Preparing For Christmas III: A Journey Through Malachi (2:1-9)
(please click HERE for Malachi 2:1-9)
God focuses on Levitical priests in Malachi 2:1-9. Nevertheless, that passage still has much to say to us who have received Jesus as our Savior because WE are part of the royal priesthood of believers (1 Peter 2:9)!
In preparation for Christmas, let’s take a look at some of the similarities and distinctions between Old Testament and New Testament priests:
Some Facts About the Old Testament Levitical Priesthood
1. Levites were specifically and hereditarily (based on being a son of Levi) chosen to carry out the daily work of Temple sacrifice and service. “Their ancestors years earlier had refused to bow down to the golden calf when Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiveing the Ten Commandments from the LORD (Exodus 32:25-29, Wayne Blank).”
2. Levites were not given a portion of physical land like the other tribes of Israel–their inheritance was God Himself (Numbers 18:20).
3. “Levites had custody of the Tabernacle: the Gershonites camped on the west of the Tabernacle (Numbers 3:23), the Kohathites on the south (Numbers 3:29), the Merarites on the north (Numbers 3:35), and the priests (sons of Aaron) on the east (Numbers 3:38).” (Wayne Blank).
4. The honor of daily serving the LORD at the Temple naturally prevented the Levites from participating in other non-sinful careers and activities enjoyed by other tribes in Israel: military service (Numbers 1:45-50, Wayne Blank), owning land (Numbers 18:20), being a baker/farmer/shepherd (or really any other profession), etc.
Facts About the New Testament Royal Priesthood of Believers In Christ
1. Christians are specifically and hereditarily (based on being a son/daughter of GOD through faith in Jesus) chosen to carry out the daily work of sacrifice and service (Romans 12:1-2) as the Temple in which the Holy Spirit lives through our faith in Jesus. Our Ancestor–JESUS!–years earlier refused to bow down to the devil (Luke 4:5-8) and after living a perfect life died a criminal’s death in or place so that we could be offered the opportunity to be adopted into God the Father’s family (Ephesians 1:4-6)! We represent God on earth as His royal ambassadors in a foreign land (2 Corinthians 5:16-21, 6:1-2)!
2. Christians are not given a portion of physical land on earth–our treasure is God Himself, our citizenship, rewards and homes are in heaven! (Psalm 73:25)
But sometimes we realize that because of our sinfulness, God isn’t enough…we know that we haven’t reached the level of maturity where we can be content/joyful when all is stripped away from us, where we can “count everything else as LOSS compared to knowing Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:7-11). Yet when we realize this, let us not sink in despair but go to the LORD in prayer, admitting our weakness and asking His help, claiming His promise that His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:7-10), asking Him to increase our faith the way the disciples did in Luke 17:5. Like a little child wanting candy but realizing he must eat his vegetables, may we ask God to resurrect not just our souls someday but our spiritual tastebuds NOW (as well as our LOVE for Him and others!), may the LORD help us to taste and see that He is good (Psalm 34:8)…not just good tasting in our mouths, but good enough to completely satisfy our hearts and souls.
3. Christians not only have custody of the Temple—we ARE the Temple God lives in thru His Spirit! The Old Testament priests served God AT His Temple; the New Testament priesthood of all believers in Christ serve God AS His Temple. WOW!
4. The honor of daily serving the LORD AS HIS TEMPLE naturally prevents Christians from participating in some non-sinful careers and activities: we will sometimes miss out on pursuing certain dreams because we have accepted the responsibility of sharing Jesus with others, because we have accepted the responsibility of growing/bearing fruit as a Christian, because we have a clear/specific mission/task to accomplish while we are on earth (Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:18-20). Michael Phelps literally ate NO junk food during the years of training leading up to the Olympics…not because he wasn’t able to eat the junk food, but because he realized that eating the junk food would sabotage his personal goal of getting gold medals in swimming! Similarly, many maturing Christians choose to pass up on some of the “junk food” of our culture not necessarily because we aren’t allowed to have it but because it will hinder us from doing what God made us to do, from becoming who God made us to be (Hebrews 12:1-3).