him (Jesus) is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him (Jesus), then the Son Himself (Jesus) will also be subject to Him (the Father) who put all things under Him (Jesus), that God may be all in all.”
~1 Corinthians 15:20-28

Jesus is ruling in heaven now and will continue to rule from heaven until God the Father puts all of Christ’s enemies under Christ’s feet. And the last enemy will be death itself. And it is at Jesus’ second coming when all people, saved and unsaved, will be resurrected and judged (John 5:26-29). Then Jesus will hand the kingdom over to His Father.

Victorious Eschatology (Book Review)

image

This book is what I’d call a “nuts and bolts” approach to eschatology. Other books I’ve read on the subject take a more broad look at Biblical prophesy and try to give the overall sense of what the big story of the Bible is without making any definitive statements. This book takes the reader through a verse by verse exposition of the prophesies and the authors are not afraid to come to some profound conclusions.

I enjoyed this book a lot, and while I am still kicking the tires of the different eschatological view points, this book seriously pushed me in some new directions. It is interesting that a lot of Christians will just assume that what they’ve always heard is true. Premillennial Dispensationalism is true, right? Well, read this book and you might change your thoughts on the subject. Or, perhaps, it’ll newly get you thinking on eschatology when you’ve never considered the topic a worthwhile use of your time.

The viewpoint is a partial preterist one. Preterism is the opposite of futurism, and so, in this book, the authors argue that much of the Biblical prophesies currently believed by many to not have happened yet, have indeed already happened — prophesies that were future for the original readers, but now fulfilled and in the past for us. No future anti-Christ figure taking over the world, no microchips implanted in foreheads, no secret rapture of the Church, no revived Roman empire, 666 refers to Nero, the Olivet Discourse mainly refers to the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem in 70 AD — these are the kinds of points you’ll find in this book, and the authors present a strong case.

But, as the title suggest, the main point of this book is to present a hopeful vision of the future. Jesus has already established His kingdom, His kingdom is growing and will one day fill the earth, and our future is getting brighter and brighter, not darker and darker. And before you cry heresy, understand that many prominent church fathers held to the same view as the authors of this book, and the authors quote some of these past theologians throughout.

Read the book if you want to be challenged and perhaps learn some new exciting things about God’s great plan for humanity, heaven, and earth.

Click here to buy from Amazon: “Victorious Eschatology” by Harold R. Eberle and Martin Trench

Click here for a related article I wrote about a similar book.