LEVITES, PRIESTS AND KINGS
The Old Testament characters, stories, priesthood, feasts and ceremonies prefigured present New Testament realities in Christ:
Colossians 2:16-17 AMP: Therefore let no one sit in judgment on you in matters of food and drink, or with regard to a feast day or a New Moon or a Sabbath. (17) Such [things] are only the shadow of things that are to come, and they have only a symbolic value. But the reality (the substance, the solid fact of what is foreshadowed, the body of it) belongs to Christ.
In particular, this is true of the Levitical priesthood. Every Levite by birth had to serve in the Tabernacle from 25 years old and at the age of 30 the Levite, if chosen, would then become a priest: all priests were Levites, but not all Levites became priests!
Numbers 8:24 KJV: This is it that belongeth unto the Levites: from twenty and five years old and upward they shall go in to wait upon the service of the tabernacle of the congregation:
Numbers 4:2-4 KJV: Take the sum of the sons of Kohath from among the sons of Levi, after their families, by the house of their fathers, (3) From thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, all that enter into the host, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation. (4) This shall be the service of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation, about the most holy things:
The service of the ordinary Levite was restricted to the Outer Court: he served in the physical ceremonies of the Outer Court, but he could not enter the Tabernacle proper: the Holy Place until he became a Priest. In the Holy Place, he would trim the lights of the candlestick, eat of the showbread and offer up incense and prayer at the altar of incense.
What is the spiritual reality of these things to us today as New Testament Christians?
All born again Christians are born as ‘Levites’ and serve in the ‘Tabernacle’: God’s dwelling place. this service is initially restricted to the ‘Outer Court’. This means our prayer life is initially restricted to praying only with our mental understanding and not with revelation. In the ‘Outer Court’ we pray mostly with our natural language and only a mental and emotional understanding of the scriptures many times asking God for things that are childish and utopic, because of our superficial knowledge of the scriptures based only on a literal and historic mental understanding of the scriptures.
1Corinthians 14:15 KJV: What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
1Corinthians 13:11 AMP: When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside.
Ephesians 4:14 KJV: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
However, as we grow spiritually from spiritual childhood to manhood (Eph. 4:15), we make the transition from being a ‘Levite’ to becoming a ‘Priest’ and now serve in the ‘Holy Place’ where our understanding is enlightened (Eph. 1:16-23) with the light of revelation knowledge symbolized by the candlestick. We can also eat of the ‘shewbread’, which speaks of the ‘Bread of life’ (Jn. 6:35): receiving the life of God through the written Word (2 Peter. 1:4). Furthermore, we can now offer ‘incense at the altar of incense’ which speaks of praying in the Spirit with tongues (1 Cor. 14:2) and travail (Rom. 8:26, Gal. 4:19, Heb. 5:7) with all kinds of prayer (Eph. 6:18).
It is this type of praying that takes us ‘within the veil’ into the Holiest of all, which contains the ‘Ark of the Covenant’ and the ‘mercy seat’ from where we can sit and reign with God as Kings in Christ Jesus:
Revelation 1:6 KJV: And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 2:6 KJV: And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
So we are to make the transition from being ‘Levites’ to becoming ‘Priests’ and then finally ‘Kings’.
In our article next week, we will see how to do this in more detail.