Covenant Consecration (22)

Consecration of Levites (last meeting)

Final write up

Sung Psalm 134

Reading Isaiah 66:15-24

Note that verse 21 endorses God’s irresistible grace in calling us Gentiles to be the New Testament equivalent of Old Testament Levites. Levites and priests saved in the New Testament included Barnabas (Acts 6:7, 4:36) among others. The most infamous was the Levite who passed by the wounded man on the Jericho road (Luke 10:32). Verse 22 indicates the permanence of this calling showing that it does not refer to some millennium but rather to the New Testament age and into the new heavens and earth.

There are three “worlds” or ages described in Scripture:

  1. The pre-diluvian
  2. The post-diluvian
  3. The new heavens and earth

The final verses in this chapter (vv. 23,24) describe the eternal state (II Peter 3:13, Is.65:17, Matthew 25:41, Mark 9:44,45).  Is.65:20 is describing eternal life in the re-creation which takes place after Christ returns and we see Romans 9:21 and Rev.21:1-3 played out, not in the annihilation of the cosmos but it’s recreation and redemption just as in our own lives. All believers are the seed spoken of, whether Jew or Gentile-they are the seed of Christ (Is.53:12) and Abraham (Gal.3:28,29)-the true Jews or Israel. Jer. 33:17-21 is fulfilled in Christ and the church.

Levi means “joined” (Gen.29:34, Num.18:2,4)-the priests and Levites were joined, Jew and Gentile are now joined and all believing are joined to Christ.

These verse do not refer to keeping the ceremonial law which when done even formally, but without faith, were to God an abomination (Is.1:13) but rather to continual worship in glory where we shall confirm God’s righteous judgment of all men which includes the eternal awful destruction of the wicked in bodies fitted to eternal punishment.

Consecration of Levites (17)

Consecration of the Levites

Sung Psalm 135:14-21 (note Levi)

Read Numbers 8:5-22

The consecration of these warrior-priests included:

  • Cleansing
  1. Cleansing-sprinkling of water (? From laver or acc.to Lev.14)
  2. Shaving most of body of hair.
  3. Washing of clothes
  • Sacrifices-two bullocks (sin and burnt offerings), and meal offering
  • No special clothes
  • Laying on of hands (of representatives of all the congregation whom they represented).
  • Wave offering (of all of them)

Comparing their consecration to that of the priests, with the priests there were more sacrifices, special clothes etc and with that of the congregation there was a different sprinkling and the book of the covenant was involved. Theologians speak of a graded holiness with High Priest top (multi-coloured vestments), then priests (white linen garments), then Levites (own clothes) then people, then outsiders. This also is reflected in the graded access they had to holy places and things.

But every New Testament believer whether Jew or Gentile is a priest AND a Levite-set apart, belonging to God and called to serve in his church (Mal. 3:3, Isaiah 66:21).

 

 

New Testament Priests (16)

New Testament Priesthood

Sung Psalm 141|:1-5 (note refs to incense)

Reading I Peter 2:1-10 (note esp.vv5,9)

We have incontrovertible Scriptural evidence that all believers in the New Testament age are priests.

What was the work of Old Testament priests? What is the New Testament equivalent?

  1. Offered sacrifices……we offer ourselves, praise, thank, do good works, share (Heb.13:15).
  2. Offered incense……we pray for ourselves and others.
  3. Light the lamp………walk in the Spirit.
  4. Prepare the showbread and eat it……we partake of Christ in the Lord’s Supper.
  5. Teach………we teach one another.
  6. Pronounce clean/unclean……we discern between good and evil.
  7. Judge……we judge all things.

Hebrews 10:19-25 is the most extended teaching on our New Testament priesthood, full of typology now realised in us.

The major prophets clearly allude to the end of ceremonial law and the New Testament age, see Isaiah 61:6 where true believers who are in Christ (vv1-3) are made priests and this includes Gentiles (Is.66:21).

Malachi 3:3 speaks of Christ purifying a priesthood which must be his church and I John 2:2 and 20 show that our anointing as priests is lifelong.

The permanent offices in the New Testament church all include elements of priesthood-pastors teach (office of prophet), elders rule (office of king) and deacons (office of priest who mercifully dispense aid), (Heb. 2:17, Acts 6)

Covenant Consecration of Israel (14)-their priests.

Consecration of Israel’s priests.

Sung Psalm 132:7-14

Reading Exodus 29:1-37 (carried out in Leviticus 8)

 

Remember the stages in the consecration of the priests:

  1. washing
  2. dressing
  3. anointing
  4. sacrificing
  5. smearing (of blood)
  6. sprinkling
  7. abiding

The Aaronic priesthood was: *hereditary, with public ordination (Lev.8:3) and ceremonial (ceremonial liquids, objects e.g. altar and garments .

