New Testament Clean & Unclean Laws Defined
The Lawful Terms Which Communicate the Operation of NT Redemption
The shadows of Old Testament Law have gloriously faded away,
The Son of God hath risen like the brightness of noon day.
Every shadow which typologically depicted any act of saving grace,
Is gloriously fulfilled by Jesus Christ in a Heavenly Place!
Even though the New Testament is a “Better Covenant” with “Better Promises”, and even though the NT is inexplicably the long awaited dawn of “reformation” (Heb. 8:6), let us understand the terms: the dawn of salvation is still described in the ceremonial term -- “cleansing” (Acts 10:15, Titus 2:5-7, 1 Pet. 1:18-19, Heb. 7:26-27)! The dawn of salvation in Jesus Christ is still described in the ceremonial terms consistent with The Clean & Unclean Laws in their New Testament Reality! My reader this should give us some p-a-u-s-e.
Do we, the Gentile Church, think to understand the glorious work of salvation in Jesus Christ while remaining estranged from the ceremonial and Jewish language used by the inspired writers of the New Testament?
Without being enriched by the word-usage, language, and meaning of the Law, the under-privileged and poor Gentiles (who for past ages were “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel”-Eph.2:12) will be guided by the bias of their ideologies and life-experiences without even knowing it. Just because a text appears to be “such and such”, relativistic misinterpretations reign! That which was meant to be clear and objective has turned unintelligible and relative for the most part. My reader, did you know that the Old Testament existed so that we might understand the New Testament?
God invested in centuries of work to explain and exemplify what He thinks, feels, and does in relationship to unclean things, especially in one of the nine places or persons which were The Church, typologically and historically speaking. These relationships (being long established) explain and exemplify how we are to understand their New Testament parallel – how God does, likewise, as the OT examples, think, feel, and act in the New Testament situations! The Old Testament passed away because it lacked eternality and sufficiency, specifically because its ceremonies were earthly instead of heavenly (for the earthliness and carnality of the OT see Heb. 9:9, 10:1-4, 22, Gal. 4:3, 9, Col. 2:20), but these shadows do declare and explain the attributes of NT realities (which are heavenly and eternal), realities which are unfathomable without their shadows (see Col. 2:9-17, Heb. 8:1-6, 9:23-24).
Scriptural truth is to be ingested that we might live and move by the energies of it (“the word of God is quick and powerful”-Heb.4:12)! Therefore just as the Old Testament saints learned that unclean things were AMBOMINABLE to God (which means: hateful, unbearable, disgusting, and infuriating), and just as Old Testament saints learned what happened when they “touched” these “things”, even so, we, in the Gentile Church Age, need to live towards God according to the paralleling New Testament realities applied by the inspired writers! The Old Testament saints knew that God abhorred that which was “unclean” about a “thing”, and if the abhorrent “thing” was touched by the Israelites the God-forsaken qualities of the “thing” became their identity before God (they became “unclean” like the “unclean thing”)! While understanding that this is how God thinks, feels, and acts toward “unclean things” – toward filthiness, pollution, corruption, defilement, spots, and blemishes – the foregone sections which defined these terms in New Testament reality acquire meaning and life in our personal walk with God. With these truths properly realized by Christians, our behavior toward unclean things will resemble the behavior of Old Testament saints depicted in the biblical and historical situations which serve as our examples. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16).
Having just surveyed the terms of uncleanness in New Testament reality and, consequentially, being sobered thereby, we must also discover the terms of cleanness in New Testament reality. Having comprehended how God thinks, feels, and acts towards “unclean things”, we must, moreover, comprehend how God thinks, feels, and acts toward “clean things”! Just as our souls have been animated to feel the uncleanness of the “unclean thing”, and, thus, we have acquired a godly hatred for the God-abominated entity, even so, also, we must be animated to feel the cleanness of the “clean thing”, and, thus, acquire a godly admiration for the God-adored entity. Think of it, my reader! When unclean things are present God refuses to draw near! By the sheer magnitude of God’s displeasure, hatred, and holy disgust He refuses to draw near! But, on the contrary, what does God think, feel, and act when and if the place and persons before Him are biblically separated, un-touched by uncleanness, and perfected in holiness!? God’s displeasure would turn to delight, His hatred to happiness, and His disgust to devoutness! God said, “I will receive you”! Antithetical to the hatred whereby God forsook men and refused to drawn near, God will embrace us and hush every disconsolate fear! If we are biblically separated we are, from God, inseparable! And if we have come into agreement with what God calls clean (via repentance and faith, personally and corporately), God will presently and continuously cleanse us as a consequence of His abiding presence among us and within us, hallelujah!
Henceforth, my reader, we should be filled with holy amazement every time the inspired writers of the New Testament communicate the operation of redemption for Christians as a cleansing, hallowing, purifying, purging, sanctifying, washing, and sprinkling! Being thus identified by the infallible and inerrant word of God, it is, to wit, we might come to a holy realization of our identity in Christ! It is, to wit, we might approach God in the confidence that we are: “the cleansed”, “the hallowed”, “the purified”, “the purged”, “the sanctified”, “the washed”, and “the sprinkled” (“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance”-Ps. 33:12)! It is, to wit, we might approach God with the feeling that we are welcomed and invited, as objects of His delight and children of His happiness, to whom God has pledged Himself in terms of endearment, saying, “I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:17-18)! One might be inclined to emphasize The Doctrine of Separation to convey all that mankind must be set-apart-from, but God does furthermore emphasize the blessings and benefits which mankind can be set-apart-unto!
God’s Abiding Presence: “For wherein shall it be known here that I and Thy people have found grace in Thy sight? Is it not in that Thou goest with us? So shall we be separated, I and Thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.” – Exodus 33:16
God’s Abiding Presence via The Tabernacle: “Thus shall ye separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they die not in their uncleanness, when they defile My Tabernacle that is among them.” – Lev. 15:31
Every Israelite Becoming God’s Prized Possession: “I am the LORD your God, which have separated you from other people…I have separated from you…And ye shall be holy unto Me; for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be Mine.” – Lev. 20:22-27
Every Nazarite Becoming God’s Prized Possession: “…when either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD” – Num. 6:2
Every Levite Becoming God’s Prized Possession: “Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be Mine.” – Num. 8:14
Every Priest Becoming God’s Top-Tier Prized Possession: “And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto them to hallow them, to minister unto Me in the Priest’s Office: …thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons.” - Ex. 29:1, 9
By way of cleansing, hallowing, purifying, purging, sanctifying, washing, and sprinkling, separation is salvation in New Testament reality (existing in three progressive stages: initial, present-progressive, and final)! This salvation is a sanctification via man-to-God unification and cohabitation, as it is written. This means that when mankind is separated --- it is so that, God said, “ye should be Mine” (Lev. 20:26)! God said, “ye shall be holy unto Me; for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be Mine” (Lev. 20:26). Whether the scripture is speaking of Israel (Lev. 20:22-27, Lev. 15:31), the Nazarites (Num. 6:2), the Levites (Num. 8:14), or the Priests (Ex. 29:1, 9), the principle motivation for separation is the same – the separated individual is a beneficiary of God’s Presence for Divine purposes! In and through these biblical and historical events we, the Gentile Church Age, are enabled to understand the significance of salvation through Jesus Christ, The Priest after the order of Melchisedec.
