It’s Time For the Levites of a Generation to Rise Up

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Numbers, which was written and recorded by Moses the servant of the LORD. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters eight through eleven of this Old Testament book. THE SEVEN LAMPS SHALL GIVE LIGHT OVER AGAINST THE CANDLESTICK! AKE THE LEVITES! TAKE THE LEVITES FROM AMONG THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, AND CLEANSE THEM! AND THUS SHALT THOU DO UNTO THEM, TO CLEANSE THEM! AND THOU SHALT BRING THE LEVITES BEFORE THE TABERNACLE OF THE CONGREGATION! THOU SHALT GATHER THE WHOLE ASSEMBLY OF THE CHILDREN OF ISAREL TOGETHER! THOU SHALT BRING THE LEVITES BEFORE THE LORD! THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL SHALL PUT THEIR HANDS UPON THE LEVITES! AND AARON SHALL OFER THE LEVITES BEFORE THE LORD FO AN OFFERING OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, THAT THEY MAY EXECUTE THE SERVICE OF THE LORD! AND 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! THOU SHALT CLEANSE THEM! OFFER THEM FOR AN OFFERING! FOR THEY ARE WHOLLY GIVEN UNTO ME FROM AMONG THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL! I HAVE TAKEN THE LEVITES FOR ALL THE FIRSTBORN OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL! I HAVE GIVEN THE LEVITES AS A GIFT TO AARON AND TO HIS SONS FROM AMONG THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, TO DO THE SERVICE OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL IN THE TABERNACLE OF THE CONGREGATION, AND TO MAKE AN ATONEMENT FOR THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL! THAT THERE BE NO PLAGUE AMONG THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, WHEN THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL COME NIGH UNTO THE SANCTUARY! AND THE LEVITES WERE PURIFIED, AND THEY WASHED THEIR CLOTHES! AND ARON OFFERED THEM AS AN OFFERING BEFORE THE LORD! AND AARON MADE AN ATONEMENT FOR THEM TO CLEANSE THEM! AND AFTER THAT WENT THE LEVITES IN TO DO THEIR SERVICE IN THE TABERNACLE OF THE CONGREGATION BEFORE AARON, AND BEFORE HIS SON! THIS IS IT THAT BELONGETH UNTO THE LEVITES! THEY SHALL GO IN TO WAIT UPON THE SERVICE OF THE TABERNACLE OF THE CONGREGATION! YEARS OF SERVICE! THUS SHALT THOU DO UNTO THE LEVITES TOUCHING THEIR CHARGE!

LET THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL ALSO KEEP THE PASSOVER AT HIS APPOINTED SEASON! YE SHALL KEEP IT IN HIS APPOINTED SEASON! ON THE DAY THAT THE TABERNACLE WAS REARED UP THE CLOUD COVERED THE TABERNACLE, NAMELY, THE TENT OF THE TESTIMONY! AT EVEN THERE WAS UPON THE TABERNACLE AS IT WERE THE APPEARANCE OF FIRE, UNTIL THE MORNING! AND WHEN THE CLOUD WAS TAKEN UP FROM THE TABERNACLE, TTHEN AFTER THAT THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL JOURNEYED! IN THE PLACE WHERE THE CLOUD ABODE, THERE THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL PITCHED THEIR TENTS! AT THE COMMANDMENT OF THE LORD THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL JOURNEYED! AT THE COMMANDMENT OF THE LORD THEY PITCHED! AS LONG AS THE CLOUD ABODE UPON THE TABERNACLE THEY RESTED INT HEIR TENTS! WHEN THE CLOUD WAS A FEW DAYS! WHEN THE CLOUD ABODE FROM EVEN UNTO THE MORNING! WHETHER IT WAS BY DAY OR BY NIGHT! WHETHER IT WERE TWO DAYS, OR A MONTH, OR A YEAR! MAKE THEE TWO TRUMPETS OF SILVER! THE CALLING OF THE ASSEMBLY! FOR THE JOURNEYING OF THE CAMPS! SOUNDING THE ALARM! CALLING AN ASSEMBLY! AND THEY DEPARTED FROM THE MOUNT OF THE LORD THREE DAYS’ JOURNEY! THE ARK OF THE COVENANT OF THE LORD WENT BEFORE THEM IN THE THREE DAYS’ JOURNEY, TO SEARCH OUT A RESTING PLACE FOR THEM! THE PEOPLE COMPLAINED AND A FIRE BURNED!

