Unfaithful priests

The last part of Ezekiel’s prophecy contains a description of the temple that will exist during Christ’s thousand year reign on earth.  The Levites who serve in the temple will be divided into two groups.

The Levites who went far from me, going astray from me after their idols when Israel went astray, shall bear their punishment. They shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having oversight at the gates of the temple and ministering in the temple. They shall slaughter the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before the people, to minister to them.

Because they ministered to them before their idols and became a stumbling block of iniquity to the house of Israel, therefore I have sworn concerning them, declares the Lord GOD, and they shall bear their punishment. They shall not come near to me, to serve me as priest, nor come near any of my holy things and the things that are most holy, but they shall bear their shame and the abominations that they have committed.

Yet I will appoint them to keep charge of the temple, to do all its service and all that is to be done in it.
Ezekiel 44:10-14

The Levitical priests, the sons of Zadok, who kept the charge of my sanctuary when the people of Israel went astray from me, shall come near to me to minister to me. And they shall stand before me to offer me the fat and the blood, declares the Lord GOD. They shall enter my sanctuary, and they shall approach my table, to minister to me, and they shall keep my charge.
Ezekiel 44:15-16

One group is made up of priests who are allowed to come near God and offer sacrifices.  The other group is made up of Levites who are prohibited from serving as priests or coming near God but are allowed to serve in the temple in lesser positions.  Each person will be assigned to one group or the other on the basis of whether or not he had been faithful during the times when Israel turned away from God to serve idols.  The unfaithful Levites won’t lose their salvation but their failure will affect their place of service in the kingdom.

In the past God chose the Levitical priests to serve him.  Today he has a different priesthood.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
1 Peter 2:9

This priesthood is composed of all Christians.  If you have put your faith in Christ and been forgiven you are a priest.

One area of disagreement among Christians is the question of eternal security: whether a person who is saved can lose his salvation if he continues to sin.

There are people who make a false profession of salvation; they will be lost because they were never saved in the first place.

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
1 John 2:19

But sometimes even people who are really saved will be unfaithful .  What will happen to them as a result?

We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
2 Corinthians 5:10

This is what will happen at the judgment seat.

For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.

If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
1 Corinthians 3:11-15

This test will divide believers into two groups.  Those whose works survive the test will receive a reward; those whose works are destroyed will suffer loss but not the loss of salvation.  We will be like the Levites serving in the Millenial temple.  Those who are obedient will be rewarded by being given duties that bring them close to God; the others will be assigned to lower positions.

Critics of the belief in eternal security call it a license to sin.  The Bible clearly shows that Christians who sin and don’t repent will suffer eternal consequences even though they don’t lose their salvation.

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Posted on July 19, 2012, in Bible study, prophecy, salvation and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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