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Numbers 18:1-19 (The Levitical Priesthood, Part I)

Mar 31, 2019   //   by Charlie Garrett   //   Numbers Sermons (written), Old Testament, Old Testament (written), Sermons, Torah, Torah (written), Writings  //  No Comments

Numbers 18:1-19
The Levitical Priesthood, Part I

The term “Levitical priesthood” is only actually found in the New Testament, in Hebrews 7. However, it is used to describe the priesthood of Israel because all of the priesthood, and those who served under it, whether priest or not, were Levites.

In Chapter 18 of Numbers, there is quite a bit of repetition from Exodus, Leviticus, and what has already been said in Numbers. And from this chapter, there will be more repetition and further clarification in both Numbers and Deuteronomy. Each step is a logical progression of thought based on the circumstances of what has been presented, and what needs to be both newly addressed, or readdressed to clear up, or expand on, what has been said.

This is obviously so, because even since the giving of the instructions for what has already been presented, there have been blatant violations of those laws. Deaths have resulted, and people have moaned and complained. With each such incident, the Lord must further expand upon His word.

As Chapter 17 ended, and in a verse which we will cite in the sermon today, the people were left in a mental state of confused hopelessness. This wasn’t the Lord’s fault, but rather it was theirs for not paying heed to Him. But to address and correct future thoughts such as they had, the Lord now continues to explain the responsibilities and the rights of both the priests and the Levites. Why is this? It is to lead us to a greater understanding of Christ. From Charles Ellicott’s commentary on Numbers 17, he says –

The special manifestations of Divine power which the Israelites had witnessed excited within them salutary emotions of awe and of anxious apprehension, but do not seem to have awakened within them any corresponding sense of gratitude either for their deliverance from the plague, or for the privileges which they enjoyed by reason of the Divine presence amongst them. The true answer to their inquiry whether they were doomed utterly to perish is contained in the following chapter, in which the priesthood of Christ is typically set forth as bearing the iniquity of the sanctuary, and thus making reconciliation for the sins and securing the acceptance of the imperfect service of His people. Charles Ellicott

Text Verse: “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” Hebrews 9:11-15

Our text verse took about eight typed pages to explain in my Hebrews commentary, but it shows that these things being presented in the Old Testament merely pointed to what Christ would do in order to bring about true restoration for His faithful, and what that means in regards to our standing before God now. Some of that is seen in our first seven verses today.

After that the last twenty-five deal with what is given to the priests, and also the Levites from the children of Israel. Of these things, the Lord will say, “I have given,” several times. One only gives what one possesses. Thus, these things rightfully belong to Him. As they include offerings, parts of offerings, tithes, and so on, then these things – given to the priests and Levites as the best of all that Israel possesses – are given as types of Christ.

The priests, represented by Aaron, picture Christ. The Levites, representing the firstborn, picture Christ, the sacrifices and offerings – in whole or in part – picture Christ. He is the First and Best of all of these things, and God has given them, in Christ, as a Gift to the world.

Coming to repetitive verses like this, we need to keep remembering this. The finest that God has to offer, He did so in the giving of His Son. And before that, He gave types and pictures of the imperfect services of His imperfect people. Remember, as it is all about Jesus, these things are so much easier to listen to and to assimilate. It’s all to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. The Holiness of God (verses 1-7)

Then the Lord said to Aaron: 

In what is a highly unusual introduction, only Aaron is addressed. In fact, it is only seen five times that the Lord speaks only to Aaron without Moses even being mentioned in the words. The first was in Exodus 4:27 when the Lord said to Aaron to go into the wilderness to meet Moses.

The Lord then spoke to Aaron alone in Leviticus 10:8 after the death of his two sons, and in relation to priestly responsibilities. Now, the Lord says these words to Aaron. He will speak words to him in verse 18:8, and He will have more words to say to him in verse 18:20.

Further, here it uses the word amar, said, not daber, spoke. Thus, instead of it being a directive simply to be acted upon, it indicates that the task requires a partnership and people working together. The context of what is now presented is that the words follow immediately after the account of Aaron’s rod which budded, blossomed, and bore fruit, confirming his position as the high priest of Israel. The priesthood was to him, and to his sons after him. As the chapter closed, the last words said –

“So the children of Israel spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Surely we die, we perish, we all perish! 13 Whoever even comes near the tabernacle of the Lord must die. Shall we all utterly die?’” Numbers 17:12, 13

Death is the result of sin, and sin is imputed through the giving of law. If no law exists, then sin is not imputed. God gave Adam a law, just one, and it was in the negative, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16, 17).

