Revelation 1:6a: The General Office of the Believer

Verse 6:[1] And hath (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 5:10; 20:6) made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; (1 Tim. 6:16; Heb. 13:21; 1 Pet. 4:11; 5:11) to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

[And, etc., καὶ ἐποίησεν ἡμᾶς βασιλεῖς, etc.] Here again the expression is like ἐσήμανεν, He signified, above,[2] for the copula with the Verb is in the place of a Participle: for the correct expression would have been ποιήσαντι[3] (Grotius). Others: It is an Ellipsis of the relative, καὶ ἐποίησεν, and He hath made, in the place of, ὃς καὶ ἐποίησεν, who also hath made (Pareus, Cotterius, thus Beza). Now, ὁ ποιήσας, the one who made, and ὃς ἐποίησε, who made, mean the same thing. Hence, ὁ ἀγαπήσας, the One who loved, and ὃς ἐποίησε, who made, cohere well (Cotterius). [Thus they translate it:] And who hath made us (namely, by renewal through the Holy Spirit [Piscator]) kings (that is, spiritual and heavely kings [Piscator, Zegers]: Christians are Kings, partly on account of victories over the Flesh, the World [Grotius, similarly Cotterius, Cluverus, Durham], Sin [Cotterius, Brightman], the Devil [Grotius, Piscator] and his servants [Piscator], Death [Brightman]; partly because by the Spirit they reign with God through their heavenly manner of life; partly by title and right, Psalm 149:9, because they will in the future be judges of the world, 1 Corinthians 6:2, and will reign with Christ [Durham]: or, a kingdom [Vulgate], because God rules in us [Pererius]: Two codices have βασιλείαν, a kingdom[4] [Pareus]: But βασιλεία/kingdom [is put] in the place of βασιλεῖς/kings, just as ἱεράτευμα/priesthood is put in the place of ἱερεῖς/priests, in 1 Peter 2:5, 9: Thus also Revelation 5:10[5] [Grotius]: But all other Codices, even that of Montanus, read βασιλεῖς/kings [Pareus]) and priests (spiritual priests [Piscator], because to God they offer themselves [Ribera, thus Piscator, Durham, Cotterius, Cluverus], an undefiled body [Grotius, Durham], Romans 12:1 [Durham]; and spiritual sacrifices [Cluverus], holy Prayers [Grotius, Cluverus, Durham], Praises, the Calves of the Lips [Durham, Cluverus], Hosea 14:2; Hebrews 13:15, oblations of righteousness, and a contrite heart, Psalm 51:14, 16, 17, alms, Philippians 4:18 [Cluverus], works of Piety and Mercy: More rightly, therefore, shall we make use of that saying of the Stoics, The wise man alone is priest; concerning which see Hierocles on that saying of the Golden Verse,[6] Ἀθανάτους μὲν πρῶτα—, the immortals, indeed the chiefs, etc.: Such a man, says Antonius’[7] Meditations 3, is ἱερεύς τις καὶ ὑπουργὸς Θεῶν, etc., a priest and servant of the gods, etc.: Similarly Justin in his Dialogue with Trypho [the words of which see in Grotius]: Also the Chaldean Paraphrast calls him a Priest [Grotius]: This phrase is taken out of Exodus 19:6 [Hammond], where in Hebrew it is, a Kingdom of Priests, or Priestly[8] [Hammond, thus Drusius], in the Septuagint, a Royal priesthood, as in 1 Peter 2:9[9] [Hammond] [on which place see what things are said]: Now, the Chaldean translators have Kings and Priests [Drusius, Hammond]: It signifies that they were a people distinctly separated from others and, as it were, consecrated to the worship of God, etc. [Hammond]) to God (with circumspection he added this, lest we should think that this honor was given to us to disturb civil or ecclesiastical polity [Brightman]; that is to say, We are not Kings with respect to creatures and impious men being made subject to us [Cotterius]; but to God, that is, for honor and obedience to God, not so that we might indulge the flesh, etc. [Cluverus, similarly Ribera]) and His Father (Beza, Piscator), that is, to God who is the Father of Christ (Menochius, thus Piscator). Here the καὶ/and is ἐξηγητικὸν/ exegetical (Grotius, thus Piscator), as in 1 Corinthians 15:24[10] (Piscator); 2 Corinthians 1:3;[11] 11:31;[12] Colossians 1:3;[13] 2:2;[14] 3:17;[15] etc. Concerning the matter itself we spoke on 1 Peter 2:5, 9 (Grotius). The sense of the passage: He who carried us from the uttermost ruin unto the highest honors, even as He Himself is equally King and Priest, so He exalted His body unto the joint possession of the same honor (Cluverus).

And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father: kings, to rule over our own appetite, and govern ourselves by the law of his word, to fight and conquer the world, the flesh, and the devil. Kings in a spiritual sense, for our kingdom is like his from whom we derive it, not of this world; therefore he adds, unto God, to the honour and glory of God, for his service, who is the Father of Christ. Priests, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through the Beloved, 1 Peter 2:5; our bodies as a living sacrifice, Romans 12:1; part of our estates, Philippians 4:18; the sacrifice of praise, the fruit of our lips, Hebrews 13:15. So as all the privileges of the Jews, Exodus 19:6, belong to us, and that in a more eminent manner. Through Christ we also are a royal priesthood, a peculiar people.

[1] Greek: καὶ ἐποίησεν ἡμᾶς βασιλεῖς καὶ ἱερεῖς τῷ Θεῷ καὶ πατρὶ αὐτοῦ· αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα καὶ τὸ κράτος εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. ἀμήν.

