One. Levi: his relationship to the other tribes. In Genesis 29 and 30 Levi is listed by birth as one of the 12 tribes. In Genesis 49 Levi with Simeon suffer a judgment of scattering thru the prophetic word of their father Jacob. Simeon shared part of Judah’s inheritance. God scattered Levi in 48 cities of the other tribes. But because of the zeal of Phinehas for God’s honor and name, God gave to his tribe – the tribe of Levi – a covenant of peace, and made him the glue to hold together all the tribes.
Originally God designed to make the whole nation of Israel a kingdom of priests. Because of the sin of the 10 spies, and because the people sided with them instead of with Joshua and Caleb – God took this privilege from the nation and awarded it to Levi only.
God does not speak of Levi with an animal. He and Simeon share the same fierce nature.
But Levi repented and thru Phinehas made amends, and his scattering became a blessing.
Levi with the 12 sons is inscribed on the two shoulder stones of the high priest, but he does not have a stone on the breastplate of judgment. In compensation God appoints the High Priest of Levi to wear all 12 stones!
God gives marvelous prophecies over Levi thru Moses in Deuteronomy 33. The last section of this paper details this.
Two. Japan: A nation whose cities could embrace the 5-fold. The church in Japan has been weak. Yet many signs bring hope of a bright future. God has sent special servants who have fostered unity between the national church, its leaders and the missionaries. The smallness of the church could be a distinct advantage to see an eldership in the gate of each city composed of the 5-fold ministry.
Many Japanese believers have seen God’s heart in Romans 11 concerning Israel. They have visited this ancient land, and tend to believe and receive God’s word that non-Jewish believers are grafted into the olive tree of Israel, and as wild olive branches are not in pride to put down Israel, the true olive branches. Pray for Japan with its great potential. In his day, E. Stanley Jones saw this.
Three. A few books that will foster this 5-fold ministry. The Urim and Thummim give infallible guidance for the kings and governors of Israel. The High Priest ministered this gift thru the Breastplate of Judgment worn on his chest. George Muller in his “Answers to Prayer” demonstrated infallible guidance in the preface (Moody Press, ISBN 0-8024-0565-7). He entitled it, “How to Ascertain the Will of God.” For Muller and those who walked in his spirit, it was infallible. In Appendix “A” he sets forth the 5 Conditions of Prevailing Prayer. It works!
Dr. Steven Lambert in his “Charismatic Captivation” lays out 5 errors that brought the Disciple/Shepherding movement into disrepute. Four other movements of the same “controlling spirit” exist today. One of the weaknesses of these movements was failure to understand God’s thinking on the 5-fold ministry and walk in it. Steve Lambert carefully walks thru this area.
(ISBN 1-887915-00-1 – Tel: 407-575-5584).
Four. George R. Hawtin and Ephesians 4.11-12. Again and again Ephesians 4:1-16 came up in 1948. It seemed to be a “present truth” that the Holy Spirit insisted be clearly heard. George Hawtin loved to exposit on Ephesians 4:11-12 especially, and taught clearly and at length on the apostles and prophets in the perspective of Ephesians 2:20. No one could miss the emphasis of those days upon the 5-fold ministry.
Dr. Lambert shows the analogy between Levi and the 5-fold ministry. See how God protected the 12 tribes in the beginning from the fire of His holiness, by placing the 4 sections of Levi next to the Tabernacle. Moses, Aaron, Eleazar and Ithamar shielded Judah, Issachar and Zebulun. Kohath shielded Reuben, Simeon and Gad. Gershon shielded Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin. Merari shielded Dan, Asher and Naphtali.
The priesthood part of Levi represented the apostles and prophets in Eleazar and Ithamar. Kohath represented pastors; Gershon, evangelists; and Merari the teachers.
Eleazar and Ithamar protected Kohath and the other two clans of Levi from the danger of God’s holiness by carefully covering the sacred furniture before the Tabernacle was moved. Only the priestly part of Levi entered the Holy Place, and only Aaron the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies once a year.
No member of the 12 tribes could enter the Holy Place, nor pitch his tent next to the Tabernacle. The equivalent of deacons came from the 12 tribes, and was chosen by them for political, service and warfare purposes.
Levi had no land inheritance. The Lord was his inheritance. The 12 tribes allotted 48 cities for Levi including the priests. They were the spiritual, ecclesiastical leaders of the 12 tribes, and ministered God to Israel thru the Tabernacle, the sacrifices, the worship, teaching, guidance thru Urim and Thummim, and received decisions concerning separation of clean and unclean, sacred and secular.
Levi did not choose his position, or the 5-fold ministry he represented to the commonwealth of Israel. This was God’s choice. Korah of Kohath, a Levite, lusted after the priesthood to his shame and judgment.
Nadab and Abihu abused their responsibility in the priesthood of apostle and prophet. Their terrible death yet serves as a warning.
Dathan and Abiram lusted after Moses’ position of leadership. The earth served God in laying before us the seriousness of their out-of-order challenge.
No man takes upon himself the responsibility and privilege of the 5-fold service of Levi, nor of the New Covenant 5-fold ministry. God alone makes the choice. It was God who showed Jesus which 12 of all His disciples He was to choose to be with Him, including Judas.
