Ezekiel 44:15
But the Levitical priests, who are descended from Zadok and who kept charge of My sanctuary when the Israelites went astray from Me, are to approach Me to minister before Me. They will stand before Me to offer Me fat and blood, declares the Lord GOD.
Faithful to Our ChargeEzekiel 44:9-16
God's Care of His AltarJ. Parker, D. D.Ezekiel 44:9-16
Reward and Punishment on EarthJ.D. Davies Ezekiel 44:10-16
Appointed MinistrationsJ.R. Thomson Ezekiel 44:15, 16
Fidelity and its RewardW. Clarkson Ezekiel 44:15, 16

The priests were an essential element in the Mosaic system, and their duties were prescribed with a precise exactness. After the Captivity, they still fulfilled their appointed duties, although their relative importance was probably diminished, whilst the scribes became growingly the religious leaders and teachers of the people. In the dispensation of the Spirit, the priesthood, so far as it is perpetuated, has been widened so as to include the whole Christian congregation.

I. MINISTRY IN THE CHURCH IS THE APPOINTMENT OF GOD. As the priesthood was instituted by Divine wisdom, so the will and pleasure of the great Head of the Church is that the members of the spiritual society should regard themselves as called by God to the fulfillment of varied duties as his servants.

II. MINISTRY IN THE CHURCH IS UPON THE PATTERN OF THE MINISTRY OF CHRIST THE HEAD. The Son of man came, not to be ministered unto, but to minister. The Lord was himself Servant of all, and those who are his are summoned to follow the example of him who declared that he was among his people as One who served.

III. MINISTRY IN THE CHURCH IS FOR MUTUAL BENEFIT. It is sometimes taken for granted that there are certain persons who minister to their fellow-Christians, whilst the rest simply receive and enjoy the advantages of their services. But in reality there is no one member of the true Church who is not commissioned for some special work which it is for him to do, who has not some gifts and opportunities for serving his fellow-disciples, for the edification of the body of Christ.

IV. MINISTRY IN THE CHURCH IS FOR THE SALVATION OF THE WORLD. The Jewish Church was restricted; the Christian Church has a universal mission - a mission for the benefit of mankind. They who have Christ's Spirit will live as disciples of him who said, "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself."

V. MINISTRY IN THE CHURCH INVOLVES ACCOUNTABILITY TO GOD. With calling and gifts and influence there is associated responsibility. And this responsibility is to him who is the one, only, all-sufficient Judge and Lord. From this responsibility there is no escape; and it must ever be the aim and the hope of every Christian that he himself and his work may be acceptable and approved at last, when every man shall have praise of God. - T.

The glory of the Lord filled the house.
Though God may forsake His people for a small moment, He will return with everlasting loving kindness. God's glory filled the house, as it had filled the tabernacle which Moses set up and thee temple of Solomon. Now we do not find that ever the Shekinah did in that manner take possession of the second temple, and therefore this was to have its accomplishment in that glory of the Divine grace which shines so brightly in the Gospel Church, and fills it. Here is no mention of a cloud filling the house as formerly, for we now with open face behold the glory of the Lord, in the face of Christ, and not as of old through the cloud of types.

( M. Henry.)

p with God: — The Spirit took Ezekiel up and brought him into the inner court, I want you to observe that while the prophet was in the inner court he saw the glory of God and heard God speaking to him. That inner court represents to us the innermost fellowship with God.

I. IN THE INNER COURT HE SAW THE GLORY OF GOD. You stand outside some great cathedral, looking at the large stained-glass window that is said to be of such immense value and noted for its exquisite loveliness. You have heard of its beautiful design, of its rich colouring and delicate shadings. But you are disappointed. All you can see is a dim, dull easement, blotched here and there. But that is because you have been judging it from the standpoint of the exterior of the building. In that position you can see no glory. Get into the interior, — into the inner court, and your opinion will suddenly change. The scientist, if an unbeliever, cannot see the glory of God in Nature as can the man who has been brought into the inner court of fellowship with God. The man in the outer court may see a great deal of beauty in natural phenomena, and a wonderful design in "the operations and effects of natural laws"; but there are beauties in Nature to the believer that far surpass those. Jonathan Edwards, speaking of his own experience of having enjoyed a wonderful sense of God's pardoning mercy, said, "The wisdom, purity, and love of God seemed to appear in everything: in the sun, moon, and stars; in the clouds and blue sky; in the grass, flowers, and trees; in the water and all nature, which greatly fixed my mind. I beheld the sweet glory of God in all these things, and in the meantime sang with a low voice my contemplations of the Creator and Redeemer." As with Nature, so with Revelation. The Bible has been called a glorious temple. "When He the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide you into all truth." There our Lord indicates the faculty of spiritual perception and interpretation. How little of the glory of God we have seen! How seldom, as by a mystic hand, are we led beyond the vestibule into the inner sanctuary of the Most High! There was a time when God, maintaining strict reserve, dwelt in a peculiar way in the Holy of Holies of the ancient Temple. On the mercy seat was the Shekinah — the great symbol of His presence and unapproachable glory — which burned and glowed perpetually in bright and vivid splendour. Before this was hung the closely woven veil. There was no admission save for the High Priest, and he might pass within but once a year. But now we have "boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say His flesh." The High Priest of old could not look at the glory without seeing the blood that was sprinkled on the mercy seat. "The same blood, the same atonement by which we draw near to God, is the same by which we must remain in communion with God." "And," says the prophet Ezekiel, "the man stood by me." Jesus Christ, the God-Man, is the glory of God. "God, Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." The Holy Spirit is the light of God that we may see Him.

II. WHILE EZEKIEL WAS IN THE INNER COURT, GOD SPAKE TO HIM. Few live in the higher condition of perpetual fellowship with the Father and the Son; but it is in that higher condition that the noblest faculties of the soul are brought into use, Habakkuk said, "I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what He will say unto me" (Habakkuk 2:1). He would get above the crush and clamour of worldly things. As he who stands upon some eminence of cliff is not disturbed by the murmuring wavelets channelling the sands beneath, so the "lifted up" spirit, liberated from a narrow, mundane view, is unaffected by the carking cares which annoy and the anxieties which absorb the many, — the frettings which disturb serenity and scare away peace. We want to live above the corroding, cloying, flippant, superficial pleasures of time. We must get into a calm atmosphere, — the "sphere of silence," — the unbroken solitudes of "the heavenlies," if we are to hear His voice. Professor Smythe was engaged for some weeks in making astronomical observations on the Rock of Teneriffe. When he and his party descended from the height, they were surprised to find that a storm had been raging of which they had heard and seen nothing.

(A. W. Welch.)

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