When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the LORD once more calling for the Levites to be separated unto himself, as well as to Aaron and his sons. As you begin reading with and from the first verse of the eighth chapter you will find the LORD speaking unto Moses concerning the golden lamp stand and the seven lamps which were present in the midst of the Tabernacle of the Testimony. The eighth chapter begins and opens with the LORD speaking unto Moses and instructing him to command Aaron that when he lit the lamps, the seven lamps should give light over against the candlestick. This is actually quite interesting to think about and consider, for before we get into the command the living God spoke unto Moses concerning the Levites being called unto himself and unto Aaron and his sons for the work of the sanctuary, we find a powerful reference concerning the golden lamp stand which stood in the midst of the holy place in the Tabernacle of Testimony. LEVITES AND LIGHT! LIGHT AND LEVITES! It’s incredibly unique to think about and consider the fact that what we have in the opening four verses of the eighth chapter is a command given unto Moses that the lamps which were present in the Tabernacle should give light throughout the Holy Place—that place which would include the altar of incense, as well as the table of shewbread. I happen to find this absolutely incredible when you think about and consider it, for within the Holy Place—not only do you find an altar of incense which was symbolic of the prayers of the people of God, and not only do you find the table of shewbread which was symbolic of the bread which the living God provides, but you will also find the golden lamp stand which was representative of the light which is found in Jesus the Christ. Upon reading and studying the pattern and design of the Tabernacle you will find that the entire Tabernacle was a powerful symbol and picture which pointed directly to Jesus the Christ, and even the picture of Christ we find in the New Testament gospel of John. In all reality, I would dare say that not only was the gospel of John centered upon the Jewish feasts which were celebrated by the children of Israel, but the gospel of John was also patterned after the design of the Tabernacle which was a symbol and picture of Jesus the Christ who would become and take on the form of human flesh and dwell among us. If and as you study the New Testament gospel of John you will encounter and come face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that the gospel narrative and account of the apostle John concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ is a symbol of heavenly realities—and not only one heavenly realities, but also concerning Jesus the Christ who came down from heaven, took on the form of human flesh and dwelt among us.

I am convinced that we dare not and must not read the narrative concerning the Tabernacle of the Testimony and not consider it as a symbol and picture of the man Jesus the Christ who embodied and fulfilled the requirements of the Law—and not only the Law of Moses, but also the pattern and design of the Tabernacle. We find within the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ a truly wonderful and powerful fulfillment of the Old Testament Tabernacle, as even the design of the Tabernacle was patterned almost in the outline of the cross. As we read concerning the pattern and design of the Tabernacle we must recognize and understand that it was indeed a means of God to dwell in the midst of and dwell among His people, however, we must also recognize and understand that just as much as the Tabernacle was a means of the living God dwelling among men, so also was the person of Jesus the Christ. It would be in the New Testament gospel of John where we would find in the first chapter of the gospel narrative that Jesus took on the form of flesh and dwelt among us. In the Old Testament the Tabernacle and the Temple were the means of the living God dwelling in the midst of His people, while in the New Testament it was through Jesus the Christ that God actually came to dwell in the midst of and dwell among man in an entirely new and different way. What we must recognize and understand is that what began with Jesus the Christ dwelling among us would in fact be only the beginning of God dwelling among us, for while Christ was God dwelling among us in the flesh, the Holy Spirit was God dwelling among us and within us. Through the Holy Spirit the living God would no longer simply dwell with us and dwell among us, but now the presence of the living God would dwell within us. How absolutely wonderful and incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that the Tabernacle and Temple of the Old Testament and under the Old Covenant were means whereby the living God could indeed and could in fact dwell in the midst of His people, however, Jesus would be the beginning of God dwelling in the midst of His people in an entirely new and different way. Pause for a moment and think about the absolutely incredible and wonderful reality that through the person of Jesus the Christ the living God of heaven and earth would dwell among His people in the form of human flesh. What’s more, is that for thirty-three and a half years Jesus would dwell in the earthly tent of flesh, and for three and a half years the very presence and embodiment of the person of the living God would be front and center in the eyes of all those who were alive during that generation.

