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To God be the glory, great things He has done

It is more than two months after our announced date, but here it is!

“The Priests of God: Unveiling the Order of Melchizedek”

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(Soon in Kindle, iTunes books and Nook)

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Who has understood the mind of the LORD, or instructed him as his counselor? (Isaiah 40:13 NIV)

Last week, those on Florida’s east coast evacuated to the west coast. Too late on the western side to evacuate, Hurricane Irma surprisingly changed tracks and threatened the state’s Gulf Coast. While southwest and southcentral Florida prepared for the worst, Irma altered her path again and shifted to the east. The idea that man can somehow control natural forces, like hurricanes, or predict what they will do, should be permanently put to rest.

His thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are his ways our ways (cf. Isaiah 55:9).

Our God is the Sovereign Lord. His thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are his ways our ways (cf. Isaiah 55:9). If people affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma did not gain some humility or fear of God, will they ever?

Life is full of ironies. When we feel confident everything is under control, something usually happens to prove otherwise.  Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote, “The best laid plans of mice and men, gang aft aglee [translation often go astray].” Go ahead mice, make plans, but be aware of conditions beyond your control.

Several posts ago, we announced the book The Priests of God would be available by late July or even earlier. We are now a few days from the first day of Fall, and still the book awaits publication. I will not bother with the details except to say our best laid plans gang aglee. Our Sovereign God takes note of the sin of presumption. Assuming we have it all under control is rooted in pride. It is then our God manifests his sovereignty by foiling our plans and thwarting our purposes (cf. Psalm 33:10).

“You ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that” (James 5:15).

In James, we find an admonition to mice and men: “You ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that” (James 5:15). What yours truly should have announced was, “God willing, we will have a book by… (fill in the date).” Sovereignty, as I see it, acknowledges God is in charge. When our Lord is satisfied that we do indeed understand who is the mouse and who is the Almighty One, then The Priests of God will go to print. In God’s time, it will find those for whom it is intended.

God willing, I’ve learned my lesson. When circumstances are out of my control, I know who controls my circumstances. Now, who moved my cheese?

This is the final part of the interview on the soon-to-be-released The Priests of God.

Q- You bring an uncommon perspective on women and God’s priesthood. What can you tell us about that?

A- This, to me, was a thrilling discovery. From an historical and spiritual perspective, the role of godly women is beyond our ability to calculate. It begins in the Garden of Eden with God’s curse on the serpent and on the woman. Briefly, it became clear, from the prophecy in Genesis 3:15, “the serpent would bruise her seed’s heel, but the woman’s seed would crush his head,” was partially fulfilled in Christ’s suffering and his empty tomb. Her “seed” is plural. It refers not just to Christ, but to the saints in the last days. The saints will crush Satan’s head, according to Romans 16:20. Attention has always been on the male heirs and as the head, but, specifically, it is the seed the godly woman carries that will produce Satan’s downfall. I refer to this seed as the priestly seed, as opposed to the righteous man’s kingly seed or the seed of Abraham. When the priestly and kingly seeds unite in one being, we have God’s royal priesthood. There’s more to it, of course. Some is explained in Proverbs and in the wise women of faith throughout the Bible. Look at the strong women of faith we have today. I hope everyone who reads The Priests of God grasps this. It’s beyond genius, on God’s part.

Q- You are saying that women are the unsung heroes of your book?

A- I’m not sure about that, but to understand the order of Melchizedek is to acknowledge the seed of the woman and its role in Bible history and end time prophecy. As a pastor, I remember announcing prayer service to the church. Who would attend, but the same small core of praying women. I don’t think that’s uncommon in churches that have prayer services.

I have to tell you what a friend shared the other day. He witnessed a Christian youth camp service where there were–I wish I could recall how many–let’s say a good number, of young girls aged 9 to 11 at the altar. What he heard he described as wailing. He thought these precious little girls were crying out to God for their fathers, for God to forgive their sins. He also had a sense they were pleading to God for young men who would be worthy husbands. We were wiping away tears as he shared. I’m guessing this has to be global. It’s a preview of Joel 2:28-29 . The Priests of God is right on time. It explains what’s up with God’s daughters.

Q- For our last question, “Where has this book taken you?” By that I mean, “What about it has changed you or your way of thinking?”