Consecration of Christ

We looked at Hebrews and the contrast of Christ’s consecration and calling (Heb.5:5, Acts 13:33, Psalm 2:7). It had none of the above* characteristics. He was called severally-in eternity, at his birth, baptism, resurrection/ascension. He has an eternal priesthood given him under an oath from God the Father which is none other than a divine “fiat” or decree-“Thou art a priest for ever…” What a wonderful High Priest we have and what priviledges and responsibilities have church office bearers and members who are also called into office as priests.

 

Pursuit of Glory (7)

Peace

“All humanity is at war with God since the first act of treason.” Humans hate and fight each other, wars, genocide, killing the unborn and terrorism. God and Satan are at war, and since Satan cannot affect God he wars against God’s church.  Man has no peace internally (Isaiah 48:22) because of guilt. Perfect peace comes only with perfect love, the love in the trinity. Religion and good works cannot expunge guilt, neither the numbing effect of drugs or alcohol or the distraction of entertainment and pleasure.  Christ alone earned peace and righteousness for us. Reconciliation comes by faith  in his finished work and the acknowledgement we are vile depraved sinners who must repent.

Covenant Consecration of Israel (13)

 

The Priests

Sung Psalm 132;7-14

Reading Leviticus 8 (obeying Exodus 29)

With the institution of the Aaronic priesthood five men are consecrated namely Aaron and his four sons Eleazar, Ithamar, Nadab and Abihu. These and all subsequent priests had to go through this process. It was the first public ordination into the office.

Stages:

  1. Washing–at the laver-hands and feet (c.f. Titus 3:5).
  2. Clothing—nine parts (believers and ministers now need no special clothes Psalm 132:9, Isaiah 61:10, we have the whole armour, righteousness of Christ, the new man etc.
  3. Anointing—with oil (Ex.30:23-31) typifies the Holy Spirit (I John 2:9, I Tim.3, Gal.5:22-23)
  4. Sacrificing –of animals: a bullock (sin offering v14), a ram (burnt offering v180 and another ram (peace offering v22).
  5. Smearing—of blood on earlobes, right thumb and right big toe (consecration of our walk).
  6. Sprinkling –with oil and blood (v30)
  7. Waiting—seven days in tabernacle courts (John 15 abiding).

So we see that each of these stages in their exclusive physical consecration mirrors our inclusive spiritual consecration as a priesthood in Christ.

Covenant Consecration (Old and New Testament) 11

Covenant Consecration (Old and New Testament)-particularly marriage.

Sung Psalm 34: 8-14

https://mobile.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+34%3A8-16&version=KJV

Read I Peter 3:1-15

https://mobile.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Peter+3&version=KJV

We continued our comparing and contrasting covenant consecration in Moses’ day and now.

Ex.21:10   speaks of polygamy or concubinage something that Christ and the apostles absolutely forbid. From the beginning in fact God’s ideal is one man and one woman for life. All Old Testament examples of multiple wives multiplied trouble for all concerned! E.g. Abraham, Jacob, David, Elkanah, Solomon. However lessons that abide include care for other wives (if separated from them) and the necessity of provision for a future wife when considering marriage.

Ex.22:16,17 does fornication mandate marriage now? No, especially not if one is a believer and the other not, but neither if both are-there is no compulsion to marry and no law necessitating a dowry.

Deut. 21:10-14   the taking of a captive wife no longer applies because there are no holy wars/booty.

Deut. 24:1-5  “if” should be inserted here because we know God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16), he only tolerated it among the hard-hearted unbelieving Jews. Jesus forbad this (Matt.19, Matt.5, I Cor.7, Eph.5)

Ex. 20  no adultery is a moral law for all time.

I Peter 3:1-5 emphasizes submission of wife and adorning being inner beauty.

V7 the husband’s calling

Vv8-12 ethics in church

13-17 suffering

18-22 Christ’s suffering, resurrection and ascension

4:1-6 we are no longer to live in lust

Vv7-11 our calling in church

Vv12-19 suffering persecution

5:1-4 calling of elders

Vv5-14 more exhortations.

For further reading:  http://www.cprf.co.uk/bookstore/pilgrimsmanual.html#.XO0tmIhKiAI

Consecration of Israel (both O.T. and N.T) 10

The Consecration of Israel (O.T. and N.T.)

