“And of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz, the children of Barzillai, which took one of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite to wife, and was called after their name. These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but it was not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood. And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and Thummim.” Nehemiah 7:63-65
The nation Israel had just completed building the walls around Jerusalem. Every able man had been involved in the work of building that wall, either building or guarding or both. It was hard work dealing building with burnt stones, for most of them had skills in anything but wall construction. Even the priests were involved in building the gates (and other sections) of the wall. Of course, the nobles didn’t lift a hand, and in fact, reported to the enemy every move. This was used by God to instill anger against the people of God and fear of the Lord in the enemy and, simultaneously, confidence in Him amongst His people. That, however, is not the subject for this study.
So, the wall gets completed, and Nehemiah appoints rulers for Jerusalem. Upon making his appointments, the Lord puts into his heart to gather everyone and to reckon them by genealogy. He finds a record of the genealogy and begins to account for every person and to which families they belong. He gets through every child of Israel and now has the priests seeking their register among those that were reckoned, but guess what? They aren’t found in the record. When they weren’t found, they were considered polluted and booted from priesthood. Pretty harsh, considering this was the life they had known and that they had participated in the work on the wall. Pretty harsh, that is, until we see it through spiritual eyes.
Through spiritual eyes, the rubbish that the wall was built of represents mankind. Every man, woman, and child is born a burnt stone. We are all tainted with sin from the gate, and as we race through our short lives, remain so. That is, until we meet someone preaching the gospel, represented by the workers on the wall. Each person working on that wall represents a Christian, doing the work of the Lord, bringing the lost into the kingdom, speaking Jesus Christ and Him crucified to the lost and doing mighty things in this world in Christ’s name, building the kingdom. The completed wall represents, therefore, the Body of Christ when the trump finally calls. We will be complete upon entering Heaven, and the temples which we are will be open to the Lord, but closed to anyone who never accepts Jesus as Savior. Every one of us will have our names written in the Lamb’s book of life, if we indeed believe.
So, what of the priests who were put out of the priesthood? Well, let me first say that each of us is considered a priest, prophet, and king upon conversion. The principle behind this concept is an entirely different study which we won’t get into, but with a little faith, you and I truly are priests in the spiritual. That being accepted, let’s keep it in mind as we traverse the scriptures of the New Testament. We begin with this parable, told by Jesus:
“The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son… Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:2,8-15
Look at who was gathered from the highway and biways. They were both good and bad, but all given a wedding garment. Then there is the one man who hasn’t a wedding garment. It is the garment that mattered, for that man was cast out from the wedding celebration. He knew he shouldn’t have been there and so, had nothing to say to defend himself. He came in with everyone else, as one of them, but was not one of those chosen. The garment is Christ, and they are a priestly robes, but the true priestly robes were not found on the one who tried to get in on his own and who tried to be as one of the chosen few.
Even clearer is this:
“Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:21-24
This time, Jesus is not speaking in parable. This is presented as fact. Jesus had just said before this that narrow is the straight gate, but broad the way to destruction, and then He spoke of the fruit of the Spirit versus that of the world. He spoke also of false prophets. Today, we have many false prophets who have deceived even themselves. They are popular, but they do not speak of the Blood, nor of man being sinful and in need of a Savior. They do not preach the gospel, but another. They preach of prosperity here on earth and cause those who follow them to seek God’s hand, and not God’s face. They do not want to enter in through the One Door Who is Christ. They preach that any way you can, you’ll get in, but that isn’t what Jesus taught.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers… Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the Door of the sheep. All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the Door; by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.” John 10:1-5;7-11
This means that, not only are there thieves and robbers amongst the Body, but that the true Body will know proper doctrine through the Voice of The Lord. God will make His Voice known to true believers and when they hear false doctrine, they will know it. They will not fall for it. This, unfortunately, also means that those who have fallen prey to the wolves calling themselves Christian leaders are most likely not yet saved themselves, for if they were, they would recognize Truth when they heard it and reject false teaching, as well. Paul warned of this very thing when he wrote to Timothy.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4
Paul squarely places the responsibility on the believers. The blame for each individual is on themselves for not accepting the entire Truth of the gospel, but of course, Paul points out about in the leadership then what I am attempting to point out in this study regarding leadership today:
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15
So, there are definitely those masquerading as pastors and teachers, evangelists and healers. Who are they? Well, most can be plainly seen, as stated, but there are some who are not so easily seen. It has been rightly said that when we get to Heaven, there will be those there whom we never expected to see and there will be those missing whom we thought for sure would be there. But God alone looks at the heart and knows His own. Christ will one day account for each and every believer, and cast out those who never believed. But, in that is the good news! Even those who are deceived, even deceived of themselves, can still be atoned for, if they but repent and surrender to Christ before they breathe their last.
“And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and Thummim.” Nehemiah 7:65
That Priest did come. He is our High Priest, and His name is Jesus Christ. The priests were told that their names were not found among the people of God, but the gospel is for everyone, Jew and Gentile. So, those masquerading as servants of the One True God can still be saved, if they accept the absolute Truth of Christ and repent of their ways. Those priests were told to not partake of the holy things until a priest stood up.
Christ did stand up, was lifted up, raised up, and ascending up, all that we might know Him and come to glory with Him. All anyone, yes anyone, must do is believe the Truth, and then their names will be written and found in the Lamb’s book of life, and they, as we, will become partakers of the most holy things forevermore, as priests and children of God!
And as Christ stood up for all of us (including the deceived leadership of false doctrine christianity), so must we as His chosen priests. We must defend the faith and speak the Truth in love, that those who are caught up in false teaching can hear and know it. We are the priests who must speak of the great High Priest Jesus Christ Who stood up for every last man, woman, and child.
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Romans 10:13-15
Be strengthened, brothers and sisters, within the new hearts that God has provided to you and share the ache that God has for those who teach falsely and for those who are fooled, just as much as he aches for the souls of all of the lost. Know how He despises the teachings and the deceptions, yet still loves the deceiver and the deceived. His Only begotten Son was given for He so loves the world. Let’s gather up our loins, girded about with Truth, as men and women of God and go after them, that they may know the One True God and our Savior, Jesus Christ, in truth and in spirit and be saved! Mark them and avoid them, sure, but tell them the Truth!
Jesus Christ and Him crucified!