“And He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness.”
The question to answer today is: Who are the “sons of Levi” that the Lord is going to refine and purify in Malachi.
When the Lord Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world, God, The Father, abrogated (formally ended) the temple sacrifices. He did not accept or require them anymore. Jesus’ death on the cross settled the sin question once and for all. God evidently also did away with the Levital priesthood and established another priesthood with the Lord Jesus as the High Priest (Hebrew 4:14). I Peter 2:5 says “you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”. All born again believers are members of a “holy priesthood”, not a defiled priesthood as in Malachi, and are believer-priests to God through Jesus Christ. The spiritual house is the mystical Body of Christ that includes all born again believers on earth.
Therefore, I am of the opinion that we born again believers are the “sons of Levi” referred to in Malachi 3:3 since the refining and purifying takes place after the Lord comes to His temple suddenly and in 70 AD the Roman general Titus destroyed the temple including the sacrificial altar.
The purpose of this new priesthood is to “offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Just as the Old Testament priests walked up the incline to the brazen altar and laid the animal sacrifice on the altar to be consumed by fire, we New Testament believer-priests “offer up” our spiritual sacrifices upon the altar of our consecrated, dedicated heart. The spiritual sacrifices are the activities of the human spirit energized by the Holy Spirit.
The Apostle Paul throws light on this truth in Romans 12:1 when he says “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” How do you make your human body a living and holy sacrifice? Listen to what our brother Chrysostom (Archbishop of Constantinople – 349-407 AD) wrote:
“How can the body become a sacrifice? Let the eye look on no evil, and it is a sacrifice. Let the tongue utter nothing base, and it is an offering. Let the hand work no sin, and it is a holocaust.” (Holocaust is a sacrifice totally consumed by fire.) “But more, this suffices not, but besides we must actively exert ourselves for good; the hand gives alms, the mouth blessing them that curse us, the ear ever at leisure for listening to God.”
Another example of spiritual sacrifices is given in The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken. He tells the true story of Russian pastor Dmitri who was imprisoned by the government for teaching the Bible. For seventeen years he would rise every morning and offer a sacrifice of praise by singing his “HeartSong” to Jesus as the other inmates cursed and jeered at him. The next discipline that helped him to survive the isolation from the Body of Christ and torture was that whenever he found a scrap of paper, later in his cell with a stub of a pencil or a piece of charcoal he had saved, as tiny as possible, he would write every Bible verse, scriptural story and song he could remember. When finished he would put it on a damp pillar in his cell as a “praise offering to God”. Of course, when discovered by the authorities, they would read it and beat him severely and threaten him with death.
In conclusion, I am of the opinion that the “sons of Levi” are us, the believer-priest. Secondly, we have looked at three examples of how we can offer sacrifices. One by obeying the commandments of God, another by doing good words (Ephesians 2:10) and another by praising or giving thanks to God (Hebrews 13: 15-16). The Body of Christ is now the holy priesthood. The actual “sons of Levi” as a functioning priest class, do not exists anymore. They had to be born again just like you and I (Acts 6: 7). The believer-priest now offer up spiritual sacrifices on the altar of their dedicated heart. May we today offer up spiritual sacrifices pleasing to God. We can make the Creator of the universe smile.
The next post will discuss this refining process and the purpose of it. Hope to see you then. Thank you for your time.
Lets Pay Close Attention To Ourselves For The Purpose of Holiness (I Timothy 4:16)
P.S. Pastor Dmitri was eventually released but not before the prison population was singing his HeartSong in the morning with him. His witness had prevailed!