Christian Churches of God
Priesthood of Eloah: Reorganisation under David
(Edition 1.0 20071205-20071205)
In this paper we will focus on how Eloah directed David to provide organization and structure to the priesthood in how they administered their duties for the Temple worship. We will also briefly look at the priesthood when the nation returned from the Babylonian captivity to determine if the nation and priesthood were still following the organization outlined by Eloah through David.
Priesthood of Eloah: Reorganisation under David
In this lesson we will continue in the series of the priesthood of Eloah. We will focus on how Eloah directed David to provide organisation and structure to the priesthood and other instructions for adequate Temple worship in addition to the functioning of the nation.
As we have learned, Eloah has called us to be priests and kings (Ex. 19:5,6; Rev. 1:5,6; 5:9,10; 1Pet. 2:9,10).
We have learned that the orders of the priesthood are:
The sons of Zadok will be the physical priests assisted by Levi in the Millennium when a physical Temple will again be built (Ezek. 40:46).
Let us briefly review the jobs of a priest.
From Malachi 2:7 we learn that the priest is to preserve the knowledge of Eloah.
Malachi 2:7 For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.
In summary Priests are too:
· Preserve the Law of Eloah (Mal 2:7; Neh 18:18).
· Judge by the Law of Eloah (Deut. 17:2-13; 21:5).
· Live by the word of Eloah (Deut. 8:3; Mat. 4:4; Luke 4:4).
When we live by the Laws of Eloah this is how we become “Trees of Righteousness and Justice” (Isa. 61:3).
Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
As we have learned, the concept of priest was not only physical but also spiritual.
The term "priest" is indeed applied to believers (1Pet. 2:9; Rev 1:6). All true believers are now "kings and priests unto God". As priests they have free access into the holiest of all, and offer up the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, and do the work of the Living God.
Let us now look at the how and when Eloah instructed David to structure the priesthood.
David functioned under Moses' ordinances. However, he was given a new organization for the Temple priesthood.
Under the direction of God, David established the Temple ordinances.
1Chronicles 28:2-13 Then King David rose to his feet and said: "Hear me, my brethren and my people. I had it in my heart to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and for the footstool of our God; and I made preparations for building. But God said to me, 'You may not build a house for my name, for you are a warrior and have shed blood.' Yet the LORD God of Israel chose me from all my father's house to be king over Israel for ever; for he chose Judah as leader, and in the house of Judah my father's house, and among my father's sons he took pleasure in me to make me king over all Israel. And of all my sons (for the LORD has given me many sons) he has chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel. He said to me, 'It is Solomon your son who shall build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father. I will establish his kingdom for ever if he continues resolute in keeping my commandments and my ordinances, as he is today.' Now therefore in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the LORD, and in the hearing of our God, observe and seek out all the commandments of the LORD your God; that you may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children after you for ever. "And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father, and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will cast you off for ever. Take heed now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong, and do it." Then David gave Solomon his son the plan of the vestibule of the temple, and of its houses, its treasuries, its upper rooms, and its inner chambers, and of the room for the mercy seat; and the plan of all that he had in mind for the courts of the house of the LORD, all the surrounding chambers, the treasuries of the house of God, and the treasuries for dedicated gifts; for the divisions of the priests and of the Levites, and all the work of the service in the house of the LORD; for all the vessels for the service in the house of the LORD (RSV)
God established the system through David that would last until Christ. The Lord God had said by David that Israel had to dwell in Jerusalem forever (1Chr. 23:25). He established the systems for the New Moons, Sabbaths etc.
1Chronicles 23:31 ... and whatever burnt offerings are offered to the Lord on the sabbaths, new moons, and feast days, according to the number required of them, continually before the Lord. (KJV)
David divided the men into twenty-four courses and their duties were assigned by lot (1Chr. 24:1-31; 2Chr. 36:14; Lk. 1:9).
Each course of the priests and of Levites came on duty for a week, from one Sabbath to another (The Temple Its Ministry and Services, updated Edition Alfred Edersheim, 1996, p. 62).
In point of fact, the outgoing ‘course’ of priests offered the morning sacrifice on the Sabbath, and the incoming the evening sacrifice, both spending Sabbath in the sanctuary (ibid. p. 145).
