Priesthood in the Book of Revelation -- By: Paul M. Hoskins

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 22:2 (Summer 2018)
Article: Priesthood in the Book of Revelation
Author: Paul M. Hoskins


Priesthood in the Book of Revelation

Paul M. Hoskins

Paul M. Hoskins is Associate Professor of New Testament at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas. He earned his PhD at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in New Testament. Dr. Hoskins most recent book is The Book of Revelation: A Theological and Exegetical Commentary (2017). His prior works include That Scripture Might Be Fulfilled: Typology and the Death of Christ (2009). Some of his major teaching and research areas are the Gospel of John, Revelation, New Testament theology, and the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament.

A careful reader of Revelation will see some connections between temple and priesthood. Both words occur several times in the book. As with so many other themes, the extent of Revelation’s connections to temple and priesthood increases significantly for the interpreter who is attentive to John’s many allusions to the Old Testament (OT). In Revelation, temple and priesthood both have to do with typology and the fulfillment of OT types. It is impossible in a brief essay to deal adequately with both temple and priesthood, although they are intertwined. Therefore, I will concentrate my attention on the priestly elements of Revelation, while touching on relevant aspects of the book’s temple theme. Given the book’s many priestly elements, it is prudent to focus attention even further to include those elements that have to do with the people of God as his priests or priestly servants. The people of God’s role as priests has aspects that relate to both realized (the already) and consummated (the not yet) eschatology. It seems best to begin by examining John’s three uses of the term priests. Then, I will look at John’s presentation of the priesthood of the people of God in the future, after the return of Jesus. This is the logical way to proceed because the future aspects of their priesthood are more developed and will shed light upon their priestly

service in the present time. The third section of the paper will synthesize what Revelation suggests about the priestly service of the people of God in the present time. In the fourth section, I will look briefly at other priestly figures in the book, like angels and Jesus himself, and suggest a few connections between the priestly roles of these figures and the priestly roles of the people of God. As this essay will show, Revelation portrays the people of God as his priests, who begin serving him now and who will have the privilege of serving him forever in the New Jerusalem.1

“Priests” in Revelation

The term “...

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