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8 October 2020 – Isaiah 66:18-21

“For I know their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory, and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations. And they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations as an offering to the LORD, on horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the LORD, just as the Israelites bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the LORD. And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites, says the LORD. – Isaiah 66:18–21 (ESV)

R. Reed Lessing writes:

The fall into sin (Genesis 3) deprived Adam and Eve of the innate holiness they were given when they were created in the image of God. God’s plan to restore His people to holiness was launched when God appeared to Moses in the burning bush. Yahweh came down to rescue Israel and appeared on “holy ground.” To dwell with the Israelites in a lasting way and to impart holiness to them, he told Moses, “Have them [the Israelites] make me a sanctuary so that I may dwell among them” (Ex 25:8). The sanctuary allowed the holy God in heaven to come down to earth and take up residency in the midst of His people to sanctify instead of destroying them because of their sin. So the Israelites diligently built the sanctuary. Once this was in place, the glory of God who had appeared in terrifying fire on Mount Sinai entered the sanctuary.

However, throughout Israel’s history, more often than not the people failed in their calling to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. The holy God then took up residence in human flesh, in the person of Jesus, to be His holy temple forever. He is “the Holy One.” Through His suffering, death, and resurrection, Christ has formed for Himself a new “holy priesthood” and “holy nation” (1 Peter 2:5, 9). When Jesus returns He will bring down the holy city, Jerusalem (Rev 21:2).

Yahweh seeks people from every tribe and nation to be part of this everlasting holy priesthood. …

“From them” Yahweh will ordain “Levitical priests.” To whom does this refer? While the temple is a house of prayer “for all the peoples” (Is 56:7; Mk 11:17), this is an even bolder announcement of inclusiveness. Yahweh selects priests from among the nations to handle the holy things and teach His Torah. Outsiders will become insiders. Gentiles will not only be God’s missionaries, but they will also be elevated to the status of priests.

MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 62
Q. 62. What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment?
A. The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment are, God’s allowing us six days of the week for our own employments, his challenging a special propriety in the seventh, his own example, and his blessing the sabbath day.