Ages of men that served in the priesthood
In the Bible, the age of twenty serves as the basis for being an adult. It logically follows that a man would need to be 20 before he was able to serve in the Tabernacle as a trainee. That is preserved in the Law (1Chr. 23:24,27). Numbers 8:34 states the Levites were 25 before they were able to serve in the Tabernacle as an assistant priest. In order to be a priest functioning on his own, the sons of Aaron had to be 30. That is why Jesus Christ did not begin his ministry here on Earth until after he turned 30 (Lk. 3:23).
1Chronicles 24:7ff. gives the names of the 24 courses of the Levites. See Addendum A at the end of the paper for the meaning of the courses of the priests, which seems to tie to Plan of Salvation.
1Chronicles 25 describes the 24 divisions of the musicians under the direction of Asaph, SHD gather; Heman, SHD faithful, and Jeduthun SHD, praising.
The Keepers of the Treasury:
1Chronicles 26 gives us the divisions of the gatekeepers and the keepers of the Treasury. 1Chronicles 26:29ff. gives us the organization of the outside duties.
The courses of the army also tied to the months (1Chr. 27:1-15). Again we see the symbolism of 12 with 24,000 in each course with 288,000 total for the year.
1Chronicles 27:1-22 shows that the months or New Moons were the basis for the administration of the entire nation of Israel. This is another case of the Bible showing the importance of God’s Calendar. For additional information see the paper Commentary on the UCG Doctrinal Paper: Should Christians Observe New Moons? (No. 124).
For more information and the implication and meaning of the Hebrew names of the men tied to the Army of God see Addendum B.
The Bible is clear that David provided the organisation for the Temple. However, the Bible is silent about what the priests did from the time when David was given the knowledge of the priesthood till the Temple was built and functioning many years later. Solomon was to build God’s dwelling place on the Earth. For more information please see The Temple Solomon Built (No. CB107).
The Plan of Salvation does not change; therefore, there was no change in the structure of worship. In other words, the sacrifices remained the same (until they were fulfilled by Jesus Christ), God’s Holy Days remained the same, and God’s requirements remained the same. However, we see that the priesthood changes over time. In the beginning, God used the heads of families to serve as priests; then he established the Levitical priesthood under Aaron. There were changes again under the direction of David, and we know that eventually we will all become kings and priests under the Order of Melchisedek with Jesus Christ as our High Priest. We know that the Temple will be a spiritual Temple and we will all be part of the spiritual building.
Let us now look at how many priests returned from the Babylon captivity.
The Babylonian captivity was a physical captivity in historical times. We too are held captive or imprisoned by Satan and sin. We are slaves of sin until we are called by God, repent, are baptized and live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Deut. 8:3; Mat. 4:4; Lk. 4:4).
Not all of the people or priesthood returned from the captivity. There were four courses (Ezra 2:36-39) of the 24 courses (1Chr. 24:1-19) that returned from Babylonian captivity. Let us look closely at Ezra 2 and the meaning of the names of the 4 courses that returned to Jerusalem.
Ezra 2:36-39 The priests: the children of Jedaiah (SHD 3048 Jehovah has known), (head of 9th course) of the house of Jeshua (SHD 3442 he is saved), nine hundred seventy and three. The children of Immer (SHD 536 he hath said) (head of 16th course), a thousand fifty and two. The children of Pashur (SHD 6583 freedom) (probably belonging to the 5th course, as son of Malchijah SHD 4441 my king is Jehovah), a thousand two hundred forty and seven. The children of Harim (SHD 2766 dedicated) (the 3rd course), a thousand and seventeen. (As there is no J in Hebrew the J should be read as Y here).
When we look at the meaning of the names of the returning 4 courses from Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary (SHD), we see: “Yahovah has known, he has said: freedom dedicated”.
Eloah knew the end from the beginning. He will bring His Plan of Salvation to pass. The Plan of Salvation frees man and the fallen Host from sin and dedicates us to His purpose.
These 4 courses were each subdivided into 6 making 24 courses total, as per the footnote in Ezra 2:39 in The Companion Bible. This seems to symbolize the falling away and replacement of beings in God’s government, until all become one with the Father. See The Creation of the Family of God (No. CB 4) and Holy of Holies and Ark of the Covenant (No. CB112) for more details.
Upon return to Jerusalem
From Ezra 2:69, the chief of the fathers came to the House of the Lord and offered freely: they gave 1060 drams of gold, 5000 pounds of silver and 100 priestly garments.
