It was with a complete heart that they made voluntary offerings.
In ancient Israel, there were two things that were required from each person making voluntary sacrifices. First, the person had to give his best. Jehovah told the nation that any offering had to be a sound one in order “to gain approval.” Second, the person giving the sacrifice had to be clean and undefiled. If a person was in an unclean state, he would have to make a sin offering or a guilt offering to restore his standing with Jehovah before making a voluntary offering. This was a serious matter. Jehovah stipulated that if someone in an unclean state partook of a communion sacrifice, which included voluntary offerings, he would be cut off from God’s people. On the other hand, when the person making the sacrifice had a good standing with Jehovah and the offering was without defect, the giver could rejoice with satisfaction.
The law stipulated what was clean and what was unclean and it was “a serious matter” to not take the prescribed measures to cleanse oneself either ceremonially or physically.
As Paul explained the law made sin manifest and really underscored the need for blood sacrifice and priestly mediation, which the apostle also pointed out all relates to Christ. Since all of us are sinful and unclean in God’s eyes it is only by means of his undeserved kindness that we may stand before him.
However, the prophecy of Malachi highlights the role of the messenger of the covenant, “who he will sit as a refiner and cleanser of silver and will cleanse the sons of Levi; and he will clarify them like gold and like silver, and they will certainly become to Jehovah people presenting a gift offering in righteousness. And the gift offering of Judah and of Jerusalem will actually be pleasing to Jehovah, as in the days of long ago and as in the years of antiquity.”
Although in the setting of the Jewish system the messenger of the covenant has to do with the new covenant and the “sons of Levi” symbolize persons who are anointed and called to be priests during the 1,000-years.
The question is, when does Christ “sit as a refiner and cleanser”? When does he come to the temple in order to judge the house of God? The Watchtower claims Jesus came in that capacity in 1918/19. And that is why the Governing Body routinely refer to Jehovah’s Witnesses as being a “cleansed people” and the Watchtower as a clean organization.
But, it is a very “serious matter” to declare oneself or the congregation to be clean before God if such is not the case.
The truth is, Jesus has not come. That is why Malachi poses the unsettling question: “But who will endure the day of his coming, and who will be able to stand when he appears?”
How apt and timely the warning issued by Paul for Jehovah’s Witnesses at this point in time, and especially the leadership of the organization: “So let the one who thinks he is standing beware that he does not fall.”