By Dr. Rick Chesher
I just love to delve into Scripture and discover all that is there, and I mean asking the hard questions sometimes, and then seeking Scripture for the answers, even if, the answers are different than we would like them to be. One of these mysteries has to do with the Levitical Priesthood. Some say that the Levitical Priesthood was instituted after Israel’s worship of the Golden Calf, in Exodus 32, but that could not be the case, because in Exodus 28:1, Yahweh is having Moses call Aaron and his sons come because Yahweh had appointed them priests.
So, this brings those times of wonder as to what really happened here that may be missing from our understanding. For instance, let’s go back to Gen. 49:5-7 and take a look at what was going on there. We find in this chapter of Genesis that Jacob was about to die, and so he calls all of his family around him as is normal when someone is about to go the way of their ancestors. The purpose of this process is to give out the blessings to the family. In this case we fine Jacob, instead of giving Simeon and Levi a blessing, they receive a curse based on their violence and anger that they had displayed.
We actually find this violence and anger that is being talked about back in Gen. 34. Dinah, who was Simeon and Levi’s sister went into a town that they were near, and while she was there Hamor the Hivite raped her. Simeon and Levi made a deceit deal with Hamor and told them if they were to get circumcised with all of their men, then they could make this deal with them. Hamor agreed to this contract if you will, and all of the men got circumcised. While they were all still in pain on the third day, Simeon and Levi took their swords and killed every male among them.
Back to Gen. 49:7, Jacob describes their anger as being cursed, and their fury is cursed. Because of that they were to be scattered throughout Israel and would not receive a land inheritance for their tribe. So this prophecy of Jacob’s came true and they became a priestly tribe who would not have a portion of the land when Israel entered the land. Look at Duet. 10:8-9, which says that Yahweh had selected them to carry the Ark of Yahweh’s covenant, to stand before Yahweh to serve Him, and to pronounce blessings in His name. It is for this reason that Levi doesn’t have a portion in the inheritance like his brothers. Now some may think that this is harsh, this this turned out to be the best blessing of all. The reason is that their portion was Yahweh Himself, which is a great example of Yahweh’s Mercy and Grace towards His people.
Yahweh was specific about this in Num. 18:8-14, where Yahweh tells Aaron that He has given them all the consecrated things that had been Yahweh’s that Aaron and his sons has charge of. And in Num. 18:20 Yahweh tells Aaron that he will not have a portion of the land, but Yahweh Himself will be his portion. I don’t know about you, but that is an amazing place to be.
Now I guess if we were to just stop there we would be able to understand a little easier about this whole idea of the Levites and maybe what has gone on today, but I think it would be irresponsible of us to just end the story right there, and the reason for that is, that there is other Scripture that pertains to the Levites, that we have to be responsible for.
Let’s look at Jere. 33:18 for example. In this passage says that the Levitical Priest would never be wanting, if you will, of a priest to sacrifice before Yahweh. The word in the “want” which is used in the KJV actually means to never be cut off from, so the idea is that the Levitical Priesthood would never cut off from serving before Yahweh. Now we know that the 3rd temple needs to be rebuilt and that sacrifice will start again, but if we look at Daniel 9:27, we find that while it is true that the sacrifice will start again, because of a treaty or covenant that will be made with the elders of Israel by the Abomination of Desolation for one week, this treaty or covenant will be broke midweek and the 3rd temple will be defiled. We also find this in2 Thess. 2:1-4.
So, what does happen to the Levitical Priesthood? It is this very matter that I find it very interesting and worth while to look into and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. We also have to begin to set our paradigms aside and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit so He can begin to put the pieces of this puzzle together. It is this that makes Scripture study very exciting, and it is also these times that we should live for. It’s like mining for gold. You do a lot of digging sometimes before you run into the gold nuggets that gets your blood moving.