It is in and with the context of the pattern and design of the Tabernacle that the eighth chapter of the Old Testament book of Numbers begins and opens up, for this chapter would begin with the command of the living God concerning the lamps which were found in the golden lamp stand. What would begin with a command concerning the golden lamp stand and lamps that made up the golden lamp stand would eventually transition to the Lord speaking unto Moses—not concerning light and lamps, but concerning the Levites. What’s important to think about and consider when reading the words which are found within this chapter beginning with the fifth chapter is that it wasn’t the first time the LORD spoke unto Moses concerning the Levites. If you turn and direct your attention to the fifth verse of the third chapter you will find the living God first speaking unto Moses concerning the Levites, and the first command to call and bring the Levites unto Aaron and his sons for the work of the sanctuary and for the work of the Tabernacle. The more I read the words which are found within the five Books of Moses the more I am completely and utterly fascinated and captivated with and by that which is written concerning the Levites—this tribe which had no inheritance among the children of Israel, and yet were called and chosen by the living God for the purpose of the work and ministry of the Tabernacle and sanctuary. I find it absolutely astounding and remarkable to think about and consider the fact that Levi was one of the twelve sons born unto Israel, and that Levi was indeed a tribe among the congregation and assembly of Israel, and yet this tribe would be separated before, unto and by the living God the purpose of the work of the ministry of the sanctuary. We are first confronted with and by the call to have the Levites brought unto Aaron and his sons in the third chapter of this Old Testament book of Numbers, and find it beginning with the fifth verse of the chapter. Consider if you will the words found in this chapter beginning with the fifth verse:

“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 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 before the tabernacle of the congregation, to do the service of the tabernacle. And they shall keep all the instruments of the congregation, 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 cometh nigh shall be put to death. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine; because all the firstborn are mine; for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast: mine shall they be: I am the Lord” (Numbers 3:5-13).

While we find in the third chapter of the Old Testament book of Numbers the first mention of the LORD speaking unto Moses and calling for the Levites to be brought unto Aaron and his sons for the work of the sanctuary, we find them first being mentioned in the opening chapter of this book. In fact, if you begin reading with and from the forty-seventh verse of the opening chapter you will find the LORD beginning to make a distinction between the Levites and the congregation of Israel—even making a distinction between them all those which were numbered from among the congregation who were able to go forth unto war and unto battle. The opening chapter of the Old Testament book of Numbers centers upon and surrounds all those twenty years of age and older from among all the tribes of Israel being numbered among those in the midst of the congregation who were able to go forth unto war. With most of the chapter being centered upon and centered around all those twenty years of age and older from among the twelve tribes of Israel being numbered as those who were able to go forth to war, there were those from among the congregation of the children of Israel which weren’t to be numbered as those which were to go forth to war, but those that were numbered for work. What’s more, is that there was an entire tribe that was consecrated and set apart by the living God—not for the purpose of taking up the sword and going forth to war, but for the purpose and work of the sanctuary. Consider if you will the words which are found in the forty-seventh verse of the first chapter and continuing on to the final verse:

“But the Levites after the tribe of their fathers were not numbered among them. For the LORD had spoken unto Moses, saying, Only thou shalt not number the tribe of Levi, neither take the sum of them among the children of Israel: but thou shalt appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of testimony, and over all the vessels thereof, and over all things that belong to it: they shall bear the tabernacle, and all the vessels thereof; and they shall minister unto it, and shall encamp round about the tabernacle. And when the tabernacle setteth forward, the Levites shall take it down: and when the tabernacle is to be pitched, the Levites shall set it up: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death. And the children of Israel shall pitch their tents, every man by his own camp, and every man by his own standards, throughout their hosts. But the Levites shall pitch round about the Tabernacle of testimony, that there be no wrath upon the congregation of the children of Israel: and the Levites shall keep the charge of the tabernacle of testimony. And the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did they” (Numbers 1:47-54).