In what shadow-to-reality are Christians set-apart-unto GOD?
The Tabernacle/Temple: “And thou shalt take the anointing oil, and anoint The Tabernacle, and all that is therein, and shalt hallow it, and all the vessels thereof: and it shall be holy. And thou shalt anoint the altar of the burnt offering, and all his vessels, and sanctify the altar: and it shall be an altar most holy. And thou shalt anoint the laver and his foot, and sanctify it. And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water. And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto Me in the priest's office. And thou shalt bring his sons, and clothe them with coats: And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto Me in the priest's office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations. Thus did Moses: according to all that the LORD commanded him, so did he.” – Exodus 40:9-16
A Time of Restoration: “And said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify The House of the LORD God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of The Holy Place. For our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD our God, and have forsaken Him, and have turned away their faces from The Habitation of the LORD, and turned their backs. Also they have shut up the doors of the porch, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense nor offered burnt offerings in the holy place unto the God of Israel. Wherefore the wrath of the LORD was upon Judah and Jerusalem, and he hath delivered them to trouble, to astonishment, and to hissing, as ye see with your eyes. For, lo, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this. Now it is in mine heart to make a Covenant with the LORD God of Israel, that his fierce wrath may turn away from us.” – 2 Chronicles 29:5-10
When men are set-apart-unto God via regeneration in New Testament salvation, it is likened to how The Temple of old was set-apart-unto God (1 Cor. 3:16-17, 6:15-20, Heb. 3:6, 1 Pet. 2:4-6, Eph. 2:19-22). The Tabernacle and all the objects within were hallowed by the anointing oil to wit that it would become a desirable haven in which God would reside. Even so Christians, individually speaking, have become set-apart-unto God as a “The Temple of the Holy Ghost” (1 Cor. 6:15-20): a place desirable to God, and a material housing used to adorn God’s presence on earth. Just as the Levites were purchased by the blood of the firstborn of Egypt (Num. 8:14-18), the bodies of individual Christians were “bought with a price” to become the property in which God’s resides in NT reality like the OT shadow, The Temple (1 Cor. 6:15-20). Furthermore all Christians (collectively speaking via Christian assemblies), gather together to become “a spiritual House” (1 Pet. 2:4-6) and a “Holy Temple” (Eph. 2:21) for the Lord. This means that when Christians come together in a Christian assembly, the gathering exists in reality like as the shadow exemplified in “The Temple of the Living God” via the Old Testament (2 Cor. 6:16-17) --- a gathering which was built for and existing so that, shockingly, the presence of GOD’s GLORY would dwell in the midst of it (“the glory of the LORD filled the Tabernacle”-Ex.40:34, “the glory of the LORD had filled the House of the LORD”-1Kings8:10-11)! Each individual Christian is called to assemble together with one another in spiritual unity, with every member of the body of Christ joined together like the stones of The Temple were “builded together for an Habitation of God” in the Old Testament (Eph. 2:19-22), a place where God’s glory dwelt. The plurality of God’s people is in view here, in Ephesians 2:19-22 and 1 Peter 2:4-6. ALL the saints, together, “are built up a spiritual House” in which the Spirit of God delights to take full possession and habitation within (1 Pet. 2:5-6), as long as they, like Hezekiah, “carry forth” all “filthiness” out of The Holy Place (i.e. the place at which the NT saints have gathered together; see 2 Chron. 29:5-10, 2 Cor. 6:16-7:1). When and if the assembly of NT saints do, as the scripture commands, “cleanse [themselves] from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit”, the earthly location at which we have gathered as a congregation does then become The Holy Place of the New Testament, The House of the LORD, a place in which the glory of the LORD does appear and abide!
As God said to Abraham, “Get thee out” (Gen. 12:1), as Moses said to the remnant of The Church of his day as it suffered an insurrection of apostasy, “Get you up” and “Depart” (Num. 16:24, 26), and as Isaiah called to The Church of his day, saying, “Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD” (Isaiah 52:11), even so now, in the 21st century, the clarion call goes forth again, saying, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing”… but will we understand the promise of God, “I will receive you” (2 Cor. 6:17)!? Will we seek holiness, separateness, and cleanliness for the purpose that we would become, like the OT Tabernacle and Temple, an habitation of the glory of the LORD (Eph. 2:19-22)? For this supreme end we have been set-apart-unto God, but will we reckon with the conditions laid upon us by scripture? Will we understand that the Old Testament Temple, its belongings, and its personage had to be holy, as Isaiah was careful to articulate the holy calling in correlation to a specified people, “ye…that bear the vessels of the LORD” (Isa. 52:11)? Will we finally realize that the OT Temple existed so that we might understand the NT Temple (“For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them.”-Matt.18:20)? In the New Testament, not only are Christians identified as the very stones of the Temple and its belongings, but we are the priesthood as well! Therefore we, as stones (Eph. 2:19-22), as Lampstands (Matt. 5:14, Lk. 12:35, Rev. 1:20, 2:1, 11:4), and as priests (1 Pet. 2:9, Rev. 1:6) MUST BE CLEAN & HOLY! To what end?
All this is to the end that we might experience the full volume of salvation as it was promised to us in the Covenant Agreement through Jesus Christ (“the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them”-John17:22). Christians, like the OT Priests, the Levites, and the Temple, have been set-apart unto God for the Divine Purposes of His glory (“I in them, Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me”-John17:23)! But, alas, if there is uncleanness present this purpose is frustrated! Think of it, my reader, what if the people of Israel didn’t fulfill what God commanded of Moses, saying, “Sanctify them…let them wash their clothes” (Ex. 19:10), would the people have been acceptable unto God nevertheless? Nay. The people would have been rendered unacceptable and the Old Covenant wouldn’t have commenced! Furthermore, what if the people were not sanctified via the blood-sprinkling of sacrifices (see Ex. 24:6-8), would the people have been acceptable to God nevertheless? What if the High Priest was not qualified by water-washing in the holy place (Lev. 16:24), would the offering on the Day of Atonement have been acceptable nevertheless? What if the priesthood were not water-washed to perform the daily sacrifices in the Tabernacle/Temple (Ex. 30:17-21), would they have been accepted nevertheless? What if the Tabernacle/Temple itself had no Washing Laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar (Ex. 40:1-8), what would have happened to the vocation of the priesthood which was intended to perform the daily ministration of ceremonial atonement before God Almighty? What if the priesthood was not hallowed, anointed, washed, and sprinkled with oil, water, and blood, and what if they were not arrayed in holy garments as the scripture prescribed (Ex. 29:1-21, 40:9-16), would the wrath of God against sin still have been legally directed away from the Israelites and, rather, unto the sin-burdened bodies of dead animals which were laid upon the priestly altars? The priesthood had garments to wear which were – “for glory and for beauty” – and God said, “anoint them”, “consecrate them”, “and sanctify them”, “that they may minister unto Me in the priest’s office” (Ex. 28:39-43), but what if this consecration and sanctification had never happened? What if, in this very specific way, the priesthood had not kept their garments glorious and beautiful, perfected in holiness? Furthermore, also, what if the Levites (who were the special property of God above the average Israelite) did not obey the command, “separate the Levites” (Num. 8:14)? The Lord commanded, “cleanse them”, “sprinkle the water of purifying upon them”, “wash their clothes”, “and so make themselves clean” (Num. 8:6-7), but if the Levites were not “purified” in this way (Num. 8:21)… would they have been acceptable to the LORD nevertheless?
