God has given a prophetic pledge of a New Covenant Temple and of the renewal of physical sacrifices, Ezekiel 40-48 and included in that prophecy was a promise that physical Levites and physical Priests from the line of Zadok [a descendant of Levi] would be called into the New Covenant to serve as a part of the priesthood of Jesus Christ.
That is not a promise of a restoration of all of the priesthood of Aaron, it is a promise to the descendants of faithful Zadok ONLY!
The promise to Zadok is not a promise of the restoration of the Aaronic priesthood, because this promise was not given to all the sons of Aaron, most of whom had not been faithful in their service and fell away time after time!
This promise was given to Zadok and to the descendants of Zadok ONLY! This because of the loyalty of Zadok and his sons during the kingdom of David beginning in 2 Samuel 15 and continuing into 1 Kings.
The promise to Zadok does not mean that the Mosaic Covenant will be restored or that they will be Aaronic priests of the Mosaic Covenant! To think so, one would have to reject the entire book of Hebrews! For Paul tells us several times and in various ways in the book of Hebrews that the Mosaic Covenant with its Aaronic priesthood has ended and has been replaced by the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ!
The promise to the descendants of Zadok means that men who are the descendants of the faithful sons of Zadok, will be called into the New Covenant; and will serve in the New Covenant Temple as the priests of the New Covenant, officiating over the physical things of the Ezekiel Temple.
This promise has two distinct meanings:
1 That some of the descendants of Zadok would be among the called out and the Chosen in the resurrection to spirit and will be among the spirit priesthood of Jesus Christ in that way, Remember that at least 12,000 of Levi will be sealed as part of the 144,000.
2 That some of the descendants of Zadok will live on into the Millennial Kingdom and will serve in the Ezekiel Temple in the physical necessities of the Temple!
In BOTH cases they will be priests of the New Covenant priesthood of Jesus Christ and not priests of the Aaronic priesthood!
David was loyal to God and he will rule Israel forever as a resurrected spirit; and because Zadok and his sons were loyal to God and to David and Solomon, they will serve God in the Ezekiel Temple as PHYSICAL priests of Jesus Christ in the New Covenant Temple.
Zadok has a promise from Almighty God, that because of his and his son’s faithfulness [trained up in the faithfulness of Zadok] in service to God under the Mosaic Covenant; his descendants will be called into the New Covenant and will serve in the New Covenant Temple!
The physical sacrifices of the Mosaic Covenant were an allegory of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ; to teach Israel that the wages of sin is death, and to teach Israel about the need for a better and more perfect sacrifice for sin.
Sacrifices will be restored in the New Covenant Temple for the same reason, as a practical demonstration, lesson and teaching method.
The descendants of Zadok will officiate in the physical sacrifices and the physical things of the Ezekiel Temple and will teach these principles: While the resurrected spirit priests and kings freed from the physical duties of the Ezekiel Temple by the descendants of Zadok, will teach the spiritual understandings of these things to the whole world.
God gave the Mosaic Covenant as an allegory and foundation of the New Covenant.
The New Covenant is merely the Mosaic Covenant with a better sacrifice and better promises, and the addition of the Holy Spirit to write the whole Word of God in our minds and on our hearts so that we may keep them.
The New Covenant is a much better Covenant and the Mosaic Covenant by reason of its weakness has passed away and been replaced by the New as Paul teaches through the whole book of Hebrews.
Jeremiah 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord:
31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Jeremiah 33:16 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness [The Righteousness of the LORD is There]. 33:17 For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel [referring to the now resurrected spirit and eternal David himself]; 33:18 Neither shall the priests the Levites [through the descendants of Zadok] want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually
This is a promise that the descendants of Zadok will yet serve God in a physical New Covenant priesthood and offer physical sacrifices in the New Covenant: It is not a promise that the Mosaic Covenant will endure, for Jeremiah 31:31 plainly speaks of a New Covenant; and the Old is replaced by the New as Paul plainly says in Hebrews.
Jeremiah 33:20 Thus saith the LORD; if ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; 33:21 Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers. 33:22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.
