Priests: The Amazing Privilege and Honor of Living in the Presence of God

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Discover Your Spiritual Identity: The Revelation of the Names and Titles God Has Given His People

"To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen" (Rev. 1:5b-6).

In the original Hebrew, the word translated "priest" is kohen, and it means one who draws near to God. Those who fill this role do so for two primary reasons: to faithfully minister to God in worship and to effectively represent Him to others. Originally, God's intention was for all Israelites to function in this sacred calling. After they left Egypt, He gave the promise (which was hinged to a condition, as usual):

"'Now therefore, if you will faithfully obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My special possession out of all the nations, for all the earth is Mine. And you will be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel" (Ex. 19:5-6).

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Unfortunately, in the very next chapter, when the fiery visitation took place on Mount Sinai and God spoke the Ten Commandments, instead of drawing near, the Israelites drew back—pleading with Moses to access the Yahweh in their behalf. Later on, when Moses was in the mountain for 40 days, receiving further instructions from the Almighty, they coerced Aaron to make a false idol, a golden calf—brazenly breaking two of the commandments God had just pronounced with the thunderclap of divine authority. In both instances, in a very real sense, they rejected the priesthood calling. That fateful day, only the tribe of Levi stood with Moses—and for centuries afterward, the priesthood calling remained with them.

Then the Messiah came and offered Himself as the supreme sacrifice for our sins, doing away with the Mosaic order. After Jesus, the great high priest, ascended to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit back to dwell inside the hearts of His people (Heb. 4:14). Everything changed then for the better. Through the blood He shed, Jesus (Yeshua) imparted to all believers "boldness to enter the Holiest" (Heb. 10:19b, NKJV). Now all who call on His name—both Jew and Gentile—can function as priests, because we can all "draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith" and live in that intimate connection with the Father (Heb. 10:22a).

So, in this era, the priesthood is no longer reserved to a select group of God's people. All children of God who abide in a covenant relationship with Him inherit the right to enter His presence: to commune with Him, to receive His revealed wisdom and then to share His grace, His forgiveness and His truth with others. So filling this role is not just a futuristic hope. Revelation 1:5-6 clearly states in the past tense, "He has made us kings and priests." It's something we possess, right here, right now.

2 Powerful Priesthood Declarations

Two of the most powerful "priesthood" verses in the New Testament are found in the writings of Peter:

"You also, as living stones, are being built up into a spiritual house as a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 2:5, MEV).

Children of God are commissioned in this era to present to the Creator not bloody animal sacrifices on a brass altar but "spiritual sacrifices" on the altar of their regenerated hearts:

Sacrifices of righteousness (Ps. 4:5).

Sacrifices of joy (Ps. 27:6).

Sacrifices of thanksgiving (Jo. 2:9).

Sacrifices of praise (Heb. 13:15).

The second "priest" passage from Peter's writings adds a new dimension altogether:

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may declare the goodness of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Pet. 2:9).

Though the idea of a "priesthood" speaks deeply of serving God and others with meekness and humility, the word "royal" implies ruling with authority and power. So New Covenant priests are empowered to also reign as kings—over the flesh, over the devil and his demons, over the power of sin and over all the negative aspects of living in this world. Then, after it's all over, we will actually "reign on the earth" in the age to come, in a restored paradise world (Revelation 20:6). So by this passage, it becomes very clear: In the kingdom of God, only those who serve as priests have the right and the privilege to reign as kings. The perfect balance—hallelujah!

In this episode of Discover Your Spiritual Identity with Mike Shreve on Charisma Podcast Network, discover how God is making you a priest.

Mike Shreve has taught on the spiritual identity of believers for over 30 years. This powerful revelation is featured on his weekly podcast on and a weekly TV program on It's Supernatural Networkboth titled Discover Your Spiritual Identity. It is also the theme of his Charisma House book titled WHO AM I? Dynamic Declarations of Who You Are in Christ. A product of the Jesus Movement Era, Mike has traveled evangelistically in the United States and overseas since 1970 with an emphasis on healing and the prophetic.

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