The Melchizedek Order--Part 4
Apr 08, 2011
In looking at Ezekiel 44, so far we have focused mainly on the idolatrous priesthood that has been disqualified and barred from the Most Holy Place in the Divine Temple. The "sons of Zadok" are identified prophetically as the ones qualified to minister to God in the Sanctuary.
These are led by Jesus Christ, who is the High Priest of the Melchizedek Order (Heb. 5:10). The writer of Hebrews says in 2:17 that He is "a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God." Hence, it fulfilled the word of the Lord given to Eli in 1 Sam. 2:35, "but I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and in My soul."
The family of this faithful High Priest is the Melchizedek Order. It is not based upon physical genealogy, but upon one's spiritual relationship to that High Priest. These are "the sons of God." Being descended from Levi or Aaron is not a qualifier.
These sons of God are the overcomers. They are the ones who qualify for the first resurrection, for "they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years" (Rev. 20:6). More than that, they will be both kings and priests to God (Rev. 5:10), and they are taken "from every tribe and tongue and people and nation" (Rev. 5:9).
The Dispensationalist idea that only Jewish descendants of Aaron will be priests of God in The Age to come is a reversion to the Old Covenant and nullifies the provisions of the New Covenant.
These Melchizedek priests have access to both the outer court and the inner court, Ezekiel says. Ez. 44:16 says about them,
(16) They shall enter My sanctuary; they shall come near to My table to minister to Me and keep My charge.
Verse 19 speaks of these priests having access also to the outer court: "And when they go out into the outer court. . ."
Verses 17 and 18 tell us that these priests will have two sets of garments in which to minister.
(17) And it shall be that when they enter at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments; and wool shall not be on them while they are ministering in the gates of the inner court and in the house. (18) . . . they shall not gird themselves with anything which makes them sweat.
Sweat is a part of the curse upon Adam (Gen. 3:19). The Aaronic priesthood was to minister in linen, rather than wool, because they were types of the true priests of God who would be free from the curse of Adam. When raised in the first resurrection, they will truly be set free from the power of death and the curse upon the ground. They will minister fully from a position of God's REST, rather than by the sweat of their brow.
These linen garments, Paul says, are reserved for us in heaven (2 Cor. 5:1). He calls it a house, a tent, and clothing. 2 Cor. 5:2-4 says,
(2) For indeed in this house we do groan, longing to be CLOTHED with our dwelling from heaven. (4) For indeed while we are in this [mortal] tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be UNCLOTHED, but to be CLOTHED, in order that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.
The linen garments, then, represent an immortal body. The "tent" that we now live in is a mortal body. These two tents correlate prophetically with the linen and wool garments of Ezekiel 44. The prophet was telling us of future things associated with the future temple built upon the foundation of apostles and prophets. He was not speaking of the literal sons of Zadok in his own day, but of the Melchizedek Order that was yet to receive the ministry when its faithful High Priest should appear. The physical sons of Zadok served only as a type of the true priesthood yet to come.
2 Cor. 5:1-4 is part of Paul's commentary on the priesthood that really begins in chapter 3. First he laid the foundation of teaching in regard to the physical type in the Old Testament, showing how it prophesied of the spiritual reality under the New Covenant. The first was "the ministry of death" (3:6), and is contrasted to "the ministry of the Spirit" (3:8) found in the New Covenant.
The first reached its pinnacle with the face of Moses being glorified. His glory faded, however, because it was yet subject to "the ministry of death." He had to put a veil over his face, which blinded the hearts of the people (not Moses' heart). It was not for them to see the glory of God in a sustained, permanent manner, for this is not possible apart from the complete fulfillment of the New Covenant. The New Covenant finds its culmination in the resurrection of the dead or the transformation of those who are alive at the time of His coming.
Paul relates the removal of the veil to the ability to see the glory of God in us. In 3:18 he says,
(18) But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
We already have this glory within us, if we have indeed come into a New Covenant relationship with God through Jesus Christ. That glory is currently veiled, and it can be discerned only with spiritual eyes. But Paul looks forward to the great unveiling, when the glory of God will be manifest in the earth. This is the "manifestation of the sons of God" (Rom 8:19). It literally means the UNVEILING of the sons of God.
So in 2 Cor. 4, Paul continues to explain how the veil on Moses' face prophesied of the veil on those who remain under the Old Covenant. To such people, the glory of God remains hidden. They did not witness the glory of Christ's transfiguration (Matt. 17), nor do they see the glory of God in the true believers in Christ. Yet, Paul says in 2:7, speaking of the Light of His glory, "we have this treasure in earthen vessels."
This unveiling, then, is pictured in chapter 5 as the change of garments. The unveiling of Jesus Christ in us is the change from a mortal body to an immortal body. This is prophesied in the Old Testament as the change from woolen to linen garments that were to be worn by the priests when they went into the sanctuary.
It speaks of spiritual garments, by which we may enter the true Sanctuary in heaven. One cannot enter heaven in a woolen (mortal) garment. Yet Ezekiel 44:19 tells us that the "Zadok" order must change back into their woolen garments when they go into the outer court to minister directly to the people (on earth).
In other words, the Melchizedek Order will be able to minister in both heaven and in earth in that day of the unveiling of Jesus Christ. (This day is the eighth day of the feast of Tabernacles.) Those ministers who are believers but not overcomers will be limited to an earthly ministry of teaching, preaching, and evangelism. They will have to minister in their woolens in the outer court of the people. But those who attain to the first resurrection as the unveiled sons of God will have access to both heaven and earth.
We see our prime example of this after Jesus was presented to the Father as the resurrected Son of God. When He returned to earth to minister to His disciples, He put on "woolen" garments, because Ez. 44:19 specifically prohibited Him from ministering in the outer court in linen garments. Hence, He always appeared in a physical body. Luke 24:37-39 says that the disciples thought at first that they were seeing a spirit, but Jesus told them plainly that He was appearing to them in "flesh and bones." He even ate with them to prove that He was complying with the mandate in Ezekiel 44:19.
This is the final part of a series titled "The Melchizedek Order." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones