Who are the Levites?, Part 1

Who are the Levites?, Part 1

We present the following subject due to the fact that there are still many who are confused over the issue of the Great Company , who they are and what should be their ultimate fate, much of this confusion centers over one particular statement found in Revelation Chapter 7 Verse 9 which states,

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, STANDING BEFORE THE THRONE and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands.”

The question being whether their “standing” before the throne be a symbolic or a literal statement, if it be literal then this implies they have been raised spirit beings , heavenly beings no longer human and as such have received a heavenly inheritance, for as you recall, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God” (that is the spiritual phase of the Kingdom) 1 Cor 15:50.

As such in the attempt to promote their own agenda (an “earthly” calling or hope if you will), in truth but “another gospel” our Jehovah’s Witnesses friends, that is the organization or governing body itself have felled as faithful ministers of the Word of God (not unlike the rest of orthodoxy) to provide their followers with “the whole counsel of the Word of God” on this issue, much of which is covered in The Tabernacle and the Leviticus Types. However over time the study of the Tabernacle has fallen out of favor as most deem it as past attempts by the Jewish nation to redeem itself through the bloody sacrifices of bulls and goats. Now although it is true that the blood of bulls and goats could in no way ever bring true redemption it must be understood that these typical sacrifices and services were merely set forth as examples, types of the “better sacrifices” and of the true and actual redemption to come.

In this respects we consider the Tabernacle and the Leviticus types as key issues to understanding certain specific truths hidden from the rest of the professing church. Among these are to be found the difference between “faith justification and actual justification”, the difference between the “high priest and under-priests” the “Lords goat” (the “little flock”), and the “scapegoat” (the “great company”), as well as the truth concerning the “anointing”, and the “high calling”, but alas they (the “blind guides” of Christendom) “have taken away this key of knowledge” (the truth on these issues as well as on that of many other important issues concerning the faith, substituting instead their own teachings and beliefs, and thus not only depriving themselves, but also those who trusted in them as the Lord’s representatives to show them the way) they themselves are not entering in (into the heavenly phase of the kingdom), and those who were entering in (that is those who were approaching the entrance to the heavenly kingdom, attempting to enter in), they have hindered (mislead through false and misleading teachings, deceiving them into thinking they have already done everything necessary to secure themselves a heavenly inheritance). Luke 11:52

With the following article written by Brother W. J. Siekman we hope to shed some of that missing light which has been hidden from them thus far.

The company and assembly of the first-born in heaven enrolled.” – Heb 12:23, Young’s Literal Translation.

Regardless of our preference in favor of any interpretation, one objective and one alone must guide us as we reconsider this perennially interesting subject. And that is, to ascertain in humble and teachable spirit, what saith the Lord With this, the proper attitude of mind, let us consider anew the Scriptural facts relative to the tribe of Levi with full assurance of God’s blessing as we endeavor to learn,

1) Who the Levites were

2) Whom they typify; and,

3) The ultimate destiny of this anti-typical class.

THE SELECTION OF LEVI

 The patriarch Jacob’s descendants through his twelve sons, after having multiplied in Egypt, were reduced to virtual slavery. God raised up for them a great deliverer, Moses, and by ten plagues revealed His mighty power, until Pharaoh permitted the Israelites to depart. In the last terrible plague that befell Egypt, all the first-born of man and beast were slain except the first-born of Israel, who were preserved by the sprinkling of the blood of the paschal lamb. (Exod 12:7, 13)

In view of this deliverance, God claimed all the first-born of man and beast as His own in a special sense. (Exod 13:2) During the wilderness journey, He separated the Levites, and took them and their cattle instead of the first-born of man and beast among the other tribes.

Take the Levites instead of all the first-born among the children of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of their cattle; and the Levites shall be mine: I am the Lord.” (Num 3:45) From the tribe of Levi, thus set apart for the special service of Jehovah, God took Aaron and his sons for the priesthood (Exod 28:1), giving them the tribe of Levi for their attendants. Thus all the priests were Levites, but not all the Levites were priests. Henceforth the Levites always represented the first-born delivered on the Passover night.

The whole arrangement is given in the following words (Num 3:6-10):

Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him. And they shall keep his charge and the charge of the whole congregation [“charge”, in the sense of duties with which they are charged in behalf of Aaron and the congregation] before the tabernacle of the congregation, to do the service of the tabernacle. And they shall keep all the instruments of the tabernacle of the congregation [that is, the tabernacle itself, with all its furnishings], and the charge of the children of Israel, to do the service of the tabernacle. And thou shalt give the Levites unto Aaron, and to his sons: they are wholly given unto him out of the children of Israel. And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on their priest’s office: and the stranger [that is, one “not of the seed of Aaron,” Num 16:40] that cometh nigh [nigh to the sanctuary to perform any priestly function] shall be put to death.”

In the Eighth Chapter of Numbers, a more detailed account is given of the Levites’ inception of sacred service, and should be carefully considered in its relation to the antitype. We note particularly Verses 13 to 15: “Thou shalt set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them for an offering unto the Lord. Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine, and after that shall the Levites go in to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt cleanse them, and offer them for an offering.” Thus an entire tribe was set apart for God’s service; the Levites holding a nearer relation to God than the other tribes, the priests than the Levites, and the high priest than the subordinate priests. The Levites alone could minister to the priests, but were themselves forbidden to exercise any priestly function.

The tribe of Levi received no inheritance with the other tribes in the land of Canaan. It was necessary, therefore, that an adequate provision should be made for their maintenance. This was included in the declaration: “Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the Lord is his inheritance, according as the Lord thy God promised him” (Deut 10:9), which is several times repeated for substantiality (Num 18:20, 24; Deut 18:1, 2; Ezek 44:28); for when God gives an inheritance to His servants, it meets all their wants, temporal as well as spiritual. Accordingly, God ordained that the other tribes should give the tenth part or tithe of all the increase of their fields and of their flocks and herds: “Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.” (Num 18:21) The Levites, in turn, were commanded to give a tenth of this tenth for the maintenance of the priests. – Verses 26-32.

The Levites have no part among you; for the Priesthood of the Lord is their inheritance.” (Josh 18:7) Receiving thus no territorial possessions, forty eight cities were assigned to them by lot, out of the inheritance of the other tribes, with ample suburbs (pasture-grounds) for their cattle. (Num 35; Josh 1:21) Of the above named forty-eight cities, the priestly order had thirteen, all in the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin; and six of them were also cities of refuge, three on either side of the Jordan. By this arrangement the Levites were distributed throughout the whole Hebrew commonwealth, and so enabled, if faithful to their office, to exert the widest influence for the maintenance of the Mosaic institutions in their purity. Thus the prophetic announcement of Jacob respecting Simeon and Levi, “I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel” (Gen 49:7), was so fulfilled in the case of this tribe as to be made a blessing to the tribe itself and to the whole nation; for the functions of the Levites were spiritual, and they became, in a measure at least, the instructors of the people.

Continued with next post.

 

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