Years ago, on a trip to Israel, while visiting the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, I saw a special example of affirming the identity of a young man who was 13 years old. The young man’s bar mitzvah was being celebrated. He was carrying a round cylinder that contained a scroll with the word of God (Torah scroll) written on it. As he walked towards the wailing wall carrying this scroll, his father and a group of men sang and celebrated this right of passage into adulthood. When they finished this ceremonial passage into adulthood, I saw father and son walking arm and arm. The son had his head on his father’s chest, and he was crying tears of joy at the love he felt. This scene brought tears to my own eyes. I later shared what I saw on a plane ride home with an orthodox Jewish man. He explained that in Jewish culture, a father commits to ensuring his children walk in the scriptures until they are 65 years of age. What a profound sense of identity to pass on to the next generation!
The tribe of Levi is one of the easiest tribes to identify because there are certain family names that signal one may be a descendant of this holy tribe, such as Cohen, Levy, Levin, Levine, Levinksy, Levitan, Levenson, Levitt, Lewin, Lewinsky, and Lewinson. These names convey a sense of identity.
Levi was the third-born son of Jacob and Leah. He was the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Levi (the Levites) as well as the grandfather of Aaron and Moses.
“And she conceived again, and bore a son; and said: ‘Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have borne him three sons.’ Therefore was his name called Levi.” (Genesis 29:34)
The name Levi translates as “joined” or “united”; Leah hoped that Levi’s birth would help her draw closer to her husband Jacob. Levi was destined to play this role, but in a far greater sense, as the tribe set aside to bring God and the other tribes together.
In God’s original plan, the firstborn sons were to have been set apart as priests. Making Israel a kingdom of priests. (Exodus 4:23-24; 19:6). The Lord spared the Jewish firstborns in Egypt and designated them for this special role. Unfortunately, when the Israelites created and worshipped the golden calf after the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, the only tribe that did not participate was the Tribe of Levi. It was then that the firstborn sons of the tribes lost their unique status as priests, and this status was transferred to the Levites. (Numbers 8:16-18).
Unlike the other tribes, the tribe of Levi was the only tribe of Israel that did not receive a territory of land from God. Instead, the Levites received forty designated cities among the other tribes’ lands (Numbers 35:4-5). The role of the Levites was not to farm and develop the land of Israel but to serve in the Temple and be the teachers of the other tribes. This appointment of Levites and priests was to assure that Israel would be a nation dedicated to the worship of God as opposed to being a secular nation.
Biblical Roles of the Levites.
Within the Levite tribe, the descendants of Aaron were set aside to be the priests of Israel, the Kohanim, who served in the Temple in Jerusalem and brought sacrifices to God. The regular Levites assisted with the Temple worship; some were designated to play music in the Temple service, while others were designated as guards for the Temple. When the people of Israel traveled through the wilderness, the Levites were also responsible for packing up, transporting, and reconstructing the Tabernacle.
Prophetic Roles of the Levites.
The Levites served as guardians of the Ark of the Covenant, which carried the shekinah glory of God above the mercy seat. In this sense, they were protectors of God’s glory. Inside the Ark were the tables of stone with the Ten Commandments, a container of mana, and the budding rod of Aaron. The Levites were also guardians of holiness to the Lord and were to be holy. They were guardians of worship and led worship in the temple.
The descendants of Levi included many great leaders of the nation of Israel, including Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Samuel, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Ezra, and Malachi. The prophets were an extension of the Levites’ role to guard worship to the one true God, His holiness, and His dwelling place. In this sense, there were guardians of God’s glory, typified by the Ark of the Covenant. As the tribe of Levi returns to the holy land, we should see their prophecy return in greater and greater measures. In this way, all the families of the earth will be blessed because of their return. (Genesis 12:3).
The Prophetic Levite Model of Consecration.
Levite priests were to be consecrated before being able to minister in the Tabernacle. There is a beautiful model of this consecration for Aaron and his sons that speaks prophetically to God’s people. It is found in Exodus 29:2-21. Blood was taken from a ram, and some of the blood was placed upon the right ear of Aaron and his sons. This represented the need to cleanse all the senses to the Lord. They were in effect, saying, “Lord, cleanse all my senses of what I see, hear, and taste. Cleanse my mind to be holy unto thee.” They then took blood and put some on their right thumb. They were saying, “Lord, consecrate the works of my hands. Let all my works bring you glory.” Next, they took blood and put some on the large right toe of their foot. They were saying, “Lord, consecrate my walk to walk in all your ways.” They then put upon them a beautiful white robe representing the holiness of God. They took blood from the altar and anointing oil and sprinkled or saturated this robe with blood and oil. They were saying, “Lord, saturate my life with the blood of atonement that I will be completely dedicated to you.” The anointing oil represented the Spirit of God to anoint and empower them.
These instructions for priests to be consecrated before ministering in the courts of the Tabernacle are instructive to all of God’s people. We need to seek daily consecration to serve God in whatever area God calls us to serve him.
Anointing of Kings and Prophets’ Consecration Model.
Prophets often anointed God’s leaders with oil to signify their calling and dedication unto the Lord. There are examples of this in scripture which encourage us to seek God’s anointing. The prophet Samuel prophesied to King Saul what would happen to him when the Spirit of the Lord would come upon him, “and the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned (changed) into another man.” (I Samuel 10:6). The sprinkling of the oil upon the robe of the priests represented a request to be anointed or changed to serve God with the power of the Spirit of God. The prophet Joel reminds us that in the last days God will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh. (Joel 2:28). Like king Saul, when the Spirit of God comes upon us, we will become a different person.
