The servants and services of the Temple
In our explanation of the Levites (which please see) we had hoped to have distinguished between the Levites in general, and the Priestly class which was selected from amongst them. The Levites as a whole were a consecrated class taken from amongst the twelve tribes in the place of the first born of all the tribes of Israel and as such dedicated to the Lord and to his service.
“They were given title to no land, thus illustrating the fact that the antitypical Levites would be without earthly inheritance, but would be called to a heavenly inheritance.”
The Levites in general typifying the great company class, and the Priests representative of the “little flock” or faithful over-comers. As you recall we had determined that in fully consecrating themselves to the Lord and to his services both of these classes had entered into covenant arrangement with the Father, a “covenant by sacrifice” (Psa 50:5), and in so doing they had sacrificed all their earthly life rights in the hopes of obtaining a heavenly inheritance. Such having been sealed by the spirit were then begotten to a new nature, a spirit nature, and henceforth declared “new creatures in Christ Jesus”.
Now it is important to remember that all of these were called in the one hope of their calling, they were all called as prospective members of the body of Christ members of the “Church of the first born”, a “royal priesthood”.
THERE WAS NO CALL TO A GREAT COMPANY CLASS, this class is simply the refuge of all those called who felled to make their calling and election sure, but who nevertheless would in no sense deny their Lord and so in mercy the Lord will permit them to pass through great tribulation so that they might wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb (robes, which they had allowed to become stained through contact with the world and its various enticements Rev 7:14). Those who succeed in this cleansing (having received the palm branch, representative of victory, Rev 7:9) shall stand before the throne (that is to say they will serve in the temple as ministers of the throne) Rev 7:15.
They are to be servants even as the typical Levites were servants who served in the Tabernacle, only these shall serve in the Temple of God (the Church), but they shall not be a part of the Temple.
Now much of this we have already addressed, but in order for us to get a proper grasp of the whole picture we will need to mention certain aspects once again.
As you recall in Ezekiel’s Temple or Sanctuary if you prefer, there are TWO courtyards, and inner and outer one, also in addition to the “Holy” and “Most Holy” contained in the main central building there is a vestibule or porch which leads into the “Holy.” Likewise there are the Priest Chambers located on north and south sides of the main building along with a rather large building located at the west end behind the central building, which we will explain later.
In that picture the Levites who typify the Great Company Class are said to serve as ministers in the Lord’s sanctuary (Ezek 44:10) servants of the true Church in the inner court, although they do venture out into the outer court, thus as was alluded to in Rev 7:15 they serve God in the service of his temple.
However they are not permitted to come near God to minister to him as priest nor to come near any of the holy things nor into the “Most Holy” place, nevertheless they shall keep charge of the temple, for all its work, and for all that has to be done in it. (Ezek 44:13, 14) thus distinguishing them from the “sealed ones” the “little flock” the “Royal Priesthood” (Rev 7:4; Luke 12:32; 1 Pet 2:9)
These in contrast with the priest, the Levites, the sons of Zadok who typify the Little Flock, (Zadok means to be just, righteous or lawful, thus approved) who are permitted to minister to God as priest to come near His table to minister to Him (Ezek 44:15, 16)
Now in regards to the TWO courtyards, (parts of the sanctuary) the outer courtyard pictures human perfection (actual or heart) which none of mankind shall enter until first they will have passed through the “gate”, there are three of these which lead into the outer court and three which lead into the inner court in both cases one at the north side, one at the south, and one on the east.
The 144,000, the “little flock” depicted as the “glory of God” all entered through the east gate (Ezek 43:1-5), of the outer court, the various chambers within this gate typifying the trials and test which they all must pass after they have attained to the plane of heart perfection. By passing these tests they manifest to themselves as well as to God and angels that they are truly at heart perfect, loyal and true. Likewise chambers in the north and south outer court gates type similar tests which mankind will pass during the millennial age. The last manifesting test before entering the outer courtyard of the sanctuary after they have attained to the plane of actual perfection will take place during the little season at the end of the millennium (Rev 20:3, 7, 8).