The law concerning the priesthood has been given, the law concerning the sanctuary has been given, the law concerning the atonement of sin has been given. If no transgressions of the law are made, then no sin will be imputed, but that is not the nature of things. Thus, there is a need for the bearing of iniquity by someone in order to handle what will assuredly come about.

That responsibility, and what accompanies it has been explained, but now it is to be reexplained, consolidated, and what goes with it will next be expanded upon as well. It is this which is to be presented, and it is to Aaron alone that the words are spoken…

1 (con’t) “You

It is second person singular. The words are being said directly to Aaron alone to be acted upon by him, but also…

1 (con’t) and your sons

The directive includes action by his sons. What is implied here from the context of the passage is that this means his descendants after him, and not merely his two living sons. All of his sons born after him during the time of the covenant are included.

1 (con’t) and your father’s house with you

u-beit abikha – “and house your father.” Aaron is from the tribe of Levi, and of the house of Kohath. It is the Kohathites that were given the responsibility of service concerning the most holy things related to the sanctuary. This is seen in the words that they…

1 (con’t) shall bear the iniquity related to the sanctuary,

The word is ha’miqdash, or “the sanctuary.” It is a general term normally used to describe the entire sanctuary, but here – because the priests and Kohathites have been singled out – it is speaking of the most holy things. Only the priests could see or touch them, and only the Kohathites could bear them for transportation.

To bear the iniquity of these means that they were responsible for the guilt of the offenses committed by the people against the holiness of God. In Aaron’s case, he was ultimately responsible for this. He would perform the rituals for atonement for sin for himself and on behalf of the people, such as on the Day of Atonement.

Further, he would bear the iniquity which came from imperfection found in the service of the priests and Levites, and from the offerings brought forth by the people. This was explicitly seen in Exodus 28:36-38 –

“You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet:

HOLINESS TO THE LORD.

37 And you shall put it on a blue cord, that it may be on the turban; it shall be on the front of the turban. 38 So it shall be on Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord.”

1 (con’t) and you and your sons with you shall bear the iniquity associated with your priesthood.

The iniquity of those things pertaining to the priesthood alone was to be borne solely by the priesthood. When pollution or defilement came, it was their duty to perform the necessary purifications, demanded by the law, in order to expunge the defilement.

Also bring with you your brethren of the tribe of Levi,

u-gam eth akhekha matteh levi – “And also your brothers of the rod of Levi.” That the previous verse was speaking only of the Kohathites and not of all the Levites is confirmed in the use of the term “house,” and also that only now are those of the extended rod, or tribe, of Levi mentioned. That is further described as…

(con’t) the tribe of your father,

shevet avikha – “scepter of your father.” It is a different word, again used to describe those who branch off from Levi, and thus the entire tribe. They are designated so…

(con’t) that they may be joined with you

v’yilavu alekha – “and that they may be attached to you.” It is as much of a pun as anything else. The word lavah is the basis for the name Levi. It is what Leah called out when she conceived him –

“She conceived again and bore a son, and said, ‘Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.’ Therefore his name was called Levi.” Genesis 29:34

The entire tribe of “Attached” is to be attached to Aaron, and this was for a specific reason…

(con’t) and serve you while you and your sons are with you

It was the responsibility of the tribe of Levi to serve Aaron and his sons. They were, as stated earlier in Numbers 3, given to them for this purpose –

“Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may serve him. And they shall attend to his needs and the needs of the whole congregation before the tabernacle of meeting, to do the work of the tabernacle. Also they shall attend to all the furnishings of the tabernacle of meeting, and to the needs of the children of Israel, to do the work of the tabernacle. And you shall give the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they are given entirely to him from among the children of Israel.” Numbers 3:6-9

(con’t) before the tabernacle of witness.

The translation is not accurate. It says, liphne ohel ha’edut – “before the tent of the Testimony.” It is referring to the tent where the tablets of the Testimony are kept. It is thus speaking of the sacred nature of the law and thus the need for holiness before the law. The words are given to confirm what was said in verse 1 about bearing the iniquity related to the sanctuary and the priesthood. Sin is imputed where there is law. The law is recorded on the tablets.

