and wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come, whose time of
punishment has reached its climax, this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
Take off the turban, remove the crown. It will not be as it was: The
lowly will be exalted and the exalted will be brought low. A ruin! A
ruin! I will make it a ruin! It will not be restored until he comes to
whom it rightfully belongs; to him I will give it.
The turban was worn by the High Priest, the crown by
the King. The Lord had deliberately kept these two offices separate, the
priests always coming from the family of Levi and Kings from the family
of Judah. The third holy office (prophet) could come from any tribe and
indeed there were priests who were also prophets (Ezekiel and Zechariah
for example) and at least one king who was also a prophet (David). In
Abraham's time one man (Melchizedek) was both King and Priest but there
was never another since the birth of the Nation. To prove the Lord was
serious about this mandatory separation, when King Uzziah tried to
officiate as a priest, he was immediately stricken with leprosy.
Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful
to the LORD his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense
on the altar of incense. Azariah the priest with eighty other courageous
priests of the LORD followed him in. They confronted him and said, "It
is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD. That is for
the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn
incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will
not be honored by the LORD God."
had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry. While he
was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in
the LORD's temple, leprosy broke out on his forehead. When Azariah the
chief priest and all the other priests looked at him, they saw that he
had leprosy on his forehead, so they hurried him out. Indeed, he himself
was eager to leave, because the LORD had afflicted him.
had leprosy until the day he died. He lived in a separate house
—leprous, and excluded from the temple of the LORD. Jotham his son had
charge of the palace and governed the people of the land.
(2 Chron. 26:16-21)
A New Priesthood
So this prophecy of Ezekiel's actually called for a
suspension of the offices of both of High Priest and King, and then
proclaimed they would remain suspended until he comes to whom it
rightfully belongs. The "he" in the passage refers to an individual and
the "it" to the combined office of King/Priest. In other words,
someone like Melchizedek. In
Ezekiel 44 we read that the
Lord has become more and more displeased with the Levitical priesthood
for their behavior down through time and declares that only those from
the faithful line of Zadok can minister before Him in the Millennial
Temple. But even among them there is no mention of a Levitical
High Priest in the Millennium.
The idea of a priest in the order of Melchizedek was
first put forth in Psalm 110.
says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a
footstool for your feet." The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from
Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies. Your troops will be
willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy majesty, from the womb of
the dawn you will receive the dew of your youth.
The LORD has
sworn and will not change his mind: "You are a priest forever, in the
order of Melchizedek." The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush
kings on the day of his wrath. He will judge the nations, heaping up the
dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth. He will drink from a
brook beside the way; therefore he will lift up his head.
The Hebrew word translated LORD is the unspeakable
Name of God, represented by the four letters YHWH. The one translated
Lord is Adonai, and is used by a junior to address a senior. The only
one senior to King David, the author, and yet not the LORD has to be His
Son, the Messiah. In this Psalm, the Messiah is appointed a priest
forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
Placing Jesus in the context of
Psalm 110, the writer of
We have this
hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner
sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has
entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order
of Melchizedek. (Hebr.
Such a high
priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from
sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he
does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins,
and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once
for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests
men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the
Son, who has been made perfect forever.
But the Messiah is also the Lion of Judah, King of
Israel, heir to David's throne.
(Luke 1:32-33) It seems to me then, that the "he" Ezekiel's prophecy
referred to is the Messiah, who we know as Jesus and who, like
Melchizedek, is both King and High Priest.
When Were These Offices Suspended?
The last legitimate King to sit on David's throne was
Jeconiah, aka Jehoiachin about 600 BC, a few years after the time of
Ezekiel's prophecy. The LORD was so offended by this King's behavior
that He pronounced a blood curse on the Royal line.
Is this man
Jehoiachin a despised, broken pot, an object no one wants? Why will he
and his children be hurled out, cast into a land they do not know? O
land, land, land, hear the word of the LORD!
This is what
the LORD says: "Record this man as if childless, a man who will not
prosper in his lifetime, for none of his offspring will prosper, none
will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah."
To this day, there hasn't been a legitimate King in
Israel since. By the way, it was this curse that made the virgin birth
necessary to preserve the Messiah's claim to the throne. It's a
complicated issue that I explained in detail in my article entitled
"The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy."
The last legitimate High Priest was Onias III who was
murdered during the tumultuous reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, about 174
BC. With the exception of a period during the Hasmonean Dynasty, the
office of High Priest was thereafter auctioned off to the highest
bidder. (The first "winner" was Jason, brother of Onias, causing
speculation that he was behind his brother's death.)
How do we know that these two suspended offices will
really be combined? The Bible tells us so. In my
"The Branch" I explained that this phrase appears four times in
prophecy, each time revealing one of the Messiah's assignments on Earth.
In Zechariah 6:12-13 we
read, … this is what the LORD
Almighty says: 'Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will
branch out from his place and build the temple of the LORD. It is he who
will build the temple of the LORD, and he will be clothed with majesty
and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his
throne. And there will be harmony between the two.
The Lord had told Zechariah to fashion a crown of
silver and gold and place it on the head of Joshua, the High Priest. (Zech.
6:9-11) Silver was the coin of redemption and symbolized the
priesthood. Gold of course stands for royalty, the King. Then he used
Joshua as a model of the Messiah clothed in Majesty and ruling on His
throne, as both King and Priest. In Him there is finally harmony between
the two offices and the promise of
Psalm 110 is fulfilled.
As you read this, we have a Great High Priest,
who sat down at the right hand
of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary,
the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.
(Hebrews 8:1-2) And one day
soon He'll appear in the sky with all His Holy Ones, and then
the LORD will be king over the
whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only
name. (Zech 14:9)
Maranatha. Come Lord Jesus! 11-21-09