A- It has deeply impacted me in several ways. One in particular immediately comes to mind: I now see God’s law in a new light. I used to see it as arbitrary; I could take it or leave it. My idea was Moses’ Law was for Jews, but, since I’m a Gentile, I could choose which law I wanted to follow. Now, I see God holds his priesthood responsible for law enforcement among his people. (That was how it was handled in the Camp of Israel. The Levites had police powers.) As a priest, it is not for me to enforce certain commands, such as those against stealing, murdering and dishonoring our parents, but not others, like adultery, coveting or keeping the Sabbath. If we offend in one, we offend the whole law. I am called to uphold all of God’s commands. It is all about loving the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. If I love Him, I love his Law.

As far as our nation’s law is concerned, I could keep 99% of it, but if I break one law in over forty years, I may land in jail. With me, the old argument that keeping the law does not save, used to go a long way. I used it as an excuse for avoiding the Old Testament Law. But after seeing the perfection of God’s commands and my present and future role as a priest, teacher and enforcer of God’s Law, I now have a way to please my King. I please him, not only by my obedience, but by my love for his commandments. This is prophetic. Ezekiel 36:24 and following, plus other passages, tells us God will plant in us a new heart and put in us a new spirit to obey his laws. In the last days, he will have a holy priesthood. Whether we are a part of it remains largely up to us and our attitude about His law.

There’s so much I could say, but my focus on God’s future priesthood has made clearer who will surround Christ when he comes to reign on earth. It’s repeated throughout the Bible. The Lord will have a kingdom and priests. If I do not care to learn what it means to be a kingdom and priest of God, how can I expect to play a role? The answer is, I won’t. That is sobering to me.

In general, Christians appear to be confused by the next age, the 1000-year reign of Christ on earth, and who will take part. The fault lies two ways: An unwillingness to look deeply into the subject in the Bible, and teachers who are looking at it from an incorrect theological perspective. I intend to devote a large segment of The Kings of God to the Millennium. We need to know these things now, then put them into practice. God will do his part, if we do ours. Like I said, there is so much to learn. I’ve only scratched the surface. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss it.

Q- Thank you. It’s been interesting.

A- I’ve enjoyed it.

Q- You make a unique connection in your portrayal of Melchizedek. How do you predict it will go over with the public?

A- I don’t think “unique” is helpful in this context. I prefer something in the order of “discovery.” I see it as a rich vein of gold that perhaps no human ever laid eyes on. No one would say the gold is unique, but the discovery is without precedent—at least as far as I know. Mysterious is often how Melchizedek is described, so I wrote about him in the style of an investigation. First, I laid several chapters of groundwork for the priest, and his God-given role, so we could identify them by their actions. The mine is the Old Testament and its history, so that’s where we did the biggest share of the digging. The Lord directed not only our curiosity, but he led us to the unveiling of Melchizedek and of his order of priests as well.

Q-  How do you think it will be received by Christians?

A-  Hard to say. I am not optimistic that those who share my faith will see this book for what it is. I see it as transformational, but, most are not to the point where they see anything wrong with the traditional way we are doing things. Reform must come from the outside, and this has that potential. What I write is solid from a Biblical standpoint, but lies outside the accepted boundaries of what we call “the church.”

Many will look at the title and go “Ho-hum,” though “priest” is a common Bible term and common to our faith. Some may be somewhat intrigued by the sub-title, but, after seeing it doesn’t confirm their belief about Melchizedek, they will likely dismiss it. (I ran into this already.) Others will ask their trusted church leaders or teaching elders what they think, and will meet with a negative caution such as “You must be careful about books like these! I heard it was written by a Mormon,” or something else absolutely false. Whatever enthusiasm there is, then has water poured on it. I understand, believe me. I used to do the same thing. With all of that said, I’m hopeful there are believers who will trust the Scriptures, trust the Holy Spirit and read with a Christian mind—sort of like a non-prejudiced juror charged with hearing and weighing objectively all the evidence before rendering a decision.

The first time we saw the house we live in today, nothing on the outside sparked my interest. My wife suggested we look, since it had a “For Sale” sign and was across the street from the church. We had an accepted contract on another house, but were dealing with some big obstacles. I listened and we toured it. It had a lot of things we didn’t like—they were style things like carpeting and paneling—but the price was right and buying it made a ton of sense. From the street, it is still not an eye-catcher. Inside, there are big pluses. It’s the backyard, the gardens, and all that, that have made it great for us. The thing I’m saying is if we were only subjective we wouldn’t have given it a serious look. We would have missed out on a fine home. Subjectively, this book may appear uninteresting but it is anything but–if you love God’s Word that is.

