THE ANTITYPICAL LEVITES
Is there any question as to there being an antitype? Surely not when we summarize the preceding paragraphs and note afresh the minuteness of detail given us by God’s Word in regard to this class. In brief, the Scriptures teach:
1) On the Passover night the first-born of Israel are saved by the blood of the paschal lamb.
2) For a permanent memorial they are exchanged for the tribe of Levi, which is set apart to spiritual service.
3) From the Levites the high priest and under-priests are selected.
4) Under the supervision of the priests, the Levites perform the tabernacle service and are also instructors of the Law to the people.
Thus far we have merely recited the Scriptural facts upon which all will agree. In interpreting these acts, however, patience must be exercised by all, inasmuch as there is some honest and sincere disagreement. Taking the above points in the same order, the following appears to be their logical interpretation:
(1) The Passover night represents the period of the Gospel Age, during which a class from amongst mankind, namely the Church of the First-born (Heb 12:23) are delivered from the danger of destruction by the “sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ,” the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. (I Pet 1:2; Rom 5:9; Rev 5:9; Acts 20:28; John 1:29, 36; Rev 13:8) These are “passed from death unto life” and are become “a kind of first-fruits of His creatures” and “the first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb.” “For Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” – James 1:18; Rev 14:4; 1 Cor 5:7
The deliverance of the world follows that of the Church, and was pictured in the departure from Egypt (Satan’s order) of all Israel after the “passing over” of the first-borns. The next morning typified the millennial morning; and the subsequent passing through the Red Sea and the destruction of Pharaoh’s hosts, pictured the work of the Restitution Age culminating in the final removal of all evil forces.
(2) The selection of the tribe of Levi as permanent representatives of the first-born and their separation to the tabernacle ministry can well represent the called-out class of Christians consecrated to God’s service. These constitute the “household of God” and are “the household of faith“; the “Church of the First born, which are written in heaven.” (Eph 2:19; Gal 6:10; Heb 12:23)
These are set apart to God’s service and have made with Him a “covenant by sacrifice“; thus emulating their Master, whose footsteps they seek to follow in fulfilling their vow to do not their own, but the divine will.
(3) The elevation of some of the Levites to the Priesthood, comprising a High Priest and under priests seems to teach an eventual separation of these called-out, consecrated ones into two classes.
Other Scriptures bear out this thought of a division of true believers into two classes. Actually, all believers, sincere and otherwise, can be listed under four headings, viz.: those who go into the Second Death; those who are mere professors, “tares” (a.k.a. nominal Christians); and the two classes mentioned by St. Paul in the oft-quoted words of 1 Cor 3:11-15: “Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, and stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and. the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abides which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he him-self shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”
Here then, are two Christians, both justified, consecrated, and spirit-begotten, justified, because they build on the only Foundation (Psa 40:2; Matt 7:24; 1 Cor ,10:4); consecrated, because none can be related to the Master except they take up their cross and deny themselves; spirit-begotten, because they are building a spiritual structure. (Not an earthly structure as our JW friends would have some to believe) “No man takes this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” (Heb 5:4,) Both have come “under the blood“; both are antitypical first-borns and consequently, antitypical Levites. Both are endeavoring to emulate the High Priest of their profession (Heb 3:1); both are probationary members of the Royal Priesthood. (1 Pet 2:5, 9) The superstructure they must build is that crystallization of spiritual principles that attainment of Christ-mindedness which is best summed up in the one glorious resolution: “Not my will but Thine, O Lord, be done.” Theirs is a purely voluntary walk, neither demanded by the justice of God, nor coerced by His Power. Their attainment of the divine goal, joint-heirship with Christ, depends entirely upon the carrying out of their consecration vows, by means of the “grace sufficient” God has promised to supply. “Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.” (Psa 50:5)
Both are called in the one hope of their calling, but only the one is chosen and abides faithful. Only the one follows the “Lamb whithersoever He goes.” The other, alas, fails to realize that complete submission of self-will requisite for complete overcoming, and consequently is unable to endure the fiery tests which come in the “way” of suffering with Christ. Nevertheless they are beloved of the Lord, for their failure is not due to willful sin, but solely to an avoidance of the sacrificing necessary to carry out the terms of their covenant.
In nothing perhaps is the difference between these two types of Christians more discernible than in a comparison of the lives of Abraham and Lot. Both love the Lord, both are righteous, both leave all to come to the Promised Land. But the one completely submerges self-will in a marvelous obedience to the will of God; the other endeavors to do both God’s will and his own, and succeeds in doing neither. Yet Lot is “righteous” and God spares him, though so “as by fire.” There is much food for thought here for the sincere follower of Christ.