Sung Psalm 39:6-13

Reading I Peter 2

We continue our comparison and contrasting of Old Testament Israel and New Testament Israel. Peter’s epistle using multiple borrowed Old Testament phrases shows clearly that New Testament Israel equates with Old Testament Israel, they are ONE church. I Peter 2:9,10 refer to the calling of the Gentiles (formerly in darkness and not a people), now elect, holy, royal and part of a spiritual nation (not a political one). Believers are called strangers and pilgrims, descriptions initially given the fathers of Israel (Abraham, Isaac etc). Strangers is also used of Israel (I Chron. 29:15, Psalm 39:12) because they, like us are different from the ungodly world and are moving forward to a heavenly inheritance (Heb.11:10). Our good works are honest labour, submission to rulers c.f. Ex.22:9,28, office bearers in church and state including man-made laws (c.f. Romans 13:8, and Acts 5:29 and all for the Lord’s sake. The Old Testament had no room for Christian liberty mentioned here because it was detailed legislation but now we have habits or activities that are left up to individual conviction e.g. foods, clothes, sports. The civil laws governing slavery (Ex.21) are quite different from I Peter 2:18-21 and v.v. 22-25 show by Christ’s example how that suffering for doing good is praiseworthy and indeed the cross was the ultimate example of non-retaliation in the face of persecution.

Consecration of Israel (8)

 

Sung Psalm 50:1-6

Reading I Peter 1:1-16

Reading Exodus 19 and 24 alongside I Peter 2:9 we see great similarities. In both passages God’s people are called:

1) Peculiar treasure (v5)

2) Kingdom of priests (v6)

3) Holy nation (v6)

This demonstrates that the New Testament church to whom Peter is writing, in what is modern Turkey, is Israel. Both passages describe the one covenant people of God; hence dispensationalists and Jewish pre-millennialists are in error.

The true Israel of God are:

  1. Catholic (Jew and Gentile)-there were always proselytes alongside Jews in the first century church.
  2. Elect according to foreknowledge (Deut.7:6-8), foreknowledge being God’s sovereign eternal love.
  3. Sanctified-then by animal blood (external and ceremonial cleansing), now by Christ’s blood (internally and in reality)-note both sprinkled as redemption is applied.
  4. The goal is obedience (Ex.19:5, 24:7, I Peter 1:14 and I Peter 3 (wives)).
  5. The N.T. is better as we have definite rebirth and eternal heavenly inheritance (inheritance of land an emphasis in O.T).
  6. Trials (all of life) all to the purpose of purifying our faith (I Peter 1:7)-the Jews manifestly failed on this score e.g. in the wilderness.

But thank God, in Christ, we have the “full package” of the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace etc) along with faith and a lively hope through the resurrection of Christ, to whom we are bound eternally.

Consecration of Israel (7)

Sung Psalm 89:29-37

Reading II Corinthians 3:1-18

It is interesting but also illuminating that the Spirit in time and in salvation takes away the vail (Old Covenant of Law or covenant of works v16) from any Jew (or Gentile) and replaces it with an open face beholding Christ in the New Covenant. The Jews made Moses wear that vail because God in Christ was too bright and holy and condemning of them!

The key verse exposing Israel’s breaking of the Old Covenant law is Jeremiah 31:31-34. We know that breaking the covenant is disobeying the commandments (Deut.4:13) not that God ever breaks his covenant (spiritual bond of faith) with any of his elect people (OC or NT). The nation of Israel broke the covenant for centuries through its reprobate majority (Dan.9:5,6) as also Christ’s makes clear in his parable of the vineyard (Matt.21:33ff).

The Law considered apart from the Spirit and Christ, kills people by condemning them (to death). Romans 6:23! But remember that OT faithful believers had the law in their hearts (Psalm 37:31) the promise of Jeremiah was not only prospective but retrospective! Moses and David had faith!

We considered the covenant breaking of Adam (hiding and blaming), Noah (drunkenness and exposure), Abraham (lying, bigamy), David (adultery) and this latter despite the wonderful promises in II Sam.7:16 and I Chron.17:12,13). Yet, even through this breaking of the covenant, God kept his side by causing Christ to be in line of David and Bathsheba!

Israel as a nation is mentioned more than any other covenant recipient as a covenant breaker because as a covenant it concerned so many people and such detailed laws, and this was seen in the secession of the Northern Kingdom and the wickedness of many of the Kings of Judah, all this despite the wonderful promises of Isaiah (chapters 7 and 9 especially), Psalms 2, 45 and 110 all pointing to the eternal Davidic King. The Davidic covenant though later in time, was essentially only broken by one man and as such, his covenant-breaking is not so extensively mentioned in Scripture.

In Psalm 89 we see God’s covenant faithfulness to David (Christ) esp. in vv28-37 along with his subsequent desertion (think cross)/chastisement in vv37-47 and this being also true for every backsliding believer.

The New Covenant is not like the Old Covenant (Jer.31:32,33) in that every true recipient or friend of God has the law written on their heart and the ability, by the Holy Spirit, to keep it! The organic nature of God’s covenant people needs to be kept in mind. The people of God in all ages are a vine or a wheat field when considered as a whole (organic idea) yet there are always dead branches and tares mixed in (they are not all Israel who are of Israel).

A NT verse to sum up todays class might be II Timothy 2:12,13