As I sit here thinking about and considering the words which are found within the Old Testament book of Numbers concerning the Levites, I am directly confronted with the fact that the Levites were specifically called, chosen and ordained by the living God for a very specific purpose. The more you read the words which are found within this Old Testament book the more you will encounter the fact that the Levites were indeed called, chosen and set apart by the living God from among the congregation of the children of Israel for a very specific purpose, however, more often than not we limit the role and function of the Levites to only one thing. In all reality, I have to admit that for the longest time I had such a narrow-minded view of the Levites, and even concerning the priesthood itself. Over all the years I have both read and studied the Scriptures, and given all the times I have read the Old Testament, I have always believed that the Levites only served one role and one function in the midst of the children of Israel and that was it. I read and consider the words which are found within these chapters—the first and opening chapter, the third chapter, and now the eighth chapter—and I am confronted with and by the fact that the Levites played such a crucial and integral role and part within and among the children of Israel. In all reality, I would dare say that the congregation of the children of Israel would and could not have functioned the way it was intended to without and apart from the Levites who were called and chosen by the living God unto and for Himself. I sit here today and consider the words which were written concerning the Levites and I find myself coming face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that the Levites played such an integral and vital role and part in the midst of the makeup and congregation of the children of Israel that we dare not, we cannot and must not overlook it. It would be very easy to look upon the Levites—and because they weren’t those who went forth unto battle consider them as playing a lesser role and lesser part within and among the congregation of the children of Israel. It would be very easy to look upon the Levites and think that they were somehow a lesser part of the congregation of the children of Israel, and yet the more you read the words which are found within these chapters, the more you will find that the Levites played one of—if not perhaps the most crucial and vital roles in all the congregation and assembly of Israel. It is my belief that as you read the words which are found within these chapters that you will quickly come to understand just how critical and just how vital the Levites were among the congregation and assembly of the children of Israel, and how the assembly of the children of Israel would and could not have operated in the earth and before the presence of the living God the way they were called and created to. So integral and so vital were the Levites to the overall makeup and composition of the congregation of the children of Israel that if you were to subtract them from the equation and subtract them from the assembly you might very well not even have an assembly.

IMAGINE ISRAEL WITHOUT THE LEVITES! IMAGINE THE ASSEMBLY WITHOUT THE LEVITES! IMAGINE THE CONGREGATION WITHOUT THE LEVITES! It would be very easy to read the opening chapter of the Old Testament book of Numbers and to allow yourself to be completely and utterly concerned with those who were numbered from among the congregation as those who were able to go forth unto war, yet we must remember that when Moses called for all those who were on the Lord’s side to come unto him at the idolatry at the mountain of God, it was the Levites who drew near and come unto him. What’s more, is that it was the Levites who took up the sword and went forth in the midst of the camp and put to death countless of their brethren and kinsmen in order that the wrath and judgment of the living God might be stayed. Even at the idolatry of the golden calf at the mountain of God in the midst of the wilderness we begin to encounter just what role and what place the Levites would play among the children of Israel. It would be in the place and in the midst of idolatry and judgment that the Levites would emerge as divine instruments of the living God to step between the people of God and the judgment and wrath of the living God. Oh I would dare say that what we find in the thirty-second chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus is a truly remarkable and wonderful picture of the congregation and assembly of Israel and how the Levites would emerge from among them as divine instruments which would be used by the living God to accomplish and fulfill His will, His plans and His purpose. We would be incredibly wise to have in the back of our minds the events which took place at the mountain of God in the wilderness, and the idolatry of the golden calf, for it would be there in the place of idolatry and judgment the Levites would emerge to step into a role that would be absolutely critical among the congregation of the children of Israel. Furthermore, it wouldn’t be until you come to the first and opening chapter of the Old Testament book of Numbers that you truly begin to understand just what role, what purpose and what function the tribe of Levi would play in the midst of the congregation of Israel. Even more than this it is necessary that we recognize that the Levites were of vital importance to the congregation and assembly of Israel that the nation would and could not come into existence, nor even remain in existence without and apart from them. As certainly and as much as those who would go forth to war would play an integral part in the midst of the congregation and assembly of the children of Israel, so also would the Levites—those who were specifically called, chosen and set apart by the living God from among the congregation—play a critical role within and among the congregation of the children of Israel.

