Kings, Ambassadors, Priests, and Temples of God
Within the writings of the New Testament there are many references to the elect of God being kings, ambassadors, priests, and temples of God. But, are these references only spiritual analogies and symbolism or are they expressions of physical and spiritual realities during the gospel age of salvation? If these references are realities, what meaning do they have for the elect today? And how do these kings, ambassadors, priests, and temples function to serve God the Father's and Jesus Christ's purpose for the elect and humanity today?
If the Father's elect children are actually kings, ambassadors, priests, and temples that are under the direction of Jesus Christ, the answers to the above questions are extremely important and have enormous implications pertaining to one's spiritual life and responsibilities as a child of God today and one's future as an immortal spirit-being in the Family and Kingdom of God.
Therefore, one should know what one's responsibilities are as a king, an ambassador, a priest, and a temple of God. Moreover, one also should know how to use the various authorizations that come with these responsibilities in order to serve the Father, his Son, and one's brothers and sisters in the Family of God.
The following overview and introduction is foundational information that is necessary in order to explain the enormous implications of being a member of the Father's royal household, a king, an ambassador, and a citizen of his holy nation and a priest who serves him in his temple.
The Kingdom of Priests That Never Was
The Creator God chose the people of ancient Israel and their descendants to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Ex.19:6) through which he would bless the entire world (Gen.18:18; 22:18). Through this one nation, God planned to proclaim his redemptive plan for humanity. This nation was intended to be his representatives on earth who correctly practiced his worship system as examples of the way people should live in order to have happy, abundant, and productive lives and obtain eternal life after physical death:
"You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure to me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel. And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him" (Ex.19:4-7 KJV). See also Deut.30:15-19.
As a reward for performing their task the Israelites were to receive great physical blessings and have a close personal relationship with the Creator God (Deut.28:1-14; 30:16). However, the scriptures clearly show that ancient Israel failed to keep their agreement with God and did not become the kingdom of priests and the holy nation that he wanted them to be.
Because of God's unconditional promises to Abraham and the Patriarchs (2.Chron.6:14; Psa.89:34; Zech.2:10-12), national Israel will have another opportunity to correctly practice God's worship system and be examples of the way people should live in order to have a happy and abundant life and obtain eternal life. However, this opportunity will not be offered to them again until after Christ returns and the Kingdom of God is established on earth.
A New Kingdom of Priests Sanctioned And Established
On the Day of Pentecost, after Jesus' death and resurrection, God the Father sanctioned and established a holy nation of kings, ambassadors, and priests that is substantially different from the kingdom of priests that national Israel was to become. This new nation of kings, ambassadors, and priests that began with the early church under the direction of Jesus Christ and the apostles (1.Cor.11:3) is both physical and spiritual and is composed of the firstborn sons of the Father's new creation.
The holy nation that began in 30 A.D. has continued throughout the centuries to this very day and will continue forever. The scriptures clearly show that the scattered elect of God today are this holy nation of kings, ambassadors, and priests that the Father and Jesus Christ are using as their representatives to perform the following tasks for them:
- Show people how to correctly worship God and live according to his law
- Teach people how to obtain eternal life through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ
- Proclaim the coming Kingdom of God that will bring the world peace, happiness, and prosperity
- Show by personal example the benefits of the coming Kingdom of God
All of these areas of responsibility are inseparable and to one degree or another must function together in order for people to perform a work for the Father and Jesus Christ.
The following scriptural references clearly document the fact that the Father's elect children of the early church were considered a holy nation who were to perform a work for God the Father and Jesus Christ, and that the elect today are also a holy nation who are to perform a work for God the Father and Jesus Christ:
To the scattered elect the apostle Peter writes:
"So get rid of your feelings of hatred, hypocrisy, envy and all evil speech. As newborn infants desire pure spiritual milk so that you can grow, if indeed you have been made aware that the Lord is good and have drawn near to him who is the living stone that was rejected by men, but is elect and deemed precious by God the Father. You also are living stones that are being built into a spiritual house; moreover, you are a holy priesthood who are to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to the Father through Jesus Christ" (1.Pet.2:1-5 Para.).
Here, we see that, when a person has truly been drawn to Jesus Christ by God the Father (Jn.6:44,65) and truly knows and understands that Jesus is the Sovereign Father's firstborn son, they should be making an effort to conform to the Father's righteous ways, because they are a part of the Father's spiritual household and a member of a holy priesthood. And as a priest, a child of God should be making spiritual sacrifices to the Father through his firstborn Son.
