10 Things You Should Know About the Priesthood

priestcolorCrossway has a helpful series of blog articles called “10 Things You Should Know . . .” These articles summarize key ideas from some of Crossway’s recent books. And this week, they posted my contribution about the priesthood.

Here are the first three things you should know. The rest you can find here. The book you can find here. And a sermon series on the priesthood can also be found here.

1. The Edenic origin of the priesthood.

In Eden, God created mankind in his image to reflect his glory. In this setting, God crowned man with glory and honor (Ps. 8:5), authorized him to subdue and rule (Gen. 1:28), and gave him priestly instructions for serving in his garden-temple (Gen. 2:15; cf. Num. 3:8). This is the prototype of royal priesthood from which all other priests will be molded. In other words, when the priesthood is legislated in Israel, it will pick up language and imagery from Eden. At the same time, the Law of Moses divided the royal and priestly roles originally united in Adam. Thus, only a second Adam can unite priesthood and kingdom in a manner similar to Eden.

2. The cosmic fall of the priesthood.

When Adam sinned and fell short of God’s glory (cf. Rom. 1:21–23; 3:23; 5:12, 18–19), God expelled him from God’s garden-sanctuary (see Ezek. 28:11–19), destroying any chance of Adam serving God as priest-king. In the fall, Adam’s sin made sacrifice necessary, as indicated by the events of Genesis 4. Because death was the punishment for sin, blood must be shed. To be certain, the full consequence of sin and the need for a priest would require later revelation to explain (see Leviticus), but it is worth noting the original intent and downfall of the priesthood. For the rest of the Bible, we find a search for someone who could stand before God and serve as a mediator (cf. Job 9:33–35).

The Royal Priesthood and the Glory of God

The Royal Priesthood and the Glory of God

David S. Schrock

David Schrock traces the theme of priesthood throughout the Bible and displays how Jesus, the great high priest, informs the worship, discipleship, and evangelism of the church.

3. The fraternal development of the priesthood.

From Eden to Sinai, priestly ministration continued, but in a very ‘itinerant’ fashion. In the days of the Patriarchs, firstborn sons grew up to be mediators for their families. Job is a good example of this (Job 1:5), as is Abraham. In the Abraham narrative (Gen. 11:27–25:18), we find Abraham building altars (Gen. 12:7, 8; 13:4, 18), interceding for others (Gen. 18:22–33), and obeying God by offering a sacrifice (Gen. 22:1–18). While Abraham and his sons lacked the title of priest, these “priests” play an important role in understanding the earthly “priesthood” of Jesus—a priest in function, but without legal title. At the same time, the priestly service of firstborn sons helps explain Israel’s role as a royal priesthood (Ex. 19:6).

For the last seven points, see Crossway’s 10 Things You Should Know About the Priesthood in the Bible.

Soli Deo Gloria, ds

The Royal Priesthood and the Glory of God: Book Announcement

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If the Lord wills . . .
— James 4:15a —

James 4:13–16 reminds us that the future is in the Lord’s hands, not our own. But that doesn’t mean we can’t plan or set dates. It just means we do so with a strong sense of the Lord’s sovereignty, not our own. With that in mind, I mention the following date: February 8, 2022.

At present, Crossway is set to publish my book, The Royal Priesthood and the Glory of God, on that date. As of today, you can read the first chapter online. And you can get a sense of the book in the following chapter outline.

Introduction: Recovering the Glory of the Royal Priesthood

Chapter 1: In the Beginning: The Royal Priesthood Patterned
Chapter 2: The Law: The Levitical Priesthood Legislated
Chapter 3: The Prophets: The Priesthood Promised, Compromised, and Promised Again
Chapter 4: The Writings: The Royal Priesthood Anticipated
Chapter 5: The Gospels: The Royal Priesthood Arrives
Chapter 6: Acts through Revelation: The Royal Priesthood Multiplies

Epilogue: Royal Priesthood Yesterday, Today, and Forever

That’s the outline of my book which adds to the Short Studies in Biblical Theology series, a collection of accessible studies that trace various themes (like covenants, marriage, work) through Scripture. If you are looking to grow in your knowledge of the Bible and how various strands tie together in Christ, any of these short books would be edifying. For me, the theme of priesthood has been a blessing to study over the last decade, and I am delighted to share my findings with others.

On the book itself, here’s what a few friends and professors have said in their endorsements. You can read all the endorsements here.

“With the recent surge in biblical-theological studies, especially thematic developments across the canon, it is a little surprising that the theme of priesthood has not received more attention. David Schrock’s work fills this gap beautifully! Specifically, this book probes the significance of the priesthood for a precise understanding of the gospel, as well as our own calling as royal priests through Jesus. Essential reading on this major biblical theme!”
Nicholas G. Piotrowski, President and Academic Dean, Indianapolis Theological Seminary

“The biblical teaching on the priesthood seems foreign and forbidding to many readers today. David Schrock helps us see how a theology of the priesthood permeates the storyline of the Bible and how the priesthood climaxes in Christ and finds its fulfillment in him.”
Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

In all, my book is just under 200 pages. It encapsulates a lot of the teaching I have done on the priesthood over the last ten years, but it also offers a few new lines of argument that are fresh to the body of literature on the priesthood. More importantly, however, this book is written for the church and I pray it will bless pastors, teachers, and faithful students of the Bible to see with greater clarity the glory of God witnessed in the royal priesthood.

