For some reason, it is rare to hear it preached that all born-again Christians are called to be both Priests and Prophets under the New Covenant. Scripture, however, is quite clear on the matter as the following verses show:
Acts 2:17 “And it shall be in the last days, says God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh. And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.”
First Corinthians 14:5 “I wish all of you to speak in languages, but rather that you may prophesy; for greater is he prophesying than he speaking in tongues, unless he interpret so that the church may receive building up.”
Ephesians 4:11 “And truly He gave some to be apostles, and some to be prophets, and some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers.”
Hebrews 4:16 “Therefore let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
First Peter 2:5 “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
First Peter 2:9 “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 marvellous light.”
Revelation 1:5b-6 “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
This is substantially different to the Old Covenant situation. Under the New Covenant, each born-again believer has been given the ability to hear directly from God. This is accomplished via the Holy Spirit who is indwelling within each of us. Second Corinthians 6:16 makes this crystal clear for us as Paul says: “…. For you are the temple of the living God, as God has said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”“ This also confirms and fulfils the prophetic words for God as recorded in Jeremiah 31:31-33 for us:
“Behold, the days come, says Jehovah, that I will cut a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I cut with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which covenant of Mine they broke, although I was a husband to them, says Jehovah; but this shall be the covenant that I will cut with the house of Israel: After those days, says Jehovah, I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall no more teach each man his neighbour and each man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah; for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says Jehovah. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more.”
Under the Old Covenant, there were few Priests and few Prophets and all were (initially at least) appointed directly by God. Deuteronomy 18:18-22 describes the appointment of the prophets saying:
“I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brothers, one like you, and will put My words in His mouth. And He shall speak to them all that I shall command Him. And it shall happen, whatever man will not listen to My Words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him. But the prophet who shall presume to speak a word in My name which I have not commanded him to speak or who shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, How shall we know the word which Jehovah has not spoken? When a prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah, if the thing does not follow nor come to pass, that is the thing which Jehovah has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You shall not be afraid of him.”
The Old Covenant prophet was required, on pain of death, to speak the Word of the Lord exactly as it was given to him and not to deviate from it. As such, all the prophecies of the Old Testament have either come true already or are awaiting fulfilment, for there are no false prophecies recorded in the Bible.
The Priests, first appointed by God, became the forefathers of generations of priests, as the appointment could only be handed down through the male blood lineage, as is the case in Leviticus 10:1 when the line of Aaronic Priests commenced:
“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, and put incense on it, and offered strange fire before Jehovah, which He had not commanded them. And there went out fire from Jehovah and devoured them, and they died before Jehovah. Then Moses said to Aaron, It is that which Jehovah spoke, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come near me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.”
Under the New Covenant, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit totally changed the relationship of all born-again believers with God. The writer of Acts 2:17-18 plainly expects all Christians to prophesy:
“And it shall be in the last days, says God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh. And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And in those days I will pour out My Spirit upon My slaves and My slave women, and they shall prophesy.”
From this we can see that it is quite clear that under the New Covenant, not only are all Christians Priests, but they are Prophets too. As the Spirit of Prophecy is diffused throughout the whole body of the Church, so too also, is our priesthood calling. All we need to do is lay hold of it and act on it. Remember the comment of James in 2:20 that “faith without works is dead?” Yes, we need to act on it, or it is dead for us.
Our position under the New Covenant is different to the Old, as God wants to have a direct relationship with us: Christianity is relational! If we don’t have a relationship with Jesus, we simple are not and cannot be Christians. Jesus has given us His word, as in Matthew 18:20 that “where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.” This is confirms Matthew 10:19 where Jesus told his disciples that: “when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what you shall speak; for it shall be given you in that same hour what you shall speak. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” Yes, the Holy Spirit will speak through us when we have no words with which to answer our persecutors and will be there when Christians gather in agreement in His name.
Since all Christians can prophesy and all are Priests, the relationships with the Lord’s anointed Prophets and Priests ought then to be different than it presently is. While all Christians are called to be prophets and priests, we need to recognise that Jesus made it clear that there are special anointings for these “offices,” such that those specially chosen by God for these offices will work at a higher level of gifting and are more attuned to the Spirit. Ephesians 4:11 sets this out for us saying “And truly He gave some to be apostles, and some to be prophets, and some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers.” We need to remember here the words of Jesus in Luke 14:48 where He told us that to whom more is given, more is expected. The reason for these special offices, is that those chosen few are to do special works for the Lord, which require a higher degree of anointing. For we must also understand that the higher we advance in the spiritual realms for God, the higher are the levels of the demonic which will be rallied against us.
As above in Acts 2:27, the Spirit now talks to us not only in audible or semi-audible voices, but also through dreams and visions and impressions, through Scripture; indeed, through all imaginable means. Since all are now called to prophesy, we need also to realise that the “false prophet” of the Old Testament is now a thing of the past. We are now called to use the Holy Spirit to discern whether the prophet is speaking truth in the Spirit, for from the soulish flesh. Indeed, Hebrews 5:14 equates this as Christian maturity, saying: “But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, even those who because of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” First John 4:1 also confirms this saying “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but try the spirits to see if they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Therefore, stoning prophets is not part of the New Covenant, instead we are to discern the spirit and act accordingly as the Holy Spirit leads us. To this point, First Corinthians 14:3 gives us good direction: “But he who prophesies speaks to men for building up, and exhortation, and comfort.”
Imagine if the whole body of Christ began to practise the gift of prophecy with the sole aim of building up, exhorting and comforting, not only the men and women of Christ and His Church, but all of our neighbours. What would that do for the Great Commission?
Imagine likewise, it we all, as Priests of Christ, began to practise the gift of Priesthood which we have received. What would happen to our Families, our Churches, our Communities, our Nations, if we all stood up and acted as Christ’s Priests, His Royal Priesthood? What would that do for the Great Commission?
Amen and Amen.
Thank You that you have given me to be Your Priest and Your Prophet. I bow before you now in shame and confess that I have been grossly derelict in the priestly and prophetic duties which You have called me to. I confess I have not fulfilled Your needs of me and I am guilty before you. I repent, Father, and ask for Your forgiveness for doing nothing with the gifts of priesthood and prophecy which You have laid upon me. I ask You now, to change me. I lay my will down before you now and ask you to please lead me, but on Your chosen path, not mine. Lead my Lord, such that I may fulfill the destiny which You have determined for me, such that You will be glorified and raised high.
I pray, Father, that You will now stir me from the inside, such that I may be Your Priest and Your Prophet for Your Kingdoms sake. Use me please Lord for You Glory.
In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen and Amen.