They shall attend to your needs and all the needs of the tabernacle; 

With a lack of precision in translation, error in doctrine is inevitable. The word, again, says “tent,” not “tabernacle.” With the exception of the family of Kohath, during the conduct of specific duties, only the priests served within the tabernacle. The Levites served outside of the tent, attending to the needs of Aaron. That is then exactingly explained in the next clause…

(con’t) but they shall not come near the articles of the sanctuary and the altar, 

And again, the translation is wrong. It is not “the articles of the sanctuary,” but rather the holy articles, meaning those things that were set apart as holy and which the priests alone could touch, and which included the brazen altar. They could minister for the priests at the altar, but they were never to touch it…

(con’t) lest they die—they and you also.

This was explained in verses such as Numbers 4:15 –

“And when Aaron and his sons have finished covering the sanctuary and all the furnishings of the sanctuary, when the camp is set to go, then the sons of Kohath shall come to carry them; but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die.”

The words, “and you also” are plural. It is speaking of any priest who would be so careless as to not protect the charge which had been entrusted to him. The Lord would hold him accountable for such lax or inattentive care towards his responsibilities.

They shall be joined with you

v’nilvu alekha – “and shall be attached with you.” The “you” is singular. The Lord is speaking directly to Aaron as the designated high priest, and thus who has the overall responsibility for all priestly matters. Again, the Lord uses the word lavah, or “attached.” It is the last time that this type of pun will be used with the word where it is tied into the name Levi.

(con’t) and attend to the needs of the tabernacle of meeting, for all the work of the tabernacle; 

In both instances, it says, “tent,” not “tabernacle.” Aaron is being granted full rights to the service of the Levites. There is to be no question as to his right to determine their individual duties in accord with the overall guidelines which have been specified for the Levites. This allowance is for, and only for, the Levites…

(con’t) but an outsider shall not come near you.

The “you” here is now plural. No one other than a Levite is to come near any priest or Levite to accomplish any duty which is reserved for them alone. It is the Levites who are to minister for the priests and to the congregation in place of the firstborn. This was first stated in Numbers 1 –

“The children of Israel shall pitch their tents, everyone by his own camp, everyone by his own standard, according to their armies; 53 but the Levites shall camp around the tabernacle of the Testimony, that there may be no wrath on the congregation of the children of Israel; and the Levites shall keep charge of the tabernacle of the Testimony.” Numbers 1:52, 53

This was then further explained in Numbers 3:7 –

“And they shall attend to his needs and the needs of the whole congregation before the tabernacle of meeting, to do the work of the tabernacle.”

There is a double-pronged purpose for the service of the Levites. One prong points inward to the charge of the sanctuary and the service of the priests; the other points outward to the needs of the whole congregation.

And you shall attend to the duties of the sanctuary and the duties of the altar, 

Again, the translation is wrong. It says, ha’qodesh, “the holy,” not “the sanctuary.” It is referring to that which is holy and not acceptable for any but the priests to attend to (the “you” in these words is plural). This included the charge of the brazen altar which is set apart as most holy. Unfortunately, the NKJV, which follows after the KJV, is literally riddled with error. Without precision in translation, contradictions arise elsewhere. The entire purpose of these exacting and meticulous instructions is…

(con’t) that there may be no more wrath on the children of Israel.

The words are given to remind all of the death which has already surrounded the care of these things. Nadab and Abihu had been consumed. That was followed by those in Korah’s rebellion. The Lord has spoken, the people have failed to heed, and the wrath of the Lord has been elicited. Now, He is speaking directly to Aaron as the high priest to ensure that “no more wrath would come out on the children of Israel,” of whom he was included.

Before going on, it is the perfect time to remember what these things are all pointing to. The sanctuary, and everything associated with it points to Christ, the God/Man. Some things point to His deity, some to His humanity.

The priests, represented by Aaron, point to Christ as our Mediator between God and man. The Levites point to Christ as the Firstborn of God who serves before God and on behalf of the people. Again and again, there are admonitions and warnings that death will result for negligence in the conduct of the duties.

This is a sober warning that God is holy, and that none can approach Him apart from His representative. All others will be destroyed. It is Christ Jesus, and He alone, who can and does minister for us before God. Let us not forget this. There is one, and only one way of having a right relationship with God, and that is through the God/Man, who is our POC with God.