IN PLACE OF THE FIRSTBORN! IN THE WORK OF THE SERVICE OF THE TABERNACLE! IN THE PLACE OF WRATH AND JUDGMENT! As you read the words which are found within these chapters in the Old Testament book of Numbers you will find a considerable amount of language that was directed toward and concerning the Levites. The words which are found within these chapters is absolutely remarkable and astounding, for when you read the words found therein you are immediately caught up just how integral and how crucial the Levites were for the congregation of the children of Israel. What’s more, is that as you read the words found within these chapters you will encounter the reality that not only did the Levites play an integral part in the culture and society of the congregation of the children of Israel, but they also played a vital and critical part within the service and ministry of the Tabernacle. The note you read and the more you consider the words which are found within these chapters the more you will come to terms with the fact that although Aaron was ordained and anointed as the Hugh priest of Israel he could not fulfill and complete the office and role of Hugh priest alone. If you read the words which are found within the Old Testament books of exodus and Leviticus you will find that it contains a tremendous amount of language concerning Aaron’s being ordained, appointed and anointed to stand and minister before the Lord as the Hugh priest among the children of Israel. This one who entered into the land of Egypt with Moses and helped declare unto pharaoh that the living God demanded that He let the children of Israel go would now be ordained and appointed as the Hugh priest from among the congregation of the children of Israel. It would be very easy to read the accounts and narratives of Aaron being anointed and ordained as the high priest among the congregation of the children of Israel and think that he could have done and performed the work of the service of the sanctuary alone and by himself. The truth of the matter is that when Aaron was called and chosen by the living God for the purpose of the work of the sanctuary he wasn’t chosen alone. Upon reading the words which are found within these chapters you will find and discover that when Aaron was chosen and called by the living God, he was called and chosen together with his sons. As you think about and consider the ministry of Aaron the priest of the living God among the congregation of the children of Israel you must recognize that Aaron was not called, nor was he chosen to fulfill and accomplish the work alone and by himself. The work of the ministry of the tabernacle was more than simply a one man job and a one man show. No man regardless of whether or not they were anointed with the holy anointing oil was not able to fulfill and carry out the work of the ministry of the Tabernacle which stood in the presence of the children of Israel. It would have been utterly and completely impossible for Aaron to fulfill and accomplish the work of the ministry of the sanctuary which stood in the midst of the congregation and assembly of the children of Israel—regardless of and despite the fact that he was anointed by Moses with the holy anointing oil.

It’s absolutely necessary and vital that when we read the words found within the first five books of the Bible we recognize and understand that just as it was true that Aaron could not do the work of the ministry of the sanctuary alone and by himself and needed the assistance of his sons, so also we must take this a step further and consider the fact that not even Aaron and his sons could fulfill and accomplish the work of the ministry of the sanctuary alone and by themselves. This was even truer when you read in the Old Testament book of Leviticus they two of Aaron’s sons—NADAB and Abihu—were killed before and in the presence of the living God when they offered strange fire before and in the presence of the living God. When Aaron and his son’s were called and chosen from among the children of Israel for the purpose and work of the ministry of the sanctuary they were chosen and set apart together for the purpose of fulfilling the work of the ministry of the sanctuary. What we must recognize and understand is that Aaron wasn’t chosen, nor was he called alone of the living God for the work of the ministry of the sanctuary, for he was called together along with his sons. There was one thing Aaron as the Hugh priest could do which his sons could not do, and that was once a year on the Day of Atonement enter into the Most Holy Place and how beyond the veil with blood in order to make atonement for both he, his sons, the Levites and the entire congregation of the children of Israel. While Aaron and his sons were called and chosen together there was one role and one function Aston could do which the his son’s would and could not do together with him—namely, enter into beyond the veil once a year to make atonement for the sins of the people. The incredible truth surrounding the anointing, the ordination, the calling and choosing of Aaron as the high priest from among the congregation and assembly of the children of Israel was that not only was he not chosen alone, but neither could he do the work alone without and apart from his sons who would come alongside him to assist in the work of the ministry of the sanctuary. When we think about the ministry of the Tabernacle we must recognize and understand that Aaron could not perform the role of high priest without and apart from the service and ministry of his sons, for his sons would assist in the burden and responsibility of ministering before and upon the altar of burnt offering which was found to be present in the court of the sanctuary. It would be Aaron’s sons who would take the gifts and offerings the children of Israel would bring unto the door of the Tabernacle and would offer them as burnt offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings, meat offerings, and the like before and in the sight and presence of the living God.

With that being said, it’s absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand that when we think about the sons of Aaron who were called and chosen together with their father for the purpose of the ministry of the sanctuary we must also think about and consider the fact that Aaron and his sons could not fulfill and could not complete the work of the ministry of the sanctuary and the work of the Tabernacle. What’s more, is that it was never expected that Aaron would do the work of the high priest alone, and even that both he and his sons would do the work of the ministry of the sanctuary and tabernacle. As you read and study the words which are found in the first, third, fourth and eighth chapters of the Old Testament book of Numbers you will find that the Levites were called and chosen from among the congregation of the children of Israel in order that they might minister side by side and together with Aaron and his sons. The simple fact that the Levites were called and chosen from among the congregation of the children of Israel suggests and reveals that Aaron and his sons would and could not fulfill and complete the ministry of the Tabernacle, but would need others to come alongside them to assist in the work of the ministry of the sanctuary. Oh I have to admit that I absolutely love this reality, for it wonderfully and powerful demonstrates that the Tabernacle was not a one man show and that it could not be done the way the living God created and intended it do without and apart from those who would collectively work together for the purpose of the ministry of the sanctuary. When the LORD instructed Moses to number all those twenty years of age and older from among the tribes of Israel He instructed him to not number the sons of the tribe of Levi—those who were twenty years onward to fifty years of age—for they were specially chosen and ordained by God for the purpose of the work of the ministry of the sanctuary and Tabernacle. Upon first reading of the ministry and work of the Levites within the first chapter of this Old Testament book you will encounter and come face to face with the reality that you aren’t yet given the full and complete picture of this tribe of Israel and what role and purpose they would play among the congregation of the children of Israel. We are given information concerning them that they would be called, chosen and ordained among the congregation of the children of Israel for the work of the ministry of the sanctuary, however, it wouldn’t be until the third chapter where we begin to see and obtain a fuller and complete picture of the Levites and just what role and function they would play among the congregation of the children of Israel.

