Article based on a Sermon given 25 January 2003

Servants of God's Temple Ministry - Part 1

by Jon Bowles

(PLAY FROM START)

As I go into the sermon I thought something to do with the ministry maybe good and I want to really talk today about all of us, not just the ministry; because you are all going to be Kings and Priests in the future and I want to talk really about faithful servants of God's Temple. Because that is what we are looking at, the very Temple of God and the servants within the Temple of God.

The word minister means servant or slave. So when we are looking at the ministry and we are trying to understand a little bit about it, it doesn't just apply to the fellow who gets up here and actually gives the sermon. Yes it does, in this present set up, but it goes far beyond that because we are all to be servants of God. And we are all to be a nation of kings and priests in the future. That is what we are training to be. That is why we are here. We are all training to be kings and priests and the priesthood is very much as a servant of God, as a minister of God. I have five points; okay five points:

1. Pre-Temple and tabernacle times. It is the time before the Levitical priesthood, because there are certain things that we can learn from that.

2. The Levitical system and what in fact was involved there.

3. The New Testament ministry, or the New Covenant ministry.

4. The book of Hebrews and the diaspora: the scattering of the Jews out of that area. And there are certain things within the Book of Hebrews particularly that talks really to the subjects of the faithful servants of God's Temple and the ministry at that time, and the people as well and the inter-relationship at that time.

5. The future role that we all have as Kings and Priests.

Pre-Temple and Tabernacle Times (PLAY FROM 02:20)

Now when we look at the beginning there was no Temple. But, you know, there were servants of God, and as I said, the word minister means; servant, it means slave. And they are slaves of God, given by God, to serve His people.

Now people get that screwed up. They get it mixed up, they tend to feel; "Oh well, a minister; is a minister, he is a servant of the people." Well no, that is not where a minister's primary role is; the primary service that a minister should have is towards God. And he, as the slave of God, is given by God to then serve His people, His way. And that is the only reason why the ministry and the role of a minister has a respect. It is nothing to do with the fellow that is up there. It is because he is a servant of God and because the grace of God that goes along with the office. That's the reason.

Now turn back to Genesis 2:15, go right back to the very beginning, we find here - you could hardly call Adam a minister - but it says:

"And the [Eternal] God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the [Eternal] God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die [or dying you shall die]." (Genesis 2:15-17)

Now if you read through the account here, you will find that it doesn't give the impression that God said that to Eve. He said it to Adam, and Adam then presumably relayed the information to Eve. Now we can only do that by supposition, perhaps it is that He did speak to Eve. I am not sure. But the information that we have got here is that Adam was the one that was given the information and it seemed then to be relayed across to Eve. Now after the event, over in Genesis 3:13:

"And the [Eternal] said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done?..." (Genesis 13:3)

So He was talking directly to the woman. But it may well be that it was only through Adam, that Eve found the information.

The first time we come across the word 'kohen', (Strong's 03548), and 'kohen' is the word 'priest' is over in Genesis 14:18; and it is interesting that this is the first use of the word, that I know of anyway, within scripture, it says:

"And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the [kohen] priest of the most high God [he was the kohen]. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he [that's Abraham] gave him [that's Melchizedek] tithes of all." (Genesis 14:18-20)

So the tithing system is also mentioned in relation to this as well and the two do go hand in glove. And as we go on and talk about the diaspora and the book of Hebrews, we will find that the tithing system at that point was actually changed. There were certain aspects that were changed, because the Temple was actually about to change, it was just before the Temple changed. If you go on a little bit into Genesis 15:1, you find how God was dealing with mankind at that time:

"After these things the word of the [Eternal] came unto Abram in a vision [so He was dealing with people in a vision, in Abram's case], saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, Lord [Eternal], what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless..." (Genesis 15:1-2)

So he was speaking to him that way. If we go over a couple of pages to Genesis 18:1, and remember this is all pre-Temple, you find that:

"And the [Eternal] appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground," (Genesis 18:1-2)

Now two of them were angels. Two of them went down to Sodom and dragged Lot and his family out. But one of them was the Eternal, the One who became Christ. So it becomes very clear as you read through this section, that it was Christ appearing as a man at that time. Now was it Melchizedek? Was it the one that he knew as Melchizedek? Now that is supposition, but it could well have been; because Melchizedek had no genealogy. You can't go back in time and the indication through Hebrews is that was Jesus Christ. So it could well have been Melchizedek Himself at that particular time that appeared. We don't know, but the fact is that it was Christ appearing as a man to Abram. When we go on a little bit further and we come to Genesis 18:17:

"And the [Eternal] said [this is Christ now saying], Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the [Eternal], to do justice and judgment; that the [Eternal] may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him." (Genesis 18:17-19)

So Abraham was faithful. Now we are looking at the faithful servants of the very Temple of God, faithful servants of God, and the way in which God related to them through the ages. And certainly it has great information to us today. And here we look at Abraham and here was Christ manifesting Himself as a human being with these two angels, discussing, saying to Himself; "Surely Abraham is a righteous individual." And He therefore was dealing with this particular individual. And remember Melchizedek was the Priest, King of Salem and the Priest of the Most High God; He was the kohen.

Now the principle applies right through scripture that; "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." (Amos 3:7). The same principle goes right through the Old Testament, right into the New Testament as well. And it applies to us today, that if we are close to God, if we are on our knees, if we are the people of God, God will look after us. God will reveal to us what is needed at the right time. He has already revealed to us most of what we need. There are certain other little bits and pieces, like when do we get out; that hasn't been revealed to us, but at the time He will, if we are close to Him. If we are going in His way, these things will eventually be revealed. He is a consistent Being. And the same Being that was dealing with Abraham is dealing with us today as well. If you go over to Genesis 20:17, notice here is Abraham and it says:

"So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they [started to] bare children. For the [Eternal] had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham's wife." (Genesis 20:17-18)

So here was this servant of God, this minister of God, intervening on behalf of somebody else, between that somebody else and God. And we see pretty clearly in the account here that Abraham was a servant, a minister. He was serving God. God recognised him as such and He heard the prayer. You find another individual if you turn over to Job 42:7. Now Job is probably even older than the account we have just seen, but in our Bibles it is later, we again find an instance here where Job also:

"And it was so, that after the [Eternal] had spoken these words unto Job, the [Eternal] said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job." (Job 42:7-8)

So here again, a righteous individual, a servant of God, a minister of God was intervening on behalf of some other individuals, some other human beings. And as we go into the Levitical system, you will see that extant a great deal more, beomg expanded a great deal more. So looking pre-Temple, pre-tabernacle time, there was a ministry of sorts. It was the servants of God and the servants of God did intervene on behalf of other people. You can see that quite clearly.

Now prior to the time of the Levitical system however, you didn't have the sacrificial system that was in extent in Levitical times. Put in your notes:

"...It was added because of transgressions..." (Galatians 3:16-19)

And Jeremiah 7:22-24:

"For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice..." (Jeremiah 7:22-24)

Another scripture you can put down if you are wanting to do a bit more Bible study yourself, would be Matthew 19:8 where Christ was talking about divorce:

"He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so." (Matthew 19:8)

There was a standard that was set in this beginning time - this beginning time that we are looking at with Abraham - that in fact we are going back to when we are coming into the New Testament times. The laws that were added were ceremonial laws, there were washings, there were various ordinances, and so on; that were added during the Levitical system.

The Levitical System (PLAY FROM 13:52)

But if we come into the Levitical system and have a look at the individuals themselves; the ministers, the servants of God, within this Temple system. In Exodus 28:1, we find here how God says to Moses:

"And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister [to Me, be a servant to Me] unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons [the actual word for 'minister unto me in the priest's office' is kohen, there is the use of the word kohen again]. And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty. And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office." (Exodus 28:1-3).

That he may kohen, that is really what he is talking about. If we go on over in Exodus 28:15, it says:

"And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work...[Verse 21] And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes." (Exodus 28:15,21)

So these twelve tribes were in the stones of this ephod and in Exodus 28:29:

"And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the [Eternal] continually. And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goeth in before the [Eternal]: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the [Eternal] continually." (Exodus 28:29-30)

So there is the Urim and Thummin - I think it was black and white stones - and it was used to decide various matters and the appearance was that the stones would glow. That's most likely thing that happened because the way the wording apparently is in the Hebrew. But the judgement was on the heart of Aaron, it was a judgement and it was a judgement where the tribes of Israel were also on his heart. He was the kohen, the one who was the "minister unto Me in the priest's office". He was the one who was an intermediary in many ways between the people of Israel and also God. People went to God by going to that intermediary. Now that is not the case when you are looking at the New Testament ministry. It is a different system, it goes back to the time like that of Abraham. Over in Exodus 29:6, notice it says:

"And thou shalt put the mitre upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the mitre. Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him. And thou shalt bring his sons, and put coats upon them. And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest's office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons." (Exodus 29:6-9)

Notice there they are consecrated by the oil, the symbol of the very Spirit of God that is poured on them so that they are then consecrated as it says at the end, forever, for a perpetual statute. Again there isn't actually a word that means 'forever' in Hebrew. It means, 'for the ages'. In other words; for the age that it lasts, that is what it literally means, and for the age when this was lasting. It was going to go on until God Himself would change it.

