King and Priest upon His Throne.

It is a matter for solemn and sober reflection that the world of which men are so proud is torn and riven by the terrifying and revolting happenings of a devastating and catastrophic war. Munitions of war, the product of man's genius, skill, and ingenuity, have rained death and destruction in merciless and pitiless fury upon defenceless men, women and children. According to the reckoning of men, the world has not yet reached the glorious climax of its achievements, it has not yet attained the apex of its culture and civilization. It is an age-long proverb that "Hope springs eternal in the human breast," and so men, their hearts filled with fear and perplexity, hope against hope that out of the welter, ruin, and convulsions of war, some commanding personality will arise to lead them through the glorious portals of some earthly Utopia; like the fabulous bird, Phoenix, which arose from its own ashes to begin life afresh.

With a distinct sense of relief the child of God turns from all this fantasy of futile imaginings to the Word of God, which speaks with the infallibility of the Spirit of God, declaring with divine certitude and authority that His counsel will stand, and that He will do all His pleasure. As its pellucid light shines upon the momentous present events, we gather from its sacred pages that there never was a greater period in the history of this poor world than the day in which we live. The portents around us are of the gravest character: man's world is about to pass away, and the day of the LORD will then be ushered in. Man's day is the long period in which man has been allowed to exercise his own will without the public intervention of heaven. The day of the LORD is the coming kingdom of the Lord Jesus, which will he abruptly introduced by desolating judgments. He will smash to pieces the whole fabric of man's godless civilization, and upon the ruins thereof He will establish an order of things that will perfectly suit the eye and heart of God. The supremacy of God will be displayed in the securing for His glory and pleasure all that He has purposed for the blessing of this poor world. As Job exclaims, "I know that Thou canst do everything, and that Thou canst be hindered in no thought of Thine" (Job 42:2 N.Tr.).

At the dawn of this world's history the supremacy of God is set forth in grand and majestic language, "In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth." This word Elohim speaks of God as Supreme — it is Deity, God in the absolute! Creation speaks with eloquent voice of the supremacy of its Creator; "For from the world's creation the invisible things of Him are perceived, being apprehended by the mind through the things that are made, both His eternal power and divinity" (Rom. 1:20 N.Tr.). But while creation thus speaks of its wonderful Creator, its distinctive glory lies in this, that it is the arena in which will be displayed the regal glories of that Blessed One Who shall sit as Priest upon His throne — God's King set upon Zion, the hill of His holiness; when, in the language of Psalm 2 He shall ask, and shall be given, the nations for an inheritance, and the ends of the earth for a possession.

But the setting up of this kingdom, which is an everlasting kingdom, is conditional upon the subjugation of all His enemies, when He shall break them with a sceptre of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. He shall smite through kings in the day of His anger, and smite through the head over a great country (Ps. 110:5-6). Then, in the wake of the retreating storm of devouring judgment, will the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings; to heal the deep wounds of earth, and to hush the groans and sighs of a travailing creation. Loud acclamations of praise and unrestrained joy will then fill the redeemed creation, manifesting that the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever (see Isaiah 32:17-18). It need hardly be remarked, beloved, that these things, relatively important in themselves, relate exclusively to earth.

What of the present? What are the resources of God for His people who are heavenly in origin and destiny? What provision has He made for those who shall reign over the earth with their Glorious Lord in the time of display but who for the present have part in the time of His patience? Let us turn to Psalm 110, where we find that all God's resources for us are invested in the Son of God, a Priest forever after the order of Melchizedec. This blessed portion of the Word of God gives us the official inauguration of Messiah, the Son of God, as Priest after the Melchizedec order. Now while the preceding and following verses are future, verse 4 indicates what is present and perpetual; "Thou art a Priest forever, after the order of Melchizedec." The references to verse 1 in the New Testament show His present session at God's right hand is consequent upon His rejection by the heads of the nation; but the earth rejected One is the heaven accepted One, exalted to the Throne of God, which is seen in Revelation as the Throne of God and of the Lamb; and there He sits until His enemies are made His footstool.