Now in the New Covenant (“the time of reformation”-Heb.9:10) we have been liberated from the requirements of an earthly sanctification via water-washings, oil-anointings, and material garments--this is true, but we are NOT liberated from the requirements of a heavenly sanctification via the reality of Old Testament shadows which are, nevertheless, water-washings, oil-anointings, blood-sprinklings, and garment-beautifications! This is because our liberation from the Earthly Ceremonial Law came by a FULFILLMENT of the Heavenly Ceremonial Law, thus did Jesus of Nazareth arise from the grave and ascend into Heaven as The Great High Priest (Heb. 4:14-15)! Because of this, redeemed men of the Gentile Church Age are “washed”, “sanctified”, and “justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus” (1 Cor. 6:11). My reader, they must be! Gentile Christians have become “a royal priesthood” in the sight of God (1 Pet. 2:9), therefore if they are not “washed”, “sanctified”, and “justified”, their priesthood would be delinquent and their wrath-absorbing ministerial activity towards God would be rejected, just as it would have been in the parallel situations of the Old Testament. You see, my reader, the redeemed men of the New Testament have been water-washed (“the washing of regeneration”-Tit.3:5), oil-anointed (“the anointing”-1Jn.2:27), blood-sprinkled (“the blood of sprinkling”-Heb.12:24, “the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ”-1Pet.1:2), and priestly-garment-adorned (“white raiment”-Rev.3:18, “beautiful garments”-Isa.52:1, “white robes”-Rev.7:13-14, “fine linen”-Rev.19:8,14); and, furthermore, just as the stones and materials of the Tabernacle/Temple needed to be likewise sanctified and of a certain grade of dignity, even so saints must be (see 1 Cor. 6:15-20, 1 Cor. 3:10-17, Heb. 3:6, 1 Pet. 2:4-6, Eph. 2:19-22)! Therefore as priests (“a royal priesthood”-1Pet.2:9) our ministerial activity is, namely, “the sacrifice of praise to God” (Heb. 13:15-16), hallelujah!
My reader, pause and consider the significance of the scripture citations laid forth in the former paragraph. The experience of salvation in the New Testament is communicated to us, the Gentiles, as water-washing, oil-anointing, blood-sprinkling, priestly-garment-adornment, and Temple-stone-dignity because the Old Covenant was an Earthly Infrastructure of Salvation made after the similitude of a Heavenly Infrastructure of Salvation. Therefore the Missionary Circuit of Jesus Christ from heaven-to-earth and earth-to-heaven was for the accomplishment of sacrificial atonement conducted by a High Priest (Heb. 7:26-28) to the end that something would happen that had never happened before – human blood would be sprinkled upon the infrastructure of salvation in the heavenly realm of immaterial and eternal things (Heb. 9:16-24). This blood merited the cause of humanity’s resurrection from death, their ascension from earth-to-heaven, and their co-glorification with Jesus Christ in the Offices which belong to Him (“Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us Kings and Priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”-Rev.1:5-6, Rom.8:17), namely because this blood was from a substitutionary sacrifice. A substitutionary sacrifice--my reader, have you comprehended its significance!? Jesus Christ was a sin-burdened human body for the purpose of human redemption (Heb. 9:11-15) in a ceremony which began on earth to be conjoined in the operation of redemption which existed in heaven – thus we see the commencement of the New Covenant (“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to Him that appointed Him, as also Moses was faithful in all his House.”-Heb.3:1-2)! This is a wondrous redemption, which now is, and it is altogether unintelligible without the foregone ages of tutoring which God mercifully provided in the Testament which is now called “Old”. Even so now, because of the “New”, the Earthly Infrastructure of Salvation in all its glory is accounted as mere shadows in comparison to the glory that surpasses it! “For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which was done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious” (2 Cor. 3:10-11)!
All this being said, let us understand the language of human redemption! How that, upon conversion, redeemed mankind is instantaneously water-washed (“the washing of regeneration”-Tit.3:5), oil-anointed (“the anointing”-1Jn.2:27), blood-sprinkled (“the blood of sprinkling”-Heb.12:24, “the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ”-1Pet.1:2), priestly-garment-adorned (“white raiment”-Rev.3:18, “beautiful garments”-Isa.52:1, “white robes”-Rev.7:13-14, “fine linen”-Rev.19:8,14), and Temple-stone-dignified ( “gold, silver, precious stones” – 1 Cor. 3:10-17, 2 Tim. 2:20-21, Rev. 21:9-21, 1 Pet. 2:4-6, Eph. 2:19-22, 1 Cor. 6:15-20, Heb. 3:6) because of the indwelling of Jesus Christ within the soul of man (which is the accomplishment of imputed righteousness). This is true, gloriously true! But even though all of these attributes of redemption/sanctification are past-tense experiences accomplished at the instance of true conversion to Jesus Christ, they can be forfeited anytime thereafter. In the Old Testament, for example, even though the people of Israel were at one time sanctified according to the commandment of God (Ex. 19:10), they could become unsanctified at any time thereafter. Even though the people were sanctified via blood-sprinkling (Ex. 24:6-8), they could profane and forfeit that sanctification any time thereafter. Therefore like as the Old Testament Priesthood had to presently and progressively maintain their sanctification of water-washing on a daily basis (Ex. 30:17-21), so must the New Testament Priesthood be presently and progressively cleansed and washed (1 Jn. 1:9, 2 Cor. 7:1, Heb. 10:22). Think of it, my reader. Just because the Old Testament Priesthood was hallowed, anointed, washed, and sprinkled with oil, water, and blood, and adorned with holy garments (Ex. 29:1-21, 40:9-16), they forfeited the attributes of their sanctification the day they touched the Unclean Thing! Therefore the shadow-to-reality doctrines of holiness beg the New Testament Priesthood to understand that…
We, as Believers, have a faith to keep – Col. 1:23, Matt. 24:13, John 15:9-10, Acts 11:23, 14:22, Rom. 2:7, Heb. 3:6, 3:14, 4:14, 10:38, Rev. 2:10
We, as Priests, have garments to keep in the beauties of holiness – Christ’s Righteousness: Matt. 17:2, Mk. 9:3, Lk. 24:4; A Standard of Acceptability: Rev. 7:13-14, 19:8, 14; The Need of Keeping One’s Garments Holy: Rev. 3:4, 18, 16:15, Jude 1:23, Matt. 22:11-12, Eph. 5:25-27
We, as Priests, have daily sacrifices to maintain before God – An Individual & Personal Sacrifice: Rom. 12:1-2, Gal. 2:20, 5:24, Rom. 8:13, 1 Cor. 15:31; A Collective & Corporate Sacrifice: Rom. 15:15-19, 2 Cor. 6:17-18; Priestly & Ministerial Sacrifices: Heb. 13:15-16, 1 Pet. 2:5, Php. 4:18, Rev. 8:3-4
