Heavenly Priesthood of Christ Doesn’t Allow for an Earthly Kingdom

Scriptures from the book of Hebrews (ESV):

6:19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 6:20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

8:1 Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 8:2 a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man. 8:3 For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. 8:4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 8:5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things.

9:23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 9:24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.

10:1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.

9:11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 9:12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.

We see from the above passages that, the earthly Levitical priesthood foreshadowed the heavenly Priesthood of Christ. The sacrifices of the OT priests foreshadowed the one sacrifice of Christ on the cross. The earthly service of the Levitical high priests in the presence of God, was a picture of Christ’s priestly service in the presence of God in Heaven. The earthly was a type of the heavenly. Thus the Priesthood of Christ is performed in Heaven, not on earth. Therefore, the idea of Christ leaving His throne in Heaven to continue His service as High Priest in an earthly kingdom, is contrary to what these passages reveal to us.

That the Levitical priesthood foreshadowed Christ’s Priesthood in Heaven, is important to understand, because according to premillennialism, the animal sacrifices of the “millennial kingdom” serve as a memorial, which makes it an aftershadowing. Nowhere in the Bible do we see the animal sacrifices looking back, but always forward as a type of Christ and His work of redemption. Nowhere do we see this foreshadowing reversing direction. The only memorial that we have of Christ’s sacrifice mentioned in the Bible, is in the here and now in the partaking of the Lord’s Supper.

Furthermore, the below verses plainly state that Jesus will remain “at the right hand of God….until His enemies should be made a footstool for His feet.”

10:12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 10:13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.

A parallel passage is 1 Cor 15:24-26 (also 50-54):

24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

Jesus will remain upon His throne in Heaven, reigning over His Kingdom (which is now), until it’s time to return in judgment of the world, defeating all His enemies, which includes “death.” He will leave His throne in Heaven only when the last person has entered the Kingdom of God (the Church complete), has resurrected His people, and it’s time to return to earth in judgment — which results in the death and resurrection of the lost and the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20:11-15).

How then can Jesus leave His throne in Heaven and come to this earth to reign over an earthly kingdom when there will still be death in that kingdom? Both physical and spiritual, I might add. Such an idea is completely contrary to what the writer of Hebrews teaches about the Priesthood of Christ. The Priesthood of Christ makes NO allowance for an earthly, 1000 kingdom. Such a kingdom is based on an OT understanding. This is a perfect example of why it’s necessary to interpret the OT according to the revelation of the NT. Otherwise, what you end up with, is a kingdom that doesn’t exist.

This is all confirmed by the verses below:  

9:27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,  9:28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

When Jesus returns, it will not be to “deal with sin” as it was during His first coming at the cross. It will be to judge the world and to lead His people into the everlasting kingdom of the new heaven and new earth — which of course, is a continuation of Heaven (Rev 21:1-5). By the time Jesus returns, God’s plan of salvation for mankind will be finished, and His Church complete. Then and only then will Jesus leave His throne in Glory as High Priest. But to be clear, His priestly service for His redeemed continues throughout eternity, which ensures our eternal salvation (He 5:6; 6:20; 7:17,21,24).

Conclusion: We may not have a perfect understanding of the Priesthood of Christ, but what seems unmistakably clear, is that the Priesthood of Christ on our behalf takes place in the presence of God in HEAVEN only. In fact, it plainly says that. Nowhere does the book of Hebrews or any other NT book indicate that His priestly service takes place anywhere else but in HEAVEN. Therefore, we can be confident that the Heavenly Priesthood of Christ does not allow for an earthly millennial kingdom. If there was such a kingdom, it would require Jesus to leave His priestly service in Heaven before all people are saved (that will be saved), before His Church is complete, and before the appointed time to return in judgment upon the world.