All of the gates were approached by steps leading up to them; each had a threshold or door to enter and another to exit, in between these doors along both sides of a small corridor were small chambers six on one side and six on the other. Each gate also included a vestibule or porch, however on the outer three gates (the ones surrounding the outer courtyard) the porches followed after passing the chambers and exiting the threshold, whereas on the inner gates (the ones surrounding the inner courtyard) the porches were approach before entering the threshold and the chambers. (Ezek 40:6-16)
There are two pavements in the sanctuary, the upper pavement being the outer portion of the inner court, fifty cubits in breadth and the lower pavement being the outer portion of the outer court, also fifty cubits in breadth. Walls, gates and buildings will occupy both pavements. They typify conditions and activities in connection with the establishing of the Kingdom. The lower pavement is referred to in Ezek 40:17.18. The upper pavement is not specifically mentioned, but is inferred from the term “lower pavement”.
The outer court typifies the condition of actual or heart perfection of mankind. At the close of the Millennial age all the ransomed human race will have attained to that plane. (Isa 35:10; 51:11; Rev. 21:7) The outer court is elevated the height of seven steps above the surrounding land, seven symbolizing the perfection of those who enter the outer court condition. Climbing the seven steps denotes the development and progress of mankind from the debased to the perfect condition.
The inner court proper is situated at the center of the sanctuary typifying the condition of the Great Company, spirit beings. The Western building Ezek 41:12, which we referred to earlier located directly behind the central building, represents the condition of angles, it is on the same level as the inner court, suggesting that the condition of the resurrected Great Company will be similar to that of angles. (Rev 7:13-17; Psa 45:14, 15)
The higher elevation of the inner court implies that the Great Company class (similar to angels) are on a plane of existence higher than that of perfect humanity. The steps, eight in number, intimate that while the spirit nature of the Great Company is perfect (seven) it is only one-step higher than that of the perfect human nature (Ezek 40:37). Perfect man is only a little lower than angels (one step lower). Psa 8:4,5; Deut 32:4
As for the temple steps, they are not numbered, suggesting that it is not possible to measure the infinite height and glory of the Divine nature of the Little Flock above the glory of the nature of the Great Company and Angels. The great difference between the Divine nature and all else cannot be suggested by any number of steps. “Canst thou by searching find out God? Or canst thou find the way unto the utmost limit of the Almighty?” (Job 11:7-9; Isa 40:12, 18; Rom 11:33, 34).
All of the consecrated, those spirit begotten pass through the outer east gate, both the Church and the Great Company there is no distinguishing between the two, all are called in the one hope of their calling, all must pass through trials and testing (the various chambers) however the faithful consider these trials as but light afflictions whereas to the Great Company class these are considered as great tribulations, burdensome trials, thus felling to be rightly exercised and developed by these they have need of further testing.
The porches coming before the six chambers in the inner court gates, rather than after as in the outer gates, type that the Great Company will receive tests after they have entered into the fullness of the perfect life on the spirit plane. Their contact with fallen humanity (Ezek 44:11) during the millennial age will afford abundant tests, which will serve only to manifest their perfection.
There is only one gate opened at the present time and that is the east outer gate and none may enter who have not taken the necessary step of full consecration and sacrifice, but shortly that gate will be closed and the door or entrance to the High Calling will be closed forever (Ezek 44:1,2; Matt 25:10; Rev 3:7) mankind’s time for entering will not come until the next age and then only by means of the north and south entrances.
In the next age the door to the inner east gate will open, it has been shut for “six working days” (6000 years) but on the Sabbath the Millennial Day “it shall be opened”, on the day of the New Moon (the day when the New Covenant goes into effect) during that time the “prince” representing the Ancient Worthies will stand by the gate post (Prov 8:34, 35) receiving instructions from the “priest” (the Church) who will receive the offerings of the people.
“For out of Zion (the Spiritual Phase of the Kingdom) shall go forth the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem (the Earthly Phase, represented in and through the Ancient Worthies).” Isaiah 2:3
This shall continue until the work of the Millennial Age is completed, and then in the “evening” that is at the end of the Millennium this door to the inner east gate will be shut even as was the door to the outer east gate shut (Ezek 46:1, 2).
In our next post we will take a look at the river which ran from the temple.