Prophet, Priest and King

By Francis Frangipane

The Anointing
We refer to our Lord as Jesus Christ, but His name, simply, was Jesus (or Yeshua in Hebrew).  The term Christ comes from the Greek translation of the Hebrew word for "Messiah," which meant "the Anointed One."  Thus, it would be perfectly accurate to call our Savior, "Jesus, the Anointed One."

But where does the phrase "Anointed One" come from and how does it apply to the Lord?  While anyone could anoint and refresh their head with oil (or anoint the dying for burial), only a special blend of spices and oils was used as "holy anointing oil," and then only in sacred ceremonies (see Ex 30:22-31).  It was copiously poured upon the consecrated individual, perhaps a liter or more flowing down upon his head, beard and garments (Ps. 133).  It was an obvious outpouring of oil, not merely a dab on the forehead as might accompany our use of anointing oil today.  It was done with solemn prayer and reverence, for it was through this ritual of anointing that Israel's prophets, priests and kings were identified and then dedicated to God.  

The act of anointing a chosen leader with oil was a ritual pregnant with the hope of divine fulfillment.  Indeed, it was a foreshadowing of the ultimate prophet, priest and king to be unveiled in the ministry of the Messiah.  His anointing would not be with oil, but with the reality the oil symbolized:  the "Holy Spirit and . . . power" (Acts 10:38; see Luke 4). 

The Priest and Prophet
Throughout the Old Testament, only prophets, priests and kings received the rite of holy anointing.  Likewise, for all the diversity we see in Jesus' ministry, everything He accomplished was rooted in the soil of His prophetic, priestly and kingly roles. 

Now, it is vital we understand the anointing upon God's Son, for in seeing Him we peer into the destiny of the church. For the ascendant ministry of Jesus, the Anointed One, continues, even as the Holy Spirit transfers the fullness of Christ, as He is in heaven, into His people on earth.  In other words, all that the Messiah was as prophet, priest and king is still alive and is still being released into our world through His true church.  "For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace" (Jn 1:16).  This means God desires that His church - the body of the Anointed One -  would manifest in the earth in three distinct, yet interconnected, ministries: that of Christ the prophet, priest and king. 

The priestly ministry of the Lord is one of intercession and redemptive sacrifice.  The Messiah, as our great "High Priest" (Heb 3:1), rendered Himself as our "guilt offering" (Isa 53:10); He is the "Lamb standing, as if slain" before the throne of God (Rev 5:6). Yet, because we are created in His image, we also carry His priestly role of intercession.  We become His living house, which is "a house of prayer."  He calls us to be a "kingdom [of] priests" and a "royal priesthood" (Rev 1:6; I Pet 2:9). 

As priests, we offer the sacrifice of His Son's death, both for our sins and also for the world around us.  The Messiah is our great High Priest living in heaven; the church reveals the intercessions of the Anointed One on earth.  It is the same anointing.  The ministry of the priest has been fulfilled by Jesus, and embraced and followed by us. 

Jesus was also God's prophet, and more: He was the Word of God made flesh (Jn 1:14).  The Messiah understood God's word, not merely in its skeletal form of doctrines, but as the union of the Father's living consciousness with Jesus" own thought-life.  Thus, the Messiah viewed life on earth as God would perceive it.  Jesus" prophetic perception x-rayed into the secrets of men's hearts. At the same time, He saw into, and understood, the deep mysteries of God's heart. 

His prophetic nature enabled Him to stand beyond the boundaries of time and pierce the enigma of ages past as well as herald the wonders of times still to come.  Yet, as His priestly ministry is extended to His church, so His prophetic ministry is imparted to us as well.  As it is written, He gave "some as prophets" who, though imperfect, also burn with the flaming sword of God's word (Eph. 4:11; Lk 11:49;1 Cor. 14; Rev 11).    

