Priestly Service, Recipes for Life

The calling of God to salvation includes the call to priestly service. As believer-priests we can enjoy the recipes for life in obedience to our Lord. Our service pivots on holiness and obedience. Throughout the history of God’s people, Israel, we read of rebellion and failure, resulting in stern discipline from the Lord. We are warned that this is not a recipe for life (I Corn. 10). Ezekiel was given special revelation concerning the millennial kingdom. In chapter 44 he describes the standards governing the Levitical priests, which compares to those in the O.T. in Leviticus 21 and 22. The Lord established the priesthood after He gave an opportunity for Israel to be collective priests. “If you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant then you shall be My own possession among the people for all the earth is mine and you shall be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Needless to say, Israel failed to meet the standards and God ordained Aaron’s family to be the priestly line. Throughout the history of Israel, the levitical priests rebelled to meet the standards God required. Their last chance is prophesied in Ezekiel 44 where they will serve Christ in the millennium offering sacrificial worship as a memorial to his death, somewhat like what we practice with the Lord’s Supper. The physical sacrifices will however be emphasized once again.

For the “church age” we have a spiritual priesthood. Jesus Christ is our High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18). The priesthood was changed and so was the law also. Christ descended from the tribe of Judah, which had no reference from Moses concerning the priesthood. So Christ arose as High Priest after a new order in “the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become such not on the basis of the law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life.” For it is witnessed of Him, “Thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Even so Christ brought “better hope for which we draw near to God…so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant” (Heb. 7:11-22). Christ instituted this new covenant at the Lord Supper. (Lk. 22:19-20) He confirmed it with His resurrection and the Holy Spirit seals us with his unction. God’s word is being written in our hearts, rather than just on tablets of stone. Israel will see the fruition of the new covenant when Christ returns to the earth in full glory and majesty. (Jer. 31 and Heb. 8)

As for our priesthood in the “Church Age,” “God has chosen you from the beginning for sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth…that we may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Thes. 2:13,14). We …”as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ…but you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Here’s one recipe for life: …”abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul…keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles…” (I Pet. 2:5,9,11,12) for God’s glory. These earthen vessels of our body contain our soul, which is being transformed into His image from glory to glory. Although our body is decaying with cracks & wrinkles God’s glory reflects through us more by a daily renewing of our spirit with the Word, and there awaits for us an “exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (I Cor. 3,4). Our goal and recipe for life is to be like Christ, from one level of manifesting Him in our life to the next level. Christ is to be reflected in our life full of the fruit of the spirit, which consists of nine “flavors”: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal. 5:22). These are part of one fruit.

Since God provides “everything for life and godliness” (II Pet.1:4), we must depend on His Spirit to lead us. We must “inch” along like an “inch worm with steadfastness and confidence that He Who began this work in us will accomplish His purpose (Is. 46:10).

The millennial priestly duties in Ezekiel 44 include 15 criteria. Most of these relate spiritually to the believer-priest.

Tommy Taylor

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