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.

Covenant Consecration (20)

Consecration of Levites

Sung Psalm 116:1-8

Reading Isaiah 66:15-24

“I will take of them (the Gentiles) for priests and Levites because all this portion of Scripture is about the calling of the Gentiles. This prophecy and its realization sets aside the ceremonial law of Moses and is on a trajectory that ends with all of us Gentiles being priests and Levites and being able to enter the temple (New Jerusalem of the church), all seeing the glory of God (v.19), all brethren, and a clean meal offering (v.20). See also Acts 11 (Peter), Acts 15 (James), Eph. 2:11-21, Heb.7:12.

Comparison of the Old Testament Levites with us reveals that both are holy, necessarily cleansed and both serve (Num. 8:15) and with the priests both intercede, offer sacrifices etc. See Ex.19:6, Isaiah 61:6, 2:1-4. Note the called Gentile nations flow uphill! (irresistible grace). Also see Zech.8:23.

The unity of Scripture revelation is truly remarkable.

Covenant Consecration (19)

 

Sung  Psalm 67 (mission Psalm)

Reading  Isaiah 66:15-24

This rich portion of prophesy speaks of a sign among the Jews who is Jesus Christ who has come (Luke 2:34) attested to in the four gospels. Those Jews who escape judgment (v v 15,16) by Babylon and God’s judicial hardening) i.e. believers are sent (as apostles and missionaries in the book of Acts and the latter up to the present day) to the Gentiles (far off lands), including the violent, warlike people, most totally ignorant of Jehovah (think of Papua New Guinea!) Missionary preaching is that of the weighty, glorious gospel of Christ (v 19 c.f. John 1:14, Isaiah 6) which glorifies God (Rom.10:14,15,15:20). The Gentile converts are called “all your brethren” meaning there is absolute equality between Jew and Gentile with one Father (Eph. 2:13-18, 3:5-8, Gal.3:28, Col.3:10,11) and every one of the elect will be brought in (John 17:24). Successful mission work is bringing the elect into the instituted church ( the holy mountain Jerusalem etc is all couched in Old Testament terms). These converts are a meal offering to God, one to which was added frankincense (prayer), oil (the Spirit) and salt (of the covenant) c.f. Rom.15:16, II Tim.4:6). All this is God’s work…”I”.

Consecration of Levites (18)

“Replacement Theology?”-NO! “Inclusive Catholic Theology”.

Sung Psalm 135:14-21

Reading Isaiah 66:15-24

In this prophecy the wicked idolatrous Israelites indulge in abominable worship and lifestyle and will be cast off (vv17,18a), whereas God calls (gathers-Isaiah 43:5)) his elect from all (Gentile) nations(v18b). The Scriptures in both Old Testament and New Testament fulfilment are replete with this message. Isaiah 65:1, Romans 10:19-21, Deut.32:43, Luke 4, Matthew 21:43, Acts 13:46-48, Romans 11.

Stats

Why does God leave his chosen people (physical Israel) to gather in a universal (catholic) church from the Gentile nations?

  1. He is God of creation and made all peoples.
  2. Christ must have his inheritance and marry his bride of all nations.
  3. He hardens the angry reprobate Jews.
  4. He provokes Jews to jealousy and always saves a remnant.
  5. He keeps his promise to Abraham.

Christ and his ambassadors are a light to the nations (Isaiah 49:6). God monergistically (all alone) gathers his elect irresistibly. Salvation in these verses is a “seeing of God’s glory” and since the glory of God is seen in the face of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 40:5, John 1:14) it is revelation of him and as we look to him we are changed into his image (II Cor.3:18).

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.

 

Baal worship

Baal worship

He was worshiped as a fertility god who provided children. Baal worship was rooted in sensuality and involved ritualistic prostitution in the temples. As for why the worship of Baal (male) and Asherah (female) specifically was such a problem for Israel, there are several reasons: first, the worship of Baal and Asherah held the allure of illicit sex, since the religion involved ritual prostitution. This is exactly what we see in the incident of Baal of Peor, as “the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods” (Numbers 25:1-14). It was during this episode that an Israelite named Zimri brazenly brought a Midianite woman into the camp and went straight to his tent where Phinehas killed them both in their fornication.