This is NOT speaking of the Mosaic Covenant but is speaking of the New Covenant; the entire context of Jeremiah 33 is the restoration of Israel in the millennium New Covenant Kingdom of God. We know this is speaking of the New Covenant because the gift of the Holy Spirit which was never promised in the Mosaic Covenant and is a promise exclusive to the New Covenant, will be poured out on all flesh Joel 2:28 in the Millennial New Covenant Kingdom of God!
Zadok (a descendant of Aaron (1 Chron 6:50-53) and his sons served in Solomon’s Temple and the physical descendants of Zadok will serve in the Ezekiel Temple, in place of the other sons of Aaron! However they will not serve as Mosaic priests, but as physical priests of Jesus Christ of the New Covenant.
1 Chronicles 29:22 And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and anointed him unto the LORD to be the chief governor, and Zadok to be priest.
2 Chronicles 31:10 And Azariah the chief priest of the house of Zadok answered him, and said, Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the LORD, we have had enough to eat, and have left plenty: for the LORD hath blessed his people; and that which is left is this great store.
God promises that the descendants of the priests who remained faithful when the other Mosaic priests went astray, shall serve in the physical things of the New Covenant Temple.
This is not a promise of a continuing Mosaic Covenant and it does not mean that they will be Aaronic priests of the Mosaic Covenant.
Most of the physical priesthood of Aaron was rejected for their continual rebellion against God; while Zadok and his sons were faithful and have a promise from God that for their faithfulness, their descendants will serve as physical priests of the New Covenant in the Ezekiel Temple.
Ezekiel 44:15 But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, saith the Lord GOD:
In the consecration of the altar, blood is the means by which it is purified and atoned for:picturing that sin must be atoned for by the death of the sinner or by the effectual sacrifice of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God.
Leviticus 8:15 And he slew it; and Moses took the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about with his finger, and purified the altar, and poured the blood at the bottom of the altar, and sanctified it, to make reconciliation upon it.
The New Covenant Temple will also be sanctified by the blood of sacrifices and the Ezekiel Temple will be a place of physical sacrifice. Therefore it is needful that physical priests of the New Covenant serve in the Ezekiel Temple.
Ezekiel 43:20 You are to take some of its blood and put it on the four horns of the altar and on the four corners of the upper ledge and all around the rim, and so purify the altar and make atonement for it.
The sacrifices to be offered in the Ezekiel Temple in the New Covenant, are the same as those offered in the Mosaic Covenant, as recognized in this list:
Ezekiel 45:17 And it shall be the prince’s part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel.
The personal offerings for cleansing/atonement for impurity and sin are also instructional New Covenant offerings.
Regarding the New Covenant Temple Ezekiel writes:
Ezekiel 44:25 And they shall come at no dead person to defile themselves: but for father, or for mother, or for son, or for daughter, for brother, or for sister that hath had no husband, they may defile themselves. 44:26 And after he is cleansed, they shall reckon unto him seven days. 44:27 And in the day that he goeth into the sanctuary, unto the inner court, to minister in the sanctuary, he shall offer his sin offering, saith the Lord GOD.
Ezekiel 40:39 And in the porch of the gate were two tables on this side, and two tables on that side, to slay thereon the burnt offering and the sin offering and the trespass offering.
The physical priests that perform the New Covenant physical sacrificial services, are physical helpers of the New Covenant priesthood of Jesus Christ, serving in the physical things of the Ezekiel Temple and are not priests of the Mosaic Covenant, but are converted into the New Covenant!
These physical priests of the New Covenant will also be teaching what the offering sacrifices really mean.
Leviticus 10:8 And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, 10:9 Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: 10:10 And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; 10:11 And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.
Ezekiel speaks of the physical priests of the New Covenant, the descendants of Zadok; as being teachers of the people. This is because the physical sacrificial system is an instructional allegory of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God.
Ezekiel 44:22 Neither shall any priest drink wine, when they enter into the inner court [courtyard]. 44:23 And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.
Moses prophesies of the New Covenant in this manner.