When we think of 100 we may think of two Jubilees or the Millennial Temple with a court that is a perfect square 100 cubits long and wide (Ezek. 40:47).
Levi was to give way to and become a part of this order and many would be added to Levi and the tribes that would all provide priests in the new system.
Levi was to become a priesthood that was holy and dedicated to God, as Israel was a nation holy and dedicated to God. In order to be holy and clean as servants of God there were rules given to them to maintain clean and healthy bodies and minds.
These rules apply to the servants of God both in ancient Israel (the priests of Levi) and in the nations brought into and serving under the priests of the Order of Melchisedek. These aspects are covered in the Book of Hebrews. See also the paper Melchisedek (No. 128).
The system David set up continued to be implemented up to Messiah’s first coming on Earth. Upon Messiah’s acceptance above his partners and the giving of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost in 30 CE, the order of Melchisedek, through Jesus Christ and the Church, was implemented as a spiritual priesthood. We will learn more of that Priesthood in the paper The Priesthood of Eloah from Messiah (No. CB118).
God’s perfect plan involved a priesthood. Messiah qualified to be our High Priest and is currently functioning in that capacity.
As Christ was appointed a priest so too are we appointed to follow him in that priesthood. He was made perfect as we are to be made perfect. We are required to work in the Faith. We have a duty and responsibility to work towards teaching the word of God to the world and bringing all mankind to be acceptable sacrifices to God.
Let us all do our part and earnestly contend for the Faith so that the word of God is greatly increased and many become obedient to the Faith while keeping ourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
Jude 1:20-21 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Addendum A: The Meaning of the 24 Courses of the Levites
The following quote is from 1Chronicles 24. The SHD numbers and explanations are included in the text with the suggested meaning that seems to tie to God’s Plan of Salvation.
1Chronicles 24:7 Now the first lot came forth to Jehoiarib [SHD 3080 Jehoiarib = "Jehovah contends"], the second to Jedaiah [SHD 3048 Jedaiah = "Jehovah has known"],
Jehovah contends for the elect and has known them from the foundation of the world.
This relates to predestination, which is the beginning of the Plan of Salvation.
8 The third to Harim [SHD 2766 Harim = "dedicated"], the fourth to Seorim [SHD 8188 Seorim = "barley"],
Messiah is the dedicated sacrifice of the barley harvest. The first-fruits are dedicated to God. This is represented in God’s Plan of Salvation by the Passover season in the First month of the year.
9 The fifth to Malchijah [SHD Malchijah or Malchiah = "my king is Jehovah"], the sixth to Mijamin [SHD Mijamin = "from the right hand"],
After his resurrection and ascension, Jesus Christ now sits at the right hand of God. Christ is given God’s authority as our Saviour and King.
10 The seventh to Hakkoz [SHD 6976 Koz = "thorn" SHD 6975 from SHD 6972 (in the sense of pricking)], the eighth to Abijah [SHD 29 Abia or Abiah or Abijah = "Jehovah is (my) father"],
This is the pricking of the conscience of men for our calling into the Faith and service of the One True God.
11 The ninth to Jeshuah [SHD 3442 Jeshua = "he is saved"], the tenth to Shecaniah [SHD 7935 Shecaniah or Shechaniah = "dweller with Jehovah"],
For those that accept their calling through baptism and faith, they are saved and look forward to dwelling with Yahovah.
12 The eleventh to Eliashib [SHD 475 Eliashib = "God restores"], the twelfth to Jakim [SHD 3356 Jakim = "He will raise"],
We look forward to the restoration of Israel and the raising of the dead in preparation of the millennial rule of under Christ.
13 The thirteenth to Huppah [SHD 2647 "canopy" 2645: 1) chamber, room, canopy, closet a) canopy b) chamber c) divine protection (fig.)], the fourteenth to Jeshebeab [SHD 3428 Jeshebeab = "dwelling of the father"],
At the return of Jesus Christ, the elect are given divine protection and those raised are able to dwell or Tabernacle with the Father.
14 The fifteenth to Bilgah [SHD 1083 Bilgah = "cheerfulness" from SHD 1082 1) to gleam, smile a) (Hiphil) only 1) to show a smile, look pleasant 2) to cause to burst], the sixteenth to Immer [SHD 564 Immer = "he hath said"],
The earth will cease its groaning and the planet will be restored to joy as he hath said and will live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
15 The seventeenth to Hezir [SHD 2387 Hezir = "swine"], the eighteenth to Aphses [SHD 6483 Aphses = "to break"],
Satan is released at the end of the Millennium to turn the people to uncleanness and break the people of their self-righteousness.