Now if we go over to Numbers 3:5, you find here that it wasn't just Aaron. Aaron was in fact part of the Levitical tribe. And in Exodus 6:18 and 20, you will find that Aaron and Moses were part of the Kohath tribe. Now bear that in mind because we will be talking about those in a little while. But here notice it says:

"And the [Eternal] spake unto Moses, saying, Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him." (Numbers 3:5-6)

So Levi was actually a servant of the priesthood. There was a structure there. There was a theocracy, that was in place. Numbers 3:11 it says:

"And the [Eternal] spake unto Moses, saying, And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine;" (Numbers 3:11-12)

Now they were a special tribe, a whole tribe that were being used in the service of God. They were the ministers of God, but they were ministering to the priests, and we will see how this actually is structured. It was not a random thing. It wasn't just; "Oh, the Levities were the ministers and they go and look after the temple; and some of them, kind of, are priests." No, it was very, very structured. There were very detailed instructions that God gave; and it was expected to be followed perfectly. Notice in Numbers 3:23 it says:

"The families of the Gershonites shall pitch behind the tabernacle westward." (Numbers 3:23)

So the tabernacle was in the camp and on the west side of the camp. Now the Gershonites were one of the clans of Levi, they were part of the Levitical tribe, one of the sons of Levi. The Gershonites were on the westward and in Numbers 3:24:

"And the chief of the house of the father of the Gershonites shall be Eliasaph the son of Lael. And the charge of the sons of Gershon in the tabernacle of the congregation shall be the tabernacle, and the tent, the covering thereof, and the hanging for the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, And the hangings of the court..." (Numbers 3:24-26)

And it specifies exactly what they were responsible for within the tabernacle. They actually had to cart this stuff around. In other words; when the pillar of cloud moved, it was the Gershonites who had to make sure that they packed up all the bits and pieces that they had to pack up and they carted these things that were specified within this section. Now if you come onto Numbers 3:29 it says:

"The families of the sons of Kohath..." (Numbers 3:29)

Now remember I said in Exodus 6:18-20 Aaron and Moses were all from the family of Kohath. Now there were other Levities within this section, within this family and this is important because we will come on to a specific example. And the example is that of Korah, but we will come on and have a look at that shortly. But be aware that Kohath had a special job. They were to pitch on the south side. So they were on the south of the tabernacle. Numbers 3:30:

"And the chief of the house of the father of the families of the Kohathites shall be Elizaphan the son of Uzziel. And their charge shall be the ark, and the table, and the candlestick..." (Numbers 3:30-31)

So they were in charge of all the Holy of Holies. They were the ones that carried the staves on their shoulders, these Kohaths, the Kohathites. Now that is an important point because they had a very, very senior position; a very senior position. They were carting all this lot on their shoulders, but it was a senior position. When you come to Merari in Numbers 3:35 it says:

"And the chief of the house of the father of the families of Merari was Zuriel the son of Abihail: these shall pitch on the side of the tabernacle northward. And under the custody and charge of the sons of Merari shall be the boards of the tabernacle, and the bars thereof, and the pillars thereof, and the sockets thereof, and all the vessels thereof, and all that serveth thereto," (Numbers 3:35-36)

So they carted around all the heavy stuff. One carted around all the kind of curtaining and all the bits and pieces like that, the tenting. The other ones carted around all these pillars and boards and posts and everything else. But the Kohathites, they carted around the actual Holy of Holies, and all the implements, and they had to be very very careful indeed in the way that had to be dealt with.