Deuteronomy 30:1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things [specifically the great tribulation] are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou [they shall remember the whole Word of God to keep it] shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, 30:2 And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; 30:3 That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee. 30:4 If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:
30:5 And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. 30:6 And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. 30:7 And the LORD thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee.
30:8 And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the LORD, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day.
As a matter of interest today’s Temple Faithful in Israel consists of one main extended family which is preparing to serve in the coming Ezekiel Temple. They are filled with zeal to serve in the coming new physical temple which will be built by Messiah after he comes.
Could they be the descendants of Zadok who will serve in the New Covenant Temple after they have been brought into the New Covenant when Messiah comes?
Physical Sacrifices in the New Covenant
All sacrifices must be made at the Jerusalem temple and since there is no temple in Jerusalem right now no physical sacrifices can be made. However once Christ comes and builds the Ezekiel Temple, physical sacrifices will be restored: Yet the physical sacrifices in the New Covenant Ezekiel Temple will not be made as part of the Mosaic Covenant: they will be offered as part of the New Covenant!
Physical laws are intended to teach us spiritual lessons. For example the laws of clean and unclean animals are intended to teach us to put a difference between sin and godliness, a difference between the Holy and the Profane; and to get us into a life time habit of avoiding all uncleanness physically and the uncleanness of association with sin spiritually.
There are two purposes; one is to teach the actual lesson and the second part is to instill a habit of obedience of God that will last forever.
The physical sacrificial system was not specific to the Mosaic Covenant and began as soon as the first woman and man sinned in the garden. When sin entered the need for an atonement for sin became essential to save mankind.
Later God expanded the sacrificial system to Moses; each and every animal and type of sacrifice was an allegory of the sacrificial work of our LORD, the Lamb of God.
The very first aspect of offering a physical sacrifice is repentance; presenting a physical offering was a way of saying “I’m sorry, I will not do that again”.
Not meaning to trivialize in any way but an example is when we present a gift and apology to someone whom we have offended. When we have sinned against God and have offended Him, we must repent [stop dong the offensive thing] and make an offering [sacrifice] to God.
Repentance is saying that we are sorry for what we did, and saying “I am sorry” means that we will never do it again.
Consider that when we give a gift and say we are sorry; that our friend might well say: “If you had not done that, you would not need to say you are sorry, I would much rather that you had not done the deed than to hear you say sorry and receive your gift.”
God would much rather that we did not sin in the first place then that we should offer sacrifice for having offended with sin. God wants a humble person poor in the spirit of self-will who will live by God’s Word and not need to say “I am sorry” for sinning, because he is not offending God and sinning.
That is what God means when he says: Psalm 51:16-17 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit [a spirit poor in stubborn self-will, humble teachable and obedient to live by every Word of God]: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
God wants to forgive, but sacrifice must be made for our good; so that we will learn that sin brings death; and only when we learn how very serious sin is, can we be fully motivated to STOP SINNING!
Hosea 6:6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
In order to understand Hosea 6:6 properly, one must understand the sense of the Hebrew text. In it a rhetorical negation is used to point up antithesis more emphatically (cf. Deu 5:3).
“Moreover, the negation in Hebrew often supplies the lack of a comparative – i.e., without excluding the thing denied, the statement implies only the importance of the thing set in contrast to it (Hos 6:6). In short, the Hebrew idiom permits denial of one thing in order to emphasize another (cf. for a NT parallel Luke 14:26). The idiom does not intend to deny the statement but only to set it in a secondary place (so Frost).”
God desires obedience and mercy, nevertheless all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23) and sacrifices are needed to teach us that the consequences of sin is death.
Physical sacrifices are a reminder of sin and the need for the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, but they cannot atone for sin on a spiritual level. They are a practical lesson on the need for sincere repentance and a graphic example of the wages [end result] of sin [which is death] that was paid in our place by the very Creator made flesh.