16 The nineteenth to Pethahiah [SHD 6611 Pethahiah = "freed by Jehovah"], the twentieth to Jehezekel [SHD 3168 Ezekiel or Jehezekel = "God strengthens"],
This represents the Second Resurrection where all humans and the Host are freed from the bondage under sin and Satan and strengthened by God in truth.
17 The one and twentieth to Jachin [SHD 3199 Jachin = "He will establish"], the two and twentieth to Gamul [SHD 1577 Gamul = "weaned"],
God will establish all people as they are weaned from milk and given understanding.
18 The three and twentieth to Delaiah [SHD 1806 Dalaiah or Delaiah = "Jehovah has drawn" from SHD 1802 and 3050], the four and twentieth to Maaziah [SHD 4590 Maaziah = "consolation of Jehovah" SHD 5756 to take refuge, bring to refuge, seek refuge]
God has drawn all men and Host to him to bring them to refuge in the City of God.
Addendum B: The Names of the Army of God
In 1Chronicles 27 we see the names of the men and their courses in the Army of God which also seems to convey meaning.
1Chronicles 27:1 Now the children of Israel after their number, to wit, the chief fathers and captains of thousands and hundreds, and their officers that served the king in any matter of the courses, which came in and went out month by month throughout all the months of the year, of every course were twenty and four thousand.
2 Over the first course for the first month was Jashobeam [SHD 3434, the people will return] the son of Zabdiel [SHD 2058, God is my endowment]: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
3 Of the children of Perez [SHD 6557, breach] was the chief of all the captains of the host for the first month. Due to the breach of sin.
4 And over the course of the second month was Dodai [SHD 1737, loving or amorous] an Ahohite [SHD 266, brother of rest] and of his course was Mikloth [SHD 4732, staves] also the ruler: in his course likewise were twenty and four thousand. The Rods of the people of God.
5 The third captain of the host for the third month was Benaiah [SHD 1141, Yahovah has built up] the son of Jehoiada [SHD 3077, Yahovah knows] a chief priest: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
6 This is that Benaiah [SHD 1141, Yahovah has built up]. who was mighty among the thirty, and above the thirty: and in his course was Ammizabad [SHD 5990, my people have bestowed] his son.
7 The fourth captain for the fourth month was Asahel [SHD 6214, God-made] the brother of Joab [SHD 3097 from 3068, Yahovah is father], and Zebadiah [SHD 2069, endowment of Yahovah] his son after him: and in his course were twenty and four thousand. Fifth month by the grace of God we don’t die.
8 The fifth captain for the fifth month was Shamhuth [SHD 8049, desolation] the Izrahite [SHD 3155, descendant of Zerah meaning God has Shone Forth]: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
9 The sixth captain for the sixth month was Ira [SHD 5896, watchful of a city] the son of Ikkesh [SHD 6042, twisted] the Tekoite [SHD 862, see Tekoa, trumpet blast]: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
10 The seventh captain for the seventh month was Helez [SHD 2503, he has saved] the Pelonite [SHD 3697, a certain one], of the children of Ephraim [SHD 669, double ash-heap: I shall be doubly fruitful]: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
11 The eighth captain for the eighth month was Sibbecai [SHD 5444, weaver] the Hushathite [SHD 2843, inhabitant of Hushah], of the Zarhites [SHD 2225, rising]: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
12 The ninth captain for the ninth month was Abiezer [SHD 44, my Father is help] the Anetothite [SHD 6069, see Anathoth, affliction], of the Benjamites [SHD 1145, a son of the right hand]: and in his course were twenty and four thousand
13 The tenth captain for the tenth month was Maharai [SHD 4121, impetuous, hastening] the Netophathite [SHD 5200, see Netophath (dropping) 5197, to drop, drip, distil, prophesy, preach, discourse] of the Zarhites [SHD 2225, rising]: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
14 The eleventh captain for the eleventh month was Benaiah [SHD 1141, Yahovah has built up] the Pirathonite [SHD 6553, see Pirathon, princely], of the children of Ephraim [SHD 669, double ash-heap: I shall be doubly fruitful]: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
15 The twelfth captain for the twelfth month was Heldai [SHD 2469, worldly] the Netophathite [SHD 5200, see Netophath, dropping, from 5197, to drop, drip, distil, prophesy, preach, discourse] of Othniel [SHD 274, lion of God]: and in his course were twenty and four thousand
So we see the meaning of the names in relation to the 12 courses is as follows:
1st month: the people will return; God is my endowment to the breach of sin.