I began to ask myself the question, “Does the Levite priesthood go away at some point”? And maybe the next question, “Does the Levitical Priesthood go away after the 3rd temple is defiled”? Because, the answer to this question ultimately leads us to the final Kingdom of Yahweh. So as I continued to dig, I realized that it all has to do with Yahshua, go figure, He is the key to the whole answer, and it is through Him we will we discover all of the answers. This is why I like Paul so much and appreciate the approach he took in finding the why to understand how all of this fit together. Paul took the Scrolls and went away for three years to get a handle on how this all fit Torah and his understanding of Scripture.
Now, I made a comment above that the answer to the question is always found in Yahshua. I meant that it literally Yahshua that is the answer to the question at hand. I was led to the ancestry of Yahshua and that is where I found the answer to the question that I had about the Levitical Priesthood. If we are to look at this ancestry we will see first, that He was from the tribe of David which would put Him in line for Messiah, or as we would say today, as King of Israel. Now some might argue that Joseph was not His real father, that He was indeed born of the Spirit of Yahweh. But I the world at that time when a man adapted a son, it was as if that son had never been any different than the family that He was adapted into. So much so, that everything that Joseph owned would have been the inheritance of Yahshua. So, in Matt. 1:1-6, we are able to see that Yahshua’s ancestry goes from Abraham to David, show that because He had David in His ancestry it qualified Him to be Messiah or King of Israel.
Now, I know you are probably saying, yeah Rick that is great, and I am so happy for you, but remember Rick we are talking about the Levitical priesthood here. Have you lost sight of that? No, I haven’t, and I am headed somewhere, hang onto your set, because here we go. In this passage, when read to its entirety leads us to show that He was born to be Messiah.
So, let’s go to Luke 3:23-38, in this passage we find another ancestry, and it would be that of Mary’s. This ancestry is very important too, and believe it or not is not study heavily or talked about a whole lot. In this list of His ancestry we find that Yahshua also carried in His ancestry the line of Levy, look at Luke 3:24. There it is, Yahshua also carries within His ancestry the line of Levy, and in Jewish life the mother’s bloodline is very important.
That’s great, you might say, but what has this got to do with anything? The answer to that question is very important as well. I am going to take you to a passage of Scripture that has been talked about a lot, especially in the Hebraic circles, but I would like to expand the understanding a little. So, hang on as we stretch a little. Turn with me in your Bible to Ez. 37:16-20. Now, everyone has talked about this being or making the two houses of Israel becoming one stick or one house if you will, and it is.
But this understanding becomes much deeper than we may have first realized. This isn’t just about bringing the two houses of Israel together, this is about in Yahshua all will be restored, so it is more that just Judah and Jacob being restored, it is about the One that is the restorer, and the reason that He is the restorer of all things. It is because in Him, and through His ancestry He is the only One qualified to do so. He is the rightful Messiah or King, as well as He too is the firstborn and holds the firstborn blessing, and all of this put together makes Him the stick or the one stick that is before the eyes of the people.
He is the qualified Messiah as well as High Priest, and some would argue, but the reason He is after the order of Melchisedik and is that He is both King and Priest. But also carries within Him the line of Levy as well. So, as we were talking about in respect to if the Levitical priesthood would disappear or no, it is obvious that it will not be done away with, but is instead fulfilled in Messiah Yahshua, and it will be Him who is the one who is that Priest and King.
Turn with me in your Bibles to Rev. 21:10-22, in this passage John is explaining the vision that He had of the New Jerusalem that came to the New earth and rest on Mt. Zion. In this passage, we find that there are twelve gates, each one named after the twelve tribes of Israel. In Rev. 7:4-8 we see the twelves tribes listed that were sealed and Levi is one of those. But look closely at Rev. 21:22, John says that he did not see a sanctuary in it, because Yahweh and the Lamb were its sanctuary. In the English, it has been translated “temple” that he saw know temple, but the actual word used is related to another GK word that means sanctuary, or we could say the Holy of Holies. But John says that there wasn’t one because Yahweh and the Lamb were the Holy place. What a beautiful picture.