Behold, I Myself have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel; 

The same sentiment is said in Numbers 3:12, but here the words, “your brethren the Levites” is added in. This is explained by the same term being used in verse 2 of this chapter. The Lord is keeping the sacred duties in one family to maintain cohesion within the service of the sanctuary, and thus in the service of Him. The Levites are attached to the priests, who are then attached to the Lord, just as Christ the Man is attached to Christ who is God and who serves His role within the Godhead.

(con’t) they are a gift to you, given by the Lord, to do the work of the tabernacle of meeting.

Here is the first use of mattanah, or gift, in Numbers. The Levites are said to be a gift to the priests (you is plural) by the Lord so that they could, in turn, perform their work without hindrance. As is next specified…

Therefore you and your sons with you shall attend to your priesthood for everything at the altar and behind the veil; and you shall serve.

The words “everything at the altar and behind the veil” are given as an all-encompassing term. The brazen altar stood outside the tent of meeting, the paroket, or veil, stood between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. From the daily regular duties of all the priests, to the once-annually conducted ritual on the Day of Atonement by the high priest, they were to attend to all aspects of their priesthood. Because they were freed from the regular duties given to the Levites. They were instructed to serve…

7 (con’t) I give your priesthood to you as a gift for service,

The term mattanah, or gift, is again stated by the Lord. The very priesthood itself is given as a gift of service to Aaron. It is a beautiful picture of what is later stated about Christ Jesus in Hebrews 10 –

“‘“Therefore, when He came into the world, He said:
“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,
But a body You have prepared for Me.
In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin
You had no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—
In the volume of the book it is written of Me—
To do Your will, O God.”’” Hebrews 10:5-7

Everything about these verses demonstrates the grace of God. The Levites are a gift, and thus a grace to the priests. The priesthood is given as a gift to the priests, and thus it too is a grace. And even the duties of the Levites, given to them instead of the firstborn of Israel, is a gift.

With this understanding, the coming verses show the greatness of these gifts to those who were granted them apart from merit. But, such is the case with any gift we possess, and which is used for the service of the Lord. Paul explains that in 1 Corinthians 4 –

“For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? 1 Corinthians 4:7

7 (con’t) but the outsider who comes near shall be put to death.”

These are the exact same words of warning from Numbers 1:51. Again, the holiness of God demands that only he who has been specifically appointed to approach Him can live. For us, only Christ has been so appointed, and thus any outside of Christ remained condemned, and he shall die. God is approached on His terms, not ours.

You shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary
Upon Your priesthood, it shall fall
Those who are unclean but who would come to Me
You shall bear it for one and for all

And You shall attend to the duties of the Sanctuary
And the duties of the altar, that terrible cross
That no wrath may come upon those who belong to Me
You shall bear it, and of them there shall be no loss

Behold, I have taken You from among all the firstborn
Only You are the First-begotten of Me
Your body shall be bruised and it shall be torn
But through it, You shall make holy those for my Sanctuary

II. A Covenant of Salt Forever (verses 8-19)

And the Lord spoke to Aaron:

The words now say “spoke” instead of “said.” This indicates instruction without any need for a partnership or working together. The Lord is simply issuing forth directives.

(con’t) “Here, I Myself have also given you charge of My heave offerings, all the holy gifts of the children of Israel; I have given them as a portion to you and your sons, as an ordinance forever.

This is a confirmation of what was stated in Leviticus 7:34 & 35 and elsewhere. The heave offerings were considered as holy gifts. The use of the possessive pronoun, “My heave offerings,” shows that these actually belonged to the Lord, but were given to the priests as a consecrated portion in perpetuity.

This shall be yours of the most holy things reserved from the fire:

The idea here is that everything offered to the Lord was presented to Him through fire, burnt up as an offering to Him. In this, it was most holy. However, those things which symbolically fell from the first, being reserved for the priests, was considered as most holy…

(con’t) every offering of theirs, every grain offering and every sin offering and every trespass offering which they render to Me, shall be most holy for you and your sons.

Each of these has been previously described in Leviticus, including that which was reserved for the priests. These are considered most holy, and thus could only be eaten by the priests. The reason for the repetition here, and in the verses to come, is specifically because of the incident of the rebellions which had taken place. The deaths, and the fears of the people concerning further death, necessitated that the priestly and Levitical duties be described. And these now explain the benefits afforded to them based on their duties.

10 In a most holy place you shall eat it; every male shall eat it. It shall be holy to you.

The words are not indicating the place where these were to be eaten, but that they are to be eaten as most holy items. This, in turn, means both the location and those who are allowed to eat them.

