The Cross and its Shadow

THERE were two orders of the priesthood, the Melchizedek and the Levitical. The Melchizedek order preceded the Levitical order. In Abraham's day the priest Melchizedek was king of Salem as well as priest of the Most High God. (Gen. 14:17-20) Although there is not much said in the Bible of the Melchizedek order of the priesthood, it was superior to the Levitical order, for Christ was made a priest after the order of Melchizedek. (Heb. 6:20)

The Levitical order extended from the time Israel came out of Egypt until the cross; since that time we have the priesthood of Christ, of which all earthly priests were a type. Christ being a priest after the order of Melchzedek, we are now living under the Melchizedek order of the priesthood. There are many particulars given in regard to the Levitical order; and as all the Levitical priests served “unto the example and shadow of heavenly things,” when we study the Levitical priesthood, we are really studying the priestly work of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

The Levitical priesthood was divided into twenty-four courses, (1 Chron. 24:1-19; 2 Chron. 8:14) Each course had its chief or governor of the sanctuary. (1 Chron. 24:6,31) This continued down to the time of Christ. (Luke 1:8) When the Saviour ascended to heaven, He led a multitude of captives; (Ephes 4:8, margin.) and when John in vision was shown the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, with its seven lamps of fire burning before the throne of God, he saw four and twenty elders seated upon four and twenty seats, and they worshipped the Lamb, saying, “Thou hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests.” (Rev. 4:4; 5:8-10) In this we see the antitype of the twenty-four courses of priests. The chiefs, or elders, of each course have seats of honour, and they are kings and priests after the order of Melchizedek. Thee remainder of the multitude Christ took into heaven are not mentioned, but it is reasonable to suppose that they constitute the courses of which the four and twenty elders are the chiefs.

Only the descendants of Aaron were allowed to serve as priests, (Numbers 3:10) In the type the priest who could not prove his genealogy direct from Aaron, the first high priest, was cast out of the priesthood; (Ezra 2:26) so in the antitype, the Christian who can not prove his direct connection with Christ, the heavenly High Priest, will never become one of the “royal priesthood.” (1 Peter 2:9; Rev. 20:15)

God has provided for the support of all the different orders of the priesthood by the same method. “The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof.” (Ps. 24:1) The silver and the gold and the cattle upon a thousand hills all belong to Him. (Ps. 50:10-12) Man is placed as steward over the Lord's heritage, and the Lord claims one tenth of everything on the earth as His portion. “All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's: it is holy unto the Lord.” (Lev. 27:30-33)

Of the tithe the Lord says, “I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.” (Numbers 18:20-24) The individual who selfishly uses the entire ten portions for himself, not reserving one tenth for the Lord, is guilty of robbing the Lord. “Will Lord Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Theme? In tithes and offerings.” (Mal. 3:8-11) Abraham paid a faithful tithe to Melchizedek; (Gen. 14:17-20) and Jacob promised to pay tithe of all, even if he received only food and raiment. (Gen. 28:20-22) Those who belong to the great household of faith and are children of Abraham, will “do the works of Abraham.” (John 8:39) They will pay a faithful tithe for the support of those who, like the Levitical priests, give their lives for the advancement of Christ's kingdom upon the earth. Just as the priest lived “of the things of the temple,...even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” (1 Cor 9:9-14)

Type Antitype
Heb. 8:5. The earthly priests served “unto the example and shadow of heavenly things.” Heb. 10:10. “We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
1 Chron. 24:1-19, 31. Priests were divided into twenty-four courses, with a chief over each course. Rev. 4:4, 5; 5:8-10. John saw twenty-four elders in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary.
Ezra 2:61, 62. There was a record kept of all who had a right to officiate in the priest's office. Rev. 20:15. None will be saved whose names are not found written in the book of life.

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