"It is also contained in the scriptures, Behold I lay in Zion an elect precious corner-foundation-stone, and the one who believes in him shall never be ashamed. To you that believe belongs honor, but to the ones that disobey; he is a stone which the builders rejected. However, it is he that became the chief corner stone and a stone to stumble over and a rock of offense to any one who stumbles at God's word and disobey it as they were meant to stumble over it" (1.Pet.2: 6-8 Para.). See also Isa.28:16; Hos.14:9; Lk.2:34.
Jesus Christ is the foundation on which the Father has built a holy spiritual nation that consists of people who accept his call to become one of his elect children during this age of salvation. Those who truly believe in Christ and obey the Father will have eternal life. However, the builders (the spiritual leaders of Christ's time) rejected Jesus as the Messiah because he did not fit their concept of what the Messiah should be; therefore, they refused to believe the truth he brought concerning the Father's good news message of a new covenant and a new and easier way to obtain salvation and eternal life.
"But you are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for possession, so that you may openly speak of the One [the Father] who has called you out of spiritual darkness into his marvelous light. You who were not a people are now the Father's people; which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Beloved, I encourage you who are sojourners and aliens to abstain from lusts of the flesh which war against the spirit" (1.Pet. 2:9-10 Para.).
Peter said that the elect are people whom the Father has chosen to be a royal and holy nation of priests that belong to him, and that they are not of this world (Jn.15:18-19; 17:12-18). It is important to understand what the apostle Peter said in regard to the elect, because he spoke of a race of people who are different from physical Israel; he referred to the Father's sons of his new spiritual creation. Furthermore, the apostle Paul said the elect are to be the ambassadors for Christ and fellow citizens of the household of God:
"So if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new! And all things are of the Father who has reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ, and has given to us a ministry of reconciliation; where as the Father was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, and did not charge their trespasses to them, and put the word of reconciliation in us. Therefore, on behalf of Christ, we are ambassadors, for through us he appeals to you to be reconciled to the Father. Christ who knew no sin, was made sin for us, so that we might become God's righteousness in him" (2.Cor.5:17-21 Para.). See also Eph.6: 20.
"Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God" (Eph. 2:19 KJV).
Royal Kings and Priests
The writer to the Hebrews reveals some of the things that make the elect royalty and members of a nation of priests.
"Therefore, holy brothers, called to partake of the heavenly, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, and be faithful to the Father who appointed him, as also was Moses and all his house [the Levites]. For Christ is deemed worthy of more glory than Moses, because the one who builds the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone; but he who prepared all things is God. And Moses was faithful as a working servant in God's house for a testimony of the things that were spoken. But Christ is a son over his Father's house, whose house we are if we truly hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end" (Heb.3:1-6 Para.).
The following are some very important things that the writer to the Hebrews reveals about the elect of God and their current status as priests.
- The elect belong to the realm of the sacred—they are holy.
- The elect are called to participate in things that pertain to the heavenly realm of existence—only spirit-beings can do this.
- The Father appointed Jesus Christ who is of the priestly order of Melchizedec in heaven as the high priest over his earthly children.
- Jesus Christ is the administrator of his heavenly Father's spiritual household, which is composed of his Father's firstborn sons who are also a part of a holy nation of kings, ambassadors, and priests.
Adopted Into the Father's Family
Although the Israelites were the adopted sons of the Creator God (Ex.4:22-23), they were not genetic sons; they were only a physical nation. However, the Father's elect today are not a physical nation with national boundaries. The Father has adopted them into his spiritual family as sons through his spirit-power (Rom.8:14-16). The elect are genetic sons of the Father, they are the firstborn of his new creation (2.Cor.5:17) and members of his royal household, as well as his temples where his spirit dwells:
The apostle Paul says that the Father's elect children are a part of his spiritual household—they are members in his royal family. Moreover, they are his sacred temple on earth in which his spirit dwells.
"Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together grows into an holy temple in the Lord: In whom you also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit" (Eph.2:19-22 KJV).
The Father's household is a spiritual organism composed of people whom the Father has called to salvation and has placed under the rule, care, and guidance of his Son Jesus Christ in order to help them grow in grace and knowledge and fulfill the functions and responsibilities for which each is called. Those of the household of God either gather together as groups or individually worship and serve the Father, seeking to learn his way of life in order to obtain salvation and fulfill the functions and responsibilities for which they were called.
