In Ezekiel, the priests are described in great detail. In 1 Peter 2:5, the Lord’s people are described as “a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” This description continues in 1 Peter 2:9 - “a royal priesthood ... a people belonging to God. To His people, God gives this call - “Declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” To be “a holy priesthood ... a royal priesthood” is not only privilege. It is also responsibility. Concerning this privilege and responsibility, the Psalmist writes, “May Your priests be clothed with righteousness; may Your saints sing for joy ... I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her saints shall ever sing for joy” (Psalm 132:9,16).
In Ezekiel, we read of many sacrifices being offered to God. In the New Testament, it is emphasized that one Sacrifice is sufficient - “For Christ died for sins once for all, the Righteous for the unrighteous to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18). We are called to look to Christ for salvation. We are to trust in the Lord. This is the way of true prosperity (Proverbs 28:25). It is the way of walking in wisdom, the way of enjoying salvation. This way is contrasted with the way of trusting in oneself, the way of the fool (Proverbs 28:26).
“The sanctuary will be in the centre of it ... In the centre of it will be the sanctuary of the Lord ... the Temple sanctuary will be in the centre of them” (Ezekiel 48:8,10,21). Here, we have the centrality of worship in the life of God’s people. First and foremost, God calls His people to worship Him. In all our service offered to God (1 Peter 4:10-11), there is to be the offering of worship - “To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11). This worship is not simply personal worship - ‘you in your small corner and I in mine.” It is the worship offered to God by His people when they gather together to praise Him. It is God’s people responding to the call, ‘Let us worship God.’ “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1). When God’s people worship Him “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24), the Holy Spirit descends upon them “like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard” (Psalm 133:2). As God’s people worship Him, the blessing of the Lord will be given: “There the Lord bestows His blessing, even life for evermore” (Psalm 133:3).
Daniel’s praise, offered to God, in Daniel 2:20-23, highlights for us the direction from which blessing comes. It comes from above. What we do not have is given to us by God - “He gives” (Daniel 2:21), “You have given me” (Daniel 2:23). Daniel’s praise is echoed in Peter’s praise: “To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:11). Again, in Psalm 134, the connection between praise and blessing is underlined: “Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord ... May the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth bless you from Zion” (Psalm 134:3).
God is sovereign. He is establishing His Kingdom which is heavenly, eternal and glorious - “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a Kingdom that will never be destroyed ... it will itself endure for ever” (Daniel 2:44). Alongside the sovereignty of God, there is also the responsibility of man - “Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fail, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10-11). There is no comparison between the kingdoms of men and the Kingdom of God - “I know that the Lord is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods ... He struck down many nations and killed mighty kings ... and He gave their land as an inheritance, an inheritance to His people Israel” (Psalm 135:5,10-12).
“The Most High is sovereign over the kingdom of men” (Daniel 4:17). It is a great comfort to know that God is sovereign. It gives strength in the midst of the conflict. It’s an unequal conflict - God’s Kingdom will prevail over the kingdom of Satan. We must not, however, doubt that Satan will provide determined opposition - “false prophets ... false teachers ... will bring the way of truth into disrepute” (2 Peter 2:1-2). However fierce the conflict may be, we have this assurance: “The Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the Day of judgment” (2 Peter 2:9). In the heat of the battle, we must never forget what we are fighting for and who we are fighting for - ‘To be the best that I can be for truth and righteousness and Thee.” In this battle, the Lord Himself fights with us and for us. He enables us to maintain His standard. He keeps us from dropping down to the level of the world’s standards. “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern” (Proverbs 29:7).
Worldly men “praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone” (Daniel 5:4). They worship things - material possessions. The Lord calls His people to higher things. He tells us that “the idols of the nations are silver and gold” (Psalm 135:15). They are not to be worshipped. We are to “praise the Lord” (Psalm 135:19-21). We are to give the glory to “our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). We are to praise the Lord - “Your Name, O Lord, endures for ever, Your renown, O Lord, through all generations” (Psalm 135:13).
“For He is the living God and He endures for ever; His Kingdom will not be destroyed, His dominion will never end” (Daniel 6:26). “His love endures for ever” (Psalm 136). God is the God of love. His Kingdom is the Kingdom of love. God is eternal. His Kingdom is eternal. The love of God is eternal in its origin. It is eternal in its outcome. The love of God has been revealed in history. Between the beginning and the end, there is the Cross of Jesus Christ: “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).