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'Priests and Doors' Nathan Shaw

God gave me two words for 2024: Priests and doors. The book of Revelation establishes the identity of God’s people as a kingdom of priests (Revelation 1:6). Priests operate in priestly authority. Priestly authority brings about blessing, destiny and redemptive judgment over the nations. Throughout the book of Revelation the reader is confronted with the language of the tabernacle. The connection between priest and tabernacle is obvious: the tabernacle was the domain where priests operated. The earthly tabernacle, along with its furniture, was a copy of a much greater heavenly reality (Hebrews 8:5). Many of these heavenly items take front and center stage in the book of Revelation.

So where do doors come into the picture? The tabernacle—and later the temple—had three divisions. Each division was accessed through a curtain or door. As priests moved though these entrance-ways they accessed different places in the spirit realm. The duty of priests was to represent God to the people and the people to God. As they moved in and out of the various doors they bridged the gap between the earthly and heavenly realms. The tabernacle was placed strategically at the center of the Israelite community. This gave the Israelites a keen sense of the spirit realm activity behind the natural realm. The two realms were in fact intricately connected.

Revelation chapters 2 and 3 contain seven letters written to seven churches. The situation each church faced was unique, that’s why each letter gave instructions specific for that church. The way each church responded to their unique circumstances had an impact that affected the much larger cosmic battle happening in the spirit realm over the nations (Revelation 4-22). The book of Revelation helped them see this far greater spirit realm activity. Considering John was writing to “a kingdom of priests” it comes as no surprise that he saw “a door standing open in heaven” (Revelation 4:1). Immediately he found himself on the other side of the door and standing before the throne of God. The door standing open was not only for John, it was also for the seven churches. Through this door the churches had a priestly perspective, a priestly role and a priestly authority.

Revelation is full of movement within realms and between realms. One classic example of this movement is the priestly prayers of the saints. These prayers were moving and active on the earth. However, they also appeared in heaven as incense (Revelation 5:8). This incense was then offered on the golden altar that stood before the throne. The incense ascended before God (Revelation 8:4). It’s a powerful image: the prayers of the saints moving simultaneously on the earth and before the throne. But then a remarkable thing happened: Fire from the heavenly altar was thrown to the earth where it caused all sorts of God activity. In other words, the activity of the church on the earth, was causing activity before the throne, which in turn released redemptive judgments from heaven to earth.

When it comes to interpreting the book of Revelation there is often a tendency to over-focus on movement through time rather than movement within realms and between realms. This blurs the vision of God’s people concerning their priestly roles and functions. Priests are aware of the spirit realm activity behind what is happening in the natural realm. Further to this, priests are active participants in this spirit realm activity, they are not merely causal onlookers. When we understand who we are, we understand our function. When we understand our function, it changes our whole perception of reality. Suddenly we are no longer helpless victims in a large scale cosmic battle. Instead, we are strategic participants operating in priestly authority.

Priestly authority is often instrumental in releasing God’s judgments, but it’s important to remember that God’s judgments are redemptive. The four living creatures and the twenty four elders live in constant awe of God’s redemptive purposes among the nations: “And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because You were slain, and with Your blood You purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth’” (Revelation 5:9-10 NIV). Not only is priestly authority instrumental in releasing redemptive judgments, it can also halt judgments in their tracks. The priest Phinehas was used to halt a plague that was destroying Israel (Numbers 25:1-9). A true priest is a servant of God. As servants we don’t decide whether we release or halt something—God does.

One of the primary functions of priestly authority is to release blessing. It was the function of Israel’s priests to bless Israel (Numbers 6:22-27). Priestly blessings are not just kind words. They are words that carry the authority of Jesus the King and they awaken, strengthen and prosper individuals, cities and nations. It’s a profound truth: Priestly blessing establishes and affirms identity and destiny over individuals, cities and nations. It’s no wonder the enemy works over time to blind us to our role as a kingdom of priests. It’s time to be the kingdom of priests we are called to be. It’s time to be proactive and step through some doors.

Nathan Shaw



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