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THE SERVICE of The Temple
to be performed within its courts and walls by the "priests to God" and to the people. These, as we have shown, are immortal and mortal men, the sons of Zadok and the sons of Aaron. So long as sin and death are in the world, the Melchisedec service of the Messiah-erected temple will continue; and the sons of Zadok, the Prince, or Just One, members of his immortal flesh and bones, will also with him be sacerdotally regarded as identified with the sins and trespasses of the people.
Therefore it is, that the priesthood under the New Covenant of the kingdom is not purely immortal, but of a mixed character. A priesthood composed entirely of resurrection men, of angelic or spiritual nature, in whose flesh there was no sin or evil principle, would not be in harmony with the institution, and therefore unfit to perform a service for the purification of the erring and the ignorant; for priesthood must be sympathetically related to the ignorant who worship through it, having infirmity in itself, that it may offer for itself as well as for the people.
The infirmity of the New Covenant priesthood of the kingdom resides not in Zadok and his sons, but in the priests, the Levites, who minister to the people, and perform the humbler duties of the order. Nevertheless, the Just One and his sons are represented in the service as offering their burnt offerings, and peace offerings; not for themselves as individuals and sinners, but only in their priestly capacity as part of a priesthood of mixed character, which partakes of Christ's mortal flesh, as well as his immortal nature, in reckoning the mortal descendants of Levi and Aaron among its constituents.
It would be discordant with the fitness of things that the priesthood should be wholly mortal, or entirely constituted of immortals, seeing that the kingdom itself is a mixed institution the subjects thereof being Israelites in flesh and blood; and its higher order of kings or rulers, incorruptible men. The Twelve Tribes will then be obedient, and keep the covenant of Yahweh, and be "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." This is said of Israel in flesh and blood subsisting. They will be the secondary kings and priests over the nations; the intermediate order between these and Zadok and his sons, the kings and priests to God over them and all the earth.
The kingdom and priesthood under the Mosaic law was of an unmixed character, the members of its civil and ecclesiastical orders being all of them subject to death. Not so, however, with the kingdom and its orders in the Age to Come. Its subjects and inheritors are an intermingling of flesh and spirit, until the kingdom shall be surrendered to the Father at "The End;" when the people, and all their superiors worthy of exaltation, shall be all spirits, or incorruptible men; and priesthood and priestly service, but not the royalty, will be done away.
Israel and the nations subjected to them will bring of the flocks and herds of Kedar, and of the rams of Nebaioth, and present them for sin offerings, and burnt offerings, and thank offerings at the north gate of the inner court of the temple; and present them to the Levites of Aaron's seed. These, who are not permitted to approach the altar, nor to minister before the Lord in the temple, will have the "charge at the gates of the house, and minister to the house" "for all the service thereof, and for all that shall be done therein."
They will therefore take charge of the people's gifts; and "they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister unto them." They will slay the sacrifices, namely, "the burnt offering, and the sin offering, and the trespass offerings," upon the eight tables of hewn stone in the porch of the north gate, and at the right and left side of the north entrance without. They will then wash them in the place appointed at this gate; and divide a portion to the people, and reserve that devoted to the Lord.
The people's part of the sacrifices they will boil in the corner courts of the paved outer court of the sanctuary; but "the most holy things," or parts of the sacrifices and offerings dedicated to the Lord, of the meat offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering, will be boiled and baked in "the holy chambers of the priests" on the two sides west of the inner court, and eaten there by the sons of Zadok, "the priests that approach unto the Lord." After this arrangement will "all they that sacrifice come and take of the pots of the Lord's house, and seethe therein"-Zechariah 14: 21.
While the Levites are slaying the sacrifices and passing to and fro in the inner court, they are to wear linen garments that perspiration may not be produced. But they are not to go forth into the outer court with these upon them; but to put them off "and lay them in the holy chambers, and put on other garments:" and the reason given is, that "they shall not sanctify the people in their garments." It will be their duty after washing the sacrifices, to transfer the fat and the blood to the sons of Zadok, who on the Eighth Day, which is our First Day of the week, and the Sabbath of the Age to Come, instead of the Seventh, as under Moses' law-on the Eighth, shall they burn the fat upon the altar, and sprinkle the blood upon it.
This is the duty of Zadok's seed. They are privileged to approach the altar and to enter into the temple, and stand before the Lord; but not the Levites, the people's priests. They are ministers of death to the sacrifices before the people; but the sons of Zadok, everliving ministers, salvation-clothed, before the Lord. The former slay the unblemished yearling lamb for the daily morning offering by fire, the voluntary offerings of the Prince, and the things devoted of the people; while the latter cause their rich odour to ascend in clouds from Hah ariail haharail, the Altar, or Lion of the Mountain of God.