We, as Priests, have a blood-sprinkling and a water-washing to keep, whereby we might daily draw near to God in the New Testament Most Holy Place – In the New Testament Code of the Priesthood there is a holy washing and a holy water like as the OT type (Lev. 16:24, 26, Ex. 30:20-21, 40:12), and only this washing is for the NT holy place called, the “House of God” (see Heb. 10:19-25), which is namely, “the assembling of ourselves together” (Heb. 10:25, Matt. 18:20, Jn. 5:21)! So my reader, what about you? Are you “washed with pure water” so that you might “draw near” with assurance that your presence in the House of God will not defile it (Heb. 10:22, 1 Cor. 3:17)? No Hebrew Israelite would have “boldness”, or fearlessness, “to enter into the holiest” of the New Testament House of God without the ceremonial preparations which God has mercifully provided (Heb. 10:19-22). After being “washed” and “sprinkled” (Heb. 10:22, 1 Pet. 1:2), then they would have boldness to stand before God; because they were made ceremonially qualified they will not die (“they shall wash with water, that they die not”-Ex.30:20-21). Therefore, my reader, there is a NT “washing”, without which no man can become a part of the Spiritually-Organic House of God, and it is called “the washing of regeneration” (Titus 3:5)! Yes, and also, there is a ministration of Church officers (Eph. 4:11) who are gifted and employed in a Divinely-empowered task (Eph. 4:8, 12, 1 Cor. 3:5-10), a task which they, through the Lord, “labour” to accomplish (1 Cor. 3:9, 2 Cor. 11:2, Col. 1:28-29) what Christ died to accomplish (Col. 1:22, Jude 24), so that through Holy-Ghost preaching (2 Tim. 1:14), otherwise known as the “washing of water by the word” (Eph. 5:26, Col. 1:28-29, John 7:38, 15:3), the Bride would be beautified into an acceptable condition when she is finally presented to Christ (Eph. 4:26-27, 2 Cor. 11:2)! Such a great Bride must be prepared and made ready (Rev. 19:7)! She must be ceremonially, spiritually, and gloriously arrayed, even so. “Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments” (Isa. 52:1)! God help us to see these things! God help us to reorganize our lives to obtain them! God help us to come together as saints, for we NEED each other!
We, as “God’s People”, have a holiness, a sanctification, a separation, a consecration to maintain – Holiness & Sanctification via Initial Conversion: Eph. 1:13, Jude 1:1, 1 Pet. 1:2, 1 Jn. 2:20, 1 Cor. 1:30, 6:11, Heb. 3:1, 10:10, 10:14, Rom. 11:16, 2 Thess. 2:13; A Need to Keep-up Holiness, Separation, & Sanctification: Rom. 12:1-2 [via personal sacrifice], 1 Cor. 3:17 [individual and corporate via heavenly wisdom], 2 Cor. 13:14 [by communion with the Holy Ghost], Eph. 1:4 [by making your calling and election sure individually], Eph. 2:21 [in connection to Christ, the Corner Stone, both individually and corporately], Eph. 4:30 [by avoiding sin which grieves the Holy Ghost which means, a conversation without filthiness], Eph. 5:27 [individually and corporately so as to be an acceptable Bride], Col. 1:22 [by having present-continuous faith in the cross], Col. 3:12 [by putting on the bowels of the Lord Jesus, which are holy], Heb. 6:4-6 [by not falling away], 1 Pet. 1:15-16 [by being “as He is” in this world], 1 Pet. 2:5 [by being a “holy priesthood”], 1 Pet. 3:5 [by wives being subject to their husbands in the Lord], 2 Pet. 2:21 [by steadfastly keeping as in the beginning the holy commandments of God], 2 Pet. 3:11 [because of the earth burning up and the second coming of Christ], Jude 1:20 [by building up our faith], 1 Thess. 5:23-24 [by being sanctified in body, soul, and spirit unto the coming of the Lord], Rev. 20:6 [by keeping the faith], Rev. 22:11 [by being holy presently and progressively unto the end], Rom. 6:19-22 [by abounding in fruitfulness more and more unto the end], 2 Cor. 7:1 [by individual and corporate holiness unto perfection], Eph. 4:24 [by steadfastly abiding in the nature in which we have been created in Christ], 1 Thess. 3:13 [by abiding in the characterization of unblameable holiness], 1 Thess. 4:3-4 & 17 [by abstaining from fornication], 1 Tim. 2:15 [by a continuance of charity, faith, sobriety, and godly subjection to men in the Church], Titus 2:3 [by good behavior], Heb. 12:10 [by enduring chastisement], Heb. 12:14 [by keeping oneself from the defilement which springs from bitter roots], Rom. 15:16 [by individual and corporate sanctification via obedience to God in word and deed], 2 Tim. 2:21 [by living a separated life from unbelievers and backsliders with purity of heart], Heb. 10:29 [by living a lifestyle without willful sin because of a steadfast admiration of the blood of Jesus’s sanctification]
We, as “God’s People”, have a purity to maintain – Purification via Initial Conversion: Titus 2:14, Matt. 5:8, 1 Pet. 1:22; A Purity, Purification, & Pureness to Keep-up: 2 Cor. 6:6 [by following in the way of the apostles, whose ways are in Christ Jesus], James 4:8 [by a hatred of the world; by spiritual virginity & chastity via avoiding or being restored from spiritual adultery against God], Acts 20:26 [by preaching the full counsel of God in the scope of every individual Christian’s sphere of influenced allotted by God], 1 Tim. 1:5 [by charity], 1 Tim. 3:9 & 2 Tim. 1:3 [by conscience], 2 Tim. 2:22 [by heart], Heb. 10:22 [by pure water], James 1:27 [by pure religion], James 3:17 [by heavenly wisdom], 1 Pet. 1:22 [by the Spirit of God which enables fervent charity], 1 Jn. 3:3 [by being “as He is” in this world], Php. 4:8 [by thought, meditation, and a continual renewal of mind]
We, as “God’s People”, have a cleansing to maintain – Cleansing via Initial Conversion: Acts 10:15, 11:9; A Cleansing to Keep-up: 1 Jn. 1:7 [by abiding in the Light of God’s presence], 1 Jn. 1:9 [by confessing and forsaking all known sin committed against God whether past or present], Eph. 5:26 [by the washing of the word], 2 Cor. 7:1 [a cleansing which is individual and corporate for the perfection of holiness which results in Divine Reception], James 4:8 [by hands]
We, as “God’s People”, have a purging to maintain – Purging via Initial Conversion: Heb. 1:3, 9:14; A Purging to Keep-up: 2 Pet. 1:9 [by continually and steadfastly remembering the purging qualities of the blood of Jesus so as to abound in fruit presently and progressively], 2 Tim. 2:21 & 1 Cor. 5:7 [a purging which is both individual and corporate by keeping ourselves and The Church pure from unbelievers and backsliders]
We know that, in the Old Testament, once all the ceremonies of sanctification were accomplished in their completed forms, if they were not presently and progressively kept-up and maintained… the sanctification would have been lost. The one-time sanctification must be persevered day by day. “He that is holy, let him be holy still” (Rev. 22:11)! Otherwise like the old-time saints defiled the Temple of God, so will we! For this reason we are warned by the apostle Paul,
“Know ye not that ye are The Temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile The Temple of God, him shall God destroy; for The Temple of God is holy, which Temple ye are.” – 1 Cor. 3:16-17 [see c.f. Num. 17:12-13]
What an alarming threat by Almighty God, “him shall God destroy” (1 Cor. 3:17)! We need to understand the deplorableness of our sin in that it defiles the Temple of God itself, the holy place! And we need to understand the goodliness of our salvation in Christ (past, present-progressive, and future) in that it cleanses away the wrath-kindling, love-frustrating, and glory-hindering abomination called sin! My reader, have you understood these two points in their New Testament realities?