In verses five through thirteen of the third chapter of the Old Testament book of Numbers you will find the living God speaking unto Moses and instructing him to bring the tribe of Levi near, and to present them before Aaron the priest, that they might minister unto him. What’s more, is that the Levites were to keep the charge of Aaron, and the charge of the whole congregation before the tabernacle of the congregation, and to do the service of the tabernacle. If you continue reading within this chapter and these verses you will again find the living God declaring and speaking unto Moses that the Levites were to be given unto Aaron and to his sons, for they were wholly given unto him out of the children of Israel. This is absolutely necessary and imperative for us to consider, for when we think about and consider the role, the purpose and the function of the Levites we must recognize and understand that they were called and chosen from among the congregation of the children of Israel for the purpose of the work of the ministry of the sanctuary and the Tabernacle. The sons of Levi were called, chosen and taken out from among the congregation of the children of Israel for the sole purpose of the ministry of the sanctuary and congregation, and in all reality their lives were no longer their own. Once they were called, once they were chosen, once they were taken out from among the congregation and assembly of the children of Israel they belonged wholly and completely unto the LORD. What highlights this reality even more is when you read the words the LORD spoke unto Moses which are found in both the third and eighth chapters of this Old Testament book you will find the LORD emphatically declaring concerning the Levites that they were wholly given unto Him, and that they did indeed belong to Him. One reality we must understand when we think about and consider the lives and ministry of the Levites is that their lives were not their own, and their lives did not belong to them. The sons of Levi were called and chosen from among the congregation and assembly of the children of Israel for the sole purpose of the ministry of the sanctuary and the Tabernacle. With that being said, they could not live their lives however they desired, nor could they live their lives however they pleased, for their lives were wholly sanctified and consecrated before and unto the living God.

When we think about and consider the role, the purpose and the function of the Levites among the congregation of the children of Israel we must recognize and understand that the sons of Levi belonged wholly to the LORD, and as such were prohibited from living their lives however they deemed fit and appropriate. The first, the third and the eighth chapters of the Old Testament book of Numbers wonderfully demonstrates and reveals the absolutely incredible reality that the Levites were taken from among the congregation of the children of Israel in order that they might be given unto the LORD, and it was their being given unto the LORD and from that place of being given unto the LORD that they would be given unto Aaron and his sons for the purpose of the work of the sanctuary and Tabernacle. We dare not, we must not and cannot miss and lose sight of this absolutely wonderful and incredible reality, for when you think about and consider the narrative and account of the Levites you will find that they were set apart and chosen from among the congregation and assembly of the children of Israel for the sole purpose of belonging first unto the LORD, and secondly belonging unto Aaron and his sons. As we consider this reality we must recognize that the Levites were called and chosen and separated from among the congregation of the children of Israel, yet first and foremost they belonged to the living God of the Hebrews. It would only be from that place of belonging unto the living God the Levites would then be given unto Aaron and his sons for the work and purpose of the ministry of the Tabernacle. Oh that we would recognize and understand this absolutely wonderful and astounding reality, for when we think about the Levites—and even when we think about ourselves—we must recognize and understand that we first and foremost belong to the LORD, and that it is unto and for Him alone we have been called, sanctified and ordained within the earth. We dare not balk and miss on this singular reality, for this reality must be at the very forefront of everything we say and everything we do, as our lives are no longer our own, for we have been bought with a price. The consecration, the choosing, the setting apart of the Levites wonderfully and powerfully demonstrates the absolutely wonderful reality that although the whole congregation and assembly of the children of Israel belonged to the LORD, the Levites were those who were specifically taken from among the congregation and assembly as belonging solely and wholly unto the Lord. It was about more than simply their being presented unto Aaron and his sons for the work of the ministry of the sanctuary, but it was about the sons of Levi belonging unto and given wholly unto the living God, and from that place of being given unto the LORD the sons of Levi could then be given unto Aaron and his sons. With that being said, it’s worth noting that it would be in the giving of the sons of Levi unto the LORD God of the Hebrews that they could then be given unto Aaron and his sons for the purpose of the work of the ministry of the sanctuary and Tabernacle.

