Prophet, Priest or King
PROPHET, PRIEST & KING
“You are a king!”… these words, spoken by a colleague, excited Eugene and stirred up something inside of him, even though he did not, at the time, fully grasp the intended meaning. After all, every man wants to be a king – there’s a romanticism about being a king; kings slay dragons, rescue damsels in distress, conquer kingdoms, and have countries named after them. Many of the most famous men in our history were kings; Henry VIII, Constantine, Richard the Lion heart, King David, etc. In fact, Christ is a King.
Only after a number of people used the same phrase to describe him, did Eugene start asking some questions and doing some research into what this label encompassed and where it came from. The following is a summary of what he discovered…
In Biblical times, leaders were appointed by God in one of three offices, i.e. prophet, priest or king:
The main objective for a prophet was to hear the Word of God, either in the form of a spoken word or a vision and then to communicate that vision or Word the people.
In the Scriptures, we see prophets working alongside kings and priests. God often used the prophets to give direction, correct error, or help leaders make breakthroughs necessary for success. They can bless or curse. They can recognize anointing or attacks of the enemy. Prophets add a supernatural boost for the expansion of the Kingdom.
The priest was the mediator between God and man. When an Israelite wanted to offer a sacrifice for repentance; the priest was there. When he came to give an offering of thanksgiving; the priest was there. When he would come to worship and give to God in the Temple; the priest was there. The priest was available on behalf of Israel to welcome them into the presence of God. He was always interceding on behalf of the people before a holy God.
In the priest, we understand God’s provision for tainted, dirty sinners to experience the presence of God. Every sinful person had hope through the priest and the sacrificial system to still experience God despite their sin. God deals with sin and He did it through the priesthood. The priest represents God’s grace to His people, welcoming them into His presence.
Some key Scriptures regarding Priests:
‘The priests, who are Levites—indeed the whole tribe of Levi—are to have no allotment or inheritance with Israel. They shall live on the offerings made to the Lord by fire, for that is their inheritance. They shall have no inheritance among their brothers; the Lord is their inheritance, as he promised them. This is the share due the priests from the people who sacrifice a bull or a sheep: the shoulder, the jowls and the inner parts. You are to give them the first fruits of your grain, new wine and oil, and the first wool from the shearing of your sheep, for the Lord your God has chosen them and their descendants out of all your tribes to stand and minister in the Lord’s name always. If a Levite moves from one of your towns anywhere in Israel where he is living, and comes in all earnestness to the place the Lord will choose, he may minister in the name of the Lord his God like all his fellow Levites who serve there in the presence of the Lord. He is to share equally in their benefits, even though he has received money from the sale of family possessions.’ (Deuteronomy 18:1-8)
The Lord said to Aaron, “You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites. I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the Tent of Meeting” (Numbers 18:20-21)
A few observations concerning Priests:
- They have no allotment nor inheritance. The Lord Himself is their inheritance.
- Priestly income comes from offerings and tithes (Deut 18:1-4).
- While kings have great wealth, priests do not.
- The priest’s primary function is to minister to the Lord.
- Priests focus on God’s people and they should not be weighed down by projects or material concerns. This principle is illustrated by the Apostles in Acts 6:2 – So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the Word of God in order to wait on tables”.
- Priests are the shepherds who leave the 99 sheep to retrieve the lost one. They hesitate to go faster than the slowest lamb. By contrast, kings rarely go slower than the fastest horse.
- Priests have a heart for worship, since their greatest passion is the Lord Himself.
- Priests are chosen by God. They are consecrated and ordained to be minister to Him and His people.
The nation of Israel spiraled out of control when they had no central hope, no leader. In fact, a whole book in the Word of God, Judges, was written to show the state of Israel without a king. They sought their own gain, whatever prospered them at the time. Many times this meant trusting in other nations or other nations’ gods. Judges summarizes the time without a king simply as “everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
In Chronicles, salvation comes from the king and the temple (built by the king). The king led in righteousness and the temple brought the presence of God. Either the king brought reform and repentance like David (1 Chronicles 13:3) or will lead the people to idolatry like Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 12:1). So, the king can make or break the nation (organization) – lead them to victory and prosperity or to destruction and death.