According to salvation in Jesus Christ we have become “the cleansed”, “the hallowed”, “the purified”, “the purged”, “the sanctified”, “the washed”, “the sprinkled”, “the anointed”, “the priestly-garment-adorned”, and “the Temple-stone-dignified”, and having been thus consecrated unto God for an instrument of His glory on earth, might I ask, where is the glory of God? The glory of the LORD has departed from the 21st century Gentile Church, my reader, but why? We have not kept the faith of God in Christ through grace – which is, namely, a keeping of holiness, sanctification, and purification via a day by day cleansing, purging, washing, anointing, sprinkling, and holy-garment-adorning, otherwise our priestly engagement with God would be answered by fire from heaven and glory untold (“Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the House.”-2Chron.7:1)! Seeing that we have been appointed as sanctified and holy priests before God Almighty in a New Testament sense (“an holy priesthood”-1Pet.2:5), and, furthermore, seeing that we have failed to come before God Almighty in the terms of Divine Acceptance, our priestly ministration has been rendered unacceptable. For this reason the glory of the LORD has departed from spiritual Israel, The Church, as it departed from the nation of Israel in the Old Testament (“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”-1Cor.10:11). For this reason there is a frustration of the loving-kindness of God the Father via a Divine rejection according to the conditions laid forth in 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1. We are not keeping up the heavenly ceremonies which are available in Christ, namely, the cleansing, the water-washing, the blood-sprinkling, and the oil-anointing, to name a few, therefore our sin - like spiritual running issues, like spiritual leprosy, like a spiritual defilement of the dead – is defiling the New Testament Temple of God with the same results which transpired of old! If you remember, my reader, the former section was devoted to discover the meaning of NT sin existing in the terminology of The Clean & Unclean Laws depicted in the Old Testament, and seeing that NT sin exists in terms of these ceremonies defilements shadow-to-reality, even so, also, NT salvation exists in terms of ceremonial cleansing via water-washing, blood-sprinkling, oil-sprinkling, and oil-anointing, to name a few, shadow-to-reality. The conclusion of the whole matter is this: If, in the New Testament, we are committing sins which aggravate God the Father’s love and repels the communion of His glory among us like as the aforementioned situations depicted in the Old Testament (historical situations of ceremonial abominations in The Church like “running issues”, “leprosy”, “defilements of the dead”, and “dung”), then we MUST find out the means of ceremonial cleansing in the heavenly realm like as the OT Israelites sought out ceremonial cleansing in the earthly realm!
NT Sin (i.e. Spiritual Running Issues) is Cleansed via Water-Washing: “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When any man hath a running issue out of his flesh, because of his issue he is unclean…And when he that hath an issue is cleansed of his issue; then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in running water, and shall be clean.” – Leviticus 15:2, 13
NT Sin (i.e. Spiritual Leprosy) is Cleansed via Blood-Sprinkling, Water-Washing, Oil-Sprinkling, & Oil-Anointing: “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, This shall be the Law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest: And the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper; Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop: And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water: As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water: And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field. And he that is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean: and after that he shall come into the camp, and shall tarry abroad out of his tent seven days. But it shall be on the seventh day, that he shall shave all his hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows, even all his hair he shall shave off: and he shall wash his clothes, also he shall wash his flesh in water, and he shall be clean. And on the eighth day he shall take two he lambs without blemish, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish, and three tenth deals of fine flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and one log of oil. And the priest that maketh him clean shall present the man that is to be made clean, and those things, before the LORD, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: And the priest shall take one he lamb, and offer him for a trespass offering, and the log of oil, and wave them for a wave offering before the LORD: And he shall slay the lamb in the place where he shall kill the sin offering and the burnt offering, in the holy place: for as the sin offering is the priest's, so is the trespass offering: it is most holy: And the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and the priest shall put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot: And the priest shall take some of the log of oil, and pour it into the palm of his own left hand: And the priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and shall sprinkle of the oil with his finger seven times before the LORD: And of the rest of the oil that is in his hand shall the priest put upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot, upon the blood of the trespass offering: And the remnant of the oil that is in the priest's hand he shall pour upon the head of him that is to be cleansed: and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD. And the priest shall offer the sin offering, and make an atonement for him that is to be cleansed from his uncleanness; and afterward he shall kill the burnt offering: And the priest shall offer the burnt offering and the meat offering upon the altar: and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and he shall be clean.” – Lev. 14:1-20
NT Sin (i.e. Spiritual Defilement of the Dead) is Purified via Sprinkling of the Water of Separation & Washing: “And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, This is the ordinance of the Law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke: And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, that he may bring her forth without the camp, and one shall slay her before his face: And Eleazar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle of her blood directly before The Tabernacle of the congregation seven times: And one shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn: And the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer. Then the priest shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp, and the priest shall be unclean until the even. And he that burneth her shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the even. And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin. And he that gathereth the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: and it shall be unto the children of Israel, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among them, for a statute for ever. He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days. He shall purify himself with it on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean: but if he purify not himself the third day, then the seventh day he shall not be clean. Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth The Tabernacle of the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him. This is the law, when a man dieth in a tent: all that come into the tent, and all that is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days. And every open vessel, which hath no covering bound upon it, is unclean. And whosoever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days. And for an unclean person they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel: And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave: And the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day: and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, and wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at even. But the man that shall be unclean, and shall not purify himself, that soul shall be cut off from among the congregation, because he hath defiled The Sanctuary of the LORD: the water of separation hath not been sprinkled upon him; he is unclean. And it shall be a perpetual statute unto them, that he that sprinkleth the water of separation shall wash his clothes; and he that toucheth the water of separation shall be unclean until even. And whatsoever the unclean person toucheth shall be unclean; and the soul that toucheth it shall be unclean until even.” – Numbers 19:1-22
The Profitability of Sin Realized in its Spiritual Essence & Eradicated from the Life of Christians: “Dung” (Php. 3:1-9, Deut. 23:12-14): “Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad: And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee: For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee” (Deuteronomy 23:12-14).