Why did the Tribe of Levi did not receive an allotment of land or territory?
The Tribe of Levi’s service to the Lord would require them to live and travel throughout all of Canaan. They were to serve and minister the Lord’s instruction and carry out the required sacrifices for all the twelve tribes of Israel so they would be a nation dedicated to Elohim. If they were limited to one territory, they would not be able to effectively carry out their service to the Lord. Instead, God assigned cities to the Levites they were to live in to carry out their priestly duties. These cities were spread throughout the land of Canaan and surrounded every tribe and region. A full list of the cities designated by God for the Levites to live can be found in Joshua 21.
We know Levi was judged by Jacob for participating in Simeon’s killing of all the men of Shechem for raping their sister, Dinah. This is what Jacob proclaimed,
“Simeon and Levi are brothers; their dwelling place is an instrument of cruelty. Let not my soul enter their council; let not my honor be united with their assembly; for in their anger, they slew a man, and in their self-will, they hamstrung an ox and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.” (Genesis 49:5-7). Later, the tribe of Levi redeemed themselves when they did not worship the golden calf.
What can we learn from the Tribe of Levi?
Levi plotted, murdered, and acted in revenge, yet no matter the sin, the tribe of Levi was rewarded for their eventual obedience, and God worked out all things for good. You have never sinned too much or have been too far gone from God for Him to work in you and use you for His glory. Later, they were eventually scattered with the other tribes for idolatry. God has promised to bring them back to Israel and restore them to once again be “guardians of His glory and worship.” In their return, we might expect to see a greater return of the prophetic ministry in the earth to help “unify the people to God” and join them to God’s purposes that all nations will worship Him as prophesied in the Book of Psalms,
“All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord, they will bring glory to your name.” (Psalms 86:9)
The Jeremiah Prophecy for the House of Israel
The restoration of the tribe of Levi calls our attention to the restoration of the House of Israel. All of this is to prepare for a restored temple.
Jeremiah pictures the return of the tribes to Israel and the restoration of them in Israel. In Jeremiah 31:8 God says, “Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gathering them from the coasts of the earth: a great company shall return.” This foretells the return of the scattered tribes to Israel.
God then says He is going to renew His covenant with them with a focus on inner transformation as opposed to the external law to transform His people. Listen to these words of encouragement, “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house (tribes) of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:33). I wish to tell my Christian friends this amazing promise of a restored covenant has an “Israel First Priority.”
In this promise of restored covenant to the House of Israel is the promise of transformation for the State of Israel into the House of Israel. Hearts will be changed. The inhabitance of the land will walk with God as father and son who put their arms around each other to celebrate a new beginning. I believe in this coming season, we will see not only spiritual restoration but also emotional and physical healing that comes from God. The House of Israel is restored as Elohim abides with His chosen people in renewed intimacy. We shall also see a great movement of God on the earth which God promises will come. This will cause a great revelation of His people to be seen in the whole earth, such is described in Isaiah 62:2, “And the Gentiles shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory.” Look at yourself in the mirror or tell a friend, “I am getting ready to see the glory of God going out of Zion like a burning torch.” As Isaiah foretold, “I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as a lamp that burns.” (Isaiah 62:1). The Jeremiah prophecy for the returning tribes prepares the way for this revelation of glory. They will be guardians of God’s glory like the Levites of old. A Levite anointing!
The Jeremiah restored covenant with the returning tribes is now transforming “the House of Israel” into a great light in the earth! God is working in this very hour to transform the State of Israel into “the House of Israel” to be a light of salvation and hope to the nations. This transformation prepares the way for the restored temple in the last days, “The nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.” (Ezekiel 37:28).
“God is working in this very hour to transform the
State of Israel into the House of Israel.”
The Voice of Aliyah is being heard in the Nations for Levi to return.
Declaration of Return for the Tribe of Levi
“Levi, your tribe was once appointed to carry the holy Ark of God and preserve the mercy seat that hosted the glory of God. You were not given land during your time as priests. Judah will offer up a special portion of land to you to inhabit as a sacred portion alongside the sanctuary of the Lord when the temple is built. (Ezekiel 48:8-14). Because of the mercy of Elohim, you shall return from the nations to await the third temple and dwell in the land of Israel.” (Ezekiel 37:21). Levi, you once refused to worship the golden calf and honored the call to worship Elohim and be faithful to Him. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is waiting for you to return to the lands of your fathers so that you might worship, Hashem, your God in the Promised Lands and know His love and mercy! In your continued return to the land of Israel, a call will go forth for consecration and holiness in the land along with the return of prophetic ministry. ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is one God.’ You will see the prophecy of Jeremiah for a renewed covenant fulfilled in your midst. The State of Israel will become the ‘House of Israel’.”
Lands for Levi given to them.
We are told that when they return and are redeemed to the land of Israel, they will have land given them. It will be near or by the tribe of Benjamin. Ezekiel 48:13-15
The Tribe of Levi will have land near Benjamin which includes Jerusalem
See Ezekiel 48:13-15
Where is the Tribe of Levi in the nations today?
The tribe of Levi survives among the people of Israel today, with many thousands living in Israel, America and other diaspora communities throughout the world.