Revelation 20:6 – Priests of God and of Messiah

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POSTED 11 FEBRUARY, 2018

reproduced from Salvation on the Line, Volume II

“Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Messiah and will reign with Him for a thousand years.”

In discussions over eschatology, there are certainly discussions and debates witnessed among differing schools of thought, regarding what “a thousand years” represents. While this writer is convinced that following the return of the Messiah, there will be a thousand-year Millennial reign on Planet Earth from Jerusalem—it is actually more important that this period is associated with how those who participate in the first resurrection, esontai hiereis tou Theou kai tou Christou, “they will be priests of God and of Christ” (Revelation 20:6, YLT). It is notably not just enough that those who participate in the first resurrection are priests of God; “they will be cohanim of God and of the Messiah” (CJB/CJSB). Mounce makes the general observation of how the vocation of being priests is taken directly from the original Tanach instruction about Ancient Israel being a kingdom of priests:

“At Sinai God promised the Israelites that if they would obey his voice and keep his commandments they would be to him a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Ex 19:6). The faithful, by remaining true to Christ in the final trial by Antichrist, are thus priests of God and Christ. As a royal priesthood (cf. I Pet 2:5, 9; Rev 1:6; 5:10) they reign with him a thousand years.”[1]

It would not have been out of place if Revelation 20:6 had simply read, “they will be priests of God and will reign for a thousand years” (NASU modified), but this is not what Revelation 20:6 says. The priestly service indicated in Revelation 20:6 is one which co-jointly serves both the Father and the Son. As Morris points out, “they are to be priests of God and of Christ (cf. 5:10; Is. 61:6; note also the close connection between God and Christ).”[2] Beale more clearly explains, “In 1:6 and 5:10 saints have been said only to be ‘priests to God,’ but now it is said that they will be ‘priests of God and of Christ.’ This suggests that Christ is on a par with God, which is underscored elsewhere in the Apocalypse (e.g., 5:13-14; 7:9-17).”[3] Fee directly concludes, “Here again the reader can hardly miss the high Christology, in which the Father and Son are once more brought together at the Eschaton.”[4] Would one actually expect a priesthood to service the interests of the Father and Son, unless they were both Divine, with the Son integrated into a plural Elohim Godhead?


NOTES

[1] Mounce, Revelation, 360.

[2] Morris, Revelation, pp 231-232.

[3] Beale, 1003.

[4] Fee, Revelation, 284.