Beth Elohenu Messianic Congregation
P.O. Box 335761
N. Las Vegas, NV. 89033
Shalom. Our teaching this morning will come from Exodus 34.19-20. And we have a title for this morning’s message, The Firstborn, The Priesthood, and The Levites.
Lets read Exodus 34.19-20.
EXODUS 34.19 All that open the womb, GOD says, are Mine.
Thus, all the firstborn of Israel, that is all the firstborn of the Jewish People belong to GOD.
Also, all the firstborn of the cattle of Israel belong to The LORD. The Hebrew for cattle is MEEK’NEH meaning cattle and all livestock which are the other farm animals, including the ox, the bull, the cow, and the sheep that are male belong to The LORD.
However we will only address the rewards that are given to the firstborn of the Jewish People.
EXODUS 34.20 All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. The Hebrew for redeem is PAH’DAHR meaning to buy back.
So GOD’s Word which is Torah, meaning GOD’s Law, His Instructions, and Teachings state that every firstborn Jewish male and female belong to The LORD GOD. They are His. And every firstborn Jewish male must be redeemed, bought back.
And GOD has also made the firstborn of Israel Holy. NUMBERS 3.13
GOD has Hallowed to Himself, that is GOD has made all the firstborn of Israel Holy to Himself from the day He killed all the firstborn Egyptians persuading Pharaoh to free the Children of Israel at the Exodus.
The Hebrew for Hallowed is KAH’DAHSH meaning Holy, and Sanctified, and Consecrated to be dedicated, and devoted to The LORD to serve Him.
Unfortunately, too many Jewish fathers, including myself, fail to tell our firstborn of this blessing. Perhaps most of us were, or are not aware of the blessing. And when and if we do tell our child of this great reward, too often it’s rejected. But not always.
Being Holy to The LORD is a huge gift, but a very serious calling because GOD is Holy. And it is The LORD GOD Who makes us Holy. The Tabernacle, and the first and second Temples were Holy. And the millennial Temple will be Holy. The Sabbath is Holy. If the children of Israel will obey the Voice of The LORD their GOD, and keep His Covenant, that is His Word and His Law of Moses, they too will be a Holy Nation. And all the firstborn of Israel are Holy, and belong to GOD. It is a gift of GOD.
LEVITICUS 22.32, EXODUS 29.43, GENESIS 2.3, EXODUS 19.5-6
Messiah Yeshua is Holy to The LORD. Messiah was The Firstborn of His brothers and sisters being in the flesh a human being. MATTHEW 13.54-56, LUKE 2.21-24
Verse 23 would be correct if it read, “Every male and female that opens the womb shall be called Holy to The LORD”. Yeshua was the Firstborn. Numbers 3.13, Exodus 34.19.
According to Torah, The Law of Moses, when a woman gave birth to a child, she offered a sin offering to make atonement for herself to be cleansed from the issue of her blood. Yeshua’s parents, being Torah observant, and obedient to The LORD, brought a pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons to the Temple for sacrifice. LEVITICUS 12.1-8
Today, without a Temple or sacrifice, Jewish women, mostly Orthodox, immerse themselves in a mikveh to observe the purification rite.
The Law of the firstborn of Israel belonging to The LORD, and GOD making them Holy to Himself, and the redemption of the firstborn Jewish males remind the Jewish people of our great deliverance from 400 years of Egyptian slavery. And The LORD delivering us from the death of the firstborn by the blood of the Passover lamb that was struck on the doorposts of their houses. EXODUS 13.1-16
Let’s address the redemption of the firstborn Jewish sons according to Torah, GOD’s Law of Moses.
Today, Judaism has a ceremony called pidyon ha ben, redemption of the firstborn son. Each Jewish family dedicates their firstborn son to the service of GOD. But then redeems him, or buys him back for a payment. Perhaps five silver dollars is the ransom money paid to the Kohayne, the Jewish Priest that performs the ceremony. NUMBERS 18.16
Paul has an important and interesting teaching on the firstborn for Jewish and non-Jewish people in ROMANS 8.29
For whom He did foreknow, that is, whom GOD knew before The Creation, He also did predestinate. He also determined in advance before The Creation to be conformed to the image of His Son. That is to be similar in the qualities of Messiah Yeshua in love, and obedience to GOD, to be like Messiah. That we, you and I might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Thus Paul’s teaching is that GOD knew us before The Creation for deliverance and salvation. He also determined in advance before The Creation that we would be like Messiah Yeshua in love and obedience to GOD. Obeying Torah, The Law of Moses as Yeshua did, and does, so that we, Jewish and non-Jewish People will be the firstborn among many brethren.
