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

41gzmdxgXRL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_

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

David Among the Priests: Seeing the Royal Priesthood of David in the Book of 1 Chronicles

priestcolorIn 1 Chronicles 1–9, the central feature of the genealogy is the priestly service of sons of Aaron and Levi. (See this post). Yet, as the book unfolds, there is another “priest” who takes center stage. Who is this priest? It is none other than David himself, a royal priest after the order of Melchizedek, we might say.

His priesthood, however, may be veiled to many readers because of the fact that David is not called a priest and because passages like Exodus 28 and Deuteronomy 33:8–11 restrict priesthood to the sons of Aaron. Yet, taking those Levitical instructions seriously, we should not miss how 1 Chronicles presents David.

In what follows, I will present four evidences of David’s priesthood, the last includes five actions that identify David as a priest. If time permitted, we could find more evidences for David’s priesthood and give rationale for how this works in Scripture. Some of these things will become clear below; others we will have to explore later. For now, let us content ourselves with what Scripture gives us in 1 Chronicles and how David is presented in priestly ways.

Continue reading

Getting Into 1 Chronicles without Getting Stuck: Or, How to Read a Genealogy

woman in red t shirt looking at her laptop

“Just skip the first 9 chapters in 1 Chronicles and start in chapter 10.”

This is something I’ve both said and done. And yet in this post, I want to return to 1 Chronicles 1–9 to show you how important these chapters are for understanding Chronicles and the theme of royal priesthood in the Bible.

For those reading the Bible for the first time or the fiftieth time, the likelihood of reading 1 Chronicles 1–9 with profit is challenging, to say the least. Yes, these chapters do include the cottage industry known as Jabez’s Prayer (1 Chr. 4:9–10). But appeals to that blessed man, whose name means pain—probably a prophecy for the way his life would be misused by 20th C. Christians—only confirms how hard it is to read these chapters with anything but the most general profit—i.e., God is Lord of history. (For a proper interpretation of Jabez’s prayer, read this).

Our approach to 1 Chronicles 1–9 changes, however, when we discover (1) the structure of this passage and (2) its purpose in the book of 1–2 Chronicles. Assisting in both of these endeavors, James T. Sparks has written The Chronicler’s Genealogies: Towards an Understanding of 1 Chronicles 1–9.

In Sparks’ research, he argues for the intentional placement of this genealogy and how it works in this book. After correcting a few modern errors on reading genealogies (check back for a post on that point), Sparks identifies a chiastic structure in these nine chapters that focuses on the cultic personnel (i.e., the priests). Continue reading

Getting into Daniel: Five Notes on Daniel 1

daniel05This month our church begins a new sermon series on the book of Daniel and Daniel is also the book of the month for the Via Emmaus Bible Reading Plan. With both of those things in mind, I will begin today to post a few notes from each chapter in Daniel, starting with Daniel 1. As with the notes I wrote for Joshua, these notes will primarily be theological in orientation. Yet, because good theology depends on good grammatical and historical observations, they will also tap into various literary issues in the book of Daniel.

As we read /preach through Daniel, if there are observations or questions you have, please leave them in the comments. For now, here are five introductory notes on Daniel 1. There will be more to come.

Five Note on Daniel 1

1. Daniel highlights Israel’s captivity and release.

1In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. . . . 21And Daniel was there until the first year of King Cyrus. (1:1, 21)

Daniel 1 begins in 605 BC, when Nebuchadnezzar first raids Jerusalem and plunders the temple and takes the leaders from the royal family (see vv. 1–3). Daniel 1 ends in 539 BC, with a mention of the first year of Cyrus (v. 21), king of Persia (6:28). Cyrus would eventually grant Israel the right to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple (see Isaiah 44:28; 45:1ff.). In Daniel 10:1, he is mentioned again in association with Daniel’s vision.

It is noteworthy that Daniel 1 includes Daniel’s entrance and exit from Babylon. The former sets the context for the whole book—God’s people in exile in Babylon. The latter flashes a light of hope, that the exiles will be released from bondage. Captivity is not the final word for Israel, and the inclusion of Cyrus in the first chapter speaks to that. The mention of Cyrus’s also indicates that the book is written after the exile and after Cyrus sends Israel back to Jerusalem. Continue reading

In Search of a Priest Like Melchizedek (Genesis 14; Psalm 110; Hebrews 7)

priestcolor

In Search of a Priest Like Melchizedek (Genesis 14; Psalm 110; Hebrews 7)

Who is Melchizedek? And why is Jesus called a high priest like Melchizedek? And what does Mel—can we abbreviate his strange name?—have to do with the church and the world today?

On Sunday, I tried to answer those questions with an animated tour of the Bible. Incorporating the artistic gifts of Jeff Dionise, our elder for outreach, I preached a three part message that started with Melchizedek in history (Genesis 14), moved to Melchizedek in poetry and prophecy (Psalm 110), and finished with Jesus Christ, or Melchizedek in fulfillment (Hebrews 7).

In what follows you can listen to the message or trace the story with the graphics displayed below. Additional resources are also found below. Response questions will return next week as our church finishes up its series on the priesthood.

Happy Thanksgiving!
ds Continue reading

You Were Made For This: An Introduction to the Priesthood (Genesis 2:4–25)

priestcolor

You Were Made For This: An Introduction to the Priesthood (Genesis 2:4–25)

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people for his own possession,
that you may proclaim the excellencies of him
who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
— 1 Peter 2:9 —

From Genesis to Revelation, the themes of priesthood and kingship overlap and intertwine in the history of redemption. In this new sermon series we are examining how royal priesthood applies to Jesus, the church, and our identity in Christ.

In this first sermon, we consider how Adam and Eve were created in God’s image to be royal priests serving and worshiping in the Garden of Eden. You can read about the background to this sermon series here and listen to the sermon online here. Response questions and Additional Resources can be found below. Continue reading

Seeing Exodus 19:1–8: A Literary Structure

dmitry-ratushny-67024-unsplashIn his outstanding monograph on Exodus 19:5–6, A Royal Priesthood: Literary and Intertextual Perspectives on an Image of Israel in Exodus 19:5–6John A. Davies provides a literary/chiastic structure of Exodus 19:1–8. Paying careful attention to the voices (first, second, third person; single or plural) and the contents of these eight verses, he shows two chiastic structures that organize this wonderful passage.

In any study of Exodus or the priesthood, this passage is crucial for our understanding, so I share his outline here for our consideration (p. 35).

A  People of Israel camp at the mountain (third person plural verbs) (vv. 1–2)

B  Moses’ ascent and Yhwh’s summons (third person singular verbs) (v. 3a)

C  Divine instruction regarding delivery of message to Israel (second person singular verbs) (v. 3b)

D  Divine declaration concerning Israel (second person plural verbs) (vv. 4–6a)

C’  Divine instruction regarding delivery of message to Israel (second person singular verbs) (v. 6b)

B’  Moses’ descent and summons to the elders (third person singular verbs) (v. 7)

A’  People of Israel respond (third person plural verbs) (v. 8a) Continue reading