Chapter 44:15-31 (ESV) - But the Levitical priests, the sons of Zadok, who kept the charge of my sanctuary when the people of Israel went astray from me, shall come near to me to minister to me. And they shall stand before me to offer me the fat and the blood, declares the Lord God. They shall enter my sanctuary, and they shall approach my table, to minister to me, and they shall keep my charge. When they enter the gates of the inner court, they shall wear linen garments. They shall have nothing of wool on them, while they minister at the gates of the inner court, and within. They shall have linen turbans on their heads, and linen undergarments around their waists. They shall not bind themselves with anything that causes sweat. And when they go out into the outer court to the people, they shall put off the garments in which they have been ministering and lay them in the holy chambers. And they shall put on other garments, lest they transmit holiness to the people with their garments. They shall not shave their heads or let their locks grow long; they shall surely trim the hair of their heads. No priest shall drink wine when he enters the inner court. They shall not marry a widow or a divorced woman, but only virgins of the offspring of the house of Israel, or a widow who is the widow of a priest. They shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the common, and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean. In a dispute, they shall act as judges, and they shall judge it according to my judgments. They shall keep my laws and my statutes in all my appointed feasts, and they shall keep my Sabbaths holy. They shall not defile themselves by going near to a dead person. However, for father or mother, for son or daughter, for brother or unmarried sister they may defile themselves. After he has become clean, they shall count seven days for him. And on the day that he goes into the Holy Place, into the inner court, to minister in the Holy Place, he shall offer his sin offering, declares the Lord God.
“This shall be their inheritance: I am their inheritance: and you shall give them no possession in Israel; I am their possession. They shall eat the grain offering, the sin offering, and the guilt offering, and every devoted thing in Israel shall be theirs. And the first of all the firstfruits of all kinds, and every offering of all kinds from all your offerings, shall belong to the priests. You shall also give to the priests the first of your dough, that a blessing may rest on your house. The priests shall not eat of anything, whether bird or beast, that has died of itself or is torn by wild animals.
Question to consider: In what way is every Christian a prophet, priest and king?
When Jesus was giving a good word about John the Baptist, He said of him, “Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Matthew 11:11) Jesus was not criticizing John in talking about him being less than the least in the kingdom of heaven. He was essentially saying that if you judge someone based on their earthly righteousness, John was truly great. However, even the least in the kingdom of heaven is made holy by Christ and therefore more perfect than John. John the Baptist came 600 years after Ezekiel received this vision so the most righteous example of priests he could give were those who descended from Zadok.
The linen garments in this vision are like the new garments given to Joshua the high priest in Zechariah 3:4, “And the angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Remove the filthy garments from him.’ And to him he said, ‘Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.’” They represent the righteousness that we are given in Christ. As Paul wrote to the Galatians, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27)
I also would equate Ezekiel qualifying the priests according to Levitical ordinances to be similar to Paul giving Timothy character qualities for choosing a pastor. Ultimately, it was to find those who would remain a faithful servant of the Lord in carrying out their call.
Like the priests in this vision, those who belong to Christ receive Christ as our inheritance. We are all prophets, priests, and kings in Christ: prophets when we proclaim the written word of God, priests when we forgive the sins of others and intercede for them in prayer, and kings when we go into the world and make disciples of Christ— baptizing them in His name and teaching them to obey all that He commands.
Dear heavenly father, thank You for giving us Your word. Help us to hide it in our hearts and proclaim it to the world. Thank You for cleansing us and clothing us in the righteousness of Christ. May it overflow from us to a world that is longing to be made right with You. Amen.