Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 27, 1969
NUMBER 30, PAGE 3,8-10

Could Christ Be A Priest On Earth?

Luther G. Roberts

"Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, seeing there are those who offer gifts according to the law" (Heb. 8:4). (Emphasis mine. LGR). Who said that? The Holy Spirit said it through the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews. Look at another statement, "The law of Moses having been abolished, the Levitical priesthood is obsolete, and Christ could serve as a priest on earth." Who said that? A man, a puny man! A man dares to put his ipse dixit over against the statement of the Holy Spirit! This shows to what lengths a man will go to sustain a theory he has espoused. The inspired statement says that if Christ were on earth he would not be a priest at all, which would include the time before the law of Moses was abolished, and the time after it was abolished.

Furthermore, the law of Moses was abolished when the Hebrew writer made the statement. But after the law of Moses was abolished, as brother Richard Ramsey admitted, an inspired man said, "If he" (Christ) "were on earth, he would not be a priest at all." According to men who believe the theory of premillennialism Christ could have been a priest on earth when the Holy Spirit directed a man to write the above words. The inspired man says if Christ were on earth, he would not be a priest at all; the uninspired man says he could be a priest on earth today, and could have been at, the time the Hebrew writer wrote Heb. 8:4, for at that time the law of Moses had been nailed to the cross. Take your choice!

The man who made the statement in contradiction to the writer of Hebrews was Richard Ramsey, editor of THE EXHORTER, a pre-millennial paper. He says in the AUGUST-SEPT. 1969 issue of the paper that "WORLD WIDE FAME HAS COME TO THE EXHORTER," due to certain' ones answering certain statements found in that paper. L am sure that if "world wide fame has come to the paper it is not because of any mention I have made of the paper, so it must have been because Roy Lanier referred to Ramsey's paper in the FIRM FOUNDATION! .

In answer to my argument that since Christ is to be king and priest on his throne, but since he cannot be a priest on earth according to Heb 8:4, then Christ will not reign on a throne on earth, and my request for some one to answer the argument, Richard Ramsey replied or made a statement in reference to the argument. He asked "where has Brother Roberts been for the past forty years? What premillennial books has he read?" For his information on "Brother Roberts", has been reading a book that denies every tenet of premillennialism — the Bible. He has been preaching the gospel during the same period and has been refuting the teachings of false teachers by the teaching of that book. Yes, he has read some books and teachings of premillennialists. He has read the Russell-White debate, the Boles-Boll debate, the Oliphant-Rice (Baptist) debate; he has read JESUS IS COMING by W. E. B., the Neal-Wallace discussion, yes, he even heard in person the entire Wallace-Norris debate in Fort Worth, Texas in 1934, in which the premillennial theory was defeated to such an extent that Norris refused to permit the debate to be published. I have also read THE KINGDOM OF GOD by R. H. Boll and other of his writings. Yes, I have read this doctrine in the writings of Adventists, Jehovah Witnesses, and I have a copy of MILLIONS NOW LIVING WILL NEVER DIE by Judge Rutherford, and it cost me a nickel at a book sale! I read in one of the speeches of John R. Rice the Baptist who debated W. L. Oliphant a similar statement to one made in Ramsey's article under review, that Jer. 22:30 cannot be applied to Jesus unless one denies the virgin birth of Christ.

Jesus is a high priest now on his throne (Heb. 6:20). Every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices for sin (Heb. 5:1; 8:3). If Christ is to be a high priest when he returns, he must of necessity have somewhat to offer for sins. Since Christ is to sit and rule upon his throne and be a priest on his throne (Zech. 6:12f); according to the theory of premillennialism, he will sit on David's throne on the earth, but he will also be a priest according to Zech. 6:12f. My question is, then, what gifts and sacrifices for sin will Christ offer when he comes again, and per the theory, sits as king and priest on earth? For if he sits on a throne on earth as high priest, he must have somewhat to offer for sins according to the scriptures.

I know that brother Ramsey believes that Christ offered his blood once for all for the sins of mankind, for his position is the same as R. H. Boll's, as we shall see later. Christ offered his blood as a sacrifice for sins once when he ascended to the throne of God, and sat down on the right hand of God (Heb. 10:12; 1:3). R. H. Boll says that "the nature of His priesthood demanded His ascension and entrance into the heavenly sanctuary." He also says, "The one function which required His personal presence in the heavenly sanctuary was performed once for all (Heb. 9:12) after which He sat down." Boll made another statement about the same subject, "If the sphere of his ministration were of an earthly sort there would be no legal room for it. He is our heavenly Priest." (THE KINGDOM OF GOD, page 82). Robert Milligan said, "But Christ, by means of his own blood offered in heaven itself, procured for his people absolute and eternal redemption." (Com. on Hebrews, page 254).

However, brother Boll, in the same context of the above teaching argues that when Christ leaves heaven that he does not forfeit "His rank and place as God's High-priest. He is a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek." But on the preceding page of the same booklet, Boll argues that "When a thing is given to anyone for ever the nature of the thing limits the time." So, he answers his own argument on the meaning of the phrase "for ever." But my question is, If Christ sits and reigns on David's throne on earth, since he is also to be priest on his throne, what gifts will he offer for sins then? What priestly function will he perform as a priest on earth at that time? The fact of the matter is that he would not be a priest at all if he were on earth. Brother Boll denies this and so does brother Ramsey.