Another reason that the worship of Baal and Asherah was a perennial problem for Israel is due to what we could call national peer pressure. Israel wanted to be like the other nations (see 1 Samuel 8:5, 20). The other nations worshiped Baal and Asherah, and so many Israelites felt a pull to do the same. Of course, we cannot overlook the fact of Satan’s temptations and mankind’s basic sinfulness. The enemy of our souls tempted Israel to worship idols; the sacrifices made to Baal and Asherah were really sacrifices to demons (1 Corinthians 10:20). The stubborn willfulness of humanity works in tandem with Satan’s seductions and causes us to jump at any chance to rebel against God. Thus Israel repeatedly forsook God’s commands, despite losing God’s blessings, and chased after the Baals and Asherahs to their own destruction.

The book of Hosea aptly uses adultery as a metaphor in describing Israel’s problem with idol worship. The Israelites were trapped in a vicious cycle of idol worship, punishment, restoration, then forgiveness, after which they went back to their idols once more. God’s patience with Israel is unfathomable by human standards;

The problem of Baal and Asherah worship was finally solved after God removed Israel from the Promised Land. Due to the Israelites’ idolatry and disregard of the Law, God brought the nations of Assyria and Babylon against them in an act of judgment. They never indulged in the same idolatry after that.
Flee fornication is the New Testament command.

While Christians today may be quick to judge the Israelites for their idolatry, we must remember that idols take many forms. Idolatrous sins still lure and tempt the modern-day believer, we today sometimes substitute self-glory/success, possessions, physical pleasure, intellectual or sporting prowess, or self-righteous false religion to the dishonouring of God. Just as God disciplined the Israelites for their idolatry and forgave them when they repented, He will graciously discipline us and forgive us in Christ. Our prayer ought to be, ” Search me O God and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23,24).

Esther and Mordecai deny the God of Israel.

Significant Silence

This article was written by Rev. Heys and published in the October 15, 1983 issue of the Standard Bearer.

____________________

The second chapter of the book of Esther is very revealing, if one does not approach it with a mind biased by the general notions concerning the principal characters in the book but lets the facts speak for themselves. It reveals nothing but deeds of unbelief both on the part of the Gentiles mentioned, of whom it can be expected, but also of the Jews, who knew the law and the prophets. And while this chapter already is revealing, what follows in the remaining chapters also underscores what we wrote before, namely, that not one of the persons mentioned by name in the book was a believer. Indeed some reveal that they know that there is a God, but without exception all show that they have no faith in God. Let us look carefully at what the one true God makes known to us in this chapter.

King Ahasuerus divorced his wife Vashti and did not so much as claim that it was because of adultery. Nor could he correctly do that. God, therefore, continued to consider her his wife; and all men were required to take that same position. Being an unbeliever, not heeding God’s word that what God joined together no man might put asunder, the king put her out of the palace. Advised by his “wise men” he sought another wife. Note that the “wise men” who accused Vashti of “too much contempt and wrath” proceeded to show contempt for God’s laws and to advise deeds rooted in wrath against God.

Shortly thereafter the king began to miss Vashti and considered restoring her. For we read in Esther 2:1 that the king’s wrath was appeased. And that word appeased is the same word that appears in Genesis 8:1 where we read of the waters of the flood being assuaged. In Esther 7:10 we find it translated as pacified. There we read of the king’s wrath being pacified after Haman was hanged on the gallows he built for Mordecai. What is more, we also read in this verse that he “remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her.” Verse 2 also makes it known that the king revealed that he missed her. For we read that his “wise men” said, “Let there be fair young virgins sought for the king.” They wanted no restoration of Vashti and were aware of the king’s loneliness and regret. Now that alcohol no longer warped his thinking, the king, reviewing in his mind what had happened, and, being sober, felt the loss.

Note that the king remembers “what had been decreed” against her. We do not read, “what he had decreed against her.” It is true that he authorized her debasement and departure from the palace. But the decree had not originated in him. He was furious. He wanted her punished. But he was not ready to punish himself by getting rid of a wife in whom he had such pride, and was to him such a treasure, as is evident from his desire to show off her beauty at the feast. His eagerness for another beautiful wife is plain from the fact that the suggestion of his servants that there be a beauty contest, so he could have another most beautiful wife, is adopted.