Each individual selected by the Father to become a firstborn son of his new creation has a function and responsibility in his household and each individual member is an integral part of the whole (1.Cor.1:1-31). Some are set aside to fulfill the function of leading and shepherding their spiritual brothers and sisters, while others are set aside to perform other types of functions and responsibilities, but all are called to participate in his household as kings, ambassadors and priests to one degree or another.
A Spiritual Priesthood For Today And The Future
Many references in the New Testament show that the elect have been given an opportunity to be a holy nation of kings, ambassadors, and priests today, and that being a king and priest is one of the rewards and responsibilities that the elect will have after Christ returns to rule the earth.
The Spiritual Priesthood Before Christ Returns
Today, many people are called and exposed to the opportunity for salvation (Matt.20:16), yet the number of people who are called are very few in comparison to the earth's population. The following are some of the reasons that some people are called to become a part of the Father's holy nation of kings and priests today:
- To proclaim a message of repentance and obedience (Matt.28: 19-20).
- To proclaim the Father's good news message and the soon-coming Government of God (Rev.11:15).
- To prepare a people to help Jesus Christ rule this world after his return (Rev.5:10).
The Spiritual Kings and Priests After Christ Returns
After Christ returns, everyone who has been called to salvation throughout the ages and has qualified to be given immortality in the Kingdom and Family of God will rule the earth with him as kings and priests.
During Christ's earthly ministry he often spoke of the rewards and responsibilities that would be given for faithfulness and service to God. On one occasion, he promised positions of rulership over the tribes of Israel to his disciples:
"Then Peter said to him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed you, what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you, That you which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, you shall also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Matt.19:27-28 Para.).
The following are references in the Book of Revelation to the elect being kings and priests during the gospel age of salvation and after Christ returns to rule the earth:
"John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be to you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. To him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And has made us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen" (Rev.1:4-6 KJV).
We know that Satan is the present ruler of the earth and that he will rule until Jesus returns to remove him; therefore, when John said that Jesus is prince of the kings of the earth, he spoke of Jesus being the prince of the Father's elect children who are kings and priests in the Father's household.
"And he that overcomes, and keeps my works to the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father" (Rev.2:26-27 KJV). See also Matt.10: 22.
"Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals." ... And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints You have made
them [us] to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they [we] will reign on the earth" (Rev.5:5,8,10 NIV).
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years" (Rev.20:4-6 KJV).
The prophecies and promises in the Book of Revelation that speak of the elect being kings and priests clearly show that those who participate in the first resurrection are rewarded with important positions of rulership and service in the Father's kingdom and that they are an integral part of his heavenly cities temple system forever:
"To him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name" (Rev.3:12 KJV).
WHAT DOES THE FATHER EXPECT?
What does the Father expect of those he has chosen and called to be kings, ambassadors, and citizens of his kingdom and priests and temples of his royal household under the authority and guidance of his firstborn son Jesus Christ? In order to understand what the Father expects of his elect children today and in the future, it is important to have an overview of the following subjects:
- The worship of God from Adam to after Christ's return
- What the Creator God expected of ancient Israel
- What Jesus Christ will expect of national Israel after his return
- What the Father and Christ expected of the early church
- What the Father and Christ expected of the elect after the demise of the early church
- What the Father and Christ expect of the elect today
- What the Father and Christ will expect of the elect who live during the end of the age
From Adam to Noah
We know from the Genesis record that the Creator God taught Adam and Eve his sacrificial system of worship and that Cain and Abel were taught this system of worship as well (Gen.4:1-7). Second Peter 2:5 shows that Noah was called a preacher of righteousness who had the authority from God to pronounce blessings and curses (Gen.9:25-27). Therefore, it can be assumed that, from the time of Adam and Eve to the time of Noah, people who worshiped and served God did so in accordance with the methods prescribed by the Creator God and that they taught these methods to others by word and deed.
From Noah to Moses
In Genesis, chapter 12, the Creator God told Abram to leave his present home and go to a place that he would show him. In verse 8 of chapter 12, Abram is camped east of Bethel (i.e., the house of God) offering sacrifices, and worshiping God. Genesis 14:18-20 shows Melchizedec the priest of the Most High God receiving tithes from Abram and blessing him. Genesis 35:1-3 tells us that Jacob was told to go to Bethel, live there and build an altar for the worship of the true God. These references show that some form of organized spiritual leadership representing the true God existed from Noah to Moses and taught people how to live according to God's way of life.
