THE LEVITES typified the "Church of the First-born, whose names are written in heaven." This statement—their "names are written in heaven"—implies that they are recognized as a spiritual class—have come into Divine favor.
We are given the history of the Levites as a typical tribe specially representing the first-born; and this history of the first-born refers us back to the time when the first-born of the tribe of Israel were spared on the night of the passover. That night symbolizes this Gospel Age, the time of darkness on the earth, when the Lord is taking out His jewel class. This "Church of the First-born" have passed from death unto life—all of these first-born, representing the entire "Church of the First-born," are represented in the tribe of Levi. Out from amongst these Levites were selected the priestly few, typifying our Lord and those who are faithfully walking in His steps. So the entire "Church of the First-born" will include a great multitude—more than the Body of Christ. The virgins who follow her (Psa. 45:14), all belong to this "Church of the First-born, whose names are written in heaven." The work of the Levites in connection with [R4875 : page 349] the Tabernacle service is, undoubtedly, a symbolical one.
The high priest "went alone once every year"—on the Day of Atonement—into the Most Holy. Apparently the under-priests did not go into the Most Holy on this day (Heb. 9:6,7), but into the first Holy, where were the candlestick and the table of shewbread and the golden altar of incense. They, doubtless, typified those who are seated with Christ in the heavenly (Eph. 2:6), and are thus much in advance of the general household of faith. The under-priests were the sons of Aaron, and, being of the priestly family, or household, occupied a higher position and had greater rights and privileges than were enjoyed by the remainder of the Levites. The picture of the under-priests going into the Holy seems to correspond to our experiences of the present time and not to our experiences of the future, when we expect to enter into the Most Holy through the rent veil.
The experiences of the antitypical Levites at the present time are different from what they will be in the future. At the present time they are in the Court condition, because only the members of the Body are privileged to go into the Holy and to know "the deep things of God." But when the articles of the Holy had been wrapped up, the typical Levites bore the precious things—were allowed to carry them. They could feel that they had a right to touch them in a general way, but not in [R4876 : page 349] the same way as the priests. This would seem to imply that none except those who are walking in the footsteps of Jesus could have a deep, full appreciation of the Divine Plan. Others might understand these things in a comparative degree, but not in their fulness.
We are to consider, then, that as the Levites performed a service in connection with the Atonement Day sacrifices, so they will have a special service after the Day of Atonement. On the Day of Atonement, when the people were waiting for the priest to come out and bless them, was not the particular time for the Levites in general to teach the people or for them to learn their important lesson; but, after this Day of Atonement, the Levites were the general teachers of all the people, explaining the Law to them. And so we see that this will be a part of the work of the antitypical Levites in the future. They will have no inheritance in the land and its blessings. They will be associated in the Kingdom work and in the instruction of the people. But just how this will be done we may not now definitely know.
We might also understand that the Levites in the Court very fittingly represent all those who desire to turn from sin and approach God and who are making progress toward complete justification. They are in a justified attitude from the moment they turn from sin and come into the Court. This implies faith and obedience. And so all who are in harmony with God in any sense of the word are, tentatively, Levites; but as to whether they will become actual Levites depends on whether they make entire consecration. If they do not make this consecration they will not receive the special blessings which would entitle them to the spirit plane. We all were in this sense of the word Levites—in the sense of approaching justification, desiring justification, desiring harmony with God and seeking it, putting away the filth of the flesh, etc.—but we did not reach that justification until we presented our bodies living sacrifices and were begotten of the Holy Spirit and the new life was begun by which we passed from death unto life, by which we became the "Church of the First-born" and had our names written in heaven. Any who turn back before presenting their bodies living sacrifices fail to reach the fulness of justification, fail to have the justification to life—they fail in degree of faithfulness to right principle and in degree of harmony with God.
While the Court condition seems to represent at the present time all those who are approaching God and loving righteousness and desiring harmony with Him, it appears as though, with the closing of this Age, there will be an adjustment of matters by which all those who have not come to the point of full consecration and to the point of Spirit-begetting, who would not belong to the household of faith and to the "Church of the First-born," in the absolute sense, will go out and cease to be recognized as in the Court. Meantime, the class who have already made consecration, "presented their bodies living sacrifices," and received the begetting of the Spirit and enjoyed for a time the privileges of being members of the Body of Christ—these, failing to maintain their standing, are represented as separate from the "little flock" class, at the end of this Age. Their condition apparently is represented by the Court condition thereafter.