All glory to him who loves us and
has freed us from our sins by
shedding his blood for us. He has
made us a Kingdom of priests for
God his Father. All glory and
power to him forever and ever!
Amen. Revelation 1:5b–6
When studying Revelation, I felt strongly that I must look more deeply into the meanings of the words in Greek and in Hebrew, and relate it to past scriptures. I seem to have a strong desire to really understand what it says. Perhaps, this comes from these verses in the beginning of John’s Revelation:
God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near. Revelation 1:3
Well, you can’t obey what it says if you don’t completely understand it.
When I first read verses 1:5b-6 above I paused over the idea of being a priest. My first thought was that as a believer I was supposed to be a priest like the Levites. And, I wasn’t at all sure that sounded really pleasant or wonderful. My mind went to sacrifices and sprinkling of blood, and that hurt my 21st century sensitivities. I went to my favorite app for Bible matters, Bible Hub, and read the commentaries and the Interlineary section where they go line by line showing the original Greek with the word by word meanings. My take away from these was a slightly different view of my role as a priest.
First, only the priests were allowed access to the Holy of Holies, the inner sanctuary of the Temple, thus to God, Himself. And, since we have Jesus, and Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, we have a direct path to God just like the high priests of ancient times.
We do have to come with a sacrifice, but not of a dead animal. Consider these verses:
Through Jesus, therefore, let us
continually offer to God a
sacrifice of praise – the fruit of
lips that openly profess his name.
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
and acknowledgment of God
rather than burnt offerings.
But Samuel replied: “Does the
LORD delight in burnt offerings
and sacrifices as much as in
obeying the LORD? To obey is
better than sacrifice, and to heed
is better than the fat of rams.
Offer to God a sacrifice of
thanksgiving. And pay your vows
to the Most High. Psalm 50:14
As priests, we should offer sacrifices of obedience, thanksgiving, mercy, and praise. To me, this was a lot better than sacrificing an animal. That might have been right in the ancient world, but today obedience, thanksgiving, mercy, and praise fit perfectly. If we do these things, we are offering ourselves as the perfect sacrifice to God, and, as usual, the commands of the Lord are not burdensome. (1 John 5:3)
Verses 5b-6 offers praise for Jesus and God, but our praise can take many forms. It can be through reciting God’s word. The Word is replete with praise especially in Psalms. It can be through prayer. Just tell him how great you think he is. Can’t think what you should say? Just look around. How magnificent He is to have created all this! It can be through song. Put songs of praise on all your Playlists. Find out which radio stations play songs of praise and program them to a button in your car or just break out in song in the shower. It can be through actions. Helping others because you recognize them as a child of God in need is a form of praising God.
Thanksgiving can take the same forms, recitation from the Bible, prayer, song, and actions. Show God how thankful you are for all he has given you by using what you have to help those who may not have as much. This is showing mercy.
And in all things obey God. His commandments are summed up in love God and love each other. Praise, thanksgiving, mercy, and obedience show you love one another. A great way to live is to love!
I pray that God will show you a way to become priests of God and how to come before Him with praise, thanksgiving, mercy, and obedience. I pray you will be able to show someone today how much you love them. in Jesus’ name. Amen.