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10 And thou shalt bring the Levites before Yahweh: and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites
Their [Levites] business was to keep God before the mind of the people and to instruct them in the law: "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).
... The character of the personal Levi and his immediate descendants appears to have been the basis of the selection.
"My covenant was with him (Levi) of life and peace: and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and he did turn many away from iniquity" (Mal. 2: 5).
Law of Moses Ch 8
The children of Israel, in the very act of laying their hands on the Levites during the consecration service, had confessed it to be their duty to devote themselves with the same completeness to the service of God. They were to attain by sinlessness to the reality of which the washing and shaving of the Levites were but dim representations. Thus, as we move inwards through the Camp to the Sanctuary at its centre, we find the symbolism to be laying increasingly stringent emphasis upon the duty, as well as upon the sinfulness, of the ordinary Israelite.
Law and Grace Ch 5
13 And thou shalt set the Levites [Levi'im] before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them for an offering unto Yahweh.
14 Thus shalt thou separate the Levites [Levi'im] from among the children of Israel: and the Levites [Levi'im] shall be mine.
The tribe of Levi was not included in the numbering of the children of Israel, nor afterwards in the division of the land that took place after conquest. This was "as the Lord commanded Moses" (Num. 2:33). In this, we may discover a useful shadowing of one feature of the constitution of the age to come. God said: "I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel ": "Thou shalt give them to Aaron and his sons: they are wholly given unto him out of the children of Israel", "It shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations that among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance" (in the land). "I am their inheritance" (see Num. 8 and 18).
The separation of the tribe of Levi was made the occasion of a very solemn ceremony. What typical meaning can there be in this setting apart of a whole class for a special work and a special position in the midst of a whole nation whom the Lord had chosen as "a special people unto himself above all the nations upon the face of the earth"? We may not find it difficult to see as we look forward, when we behold in the Kingdom the brethren of the Lord Jesus gathered out of every kindred and nation and tongue, and exalted to his side as partners and helpers in the great work of leading mankind to God.
As the Levites were given to Aaron to be at his service in all things (Num. 18:6), so the saints are given to Christ as fellow-helpers. The very expression is used, "Behold I and the children whom God hath given me .... The men whom thou hast given me." "All that the Father hath given me shall come to me." As the Levites given to Aaron became priests of a subordinate order in the divine service established under him, so the saints become priests under Christ in the more glorious day when they sing, "Thou hast made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth".
By another description, they are "his body": by another, his Bride: which may take us to the end of the thousand years with the question: will the body of Christ cease to be the body of Christ: will the Bride of Christ cease to be the Bride of Christ: when the endless ages begin? If the answer be obviously, No, then we have some light on the constitution of things in the glorious BEYOND when sin and death are no more upon the earth. We see a feature corresponding with the dedication of the Levites in the Mosaic shadow.
Though all will be immortal, there will be those who are of the first rank, and those who are of the second, those who form the rank and file of the population, and those who are the captains and officers, guides and shepherds, in the perfect state. We have all, at one time or other, entertained the popular conception of future glory as a sort of celestial glow-furnace in which all individuals were fused into an indiscriminate mass of happiness. This is evidently as far from the truth as almost every other popular idea of divine things.
The society of the redeemed, developed and established upon the earth as the result of the seven thousand years' work of God thereon, will be an organized and well-ordered society, with God as the head, Christ as the direct link of connection--Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as "king's friends" after the type of David's and Solomon's day--the twelve throned apostles as their immediate circle: the fathers and prophets, next in rank, and so on downwards in orderly gradations to "the meanest saint" of the millennial body of kings and priests :--below them, the immortal multitude prepared for eternal life by the institutions and exercises of the thousand years--all one body of blessedness in differing form of membership but without one envious jar such as now disturbs the best-constituted human society.
If this be, as it seems to be, a correct construction of the Mosaic shadow in that feature of it that concerns the separation of the tribe of Levi, it would follow that the privilege of being called to the millennial kingdom is much greater than it appears when we think only of ruling the mortal nations of the earth. To rule the mortal populations of the earth, will be unspeakable blessedness in the efficiency of an incorruptible nature, with unstinted resource of beneficence at our command and omnipotent power behind us. But it necessarily will not be comparable to the glory of ruling a community of immortals, each one of whom will be an untiring vessel of light and sympathy and "quick understanding in the fear of the Lord".
.... The acclamations of a grateful mortal populace will be a joy to those who find their pleasure in blessing them, but evidently it will be eclipsed by the greater glory of heading and leading and guiding a population from whom all dross and weakness have been purged by the happy change from the mortal to the immortal, which will be the portion of the faithful and chosen among the subjects of the millennial reign.
... Immortal life will be as endlessly varied in its exercises as the life we now know upon earth--indeed, necessarily more so from the absence of the fatigue that mars the best mortal enjoyment. Where it will differ will be in the form and nature of the activities, as royal life differs now from the life of the agricultural labourer.
There will be eating and drinking, but no necessity for sanitary arrangements, by reason of the different treatment of alimentary substances taken into a spiritual body from that to which they are subjected in the chemistry of a mortal stomach. There will be no marrying and giving in marriage, by reason of the suspension of propagation, and the fusion of the whole human family into one house of love.
There will be" dressing and keeping" the soil, as with Adam before he fell: but in the absence of the curse, a little labour (and that a pleasure) will be sufficient to provide abundance of all good things. There will be meetings and partings, but in no painful sense. There will be public life and private life: and therefore private possession; for the earth is to be inherited by the meek for an everlasting possession. Possibly, the inner aristocracy of the saints may occupy an exceptional position on this point, if they are to exemplify the counterpart of the law that forbade the Levites to have inheritance in the land.
Whatever the details may be, it is evident that "eye had not seen nor ear heard, neither had it entered into the heart of man to conceive what the Lord hath prepared for them that love him", until He revealed it by His spirit in those communications at sundry times and divers manners in which He spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets.
Law of Moses Ch 32.
19 And I have given the Levites [Levi'im] as a gift to Aaron [Aharon] and to his sons [Banim] from among the children of Israel [Bnei Yisroel], to do the service [Avodat] of the children of Israel [Bnei Yisroel] in the tabernacle [Ohel] of the congregation [Mo'ed], and to make an atonement [kapporah] for the children of Israel [Bnei Yisroel]: that there be no plague among the children of Israel [Bnei Yisroel], when the children of Israel [Bnei Yisroel] come nigh unto the sanctuary [HaKodesh].
And, to emphasize that holiness was the prerequisite of approach to God, the washing of their clothes and flesh, together with shaving and solemn consecration by atoning sacrifice, had first to be undergone by them before they could abide near the Sanctuary and minister in its Court.
Law and Grace Ch 5