The Saved Ones
The Levites, however, are to set up their tents around the tabernacle of the Testimony so that wrath will not fall on the Israelite community (Numbers / Bemidbar 1:54)
The story of the nation of Israel is about of Gods desire to make himself known. God chose Abraham in order that the all the peoples on earth will be blessed through him (see Genesis 12:3). The nations experiences and the revelations they received were for the purpose of restoring the relationship between mankind and our Creator lost in the Garden of Eden.
Similarly the Tabernacle (Hebrew: Mishkan), the tent-like structure and precursor to the Temple, illustrates in many ways Gods desire to be in right relationship with us. It represented the presence of God in the midst of the community.
While the tribes lived surrounding the Tabernacle, none of the tribes were stationed in its immediate proximity, except one, the tribe of Levi. The Levites had a special place in the life of the nation. They were the only ones permitted to live near the Tabernacle. They were the only ones allowed to fulfill the priestly duties and touch the holy articles. Thus they were the only ones permitted to come into the presence of God.
The special place they had in the life of the community was not because of anything they had done. Rather it was because of whom they represented. They represented the saved lives of all the firstborn of Israel:
On the first Passover night, the angel of death killed all the firstborn in the land, both humans and animals. It was only the placing of the lambs blood upon the doorways of the Israelites that kept the Angel of Death from also destroying their own first born. And so God set aside the Levites to represent these saved lives.
The Levites' place in the community as well as the other tribes' exclusion became a continual reminder of who is able to come before God. This distinction was not designed to show us that we must stay away from God and that we cannot come to him. On the contrary, through this we learn what it takes for us to come to God.
It is not by great accomplishment or some superior spirituality that enables one to come into God's presence. It is the experience of salvation that does it.
And this experience can be ours through Yeshua the Messiah:
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