In the process of return to Jerusalem, the people who played a very important role are the Levites. The Levites were divided into 4 offices: the Levites, priests, musicians and gatekeepers. These 4 offices were rotating in 24 divisions. The word ‘division’ in Hebrew means order, course, division. We can see these divisions in 1 Chronicles 23-26. Through the divisions of the Levites and their roles, they made sure their worship was properly conducted according to God’s will.
The Duties of the Levites
These Levites foreshadow the general assembly of the firstborns in the Bible. They are to minister in the temple of God (Numbers 3:5-12,18:3).
a. They are first to help Aaron the high priest.
The Levites are the ones who are to help and assist the high priest in serving in the temple. The word “serve” in Hebrew is ‘abad’, ‘abad’ means to serve or to worship. (Numbers 3:6, 18:2)
b. They are to serve in the obligations of the tent.
They belong to the tent and their duties were in the tent. The tent is the church, the tent is where we serve and keep things in the temple, just as God told Adam to do.
Only the sons of Aaron became priests, the firstborn among them became the high priest. (1 Chronicles 24:7-18, Deuteronomy 33:10)
a. Priests are to interpret and teach the Word of God
Just like priests, we are to be trained by the Word of righteousness and we are to discern good and evil. May we fulfil this role by turning people from unrighteousness by first ourselves knowing the Word of God. (Hebrews 5:11-14, Ezekiel 44:23, Malachi 2:6)
b. Putting incense before the Lord and giving burnt offering on the altar of burnt offering.
Incense is prayer and giving burnt offering on the altar means giving worship. Sanctification comes through the means of the Word of God and prayer. (1 Timothy 4:5, Ephesians 4:24)
Please believe that by worshipping God, God will sanctify us, forgive our sins and cast out all darkness.
a. They are to make music of prophecy, prophetic songs.
These musicians are set apart for the army of God. The role of their praise and prayer was for the purpose of defeating the enemy. They are to make music of prophecy, not only the Word of God about the past but also about the present and victory in the future. (1 Chronicles 25:1)
b. The hymns and praises are acts of proclaiming the Word of God given to us as prophecy.
Lifting up the praise is not only an act of confessing our faith but a proclamation of God’s glory and the Word of God. (Colossians 3:16)
a. They were chosen to protect the temple of God. (1 Chronicles 26:1-19)
We have to remember our hearts are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We need to make sure the temple of our heart is filled and occupied with the Word of God and the Holy Spirit then He will protect His house and His dwelling place.
b. Their blessings were passed down generations.
Obed Edom was a gatekeeper. He ended up keeping the ark of the covenant. (1 Chronicles 26:5)
c. They were all valiant men.
God gave them the power and ability to keep the Word of God and protect His church. (1 Chronicles 26:7) When we do that work of keeping God’s house, may God will give us greater power, strength, health and the blessings of Obed Edom.
The roles and responsibility of the 4 offices of Levites in returning to Jerusalem
The role of the Levites became the foundation upon which the temple and worship were established. They did a role of reawakening and reviving them with the importance and desire to worship at the temple (Nehemiah 8-9, 13:10-11).
1. Role of the Levites
a. In charge of the things to be baked in pans for the purpose of worship.
b. In charge of preparing for worship.
c. Engaged in work day and night .
d. Put in charge of storehouses of offerings and tithes to God. (Nehemiah 13:11-13)
e. Levites taught God’s Word. (Nehemiah 8:1-13, 2 Chronicles 17:8-9)
2. Role of the Priests
Only sons of Zadok are allowed into priesthood after return to the temple. (Ezekiel 44:15-31, 40:46, 43:19) The Israelites were worshipping idols inside the temple and the glory of God departed from the temple.
In Ezekiel, God says it was the Zadokites who did not participate in that. As a result, Levites could not handle holy things. This shows us how important it is for us to take the task that God has given to us in worship, very seriously.
3. Role of the Musicians
After return to Babylonian exile, these singers sang praises together when the reconstruction of the temple began. (Ezra 3:10) Choir and praise team are musicians at the frontline of the battle and in construction. (Nehemiah 12:28-29, Hebrews 13:15)
4. Roles of Gatekeepers
Gatekeepers were to guard the city gates. It was the gatekeepers that helped the whole city be sanctified from the commercial worldly things. (Nehemiah 7:1-4,13:19)
You and I are called as royal priests as 1 Peter 2:9 tells us. These 4 duties of Levites are given to each and every one of us. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus said seek for the kingdom of God and His righteousness first. Then God will provide everything else we need. These are the 3 blessings God will give to us as we fulfil these roles:
a. Anointing of the Holy Spirit.
b. We will be ordained, He will fill us with His work.
c. We will be consecrated, set apart for His work.
Even when the world is judged, we will be blessed. May God preserve our whole spirit, soul and body when our Father returns.