Now if we go over to Numbers 20:10, I want you to notice the structure that we find here. God is an organised Being. Now I know there are different washings and ordinances and all the rest of it, but it was organised. And when we come into the New Testament times, we also find that there is organisation there as well. So we find:

"And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock [this is the example of the waters of Meribah, he was told to speak to the rock and he didn't; instead], and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?" (Numbers 20:10)

In other words; he lost his cool and he called them a bunch of rebels and he took the glory himself; "Must we go and get this water from the rock for you, because you are a bunch of rebels?" And it goes down to Numbers 20:12:

"And the [Eternal] spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them." (Numbers 20:12)

So we find here the actual judgement is very severe in many ways. Now someone who finds himself now as a minister, as a servan - if you are finding yourself as a King Priest in the future, we had better make sure that we don't forget what happened to Moses and Aaron. Because God expects the ones that He gives additional responsibility to, to also behave with that additional responsibility in the way they need to behave. And they will be judged more harshly, in a harsher manner than if that isn't the case. And yet, you know, He will also back them up. If you turn back to Numbers 12:2 here is Miriam:

"And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. And they said, Hath the [Eternal] indeed spoken only by Moses? indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the [Eternal] heard it." (Numbers 12:1-2)

Now He had spoken by them as well, because Miriam if you remember, prophesied as she danced on the shores of the Red Sea; Exodus 15:20-21. She did prophesy, she danced on the shores of the Red Sea and as far as Aaron was concerned, he was the prophet, he was the voice piece when he went before Pharaoh. So indeed yes, God had spoken by them. Numbers 12:3:

"(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.) And the [Eternal] spake suddenly [in fact He yelled, the Hebrew says, the Eternal yelled, he shouted] unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out. And the [Eternal] came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth. And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the [Eternal] will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house." (Numbers 12:3-7)

And now notice, here is the servant of God, the servant through whom God was working, faithful through that working; and God did not take kindly to anybody else dealing with that individual and undermining his office. Now the parallels between Mr Herbert Armstrong in our present day and what has happened screams at us. But in this case in Numbers 12:7:

"My servant Moses is not so [my servant, my minister], who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the [Eternal] shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? And the anger of the [Eternal] was kindled against them; and he departed." (Numbers 12:7-9)

And Miriam had leprosy. Now remember this was brother and sister, Moses was a younger brother, almost certainly. He was the younger brother of Miriam and Aaron. So even in such a case, God didn't take kindly to that. And yet when Moses himself needed correcting, God corrected him as well. There is a very clear structure, a clear organisation, the way in which the priesthood was organised, the way in which Moses was used. The way in which the respect for Moses as the servant of God was called for as somebody special. He wasn't a priest, but he was the one that God was actually using. If you turn over to Leviticus 10:1, we find a very similar case:

"And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the [Eternal]..." (Leviticus 10:1)

It was improper incense - probably the mixture was not as it had been specified and the reason why it was not done correctly, specifically and carefully, because what they were supposed to do was take a handful of this mixture and grind it up fine. And the incense is a picture of prayer and they were grinding up the prayers fine and offering the incense, and they didn't do it properly. And the reason they didn't do it properly is because they were possibly drunk. As we go into Leviticus 10:9 it seems to indicate that. In Leviticus 10:2 we see how:

"And there went out fire from the [Eternal], and devoured them, and they died before the [Eternal]. Then Moses said unto Aaron [and remember Aaron is their father, so here he is talking to their father], This is it that the [Eternal] spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified..." (Leviticus 10:2-3)

Now you and I must represent God before the world, and if we behave in such a way that that representation is a stink in the eyes of the world, then we had better fear - all of us. If I as minister do the same, I had better fear greatly because this is the way God has always has been. It is the way He always will be. That is where all of us have got to get on our knees. All of us have got to repent of the way we are and draw close to God. Leviticus 10:3:

"...that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace [so Aaron closed his mouth and he was their father, this was a difficult task for Aaron, a really difficult job]. And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said unto them, Come near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp. So they went near, and carried them in their coats out of the camp; as Moses had said. And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the [Eternal] hath kindled." (Leviticus 10:3-6)

So again that was a very hard and difficult sentence in some ways. If you go over to Leviticus 10:16:

"And Moses diligently sought the goat of the sin offering, and, behold, it was burnt: and he was angry [in other words, they had done something wrong, they made a mistake there; verse 19] And Aaron said unto Moses, Behold, this day have they offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the [Eternal]; and such things have befallen me: and if I had eaten the sin offering to day, should it have been accepted in the sight of the [Eternal? In other words; he was mourning inside, and he said; 'Look I just couldn't do it'] And when Moses heard that, he was content." (Leviticus 10:16,19-20)

