GODLY RESOURCES that will ASSIST in our PURSUIT of HOLINESS
September 9 Bible Reading: Ezekiel Chapters 43-45
“But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood," says the Lord God. They shall enter My sanctuary, and they shall come near My table to minister to Me, and they shall keep My charge...and they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.” (Ezek. 44:15-16, 23)
In the previous chapters leading to the above passage, the angelic guide explained to prophet Ezekiel the layout and structure of the Millennial Temple in great detail. Now, the angelic guide explained in detail the workings and the details concerning its daily operation. The details of the daily operation of the temple were elaborate, and they included the following: the duties of the temple priests (chapter 44); the allocation of land for the temple priests (45:1–12), and the offerings to be made to the Lord (45:13–46:24). Thus, the new temple required a new order of worship, which is described fully in the passage starting from Ezek. 44:1 to 46:24.
It appears that this new way of life and order of worship will be practiced by the people of Israel during the Millennium. As the prophet Ezekiel described the holy standards set by God regarding the future of Israel, he asked the people of Israel who were then alive to reevaluate their current worship practices. In order to assist the people of Israel in their pursuit of holiness, God provided them with a great resource: the Levitical Priesthood. They included the sons of Zadok, who were both priests and Levites to serve primarily as teachers of the people of Israel.
The role of the Levitical Priesthood would be to make the people of Israel to discern between what is holy and clean on the one hand, and unholy and unclean on the other (v. 23; Lev. 10:10, 11; Num. 6:2). The priests, then and in the future, have the responsibility of modeling and maintaining the highest standards of morality, self-control, self-denial, discipline, and obedience to God’s will (vv. 20–27; Lev. 21:5). They had to maintain a clear separation from the rest of society and be careful with what they wore, what they ate and drank and how they looked. By practicing discernment themselves, they were to teach the people how to have discernment as well (v. 23).
Thus, the priests were to teach the people about the holiness that God demanded from His people. The priests were to demonstrate verbally and visually before the people how to distinguish between what is godly and ungodly. In addition to precept and example, the symbolism of the temple design, its furnishings, and the sacrifice and other worship of the temple were all intended to have this teaching function. For doing so, God would reward these faithful priests whose principal duty was to teach the people (see Deut. 33:10; Mal. 2:8, 9).
Just like the Levitical Priesthood was a resource for the Israelites in their pursuit of holiness, we also have three godly resources to assist us in our pursuit of holiness, as listed below:
- God’s Word: God has given us His holy Word to correct, mold and train our moral character. Our pursuit of holiness begins with a disciplined plan to regularly meditating in the Scriptures and then applying them to our daily lives. We can also hide God’s Word in our heart so that we do not sin against God (Ps. 119:11)
- God’s Spirit: Before Christ left this earth, He has gifted us His Holy Spirit to be with us forever and to guide us through the competing distractions that pulls our attention away from God (John 14:16). He will teach us all things and bring to our remembrance all the things that Christ has told us (John 14:26). He will convict us of sin, of righteousness, and of God’s judgment (John 16:8-10), and will thus assist us in our pursuit of holiness.
- God’s Servants: Lastly, God’s servants and ministers in the church act as God’s mouthpiece to speak to God’s people the Word of God, which in turn will assist the people in their pursuit of holiness. We are told to "obey those who rule over us, and be submissive, for they watch out for our souls, as those who must give account" (Heb. 13:17).