From Moses to Jesus
From the very beginning of the nation of Israel, the Creator God sanctioned prophets, priests, and judges to guide and teach his people in the way of righteousness. Israel was first taught through Moses who was their civil and spiritual leader; then, they were taught through Aaron, his sons, and the tribe of Levi who were to serve the people as spiritual leaders and as the administrators of the civil government and formal worship system at the tabernacle that God gave to Israel. Moreover, God chose some of the people to serve as judges in civil matters.
Even after the Israelites were allowed to have a king as their civil ruler, the king remained subject to the authority of the priesthood. This is an important point, because it shows that, although the civil authority passed from the priesthood and judges to the kings of Israel, the authority and responsibility for teaching God's laws, precepts, and principles and the performing of all rites and sacrifices at the tabernacle/temple always remained with those specifically chosen by God for this purpose.
When one reads the books of the Bible that concern the establishment of national Israel, it becomes clear that the civil government and the worship system that God gave to them was inseparable from their daily life. God gave the Israelites a total way of life that was to rule and guide every aspect of their life, which would bring them peace, happiness, and prosperity and eventually eternal and immortal life in the Family of God.
The Bible clearly documents the following major individual and collective responsibilities that ancient Israel was given by the Creator God and the future responsibilities that they will be given by Jesus Christ after his return:
- They were called to be sons of God and represent him to other nations.
- They were to separate themselves nationally and religiously from other nations and religions.
- They were to live in accordance to God's laws, precepts, and principles.
- They were to worship and serve the Creator God as he had instructed them.
- They were to be an example of God's way of life to other nations.
- They were to accept all people into their nation who truly wanted to worship the Creator God.
Israel After Christ Returns
After Christ returns to rule the earth, the descendants of Israel will be brought to the land of their inheritance, where they will be formed into a world power in order to fulfill their national destiny in the following manner:
- They will worship and serve God the Father as Jesus Christ instructs them.
- They will live in accordance to the Father's laws, precepts, and principles.
- They will represent the Father's worship system to all nations.
- They will be an example of the Father's way of life to all nations.
- They will teach other nations the Father's laws, precepts, and principles.
During this future age, the nation of Israel will again assume its responsibility as an example to the world of God's way of life. The city of Jerusalem will again become the focal point for the worship of God, and Jesus Christ will administer his and his Father's government and religion to the nations of the world while offering the opportunity of salvation.
During Jesus' Lifetime
During Jesus' lifetime, the Levitical Priesthood were the spiritual leaders of the Jews and the administrators of God's formal worship at the temple in Jerusalem, and the Sanhedrin was the Supreme Council and highest Court of Justice for the Jews. The Sanhedrin had great independence and power under Roman rule; they had the power to arrest and to judge all types of cases, even those involving capital punishment.
Although the origin of the Sanhedrin is obscure, Jewish tradition traces it back to Moses and the seventy elders mentioned in Numbers 11:16-25. According to the best evidence, the Sanhedrin was composed of seventy-one members: the high priest as its president, some of the high priest's close relatives, scribes (professional lawyers), and elders (chief men among both priests and laymen). See Matt.26:3,57,59; 27:41; Mk. 11:27; 14:53; 15:1; Lk.22:66).
After the Advent of Christ
After the advent of Christ, the Bible documents three distinct ages in which the Father's elect children are called to salvation: The early church age, the dispersed church age, and the end-time church age. Because these three church ages exist before the return of Christ, it is important to understand something about their individual and collective differences in responsibilities to the Father and Jesus Christ.
The Early Church
Information provided by Luke reveals that the congregation of God at Jerusalem was composed mostly of Jewish converts of whom a great many were priests (Acts 6:7). Luke gives no hint that their conversion from Judaism to Christianity conflicted with their duties in the temple. It is likely that the converted priests' ministry was needed because there were many thousands among the Jews who believed the gospel message (Acts 21:20). It seems plausible that these converted priests and the elders assisted James and the apostles in the administration of the church according to the familiar Jewish model of the Sanhedrin. See Acts 15:4, 22-23; 16:4; 20:17-18.