Where is God’s glory (John 17:22), the fullness of the stature of Jesus Christ (Eph. 4:13, Jn. 17:22-23), the beautified Bride (Eph. 5:26-27)? Where is the fullness of the gifts (1 Cor. 1:4-9), the officers of The Church (Eph. 4:8-13)? Where are the weapons of righteousness for the armies of Israel (2 Cor. 10:1-6)? There is uncleanness among us, dear saints! Uncleanness is hindering and disqualifying the wrath-absorbing activity which pertains to the New Testament Priesthood, therefore instead of the latter rain of God’s love pouring out upon us, The Church, revival tarries and wrath abides! The sins carefully detailed in the former section (sins of legal uncleanness in NT terms comparable to “running issues”, “leprosy”, “defilements of the dead”, & “dung”) are frustrating the out-pouring of the love of God the Father upon us, His sons and daughters (2 Cor. 6:16-7:1)! Aye, my reader, we are defiling the Temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16-17)!
We must realize the deplorableness of sin in its true essence, namely how it relates to God’s glory being repelled from the midst of God’s people, The Church. A God-absent Church means a God-absent world, my reader! Can we go another generation as a sick Church in a dying world!? We must, once and for all, comprehend the calling of God to “touch not the unclean thing”, in its New Testament reality. We must, at last, relate to sin in the abominableness of its spiritual essence like the apostle Paul did (see Php. 3:1-9 in comparison to Duet.23:12-14), or else we will never walk in the glory of God through Christ like the apostle Paul exemplified (“Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether by life, or by death”-Php.1:20).
We have scores of priests coming to assemble together in the NT House of God without washing, a crime which the OT priesthood punished by death (Exodus 30:20-21)! In the New Testament, unconfessed sin is un-cleansed sin (1 Jn. 1:9). In the New Testament, certain degrees of unbelief is un-purged sin (2 Pet. 1:9). God calls our sin-loving and God-hating fallen nature “filthiness” (Ps. 14:3, 53:3, Rom.3:10), and shall we come before God Almighty with our garments spotted with filthiness? “ALL FILTHINESS”, it must be cleansed in the fear of God (2 Cor. 7:1)! With corrupted ways and words, sinners were not even permitted to abide upon God’s earth (“for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth”-Gen.6:12), and shall we, as “called-out ones”, enter into the House of God after having indulged in the forbidden lusts which are ceremonially abominable to God, called, “the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Pet. 1:4)!?
We have scores of priests coming to assemble together in the NT House of God without their priestly garments kept-up – with spots, blemishes, defilements, and filthiness – therefore because in such a condition we make our ministerial offerings to God (i.e. the incense of prayer and the sacrifices of praise), our prayers are not in one accord (Acts 1:14, 2:1, 46, 4:24, 5:12) in as much as we lack oneness with Christ who is our spiritual unity (Matt. 18:19, 1 Jn. 1:3, 5-7, Eph. 4:13, John 17:23, Col. 3:1-3), our prayers are not heard and countenanced by GOD with building-shaking and Spirit-outpouring power (Acts 4:31), and our praises are not going yonder to the end of the world with heathen-astonishing boundlessness (Isa. 24:14-16, Acts 16:25-26, 17:6, 19:18-20)!
We have scores of Christians who deign to call themselves the Bride of Christ, the glorious Church, who live lifestyles absent-minded from the glory of God in the fullness of the stature of Christ (Eph. 5:25-27, Eph. 4:4-13, John 17:20-26)!
We have scores of Christians who think their prayers are “in the Name of Jesus” simply because they uttered “in Jesus’ Name” at the end of every prayer, and yet, shockingly, their prayers are consciously oblivious to the binding and loosing powers which exist in the Name of Jesus Christ in Spirit and in truth (Matt. 18:18-20, John 14:10-14, 15:7-9, 16, 16:23-24)!
Many Churches seek sinners instead of God! Albeit The Church is not for sinners, no! The Church is not even for saints. The Church is “The House of God” --- in other words, “The House FOR God”. That which is “of God” is most certainly “for God”, all other things are secondary. Firstly, The Church is for God. Secondarily, it is for God’s people. The Church is not for the salvation of sinners but the perseverance of priestly ministry toward God; and they, the saints, are beneficiaries of God’s presence which is all of their salvation first, last, and in between! The Church is not a ministry to unconverted men, no! It is a ministry to God Almighty performed by saintly men! Many desire to meet with God on Sunday but they come to Him in un-receivable conditions and profane presuppositions, every man and his neighbor living their brand of “Christianity” with sacrilegious and pagan motivations! Christianity used to be a GOD-centered religion; now it is man-centered. The House of God used to revered for its holiness unto God; now it’s offended and disrespected God has left the building. The God of the Bible will not become a commonality among sinners as is commonplace today, be sure of that! The God of the Bible and the biblical Christ are evidently absent from the congregations of Christianity, and why? Speaking on this wise, Isaiah the prophet said, “Thou [God] meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember Thee in Thy ways” (Isaiah 64:5). Because we have not known “God’s ways” we have become delinquent to the title, “God’s people”. By negligence, by transgression, we have become “an unclean thing” (Isa. 64:6, 2 Cor. 6:17) in the sight of God. The word of the LORD teaches us, “because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not” (Isa. 65:12). We, alongside our “teachers” (2 Tim. 4:3), “have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean…,” therefore God says, “I am profaned among them” (Ezek. 22:26).
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” - 1 Peter 2:9-10
“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” - 1 Peter 1:2
“And having An High Priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)” - Hebrews 10:21-23
The NT believers have become “a royal priesthood” in Christ, and what are their priestly garments? Or do you, to your destruction (1 Cor. 3:17), allow priests to attend the House of God with no “linen garment” (Lev. 6:10-11)? My reader, “the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints” (Rev. 19:8), imputed and imparted through Christ! The local NT House of God will literally cease to exist if the priesthood that attends it has “defiled their garments” (Rev. 3:4). Christ is our “Living Way” (Heb. 10:20), our “High Priest” (Heb. 10:21), and we, born from Him (Heb. 2:13, Rom. 8:29, Ex. 28:1), are employed in His everlasting order; the order of Melchizideck (Ps. 110:4, Heb. 7:3). He is our “Lively Hope” (1 Pet. 1:3) and Linen Garments, yea, for as much as He is our righteousness - “and if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness” (Rom. 8:10)! New Testament priests, have you attended to the “putting on” and “putting off” regulations of the NT House of God? Do you have a “death-penalty awareness” that, if you enter the House of God without being properly arrayed in the Divinely prescribed priestly garments – you will DIE?