But Kings?
The church is learning, in varying degrees, how to serve Christ"s priestly and prophetic ministry.  Yet His "kingly" or governmental authority, outside of church proper, has not been accepted by many Christians.  The idea of being granted such authority - of seeking to serve God in positions of political influence - has been deferred either to the Millennium or it has been outright scorned as heretical, 'kingdom now' theology.  Yet, we have never suggested that "the world must be conquered by Christians before Jesus can return," which is "kingdom now" theology.  Nor are we trying to reduce the spiritual reality of the church to a political entity.  Our quest is not to see the church become political, but the political become spiritual, where the integrity, wisdom and justice of Christ Himself manifest in secular leadership. 

For those of us who say Christ's kingly anointing is reserved only for the age to come, let me remind you Christ is king right now and our call is to grow up 'in all aspects' unto Him who is  our head (Eph. 4:15).  Right now, Jesus is seated as king on God's throne; He has received 'all authority . . . in heaven and on earth" (Matt 28:18).  We are specifically told: "As He is, so also are we in this world" (1 John 4:17; see also Eph 1:18-23, Rev 17:14).  These are "present tense" promises, not only Millennial.  We must, therefore, measure the stature of the church by the dimensions of Christ: Is Jesus prophet, priest and king right now in heaven?  Absolutely!  Then it is God's will that He should be revealed as prophet, priest and king on earth through the church.  This is the very thing we ask each time we pray: "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven!" 

All that Christ is in heaven will, in varying measures, be manifested in the true church before Jesus returns.  Will there be a greater fulfillment in the age to come? Of course.  But, dear one, even as He has emerged in the church as priest and prophet, so there must also be some fulfillment of governmental authority in this present age as well. 

You see, what our Father desires to reveal through the church is not about us; it is about the manifest destiny of Jesus His Son.  Just as some of us are called to reveal Christ the intercessor and others are sent by God to manifest the life of Christ the prophet, so the unveiling of Christ's governmental authority shall come forth in chosen leaders at the end of the age.   

Our Goal: National Transformation

People argue, "If God is going to bring revival, He will do it through the church."  Of course He will, but who says that the church cannot raise up men and women of integrity, honor and wisdom and support them in their call to serve God in secular leadership?  Indeed, if Christians are in government, and we live in a nation where the priestly and prophetic role of the church is unfolding, we must recognize the potential for God to use imperfect people to reveal the threefold anointing of Christ.  Where we see Christian political leaders, even those who have made mistakes, let us come alongside them in intercessory prayer and the voice of the prophetic and take faith for God to use them still.

Imagine the heavenly potential that is possible when, instead of dividing because of differences, the church honors the intercessory, prophetic and kingly nature of Christ.  Imagine when these three streams of anointing converge and, in unity, serve God to bring justice, mercy and healing to their cultures! 

We think of revival as something where people flop or hop, cry or run or dance as they experience an ecstatic, emotional release - and all that is fine.  But personal revival is only the first step toward transforming a nation.  We need godly people to serve in elected office.  Indeed, there never was a revival in the Old Testament that did not come through the authority of the secular leader, the king!  

Thus, we must have long-term plans, especially in democracies where officials are elected.  We must recognize and cultivate the "kingly anointing," even when these future leaders are yet children.  Again, when I speak of the kingly anointing, I am speaking of the principle of godly rule.  Elected leaders must know how to govern with justice and pass laws with integrity.  A president or governor cannot think of themself as a king, but he or she must rule with the humility, character and wisdom of Christ (see Lk 22:25-26).

Each of us carries, in a certain measure, the Messiah's anointing as prophet, priest and king within us.  As we mature and deepen in our conformity to Christ, all three unveilings will be manifest through us in varying levels.  But for most, there is a primary call that identifies our main strength. The naturalness we find in intercessory prayer indicates God is using us in the priestly role. The ease in unearthing revelatory truths from the Scriptures and the sense of clarity in discernment are evidences that your call is prophetic.  The passion for justice, for divine order and righteous government indicates emerging in you is the anointing of Christ the king. 