Just as Levi was chosen of God apart from the 12 tribes, so God chooses eldership in the 5-fold apart from the rest of the body of Messiah. No man takes this position on his own.
Even King Uzziah learned to his shame not to intrude on the priesthood. God struck him with leprosy. Could this be why the apostle James – Jesus’ brother after the flesh – warned us not to take upon ourselves the office of teacher, lest we come under the greater condemnation?
Just as God warned Moses – “See that you build the Tabernacle exactly according to the pattern you saw on the mountain;” – so the church, the body of Christ requires of apostles and prophets, the spiritual priesthood class, that we protect Jesus’ right to build His church His way.
God gives the human body as an analogy of His church. Our skeleton has 33 vertebrae, just like the earthly years of our Savior. The 7 cervical vertebrae join the head (Jesus) to the body. The 12 vertebrae form the rib cage at the back coming around to the sternum in front, protect the heart and lungs. The 5 lumbar vertebrae are the largest, and give support to the whole body for strength and lifting. Lastly the 9 lower vertebrae ending in the coccyx give support to the pelvis and protect our sensitive lower organs from the back.
The seven cervical are like the 7 unities of Ephesians 4:1-3. They are essential. All 7 must clearly function so that the spiritual Head and body can communicate. The 12 apostles in Messiah’s Kingdom will sit on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel, making a unity of both covenants, and showing that from Genesis to Revelation we have one Torah, one teaching. They represent the 12 gates of the city and the city’s 12 foundations. 12 is the number of complete government.
But the 5 lumbar represent the 5-fold ministry. The body needs all 5 to function in strength and lifting power. What could we do if we had but 3 vertebrae for this function? We would be a sorry person indeed -–an invalid and cripple confined to a wheel chair and crutches. But though the church recognizes by and large evangelists, pastors and teachers, it tends to ignore apostles and prophets. Yet Paul by the Holy Spirit claims that God set the foundation of the church on apostles and prophets, Jesus the Messiah being the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 20). What must God think of the 21st Century church? What can we say of her? Like a mighty army, moves the church of God?
But if we fast and pray and beseech God, He will in Jesus’ Name raise up by His Spirit these 2 crucial but by and large missing spiritual vertebrae.
Look at the prophecy of Jacob in Genesis 49 and Moses in Deuteronomy 33 over Levi. Levi is God’s glue to hold the 12 tribes together. The 5-fold ministry is the expression of Levi that sets forth the why of this.
Every city has its local churches, each as a tribe of Israel. Or perhaps the various denominations, fellowships and para-church groups represent the tribes, and the individual churches represent clans within each tribe. If each denomination or clan chooses leaders out of the tribe and clan, and God is unable to place spiritual Levites for the 5-fold ministries of His choice – then we as city bodies could be functioning without healthy lumber spiritual vertebrae.
We are in a new century, the 21st. Men like Mahesh Chavda are challenging us to walk in the “Watch of the Lord,” a weekly 8 hour gathering starting on Friday evenings. Ruth lay at the feet of Boaz by the instruction of Naomi (the Holy Spirit). Then Boaz revealed to her how to receive the desire of her heart. So we can wait at the feet of our Heavenly Bridegroom, and He can reveal how to adjust, revise, repair and reconstruct His body the church. He can give us a spiritual chiropractic treatment for the good of the whole body.
In 1948 a tremendous emphasis on the 5-fold ministry came forth. God birthed it. However, it was embryonic and did not mature. The enemy injects man’s thinking and stole from Jesus His right to build His church.
Many believe the church is sufficiently desperate to say, “Lord, we’ve tried to do Your work, and we don’t like our results. Please take the reins. Rise and reign. Rectify our foolish mistakes. Bring sense out of chaos, unity out of disunity, and great fruit out of but mercy-drop blessing.
This is the challenge of Levi! Let the priestly and Levitical equivalent of Levi arise in our day! Let the spiritual 5-fold ministry, especially the apostles and prophets, manifest themselves!
The Second Coming of our Lord draws nigh. The signs around us create great hope. Israel as a nation is back in her land (1948). Jerusalem is once again in the hands to which God gave it (1967). Nations, United Nations, European nations, the United States and third world countries spend more time on Israeli resolutions and finagling than on any other part of the world.But God spoke to Abraham, Moses, David and the prophets, and we know how it is going to end. God is God, and has the right to choose whom He will, and give what part of the earth to whom He will. In the end, none shall say him Nay! He who sits in the heavens shall laugh, and continue to frustrate the Pharaohs, the Nebuchadnezzars, the Hamans, the Hitlers and their empires.
Let Levi arise! Let the 5-fold ministry come forth! Let Israel flourish! Let the nations acknowledge that God is God, and that Jesus the Messiah is a Jew and the Son of God.
This world is no friend of grace. But the day hastens to the hour when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus the Messiah is LORD to God the Father’s glory.
Proclaim it! Believe it! Embrace it! By your faith release the purposes and will of God. Choose to be on His side. Choose to be one thru whom He can make these things happen.