Vol. 28 New Series October, 1967 No. 5
THE LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD

ITS PLACE IN THE FUTURE
If one is going to follow the dictates of Orthodoxy in its methods of interpretation and in particular in its eschatology, one must come to the conclusion that any further operation of the Levitical priesthood and of sacrifices that are to be carried out under its ceremonial laws would be out of order. This would be a very logical conclusion to draw, yet no one can get away from certain facts that are stated in the Scriptures. Paramount among these are what is stated in 2. Thess. 2:2-4; Daniel 8:11-14 and 26; 11:31; 12:11, where, before the day of the Lord, the Temple is in being for some time and the daily sacrifices are an accepted routine ceremony. The sacrifices are stopped and the Temple is desecrated. These statements are accepted by the orthodox, and so Levitical priesthood and the ceremonial law MUST also be acknowledged by them to take place. But, as it is believed also by them that the priesthood "after the order of Melchizedek" has superseded the Levitical, then any such practice of the Levitical law must be wrong by their creed!

Orthodox interpretation of prophecy allows either the last seven years of Daniel's seventy sevens for the carrying out of all the prophecies relating to the 'sunteleia tou aiOnos,' the consummation of the age, or an extra 35 years in preparation for the coming of the Lord to the mount of Olives and the rescue of Israel. This is all to follow on as a sequel to present day events, which, they aver, are the fulfilment of Biblical prophecy.

In the two articles 'The Restoration of Israel' and 'The seventy sevens of Daniel 9:24-27' the fallacy of this interpretation is exposed and that it will require a very much longer period when God will be administering Israel than is allowed.

The affirmation from all the champions of Advent Testimony is that Israel must first return to the Land in unbelief. This, scripturally, is false and gives rise and sanction to the short period idea. This misconception, as a premise, requires a lot of accommodation that is not satisfactorily given by its supporters, and their expositions bristle with inconsistencies and avoiding issues. If these are fairly faced one cannot help observing that, although certain of their facts are beyond doubt correct, others are made to 'fit in' to suit their purpose.

As has already been said, The Temple is going to be re-erected and the daily sacrifices are going to be carried out BEFORE the day of the Lord and the Levitical Priesthood is to be in control. Therefore Israel must be in complete possession of the land. The question now arises, is the Levitical ceremonial right or wrong?

If Israel must first return to the Land in unbelief it is wrong, but as this supposition on the part of many has been shown to be an error, then one must search to find out whether what Israel is going to practice is, after all, right.

The two basic prophecies that deal, in detail, with the Restoration of Israel to the land are Deut. 30:1-5 and Ezekiel 20:33-38. These two passages must be absorbed into the understanding in order to hold a firm and secure position in giving all other passages fair consideration. If the understanding of any other passage does not conform to these Scriptures, then the student must reject that interpretation and endeavour to find in what way that passage can agree.

Israel return to the Land in FULL BELIEF IN JEHOVAH THEIR GOD, to Whom they have turned and Who has responded. They have been separated from the Nationals amongst whom they have been living and they have been brought out from the Countries where they were dispersed. They have been gathered together in one place outside the Land, where they have been numbered and placed in bond to the covenant (the law of Sinai) and all rebels have been purged out BEFORE they make their entry into the Land. As the spirit of God is upon them they give willing obedience to the Law,

They will rebuild their destroyed cities, replant their wasted vineyards and crops. They will rebuild the Temple and the morning and evening sacrifices are to be started up. Who but the Levitical priesthood are in any position to carry this out? Israel will be under Jehovah their God. Him they are to serve and worship, being placed by Him in bond to the Law, then, according to the Law they will have to worship, at Jerusalem, in the Temple. Ezekiel 40 to 46 deal with his vision of the Temple and the sacrifices to be carried out therein and even Schofield, in his Bible, page 885, heads up the section, Part 7 "General theme: Israel in the land during the kingdom age."

If Schofield meant the same as I do by the kingdom age, there would be little to argue about, but by that he intends the Millennium, whereas I believe that the kingdom age starts with the Restoration of Israel to the Land as above described, which will terminate with the "sunteleia tou aiOnos" and the day of the Lord. This kingdom will last about 500 years. I am aware that this upsets the thousand year day (so called) principle that so many adhere to, but I cannot help that.

The epistle to the Hebrews is written to a people who are carrying out the terms of the ceremonial law, given to them at Sinai. This they were doing up till A.D. 70, when the Temple was destroyed. This they will do again when they have been brought "into the bond of the covenant" (Ez. 20:37). These observances will commence immediately and continue on arrival in the Land; and eventually, when the Temple is rebuilt on its original site, all sacrifices will be carried out on the altar of burnt offering, apart from those that are performed outside the City.

One must not forget that Israel then is back again under the administration of JEHOVAH. Christians, members of the body of Christ as we are today, are not carried forward with their knowledge and beliefs into this new age. Formal "churchianity", will have degenerated into indifference, agnosticism, atheism and all sorts of other "isms" that deny the Lord Jesus Christ and will not be in a position to contribute anything towards the proclamation of the truth. However, truth as it is in Jesus will be proclaimed by men of Israel whom God will raise up to carry out this special work. The epistle to the Hebrews will be the text book of their ministry. No doubt many will believe, but many more will not believe and will carry on with their Levitical ceremonial sacrifices.

The epistle to the Hebrews is not only a gospel to Hebrews, but it is also eschatalogical in character and contains a crescendo of prophetic warnings to those who refuse to believe that Jesus Christ is the fulfilment to all those sacrifices and greater than all those in whom they have placed so much confidence. As the result of refusing Him who came they will drift and apostasize and openly rebel against JEHOVAH Himself, though maintaining official ceremonial offices and sacrifices, until they are stopped.

Those who do believe will be persecuted by their Brethren according to the flesh and probably driven out, as they were previously. They will settle in other countries and there they will form assemblies to worship the Lord through Christ, their Saviour. The result of Israel estranging itself again from God will be that the Nations, who have been brought by God to be subject to Israel, will become insubordinate and, not only will they refuse to worship JEHOVAH as they have been taught, but they will become definitely antagonistic and anti-semitic. This will extend against the assemblies of Christians as well, for we read an account in Revelation of their declension from their original zeal for the Lord.

Israel, on entry into the Land, are in the closest relationship, with JEHOVAH that they have ever been and their readiness to obey Him is evinced by their recovery and restoration of the Land to an habitable state under God's power, and their attention to acceptable worship. God, therefore, will make a covenant with them, setting aside the covenant of bondage, under which they were mobilised in the wilderness of the peoples, a covenant that no longer is "a yoke. . . which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear," but a covenant of peace (Ez. 34:25; 37:26).

For many decades and perhaps centuries they will keep the the terms of this covenant, but eventually, it will be from this covenant that they will 'fall away' and the Hebrew Christian Assemblies will, in many cases, 'leave their first love,' imbibe 'isms' and become complacent in prosperity and, as a result, 'fail to overcome' and endure.

This will be the stage setting for the unveiling of the man of sin and all the tragic events that follow that the orthodox eschatologist tries to squeeze in to the last seven years of Daniel's seventy sevens, or, in some cases they extend it to the last six sevens, or forty two years, together with all the years necessary to the establishment of the situation.

J.G.H.S. Last updated 8.3.2006