Beethoven once said, “I would bare my head and kneel at his grave.” recounting the greatness of George Frideric Handel (1685-1759), who needs no introduction to the music lover. A composer during the Baroque period, he was known for his masterpiece rendition of the Messiah “Hallelujah” chorus. In addition to the Messiah, another composition of his that gained popularity is “Zadok the Priest”. The lyrics of this rendition tell the story of king Solomon’s coronation. But who is this Zadok the Priest?
Zadok, the high priest was a descendant of Phineas, the son of Eleazar, who was the son of Aaron. So from a Levitical lineage, he was qualified to be a priest that would serve the Lord, but it was not his lineage that makes Zadok standout. He served alongside Abiathar, another high priest during the reign of David. When Absalom, the son of David, rebelled against his father and king David, Zadok remained faithful by David’s side and followed David’s request to stay with the ark of the Lord, in Jerusalem, and later we see that he was asked by David to accompany Nathan the prophet and Benaiah the protector (soldier) to crown Solomon as king, after David. Once Solomon, builds the temple in Jerusalem, Zadok becomes the inaugural priest to serve in the first Temple. Prophet Ezekiel, in fact, refers to those who remained faithful to the Lord, not succumbing to the pagan worship during his days, as the sons of Zadok, who would have the privilege of serving God in the New Jerusalem, where the Lord and the Lamb (Jesus Christ) himself would be the temple (Ezekiel 44:14-16; Revelation 21:22).
What can we learn from Zadok?
Zadok does not go down in history, just as the first high priest to serve in the temple of the Lord built in Jerusalem, by Solomon, but because of his faithful service to God in keeping charge of the ark of the Lord and his sanctuary, when the people of Israel went astray, he is remembered as the father of those who remain faithful and who will be given the privilege to serve God in the New Jerusalem, whose builder will be God himself, one far greater than Solomon. Like Zadok, we must remain faithful in serving God and those whom God has appointed over us, so that we may be known by God, not just for our current service but also for our service in the future, when we see Christ face to face.
Ezekiel 44:14-16 (KJV)
14 But I will make them keepers of the charge of the house, for all the service thereof, and for all that shall be done therein.
15 But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, saith the Lord GOD:
16 They shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table, to minister unto me, and they shall keep my charge.
Revelation 21:22 (KJV)
22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.