Thus when we are like Messiah in love and obedience to GOD, obeying all GOD’s Laws that are written in The Law of Moses, we become the firstborn among many brethren. We belong to GOD, and we are Holy to The LORD our GOD. And we are redeemed. We are bought back by GOD for a price. That is, GOD has bought us back. GOD Himself as a human being paid the redemption price by His death and shed blood on a Roman cross in Jerusalem. How incredible is that? And that is the formula for having a relationship with GOD The Messiah, and being found written in GOD’s Book of Life having Everlasting Life. DANIEL 12.1-3
Let’s talk about the Levites who come from the Tribe of Levi. Levi was the third son of Jacob’s twelve sons. His mother was Leah. Moses, Aaron, and Miriam were Levites. Two ancestors of Yeshua The Messiah were Levites. John The Baptist was a Levite. Matthew was a Levite. And Barnabas was a Levite. The Levites are well represented in The Bible. GENESIS 29.34, EXODUS 2.1-2 ETC., LUKE 3.23, 24, 29, LUKE 1.5-17, MARK 2.14, ACTS 4.36
So with that said, let’s read NUMBERS 3.11&12 AND VERSE 13.
The LORD has replaced the firstborn of Israel with The Levites to minister to Him. However the firstborn of Israel continue to belong to The LORD GOD. They are His. But the Tribe of Levi minister to The LORD, and serve Him. NUMBERS 3.5-10
The Levites are the priestly tribe. They minister to The High Priest to carry out all the duties of the Congregation of Israel pertaining to The Tabernacle and The Temple.
The High Priest and the Priest must also come from the Tribe of Levi, and they ministered to GOD in The Sanctuary. They were responsible for The Tabernacle and The Temple. NUMBERS 18.1-7
The High Priest and The Priest were responsible to safeguard everything according to GOD’s instructions pertaining to The Tabernacle and The Temple. All the men from The Tribe of Levi were to minister to The High Priest. That is to attend to him. And they were responsible for the duties and work of The Tabernacle and The Temple.
The Levites outside of The Priesthood were not allowed to come near the furnishings of The Tabernacle, or the altar lest they die, or perhaps even The Priest would die. The Levites outside of The Priesthood were to do the work of the Tabernacle such as transporting it and all its furnishings, and stand guard duty at The Tabe
rnacle. A stranger was not allowed to come near The High Priest.
GOD has given the entire Tribe of Levi to The High Priest to do the work and labor of The Tabernacle and Temple. The High Priest stood before GOD as a servant to minister to Him, and serve Him. He was also a spokesperson for the People to GOD. He was also a spokesperson of GOD to the People. The High Priest and The Priests were responsible for keeping The Priest’s office. To protect The Tabernacle, guard it, and attend to it in everything. The altar for sacrifices, and within the veil. That is The Holy of Holies that contained the Ark of the Covenant. And the stranger that comes near The Tabernacle, GOD said, shall be put to death. NUMBERS 18.1, DEUTERONOMY 10.8
EXODUS 28.29-30 The High Priest’s clothing contained the Urim and Thummim inside his breastplate. The Urim and Thummim were for obtaining GOD’s decisions on important questions in which human judgment was found to be inadequate such as military action, allocations of land, legal verdicts in the absence of evidence, and the choice of leaders.
The Bible does not tell us exactly what the Urim and Thummim were but I believe The LORD spoke to The High Priest and gave him the answers. NUMBERS 27.18-21
But without a Temple in Jerusalem, and there has been no Temple for 2,000 years since the Romans destroyed it in 70 C.E., there is no Priesthood. And there is no High Priest.
But Psalm 110.4 reads, “The LORD has sworn and will not change His Mind. You are a Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
Melchizedek is Priest of The Most High GOD. He has no beginning or end.
HEBREWS 7.1-3, GENESIS 14.17-20
And Melchizedek is and was Yeshua The Messiah. He is Elohim. He is GOD. And He is The High Priest, and will continue to be The High Priest forever as Psalm 110.4 reads.
And like the firstborn of the Jewish People who are Holy to The LORD GOD, and belong to The LORD, we too are Holy to The LORD and also belong to The LORD because we are like Messiah in love and obedience to GOD. We are obedient to His Torah, The Law of Moses. And being fully obedient to Torah, requires receiving Messiah Yeshua and believing in Him for atonement of your sins. Believing that He is GOD ALMIGHTY, The Promised Jewish Messiah. You then have atonement for your sins, you are the firstborn of many being HOLY. And you belong to GOD, and you are redeemed.
Those are the instructions and teachings of GOD for Jewish People, and non-Jewish People to be found written in GOD’s Book of Life that results in Everlasting Life in Heaven. Believing in Messiah Yeshua for atonement of your sins. (Sin is being disobedient to GOD’s Law of Moses). Then being obedient to all GOD’s Laws that are written in the Law of Moses. And that also is a Gift of GOD.
Shalom, Ira Weinstein, Congregational Leader