“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof” – Rom. 13:14
“As many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27)! My reader, Christ is our priestly garment which we must “put on”. He is The Garment of our priestly acceptance? He is our ceremonial preparation and perfection, once and forever to its completion (Col. 2:10), if indeed we “continue in the faith grounded and settled…not moved away from the hope of the gospel” (Col. 1:23). Practically, experientially, and evidently, the life of the believer will be priest-like in appearance. By this I mean, in the NT reality of what priests have become: according to Ephesians 4:22-24, to “put off” the “old man” results in a “putting away” of: lying, anger, stealing, corrupt communication, bitterness, wrath, clamor, evil speaking, malice, and unforgivness (see Eph. 4:22-32); according to Ephesians 4:22-24, to “put on the new man” results in a renewal of the entire-man, in thought, word, and deed, because the new man is “created in righteousness and true holiness”, and thus the man speaks the truth, works hard, gives to the needy, and with edifying speech, is kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving (see Eph. 4:22-32); according to Colossians 3:9-10, to “put off the old man” results in the putting off of: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication, fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, covetousness, and idolatry (see Col. 3:5-17); according to Colossians 3:9-10, to “put on the new man” results in a renewal of the entire-man, in thought, word, and deed, because the new man is “the image of Him that created Him”, which means that “Christ is all, and in all”, therefore the man is merciful, kind, humble, meek, longsuffering, forbearing, forgiving, charitable, peaceful, thankful, and because he is of a continual mind to meditate on wisdom in his own personal time, he zealously pursues opportunity to teach and sing to others (see Col. 3:5-17)! Let The Code of the Priesthood be understood by all! Those are arrayed in Christ, these are priests! And this Christ is, by the specification of the former passages of scripture, their Priestly Garment of Righteousness in which they are emboldened to drawn near to, attend, and minister within the New Testament House of God!
My reader, there is no other purpose for which Christians should enter within the House of God, but that they are ministering to God! And what is our ministration? We, the priests, take up censer and incense to perfume the Presence of God with Spirit-filled prayers (1 Tim. 2:1-8, Eph. 6:18-20, Jude 20-21). The priests maintain a continual attendance to and ministration within the House of God firstly, to offer themselves as sacrifices to God (Rom. 12:1-2, Gal. 2:20, 1 Cor. 15:31), and when the personal perfection (Lev. 22:20-23) of each individual priests sacrifice is accepted by God, then we, secondarily, as a whole Church, are offered up together as one sacrifice to God (Rom. 15:15-19, Php. 2:17-18, 1 Cor. 10:16-17) – and let the reader take note that, according to scripture, the personal and corporate sacrifice to God must be “holy”, “acceptable”, “perfect”, “without blemish”, and “sanctified” in a New Testament sense of what these ceremonial qualifications mean. Furthermore, extending into another vein of typological application: The priests, who “minister about holy things”, do “live of the things of the Temple” (1 Cor. 9:13). Yes, “and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar” (1 Cor. 9:13). “We have an altar, whereof they [all others] have no right to eat”, because we “serve the Tabernacle” (Heb. 13:10). Yes, my reader, “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Cor. 5:7), therefore from this altar we do “eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood” (Jn. 6:53, Matt. 26:26-29), and by interpretation Christ said, “it is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are Life” (Jn. 6:63)! The holy altar which the New Testament priesthood does continually attend to and eats from is the altar which bears upon it the broken body and shed blood of the Lord Jesus, and we eat from it and obtain Life (Ezek. 42:13-14), which means by interpretation, we hear the preaching of the Word of God and we eat it (1 Cor. 1:21, Rom. 10:14, Col. 1:28-29, Eph. 4:11-12, 5:26, Ezek. 2:8-3:4), for the “words” that Christ speaks are “spirit” and “life” (Jn. 6:63, 2 Cor. 5:18-20, 1 Pet. 4:11, 1 Thess. 4:8, Jn. 13:20, Lk. 10:16, Matt. 10:40, 1 Jn. 4:5-6), they are “the words of eternal life” (Jn. 6:68), thus whosoever hears these words and believes in them has eternal life (Jn. 6:64)!
It is not that we are seeking a carnal House or physical habitation to perform these priestly duties. No, our gathering together IS our House. Our gathering together as true, regenerated, God-ordained priests IS our House, Temple, and Habitation, wherever it is (Matt. 18:20, 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1). Even so, my reader, the Lord – Himself – must become “thy habitation” (Ps. 91:9-10). The hour was coming, which now is, when the people of God no longer worship at a certain place, a certain “mountain”, nor “at Jerusalem” (Jn. 4:21), but the Man Jesus Christ, “He shall be for a Sanctuary” (Isa. 8:14). He said again, “yet will I be to them as a little Sanctuary” (Ezek. 11:16)…and how? Jesus Christ has become “the chief corner stone” (Eph. 2:20) for the New Testament Sanctuary, and those persons who assemble together within this “Spiritual House” are the “holy priesthood”, who also are “as lively stones” “framed together” (see Eph. 2:19-22, 1 Pet. 2:4-5, Ps. 118:19-24, Isa. 8:13-22). Therefore the New Testament Priesthood attends to and ministers within the House of God, which is, spiritually and literally, “the assembling of ourselves together” (Heb. 10:25, Matt. 18:20), and when we gather together we are coming to the Lord who said, “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (2 Cor. 6:16). Therefore in this context it is written to the New Testament Priesthood: “To whom coming, as unto a Living Stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as lively stones, are built up a Spiritual House, an Holy Priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2:4-5). Unto Christ they come, for He is among them, and when gathered together they do “offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Heb. 13:15-16). Yes! Here they “worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness” (Ps. 29:2, 96:9), but who are all these other people who have invaded the ministry of God’s holy priesthood? Who are all these people who are, “in word or deed”, not “in the Name of the Lord Jesus” (Col. 3:14-17), and yet, they are singing psalms and hymns? Alas, they are singing, but they are not “spiritual songs”, for they are not sung “with grace in [their] hearts to the Lord” (Col. 4:14-17)! Who are all these who have invaded the priesthood to speak “psalms and hymns”, but they are not “spiritual songs” (Eph. 5:19-20)? Who are these persons that are giving “thanks always for all things unto God and the Father”, but they are not “in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:19-20)? They are offering sacrifices, yes…but with their sacrifices God is not well pleased! Their sacrifices are unacceptable because they are not “spiritual sacrifices” (1 Pet. 2:4-5)! They are in the assembly of the priesthood, yes, but they are defiling the “Spiritual House”…and why? They, “having not the Spirit” (Jude 19), are unspiritual and unholy, therefore they are disqualified for any priestly service to God and man – their presence is an invasion into the “Holy Priesthood” (1 Peter 2:4-5)! They have taken up censer and burnt incense, yes, but the odor of their prayers are foul, unholy, and unacceptable to God! My reader, this is because they are not saints! Acceptable incense is offered by the “holy priesthood” alone because they are the persons who pray in the Name and Person of Jesus Christ, “the prayers of saints” (Rev. 5:8)! It is written of old, “Even them will I bring to My Holy Mountain, and make them joyful in My House of Prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon Mine altar; for Mine House shall be called an House of Prayer for all people” (Isaiah 56:7). Yes, foreshadowing this great climax of the ages it was written, “Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice” (Psalms 141:2). Hallelujah! “And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand” (Rev. 8:4)! Amen! Thus “it is written, My House shall be called the House of Prayer” (Matt. 21:13)! But who are all these unregenerate persons, these “strangers”, these persons who are “without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12-13)…yet they have come “nigh” to “the Household of God” to offer incense (Eph. 2:14-19)!? They have boldly drawn near (Heb. 10:22, Titus 3:5), but without ceremonial qualification! They have boldly drawn near as if they have “access by one Spirit unto the Father” (Eph. 2:18), but they are yet, even still, without the Spirit of God, therefore they are still “strangers and foreigners” (Eph. 2:18-19). They are not “fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the Household of God”, namely because they are not saints (Eph. 2:19)! I say again, who are these strangers who have invaded the house of God, who have offered “strange fire” (Lev. 10:1-2)? Alas, they are strong-willed, high-handed sinners, like Uzziah, lifting themselves up beyond their measure, “for he transgressed against the LORD his God and went into the Temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense” (2 Chron. 26:16). Even so, “It appertaineth not unto thee, [oh unregenerate or degenerate man], to burn incense unto the LORD, but to the priests the sons of [Christ], that are consecrated to burn incense: GO OUT of the Sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thine honour from the LORD God” (2 Chron. 26:18)! Oh unregenerate or degenerate man, will you listen to me, lest it happen to you what happened to Uzziah when he, being reproved, was struck with leprosy in the forehead (2 Chron. 26:16-21)! As Uzziah was opposed by the fourscore priests, even so I oppose you, oh man! Hear me, the priesthood does not belong to you! Will you hear me? Or will you become “utterly unclean” like Uzziah with a plague in your head? Think of it, everlastingly rending your clothes and crying aloud – “U-N-C-L-E-A-N, U-N-C-L-E-A-N” (Lev. 13:43-46) – and like Uzziah you are, irreversibly till death, “cut off from the House of the LORD” (2 Chron. 26:21)! Before continuing my reader, please pause and read Numbers chapters 16 & 17 very carefully.