11 “This also is yours: the heave offering of their gift, with all the wave offerings of the children of Israel; I have given them to you, and your sons and daughters with you, as an ordinance forever. Everyone who is clean in your house may eat it.

Again, these things have been detailed in Leviticus. These, not being most holy, could be eaten by anyone in the priest’s house, be it family or permanently bonded servant, but not hired hand. But, anyone unclean could not partake of them.

12 “All the best of the oil, all the best of the new wine and the grain, their firstfruits which they offer to the Lord, I have given them to you.

Here is a new word, yits-har, or oil. It is related to the word tsohar, or double light, meaning noontime, and thus it is fresh, new, glistening oil. Along with that is tirosh, or fresh, sweet wine, and dagan, or grain. For the priest, they were all to be the khelev, or “fat,” meaning the best of them. Of these came the reshitam, or firstfruits, which were offered by the people to the Lord. All of these were set apart for the priests. But there is more…

13 Whatever first ripe fruit is in their land, which they bring to the Lord, shall be yours. Everyone who is clean in your house may eat it.

This would be the first of any other fruits of the land. It might include figs, durian, pomegranates, apples, dates, pears, etc. The presentation of these is explained in Deuteronomy 26:1-11. All brought to the Lord were to become the property of the priests, and any clean person in the house could partake of them. And also…

14 “Every devoted thing in Israel shall be yours.

The word is kherem. It signifies anything which is set apart to God, such as by vow or dedicated, including certain land affected by the Year of Jubilee as noted in Leviticus 27. And also…

15 “Everything that first opens the womb of all flesh, which they bring to the Lord, whether man or beast, shall be yours; nevertheless the firstborn of man you shall surely redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem.

These things have been mandated already. All males that open the womb are noted in Exodus 13:2 and they are given to the priests. However, it emphatically states, “redeeming, you shall redeem the firstborn of man.” That was accomplished through a five shekel payment as will be next noted. The firstborn of unclean animals could be redeemed, but if they were not, Exodus 13 and Leviticus 27 have already been given to explain how to deal with them.

16 And those redeemed of the devoted things you shall redeem when one month old, according to your valuation, for five shekels of silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.

This is specifically speaking of the redemption of a firstborn male person. This was done when the child was one month old, and it was for five shekels of silver. Five being the number of grace, and silver picturing redemption. This is then defined as twenty gerahs according to the sanctuary shekel, which was the standard. The number twenty in Scripture signifies “expectancy.” There was to be the expectancy that the shekel used was appropriate to the standard.

17 But the firstborn of a cow, the firstborn of a sheep, or the firstborn of a goat you shall not redeem; they are holy. You shall sprinkle their blood on the altar, and burn their fat as an offering made by fire for a sweet aroma to the Lord.

These particular clean animals were set apart to God and could not be redeemed. They were considered holy and thus they were to be sacrificed, and their blood splashed – not sprinkled – on the altar. After this, their fat was to be burned up as prescribed elsewhere. The entire process, from type of animal to what is done with it, pictures the Person and work of Christ.

In Numbers 3:41, the firstborn of the livestock of the Levites was taken instead of all the firstborn among the livestock of the children of Israel. Now it says that these cannot be redeemed from among the children of Israel, and that they had to be sacrificed. There is no contradiction though.

Here, the firstborn are to be sacrificed as the Lord’s. Whereas in Chapter 3, it was speaking of all of the animals which were alive at the time of the census. The Lord took them instead of the firstborn of the animals which belonged to Israel. After that, all later firstborn still belong to the Lord and must be sacrificed, have their blood splashed, and their fat portions burned…

18 And their flesh shall be yours, just as the wave breast and the right thigh are yours.

This must be clarified. Deuteronomy 12, 14, and 15 all state that the owner of the firstborn is to eat his own firstborn. He cannot use it for any other purposes, but he is instead to eat it. Therefore, the second clause of this verse explains the first.

The wave breast and the right thigh, being sacred portions of the firstborn animal, are always reserved for the priests. This is explained in the words of the next verse, saying they are a part of the heave offerings.

The rest of the animal is taken by the family for their own consumption. Only in the third year is the entire animal, along with all of the third-year tithes, to be given over entirely. That is recorded in Deuteronomy 14. The subject of tithes, and how they are to be handled under the law, will be discussed in detail in next week’s sermon – whoo hooo, popcorn will be served.

