While reading through Joshua recently I came upon a passage that caught my attention. Joshua is a book riddled with the theme of God’s faithfulness to his covenant promises. As the Lord leads Joshua and the Israelites across the Jordan and they conquer the land promised to them Joshua begins to divvy the land amongst the tribes. When he came to the Levities however there was a different story: “But to the tribe of Levi, Moses did not give an inheritance; the LORD, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as He had promised to them” (Jos 13:33; cf. 14:33), and also: “For the Levites have no portion among you, because the priesthood of the LORD is their inheritance” (Jos 18:7). In other words, the tribe of Levi and the Aaronic Priesthood was in need of no land, because their inheritance was much greater’the Lord and his priesthood.1
This shouldn’t surprise as the Lord told Aaron when instituting the Priesthood: “Then the LORD said to Aaron, ‘You shall have no inheritance in their land nor own any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the sons of Israel’” (Num 18:20). How amazing would it be to have the living God say to you: “I am your portion and your inheritance!” No amount of real estate could compare to the call and presence of the eternal Lord.
The New High Priest
That thought about is edifying in and of itself, but as I started to think about it I had further observations. This is by no means meant to be “Gospel truth,” because this is largely an inference. I find the connection very worth investigation.
The Aaronic Priesthood, as the author to the Hebrews tells us, has been eradicated; because Jesus has become our High Priest. He says, “we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession” (Heb 4:14), and Jesus comes from the Melchizedek Priesthood not the Aaronic (Heb 5:10) which is an eternal priesthood (Heb 7:3). While I can go on for a while on the theme of Jesus as our High Priest in Hebrews for a while, I want to make the connection I have seen.
The New Covenant Priesthood
We should remember that even though Jesus is our High Priest there still exists a priesthood. But this priesthood is markly different from the Aaronic Priesthood. The only way to deal with the Lord was through the appointed High Priest, but Jesus, the final High Priest, has secured our connection and relationship to the Father through his own vicarious work. Peter tells us in his first epistle who the members of the New Covenant Priesthood.
“And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ [...] But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:4, 9)
Back in Exodus 19:6 Yahweh tells Israel that if they uphold their end of the Mosaic Covenant that they “shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” We are familiar with the inability of depraved man to fulfill the commands of God, and Israel failed to uphold her end of the conditional covenant (Jer 31:32). But with the obedience and victory of Christ he has fulfilled all these covenant obligations from his work, and we obtain his very inheritance!
In relation to my point above. If New Covenant members (all believers) are the “royal priesthood” then our inheritance is not real estate or anything peripheral to the great inheritance’the Lord himself. The Aaronic Priesthood had a greater calling, and we as well as believers in God’s victorious son have a greater calling. What an incredible inheritance and eternal truth!