From that place of supreme power upon God's throne He administers power, for that is one of His functions as Priest: He also ministers blessing to His people. In Genesis 14 Melchizedec blesses Abraham of the Most High God, and also blesses God who had delivered his enemies into his hands. Psalm 110:7 also bears upon this Priesthood, "He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall He lift up the head." He came into this world in lowliness and dependence, the Man of Sorrows, the Man of Gethsemane and Calvary, in all His dependence upon God drinking of the brook, even as Elijah did. In the days of His flesh He offered up both supplications and entreaties to Him who was able to save Him out of death, and He was heard because of His piety; and though He were Son, yet learned He obedience from the things that He suffered. Thus is He able to sympathise with and succour those who tread the desert path, for He not only exercises the functions of the Melchizedec Priesthood, but also those typified in the Aaronic, though the order of His Priesthood is that of Melchizedec. How eminently suited is this Priest for such a people! At one moment in our experience we tread the wilderness pathway, at the next we enter the heavenly Sanctuary with hands filled in worship to God the Father. We need both a Wilderness Priest and a Sanctuary Priest, and both are combined in Him, in the Son, perfected for evermore. This is the Priest who becomes us in our mixed condition.

May I suggest, in a simple way, what the chief functions of the Aaronic Priesthood are. Firstly, atonement; secondly, intercession, with all its resultant succour and sympathy for a weak people. All is to be found in this blessed One who exercises all these priestly functions for us in a heavenly way. In Leviticus 9:22-24 we have presented to us in type this Melchizedec blessing, heavenly as well as earthly. After the sacrifices for sin for Aaron and for the people had been slain, the blood put upon the Altar, and the bodies burnt outside the camp, then the Burnt Offerings and Thank Offerings are slain, and their parts with the Meal Offering are laid in order on the Altar. At this point Aaron, before going into the Tabernacle with the blood, lifts up His hands and blesses the people. This is before the acceptance of the sacrifices is manifested openly but based upon it. Afterwards, Moses and Aaron both go into the Tent of Meeting, and coming out, the sacrifices having been accepted, both lift up their hands in blessing, then the glory of the LORD appears to all the people, and fire went out before Him and consumed the burnt Offerings and the fat, which were upon the Altar. All then saw their acceptance in the acceptance of the sacrifices.

The blessing of Aaron sets forth in figure that which our Melchizedec pronounces upon His people now, before the public manifestation of His accepted sacrifice. This blessing is to be known today. The Lord being raised from the dead, and Himself knowing the acceptance of His sacrifice, lifts up His hands in blessing (see Luke 24:50-53): He enters heaven in this very act. From thence He sends down the Holy Spirit, that we might know the acceptance of this great Sacrifice and enter into all the wealth of priestly blessing. On the other hand, the blessing of Moses (King in Jeshurun) and Aaron, when coming out from the Tabernacle sets forth that blessed One who shall sit as King and Priest upon His Throne, His people willing in the day of His power receiving blessing untold from His priestly hand.

In closing, let me quote the words of another: — "Blessed Son of God, invested with a double Kingly glory, combined with all the holy halo that surrounds the Priest — what glories radiate from Thy Person there in heaven! All the attributes of God are seen to blend in Thee and constitute Thy glory. Thyself on high in peace upon the basis of Thy work in righteousness, Thou stoopest to the lowly! Thou supportest those who tread the desert path, relieving them of their burdens! Thou empowerest them to overcome their foes t Thou meetest the weary world conquerors with the bread of peace, the wine of joy! Thou blessest them with heavenly blessings from God! Thou leadest them into the Holy Places! Thou presentest the resultant praise to that same God, an acceptable gift from such hands in all the savour of Thine own glorious Person and work!"
A .Shepherd.