Some key Scriptures regarding Kings:
‘When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say “Let us set a King over us like all the nations around us”, be sure to appoint over you the King the Lord your God chooses. He must be from among your own brothers. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not a brother Israelite. The King, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you “You are not to go back that way again”. He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Priests, who are the Levites. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over the kingdom in Israel.’ (Deuteronomy 17:14-20)
A few observations concerning Kings:
- Notice that the Lord also chose the Kings (v15). The kingly anointing and ordination was just as sacred as the ordination of priests.
- Kings are cautioned against materialism and other indulgences (v16-17). Why? Kings have an anointing to accumulate resources and get things done. Their weakness however can be pride, greed and independence.
- Kings are cautioned to stay close to Scripture; to keep it with them, and read it all the days of their lives (v18-19).
- Kings command the people. They have influence and exercise leadership by implementing various strategies. They get things done. They go to war and conquer new territory to enlarge the inheritance (and prosperity) of God’s people.
The Big Deal
Why is it important to understand the role of Prophet Priest and King? We see God’s grace to the people through these offices; we see God’s provision to lead His people to salvation and prosperity.
Prophet, Priest, and King are the three spiritual offices held by Jesus. Jesus is the ultimate leader and is our example in each of these roles. In three years, He received a vision from the Father, developed a way (“organization”) to implement that vision, and managed His “organization” (disciples). He did this so well that the organization He built in three years changed the world more than any other in history and still continues to do so.
The Leader as Prophet, Priest & King
In the prophet role, the leader sees the vision and is the seat of creativity. In the priest role, he communicates the vision and develops the people who must run with it. In the king role, the leader is the administrator who manages the organization.
The king as leader must see a destination (vision) to move his organization to. This vision can either be devised by the king or the king can receive the vision from the prophet and then run with it. By implication, the king’s leadership includes the development of plans. The most effective long-term leaders are visionaries. The leader (king) understands where his people need to go long term, but also understands where they must go next (short term) to move toward the long term vision. He develops goals for the organization from the vision in his heart or from the vision he received from the prophet.
The priest as leader helps develop goals for the individuals in the organization. These goals are based on the role of the individual in the organization as well as the maturity of the individual in that role.
An effective leader must be able to transfer his vision to his followers. If the goals are ambitious, requiring extraordinary effort on the part of the group members to reach, a degree of inspiration is necessary. Nothing inspires people more than the opportunity to work toward something that they believe in. If the group believes in the vision, they will do what is necessary to achieve the goals set forth. An effective leader (king) inspires passion in the group he leads.
Typically, an organization has only a limited number of resources to reach its goals. The effective king-leader manages and delegates the management of these resources in an efficient manner. He is a capable manager of time, money, and people.
The three realms help to highlight the importance of love leadership. Industrial revolution type leadership with military hierarchy sees only the need for the management realm. More developed leadership sees the need for vision to direct and motivate the team. But only love leadership sees the need for a fully developed priest realm that realizes that a fully developed team is a win-win relationship between the team and team members. The priest develops the character of the team members and builds covenant relationships allowing the team members to interact with trust.
My own brief summary of the division between prophet, priest and king, is that the prophets wait on God to hear where He wants to lead the people (or business) – they have the vision, give the direction and the “go ahead”, while the priests serve the people’s needs (including motivating them and communicating God’s Word to them, keeping them healthy and on track physically, emotionally, socially, etc.) and pray for them and intercede for them and ensure they are doing things the way God intended and directed. The kings, on the other hand, raise the money, provide for the people, as well as for the priests and prophets; they fight (or lead the war) and devise the plan of how to make the direction or plan given by the prophet, happen. Therefore, the king provides strategy, leadership, goals, plans, finance, etc. all within the scope given by the prophets and under prayer covering, blessing and anointing from the priests, who also often liaise between the people and the king.
Another way of saying it, is that the prophet only cares about keeping God happy and not about the people, the kings or the priests – their only concern is communicating the vision or Word from God to the kings and priests as clearly, concisely and accurately as possible. The king, by contrast, cares about keeping the system (or family, or country, or church or business, etc.) functioning well so that it doesn’t fall apart and devises plans for conquering new territory, while the priest focuses on keeping the people (including the king) happy and living properly and in accordance with God’s ways.