(4) What shall be the eventual position of these two classes? There can be no question regarding the members of the Royal Priesthood — theirs, a position of joint-heirship with Christ; Kings and Priests for a thousand years. They — the “Abrahams” — shall out work all God’s gracious provisions on behalf of the human race, theirs, the joy incomprehensible.
But what of the antitypical Levites, the “Lots“? Three conclusions offer themselves. The first, that they shall be cleansed by the “fire” and thus become members of the “little flock,” we reject as doing violence to other Scriptures. The second that they shall eventually occupy a position on the earthly plane as perfect human beings is also inadmissible. We reason as follows:
1) They are a class consecrated to do God’s will.
2) As human beings, they in common with all mankind were born in sin and “shapen in iniquity,” and were “dead in trespasses and sins“; and thus were alienated from God. – Psa 51:5; Eph 2:1.
3) Before their consecration could be acceptable, they needed to be justified from Adamic condemnation.
4) Because of His purpose to “call out a people for His name,” God had arranged the means of this justification, by sending His Son to die on Calvary as the ransom price for all. (Having been “called out”, during the Gospel age in advance of their fellow man they received their share of this ransom sacrifice in advance of their fellow men who receive their share in the next age.)
5) God’s object in providing this justification (in advance) was to give them the opportunity to consecrate themselves and thus to become joint-sacrificers with their Lord, as a members of His Body.
6) God marks His acceptance of their consecration by begetting them through the Holy Spirit.
7) Thenceforth they are “new creatures“; sons begotten to the spirit plane. That which is born (after being first begotten) of the spirit is spirit. John 3:6.
8) The condition of God’s acceptance of their consecration was their “death” to all the human rights which would accrue to them otherwise, in the next age, the Millennial Age as a result of the ransom sacrifice of Christ. The grace of justification (in advance of their fellow man) was granted to them to enable them to offer up these rights by sacrifice, thus becoming “dead with Christ,” for God could not accept upon his altar anything less than that which was holy, pure, righteous, and just. These human or earthly life rights, once given up, cannot be taken back again. None of the spirit-begotten, therefore, can be reinstated to earthly hopes or human lives, for all rights to these were sacrificed at consecration.
9) They must either be born on the spirit plane or die; and since St. Paul says they will be “saved,” death certainly is not to be their portion.
10) In the wilderness the Lord set the Levites apart for His service. Thenceforth they were to represent the first-born of all the tribes. These were typical of the Church of the First-born. (Heb 12:23) They were given title to no land, thus illustrating the fact that the antitypical Levites would be without earthly inheritance, but would be called to a heavenly inheritance.
In view of these considerations we are led to the third conclusion, namely, that the antitypical Levites, after passing through the disciplinary experiences arranged by the Lord during each one’s lifetime to reveal the vanity of self-will (“saved, yet so as by fire“), will be raised to a spirit plane of existence, in which state, under the supervision of the Royal Priesthood, they shall be active ministrants in the great work of reconciliation during the Millennial Age. This we believe is the teaching of the Spirit in the typical work of the Levites on the days subsequent to the Day of Atonement.
In conclusion we would again stress the necessity of clearly discerning the importance of the doctrine of justification in its relation to this question of the future condition of the antitypical Levites. Once it is seen that consecration means the complete surrender of all earthly rights received through justification as a result of the ransom sacrifice, and that God’s acceptance of one’s consecration is marked by spirit-begettal, once these things are seen, it seems obvious that all the called of this Gospel Age must either be born on the spirit plane or go into the Second Death. There cannot possibly be a return to human rights, as the “covenant by sacrifice” (is to the death- of the earthly or human life Rev 2:10, and) is irrevocable with the Lord.
And finally, though we accept the Scriptures as teaching the eventual existence of a spiritual class subordinate to the “little flock,” let us emphasize the glorious position to which we are all called, even to joint-heirship with our High Priest, and strive so to run as to obtain. Let no spirit of slothfulness be engendered because of the Levitical type, that thereby we may be led to feel that if one does not attain to the highest position, the lower will in any case be allotted. Such a disposition is very dangerous and may result in the complete loss of all. We can never plead divine grace as an excuse for indifference or carelessness; for sin ever lies at the door, and “if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in Him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe [in all the fullness of faith] to the saving of the soul.” – Heb 10:38, 39
The truth could not have been stated any plainer for those who have eyes that see and ears that hear. Now you know whom the “great company” will truly consist of, and that their fate or inheritance is to serve the Lord and his Church as spirit beings in heaven.