Having made all this known to us the chapter introduces Mordecai. Now surely he was not the same Mordecai who is mentioned in Ezra 2:2 and Nehemiah 7:7, and was one of the men who with Zerubbabel led the Jews back to Jerusalem. Some claim, or suggest this, but the somewhat detailed description of his genealogy—as well as all the acts of unbelief which he displays in the book—forbids such a conclusion. He is presented as a descendant of Kish (most likely the father of Israel’s first king) and as from the tribe of Benjamin. It is not important to determine whether this Kish is actually the father of King Saul. What is important is that he is a Benjamite, and thus a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, whose youngest son was Benjamin.

In a broad, general sense then we may say that Mordecai was a covenant father, that is, one born among the covenant people that in generations had been taught the law and the prophets, and knew God’s covenant promises. In his eloquent plea which he makes before Esther, Mordecai reveals this to be the case. He speaks of enlargement and deliverance that will arise to the Jews from another quarter, if Esther does not speak to the king (Esther 4:13). Note here his significant silence consisting in this that he does not mention God’s name, when there was a beautiful opportunity to use it, and a time when it was required.

But there are two matters here that must be considered. He is in Shushan long after the Jews had returned to Jerusalem and the promised land. Mordecai’s heart was fixed on the world, and he had no interest in returning to Jerusalem and in worshipping God in his temple. His burning desire to see Esther become queen of a godless nation, and wife of a thoroughly corrupt heathen king, reveals that.

The other matter is that although he was, in that broad sense of the word, a covenant father, of an adopted daughter whose father also was born in and raised up in the covenant sphere, she being the daughter of his own brother, he did not bring this daughter up with covenant instruction. And what those who extol Mordecai and Esther as great heroes of faith disregard completely is that Mordecai does nothing (and that word nothing can be underscored), to keep Esther out of this sinful, immoral beauty contest, is so eager to see her win it, is not at all concerned by the fact that to become the wife of Ahasuerus is a flagrant violation of the seventh commandment, and that in order to get that position he not only instructs her but commands her to turn her back completely upon God’s covenant. Let us look at that a moment more fully.

We will not accuse Mordecai of entering Esther into the wicked contest. We do not read that. We read that the king sent out men to look for fair virgins. Now Mordecai could have tried to hide her, for a time at least, but he makes no attempt. And even as there are ways to accentuate beauty of face and body, so there are ways, if one has a will and a mind to do so, to cover up and play it down. He makes no attempt and spoke no command to Esther to do so. More of this in a moment. But note that “Mordecai walked every day before the court of the woman’s house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her.” That cannot mean that he was worried about her spiritual life. It cannot mean that he feared that she would fall into temptation. He knew that she had to spend a night with the king. This was not a sin she might fall into. It was a sin required to obtain the queenship. Mordecai was quite happy to have Esther pass this test of “trial marriage” and “lustful compatibility.” Here too he is completely silent. No warning is given Esther, no command to refuse going in unto the king. In fact, both knew that all this “purifying” of the candidates was with a view to this fornication.

And all this fits in so perfectly with that command of Mordecai that she in no way at any time show that she belonged to the nation that served Jehovah! That is what it means that she must hide her kindred and her people. And that is what Mordecai wanted her to do. Now let me come back to that failure of Mordecai to keep Esther out of the wicked beauty contest. There was a way which he knew would disqualify her. There was a way whereby he could keep her from all that sin. Just let it be known that she is a Benjamite, a Jewess, one whose nation professed to believe in the God Who clearly stated, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” and no matter how beautiful of face, the king, if not the king’s men, would have no part in entering her into this beauty contest to be the queen of their land. How, O how, can you exalt a man like this and hold him up as a hero of faith?

Consider that his command to Esther means that she might never pray to Jehovah. And for what would she pray—if she did it secretly on her bed at night in the dark? Would she pray for forgiveness of her sins in which she intended to continue to walk? She was preparing for fornication and had set her face to go that way, at her uncle’s command. Could she sincerely pray for forgiveness of a sin she intended to hold on to until her fleshly ambitions were satisfied?

Not to reveal her kindred and her people meant that Esther had to desecrate the Sabbath so she could be kept on the list of candidates who would commit fornication to be joined to a godless, unbelieving king and be one flesh with him! It meant that she could not confess Jehovah and must not speak one word of faith or hope or love toward him! It meant that, what the three friends of Daniel, and Daniel himself, would not do, she would gladly do, namely, eat and drink things offered up to idols! She was to turn her back upon the Lamb of God and declare by her works that she had no connection with him whatsoever. There was no way in this heathen land and palace of a godless king that she could keep the passover and manifest faith in God’s wrath passing over her because of his Son’s blood.