“The censers of these sinners against their own souls” – Numbers 16:38
In the days of Moses and Aaron certain men invaded into the Aaronic priesthood, and it was written, “there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense” (Num. 16:35). These were those of the congregation that offered incense because they wanted to be a part of the priesthood. What was their crime? It is the shadow of the NT crime which is flagrant and awful, committed every Sunday, because unregenerate or backslidden men attend and minister within the Church of God, performing Christian services which are in New Testament reality: priestly sacrifices (Heb. 13:15-16, Php. 2:17, 1 Peter 2:5) and incense offerings (Rev. 5:8, 8:3-4). God says to the unregenerate or backslidden Church goers, “seek ye the priesthood also” (Numbers 16:10)? Incense of the priests was an OT institution (Exodus 30:7-9, 34-38, Lev. 16:11-13) which has become a NT Christian reality. It is spiritual sacrifices which only “spiritual men” (1 Cor. 2) can accomplish, as it is written in 1 Peter 2:5. Even as David prayed “Let my prayer be set forth before Thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice” (Psalm 141:2). These are the prayers of the righteous and the “holy hands” of the saints (1 Tim. 2:8). As for the wicked unregenerate, they do not have “broken and a contrite heart” (Ps. 51:17). “O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth Thy praise. For Thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: Thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:15-17). Therefore, “the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is His delight” (Prov. 15:8). The sacrifice of the unregenerate, wicked, or backslidden professing Christian is an abomination to the Lord “forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men” (Isaiah 29:13). “The LORD is far from the wicked: but He heareth the prayer of the righteous” (Prov. 15:29), and “we have an altar, whereof [the world has] no right to eat which serve the Tabernacle” (Heb. 13:10).
The Church of God is “called the house of prayer,” but “he that turneth his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination” (Prov. 28:9). Christians are they which are “the called” of God, not as these men in Numbers 16. Christians are the saints of God, the holy ones, “having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints” (Spoken of the elders in heaven, but applicable for NT priests, Rev. 5:8). In a sense we do offer “much incense” to the angel of heaven, “that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand” (Rev. 8:3-4). These men of Numbers 16 invaded the priesthood that was not theirs, offered an abominable incense to God, even as Nadab and Abihu who offered “strange fire” before the Lord and were consumed by fire (Lev. 10:1-4). God delighted in the incense offered by Aaron (Num. 16:45-49), but He consumed all others who offered an abominable, inordinate, strange incense. Unregenerate professing Christians, like Korah and all his company, God says to you: “ye take too much upon you” (Num. 16:7). Learn the lesson now, and don’t test God, you must fear God and know that “the man whom the LORD doth choose, he shall be holy” and all others will be consumed for their usurpation of God-ordained priestly services, incense offerings, and sacrifices (Num. 16:7).
My reader, we live in an hour when the Lord threatens all evil, defiled congregations saying: “separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment” (Num. 16:21). Now is the hour of the gospel call! It announces that God will receive us - but we must come out! The NT call to “come out from among them” (2 Cor. 6:17) is spoken with the same urgency as the calling of old, for God is ready to “consume them in a moment” that are without (Num. 16:21). “And he spake unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins.” Yes, my reader, because “them that are without God judgeth” (1 Cor. 5:13), “wherefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person” (1 Cor. 5). “SO THEY GAT UP from the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side: and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children……the ground clave asunder that was under them: and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, lest the earth swallow us up also. And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense” (Numbers 16:26-27, 31-35).
God now says “come out from among them” (2 Cor. 6:17) with the same urgency as He said through Moses “depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men” (Num. 16:26)…and why? What urgency? They are all an “unclean thing” (2 Cor. 6:17) and the wrath of God is coming upon them, yea, “the wrath of God abideth on [them]” (Jn. 3:36), therefore God commands us today that we “touch not the unclean thing” just as Moses said to these disqualified and rejected priests, “touch nothing of theirs” (Num. 16:26)! Unless they come out from among these men and “touch nothing of theirs”, Moses said they would “be consumed in all their sins” (Note: uncleanness, like leaven, spreads its defiling touch whithersoever the unclean body goes, therefore it is written “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” -1 Cor. 5:6, Gal. 5:9)! These worldlings, these Church-intruders, these priesthood-invaders -- remember what consuming fire is determined for them! “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). Remember how of old, “there came out a fire from the LORD” (Num. 16:35), and remember how now, just ahead, what consuming fire shall quickly come upon them, and that without remedy (Num. 16:35)! My reader, seeing that the flaming and annihilating wrath of God is falling upon all flesh, the world, and worldlings, let us respond therefore to the gospel call, “come out form among them” (2 Cor. 6:17), and let us assemble acceptably before God! “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness” (2 Peter 3:10-11)!? Why was Numbers 16-17 written? “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (1 Cor. 10:11). Therefore let it be understood by us that these things were written “to be a memorial unto the children of Israel, that no stranger, which is not of the seed of [Christ], come near to offer incense before the LORD; that he be not as Korah, and as his company: as the LORD said to him by the hand of Moses” (Num. 16:40)!
“And I heard another voice from Heaven, saying, COME OUT of HER, My people, that ye be not partakers of Her sins, and that ye receive not of Her plagues.” – Revelation 18:4