With all this being said, we must understand that it would be very easy to think about and consider the reality that the Levites were solely chosen and called by the living God for the purpose of the work of the sanctuary alone. If and as you read the words which are found within these chapters you will indeed find and discover that the Levites were called and chosen by the living God for the purpose of the ministry of the tabernacle, however, from as early as the first chapter of this Old Testament book of Numbers you will find that the Levites served an entirely different role and function among the congregation of the children of Israel—namely, one that isn’t highlighted or presented as often as their role in direct connection to the sanctuary and Tabernacle of the living God. As you read the words which are found within the first chapter of this Old Testament book of Numbers you will find that the Levites were not only wholly given unto Aaron and his sons, but they were also specifically placed within and among the camp of the congregation of the children of Israel for a single and underlying purpose ordained and appointed by the living God. If you turn and direct your attention back to the opening chapter of the book of Numbers you will find that the priests were strategically positioned between the the congregation of the children of Israel and the Tabernacle and sanctuary lest the wrath and judgment of the living God break upon against and upon the people. I fully realize and recognize that this might not seem like anything significant or worth mentioning, however, when you study the placement of the Levites in the midst of the camp of the congregation of Israel it is necessary to think about and consider that essentially they served an even greater role than ministering within the sanctuary of the living God. There was the role, the purpose and the function of ministering before and unto Aaron and his sons in the work of the ministry of the Tabernacle, however, we must understand that there was a wonderful ministry of intercession the Levites played in direct connection to the congregation and assembly of the children of Israel, for they were positioned between the place of wrath and the people. By being positioned between the sanctuary and the assembly the Levites would be found in that place of intercession among the assembly of the children of Israel, for they would stand between the wrath of God and the people of God. The Levites and the priests were strategically placed between the camp of the congregation of the children of Israel and the sanctuary, for no stranger could come nigh unto the sanctuary lest that soul die and experience the divine judgment of the living God. The Levites were wholly given unto the LORD and unto Aaron and his sons that they might act as a buffer between the sanctuary and the people, and as a buffer between the wrath of God and the people of God. Oh how absolutely wonderful it is to think about and consider that there was a wonderful and powerful sense of intercession that was found in the midst of the sons of Levi, for the sons of Levi were called and chosen from among the congregation of the children of Israel to stand and be positioned in that place between the wrath of God and the people of God lest the people be consumed with and by the divine wrath of the LORD their God.

Taking this a step further you will find and discover that the sons of Levi also played another crucial and critical role among the congregation and assembly of the children of Israel, for you will recall back in the land of Egypt when the LORD smote the firstborn within the land of Egypt, He consecrated and set apart every firstborn among the children of Israel. The LORD God of the Hebrews specifically declared that every firstborn male which broke the womb belonged unto Him, and must needs be redeemed after the appointed period of time was over. This is something we must recognize and understand, for while it is true the firstborn males who broke the womb belonged unto the LORD and were specially set apart and chosen by the living God. The role and function the sons of Levi played among the congregation of the children of Israel was that they were called, chosen and taken in place of the firstborn which were born from among the congregation of the children of Israel. If and as you read the words which are found within these chapters you will find that the Levites not only played the role of Intercessory on behalf of the congregation of the people of Israel, but they also played the role of substitute as they were specifically called and chosen from among the congregation of the children of Israel as they were chosen in place of the firstborn which broke the womb within each household. Please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this absolutely wonderful reality for when you think about and consider the ministry, the role and the function of the Levites, you must consider the fact that they were called and chosen for so much more than simply the work of the ministry of the sanctuary and Tabernacle. The sons of Levi were specifically called and chosen to abide in that place of intercession as they would be a buffer between the wrath of God and the people of God, and as they would be a substitute instead of and in place of the firstborn which broke the womb among the households within the congregation and assembly of Israel. MINISTERS! INTERCESSORS! SUBSTITUTES! We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely wonderful reality, for as you read and come to the New Testament you will find that we ourselves have been called and chosen as a kingdom of priests which are to be holy in the sight of the living God. If you read the first epistle which the apostle Peter wrote—specifically the second chapter—you will find the following words concerning we who are called and chosen in Christ:

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of GOD: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10).