19 “All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer to the Lord, I have given to you and your sons and daughters with you as an ordinance forever;

The term “heave offerings” is an all-encompassing term which was first stated in verse 8. It was then further defined in verse 11 to include the wave offerings of the children of Israel. Thus, everything mentioned since verse 8 is set apart as holy offerings to the Lord. They have then been given, as grace, to Aaron and his sons and daughters, with the noted exceptions stated in these verses, for the entire duration of the Levitical priesthood. Here, the word “forever” is olam, and it signifies, “to the vanishing point,” not forever in the ultimate sense. When the covenant ended in Christ, so did this ordinance.

19 (con’t) it is a covenant of salt forever before the Lord with you and your descendants with you.”

This is the first time the term, “a covenant of salt” is referred to in Scripture. However, it was alluded to in some measure in Leviticus 2, where it said –

“And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt.” Leviticus 2:13

Salt produces and signifies incorruption. It strengthens the food in which it is, and also preserves it. Thus, it is a sign of faithfulness and covenant keeping. It goes so far as to indicate the perpetual nature of the covenant. It will never be broken as long as it is in force. In regards to this, then, it stayed in effect until Christ came and fulfilled the law, and annulled it through His shed blood.

But this then only looks forward to that greater and more perfect covenant which is found in Christ. Previous sermons have revealed that every detail of what is seen and repeated here looks forward, in type and picture, to the coming Christ. Those things which were newly introduced did as well in that they were the best of what God gave to His priests, just as He has given the best of what He has through Christ who then ministers between Him and His people.

And as the Mosaic Covenant only looked forward to the New Covenant in Christ, then the good things found in Him are given as a covenant of salt, truly forever. As our text verse said today, in Christ, there is an eternal inheritance. It is one which is perfect because it comes from God who is perfect. And it is one which is eternal, because God, who made the covenant in Christ, is eternal.

It is with the greatest joy that we can read these passages, see how God was faithful to keep His word through until the end, and then give something far better to those who have anticipated Him, even since the first moments of man’s existence on this earth. Let us be grateful for this, and let us rejoice in what He has done for those who have been redeemed through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Closing Verse: “For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, 19 for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” Hebrews 7:18, 19

Next Week: Numbers 18:20-32 The subject matter of this next sermon gets me hot under the collar, it is true… (The Levitical Priesthood, Part II) (35th Numbers Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It may seem at times as if you are lost in a desert, wandering aimlessly. But the Lord is there, carefully leading you to the Land of Promise. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Levitical Priesthood

Then the Lord said to Aaron:
“You and your sons and your father’s house, so it shall be
With you shall bear the iniquity
Related to the sanctuary

And you and your sons with you, let this be understood
Shall bear the iniquity associated with your priesthood

Also bring with you your brethren
Of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, yes those ones
That they may be joined with you and serve you
While you and your sons… 

Are with you before the tabernacle of witness
As to you I now address

They shall attend to your needs
And all the needs of the tabernacle; it shall be so
But they shall not come near the articles of the sanctuary
And the altar, lest they die—they and you also 

They shall be joined with you
And attend to the needs of the tabernacle of meeting too
For all the work of the tabernacle
But an outsider shall not come near you 

And you shall attend to the duties of the sanctuary
And the duties of the altar, as to you as I now tell
That there may be no more wrath
On the children of Israel 

Behold, I Myself have taken your brethren
The Levites from among the children of Israel
They are a gift to you, given by the Lord
To do the work of the tabernacle of meeting as to you I now tell 

Therefore you and your sons with you
Shall attend to your priesthood
For everything at the altar and behind the veil
And you shall serve as it is understood

I give your priesthood as a gift for service to you
But the outsider who comes near shall be put to death
———-so you shall do

And the Lord spoke to Aaron:
“Here, I Myself have also given you, as to you I now tell
Charge of My heave offerings
All the holy gifts of the children of Israel

I have given them as a portion to you and your sons
As an ordinance forever, my holy ones 

This shall be yours of the most holy things
Reserved from the fire: such shall be the proffering
Every offering of theirs
Every grain offering and every sin offering

And every trespass offering which they render to Me
Shall be most holy for you and your sons, so shall it be 

In a most holy place you shall eat it; so you shall do
Every male shall eat it. It shall be holy to you

