1 The sons of Levi; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.

Old Covenant of the Kingdom

The Mosaic code was the covenant of the kingdom of God for 1617 years, exclusive of the 70 years in Babylon. The Twelve Tribes received it under the Levitical Priesthood, (Heb. 7:11.) which was imperfect, and therefore destined to be changed at some future period. Hence this change would necessitate also a change of the Covenant.-verse 12.

The Levitical Priesthood

This was constituted after the law of a carnal commandment...The office [of high priest] was held for life but the service of the ordinary priests only for a term of years. The Levitical Priesthood was changeable, being left of one to another. Hence, it is said to be, with father, with mother, and with pedigree, having beginning of days and end of life.

the Levites were employed in the lower services in the temple by which they were distinguished from the priests. They obeyed the Aaronites or higher officials in the ministrations of the temple, and sung and played on instruments in the daily service.

They studied the law, and were the ordinary judges of the country; but subordinate to the priests. It was contrary to the law, and punishable with death, for the priests to officiate without washing their hands and their feet in the laver of brass between the altar and temple. These washings were imposed "till the time of emendation."

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Sept 1851

3 And the children of Amram; Aaron, and Moses, and Miriam.

The sons also of Aaron; Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.

Aaron was called of God to be the first High Priest of the nation; and the office was perpetuated in his family so long as the Mosaic covenant should continue the constitution of the kingdom. The office was held for life. The priests who officiated at the altar, and in the Holy, and Most Holy, were Aaron and his sons, or their descendants.

..The High Priest was at the head of all religious affairs, and was the ordinary judge of all difficulties thereto belonging, and even of the general justice and judgment of the nation. He only had the privilege of entering the Most Holy apartment of the Temple once a year, on the day of solemn expiation, to make atonement for the sins of the whole nation.

The priests of the House of Aaron served immediately at the altar, killed, skinned, and offered the sacrifices. They kept up a perpetual fire on the altar of burnt sacrifices, and in the lamps of the golden candlestick in the holy apartment of the Temple.

They kneaded the loaves of shew-bread, baked them, offered them on the golden table, and changed them every sabbath day. Every day, night and morning, a priest appointed by casting of lots at the beginning of the week, brought into the holy place a smoking censer of incense, and set it on the golden altar, called the altar of incense.

A principal employment of the priests next to attending to the sacrifices, and the temple service, was the instruction of the people, and the deciding of controversies.

"For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts."-Mal. 2:7.

In time of war their duty was to carry the ark of the covenant, to consult the Lord, to sound the holy trumpets, and to encourage the army.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Sept 1851