But let us concentrate for the moment on this father who commands all this of her. And later we will have occasion, the Lord willing, to point out several times when he could have used God’s name, and as a believer most assuredly would have done so. Instead there comes out of his mouth not one word that indicates even a weak faith in him. How dare anyone hold him up before his children as a hero of faith, a man after God’s heart who ought to be emulated and praised for what he did for God’s church

Mordecai was interested in Israel as a nation, but not as the people of God. He was interested in having one of the seed of Abraham in the king’s palace, but he was not interested in having the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob confessed and praised in that palace. Not only did he with interest watch to see whether his daughter would succeed in this immoral night of “sleeping” with the king, he taught her also to break the ninth commandment. O, yes, you can bear false witness by silence. Silence can speak louder than words, as well as actions often speak louder than words. And Mordecai’s unbelief becomes manifest not only in what he did but in what he did not do; in what he said, but also in what he did not, would not, and could not say. Indeed we have significant silence here in this book. A silence that loudly speaks of unbelief?

Consider that in New Testament language what Mordecai commanded Esther was, “In no way, at any time, let anyone think that you are a Christian. Be sure all think you are one with the world. Let your speech be in every way the speech of the world.”

But also in New Testament language take careful note of what Jesus said in Matthew 10:32, 33: “Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess before My Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven.” That hold true also for those who teach their children not to confess Christ.

You can extol Mordecai, though he never uses God’s name and forbids his daughter to use it. But the point is that Jesus in no uncertain terms teaches that such he will not confess before his Father in heaven. How terrible that silence is, and what significance it carries!

Covenant Consecration of Israel (12)

Covenant Communion

Psalm 22:26-31

Exodus 24:1-11

Consists:

  1. Vision of God-not in himself as pure Spirit but by a manifestation, and in this case he was above a clear, blue sky typifying his transcendence above all things. He is the God of the covenant with Israel and he is the God of revelation in Christ whose feet were seen. Most theophanies (revelations of God in Christ B.C.) are full of circumlocutions where the penman can’t quite describe what he sees as he struggles to depict unsurpassable glory. Since the incarnation we see God in the face of Jesus Christ (John 1:14, 14:9).
  2. Safety in God-He “laid not his hand” on them and they saw him and lived (c.f.Ex.19:21 with law, wrath and fire and Ex.33:20)
  3. Fellowship meal with God-probably the people’s portion of the peace offering along with wine (c.f. Isaiah 25:6-7)

 

Note the number 70 of the elders, representative of Israel (as in the 70 who went down to Egypt and Christ’s 70 evangelists etc). Alongside 12 which is the usual number of the church (tribes, disciples etc).

 

In summary: The COVENANT PEOPLE needed a COVENANT MEDIATOR, so they can approach God. They do this on the basis of COVENANT BLOOD that atones for sin and then are to live true to their COVENANT CALLING by COVENANT FAITHFULNESS to the BOOK OF THE COVENANT as a kingdom of priests. In this way they enjoy COVENANT FELLOWSHIP  with God.

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 (9)

Psalm 119:105-112

Reading I Peter 1:10-25

Consecration of Israel (God’s people in every age).

In verses 10-12 the Old Testament prophets are said to be taught by the Spirit of the coming Messiah about his future suffering and glory. What was revealed to them they wrote down as inspired Scripture which signified coming reality. Their writings were Christology and soteriology. Their searching was also signified by the cherubim placed over the ark looking at the mercy seat where the blood was sprinkled (see Num.7:89). Here Christ spoke to Moses. Angels long to look into the reality of redemption which they will never experience!

Holiness in Old Testament times was the keeping of a mixture of ceremonial and moral laws e.g. Leviticus which included foods, bodily issues, sexuality and marriage. Today holiness is obedience to God’s word, killing former lusts and hoping for the second coming.

Verses 18-21 concentrate on the covenant blood of the Lamb signified by the O.T. animal sacrifices. In contrast to perishable metals Christ’s blood is eternally efficacious, incorruptible and precious.