This also is yours: the heave offering of their gift
With all the wave offerings of the children of Israel
I have given them to you
And your sons and daughters with you, as to you I now tell

As an ordinance forever, so to you I submit
Everyone who is clean in your house may eat it

All the best of the oil
All the best of the new wine too
And the grain, their firstfruits which they offer to the Lord
I have given them to you 

Whatever first ripe fruit is in their land
Which they bring to the Lord, yours shall be
Everyone who is clean in your house may eat it
Every devoted thing in Israel shall be yours as directed by Me

Everything that first opens the womb of all flesh
Which they bring to the Lord, whether man or beast
———-shall be yours too
Nevertheless the firstborn of man you shall surely redeem
And the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem
———-so shall you do

And those redeemed of the devoted things
You shall redeem when one month old as directed by Me
According to your valuation, for five shekels of silver
According to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is gerahs twenty 

But the firstborn of a cow, the firstborn of a sheep
Or the firstborn of a goat you shall not redeem
———-according to My word
They are holy. You shall sprinkle their blood on the altar
And burn their fat as an offering made by fire
———-for a sweet aroma to the Lord 

And their flesh shall be yours, by and by
Just as are yours the wave breast and the right thigh

“All the heave offerings of the holy things
Which the children of Israel offer to the Lord
I have given to you and your sons and daughters
With you as an ordinance forever; according to this word 

It is a covenant of salt forever before the Lord, it is true
With you and your descendants with you

Lord God, we are even now in a wilderness
And we are wanting to be led by You
Without You to direct, our lives would be a mess
And so be our guide, O God; You who are faithful and true

We long for the water in this barren land
May it flow forth from the Rock, our souls to satisfy
Give us this refreshing, spiritual hand
And may we take it, and to our lives daily it apply

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to you for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

Then the Lord said to Aaron: “You and your sons and your father’s house with you shall bear the iniquity related to the sanctuary, and you and your sons with you shall bear the iniquity associated with your priesthood. Also bring with you your brethren of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, that they may be joined with you and serve you while you and your sons are with you before the tabernacle of witness. They shall attend to your needs and all the needs of the tabernacle; but they shall not come near the articles of the sanctuary and the altar, lest they die—they and you also. They shall be joined with you and attend to the needs of the tabernacle of meeting, for all the work of the tabernacle; but an outsider shall not come near you. And you shall attend to the duties of the sanctuary and the duties of the altar, that there may be no more wrath on the children of Israel. Behold, I Myself have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel; they are a gift to you, given by the Lord, to do the work of the tabernacle of meeting. Therefore you and your sons with you shall attend to your priesthood for everything at the altar and behind the veil; and you shall serve. I give your priesthood to you as a gift for service, but the outsider who comes near shall be put to death.”

And the Lord spoke to Aaron: “Here, I Myself have also given you charge of My heave offerings, all the holy gifts of the children of Israel; I have given them as a portion to you and your sons, as an ordinance forever. This shall be yours of the most holy things reserved from the fire: every offering of theirs, every grain offering and every sin offering and every trespass offering which they render to Me, shall be most holy for you and your sons. 10 In a most holy place you shall eat it; every male shall eat it. It shall be holy to you.

11 “This also is yours: the heave offering of their gift, with all the wave offerings of the children of Israel; I have given them to you, and your sons and daughters with you, as an ordinance forever. Everyone who is clean in your house may eat it.

12 “All the best of the oil, all the best of the new wine and the grain, their firstfruits which they offer to the Lord, I have given them to you. 13 Whatever first ripe fruit is in their land, which they bring to the Lord, shall be yours. Everyone who is clean in your house may eat it.

14 “Every devoted thing in Israel shall be yours.

15 “Everything that first opens the womb of all flesh, which they bring to the Lord, whether man or beast, shall be yours; nevertheless the firstborn of man you shall surely redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem. 16 And those redeemed of the devoted things you shall redeem when one month old, according to your valuation, for five shekels of silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs. 17 But the firstborn of a cow, the firstborn of a sheep, or the firstborn of a goat you shall not redeem; they are holy. You shall sprinkle their blood on the altar, and burn their fat as an offering made by fire for a sweet aroma to the Lord. 18 And their flesh shall be yours, just as the wave breast and the right thigh are yours.

19 “All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer to the Lord, I have given to you and your sons and daughters with you as an ordinance forever; it is a covenant of salt forever before the Lord with you and your descendants with you.”

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