THE MINISTRY OF THE LEVITES IN THE CULTURE OF THE GENERATION! As I sit here this morning and think about and consider the absolutely wonderful and remarkable reality concerning the Levites, I can’t help but think about and consider that more than their role in the sanctuary, they also played a crucial and critical role in the culture and society in which they lived, as they were not only found to be in the place of intercession and substitution, but they were found to be in the place of ministry unto the people. When thinking about and considering the role, the purpose and the function of the Levites among the congregation of the children of Israel it is necessary to think about and consider how they served a role and purpose before the LORD their God, for they ministered in His holy sanctuary and ministered among the sacred and holy things of the living God. While that is true, it’s also just as critical that we understand that the Levites played a much larger role among the congregation and assembly of the children of Israel, for they were in the place of substitution among the children of Israel, and even in the place of intercession among the congregation of the children of Israel. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely wonderful reality, for with it we encounter an absolutely wonderful and tremendous reality concerning ourselves as priests and Levites in our culture and society today. Oh it might very well be true that we have been set apart as sacred and holy unto the LORD, and it might be true that we have been called and chosen to minister within the sanctuary of the living God, our role and purpose as priests and ministers of the living God is so much more and so much greater than that. There is not a doubt in my mind that there is a great need for priests and Levites in our culture and society who will minister in the midst of the sanctuary of the living God, however, I would dare state that there is also just as great a need within and among our culture and society today for priests and Levites to operate as intercessors in the midst of the people. Just as the Levites stood in that place of the wrath of God and the people of God, so also we must stand in that place of the wrath of God and those we interact and come in contact with on a daily basis. Permit me to ask you a very pointed and powerful question—namely, whether or not you are willing to abide in that place of intercession in the culture, in the society and in the generation you live today that you might stand in the place between the wrath of God and the judgment of God and the people all around you. Are you willing to stand in the gap and stand in the place between the people you encounter and come in contact with on a daily basis that the wrath of God might not break out against and upon them? Are you willing to abide in that place of intercession in the midst of your culture and generation that the people before and around you might experience the mercy and grace of the living God? Have you truly realized that you have been wholly set apart and wholly sanctified as holy unto the LORD that you might be unto Him a royal priesthood, and as a royal priesthood before and in His presence you have been called and chosen to abide in that place of intercession in your culture, society and generation? The priests and Levites were called and chosen for more than simply the work of the ministry of the sanctuary, for they were called to abide in the place of substitution and intercession in the midst of and on behalf of the congregation of the children of Israel.

I have to admit that the more I read and the more I study the account and narrative of the priests and Levites the more I am directly confronted with the role and purpose I play in the culture and society I live in today. For the longest time I have believed that my sole and primary role and function is found in the midst of the sanctuary and in the midst of the house of God, and yet the truth and reality of the matter is that this simply isn’t the case. If and as you read and study the narrative and account of the children of Israel you will find and discover that the Levites were not only called and chosen from among the congregation and assembly that they might be in the place of the firstborn which broke the womb, thus being a substitute in the sight of the living God, but they were also called to abide in that place of intercession within and among the camp of the congregation of the children of Israel. In all reality, I would dare say that this culture and this generation needs Levites to rise up like never before—those who will step into and stand in that place of substitution and intercession in the midst of both culture and church, both in the midst of a generation and the house of God, and both in the midst of society and the sanctuary. The Levites and priests of the living God were called and chosen for so much more than just ministry within the sanctuary and house of the living God, for they were called and chosen to abide within that place of intercession that they might abide in the place where they minister unto and before the people of Israel. Oh it is absolutely necessary and critical that we understand the ministry and role of the sons of Levi, for they were those who were called, chosen and ordained by the living God as both substitutes for those who were holy before and unto the living God, as well as intercessors on behalf of the people of God. What’s more, is that intercession was about so much more than just the altar and sacrifice and offerings, for intercession was also about living and abiding in the place between the wrath of God and the judgment of God that the people might not be consumed with and by the wrath of God. The Levites were specifically chosen and ordained by the living God for the purpose of being found in the place of intercession that the wrath and judgment of God might not break forth against and break out upon the people. Oh that we would recognize and understand this crucial role, for it is when we understand this crucial role that we understand our role and our purpose in the culture and society we live in during these Last Days, and what we have been called to do.

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