THE PRIESTHOOD AND THE KINGSHIP
There is something more in Ezra 3:2. The names of two people are mentioned: Joshua and Zerubbabel. From the books of Haggai and Zechariah, we know that Joshua was the high priest at that time. According to Haggai, Zerubbabel was the governor of Judah, and if we trace his genealogy, we see that he was the descendant of David. So he was in the line of the kingship. Therefore, there are these two people: Joshua, representing the priesthood, and Zerubbabel, representing the kingship. In the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, and Zechariah, these two things are always represented. This is because these books are connected with the recovery of the building of the house and the city of God.
The building up of the house of God always requires the priesthood and the kingship. For the building of the tabernacle, Moses represented the kingship and the authority, and Aaron represented the priesthood. For the building up of the temple, Solomon represented the kingship, and the high priest represented the priesthood. And for the recovery of the building, the priesthood and the kingship are still necessary. In the original building, there was first the kingship and then the priesthood. But with the recovery, there is first the priesthood and then the kingship. The kingship is the divine authority, and the priesthood is simply to contact God, to be saturated with God, and to be occupied and possessed by God.
For the recovery of the building of the local churches, it is not only a matter of giving up the denominations in order to come back to the local ground, but also a matter of the priesthood and the kingship. Praise the Lord that many have come back! But in the past years, I have noticed that in many places, although the people came back, they were still short of the priesthood and the kingship. They did not have Joshua and they did not have Zerubbabel. They left the denominations and came back with the intention to recover the church life, but they failed because they did not have the priesthood and the kingship. They thought that when they came back they could use a certain way to practice the church life, but it did not work. The church life is not a matter of a certain way; it is a matter of the priesthood and the kingship.
Are we in the priesthood, and are we under the kingship? We need the priesthood in order to have a real contact with God, that our whole being may be saturated with God. It is not a matter of having a certain way to conduct our meetings— this will never work. It is a matter of the priesthood. Are we in the priesthood? Do we know something of the priesthood by experience? Are we helping others to experience the priesthood? It is not a matter of this or that; it is a matter of the priesthood. We all must contact the Lord, be filled and saturated with the Lord, and be occupied with Him day by day. We must have the priesthood in this way. All the dear ones in the Lord’s recovery must be helped to realize the proper priesthood. We all must contact the Lord. To shout for joy in the meetings is good, but what about your contact with the Lord in your private life? How much do you contact the Lord, and how much are you being saturated with the Lord in your daily life? This is the priesthood. In the Lord’s recovery we must have the priesthood; we must have Joshua.
We also need the kingship, the divine authority. People always ask if we have someone ruling the church. I always reply that it is rather hard to say. If you say that we do, I say that we do not. If you say that we do not, I say that we do. Who rules the meetings of the church in Los Angeles? If you say that no one rules, I will not agree. But if you say that someone does rule, I also will not agree. It is all a matter of learning how to submit to divine authority. There is a kind of divine kingship among us, and we are all under that kingship. We do not need an election for a leader. We need to be under divine authority.
In some places the saints have told me that it is really difficult to decide who will be the leaders. Sometimes I have spoken to the people in this way: whoever wants to be a leader is not qualified to be a leader. If someone is ambitious to be a leader among the saints in the Lord’s recovery, that is a shame. A leader is simply a leader. If you are a leader, everybody knows that you are a leader. You are what you are. If we know divine authority and realize the kingship among us, we all will know our place. We will know who we are, what we are, and where we are. We will know because we are under the kingship and authority which is the headship of the Lord Jesus.
(The Recovery of God's House and God's City, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)