Brother Ramsey says, "So, Brother Roberts, there are two answers from the inspired man to set aside your objection, namely (1) the Law of Moses has passed away, and (2) there is another priesthood besides the Levitical priesthood." The objection voiced to Christ being a priest on earth is not my objection. It is the Holy Spirit's statement in Heb. 8:4. The truth is that Christ could not have been a priest under the law of Moses, and after the law was abolished the Hebrew writer said that if Christ were on earth he would not be a priest. The point the writer made was that Jesus could not be a priest under the law of Moses, and now, even after the law has been abolished if he were on earth he would not be a priest. If national, literal Israel as an earthly nation is to be restored, Christ certainly could not be a priest under that system, for he was from the wrong tribe (Heb. 7:14).

Ramsey also says that "the writer points out that there has already been on earth a priesthood not connected with Levi, namely that of Melchizedek, and that Jesus is a priest after the order of Melchizedek." But the point about Christ being a priest after the order of Melchizedek was not that he was on earth, but that his priesthood was a type of Christ's priesthood in that as Melchizedek was both king and priest at the same time, so Christ is king and priest on his throne. Brother Boll contended that though Melchizedek was priest on earth he was "not a minister of any earthly sanctuary, but was a heavenly priest though stationed here below." So, he taught that Christ could also be a priest on earth. The only thing wrong with that is that the word of God says that Christ could not be a priest if he were on earth. Melchizedek was king and priest at the same time. He did not rule over a literal kingdom and the territory of his kingdom was not a geographical one. He was king of righteousness, and king of Salem, that is of peace; and he was made like unto the Son of God. (Heb. 7:2-3).

Christ is priest in heaven now and he would not be a priest at all if he were on earth (Heb. 8:4. Zechariah said that "the man whose name is the Branch" "shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest on his throne." He is a priest upon his throne, but he is a priest in heaven (Heb. 4:14). Therefore, his throne is in heaven. He would be a priest on his throne when he ruled on it, but he cannot be a priest on earth. Therefore his throne cannot be on earth at all, now or ever.

Brother Ramsey says he agrees with brother R. H. Boll. He was asked the question as to whether or not his teaching was basically the same as that of R.H. Boll. His answer, in part, was "As far as I know, our position is basically what R. H. Boll taught. This is not because we have copied his teaching, but because he got his teaching from the Bible, and we got our teaching from the Bible. Since both of us went to God's word for the truth on prophecy, our position should be identical. If we differ on some points it is obvious that one or both of us did not have Bible authority for our conclusion" (THE EXHORTER, MAY-JUNE, 1969, page 2). I wonder if he agrees with Boll's position on the fulfillment of Dan. 2:44 that is, "The Roman world-power then, though now it does not exist, is to return. When it returns, the Roman power will be in the form of a ten-kingdom confederacy under one dominant head . ..." (THE KINGDOM OF GOD, page 19).

Some one writing in the EXHORTER, January 10, 1969, page 2, under the heading, "CAN ISRAEL WIN?" indicates that the present nation of Israel is the Israel of God restored to Palestine in fulfillment of Old Testament passages. He states that these passages "have been ignored," or it is claimed that they were fulfilled in the return of the Jews from captivity from Babylon, or were fulfilled figuratively in the church. "Now the nation of Israel figures almost daily in the headlines of the newspaper. The theologians who as late as 22 years ago were saying, 'Israel will never again be a nation' must hang their heads in shame. The facts of history have exposed their lack of understanding of God's word." Now Israel is "riding high the crest of a wave of success" so she must be in existence now, according to this authority. Israel has been reestablished in the land. I ask in view of this teaching, Has the Roman Empire been brought back into existence now? Brother Ramsey, did you write this article? Brother Boll teaches that the "Roman world-power" is to return before the kingdom of Dan. 2:44 is established. Since you, or some one whom you endorse wrote this article on this subject and states that the Israel nation that now exists in 1969 is the nation God has brought back to the land, has the Roman Empire been brought back and now exists? Since the present Israel is the nation of God restored to the land you must agree that Rome is now existing, that is, the Roman nation of old, the one in existence when Christ was crucified. I wonder of the present Israel is pre-degreed? Are the rulers of Israel now descendants of the tribe of Judah? Is Christ, the seed of David, ruling there now? You claim that Christ is to rule on earth when God's people Israel are restored and the writer of the article under consideration claims that God has restored that nation. He says, "God has brought them back to their land." This must be though a mongrel nation, not the Israel of the Old Testament, for no Jew knows now of what tribe he is a descendant, whether of Judah, Gad, or some other. And every one knows that the Roman Empire has not been brought back into existence.

Brother Ramsey says he agrees with brother Boll. But brother Boll taught that the Roman world-power must exist before Israel could be brought back to the land or the kingdom of Dan. 2:44 established. Since it is claimed by THE EXHORTER that Israel has been brought back to the land, then, the Roman world-wide power must be in existence in fact now.

Premillennialists generally agree and teach that national Israel will be restored and that a physical descendant of David will rule on a literal throne on earth. The descendant of David who will thus rule is said to be Christ. Would not this call for the restoration of the Jewish temple and temple worship as under the law of Moses? Even brother Boll wrote, "Suddenly the scene changes. Jerusalem now is a place: disobedient unbelieving Israel is there again, and their temple is rebuilt" (THE BOOK OF REVELATION, page 40). The present nation of Israel is disobedient and unbelieving according to the article in the EXHORTER of January 10, 1969. But this would call for the reestablishment of the Jewish worship and would necessitate the priests being from the tribe of Levi. But Jesus is not of that tribe, so he could not be a priest, and therefore could not rule in this reestablished kingdom. "If he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, seeing there are those who offer gifts according to the law" (Heb. 8:4).

Freeport, Texas