Ezekiel 44:10–31 (NKJV)

10 “And the Levites who went far from Me, when Israel went astray, who strayed away from Me after their idols, they shall bear their iniquity. 11 Yet they shall be ministers in My sanctuary, as gatekeepers of the house and ministers of the house; they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister to them. 12 Because they ministered to them before their idols and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity, therefore I have raised My hand in an oath against them,” says the Lord God, “that they shall bear their iniquity. 13 And they shall not come near Me to minister to Me as priest, nor come near any of My holy things, nor into the Most Holy Place; but they shall bear their shame and their abominations which they have committed. 14 Nevertheless I will make them keep charge of the temple, for all its work, and for all that has to be done in it.

The Levites who worshipped idols will not go into the presence of the Lord, but rather simply be keepers of the temple.  They will be the laborers in the temple, rather than serving the table of the Lord.

15 “But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood,” says the Lord God. 16 “They shall enter My sanctuary, and they shall come near My table to minister to Me, and they shall keep My charge. 17 And it shall be, whenever they enter the gates of the inner court, that they shall put on linen garments; no wool shall come upon them while they minister within the gates of the inner court or within the house. 18 They shall have linen turbans on their heads and linen trousers on their bodies; they shall not clothe themselves with anything that causes sweat. 19 When they go out to the outer court, to the outer court to the people, they shall take off their garments in which they have ministered, leave them in the holy chambers, and put on other garments; and in their holy garments they shall not sanctify the people.

20 “They shall neither shave their heads, nor let their hair grow long, but they shall keep their hair well trimmed. 21 No priest shall drink wine when he enters the inner court. 22 They shall not take as wife a widow or a divorced woman, but take virgins of the descendants of the house of Israel, or widows of priests.

The priests and Levites who were true to the Lord, and offered only sacrifices to the Lord, they shall serve the Lord’s table and offer sacrifices for the people.  They shall abide by certain regulations, such as wearing linen garments when they enter the holy place, and then leaving them in the chambers when they go out to  minister to the people, wearing other garments.  They will not drink wine when they enter the inner court.  They shall only marry virgins, and they shall have their hair cut neatly.

23 “And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. 24 In controversy they shall stand as judges, and judge it according to My judgments. They shall keep My laws and My statutes in all My appointed meetings, and they shall hallow My Sabbaths.

25 “They shall not defile themselves by coming near a dead person. Only for father or mother, for son or daughter, for brother or unmarried sister may they defile themselves. 26 After he is cleansed, they shall count seven days for him. 27 And on the day that he goes to the sanctuary to minister in the sanctuary, he must offer his sin offering in the inner court,” says the Lord God.

The priests shall serve as representatives of the Lord, teaching the people and judging their disputes.  If he becomes defiled for a family member who is dead, he shall cleanse himself, wait seven days, and then offer a sin offering for himself.  Then he can resume his duties.

28 “It shall be, in regard to their inheritance, that I am their inheritance. You shall give them no possession in Israel, for I am their possession. 29 They shall eat the grain offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering; every dedicated thing in Israel shall be theirs. 30 The best of all firstfruits of any kind, and every sacrifice of any kind from all your sacrifices, shall be the priest’s; also you shall give to the priest the first of your ground meal, to cause a blessing to rest on your house. 31 The priests shall not eat anything, bird or beast, that died naturally or was torn by wild beasts.

The priests will not receive an inheritance of land, for the Lord is their inheritance.  They will eat of the fruit of the land offered by the people as tithe, and of the animal sacrifices offered in the temple.  They will live in the chambers of the temple and be provided for by the Lord.  When a person submits their life to God for service, He becomes his or her life.  Whether it is vocational ministry or just service for the Lord, He must become the focus and purpose of one’s life.  Vocational ministers live to serve the Lord, and He provides for their every need through tithing and giving.  Lay Servants of the Lord receive from God all they need as well, but through opportunities for employment and favor in the marketplace.  God desires and uses both types of ministers, but definitely calls those who follow Him to a higher standard of living and a higher level of responsibility in His kingdom.  Do not live frivilously, but carefully, in the sight of the Lord!

ezekiel 44

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