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The Old Covenant was a shadow of the good thing to come. It was a testimony of imperfect men trying to obey a system that reflected the true covenant of Christ in heaven. The earthly expression was often less than what was to come, even as a shadow. The shadow presented evidence of what was true in heaven, but it by itself was imperfect in being a revelation of what was in heaven. The tabernacle of the Old Covenant was only a shadow of the true tabernacle that existed in heaven. What existed in heaven was not merely a testimony of what was to come, it was the truth of what was in Christ before the world began. That true tabernacle was a place of God’s habitation in heaven and upon the earth. This could not be presented in truth by merely the Old Covenant torah / temple society.
Even the tabernacle with its partitions and furniture arrangements was seen in an Old Covenant reality, therefore a veil separated man from the presence of God. In the Old Covenant the tribe of Levi held the priesthood, because they were the tribe that stood with Moses at the destruction of the golden calf (Ex. 32:25, 26). The nation of Israel was then revealed as a nation of tribes, with one tribe being the tribe of the priesthood. That one tribe was a shadow of what God wanted to do with all people. He wants all of humanity to know that they are to be a royal priesthood before Him (1Pet. 2:9).
The priesthood of the Old Covenant transgressed in God’s ways and failed to live in faithfulness before God as the priests that God had chosen them to be. Malachi, chapter 2 describes a spirit of divorce that had broken covenant and caused God’s people to abandon the passion and the true responsibility of being a part of the inheritance of God’s house. This chapter is an example to us all as to what is to be the passion and focus of each of us as a royal priest before God.
Malachi 2:1 And now, O priests, this commandment is for you.
The commandment was to the priests – His testimony of heaven on earth. We are a priesthood of believers and we can see an example of who we should be before God through His desire and Israel’s failure to fulfill His desire in the covenant.
Malachi 2:2 If you will not hear, and if you will not take it to heart, to give glory to My name,” says the LORD of hosts, “I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have cursed them already, because you do not take it to heart.
As priests before God our primary responsibility is to hear what God says and to give glory to His name. This is a matter of desire in our hearts, not merely the surface actions of our lives. As leaders among the priests we must set an example of those who hear God and give glory to Him. We do not lead for our own personal desires, nor do we lead for the desires of the people. We, and those we lead, are here for the glory of God’s name as our heavenly Father. We must set an example in following God’s desire and leading others into the same.
Malachi 2:3, 4 Behold, I will rebuke your descendants and spread refuse on your faces, the refuse of your solemn feasts; and one will take you away with it. Then you shall know that I have sent this commandment to you, that My covenant with Levi may continue,” says the LORD of hosts.
God was revealing through the prophet Malachi that it was not the feasts that God desired. It was a relationship that fulfilled the purpose of the feasts. The priests had failed to see that the attitude and the actions of their own lives would affect the generations to come. As priests before God we must all understand that how we respond to God’s voice affects our descendants. This can be good or bad, depending upon our own obedience of disobedience to God. The future of the church is affected by our responses to God today.
It was not God’s desire to curse the Old Covenant priests. Their refusal to come to the One who loved them left them with the consequence of a world without God in it. As priests before God, the testimony is blessing because our world is a world with God in it. Doing things for God is not what God desires. If we love ministry more than we love God, we are embracing refuse on our faces. Only God’s presence and love will cause our faces to shine with His glory.
Holy Spirit is stirring a hunger in our hearts that we will desire for an intimate, deep, and powerful relationship with God. It is not meant to be some religious ceremony or some religious way of living. There is an open door to life in Christ and the call of the Holy Spirit agrees with the desire of our hearts that we might be who we are called to be. We are kings and priests unto our God! We are sons and daughters of God to be authentically free in His name. Every curse is broken by the power of His love!
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson
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