One other obstacle I should mention, keeping Christians from picking up The Priests of God and saying “Wow!” is how we receive our information. Book reading is not exactly what many are spending time doing these days. Looking at our devices and monitoring our social network is more the norm. So, if there is no buzz on Facebook or Twitter about The Priests of God, then, for those on social media, it might as well not exist.

Rank-and-file Christians are conditioned: They rather be told what to think, then how to think. That’s what our culture has become. Reading this series is work. It challenges people to use Scripture to determine what is true–which is a superb concept. God gave us a mind for figuring out things. I love to make people think about important matters. Once thinking begins, there are fabulous rewards. There is a niche-market of Christian thinkers that will absolutely love The Priests of God–if they hear about it.

(Next week’s Part 6 of this interview with John Finkbeiner will be the last in the series.)

Q- You seem to speak in epic terms about salvation and truth. Do you view The Priests of God as being on the scale of an epic or even a monumental volume?

A- With regard to the ideas and insights it contains, the answer is “Yes, I see it in big terms,” but not as a best seller or a hit among Christians or anything like that. An analogy is a treasure in an earthen jar. The jar is my part with all its flaws to the literary purists. The treasure is God’s part. The writing is mine and I’m about as plain, brown paper wrapping as anyone God could find. By that I mean, I have nothing to attract readers but my ideas. Everything God does is epic and His ways are monumental. I just describe what I see the Lord is doing and why. I consider myself more of a scribe than a writer. I do not like “author” as a description. Author, has a connotation that belongs to the Creator. I’m simply passing on revelations from studying prophecy, all of which I find astounding. I’m in awe of God and I hope that comes through.

Q- There are some rather amazing claims in The Priests of God. I don’t want to spoil anything, but did it occur to you that some of your more sensational discoveries could be wrong? What if you are mistaken?

A- I thought long and hard on this question. The decision I made when I finally sat down to write is that this is the hill on which I take my stand. God entrusted me with some wonderful and amazing revelations. (I am not saying that I am the only one who ever saw these things in Scripture, but I don’t know of others. I did not receive this from another person.) But, God prompted me to put what he was showing me in writing. I’ll be judged for it by men, but God is my judge. I’m willing to take the heat or the outright rejection of my fellow saints. Everything about The Priests of God is challenging and calculated to make God’s people think and dig into the Word. Some will react negatively and I get that. Some will ask others to think for them and be discouraged by their response, but God is in control of who does what. As for me, I’m willing to die for the truths I affirm in this book—obviously, I would not say all that if I had any doubts of being wrong.

My test of whether my conclusion is right or wrong is this: Can I open up my Bible and find confirmation everywhere? If anyone can show me from Scripture a passage that clearly contradicts what I have written, then, if I cannot harmonize it, I will delete it and do a mea culpa. If I am accurately interpreting the Bible, people may disagree, and often do, but their disagreement is not with me. I’m not claiming perfection, but I am a bent on accuracy. My reading of the Word is constant. I am finding more supportive passages all the time. I eliminated 150 pages of text–more or less–and four chapters from my first draft to pare it down to the size I want. What’s that tell you? I did not struggle to find material; I had to pare it down. The Priests of God: Unveiling the Order of Melchizedek is the real never-ending story.

The key that unlocks the mystery of Melchizedek came several years ago. I can’t exactly remember how or when, but I wrote into the book that God asked me a question. It became the kernel of a suggestion He planted in my brain, and, as it grew, I began to share it with a couple of my prize Bible prophecy students. (One was Benaiah, who was kind enough to provide the Foreword to The Priests of God, the other Elijah, who wrote the Foreword to Lifesaver.) The feedback from Benaiah caught me off-guard. What I heard was his concern. If I wrote this—I sensed him saying—I would do damage to how I am perceived. Later on, I shared with my sister Marilyn. I felt she was basically of the same mind as Benaiah, trying to safeguard my credibility. Some of that concern was caused by my inability to defend what sounded like a wild idea.

This is years ago now, but I could not let this idea go. One of the last people I shared it with was more adamant than the others. He was sure I was wrong. This was the big test. Some of his objections made sense, so I backed off and put The Priests of God on the shelf. Gradually, I picked it up again. Something was telling me I was accurate. I dug into all the objections and analyzed them. The Lord gave me sound counter-arguments to harmonize the objections, plus more evidence. He also gifted me with a strong biblically-minded brother, Elijah, who thought I was on to something. Finally, I had enough. I knew we were on solid ground. God was saying it is time. I left my position to give full attention to this baby the Lord conceived in me. My final confirmation was when Elijah said that I had persuaded him. No one but God could have done that.