The seemingly excessive attachment of the Jerusalem Church to the temple and its attending worship system may be perplexing to some; however, it is important to remember that the Father's elect children are his priests and his temple on earth today. After Christ returns, a new temple will be erected in Jerusalem and the sacrificial system will be established again as a part of the next phase of God's plan for the salvation of humanity. See the Book of Ezekiel.
Secular records and the Book of Acts show that, prior to 70 A.D., the early church had established a council of apostles and elders to govern the church that was patterned after the Jewish Sanhedrin at Jerusalem. And after the martyrdom of James (Jesus' brother) and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., secular history shows Simeon, the son of Cleophas, as the president of the Nazorean Sanhedrin in Pella.
The writings of the New Testament clearly show that the apostles and elders had established the early congregations into an organizational and governmental system similar to the existing temple system of their day. It was through this system that the elect of the early church worshiped and served God the Father, performed their commission to evangelize the Israelitish and Gentile nations, and perfected their calling as kings, ambassadors, and priests through study and practical application of the Father's law and way of life.
The Members of the Early Church Understood
The early church had an advantage we do not have in this age. The members of the early church clearly knew and understood their calling and responsibilities to the Father and Jesus Christ.
They knew and understood that they were:
- The firstborn sons of God the Father's new creation
- To totally separate themselves from all other religions
- To support the collective work of the church and those who were specifically chosen by Jesus Christ to evangelize the Houses of Judah and Israel and other peoples through the proclaiming of the Father's good news message
They knew and understood how to:
- Properly worship and serve the Father and his Son
- Live in accordance to the Father's laws, precepts, and principles
- Fulfill the purpose for which they were called
They knew and understood what it meant to be:
- A member of the Father's royal household
- A nation of kings, ambassadors, and citizens in the Kingdom of God
- The Father's priests on earth
- The Father's temples on earth
They knew and understood their responsibility to:
- Grow in grace and knowledge and learn and perfect the ways of God in their lives
- Prepare to help Jesus Christ rule the world after his return
They knew and understood these things because they had the apostles and others who were directly taught by Jesus to teach and guide them, and they had the example of the Levitical priesthood and the temple worship system. Therefore, they knew and understood many things about God, and his worship system that we of this age are only beginning to rediscover.
Although we of this age are many centuries removed from the fountain of knowledge that flowed within the early church, we do have a written record of the things that are important for us to understand concerning how to worship and serve the Father as his royal household, his holy nation of kings and priests, and his temples in which his spirit presence resides.
After the beginning of the early church on the Day of Pentecost, the apostles formed the elect into an organizational structure patterned after the existing Levitical system with a formal council of the apostles and elders governing the church from Jerusalem. It is within this organizational structure that we see the elect of the early church functioning as the Father's royal household (his holy nation of kings, ambassadors, priests, and temples) being taught how to correctly practice his worship system and fulfilling their commission to proclaim his good news message.
A System of Worship and Service
Under the terms and conditions of the Creator God's first covenant with national Israel, the following two things had to exist before people could worship him in a formal way:
- A place where the presence of God could reside
- A priesthood to administer the sacrificial system of worship
Today, under the terms and conditions of God the Father's covenant with his firstborn sons of his new creation there is also a need for a priesthood and a temple. This is why we see Jesus Christ as the spiritual high priest, the elect as the spiritual priesthood and their bodies as a physical temple in which the presence of God's spirit dwells. It is through the physical organization and spiritual system of kings, priests, and temples that the elect do the following things:
- Worship and serve the Father and Jesus Christ
- Communicate with the Father and Jesus Christ
- Teach God's truth and baptize those who heed the Father's call to salvation
- Provide for fellowship among the Father's children and help them in their spiritual growth
- Serve their fellow brothers and sisters in the Father's family
- Perform the various responsibilities for which they are called
- Act as ambassadors of the Kingdom of God to the world at large
Called to Positions of Rulership and Leadership
With the exception of the writings that explain how to obtain salvation and the prophecies about the events at the end of the gospel age of salvation, almost everything else that is written in the New Testament concerns how to conduct one's life as a king, an ambassador, a citizen of the Kingdom of God, a priest, and a temple of God.
Clearly being the Father's kings, ambassadors, priests, and temples today (1.Pet.2:1-10) and after Christ returns (Rev.1:4-6; 5:5,8,10) is a major part of one's calling. Therefore, it behooves those who are called to participate in the first resurrection to clearly understand the responsibilities that one has been called to perform and to learn how to perform them during this life through study and practical application in one's daily life so that one will be prepared to fulfill the position for which one has been called.