If you are interested in this subject, the priesthood of Christ, biblical theology, or what it means to be a royal priest made in the image of God, this book will be of interest. May it will bless all you who read it. And if you want to pre-order it, you can now do so at Crossway, Amazon, or even Target.

Soli Deo Gloria, ds

On Reading Exodus: Four Approaches with Various Resources

sincerely-media-PH7TOStghPA-unsplashAs we move from Genesis to Exodus in Track 1 of the Via Emmaus Reading Plan, here are resources for the second book of Moses. If you missed the first month’s resources for Genesis, you can look here. Below is a recap on the Via Emmaus Reading Plan and a number of helps for reading Exodus.

The Via Emmaus Reading Plan

Continue reading

Considering the Conscience: A Book Review

conscienceAlready in this election cycle we’ve heard a great deal about the conscience. Religious liberty stands or falls with ones ability to speak and act according to conscience. Likewise, many political commentaries have spoken about the conscience with regards to voting. Some, like Wayne Grudem, have made a matter of moral obligation to vote for Donald Trump. Others, like Andy Naselli, have explained why his conscience cannot vote for the not-so-conservative “conservative” choice.

In truth, we are going to hear a great deal more about the conscience. But what is it? And how does a biblical understanding of the conscience help us in these difficult times—in our voting and more to be at peace with brothers or sisters in Christ who hold different views of the political landscape. Again, Naselli is helpful, as he and J.D. Crowley have written a book on the subject: Conscience: What It Is, How to Train It, And Loving Those Who Differ.

In what follows I provide an overview of their book that both encapsulates some of their key points and hopefully whets your appetite to consider further this important topic. Continue reading

Jim Hamilton’s Forthcoming Biblical Theology

I am not sure where Matthew Montonini found the following description of Jim Hamilton’s new book, God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgment.  Was it bootlegged?  Its not on Crossway‘s site, but regardless, I am excited to know that it is coming out this year.  I have heard much about its release, and believe the thesis is right on. 

Now that an announcement of the book is out, the cover alone draws me in, but even more the content: After sitting in Dr Hamilton’s “Messiah in the Old Testament” class at SBTS and reading some of his work on the subject, it promises to be a must-have biblical theology.  The best since Geerhardus Vos?  Time will tell.

Here is how Crossway sets it up.  (HT: New Testament Perspectives)

God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology (480 pages) [m]oves through the Bible book by book to demonstrate that there is a theological center: God’s glory in salvation through judgment.

In Exodus 34 Moses asks to see God’s glory, and God reveals himself as a God who is merciful and just. James Hamilton Jr. contends that from this passage comes a biblical theology that unites the meta-narrative of Scripture under one central theme: God’s glory in salvation through judgment.

Hamilton begins in the Old Testament by showing that Israel was saved through God’s judgment on the Egyptians and the Caananites. God was glorified through both his judgment and mercy, accorded in salvation to Israel. The New Testament unfolds the ultimate display of God’s glory in justice and mercy, as it was God’s righteous judgment shown on the cross that brought us salvation. God’s glory in salvation through judgment will be shown at the end of time, when Christ returns to judge his enemies and save all who have called on his name.

Hamilton moves through the Bible book by book, showing that there is one theological center to the whole Bible. The volume’s systematic method and scope make it a unique resource for pastors, professors, and students.

Until November, if you are looking to get a feel for what Hamilton’s book will include, check out some of his prepatory work:

The Glory of God in Salvation Through Judgment: The Centre of Biblical Theology?Tyndale Bulletin 57.1 (2006), 57-84.

The Center of Biblical Theology in Acts: Deliverance and Damnation Display the Divine,” Themelios 33.3 (2008), 34-47.

Soli Deo Gloria, dss

Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church

The ‘Second Mark’  of a “Healthy Church” is Biblical Theology (see Nine Marks of Healthy Church), but because of its sweeping synthesis of the Bible, Biblical Theology is also one of the most confusing disciplines to church members.  At least, this has been my experience introducing the ‘Big Picture’ of the Bible to the churches I have served.

Enter Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church.  In April, Michael Lawrence’s new book will come out, and hopefully serve as a tool introduce and clarify this critically-important discipline.  Here is Crossway‘s description:

Capitol Hill Baptist Church associate pastor Michael Lawrence contributes to the IXMarks series as he centers on the practical importance of biblical theology to ministry. He begins with an examination of a pastor’s tools of the trade: exegesis and biblical and systematic theology. The book distinguishes between the power of narrative in biblical theology and the power of application in systematic theology, but also emphasizes the importance of their collaboration in ministry.

Having laid the foundation for pastoral ministry, Lawrence uses the three tools to build a biblical theology, telling the entire story of the Bible from five different angles. He puts biblical theology to work in four areas: counseling, missions, caring for the poor, and church/state relations. Rich in application and practical insight, this book will equip pastors and church leaders to think, preach, and do ministry through the framework of biblical theology.

This forthcoming book looks like an excellent tool for introducing biblical theology to church members who have questions on why Biblical Theology is important and how to put the Bible together.  It goes beyond just the basics too, relating the big picture of the Bible to everyday life– ‘counseling, missions, caring for the poor, and church/state relations.’  Since biblical illiteracy is one of the church’s greatest obstacles for making mature disciples, encouraging biblical theology (read: a comprehensive understanding of the Bible) should be a priority of every pastor, church leader, and church member.

April 30, 2010 is its anticipated release date.  Mark it down!  

Soli Deo Gloria, dss