So here was this case of Aaron and the judgement on Aaron and on his sons was quite severe; because as it says; "...This is it that the [Eternal] spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me..." (Leviticus 10:3). So the servants of God, as ministers of God, as King Priests in the future, you and I, are going to have to learn that lesson. We have got to learn it now; because God will expect that of every single one of us. He does not change. And we must make sure in the future, and now as well, that we have that respect and that respect is given. If you want to put in your notes Leviticus 4:3,13,22,28. {1} If you compare those verses. You will find that the sin offering is much greater for a priest. It is the same as if the entire house of Israel sinned, whereas a leader had to offer a male goat and an ordinary individual offered a female.

Now Numbers 16:1 and we just have a look at this example of Korah; because this again should tell us a great deal:

"Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath..." (Numbers 16:1)

Notice he was a Kohathite, he was one of those who would actually carry the stave of the ark. If you go back and do a little bit of research yourself, you will find that what used to happen is the priests would go in and they would take the ark and they would cover it, and the staves would be through all the time. They would then put a covering over the ark. They would cover all the implements and everything else and the Kohathites had to stay outside until all that was done. When that was done they then came in and they then carried it on their shoulders. And they carried all the implements, all the candlesticks, the shewbread, the table and everything else was then carried by the Kohathites. And the priests, the high priest would then go with the Kohathites to wherever.

You find it all if you go and read 2 Samuel 6, if you want to do a little bit more research. Remember David had this ark that was dumped on a truck, on a cart and somebody put his hand on it. It should never have been on that cart in the first place. But you then read the fact that the Levities were with the priests and carried it, the Kohathites were specified specifically to carry the ark. So here we see, Korah was one of those people. This was not just an ordinary Levite. He was a leader and in addition to that, he was a leader of the Kohathites. In addition to them Numbers 16:1:

"...and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men: And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the [Eternal] is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the [Eternal]?" (Numbers 16:1-3)

Now we do see that kind of thing happening from time to time within the Church; where maybe there is a group of ministers, of which one is a senior minister and the others therefore say, "you are taking too much upon yourself" and will therefore try and undermine him. Now it really is something that we need to keep in mind because as we come on to be Kings and Priests, we had better not forget the examples that we have got here at this time. It says here in Numbers 16:7:

"And put fire therein, and put incense in them before the [Eternal] to morrow: and it shall be that the man whom the [Eternal] doth choose, he shall be holy: ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi [it was primarily the sons of Levi that were being talked about]. And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi: Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the [Eternal], and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them? [Remember they actually did a great deal of the actual carrying and everything else involved in the temple, it wasn't just carting the stuff around] And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also [are you looking at that also, you see Aaron seemed to be the focus]? For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the [Eternal]: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?" (Numbers 16:7-11)

It was Aaron that was the focus of this, this rebellion. It is interesting when you come to Numbers 13:12, it says:

"And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab: which said, We will not come up:" (Numbers 13:12)

They just flatly refused, and it goes in and finally Numbers 16:23: it says:

"And the [Eternal] spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him. And he spake unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men..." (Numbers 16:23-26)

In other words; they were dis-fellowshipped. They were separated from the congregation - "you have got to get away from these particular individuals", and then God acted. It is interesting if you go on and read this section a bit more, you find that Aaron's rod is then given in Numbers 17 and if you look in Numbers 18:1

"And the [Eternal] said unto Aaron, Thou and thy sons and thy father's house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary: and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood. And thy brethren also of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of thy father, bring thou with thee, that they may be joined unto thee, and [serve] minister unto thee: but thou and thy sons with thee shall minister before the tabernacle of witness." (Numbers 18:1-2)

They were the servants, the ministers before the tabernacle in that Levitical system.

