A MODIFIED FORM OF LEVITICAL WORSHIP WILL BE IN PLACE.
- There will be a Temple in Jerusalem. Cp Is 2:3.
- Already in place before Christ returns. Cp 2Thess 2:2-4, Dan 9:27, Matt 24:15.
- To this Temple the Saviour will return in glory and never leave again. Cp Hag 2:6-9, Ezek 43:1-12.
- Highlights of millennial Temple worship, Ezekiel 43-46. The contents of these chapters are particularly drawn to our attention. Cp 40:4, 44:5. In these chapters there are both present and future applications, 43:10, 44:6, 45:9. There are undoubtedly many questions that will arise as we look at these things. Yet we must be very careful to bring our thinking and even our questions under the strict rule of the words of God.
- The altar. Cp 41:22, 43:13, 18-19. It is used regularly: 43:27, 46:13-15. It is however noteworthy that there is very little emphasis on any symbolic atoning effect of the sacrifices. Cp 43:26, 45:15,17, 20. In contrast this same Heb root occurs 49 times in the book of Leviticus. The same level of instruction is clearly not necessary but the emphasis seems to be memorial. Cp Matt 26:29. The Saviour’s stated intention is to engage in action in remembrance of His death. He was speaking in the context of the Passover.
- A revised, restored Levitical priesthood. Cp 44:10-16, Mal 3:1-4. A difference is made in the function of Levi with only a remnant being allowed to function as priests. This is explicitly stated as being the consequence of past faithfulness/deficiency in service. Their lives and service are regulated as before—marriage, dress, diet etc. They are supported by the offerings of the people, 44:28-31.
- The prince. This is the one who rules over Israel. There are obviously various levels of government of the nation. Cp Matt 19:28. The Lord Jesus is always represented as King of Israel in this context, John 1:49. There is a special focus on the worship of Israel, but it is not limited to them. Much of the worship appears to be representative in nature. Cp 45:17, 46:1-3, 10. The Prince acts for the people.
- Overview. Cp 45:17. In the course of these chapters reference is made to each of the Levitical sacrifices (40:39, 43:25, 27, 45:17) and several of the feasts. Passover, 45:21, Tabernacles, 45:45, Zech 14:18-19. Reference is also made to the year of liberty, 46:17; sabbaths and new moons, 45:17.
- Not just Israel. Cp Zech 14:16-21. Clearly the observance of these feasts is required of other nations besides Israel—all the families of the earth—, and even of the unsaved occupants of the earth who here defy those requirements. Cp Ezek 44:9.
III THE GOSPEL IS PROCLAIMED.
Cp Is 11:10-16, 52:7-15.
- Levitical practice has a gospel heart. The Levitical ritual of the past was the revelation of the theology of the gospel. The work of Christ is meaningless without it! With its millennial restoration—even in a modified form—the gospel is still proclaimed. The gospel is never forgotten by the saints even in a glorified state. Cp Rev 1:5, 5:9—note the Levitical expressions. These Levitical rites serve as a memorial of Christ’s work. It is fitting that during this period it will be seen just how advanced and full of meaning those rites actually were! Many in OT Israel never saw this. Many NT saints refuse to see it!
- A gathering of remaining scattered Israel. This is specifically referenced as a proclaiming of the gospel, Is 52:7. Cp Is 66:15-24.
- This is a gathering of the unsaved. Clearly this gathering relates to unbelievers rather than to the redeemed who, at Christ’s appearing are gathered by Him to be with Him in the air and on the earth. This gathering is clearly a conversion work done among the unsaved.