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sonal reign of Messiah the Prince, it can be referred
to no other times for we have no revelation of what
is to succeed to the Millennium.
Ezekiel xl. describes the measure of the temple and of its chambers, with the uses and dimensions of each : v. 45 and 46, speak of two particular chambers, one of which, "whose prospect is toward the south, is for the priests, the keepers of the charge of the house :" the other toward the north, is "for the priests, the keepers of the charge of the altar. These are the sons of Zadok among the sons of Levi, which come near unto the Lord to minister unto him." Here is a manifest distinction between the two sets of priests; the one coming nearer to the person of the Lord, and enjoying the light of his countenance more immediately than the other. It will be said, all this is figurative; and that it alludes to the temple service, and to the forms of the Jewish ritual, and, therefore, little is to be deduced from it. The conclusion by no means follows, for, though figurative, it marks a difference between some and others, and shews that a higher degree of honour and dignity is placed upon the one set of priests, than upon the other. Chap. xliv. also reveals a difference of this kind, in terms still more marked, "The Levites that are gone away far from me, when Israel went astray, which went astray
from me after their idols; they shall even bear their iniquity—yet they shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having charge at the gates of the house, and ministering to the house; they shall not come unto me, to do the office of the priest unto me, nor come near to any of my holy things, in the most holy place: but they shall bear their shame and their abominations which they have committed. But I will make them keepers of the charge of the house, for all the service thereof, and for all that shall be done therein. But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary, when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me; they shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table to minister unto me, and they shall keep my charge." Two distinct services are here appointed, unto the more exalted and honourable of which, they of the Lord's people, who in former times have departed from him, are by no means to be admitted. It is difficult to give an explanation to these passages which shall not lead to the inference, that in Messiah's reign there will be rewards amongst the Lord's people, according to the things done in the flesh.
The marked difference between the ministers of the sanctuary and the ministers of the house, will be found
again in chapter xlv. which appoints to them their portions of land. A holy portion of the land is to be offered as an oblation to the Lord. This "holy portion shall be for the priests, the ministers of the sanctuary, which shall come near to minister unto the Lord, and it shall be a place for their houses, and a holy place for the sanctuary:" another different portion is appointed for the Levites, the ministers of the house; and the possession of the city, according to the appointed measure, "shall be for the whole house of Israel." Here a third party is introduced, whose portion is less distinguished. And, again, in the appointment of the ordinances, the people of the land are mentioned. "They shall worship at the door of this gate (the Prince's gate) before the Lord, in the sabbaths, and in the new moons." These seem to be placed below the house of Israel. In chap. xlvii. speaking of the manner of dividing the land, it is said,
ye shall divide it by lot for an inheritance unto you, and to the strangers that sojourn among you, which shall beget children among you, and they shall be among you, as born in the country among the children of Israel; they shall have inheritance with you according to the tribes of Israel." If this passage stood alone, it might be too much to assert, that the birth of children in the flesh was certainly there intended; but agreeing, as it does, with so many other
Scriptures, which plainly declare the continuance of mankind in the flesh at this time; such a meaning is hardly to be denied to it. It is worthy of remark, that in allotting the portions of the several tribes, in chapter xlviii, Dan's portion is mentioned first, although in Rev. vii. the children of Dan do not appear to be sealed: it is difficult to suggest what may be meant under this symbol.
But whatever shall hereafter be shewn to us of the glories of these future ages, Messiah, the Father, the Maker, the Husband, and the beloved one of his Church, will be, as he now is, the source of every blessing. He will be in the midst of his people. In his presence will be fulness of joy, and at his right hand, pleasures for evermore. "Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb." The cares, the fears, the sorrows, and the troubles of these present evil times will then be as yesterday, when it is past, and as a watch in the night. And we shall be made glad, according to the days in which he hath afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil. "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have a right to the tree of life, and enter in through the gates into the city." The angel of the Lord testifies of these things in the Churches, and still in these our days the Spirit and the bride say,
Come. Let him that is athirst come. Whosoever will, let him take of the waters of life freely. The night is far spent, and already the day-dawn is at hand. The Lord cometh with a recompense, and his reward is with him. Surely he cometh quickly. Amen. Even so come, Lord Jesus. Amen.
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