Next week we will continue this theme. For now, let us identify those Christians who are currently serving in government or running for government, and let us pray for the unveiling of Christ in their lives.  They do not need to be perfect, only yielded.  They will make mistakes, but will make fewer errors as the other aspects of the Messiah's anointing come alongside in both prayer and prophetic guidance.

Would you recognize true Christianity? It is identified by one reality: people becoming Christlike in prayer, the prophetic word and in governmental authority (see Eph. 4:15).  Where the true church is growing in maturity, it will be united in the priestly, prophetic and kingly anointing of Christ.

Lord, we pray for all who are in public offices, especially those who call upon Your name. Lord, help us to see the union of the prophetic, priestly and kingly anointings as key to transforming our nations. Rule, O Lord, in the midst of Your enemies. In Jesus' name! Amen.

Overcoming Discouragement

By Francis Frangipane

The Jews had been defeated by Nebuchadnezzar and, because of their long and extended rebellion to God, the Lord allowed them to be exiled to Babylon.  Yet, now their appointed time of judgment had passed; it was time for the Lord's promise to be fulfilled.  Indeed, He had assured them, "After seventy years...I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place" (Jer. 29:10 KJV). 

Initiated by the fasting and prayer of the prophet Daniel, Israel had entered a season of divine visitation: men with both integrity and vision were raised up and financial provisions came.  The display of divine grace had created an atmosphere of awe and excitement among the people of God - He was "causing [them] to return" to Israel!  Yet, how He brought them back was just as miraculous: Israel's God revealed Himself to King Cyrus of Persia, a gentile king, and actually "Appointed [him] to build [the Lord] a house in Jerusalem" (2 Chron. 36:23).  In fact, Cyrus encouraged a national offering for Israel's journey; he restored the treasures taken by Nebuchadnezzar from Israel, and he issued a royal edict, legally authorizing the return of the Jews to Israel. 

It was a time of great miracles, supernatural provision and fulfilled prophecy. Yet even as the exiles resettled in Jerusalem and engaged in the work of restoration, we read:

"Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah, and frightened them from building, and hired counselors against them to frustrate their counsel all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia" (Ezra 4:4-5).

Incredibly, in spite of the miracles, signs and provisions, simple discouragement neutralized their progress. Unbelievably, scholars say that their work stalled for nearly 20 years! Beloved, discouragement is an enemy that is both subtle in its attack and powerful in its ability to stop us.  We must discern it when it comes and refuse to accommodate its influence when it speaks. 

How Discouragement Enters
Every person with a vision from God will have serious opportunities to become discouraged as they reach for the fulfillment of their vision.  Indeed, just as Israel was given a promise from God and provisions to help their return, so the Almighty has given promises and provisions to us. Your vision may be for your personal transformation, or it may be a God-inspired desire to see your family or church brought into spiritual renewal.  You may even possess a citywide vision or a holy passion to see your nation turned toward God.  Yet, like the Jews, we can be just as vulnerable to discouragement and its effects. 

How does discouragement gain access to our souls?  The answer is simple: We start evaluating our lives based upon information compiled by our senses instead of assessing our position based upon the promise and help of God.  However, I don't mean we are unaware of the difficulties of our faith assignment, but that God is good and He is not hindered by our present limitations.

Consider: when God promised Abraham a child in his old age, the Bible says he "contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb."  Abraham didn't deny the facts of life; without growing weak in faith, he "contemplated" his situation.  "Yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God."  He was "fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform" (see Rom. 4:19-21).  Discouragement comes when we only look at our circumstances without looking to the faithfulness and integrity of what God has promised.

Still, discouragement has infiltrated the minds of many.  Knowing mankind's vulnerability to discouragement, Jesus taught His disciples a parable that, "at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart" (Lk 18:1).  The parable concerned a widow desperately seeking legal protection from an adversary, but she received no immediate help from her judge (see Lk 18).  In spite of his resistance, however, she refuses to be discouraged from her quest; she persists until she gains her breakthrough. 

The goal of Christ's teaching was to immunize His followers from discouragement; to "lose heart" is to become discouraged.  Jesus assures us that God will hear us as we turn to Him in persistent prayer.  