[2] Revelation 1:1:  “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified (καὶ ἐσήμανεν ἀποστείλας) it by his angel unto his servant John…”

[3] Ποιήσαντι is a Dative participle.  Revelation 1:5b, 6a:  “Unto the One who loved (τῷ ἀγαπήσαντι, Dative participle) us, and washed (καὶ λούσαντι, Dative participle) us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made (καὶ ἐποίησεν, finite verb in the place of the expected Dative participle) us kings and priests unto God and his Father…”

[4] It is difficult to determine what two codices might be in view.  This reading is found in Codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, and Ephræmi Rescriptus, and in a great many Byzantine manuscripts.

[5] Revelation 5:10:  “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests (βασιλεῖς καὶ ἱερεῖς, the reading in the Textus Receptus and the great majority of Byzantine manuscripts; βασιλείαν καὶ ἱερεῖς, a kingdom and priests, in Codex Alexandrinus):  and we shall reign on the earth.”

[6] Hierocles (fifth century AD) was a Platonic philosopher of Alexandria.  He wrote Commentarius in Aurea Pythagoreorum Carmina (Commentaries on the Golden Verses of Pythagoras).

[7] Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (121-180) was Emperor of Rome from 161 to 180.  He was also an important Stoic philosopher.

[8] Hebrew: מַמְלֶ֥כֶת כֹּהֲנִ֖ים.

[9] Greek: βασίλειον ἱεράτευμα.

[10] 1 Corinthians 15:24a:  “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God and Father (τῷ Θεῷ καὶ πατρί)…”

[11] 2 Corinthians 1:3:  “Blessed be God, even the Father (ὁ Θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ) of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father (ὁ πατὴρ) of mercies, and the God (καὶ Θεὸς) of all comfort…”

[12] 2 Corinthians 11:31:  “The God and Father (ὁ Θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ) of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.”

[13] Colossians 1:3a:  “We give thanks to the God and Father (τῷ Θεῷ καὶ πατρὶ) of our Lord Jesus Christ…”

[14] Colossians 2:2b:  “…to the acknowledgement of the mystery of the God and Father (τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ πατρὸς), and of Christ…”

[15] Colossians 3:17b:  “…giving thanks to the God and Father (τῷ Θεῷ καὶ πατρὶ) by him.”

4 thoughts on “Revelation 1:6a: The General Office of the Believer

  1. Fisher’s Catechism: ‘34.26: What is the great dignity or honour to which [the sons of God] are advanced? To the dignity of being “kings and priests unto God,” Revelation 1:6, or “a royal priesthood,” 1 Peter 2:9; to feast on Christ their passover sacrificed for them, 1 Corinthians 5:7.’

  2. William Tong (for Matthew Henry): ‘He is the great friend of his church and people, one who has done great things for them, and this out of pure disinterested affection. He has loved them, and, in pursuance of that everlasting love, he has, First, Washed them from their sins in his own blood. Sins leave a stain upon the soul, a stain of guilt and of pollution. Nothing can fetch out this stain but the blood of Christ; and, rather than it should not be washed out, Christ was willing to shed his own blood, to purchase pardon and purity for them. Secondly, He has made them kings and priests to God and his Father. Having justified and sanctified them, he makes them kings to his Father; that is, in his Father’s account, with his approbation, and for his glory. As kings, they govern their own spirits, conquer Satan, have power and prevalency with God in prayer, and shall judge the world. He hath made them priests, given them access to God, enabled them to enter into the holiest and to offer spiritual and acceptable sacrifices, and has given them an unction suitable to this character; and for these high honours and favours they are bound to ascribe to him dominion and glory for ever.’

  3. Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening”: ‘”Him hath God exalted.”—Acts 5:31

    Jesus, our Lord, once crucified, dead and buried, now sits upon the throne of glory. The highest place that heaven affords is his by undisputed right. It is sweet to remember that the exaltation of Christ in heaven is a representative exaltation. He is exalted at the Father’s right hand, and though as Jehovah he had eminent glories, in which finite creatures cannot share, yet as the Mediator, the honours which Jesus wears in heaven are the heritage of all the saints. It is delightful to reflect how close is Christ’s union with his people. We are actually one with him; we are members of his body; and his exaltation is our exaltation. He will give us to sit upon his throne, even as he has overcome, and is set down with his Father on his throne; he has a crown, and he gives us crowns too; he has a throne, but he is not content with having a throne to himself, on his right hand there must be his queen, arrayed in “gold of Ophir” [Psalm 45:9]. He cannot be glorified without his bride. Look up, believer, to Jesus now; let the eye of your faith behold him with many crowns upon his head; and remember that you will one day be like him, when you shall see him as he is [1 John 3:2]; you shall not be so great as he is, you shall not be so divine, but still you shall, in a measure, share the same honours, and enjoy the same happiness and the same dignity which he possesses. Be content to live unknown for a little while, and to walk your weary way through the fields of poverty, or up the hills of affliction; for by-and-by you shall reign with Christ, for he has “made us kings and priests unto God, and we shall reign for ever and ever” [Revelation 1:6; 5:10; 22:5]. Oh!, wonderful thought for the children of God! We have Christ for our glorious representative in heaven’s courts now, and soon he will come and receive us to himself, to be with him there, to behold his glory, and to share his joy [1 Pet 4:13; Jude 24].’

  4. Heidelburg Catechism 32: ‘But why art thou called a Christian? Because I am a member of Christ by faith, and thus am partaker of his anointing, that so I may confess his name, and present myself a living sacrifice of thankfulness to him: and also, that with a free and good conscience I may fight against sin and Satan in this life, and afterwards reign with him eternally, over all creatures.

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