Kings in the Marketplace
Following, we will look at God’s people specifically working as kings in the marketplace, taking dominion, walking as royalty, and establishing the Kingdom of God on the earth. At the same time, there are men and women of God who serve in the church as prophets and priests, reconciling people to God and equipping them to walk in God’s ways. Even though all of God’s children are kings and priests unto God, we each find our primary calling to either the marketplace or the Church. Great blessings come when we recognise these callings and allow people the freedom to serve where they are called by God.
In separating these roles we are not excluding anyone from their involvement in both the marketplace and the Church, but rather encouraging His people to excel in their primary calling.
Kings possess the personality, calling, gifting, and ministry to reach the hearts of our cities and all of society. Priests (and prophets), on the other hand, are gifted uniquely by God to function within the Church, attending to the duties of feeding, caring for and equipping God’s people. The two personality types, while compatible, are created by God for different functions; as such, each is most fruitful in his/her natural environment; Kings in the Kingdom; Priests in the Temple.
Pastors (under the category of Priests) tend to motivate their congregations to focus all of their ministry energies within the church. When Kings, who are competitive by nature, become committee leaders, deacons, board members, or elders, and start ‘helping’ the pastor with decisions about running the church, they lose their effectiveness (and often their welcome). Kings may have pastoral hearts and prophetic anointing, but their primary calling is not inside the church; it is out in the marketplace, expanding the Kingdom of God.
Now is the time for Kings to be released and activated to take the power and message of the Gospel out into the world.
In the Biblical times, as in present day, kings are the ones who get things done whenever God is moving, shaking, or expanding His Kingdom. It’s an honour to have a calling to the marketplace – that is where the action is. You, the reader, may sense such a calling on your life. God has placed some dreams in your heart and He is giving you the authority to implement them. You are being invited to talk to God and hear His voice so that you can follow His direction.
The Holy Spirit wants to release your heart for ministry into a realm that really does produce results – the workplace. Our lives will naturally bear the character, works, and fruit of Christ as we are rooted in a relationship with the Father, growing in the soil of sound doctrine and motivated by love to expand His Kingdom. The Lord is opening doors of creativity, productivity, prosperity, and ministry that make our vocations in the marketplace delightfully fulfilling.
Kings Get the Job Done
God always has used Kings as the movers and shakers in the Kingdom.
Priests (pastors, teachers, and other church leaders) play an important time in the Temple (Church), but it’s a role that has a maintenance implication. They keep families healthy by feeding them the Word. They counsel, encourage, heal, marry, and bury. They shepherd, feed and equip God’s people (which include the kings). Pastors naturally gravitate to a peaceful, healthy atmosphere and have a Godly motivation to keep their congregations (including the kings) happy and maturing spiritually.
In contrast, Kings go to war. They establish their authority. They move people into new territories – stretching people out of their comfort zones to expand the Kingdom of God on this earth. Historically, kings have been leaders who worked closely with priests and prophets. They were talented people with the resources to get things done. They also were well-versed in God’s Word and occasionally could operate in prophetic ministries themselves.
Kings are mentors and leaders who connect with people instead of just directing them. They never lose their childlike ability to dream as they pursue their heart’s desires. They have a prayer life that consists of ‘asking and receiving’. They love to mentor others and share the secrets of their successes. They have plans to impact generations by passing their financial and spiritual heritages on to others.
In the Old Testament, we see that Daniel spent his life in a governmental (kingly) role but used his prophetic gift to interpret dreams. Abraham was a wealthy land owner who raised livestock and became the most powerful man in his day. Moses was a national leader who spent much time in God’s presence, hearing His direction for the people. Joshua was a military leader who conquered new territory for the people of God by following God’s directions and relying on Him for favor and victory. They all had a calling as leaders and kings to possess the inheritance God gave His people.
Notice that the Kings did more than just provide for the Temple of God. This is important because some church leaders today want to release the kings, only because they think the king is to use all of his profit to provide for the priests and Temple. Of course, the kings will be blessed financially, and they should be generous in providing for God’s house and His people who are in need, but they are called to do more than that. Kings have the calling of God to extend the ruler-ship of Jesus Christ into all of the world. They expand the Kingdom to fill the earth with His glory.