The artist Vincent Van Gogh sold one painting during his lifetime—or so I heard. Since I gave the Lord control over marketing, I am content if I have to give away copies of The Priests of God. If, during my lifetime, no one gives this book a favorable review, I will be fine. I wrote it for my God and the glory of His Son. He will use it according to his purpose. In the meantime, I’m turning my attention to The Kings of God.

It is with great joy that we at The Prophets of God blog announce “The Priests of God: Unveiling the Order of Melchizedek,” the next installment in THE PROPHETS, PRIESTS AND KINGS SERIES. God willing, we expect a release on or before July 26th. Below is part one of a question and answer with writer, pastor and teacher, John Finkbeiner.

Q- First off, I congratulate you. I do not recall any books on this subject. Are you aware of any? How did you come up with the idea for The Priests of God?

A- I’m reluctant to accept congratulations after all the patience and grace God has shown me. This book was written because God wanted it to be, not because of anything I’ve done that deserves congratulations. For some reason, the Lord chose me and never gave up on me. Eventually, we produced a book I am proud to be a part of, but it took awhile.

No, I don’t know of anything like it. There may be, but I never researched the topic. My approach is to dig into the Bible. I heard recently the Mormons have had a shared interest in Melchizedek. Not sure what they came up with, but it does not really matter. I write on Biblical-rich topics. I don’t have any reason to read commentaries or extra-Biblical materials.

As to the last part of your question, the idea for The Priests of God was born of necessity. The idea for the series Prophets, Priests and Kings, came to me first. I noticed it was a theme in Scripture as a whole and felt it was begging to be explored. It was too big a subject to treat as one book so I had to individually examine each part.

Q- How long did it take you to write?

A- I like the answer “All my life.” I heard that from a writer once and believe it’s true for me. I was a ripe old age before I published anything. The People of God came out in 2010, then it was two more in three years. Here we are, more than four years after Lifesaver. There were months of no writing activity, but ideas were marinating and my Scripture reading was producing great results. Thinking seriously about the topic started ten years ago. There were times I wasn’t sure whether I was going to write this book, but that’s all history now. The Priests of God is in book form and I could not be happier.

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:5 NIV)

With most people, new creates a conflict. New technology is welcomed by a small number who like it for the reason it is new. Leaders in the tech industry love this open-minded group. As with the developers, they think outside the box. They receive invitations to the unveiling of revolutionary new products. How this group, the “first wave”, responds will determine if the innovation becomes a business success.

Typically, people remain loyal to the familiar. This “third wave” is invested in “Group Think”. They prefer to wait and see what the first or second wave consumer thinks. This principle applies to anything new, not just technology.  The first wave, the pioneers, who review the new, open the door for the second wave; the second opens it for the third, and so on. There are many more in the second wave than in the first, but the greatest number belong to the third wave. This is the mass number that want to know if it is safe or if it is popular. By the time the fourth wave decides, ideas are already passe.

The Lord is making everything new. No improvement will be possible. Yet, because it is new, it is strange. Few are testing what the Spirit is now unveiling. Take, for example, the series, Prophets, Priests and Kings. I would classify it as first wave material. Strange, perhaps, in comparison to others on the subject, the public at-large remains unaware or dubious as to its value.

The test market of a select first wave of readers has offered their feedback. It is very positive. Any “problems” are minor and easily fixable. The importance to the reader is beyond calculation. Next up, The Priests of God should be unveiled in 45 days. It details more of the new thing Jesus spoke of in Revelation 21. 

The third wave of Group Think traditionalists; well, they may never get it. By definition, true reform must come from the outside. The third wave is stuck on the inside while the fourth wave is prisoner to the status quo.

If the motivation was to sell books, I would never write The People of God, The Prophets of God, The Priests of God and Lifesaver. There is no best-seller waiting to happen. The reason we, at this site, faithfully proclaim His strange, new design is to please Him. If we can help usher in the age’s last great move of the Spirit or awaken His chosen people to prophetic truth, then we will have succeeded. If we can alert those untouched by Group Think to God’s new thing, we will have done our job.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise. (Isaiah 43:19-21)

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