The New Testament Ministry (PLAY FROM 40:16)

Now when we come to the New Testament ministry, let's turn over to Malachi. We might think that Malachi is talking about the Old Testament and it's not. It is quite clear that there is a New Testament fulfilment. Malachi 3:1 it talks about:

"Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the [Eternal], whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the [Eternal] of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:" (Malachi 3:1-2)

Now that was not the way Christ came the first time, Christ did not come like that. "A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench..." (Matthew 12:20). He did not come as it says here; "...like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:" (Malachi 3:2). That's not the way it actually occurred. You can also see in Malachi 4:1 where it talks about:

"...the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up..." (Malachi 4:1)

Again you are looking at end-time fulfilments within these pages. So when we go back to Malachi 1:6 where it says:

"A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the [Eternal] of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name [He is not just talking to the priests of old, He is talking to the ministry today]. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar [polluted food, from the mouth of the ministry]; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the [Eternal] is contemptible." (Malachi 1:6-7)

Skip down to Malachi 1:12:

"But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the [Eternal] is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his [food], is contemptible [we have seen this happen within our previous fellowships]. Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the [Eternal] of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the [Eternal]. But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the [Eternal] a corrupt thing [there are people there who are holding fast, but instead what he is trying to do is offer to God a corrupt flock because of the things that are coming out of his mouth]: for I am a great King, saith the [Eternal] of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen." (Malachi 1:12-14)

Malachi 2:1

"And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name [remember what we looked at in Leviticus 10 where Aaron was not to mourn his sons, it was because the name of God had been brought down by His servants], saith the [Eternal] of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings..." (Malachi 2:1-2)

And we can go down even further in Malachi 2:4 where it goes in to My covenant and talks about Levi:

"And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the [Eternal] of hosts. My covenant was with him of life and peace..." (Malachi 2:4-5)

Remember Levi is not just the priesthood. It is not just the ministry of God. It is the ones who are with the ministers of God - with the priesthood. So if you want to draw a parallel between the Levities, you are looking at the ones who assisted within the temple. You are looking at the entire Church.

"My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity. For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the [Eternal] of hosts. But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the [Eternal] of hosts. Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people..." (Malachi 2:5-9)

And we can see that having happened within the fellowships that we have passed through. And it is unfortunate that is the way it has actually occurred..

Now when we look at the New Testament, there are three primary words that are actually used. If we turn over to I Timothy 3:1 it says:

"This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work." (I Timothy 3:1)

Now this is one of the words that is used for the ministry. The word 'bishop' - 'episkope', Strong's G1984, it is in Greek. It literally means the overseer. Somebody who is over somebody else, so an overseer; "...he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless..." (I Timothy 3:1-2) and so on.

If you notice in I Timothy 4:6 here is another word that is being used:

"If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ..." (I Timothy 4:6)

Now here is the actual word 'minister', it is 'diakonos', Strong's G1249, it means servant. It means slave, it means someone who ministers, who serves like serving at a table. But notice, you will find that it tends to be used as; "...a good minister of Jesus Christ..." (I Timothy 4:6). It is a servant of God, a minister of God, a minister of Jesus Christ. You will find that is how that word tends to be used and that is what the ministry actually must be; and remember that we are.

Remember this word means servant, it means a slave; and a slave really depends on his master for everything. He depends on his master for his entire sustenance and a true minister, in that sense, is one whose entire livelihood would come from his work. His work as a slave of God and yet a local Church Elder would have another job besides, so that he is not therefore totally dependent on the income that would arise from the tithes or whatever. We are all, every single one, including the congregation were all to be servants of God.

Another one in I Timothy 5:17 notice:

"Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox [it is talking about remuneration]... Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses." (I Timothy 5:17-19)

This again is 'presbuteros', Strong's G4245, like presbytery, it literally means an older man. In that light, when we are looking at the New Testament ministry, in Luke 22:24-26, Christ talks about the way in which to be great within the apostles. How the greatest is to be the greatest servant. Because there was an argument about who was going to be greater. But it is interesting that just after that in Luke 22:31-32, he addresses Peter and in that section, he talks to Peter about actually shoring up the rest of his brethren and he therefore clearly gives Peter a special responsibility. And you will only find that if you get a King James, where you can see the 'thee's' and 'thou's' because he is talking about singular and plural.