In order for members of the early church to perform their individual and collective responsibilities, members were given authorizations and powers depending on their specific need and function within the church. These authorizations and powers made it possible for the early church to do a great work for God before they disappeared from the world scene as a collective work.
After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., and following the death of John, the organized preaching of the gospel on a powerful basis ceased. The elect were persecuted and their numbers dramatically reduced in the great martyrdoms of the Roman world. As they became dispersed, their individual and collective authorizations of physical and spirit-power diminished along with most of the knowledge about their awesome calling and responsibilities to the Father and his Son. Within a few short years after the death of John, the early church disappeared into obscurity.
The Dispersed Church Age
From about 100 A.D. to today, very little has been recorded about the true elect of God. The true spiritual body of believers in the Father's good news message and redemption through the sacrificial blood of his Son never completely died, it continued through the centuries but not as a powerful organization. Though small in numbers, the elect of God continued to exist in relative obscurity, never losing the understanding of the most basic truths that are necessary for salvation.
Although the elect during the dispersed church age were called to be firstborn sons of the Father's new creation, the great exception in their calling is that they were not called to do a great work as the elect of the early church were.
The Church Today
In this age, there are hundreds of congregational associations scattered throughout the world that overtly appear to be trying to worship God correctly with most of these various associations separated by major doctrinal differences about subjects that are extremely important to one's salvation. It would be wonderful if all of the Father's elect children could dwell in unity; however, this is definitely not the situation that we find among the elect today.
Because the prophecies in the Book of Revelation concerning the various churches of God that exist during the end of this age show that disunity among them will prevail until Christ returns, it is extremely important for anyone who is serious about their call to salvation and their responsibilities as a king, an ambassador, and priest in the household of God to clearly understand what the Father's spiritual household on earth actually is.
The End Time Church Age
The individual and collective elect of the end time church are called to similar responsibilities as those of the early church. However, the elect during the end of this age have the following additional responsibilities:
- They are to proclaim the gospel message as a warning and a witness to specific individuals who are being called to salvation. They are to warn them that, if they do not accept the Father's call and respond appropriately, they will suffer the punishment of eternal death.
- They are to proclaim a warning and a witness to the world at large that God the Father exists and is intervening in world affairs in order to implement the next phase of his plan to save humanity.
- They are to proclaim a warning and a witness to the world that the Kingdom of God is coming to rule the earth and those who resist it will be destroyed.
The church that will exist just before the return of Jesus Christ is to be awakened out of centuries of slumber as the dispersed church and grow into a dynamic spiritual work. However, before this church can awaken, much truth that was lost to the dispersed church age must be rediscovered and taught to the elect. One of the major truths that will be rediscovered and taught concerns the truth about the Father's firstborn sons of his new creation being called to actively participate in his royal household and holy nation as kings, ambassadors, citizens, priests, and temples on earth.
Being a king, an ambassador, a citizen, a priest, and a temple in the Father's royal household and holy nation is not some abstract concept or philosophical fantasy; it is a reality for a person who is one of the Father's elect children. Once one truly understands the awesome responsibilities that one has been called to perform within the Father's royal household and holy nation, one will view one's life and one's potential for impacting the lives of other people from the perspective that the Father and Jesus Christ view it.
A major key to understanding exactly what the Father's church is and how it is to function in this age under the direction of Jesus Christ is to understand that the worship and governmental system that the Creator God (Jesus Christ) originally gave to ancient Israel is the same organizational system that the early church was patterned after and is the same organizational system that will be used after Christ returns to establish the Kingdom of God on earth.
All of what is said in the New Testament about worshiping the Father and how the early church functioned as an organizational entity is totally consistent with what is said in the biblical record about God's worship and governmental system that he gave to ancient Israel.
What is said about the early church must be understood within the context of this worship and governmental system or one cannot understand how the church is to function today or how the Father's plan for the salvation of all of humanity after Christ's return will be implemented.
When one understands that the worship and governmental system that the Creator God originally gave to ancient Israel is the system that the church is to operate under today, what is said in the New Testament about the Father's children being kings, ambassadors, priests, temples, citizens of his kingdom, and members of his royal household today can be understood if one is willing to dedicate the time and effort to diligently study the scriptures and meditate on what is found in them.
By B.L. Cocherell b6w11