Hebrews 10:4-12 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body [the sacrifice of Christ] hast thou prepared me: Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
Above when he said [Paul is quoting Hosea 6:6], Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
The physical sacrificial system was given to teach us that sin requires a sacrifice to atone for sin, it was also given to teach us about the various aspects of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God.
When Christ was sacrificed and that sacrifice was accepted by God the Father on Wave Offering Sunday; the sacrifice of the Lamb of God was perfect and complete and need never be repeated, however as men repent that sacrifice needs to be applied often. Let it be made clear that Christ’s sacrifice was perfect – which was covered in the Hebrews study – and Christ need never die again; but his sacrifice must be applied as often as men sin and repent.
The physical sacrifices were an instructional allegory to teach us about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God.
The sacrifice of Christ did away with sin and reconciles the sincerely repentant to God the Father, something which the physical sacrifices could not do; but Christ’s sacrifice did not do away with the need for the physical sacrifices as a graphic instructional reminder that the wages of sin is death and as a means of instruction about the sacrifice of Christ.
The physical sacrifices were instituted from the foundation of the world and came into effect as soon as sin entered the world, as an example that the Lamb of God would need to be sacrificed to atone for the sins of the sincerely repentant.
From the very beginning it was understood that man would sin and would need the atoning sacrifice of their Creator made flesh.
Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
These physical sacrifices were a graphic example that the wages of sin is death, and were a type or instructional allegory of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God.
These physical sacrifices continued and were accepted as appropriate by the first century Ekklesia right up to the destruction of the temple in c 70 A.D. The apostles at Jerusalem even encouraging Paul to sponsor the required sacrifices for certain Nazarites.
Acts 21:23 Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; 21:24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges (the sacrifice of a lamb, Numbers 6) with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.
Bear in mind that after the tabernacle was built it became unlawful to offer sacrifices anywhere else, and later that law was transferred to the temple when the Ark was moved to the temple: Therefore when the temple was destroyed it became unlawful to offer physical sacrifices until the Ark was remade and a new temple was built.
Jesus knowing that the temple would be destroyed taught the spiritual Passover service to his disciples.
Because physical sacrifices are unlawful until the new temple is built, Nazarite vows are unlawful for the present time as well.
Leviticus 17:8 And thou shalt say unto them, Whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers which sojourn among you, that offereth a burnt offering or sacrifice, 17:9 And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle [the altar in the inner court at the entrance to the Most Holy Place] of the congregation, to offer it unto the Lord; even that man shall be cut off from among his people.
God told Daniel that once the prince who would come would destroy the city, the sacrifice would be stopped [by the destruction of the temple; which was destroyed by Prince Titus of Rome in c 70 A.D.], and that the physical Daily Sacrifice would not begin anew until after the consummation [the coming of Christ to cleanse the temple mount and build the Ezekiel Temple].
Once Christ comes the Ezekiel Temple will be built and physical sacrifices will be restarted
WHY? For exactly the same reasons that physical sacrifices had been offered from Abel to the destruction of the temple; as a graphic lesson on the NEED for Christ’s sacrifice to atone for sin and as an instruction in the various aspects of the sacrificial work of the Lamb of God.
The sacrificial system began when Eve and Adam sinned and it will continue as long as flesh exists. The sacrificial system was never ended – even Paul sponsored sacrifices for certain Nazarites long after the resurrection of Christ – it was merely suspended for the period in which the temple remained destroyed and will begin anew when a new temple is built.
There will be a big difference from the past however; because, instead of making physical offerings in ignorance about what they were doing and what it meant; in the millennium the physical sacrifices will be made as a graphic instructional lesson and the people will be taught the spiritual MEANING of what they are doing!
The point of a New Covenant Temple is to focus the whole world on God the Father and Jesus Christ the King of kings; the point of the Temple and sacrifices is to graphically teach all people the need to stop sinning and to teach them the various aspects of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.
As for the Holy Spirit being poured out on all flesh (Joel 3:28), the Holy Spirit does not make one instantly perfect but leads one into godliness if we are willing to follow and live by every Word of God.
Receiving the Spirit is only the beginning point of our spiritual education, not the end
Micah 4:2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.