"And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them... But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as...as he that doth serve [as a minister]. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth." (Luke 22:24-27)

And it goes down and it talks about "you are going to be with Me eating and drinking in the kingdom of God" and in Luke 22:31:

"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you [plural 'you', the disciples], that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee ['thee' is singular, talking specifically to Peter], that thy faith fail not: and when thou [that is singular] art converted, strengthen thy brethren." (Luke 22:31-32)

So He is addressing this specifically to Peter as the chief apostle to make sure that he looks after - in a way He had just reiterated in the previous verse - how he looks after the Church, as a servant. But he is being highlighted, that he is the one that is to be responsible for strengthening the brethren which were the disciples at that time, particularly the apostles. Now if we go back to I Corinthians 4:1 you find here:

"Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." (I Corinthians 4:1-2)

And we who are in the ministry must be faithful. Faithful to the way that we have been taught. You notice where it says then in I Corinthians 4:13:

"Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day. I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. For though ye have ten thousand instructers in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me [he was the apostle sent to the Corinthian Church, but I want you to notice the next verse]. For this cause [because they were not aware of this, because they didn't get this firmly in mind, because they looked at something different] have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church." (I Corinthians 4:13-17)

Now Timothy was faithful. Timothy was loyal and he was being appointed, sent to the Corinthian Church. This letter was sent across from Ephesus and Timothy was then sent across to go ahead and teach them and to put right some of these things that were wrong.

Now turn over to I Timothy and we actually look at what Paul had been saying to Timothy. I Timothy was being written from Macedonia, in this case to Ephesus. Now Ephesus was from where he was writing I Corinthians. Ephesus is on the other side of the Aegean Sea, writing across to the Corinthians, who were just below Macedonia; but he was writing this book of Timothy from Macedonia to go across to Ephesus. In I Timothy chapter 1:3 it says:

"As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia [that's why we understand where this was written], that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine [don't get off track, that they stay on track], Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do." (I Timothy 1:3-4)

You see, what was it, what was the grounding that Timothy had? He was going to the truck of the tree; the grounding. It was the spirit of the Law, the Way. Remember the way Priscilla and Aquila went and took Apollos aside to teach the way of God more fully. They were getting off track in Corinth. And here he is saying, as he is writing back to Ephesus;

"Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying [getting the very mind of God] which is in faith: so do. Now the end of the commandment [the end point, the focus of the commandments, the focus of God's Law] is charity [is this mind of God] out of a pure heart [it has got to come from a heart that has been converted, that has been changed, that is what it is saying], and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;" (I Timothy 1:4-8)

And this was the problem, they were not using it lawfully; but Timothy would. Timothy would follow what Paul had taught him and it was a case of using the Law lawfully, of getting to the Spirit of the Law, of getting to the heart and core of what the Law was teaching so that the mind might be changed. So that the very heart can be changed so that God can use us as Kings and Priests in the future. That is what it is all about. If you notice at the end of I Timothy 1:10:

"...and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry [into the service]; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor [he goes on and explains that a little bit]... And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus." (I Timothy 1:10-14)

And notice it goes down into I Timothy 1:18:

"This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme." (I Timothy 1:18-20)

So we see that he is encouraging Timothy to go back to the trunk of the tree, that is what he is talking about. To be getting behind what sin really is. What the real problems in life are. To get right to the heart and core of things. Now in this Pastor General's report that I have read before, Mr Armstrong has written something very similar. This is the one from July 1983 and I want to just read some of this and try and intersperse it with what in fact Paul is saying to Timothy. Mr Armstrong says:

"...Sin is the transgression of the law, and the law is God's spiritual Law. It is summed up in the one word, 'LOVE.' It is expanded into the great commandment, Love to GOD, and love to neighbor. That in turn was expanded into the Ten Commandments - the first four expressing the principle of love toward God, the last six the principle of love toward neighbor.

Jesus magnified the law - expanded it further, in principle. Under the Old Testament, a man had not committed adultery until the actual literal act. But in the New, Jesus said a man who even lusted after a woman had committed adultery in his heart!

In II Corinthians 3:6, it is written that we must obey the law according to the SPIRIT - that is, the principle or intent of the law - not according to the specific letter." ' PGR July 1983'

Now that is what Mr Armstrong wrote. You go back to II Corinthians 3, you will find that that is what Paul also wrote and that is what Timothy here is being stressed. I Timothy 1:4 says here:

"Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. Now the end of the commandment is [this spiritual mind of God which is agape which is this love] charity..." (I Timothy 1:4-5)

As it mentions here. If we go on a little bit further in I Timothy 4:6 notice it says:

"If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ [notice minister of Jesus Christ, the servant of Jesus Christ], nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. [And it goes on] For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things..." (I Timothy 4:6-8)

Notice down in I Timothy 6:20:

"O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science [or knowledge] falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen." (I Timothy 6:20-21)

Again coming back to what Mr Armstrong was saying in this article here, within the PGR, he starts to talk about God's law:

"God's law defines the WAY of human conduct - first of all, in relation to God, and secondly to human neighbor. LAW simply means the rules of conduct. The RULES of a basketball, baseball or football game might be called the LAWS of those games - the rules that regulate performance."

