The new sanctuary was to be preserved holy by prince and priests. The prince, in contrast to most who were before him who desecrated God’s house, as God’s vicegerent was “to be the most distinguished representative of God’s holiness,—to tread the higher walks of spiritual communion and fellowship and stand pre-eminent in his zeal for the interests of truth and righteousness. All power given him should be exercised in a solemn feeling of subordination to God’s majesty, and with an unfeigned desire for his glory “(Fairbairn). This was of course what Christ did.
Previously the priesthood had acted like uncircumcised heathen but God would raise up a truly spiritual priesthood who outwardly (linen, polled hair and no wine) and inwardly would be pure in their ministrations of their public service, holiness to the Lord being the one pervading characteristic to be found in God’s house and the servants who belonged to it (Isaiah 61:6, 66:21, I Peter 2:9).
One thing the priests were to do was teach,”And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean (v23)”. This is the calling of pastors and elders in the church seeking to recover in God’s people what they lost in the fall namely the ability to choose good over evil.
Calvin in his comments on Haggai (appointed to urge the swift rebuilding of the temple), states that more than just rebuilding was required, ” works, however splendid they may appear before our eyes, are of no value or importance before God, except they flow from a pure heart.”