The First month covers the Sanctification and the Passover and the reconciliation granted to mankind through the perfect sacrifice of Christ. This leads us to the Second month as we count or build up to Pentecost. Originally, this occurred with Moses leading the people through the wilderness, under God’s instruction, to Mount Sinai.
2nd month: loving; brother of rest with the staves (rod of salvation or reference to Aaron’s rod that budded but later to the Rod the Government of God), which Yahovah has built and Yahovah knows.
In the Third month we see the concept Yahovih (SHD 3069) has bestowed His Holy Spirit on His people at Pentecost; now we that have the Holy Spirit labour without failing to build Yahovah’s Temple and bring the Gospel to the world.
3rd month: Yahovah has built up; my people have bestowed.
In the Fourth month we see Moses on the mount for the first 40-day period.
4th month: God-made; Yahovah is father; endowment of Yahovah.
Through the endowment/gift of Yahovah, which is the grace of God, we are not destroyed in the in the 5th month.
5th month: desolation; descendant of Zerah. The month of Ab was often used to punish Israel and the meaning is that in the desolation God has shone forth. The Pharez and Zerah breach was healed in Christ (Mat. 1:3).
6th month: watchful of a city; twisted; trumpet blast.
We know that the First day of the Seventh month typically conveys the meaning of Messiah, our saviour, returning as king. Yet before Messiah returns the people continue to sin to greater and greater degrees but the watchmen sound the alarms and prepare for the Messiah.
7th month: he has saved; a certain one, of the children of Ephraim (669) double ash-heap: I shall be doubly fruitful.
Meaning: God the Father has saved us all through Messiah. Messiah was obedient to His Father’s Law even to the point of death.
The harvest at the millennial end doubles the Spiritual with the Physical creation which is itself healed. This is not a simple reference to the double blessings of Joseph but rather of the First Resurrection in which Joseph is blessed.
Zechariah 9:12 Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double. 13 For I have bent Judah as my bow; I have made E'phraim its arrow. I will brandish your sons, O Zion, over your sons, O Greece, and wield you like a warrior's sword. 14 Then the LORD will appear over them, and his arrow go forth like lightning; the Lord GOD will sound the trumpet, and march forth in the whirlwinds of the south. 15 The LORD of hosts will protect them, and they shall devour and tread down the slingers; and they shall drink their blood like wine, and be full like a bowl, drenched like the corners of the altar. 16 On that day the LORD their God will save them for they are the flock of his people; for like the jewels of a crown they shall shine on his land. 17 Yea, how good and how fair it shall be! Grain shall make the young men flourish, and new wine the maidens. (RSV)
8th month: weaver; inhabitant of Hushah; rising:
Meaning: the weaver, the inhabitant of Hushah of the family of Zerah who carried the scarlet thread. The Eighth month continues the sequence back to the New Year and is given the gift of grace again in the Messiah. It thus weaves the birthright and sceptre promises together as we see the period of Just Rule rising in the future.
9th month: my father is help; affliction; a son of the right hand.
Meaning: reminds us that God the Father is our “Rock”. He and His Law never change. As long as we obey God and His Law He will see us through times of affliction or trial. Messiah is at His right hand as our High Priest, elder brother, mediator/helper to assist or help us through the tribulation.
10th month: impetuous; dropping; drop, drip, distil, prophesy, preach, discourse; rising.
The meaning is to hasten, to prophesy, and speak the word of God.
11th month: Yahovah has built up; princely, of the children of Ephraim (669) double ash-heap: I shall be doubly fruitful.
The healing of the breach between Judah and Israel occurs through the blessings of Ephraim at the end days.
12th month: worldly; dropping, from 5197 to drop, drip, distil, prophesy, preach, discourse of "lion of God. Ariel = "lion of God" or "lioness of God".
In the Last Days the sons of God shall be as young lions and will preach the prophecy/gospel of the Kingdom of God to the world and then the end will come.
Then we shall stand at our allotted place in the Resurrections and at the End of Days (cf. Dan. 12:1-13).