True Faith Takes Courage
We also need to know Christ is not just our Savior, but He also is the "author and perfecter" of our faith (Heb 12:2).  In order for faith to mature, it needs situations where faith alone can sustain us. "Faith" is not merely a proper understanding of doctrinal issues; faith is the spiritual "substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen" (Heb 11:1 KJV).  We must not only possess accurate doctrines about faith; we must live by faith as well. 

Indeed, there are times when, for faith to develop, we must trust God in spite of how things appear.  Jesus often told people to take courage, for their faith had saved them (see Mt 9:2; 9:22; etc.).  There will always be times when, against the glaring face of a negative reality, true faith arises, appropriates courage and locks into the integrity of God's promise.  We must let faith arise in the context of resistence.  This is the faith that touches God's heart.  

The enemy comes to dis-courage or remove the courage from our hearts, and thus causes us to withdraw into unbelief.  To win our fight of faith, we must not surrender to discouragement.  Yes, times will come when we will ask God for greater wisdom; certainly, we will adjust our attitudes and become both flexible and wiser as we process the faith assignment destiny has set before us.  But we must not give up: "For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. But My righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him" (Heb 10:37-38).

Hall of Faith
The above scripture is part of an introduction to Hebrews, chapter 11, which chronicles the heroic stories of those who pleased God with their faith.  All of them had to endure the test of time; often the delays seemed so permanent and the odds against them insurmountable, yet none of these men and women allowed discouragement to dim the brightness of their faith. The persevering quality of their hearts - the fact that they stood in the storms of doubt and circumstances and refused to shrink away from God's promise - filled God's heart with pleasure, and He answered their faith.  

Part of the testimony of those with overcoming faith is that they Aconquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight" (Heb 11:33-34).

I absolutely love this scripture: "they conquered kingdoms...put foreign armies to flight." Beloved, a foreign army with weapons named "perversion," "immorality" and "corruption" has invaded our nation and sought to occupy our culture.  It has eroded the conscience of our society, and it seeks to carry off our sons and daughters into captivity.  We must fight. 

You say, "But Francis, I'm weary."

Yes, there are times when we all get weary.  But we have the help of God with us.  Consider His promise:

Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations...He will not be disheartened or crushed..." (Isaiah 42:1-4).

Christ will be not "disheartened or crushed."  Why?  The Spirit of God "upholds" Him, and the Spirit of God upholds Christ in us as well.  Are you God's servant?  Then turn to Him and find new strength.  You may be wounded or struck, but as we abide in Christ, we too will be neither "disheartened or crushed."

You say, "I live in Florida (or the Southeastern USA or the Caribbean).  I've been discouraged by the destruction from these many storms."  Yet, even in the most difficult times, God is there with you.  Have you noticed the names and sequence of the hurricanes that roared through Florida:  Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne?  The meaning of these names reveals a message: Charley- man, Frances - free, Ivan- God is good, Jeanne - gracious and merciful.  Together, they say, "Man (is) free; God is good, gracious and merciful."  If we look, we will see that, in the midst of these storms, God was good, gracious and merciful to many.  Those who see God standing with them in the storms are free indeed.

A number from the USA were discouraged by the first debate between the presidential candidates. I heard folks lamenting that their candidate "did poorly. He could hardly speak in sentences."  Remember, dear friend, the Lord has used people who were slow of speech in the past (see Ex 3).  The issue is not how clever we are with words, but whether God will back up our stammering with His power. Let us pray for our President, and where he has made mistakes, whether in speech or even in administration of the nation, let us intercede that God will work good out even from mistakes.    

Dear one, there is a spiritual war raging, whether it is over the future of our world or the future of our souls, we cannot shrink back into unbelief.  Let us be strong and of good courage.  Let us seek God and find new strength in prayer. And let us never give in to the voice of discouragement.
____________________

SPECIAL THANKS
Thank you to Marge Schinke and Colleen Dinino for their insights in this message.