The Enthroned Priest
“A Priest upon His throne!” Such a priest was not then to be found in Israel. Two separate tribes, distinct the one from the other, provided the priests and the kings for the nation; the tribe of Levi provided the first, and the tribe of Judah the second. The kings and priests in the nation moved in their respective orbits and never collided. Uzziah being a king, contrary to the Word of God assayed to be a priest, and was stricken with leprosy (2 Chron. 26). Furthermore, of the evil priests in Israel, Jeremiah wrote, “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and My people love to have it so” (Jer. 5:31).
In our text is declared the uniting of these two offices. In Whom could these two different functions coalesce but in the Lord from heaven? The Lord Jesus is a kingly Priest and a priestly King; these facts give both sanctity and dignity to His blessed personality.
The time of which our text treats was one of world-wide unrest. Thrones were tottering to their fall, dynasties were coming to their end, dictators were the order of the day. In the midst of all this confusion was the Jew, and through his movements were regulated all the movements of the other nations. How heartening it must have been to a pious Israelite to have his attention focussed upon a Priest Whose throne would never come to an end! The conditions thus described parallel those of the present time. As then, even so now, the world is seething with unrest. Nationalism is asserting itself to a marked degree, and with it, independence and a “could-not-care-less” attitude. Treaties are considered as little more than trash, and the sense of moral obligation is conspicuous by its absence.
In the midst of all this disorder, the Jew still abides, as the Word of God says, “A burdensome stone to the nations.” Yet the student of prophecy knows full well that if the Jew is the hub, and nations the spokes of the wheel that revolves around him, no permanent peace will be enjoyed by this warring earth until the Jew is firmly fixed in his own land. God has decreed that the land is for the people, and the people are for the land.
In whatever manner Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and the Arabs in general may threaten to annihilate the Jewish people, they shall continue; for, eventually, Israel must be the instrument that God will use to bring about universal concord and blessing. How Israel in that golden age will appreciate the activities of their Messiah, their Priest and King upon His throne!
For our own comfort and help, let us think a little about these two functions that our Lord has and will perform.
Israel little knew how indebted they were to Aaron and his sons for their work in the sanctuary. If outside in the wilderness they rebelled and were a stiff-necked people, notwithstanding, in the sanctuary the priest did “commerce in blood”, and this resulted in their blessing and sustenance. How immensely obligated are we to the work of our Great High Priest above! Do we sin; do we wander into by-path meadows; do we leave the King’s highway; do we sleep upon the enchanted ground? If so, and we are dealt with upon the grounds of our own merits, there cannot be much mercy shown us. Thank God for the function of our merciful High Priest “Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way” (Heb. 4:2). Every child of God knows that the slightest sin can effect communion with our Lord. How our feelings fluctuate! What a multitude of infirmities the saints possess! Notwithstanding, He, our Great High Priest, is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. Frequently, a weary mind, a dreary langour, a bitter word spoken thoughtlessly, or a suspicion harboured, like a little fox spoils the fruitful vine of joy and testimony. Let us capture these little foxes, and not allow them to mar our fellowship with God and with one another. When these evils do assail us, let us take some of the sweet grapes of Eshcol from the hand of our Fore-runner and with them refresh ourselves, and let us bear this fact in mind, that although our Lord was not a priest on earth in the days of His flesh, yet when His throne is established here, He will most certainly be engaged in those activities that belong to His priesthood, and whether earth realizes it or not, it will be infinitely indebted to Him.
Our Lord is also a King. “Art Thou a King?” Pilate asked Him. “And Jesus said unto him, thou sayest.” We know full well that today, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation.” At present the King is unseen, and the kingdom invisible. The accusation was brought against the early Christians that they worshipped another King, One Jesus, and rendered fealty to Him as His lawful subjects in a realm unknown to the Roman powers. How refreshing to know that myriads throughout the centuries have bowed to the sovereign rights of our Liege Lord. His banner has been planted amid the snows of Iceland, the rivers of Africa, the shrines of China, and the temples of India. It has been unfurled in each continent of the earth and millions, bless God, have taken shelter beneath its folds. Let it be ours to acknowledge our Sovereign’s claim over us, and let it be ours to render Him homage, worship, and sacrificial service.
“We see not yet all things put under Him.” Notwithstanding, God soon will say, “Rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies.” At the same time God will say to earth, “I have set My King upon My holy hill of Zion.” From end to end of the earth there will be a permanent and established peace, the accompanying prosperity and blessedness of which will only be the reflection of the beneficient heart of the enthroned Lord.
We thus bring to an end our meditations with a vision of God’s Christ in the place of pre-eminence and authority sitting as “A Priest upon His Throne.” To Whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.