On my last post on Numbers chapter 1 titled, “Now Why Are The Levites Unique And Set Apart”, we discussed the subject of the tribe of Levi (the Levites), who were assigned to become the priestly tribe of Israel who would be set-apart from this already set-apart nation of Israel for their especially holy task. Yet to understand HOW Levi was set-apart is just as critical as the fact that they were set-apart.
Historically and Scripturally the Levites were adopted away from Israel (no longer to be counted as Israelites); they were adopted away en masse from Israel by God. This very much corresponds to the pattern of an earlier surprise adoption that we studied back in Genesis 48. Let’s review that for just a minute or two.
Now some time after these things happened, Joseph was told, “Your father is sick.” So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim with him [to go to Goshen]. And when Jacob (Israel) was told, “Look now, your son Joseph has come to you,” Israel strengthened himself and sat up on the bed. Then Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz (Bethel) in the land of Canaan and blessed me, and said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and numerous, and I will make you a great company of people, and will give this land to your descendants after you as an everlasting possession.’ Now your two sons [Ephraim and Manasseh], who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine [that is, adopted as my heirs and sons as surely], as Reuben and Simeon are my sons. But other sons who were born to you after them shall be your own; they shall be called by the names of their [two] brothers in their inheritance.
Genesis 48:1-6 (AMP)
Here, for some reason that we’re not told, Jacob (called Israel) adopts Joseph’s two sons away from Joseph (recall that Joseph was Jacob’s most favored son). Jacob makes Ephraim and Manasseh, Joseph’s two sons, his own sons.
In other words these 2 grandchildren of his have their status changed to being Jacob’s sons. A strange thing indeed and we’re left to ponder it’s meaning. But here in Numbers we find Yehoveh do precisely the same thing to Israel: He adopts away from Israel the entire tribe of Levi to be His own special servants.
So get the picture: Ephraim and Manasseh should have been clans from the tribe of Joseph. Instead because they were adopted, they are now elevated from being potential clans into the status of being their own tribes: 2 tribes of Jacob (Israel).
Levi on the other hand is no longer to be counted as a tribe of Israel; rather it has been removed as a tribe of Israel and is now the tribe of God so to speak. It’s important in deciphering all that happens from here forward in the Bible that we recognize and understand the impact of this separateness of Levi from Israel.
And here we get an all-important spiritual principle that completely flies in the face of the modern world. A principle that if most even understood it, would be denounced as the most intolerant and arrogant position a person might harbor.
And it is this: God separates His servants away from everyone else, elevates them, has higher expectations of them, and gives them special attention. They are different. It is Yehoveh who gives them different status; it has not come because of anything they’ve done to merit such favor but because God has declared it so.
His servants (Levi) are so special that they are not even to be counted, as among everyone else of his special set-apart nation, Israel. This is all connected to the first important God-principle:
- God divides,
- Elects, and
He makes distinctions. This is not a God who says we’re all one big happy family. He does NOT view everyone the same and is NOT tolerant or politically correct in order to suit our ever-changing vanities and preferences.
Are you a true Believer and Disciple of Yeshua (Jesus)?
Then that hit song from so many years ago, “We are the World” doesn’t apply to you at all. YOU, by the blood of Jesus, have been separated away from all other humans. The Lord has given you elevated status and favor. YOU are the modern spiritual equivalents of Levites (NO, you have not become physical Levites).
What did YOU ever do to merit this favor?
Nothing. You simply accepted the reality of what Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) did for you.
Therefore, my brethren,
- YOU are not to be counted as among the others on this planet.
- YOU are not to behave as others among this planet.
- In fact YOU have been assigned the duty as the guardians of God’s holiness here on earth.
- For YOU are God’s earthly tabernacle, and some mysterious element of His holiness that we call the Holy Spirit, the Ruach HaKodesh, actually dwells inside of you.
Everywhere you are, He is. Everything you experience, you subject Him to and cause Him to react accordingly. Therefore as God’s servant you are NOT to join yourself willingly to anyone or anything who is not also set apart for God. And you are NOT to allow anyone or anything who is not set apart for Yehoveh to join themselves to you if you have any control over the matter.
The Levites were set apart for holiness and now you’re set apart for holiness. Period, the end. That’s the deal and your only real choice if you don’t accept this role and duty is to renounce your allegiance to Jesus.
Now just as the Levites didn’t go off and live ENTIRELY separately from the Israelites, we’re not to live entirely separately from the world. Yet the Levites were given their own cities AMONG the other tribes of Israel so they could be near and serve their divine function in helping to shepherd Israel and in helping to keep Israel in proper relationship with God.
In fact the Levites not only served God directly at the Tabernacle via officiating the required sacrifices and other rituals, they served Him indirectly by serving Israel.
As Believers we are to serve God directly. But as Jesus said, we’re also to serve Him indirectly.
And, how do we do that?
Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You as a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘I assure you and most solemnly say to you, to the extent that you did it for one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it for Me.’
Matthew 25:37-40 (AMP)
We serve Him, by serving others (ESPECIALLY our brothers and sisters of the faith) at His direction. The parallels between the Levites and we Disciples of Yeshua (Jesus), whether Jew or gentile, are so thorough and far reaching that we cannot ignore them and then claim to have real knowledge of membership in the Kingdom of God. So as we continue our study of Torah pay very close attention to what God expected of the Levites; most of its principles apply to you.