God's LAW is stated in the one word, LOVE..." ' PGR July 1983'

Now we have seen that and it says here "...the end [or end point] of the commandment is [agape is love]..." (I Timothy 1:5). That is what it is. That is exactly what Mr Armstrong is saying as well. He is giving the same focus that Paul gave, that he gave to Timothy and he said, Look, Timothy is going to come back and teach this. Mr Armstrong says:

"God's LAW is stated in the one word, LOVE. The word LOVE is a PRINCIPLE, and in principle it is opposite to the word LUST. It is LOVE toward others. First of all, LOVE toward GOD, in love, worship, and obedience. Secondly it is love toward other humans. It cannot be vanity, because vanity is toward self and puts SELF before God. Love toward and worship of God in itself is the PRINCIPLE of humility, not self-glory or vanity or coveting. It is love toward neighbor in the spirit of outgoing CONCERN for neighbor's welfare and good - of cooperation, serving, helping, sharing. It also may be love toward self in the sense or principle of concern for the physical and mental and spiritual welfare of the body and mind, which is the temple of God's Holy Spirit." ' PGR July 1983'

He then said:

"YOU CAN APPLY THAT PRINCIPLE TO ANY QUESTION OF HUMAN CONDUCT. It is the real answer to the SIN question." ' PGR July 1983'

Now that is what Mr Armstrong was pointing out and he used to go on and on and on and on about this issue. He would never stop about this issue, the way of GIVE and they way of GET and this is the heart and core. And if you read what Paul is saying to Timothy, he is doing exactly the same thing, he is doing exactly the same thing when you come to I Corinthians and see that the same mindset is there. And here is the ministry. Now you and I have got to be King Priests. We have got to take this mindset, this way into the future. It is that mindset that is important.

If we have a whole list of do's and dont's and all we do is keep ticking them off we will never get that mindset. If you are going to be a true minister of Jesus Christ, a true servant of God, if you and I are going to be true priests of God, the kings of the future we have got to have this mindset. This mindset has got to be there. The laws are vitally important. Paul says, does that negate the laws of God? He said, God forbid. It doesn't do that. The laws of God are all there. But they will not necessarily cover every single little infraction, but if you get the mindset right, as he says here, you can apply that principle to any question.

Now I have had cases where people have written to me saying; "Well, because make-up is not actually specifically mentioned in scripture, therefore Mr Armstrong has no right to go ahead and legislate on it." But you have got to get to the principle of it. The principle is what he went to. And what are you going to do when you find yourself in darkest Africa in the future as a King Priest, dealing with a situation, that you can't find a specific verse for? What are you going to do? If you haven't got the principle in mind, you can't go ahead and say what's right and what's wrong. And yet what does it say in Malachi 3:16 it says:

"Then they that feared the [Eternal] spake often one to another: and the [Eternal] hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the [Eternal], and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the [Eternal] of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not." (Malachi 3:16-18)

And we are not going to be able to get every single infraction by going to a specific list of points that we can tick off. We have got to get that mindset and that mindset is what was being discussed here within Timothy.

I think I have got my sermon, my Bible Study for next week. I haven't covered hardly anything, but what I will do is I will carry on within Timothy and the New Testament ministry, because that subject is so vast. We will carry on with this subject because the New Testament ministry, the New Covenant ministry is what we are talking about, is the servant of God. But it is the administration of the spirit not the letter. When you go back into the Levitical system, you will find that each little point, all these things were added. A whole load of things were added to the Law, to try and have obedience.

But when we come into the New Testament, the Law is still there, the Ten Commandments are still there. You live by every Word that precedes from the mouth of God, but you cannot get a list of all the do's and dont's and tick them off because that is not righteousness. That is not what is being brought out and certainly Timothy had to be used by Paul to be brought into the Corinthian Church in order for them to 'get it'. Which Mr Armstrong used to pound away and saying; "People are just not getting it." It is so that the mind can be ready to become King Priests in the future. That is why we are here. That is what the ministry is all about and I hope that at least, as far as this as gone, it's been of interest.


Footnotes:

{1} Mr Bowles mentioned Leviticus 3:13,22,28 instead of Leviticus 4:13,22,28.